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WRONG MARCH

Anti-Americanism is the aphrodisiac for the comrades. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) has been worsted in the polls, local, provincial and national; it does not have the resources and the energy to mobilize its cadre to oppose Mamata Banerjee, but it threatens to organize largescale demonstrations in Calcutta if the United States of America attacks Syria. It is difficult for ordinary mortals to understand the logic behind such demonstrations but if one is a comrade indoctrinated in that great ideology called anti-imperialism then a protest march is in order whenever the US attacks another country. But woe betide the person who suggests that, by the same logic, the comrades should have marched against the Soviet invasions of Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Afghanistan. The CPI(M) is perhaps the only political party in the world that continues to be deluded by such logic and maintains anti-imperialism as a part and parcel of its ideological agenda. It does not occur to the pundits of the party that a US attack on Syria in no way affects the lives of the people of West Bengal who will be commandeered to take to the streets.

This bizarre attitude of the CPI(M) is a carryover of what communists of an earlier era called proletarian internationalism, by which was meant the propagation of revolution across the globe. The collapse of communism has resulted in the evaporation of such grandiose notions. But not so among the leaders of the CPI(M). Comrades in Gopalan Bhavan lose their sleep over what is happening in Venezula, Cuba and over the predatory instincts of Uncle Sam. Time better spent on addressing Indian problems is devoted to issues far away. One unintended consequence of this is a serious identity problem for the CPI(M). Where does it actually belong, to what causes is it committed, Indian or global? It is nobodyís argument that everything that the US does is right and noble. But what will be achieved by protesting against the US on the streets of Calcutta or anywhere else in India? Obviously, the CPI(M) does not see itself as an Indian communist party, rather as a communist party only incidentally located in India. This is the CPI(M)ís enduring delusion. This is perhaps apposite since the CPI(M), in its ideology, its priorities and its organization, is an anachronism, an entity out of tune with the times. No wonder Ms Banerjee sleeps peacefully in Bhowanipore every night.