CPI-M draft ideological document rejects ‘identity politics’

Identity politics is where caste,religion,ethnicity and gender play dominant role in shaping politics.

Written by Agencies | Kozhikode | Published: April 6, 2012 11:59:08 am

The “identity politics” theory,now being discussed widely by Leftist intelligentsia in India,where caste,religion,ethnicity and gender play dominant role in shaping politics,has a few takers in the CPI-M leadership,going by the draft ideological document to be presented on Friday at the on-going 20th party congress here.

Intense discussions are expected at the congress on the issue as Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury presents the draft of the new document,seeking to find an “Indian path” to socialism in the context of anti-imperialist struggles across the world.

The ideological line is being revised for the first time after the 1992 Chennai party congress,held in the backdrop of disintegration of Soviet Union and the collapse of Communist regimes in Eastern Europe.

The party exhorts people to meet the challenges of neo-liberal reforms,drawing correct lessons from experiences of other countries who are working out their methods to fight globalisation.

Observers say that there is a strong section in the party that believes that the communists cannot expand its mass base in India without taking into account the influence of caste and religion on a broad spectrum of people,determining their political choice,a view shared by many Leftist intellectuals.

Dismissing the theory,the CPI-M draft says when political mobilisation is based on identities of caste,religion and ethnicity,it negates the concept of a working class,which is considered to be only one fragment of identity. “In general,it depoliticises the people.

“The growth of identity politics based on caste,religion,tribe and ethnicity is posing a major challenge for Left politics in the country. The ruling classes find such politics eminently suitable for their interests as it ensures that there is no threat to the state and the rule of capital,” the draft says.

Sections of people who suffer from caste,tribal or gender oppression are prone to be mobilised by identity politics. Non-governmental organisations and parochial groups fund such politics to erode class solidarity and class-based movements,it says,adding the party has to counter this by building class-based movements,even while taking up issues of caste,social and gender oppression.

The party wants it cadres to take up issues of land,wages and livelihood of dalits and backward castes,launching movements against social oppression and caste discrimination.

The “pernicious effects” of identity politics can be countered only by taking up a combination of class issues and social questions,based on the recognition that there is both class exploitation and social oppression in society,the draft says. The struggle against gender inequality and oppression also should be strengthened.

The discussion on the draft political resolution presented by party General Secretary Prakash Karat concluded yesterday.

Karat would give a reply to the debate today after which the resolution would be put to vote,party sources said.

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