This query discusses the experiences of the Communist Party of India, Marxist (CPM) in India – specifically in the states of Kerala and West Bengal.
It is widely argued that almost continuous communist rule in Kerala since 1957 has produced both order and some success in alleviating poverty, despite facing some considerable challenges to its government. The CPM has used its reach into trade unions, and peasant and volunteer organisations, to work towards decentralised development, and even to encourage greater productivity and economic growth.
It is important to note that the Communist party in Kerela evolved within a favourable and unique institutional and political environment. Thus, the rise of communism was a comparatively peaceful process. While they were subject to occasional censorship, the communists were mostly allowed to operate in public spaces, and managed to build a dense network of unions, farmer associations, schools, libraries, cultural organisations, and press organs.
In Bengal however, CPM-led governments have displayed weak political will towards implementing reforms, and have allowed the party’s organisational interests to supersede its commitment to political struggles and reforms.