Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Where the leaders of "SFI-JNU" Erred - I

Pamphlet dated 11 July 2012

The Delhi State Committee of the Students Federation of India dissolved the JNU unit of SFI yesterday (10 July 2012), following the adoption of a wrong and divisive line at a thinly attended GBM of SFI’s JNU unit and the circulation of two pamphlets (dated 7 July and 9 July 2012) that betray, among other things, an appalling lack of class bias. In this context, we the undersigned would like to make the following political points.

Erroneous political line of the “SFI-JNU” leadership

The “SFI-JNU” pamphlet dated 7 July laments, “the developments since 2007 have made the SFI vulnerable to attacks of “double-speak” by the ultra Left”. We would like to make it clear that this is reflective of the spectacular failure of the leadership of “SFI-JNU” to understand the perceptible shift in the political line of the AISA since 2004 (since the time of UPA-I), when it began subscribing to the ruling class line of relentlessly attacking the organised left in an attempt to garner right-reactionary votes in the campus. This is nothing new when compared to earlier AISA lines, from ‘SFI over-estimating the danger of communal fascism’ in the post-Chandrashekhar Prasad murder UGBM in 1997 to a meek subservience during the NDA rule, marked by the formulation “fascism in power is less dangerous than fascism out of power”. This has been in evidence in the 2012 JNUSU elections, when the right-wing votes in the campus neatly disappeared into the AISA kitty, manifested in their majority this year. The vacuousness of the political line of the leaders of “SFI-JNU” has been exposed by their willingness to fall into the trap laid by AISA in setting the terms of the debate, thus letting down the sincere activists and sympathisers of SFI.

What happened in the SFI GBM?

The “SFI-JNU” pamphlet dated 10 July 2012 claims, “The political position against CPI(M) support to Pranab Mukherjee was adopted in a transparent and democratic manner, after convening EC meeting and a GBM, which is the highest decision making body of the unit.”

We would like to point out that taking a political stand that goes contrary to the position adopted by the national leadership of the left movement SFI is partisan towards is not a trivial matter. Why didn’t the leadership engage in wider consultations, by, for instance, calling activists’ meetings and convening GBMs at all hostels, in keeping with the past traditions of SFI? Look at the GBM itself. According to the Political-Organizational Report adopted at the Unit Conference of the JNU unit of SFI, the total membership of the organisation in JNU is 560. But the number of members who voted at the GBM on 5 July was a mere 46. In other words, not even 10% of the total membership of SFI’s JNU unit voted at the meeting, and yet, the “SFI-JNU” leaders misled activists and members, and unilaterally pushed their wrong and divisive line. So much for the pompous preaching on democracy by the “SFI-JNU” leadership. It is rank opportunism and shameless double-speak when a leadership which did not hold a unit conference for two and a half years indulges in tall-talk about democratic functioning.

Several SFI members who attended the GBM pointed out that many serious issues have arisen in the past few years on which a contribution to the debate within the left, particularly within the CPI(M), would have been a valuable help that the JNU unit of SFI could have provided to the left movement in this country.  Such issues were far more serious than the election to a post with mostly de jure powers. The Left parties in India, after all, have adopted positions that are tactical in practically every Presidential election since 1992, when they decided to support the candidature of Shankar Dayal Sharma. It has been conveniently ignored by the “SFI-JNU” leadership that the prime concern this time as well was to have a secular candidate, given the concrete danger of a candidate of the TMC earning the support of the NDA as well, and taking the groundswell of support from conservative sections of the middle class to bolster his chances of victory.

The shocking irony here is that while the leaders of “SFI-JNU” wax eloquent on “Left unity”, they found it acceptable to disrupt the unity of their very own (now erstwhile) organisation. Thus what started supposedly as a genuine debate within the Left has transformed itself into a shameless, factionalist bourgeois tendency, the praxis of which has been confirmed by the actions of the “SFI-JNU” leadership. This is exemplified in the fact that the whole brouhaha associated with the rabble-rousing by the “SFI-JNU” leadership has played out in the bourgeois media of Bengal as a TMC-sponsored drama, and in Kerala as a UDF-sponsored stage show.

On the irrationality of the new formation calling themselves “SFI-JNU”:

Given how stunning the servile allegiance of the leaders of “SFI-JNU” towards their political overlord and their tailing of AISA is, it is better for them to call themselves by the name AISA(B) – either to indicate their degenerating as the B Team of AISA, or sticking to the time-tested bourgeois tradition of naming the faction in the overlord’s name (Bose). This bourgeois factional tendency has absolutely no right to tarnish the fighting, progressive class partisan traditions of the SFI in JNU by using the name it is currently using.


T. Lakshmi Narayana, Manu M R, Rajeev Kumar, Siddik Rabiyath, Subin Dennis.

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