Notes on the history of the Indian left
October 13, 2016 § Leave a comment
By 1991, the Indian left found itself in utter disarray. The restoration of capitalism in the bureaucratized workers’ states and the Indian government’s pro-China reaction to the Tiananmen Square violence weakened their political position. While relatively left trade unions still had strength, left parties, in sheer numerical and parliamentary terms, had very limited responses.
The largest left party — the Communist Part of Indian (Marxist)(CPI(M)) — supported neoliberal policies when they were in power in West Bengal, and were voted out in 2011. Worse, they drastically lost touch with their traditional base.
Meanwhile, the number of workers led by the Central Trade Unions(CTUs) shrank. Between 1991 and 2006, almost nine hundred thousand jobs in the nationalized sector disappeared. Compounding this, India has not delivered a meaningful increase in the number of private‑sector jobs either. The National Sample Survey Office data on jobs in 2011 showed that between 2004–5 and 2009–10, only one million jobs were added. Meanwhile, the economy was growing at a record average of 8.43 percent annually, and, shockingly, 55 million people joined the labor force.