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Mainstream, VOL LII, No 16, April 12, 2014

For a Broad United Secular Front to Resist Fascist Takeover of Indian State

Saturday 12 April 2014, by Sumit Chakravartty

The following is a message sent by the Mainstream editor to a seminar on Left unity organised by the Communist Party of Bharat in Kolkata on April 6, 2014.

I wholeheatedly welcome the initiative you have taken to approach all Left parties, formations, non-party Left individuals without any exception to forge the broadest possible Left unity in order to break the bipolar political arrangement at the national level.

However, the national situation is grave. There is imminent danger of a majoritarian fascist takeover by the principal Opposition party at the Centre headed by Narendra Modi, the Gujarat Chief Minister currently being projected as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate. The danger is most potent through- out north India, and in UP and Bihar in particular, while in east and south India the enormity of the threat is less comprehensible. One should also not forget the role of corporate funding and publicity and propaganda by the corporate-driven media in ensuring the gradual growth of this danger in the country at large.

Against the backdrop of such a danger which the nation has faced never before, it is important for all secular democrats, including those of the ruling party at the Centre as well as the various regional formations, to forge a united front to resist such a takeover. It was the absence of such a united front that facilitated Hitler’s rise to power in Germany using the democratic apparatus in the 1930s. The situation in India bears uncanny resemblance to the situation in Germany in 1930s. Using the economic crisis a “strong leader” is seeking to emerge over the national scene by polarising society. And the democratic apparatus is being misused with impunity to realise this evil design. The Left forces cannot remain passive onlookers of such a phenomenal change being sought to be carried out in Indian politics; or else they will be answerable to History in the event of a fascist takeover of the Indian state.

While the struggle against rampant corru-ption stemming from neo-liberalism must be heightened, the task of resisting the fascist onslaught cannot be pushed to the sidelines. For that is the most important task at this juncture. In the long term Left unity needs to be built brick by brick though painstaking efforts. To effect such a unity, Communists and Socialists must take the principal responsibility. In concrete terms it is essential to evolve an Indian People’s Front not as an extension of an specific Left party but as a widest possible platform of Left parties, formations of non-party Left individuals of various persuasions and cutting across all differences by adopting a broad, non-sectarian approach. But that is in the long term. And for an IPF to emerge as a force to reckon with, the CPI-M, the largest Left party, must discard its policy of brutalisation of the polity (as witnessed in Garbeta and Keshpur in West Bengal and Onchiyam in Kerala) as well as its hegemonic ideals, actions and ambitions.

However, at present the broadest possible secular democratic unity to resist and defeat the fascist offensive and bid to capture power is the need of the hour. All efforts to build such a resistance does not brook the slightest delay. Because at stake are both secularism and democracy that are the bedrock of the Indian Constitution. By attacking both these principles, the fascist forces, that is, the BJP/RSS and their associates, are actually striving to subvert, weaken, undermine and destroy the Constitution, a pernicious move that needs to be decisively thwarted and rebuffed by secular democrats of all hues. In the absence of democracy there is no possibility to build any movement for democratic advance and socio-economic transformation.