Fat cats and the left rupture

Rarely has there been such furore over something that is so little understood. Singur, north of Calcutta, and then Nandigram, located in Purbo Medinapur District of West Bengal, have become the fault lines in a number of explanatory narratives. For some, they represent the face of Left Front – mainly Communist Party of India (Marxist) – 'terror'. For others, wilful misunderstandings seem to have opened the door to the far right (the Trinamul Congress) and the far left (the Maoists and the Socialist Unity Centre of India). Rigid positions have made it impossible to hold a dialogue between those who either critically or uncritically defend the Left Front government, and those who oppose it vehemently. Rancour has become the order of the day.

From the perspective of the broad left movement, this is unfortunate. It is for this reason that I signed a statement, along with Noam Chomsky, Tariq Ali, Walden Bello and others, to urge reconciliation among the left, since, as the declaration urged, "this is not the time for division when the basis for division no longer appears to exist." But perhaps the basis for division is more foundational than we had assumed. The rupture, the casus, is so deep that it is impossible to lay out the facts without challenge. Indeed, there are few basic facts that are currently agreed upon by both sides of the Indian left, let alone the capitalist media or the rightwing parties. As such, in the current context there is almost no hope that agreement could be forged on how to move forward.

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