"The Communist Party of India is successfully striving to give the image of itself as a constitutional party devoted to democratic processes," Dr. Lloyd Rudolph, instructor in Government, asserted last night in a speech at Phillips Brooks House.
The CPI is broadening its base to include "middle class groups who are eager to attack imperialism and colonialism," Rudolph stated. This tactic, which has been called "Neo-Maoism," is particularly effective in underdeveloped countries" where the industrial labor force is small.
The subject of Rudolph's talk was the "Kerala situation." The smallest of the Indian states, Kerala elected a Communist government in 1957. This marked the first time Communism as a political force has assumed power through electoral processes within a constitutional system.
Previously, the Third International had tried to win over Western sympathies with its Popular Front, but had not succeeded in capturing any governmental control, and abandoned the policy of uniting with the Bourgeoisie after several years.
The Communist record in Kerala has been "nothing amazingly different from that of the Congress Party governments in India's other states," Rudolph noted.
Unable to nationalize Kerala's plantations or gain the required presidential approval of its education bill, the government has proposed land reform measures not radically different from those previously passed in India's other states. In fact, the Namboodripad regime has even attracted private capital to Kerala.
More significant, Rudolph concluded, will be the effects of this policy of constitutionalism on the Party itself. "Will the disciplined Communists maintain their control of the Party so as to use the democratic processes in their own interest," he asked, "or will the democratic process vitiate the Party's strength?"