Prasenjit Bose, chief of research cell, central committee of CPI(M) deserves kudos for his article Corruption and Forbearance under Neoliberalism, published in the journal of The Centre for Policy Analysis, and reproduced in pragoti.org. However, corruption is not an exclusive phenomenon under the capitalist system. Socialist countries – I mean the social orders encouraged by the Third International – were also afflicted by corruption, not to speak of People’s Republic of China (both in Mao and post-Mao years). Even the CPI(M)-led governments in Kerala and West Bengal never waged a principled war against corruption. Hence Bose’s inference that “the state under the neoliberal regime has increasingly become a vehicle for capital accumulation and also a site for primitive accumulation, by the established corporate players as well as new entrants to the big business club” – is only half the truth. Continue reading Corruption, CPI(M) and Neoliberalism: Sankar Ray→
With the passing away of Jyoti Basu, the curtain comes down on an entire chapter of communist history in this country. Basu may have been the last of a generation that learnt its politics in the stormy days of the anticolonial struggle and who lived through the ups and downs of politics – from the underground days of the 1930s and 1940s to the initiation into the ways of parliamentary democracy. The long engagement with parliamentary democracy was to lead to Basu’s – and the communists’ – long stint in power. And Basu was one of those rare communists for whom democracy was not a mere strategic imperative but a value to be internalized.
Basu belonged to a generation of communists who worked their way from the bottom up. Trained in Law in England, Basu returned to India, determined to work in the communist movement. Muzaffar Ahmed, the then secretary of the undivided communist party sent him to work among the railway workers. It was there, working among and organizing the railway workers that Basu entered mass politics. It was probably in this process that Basu developed his distinctive style of politics – a style that we have yet to understand fully.
While waiting endlessly at the CPI-M headquarters in Delhi, we, the Left-beat reporters, often used to say how incredibly dull the beat would be in the absence of Jyoti Basu, Indrajit Gupta, and Harkishen Singh Surjeet. With their distinctive personalities and distinct style, each one had livened up the tedious job of keeping track of the Left parties and their leaders. Indrajit Gupta would speak in a baritone voice, trotting out gruff answers; the ever-amiable Harkishen Singh Surjeet, never failed to pick up the phone, was always ready to share a laugh with us. But of these three colourful Communist stalwarts, it was Basu who used to keep us most preoccupied, with his ‘read-between-the-line’ one-liners, exasperatingly short, brusque replies, sometimes even with outright sarcasm or rudeness.