Thursday, February 10, 2005


The 'Left' World

While driving through the smaller towns and villages in South India one gets to see in bus stands, on compound walls of schools and other public structures, sketches and posters propagating the communist cause. The sketches are identical – a fiery Marx, an animated Lenin and a sober Stalin. The same three figures each depicted in exactly the same state can be seen in press conferences of naxalities and smaller trade unions. One wonders, whether those claiming to represent the communist cause, who go about glorifying people like Lenin and Stalin even know their history.

Take the case of Stalin. A shrewd thug from the Russian countryside, who never allowed issues such as welfare of people, economics or industrialization unduly perturb him. He spent the majority (if not his complete) reign securing his own position as the undisputed ruler of the Soviet Union by suppressing the freedom of his own lot and the unfortunate populace of entire Eastern Europe. His illustrious achievements include, founding the secret service NKVD-GUV the precursor to the dreaded KGB, setting up the notorious ‘Gulag’ labor camps and for the infamous ‘purges’ in which thousands of innocent Russians were rounded up under the pretext of being involved in anti establishment activities. He even had the impudence to sign a secret pact to carve up Eastern Europe with a person like Hitler, who was openly anti communist, who had ruthlessly hunted down communists and had labeled them as ‘rats of the society’. To use a tyrant like Stalin, as a figurehead to espouse the communist cause must be the biggest joke of all time.

One of the most powerful scenes of the last century was the ‘bringing down’ of Lenin statues in every prominent city of Russia and across Eastern Europe, once the communist regime had toppled. Lenin did lead a successful revolution against an oppressive monarchy but failed to implement the high ideals of Marx, Tolstoy and other ‘left’ thinkers and advocates. The immediate years following the revolution were characterized by a bitter civil war, the end of which was marked by a brutal crackdown on ‘elements’ who were perceived as being Tsar loyalist or pro capitalists. The most shocking act was the disbanding of every party that had fought against the Tsar, apart from the Bolsheviks and rounding up their members. Lenin issued a decree that banned the setting up of worker unions and mercilessly quelled the protest of farmers and workers alike, the very people that the new Soviet state claimed to represent and had fought for. Where is the communist ideal in this? The restoration of the original name of Leningrad, in itself is a very indication of the level of hatred the Russians had for this man and for the cause that he claimed to represent.

The organizations in our country that have communist leanings should really ask themselves - why characters like Lenin and Stalin are being used to endorse the ideals of communism. At this juncture one wonders whether communism itself is a failed concept. Though debatable, no one can conclusively state that communism has failed, for the simple reason that no communist government anywhere in the world ever implemented the true and high ideals of communism. Most of the revolutions fought in the name of the ‘proletariat’ simply forgot about the existence of the very class they fought for. Alas, in the present world the words Communism and Socialism seem synonymous with totalitarian rule and suppression of people power.

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