Saturday, July 16, 2011
The discredited ideology of Marxism
Author K.P. Joseph, in his book, 'The Dark Side of Marxism', details the devastating impact of the ideology in Kerala and the rest of the world
By Shevlin Sebastian
“The CPI(M) is a Rs 4000 crore conglomerate which runs television channels and newspapers and other businesses,” says K.P. Joseph, the author of 'The Dark Side of Marxism'. “Just as a corporate entity sells its products through advertising, the party uses ideology for the same reasons.”
And for years their propaganda has been working successfully, because the people continue to vote for them. “The party has cultivated a group of intellectuals who were brought up on Marxism, who keep propagating its benefits,” he says.
But there are no benefits. In fact, the CPI(M) has pushed Kerala's economic development behind by several decades because the party persistently opposed the innovations of science and technology. “When tractors were first introduced it was resisted,” says Joseph. “My friend’s uncle was murdered in Panangad in the 1970s because he dared to use a tractor. Computers were regarded as a threat. They were against the use of auto-rickshaws. Any kind of technology which would empower people, they opposed it.”
If people become prosperous, they will yearn for personal and spiritual development. “As a result, they will not need the party,” says Joseph. “So the leaders wanted the populace to remain poor, so that they can control them.”
And even though Marxism-Leninism has been discredited in Russia, China, and all over the world, the CPI(M) in Kerala is unable to disown it. “If they did that, the foundation on which they have constructed the party and the privileges enjoyed by the leaders will come to an end,” says Joseph.
Nevertheless, Joseph has positive things to say about former Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan, of the CPI (M). “He was born in a poor family, a member of the Ezhava caste, and had little education, as compared to former chief minister EMS Namboodiripad, and party general secretary, Prakash Karat,” says Joseph. “And he rose to become Chief Minister. But Achuthanandan's rule had a limited impact, because of his lack of education and vision. But he is a good and honest man. Marxism provided him with an escape from oppression.”
But that is not usually the case, because Marxism goes against human nature. “Marxism denies freedom to the individual,” says Joseph. “The party is in supreme control over society. Sometimes, the party is controlled by one person, like Hitler and Stalin. So, in effect, it is a dictatorship.”
Stalin promised a paradise on earth. But the people were imprisoned in vast numbers in the Gulag Archipelago. “The infrastructure of the Soviet Union was built by slave labour,” says Joseph.
What is stunning to know is how the genocide conducted in the name of the Communist ideology in North Korea, Russia, China, Cambodia, the Communist states of Eastern Europe and in Latin America resulted in the deaths of 125 million people. It was the maximum in China, where 70 million people perished during the reign of Mao Zedong.
The 'Dark Side' is a compilation of articles that Joseph has written over the years. It is divided into two parts. In Part 1, there are 15 essays which analyses the impact of the CPI(M) in Kerala, while in the second half, he looks at the global impact of the Communist ideology.
So what is the ideology that Joseph would suggest, now that Communism is considered derelict? “Those who make wealth should have the responsibility to look after the poorest of the poor,” says Joseph. “But for that to happen, entrepreneurs should be given sufficient freedom to produce wealth. So, I would suggest a mix of capitalism and socialism.”
(The New Indian Express, Kochi)