CPI(M)’s Rectification Campaign and a Bit of History: Sankar Ray
Guest post by SANKAR RAY
The Rectification campaign (RC) in CPI(M) is in practice a PR exercise, vying with top corporate communicators. Take the judgment of killings on 27 July 2000 at Suchpur under Nanoor PS of Birbhum district of West Bengal. Forty-four members and sympathisers, including district committee member Ramprasad Ghosh and zonal committee members Nityanarayan Chattopadhyay, Golam Saror, Golam Mustafa and Badiujjaman were convicted for involvement in the ghastly killings of 11 landless agricultural labourers. None of them has even been suspended, let alone expelling them from the party. Party biggies from the general secretary Prakash Karat to the WB state secretary and polit bureau member Biman Bose often say they have reverence towards the judiciary, although their perception that in a class-divided society, justice is to be ‘class justice’ is judicious. But why should proven criminals be on the party roll, when the mandarins of A K Gopalan Bhavan, party’s national headquarters, boastfully talk of a continuous RC. WB party leaders assured months before the last Assembly polls in WB that hundreds of ‘corrupt’ members be thrown out out of the party. All this is remains on paper.
Such cover-up for criminals is nothing new for the CPI(M). Such incriminating verdict against CPI(M) comrades for involvement in criminal acts like murders in West Bengal is not unprecedented. It happened in Kerala too. In the Suchpur case, the Left Front government resorted to many unfair means such as adopting an ‘indifferent’ attitude towards the mysterious murder of a key witness, transfer of half a dozen judges and harassment and transfer of the investigating officer (all this happened with the approval of the former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee – – a PB member too - who held the home-police portfolio). Even Somnath Chatterjee, former Speaker of Lok Sabha and ex CPI(M) Central Committee member had a hand in preventing the trial in an indirect way – http://firstname.lastname@example.org/msg08135.html .
The leadership’s mandatory (RC) in the entire hierarchy of the party right from the spic-and-span headquarters A K Gopalan Bhavan down to the local committee office in the remotest corner of Raghunathpur in Purulia district in WB to Padmanabhapuram, near Kanyakumari, in Tamil Nadu is a last ditch effort to save the party from its disastrous state, following the worst-so-far result in the 15th Lok Sabha (2009) and the ignominious outcome in 15th West Bengal state assembly elections.
RC was adopted by the CPI(M) central committee in 1996. But previously, the rectification process was not adopted from the top”, admitted the 4800-word document, “On Rectification Campaign’ , endorsed by the Central Committee in October 2009. But it failed to “conduct the rectification campaign on a continuous and sustained basis”.
However, the disingenuous intent is explicit in the evasive stance of the AKG Bhavan leadership in blaming the ruling class for weakening and disrupting “the Party through the dilution of its ideology and character”. “Hence there is the need, the party leadership believes, “for the Communist Party to consistently counter such influences and penetration” – as if its current state bears no relation to the shackling of inner-party debate on the fierce controversies among the Marxists the world over – including many European parties – on the fault lines in application of Marxism following the collapse of the USSR and embourgeoisment in China.
Leaders agree that RC was inspired by the Yan’an Rectification Movement – Cheng Feng (CF) 1942-44 of the Chinese Communist Party(CCP). The genesis of CF is very interesting, probably not widely known among leading cadres of the party . It was a strategic cover for Mao Zedong’s own consolidation. It was in sync with ‘Mao Zedong Thought’ (spelt out in 1940), an emblem of the personality cult vying with that of J V Stalin. His cog in the wheel was Wang Ming, member of the presidium of the Executive Council of Communist International.
While CF was conceptualized at the CCP central committee in April 1943, its seeds were sown at CCP’s extended polit bureau meeting at Zunyi in 1935. There “ended the rule of Wang Ming’s ‘Left’ adventurism in the CC and established the correct leadership of the new CC, represented by Mao” , according to the History of Chinese Communist Party – A Chronology of Events (1919-1990) – Foreign Languages Press, Beijing, 1991, pp 94-95). In April 1943, the CCP-CC issued the ‘Decision on carrying on the Rectification’ . The document wrote, “The chief goals of CF are to correct non-proletarian trends (namely feudal, bourgeois and petty bourgeois ideas) among the cadres and weed out counter-revolutionaries hidden in the party.” By counter-revolutionaries, Mao meant followers of Wang and Li Li Xan, dubbed as Trotskyites,. Pathetically enough, during the post-Lenin period , from Stalin to Gorbachev, the CPSU indulged in vilification of Leon Trotsky as if it was an ideological imperative. Official Marxists the world over –including the CPs of India – faithfully parroted the line in the name of proletarian internationalism. Trotsky, unlike Stalin and others, was next to Lenin. Rosa Luxemburg, in her famous essay’ ‘The Russian Revolution: Democracy and Dictatorship’ – her testament – described the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party – later CP of Soviet Union (Bolshevik) as ‘party of Lenin and Trotsky’. Even then it was not easy for Mao to push through the CF as the so-called –Trotskyites –had a sound theoretical foundation. He succeeded with his strategic ability at the marathon session of CCP-CC (10 Sep – 22 Oct, 1940) to drive home his point, “the ‘Left’ deviationist errors made by the CC led by Wang Ming, Bo Gu and others”. In May 1942, the PB decided to set up a five-man general study committee under the CC, led by Mao, to guide the CF. Mao didn’t have to look backward to climb up. Party historians now think that the CCP exaggerated ‘infiltration by Kuomintang’, but keep the obsession against Trotsky intact.
More than 10,000 were killed during the CF . Wang had to seek asylum in Moscow which sheltered Wang. After all, he was a member of the presidium of Executive Council of the Communist International. During the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution Wang helped the CP of Soviet Union wage polemics against Mao and his followers. CF marked the disconnect between the legacy of the May Fourth Movement- an ‘anti-imperialist, patriotic student movement in Peking in 1919 , leading to the foundation of CCP in 1920, and Maoism or Mao Zedong Thought, Party History Research Centre now admits . Interestingly, Liu Shaoqi, mauled by Mao during the GPCR, moved the resolution incorporating Mao Zedong Thought in the party constitution at the 7th Congress of CCP (1945), as an extension of Marxism-Leninism even before 1940.