Eminent economist and Professor Emeritus in JNU, Delhi, Amit Bhaduri has just returned from Kolkata and Mumbai where both Nandigram and the struggle against SEZs was part of his academic and political involvement. He participated in the massive rally of intellectuals and artists in Kolkata against the siege of Nandigram. A veteran teacher and academic, his essays on globalisation, among other subjects, are marked by meticulous insight and rigour. In conversation with Amit Sengupta.
What is your take on the joint letter by Noam Chomsky, Tariq Ali and intellectuals on Left unity in the wake of the Nandigram recapture?
Ideally, Left unity is desirable, provided your objective is clear. When a party gets sold completely to the industrial corporates, it grabs land from the peasants at any cost for private capital and continues to make big mistakes, Left unity is not possible. How can there be Left unity when the Left is totally hooked by the pro-corporate and pro-capitalist logic?
Why is the CPM pushing this current economic policy?
The fact is that the CPM has failed completely after 30 years of dominating rule in West Bengal. After Operation Barga as land reforms, it has failed to do anything for the productive sector. For instance, take NREGA: the CPM's performance is miserable — worse than the worst states. I will give you one example. In Purulia district, till the end of October 2007, 16 per cent of the money allocated for the NREGA was not used. Buddhadeb Bhattacharya has no idea or intention to increase productivity in agriculture or augment the livelihood of the people. He is driven by narrow middle-class notions of industrialisation. There is an abject lack of imagination.
So what is the difference between the Manmohan Singh-Montek Singh economic paradigm of growth and the Buddhadeb-Biman Bose model?
Why not add Prakash Karat also? The CPM's official line on growth and the Congress's line on growth have no difference except in terms of rhetoric. For instance when it comes to trade unionism, the CPM will raise the provident fund issue. These are marginal issues. As for things which are basic, the CPM is totally toeing the Manmohan Singh line on industrialisation, pandering to corporates, acquiring land of farmers and tribals which belongs to them for centuries — basically colonising. It seems very strange. They talk of American colonialism and imperialism but choose to ignore internal colonialism as integral to this global process. They seem completely confused and then they adopt a two-faced approach on the question of colonisation.
So are they communists or are they like the Christian Democrats in Germany?
In Europe I have seen the Christian Democrats closely: they have completely degenerated. The CPM is communist in the most negative sense. They completely follow the compulsory notion of a Leninist party in terms of structure such as having politburo, cadre etc, but in reality they function like a non-communist party. Their content therefore is that of a bourgeois party while the technology of the party is Leninist. A communist party stands for revolutionary principles, for revolution, not free market democracy and corporations.
Do you think Nandigram will mark a rupture in this new era of relentless globalisation?
If we are successful in Nandigram, it will help in stopping the big corporations' muscle power which is propelling globalisation. Then we can defeat this process. And that will be great for the social, economic and political future of the ordinary people.