Here in West Bengal the peasants are forced to undergo distress sale.
They are crushed under money-lenders due to loans at an exorbitant rate
of interest. This has forced some peasants to resort to suicidal deaths.
But how can a responsible government, ‘most committed’ for the peasant
cause bear this tragedy? The CPM in their state daily organ, propagate
these incidents as all bogus, mere propaganda of the newspapers!
The management of the big business house, Birla automobile industry, has
become scared of the rising competition from other foreign and domestic
business houses. They found refuge in a US-based consultancy firm
McKinsey. It gave its valuable consultation, ie., to retrench a thousand
of the workforce. The management eagerly planned to implement the same,
hand in glove with a ‘left’ trade union, that has the full backing of
the government in power.
The white collar employees, once the blue-eyed boys of the government,
(the teachers or the doctors) are now hired on a contract basis. The
government employees have no security of job. They are compelled to
peacefully accept ‘VRS’ for a "greater interest"!
The hospitals are becoming another name for hell. The people are
requested to bear the brunt due to the anti-people policies of the
central government. The state government, as in childish simplicity,
increased the fees of the hospital services. Subsequently, health
welfare is going out of the reach of commoners.
The students are to face capitation fees, as fees are hiked in every
aspect of their educational career. They are to buy education like any
other commodity from the market of education. A sizeable section of
students are forced to bid good bye to education due to ‘proper’
infrastructure! Numbers of illiterates are found in districts which were
previously declared as 100% literate by the government.
Thus the peasants, the workers, the middle class, the students — all
strata and sections of the people are in deep trouble. They are
compelled to grope in the darkness, darker than the new moon! All this
is happening in West Bengal, a State government of India, claimed as an
‘oasis’ by the ruling CPI(M) party and its partners.
In this CPI(M)-style ‘oasis’ the rhetoric of imperialism and
anti-imperialism co-exist peacefully. The CPI(M) in their slogans,
articles and discussions have been posing themselves as an ardent
anti-imperialist force. But, in the same breath they implement IMF-World
Bank dictated policies. They have attained unparallel expertise in
befooling the people with their logic of ‘compulsions’, ‘interim
relief’, and supposedly wield power to build up democratic movements
etc. It is for this reason that the Bretton Woods family, led by
imperialist forces, appreciates the CPI(M). It is used as a safety valve
against the peoples’ struggles. Like the imperialist-launched NGOs, the
CPI(M) has good credibility with the imperialists.
This small booklet deals with the role of the ‘left’ front government of
West Bengal in implementing the programmes of globalisation utilising
flimsy argument in the defence. In order to understand the dynamics of
surrender to the programmes of imperialism, let us have a brief insight
into the programmes pertaining to globalisation of this state
Globalisation and the CPI(M)
The world capitalist system has been facing a series of severe crises.
Every time some temporary steps are taken to save the system. But, all
those prescriptions ultimately lead to more and more severe crisis.
The crisis of the 1930’s was managed by a set of prescriptions better
known as the Keynsian crisis management policies. The crux of the
policies was to inject purchasing power in the economy through
government autonomous spending. It was argued that it would further
increase the purchasing power of the people. Hence effective demand
would be increased. This increase in demand would be a further incentive
to investment in the private sector. But these crisis management
policies failed to solve the inherent problem of the world capitalist
system. Consequently the very system was engulfed in more severe crisis
in the late 60’s. All myths were shattered. Now, Freedman came forward
to rescue the system with a set of policies. The most reactionary,
anti-people economist prescribed to do away with the ‘bottlenecks of the
economy’ to facilitate a free play of market forces. These steps
includes — curbing increase in wages, reducing taxes on corporate
profits and direct taxes, downsizing government expenditure on public
needs and undermining the right of trade unions etc. Instead, he
advocated to ensure the rights of the business houses to exploit and
dismiss workers unhampered. This is the argument to make room for more
Imperialism, through its agencies like the Bretton Woods family (IMF,
World Bank and its associates), implement the Freedman crisis management
prescriptions. The IMF-World Bank put forward stringent measures to
carry on its agenda of globalisation. Let us trace some of the
conditionalaties of the World Bank that strangulate the economies of
(a) In Article 1 of its Article of Agreements it was stated that the
Bank would ‘co-ordinate’ the loans received by a particular country
through other channels. It means the Bank would control the entire
amount of loans received by a country from various channels. Moreover,
instead of the country itself, the Bank would decide whether the loan
was necessary or not, to the country.
(b) Before granting a loan to a developing country, the Bank
investigates the various aspects of that particular country. After
having detailed information, including even intelligence data, under
pretence of advice for betterment, the Bank pressurizes the loan-taking
country to follow its recommendations, such as the demand to give up
pursuing an independent economic policy, to abandon implementation of
progressive economic reforms, to stimulate private capitalist order, to
encourage investment of foreign capital with privileges etc.
The Bank, through its conditionalities, is pushing through its
liberalisation policies, and structural adjustment programmes. While the
ruling class of a country is implementing the above said policies, then
how far is it possible to oppose or regulate imperialist capital by a
State government? The CPI(M), only in order to retain power in the state
appeases and implements the imperialist designs. Still it wants us to be
in a make-believe world and have faith in Mr. Buddhadeb’s (chief
minister of West Bengal) statement. Buddha stated, he would oppose the
‘There is no Alternative’ (TINA) syndrome put forward by the reactionary
British ex-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. He further said that, "We
have to find out our own path and it is a reality that it is an
untraveled path. Nobody has walked through this path. We are to identify
the path while travelling... But, would it be prudent if we look down
upon the gravity of the situation? Is it to be termed be a surrender if
we take the situation into consideration? No! We are not surrendering."1
In the coming chapters it will be clear how far the tall claims of the
‘left’ front government led by Buddha are true —
The Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the business house of the Indian
big bourgeoisie has conducted a survey that may act as an eye-opener to
all concerned. As part of the ICC 2003 business perception survey for
Bengal, a questionnaire was sent to 60 corporate chieftains with
business interest in the state.3 They gave their
verdict on a host of issues. "Direct feedback from business and
industry is critical and would help the West Bengal government to
consider appropriate policy choices," said ICC president Vikram
Thapar. The Chamber has decided to share the result with the government
as a ‘positive policy supplement’. Though there was no direct question
regarding labour relations, a handful of businessmen expressed
satisfaction with the approach on the said issue of the CPI(M) top
brass. They were concerned over frequent labour unrest at the grass-root
level. The ICC findings further pointed that 88% of the respondents seek
priority attention to roads and 69% demand suburban development. The
survey indicated scope for improvement in the social sector.
53% demanded action in the health sector. 71% respondents said that the
business barons prefer Bengal because of its low salaries and wages.
They expressed concern over the quality of professional education. Over
48% advocated measures to raise the standard to reap the benefits of
competitive human resource costs. A whopping 72 percent voted for
knowledge-based industries followed by healthcare, tourism and
The preferences of business houses in real terms reflect the options of
the imperialist powers’ dictum in various forms. The Government is
reciprocating by enhancing its friendly gestures to them. It has
rendered a red carpet welcome to them.