No ‘democratic parties’ at national level: CPI-M

New Delhi, Aug 7 (IANS) After having played a key role in cobbling together opposition alliances, the CPI-M now says that there are no “democratic parties at the all-India level” it can align with.

The Communist Party of India-Marxist’s stand, a reversal of its political understanding it held for years, has been published in the latest issue of its mouthpiece “People’s Democracy”.

“There are no democratic parties at the all-India level at present,” it said in response to a question from a reader on the difference between the Left and so-called democratic parties.

“Most of the regional parties today are also not playing a role which can be considered as democratic, unlike the role some of them played in an earlier period till the 1980s,” People’s Democracy said.

The CPI-M along with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) propped up the V.P. Singh-led National Front government in 1989-90, and later went on to play a key role in the formation of United Front governments which ruled India from 1996 to 1998.

It was during this period that the United Front constituents offered the post of prime minister to CPI-M leader and then West Bengal chief minister Jyoti Basu, an offer rejected by the Marxists.

Basu later called the CPI-M refusal to head a national government a “historical blunder”.

Since the rise of the BJP, the CPI-M has seen a steady erosion of its appeal both in its traditional bastions and among the other parties, many of which are now aligned either with the Congress or the BJP.

The CPI-M and its Left allies, including the Communist Party of India, Revolutionary Socialist Party and Forward Bloc, have now expanded the Left grouping to include the Communist Party of India-Marxist Leninist as well as the Socialist Unity Centre of India-Communist.

In the coming Bihar assembly elections, the CPI-M and its ideological allies have decided not to ally with the Janata Dal-United or the RJD. The Left also independently contested the Delhi assembly election and suffered a rout in February this year.

According to the CPI-M journal, “democratic parties are those parties that espouse democratic positions on economic, political and social questions.

“They would take a stand in support of democratic rights.

“In class terms, democratic parties may be of a bourgeois democratic or petty bourgeois character but not a party representing the big bourgeoisie.”

But it added that the characterization of “democratic parties” would depend on the political role they play in a given situation.

Referring specifically to the DMDK and the Tamil Manila Congress of Tamil Nadu, it said they can be treated as regional parties but not democratic parties.

But “a regional party which is not democratic today may play a democratic role in the future”.

At the same time, the CPI-M said there were democratic elements in various “secular bourgeois parties including the regional parties.

“There are also democratic organisations of various sections of the working people, women, Dalits, adivasis and so on… All these forces should be mobilized for a Left and democratic alternative,” it said.

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