A Short Comment on Sumanta Banerjee’s Article on the Indian Left

cross road

Maybe, at this age nearing a century (86+), my days on this earth are soon coming to end. Some comments on the Indian Left should be made.

I do not want to comment much on the main body of Sumanta’s article, except that for us poor and weak Third World peoples and states it is advantageous to live in a world with two or three great powers rather than one. We can then opportunistically (why not?) choose sides depending on our needs of the moment. The Ukraine war is therefore, according to me, of secondary importance to the world’s problems, and those of ours.

Sumanta demands of the Left (particularly of the Indian Left) that it formulates “an alternative strategy”. And he gives a tall order. He asks, “…. but on what ideological and political basis can such an independent strategy be formulated”?

For achieving which goal?

I would also ask him: does the Left today have any ideology at all, so that we could speak of an “alternative” ideology?

As far as I can observe, the Left, in power or in the opposition, has today only a program. It is to do some good to the working class and sundry poor, and incidentally, to oneself – all within the presently given framework.

There was a time, however, when we used to debate (or hear or read about debates) on big questions. (People’s) capitalism or socialism?, representative democracy or basis democracy, or dictatorship of the proletariat?; Marx or Bookchin? Primacy of class struggle or struggle against hierarchy or struggle against patriarchy? Etc., etc. Those debates were really ideological ones, they are gone, vanished from the surface.

In the meantime, a great, fundamental crisis has appeared on the scene. Not that of capitalism, that is an old matter. The new fundamental crisis, the ecological crisis, is that of the industrial system itself, of any kind of that – of the capitalist kind and also of the (old) socialist kind. In this new, big crisis we are called upon to take sides between growth and de-growth, between eco-capitalism and eco-socialism. We cannot any more have the cake and eat it too.

That is the ideology question of today.

Saral Sarkar was born in 1936 in West Bengal, India. After graduating from the University of Calcutta, he studied German language and literature for 5 years in India and Germany. From 1966 to 1981, Sarkar taught German at the Max Mueller Bhavan (Goethe Institute), Hyderabad, India. Sarkar is living in Germany since 1982. He is the author of 5 political books(see list in Wikipedia/German) that have appeared in English, German, Chinese, Japanese and (in internet for free downloading) French and Spanish. Sarkar has also published many articles and essays in several journals in India, USA, Germany, UK, Holland, China, Spain. He also writes regularly in two blogs of his own (see Wikipedia/German).


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