Mata Hurry writes from New Delhi: The Communist Party of India (Marxist), or CPI(M), as it’s known among people who still care about communism, concluded its recent six-day conference on a high. Well, sort of a high. The Party has re-elected its General Secretary Prakash Karat, for a third term, and issued a rather funky call to its members to ‘fight the neo-liberal capitalist order in America, Europe and Latin America and all other parts of the world’. But the most heated discussions took place over ways of winning the general elections in 2014 in India, with some seriously progressive ideas thrown into the ring.
But wait a minute, I hear some of you saying, who the hell are these people? And that would be a good question. The thing is that CPI(M) had split from the Communist Party of India in 1964 because of its pro-Soviet stance. Meanwhile the Maoists had formed their own Communist Party that, incidentally, fuels the so-called Naxalite insurgency that has spread over a quarter of India’s territory. In recent state assembly elections the CPI(M) was slaughtered in West Bengal and Kerala and is now only present in Tripura.
Anyway, the party is in crisis. The options are few: join the Maoists or soldier on with parliamentary politics.
From people, who call themselves ‘informed sources’, Stirring Trouble has learnt that at a closed meeting of the CPI(M) Politburo it has been decided to go back to the basics and adopt the old techniques of the great communist leaders of the past, and the present, paying special attention to style rather than substance for a change.
Comrade Hir Sute, head of the Party’s Delhi franchise, declared at the meeting of the Politburo that the Communist Party had lost its appeal because its leaders don’t really look like proper communists. Comrade Karat, that’s the top dog in case you’ve forgotten already, and his communist chums were visibly shocked to hear Comrade Sute accuse them of betrayal of their principles.
‘Have you seen photographs of Marx and Engels, the founding fathers of Communism?’ thundered Comrade Sute, pointing to the images displayed on the latest capitalist software application, Instagram. ‘Comrade Marx sported the most luxuriant beard known to mankind,’ he said. ‘He was a dynamic theorist who loved facial hair – a lot. And that was why people respected him then and respect him now.’
According to Comrade Sute, the only way to revive the Party is to sprout beards, moustaches and goatees. He then quoted from a study by AIIBS, or the All India Institute of Beard Sciences, that the secret of Joseph Stalin’s longevity resided in his awesome moustache. Recent studies had also revealed that if the Soviet dictator had had no facial hair he wouldn’t have lasted a day.
Pulling no punches, like a true communist should, Comrade Sute then pointed to the suave image of Vladimir Lenin with his elegant goatee and his matching moustache. The latter, he added, were the most appropriate facial features for wooing sophisticated urban voters, especially young impressionable women.
‘Look at Fidel Castro with his magnificent beard,’ Comrade Sute said. ‘It has enabled him to survive in Cuba despite all the constant hostile threats from the Satanic imperialist neighbour, the US.’
‘But have you witnessed the fate of the beardless Chairman Mao?’ Comrade Sute asked no one in particular. ‘He thrived for several years but his Long March of the workers was later dismissed as fraudulent. He got dumped in the dustbin of history by his beardless pro-market capitalist successors. He’s mostly ignored now and a mere tourist attraction in a mausoleum in Beijing. You will meet the same fate unless you adopt beards as an integral part of your ideology.’
Comrade Karat, the CPI(M) Secretary General, in case you have forgotten who he is, eventually got the drift. ‘There’s a direct connection between facial hair and Communism,’ he announced to a hushed gathering of like-minded comrades. ‘We will now battle our opponents sporting some serious facial hair.’
None of the Politburo members understood him, but nodded their heads in agreement anyway, as communists do when they don’t get it.
The Politburo meeting ended with Comrade Karat issuing a manifesto entitled: Facial Hair Wins Elections.
Since the conference, none of the Politburo members have been seen in public. It is rumoured they are preoccupied with growing goatees and beards.