Kolkata : The coming 2009 Lok Sabha polls in the country is an important vantage point where for the first time in the politico-electoral history, an alternative possibility of a non-Congress and non-BJP government is indeed blooming for the third front with the Left at its core. This unique formation of the third front has given a call for a politics against both communalism and imperialism and indicates that it would be a qualitatively different government from the neoliberal consensus that the fragmented Congress led UPA and BJP led NDA has been subscribed to in the past. This united opposition of several secular democratic parties and the Left towards the neoliberal consensus and the politics of resistance that the Left represents have irked the ruling classes of our country along with its imperialist bosses. In this regard, it is but quite natural that US imperialism would be worried about the prospect of the third front and the Left in the coming election which might reverse the neoliberal policy regime to a great extent if it is given the responsibility to run the governmental affairs of the country.
For some time now, the attack against the Lefts in their strongholds, particularly in West Bengal has been greatly intensified. The direct and indirect role of imperialism and the agencies financed by them has come into limelight in Left media in the state. Left front leaders have also alleged that imperialism is trying to create destabilization in the state.
The observers have noted the appointment of Peter Barley as acting head of US embassy in India. A CIA veteran officer Peter Barley who is fluent in Bengali has recently accompanied the CIA chief Leon Panetta to meet Home Minister P. Chidambaram in Delhi’s North Bloc. Previously, when home minister L.K. Advani visited the CIA headquarters in U.S., this is for the first time when a CIA head has met the country’s home minister in Indian soil. During 1973-75, Peter Barley was in India when he moved a lot in Guwahati, Gangtok, Patna and Bhubaneswar although his centre of operation was Kolkata. Just a few weeks before newly independent Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s assassination, Barley shifted his centre of operation from Kolkata to Dhaka and after that Sheikh Mujib was brutally assassinated along with his family in his own house. Barley knows the eastern region of India very well and understands the leftwing politics of Bengal. Barley has been recently appointed as temporary head of US embassy in Delhi. Besides Bengali, Barley is also fluent in Hindi, Urdu, Sinhalese, and Nepali. Barley—much admired and was the first choice by senior George Bush during the Gulf war of 1990 as the US ambassador in Baghdad. Since the CIA did not release Barley for that duty, Barley could never become the US ambassador in Baghdad. Barley is currently serving as a stop-gap arrangement to replace the outgoing US ambassador David Mulford in Delhi. Sources in Washington have informed that Barley is correct choice for the Obama administration in the current situation of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Recently, a higher official of US consulate has met twice to some representatives of a few Muslim religious organizations in a Central Kolkata hotel. This kind of interventions by the CIA agents, FBI and US embassy in the internal politics of our country has become a norm from 1999 when L.K. Advani was the home minister.
The 61 MPs of the Left in the last 14th Lok Sabha consistently fought against the neoliberal policies and it is because of the Left, that several policies like financial liberalization, FDI in retail etc. could not be implemented, although the Congress led UPA were very much interested to pursue those legislations in favour of the big capital and foreign MNCs. It is evident that due to the opposition of the Left in Parliament against such drastic steps for financial liberalization and FDI in retail by the UPA government that the Indian economy is still not facing its worst crisis as many countries including the advanced industrialized West is facing today. In the current conjuncture, the IMF-World Bank dictated neoliberal economic policies have led to the global economic meltdown and US imperialism along with the ruling classes of our country wants to liberalize the financial and the retail sector to tackle this crisis in exchange with the rising miseries of the common people of India. Furthermore, the staunch opposition of the Left against the Indo-US nuclear deal has also disgruntled the imperialist bosses and its junior partner of India’s ruling classes. Thus, the major motive of the grand alliance of an array of opposition forces comprising the Congress-Trinamul-imperialist nexus is to anyhow displace the Left and marginalize its presence and influence in the parliament.
It is worth mentioning that out 61 Left MPs in the last Parliament who were thoroughly vocal against the politics/policies of neoliberalism, communalism and imperialism West Bengal contributes 35 MPs. In this respect, the American establishment wants to control and diminish the presence/importance of the Left in the forthcoming Parliamentary elections. Since West Bengal sends a big chunk of Left MPs in the last Parliament, the US intelligence agency CIA has currently targeted West Bengal to reduce the numbers of Left from the state. This strategy of marginalizing/displacing the Left by the CIA is not new as previously in 1957, it funded the Congress generously to topple the first communist government in Kerala. The same strategy of financially supporting the Congress to restrict the role of the Left in the politics of West Bengal was repeated in the decade of 1970s. Ex-US ambassador in India Daniel Patrick Moynihan in his autobiography A Dangerous Place unambiguously confessed of such support to the Congress party against the Left. He said in his autobiography that the CIA helped financially only twice to the Congress party, once in Kerala and another time in Bengal when the communists were clear favourites in the elections. Moynihan’s claim was further clarified by the biographer of Ellsworth Bunker—the US ambassador in India from 1956-61. Howard B. Schaffer, who wrote Ellsworth Bunker: global troubleshooter, Vietnam hawk pointed out that the victorious election result for the Left in Kerala was a matter of concern for the Washington and CIA financially sponsored the Congress led anarchic situation to create lawlessness in the state. In the sixth chapter of the above book, In Nehru’s India it is stated that to restrict further creation of Leftwing Kerala like situation such a decision of funding the Congress was taken.
History has taught us how the CIA sponsored military coups and political interventions have displaced the progressive and leftwing regimes in Latin America, Africa and Asia. History has also shown how the CIA worked in connivance with the Congress to hit the Left. Today, the state heads—Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales and Raphael Koria of Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador also alleged the interventions of CIA in their domestic politics against the progressive forces. It is an important question whether the CIA is planning to repeat the history in India in general and Bengal in particular, particularly in the current context when the Left has strengthened itself with the highest ever delegation in the last Parliament and is determined to fight neoliberalism, communalism and imperialism tooth and nail. We have to also understand that the eruptions of lawless anarchy and violence in Bengal with separatist cause of Gorkhaland, Kamtapuri, greater Koochbehar, demand for greater Jharkhand and Maoist sponsored violence in Lalgarh in alliance with the local Trinamul and Congress goons have not suddenly erupted. It is a planned and well calculated coordinated effort by the reactionary alliance of separatist forces, anarchist violence, opportunist Trinamul and neoliberal Congress with the active support of the CIA against the Left. These combined nefarious designs of Trinamul-Congress and the CIA must be exposed before the common people of our country for whom the Left has always fought for.
The politically conscious electorate of our country in general and West Bengal in particular must understand the reactionary entente between the Trinamul and the neoliberal policy regime and its conspiracy with the class enemies of the Left with a grand alliance of anarchic-extremist politics, rightwing policies and imperialist backing. In this respect, the politically matured voter must give its verdict against the neoliberal alliances of both Congress-Trinamul-imperialist nexus and the communal BJP led NDA and strengthen the prospect of a third alternative at the centre with leftwing political forces as its epicenter and vote for a politics of resistance that the Left represents.