Sunday, September 13, 2015

The JNU election : A Wake Up Call but Will the Left Pay Heed?


The JNU students union elections, hard on the heels of the Delhi University  Students’ Union election, have considerable significance. Unfortunately, it is rather different from how much of the Indian left has been reading these elections. For ages, the JNU elections and the JNU students’ union has been a stamping ground and a promoting ground for the major left parties at the all India level, just as, at a smaller scale, Presidency College and Jadavpur University have been so, for left and far left alike, in West Bengal.
As a result, sectarian existence, targeting opponent left organisations, all these have been very important elements of JNU student politics.  So we saw four left student organisations contesting the JNUSU elections – the AISF (CPI), SFI (CPI-M), AISA (CPI_ML Liberation) and the DSF (breakaway from SFI). Ask any of them and they will tell you that the BJP is fascist. Look at their parent parties and you will find that for parliamentary/assembly elections they are in alliances somewhere or the other (the DSF does not, strictly speaking, have a parent body so I omit it in this and similar comments).
But getting JNU is a matter of prestige nowadays. So it is better to risk, evidently, losing some seats to the BJP/ABVP, than losing them due to seat sharing. And that is precisely what happened. The AISF got two of the four office bearers, the AISA got one, and the ABVP got one.

If there is a real need for united front, it has to be from these levels. A so called UF that looks only at Bihar Assembly polls is a mostly futile one. The left has to recognise the massive threat that has already emerged and build real united front struggles.