Social Scientist. v 14, no. 159-60 (Aug-Sept 1986) p. 59.

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The National Movement And The Communist Party in Kerala


THE DEVELOPMENT of the communist movement in Kerala has merited the attention of numerous scholars. The firm basis for the future advance of the communist movement in the region was laid during the freedom struggle. Many of these specialists on Kerala have laboured to link up the success of CPI to certain unique features of Kerala society such as its high literacy/ specificities of breakdown of the matrilineal system,2 the skill of the communists in utilising the caste divisions in Kerala,8 and so on. It is evident that to these scholars, the development of working class and communist movement is an exceptional episode that has got to be explained by the existence of certain special circumstances. They cannot perceive the development of the communist movement as a logical and normal outcome of the class contradictions and struggle.

There is yet an another school of thought which does not accept the development of CPI as a historical necessity and, therefore, implicitly considers its genesis as a result of manipulations or, more generously, as a result of the sectarian understanding of the communists. According to them the Indian National Congress was not a class party or party serving the interests of any particular class but a genuine people's party of all the anti-imperialist classes in India, though under bourgeois hegemony. The difference between an ordinary bourgeois party and a people's party under bourgeois hegemony is held to be "the fact that at a particular juncture people's party might have as its leadership, programme and ideology which could be superficially identified with an ordinary class party, but unlike the ordinary bourgeois party it is always open to transformation into its opposite."4 There was always a historical option for the communists to work within the Congress...... the 'historic bloc' of all anti imperialist forces—

and replace bourgeois hegemony by proletarian hegemony. Historically it was the only path for advance because the national movement and the Congress movement were synonymous. But this possibility was not utilised by communists who considered the Congress as a bourgeois led movement

"•Centre for Development Studies, Trivcndurum.

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