Buddhadeb’s apology is not acceptable! This is not communism!

Use of force against political rivals and to quell all opposition among the people, for the sake of promoting one’s own party’s interest, has nothing to do with communism. Communists work for advancing the interests of the working class. Their aim is to bring the working class and peasantry to power, not to establish and defend a party dictatorship by fire and sword. It is the bourgeoisie that resorts to violence and terror to safeguard and strengthen its rule.

CPI(M) leader and Chief Minister of West Bengal, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, stated at a press conference in New Delhi on 4th December, “We have failed in Nandigram. It was an administrative and political failure. We have learnt lessons from Nandigram that we have to take people into confidence. We have to ensure that Nandigram does not repeat itself.” Bhattacharjee also expressed regret for his provocative pronouncement made last month that those opposed to the CPI(M) and land acquisition had been “paid back in the same coin”.

Buddhadeb’s statements to the press were made after the Politbureau of CPI(M) met to discuss the political fallout of their ‘recapture’ of Nandigram. The leaders of CPI(M) have been forced to reckon with the widespread condemnation and criticism of their actions, both outside and within the communist movement. Over 60,000 artistes and intellectuals of Bengal demonstrated on November 14, 2007 in Kolkata, just a day after Buddhadeb’s provocative statement, to voice their opposition to CPI(M)’s justification for state terrorism. There has been disagreement even within the Left Front in Bengal, with the Forward Bloc and the RSP expressing reservations about the line of CPI(M). The ‘apology’ of the Chief Minister is the response of the CPI(M) leadership to end its present isolation in the communist movement and amongst the broad sections of progressive intelligentsia as a consequence of its recent actions.

Buddhadeb's apology cannot and must not be accepted. What happened in Nandigram cannot be called an administrative failure by any stretch of imagination. The state administration and ruling party in West Bengal consciously planned and executed the terror campaign to win back Nandigram under the control of CPI(M). The armed hit squads of the ruling party were assembled from all parts of Bengal for this “recapture”. They were set in motion, assured of full state protection. They butchered and raped in order to ‘teach a lesson’ to the peasants who dared to challenge the authority of CPI(M). Such a conscious and planned act cannot be called a mistake or failure. In truth, it is a monstrous crime against the people.

In March 2007, there was a public hue and cry against the West Bengal Government’s use of force against the people in Nandigram. Following this, Buddhadeb publicly announced the withdrawal of the land acquisition program in Nandigram. He also publicly admitted that his party and government had not taken people into confidence, that the party must do so in future. In November, CPI(M) launched the second bloody invasion of Nandigram, better planned than the first invasion. Can one really believe the leaders of CPI(M) any more?

What do the leaders of CPI(M) mean when they say it was a “political failure”? They mean that their calculation, that they would gain politically in Bengal and India through the forcible recapture of Nandigram, was wrong. The credibility of CPI(M) has gone down as a result. Buddhadeb Bhattacharya and the leadership of the CPI(M) are now doing what is known as spin doctoring, in an attempt to regain their lost credibility.

Communists and all those who defend human rights must not allow themselves to be fooled by Buddhadeb’s words. These ‘apologies’ and ‘regrets’ are made with political calculations, to advance the interest of CPI(M). They show that the leaders of CPI(M) are only concerned about whether their own party gains or loses. They have no concern for whether the workers and peasants gain or lose. They have neither any respect for human rights not any concern for people’s lives.

For the sake of promoting the interest of their own party, the leadership of CPI(M) justifies use of force against any and every rival, including other parties in the communist movement. They used force against the Naxalites and the CPI(ML) in the late sixties and early seventies. Today they use force against all their political rivals. Anyone who expresses opposition to the program and policies of the Left Front government in Bengal is considered an enemy and use of force against such people is justified. CPI(M) routinely declares such people to be “Trinamul Congress” or “Maoists”.

CPI(M) treats its political adversaries in much the same manner as George Bush declares all those who disagree with him to be terrorists deserving liquidation. Leaders of CPI(M) are quoting the Security Advisor of the government of India to “prove” that Maoists were running a gun factory in Nandigram! This is no different from the US imperialists justifying their invasion of Iraq quoting CIA reports that Iraq had WMDs.

Use of force against political rivals and to quell all opposition among the people, for the sake of promoting one’s own party’s interest, has nothing to do with communism. Communists work for advancing the interests of the working class. Their aim is to bring the working class and peasantry to power, not to establish and defend a party dictatorship by fire and sword. It is the bourgeoisie that resorts to violence and terror to safeguard and strengthen its rule.

CPI(M)’s unleashing of terror in Nandigram for the second time in a year is not accidental. It reflects which class CPI(M) is serving. It is defending the interests of the bourgeoisie and not that of the working class.

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