Since its ascendancy to power in 2014 with just 31 percent of the polled votes in the context of disunity among the opposition parties, the corporate-saffron Modi regime has been systematically manipulating or undermining the parliamentary institutions, constitutional offices and all administrative bodies in conformity with its sinister Hindutva design. Of course, a party or conglomeration of parties that gobbles up less than one-third of polled votes capturing power itself is a manifestation of the fundamental weakness of the parliamentary-electoral system that India still pursues. And what Modi did during the last five years was making the parliament as a mere spectator and surpassing or distancing himself from it with regard to strategic policy decisions. In the meanwhile, the saffron fascists in consonance with their ultra-rightist orientation of entrusting economic power with corporate-market forces had already abolished the Planning Commission and made the entire budgetary process a mockery as most of the key economic questions and policy decisions are resolved outside the budget.
And coming to its last ‘budget’ presented on February 1, 2019, the Modi regime has once again displayed its total disregard of the so called parliamentary traditions and scruples. For, it has been an established practice since 1961 that every budget shall be preceded by an Economic Survey to be presented to parliament. This Economic Survey prepared on the basis of official statistics collected by the government’s own agencies particularly constituted for collection and analysis of data is indispensable for parliament and people to know about the real “state of the economy” and, above all, the budget shall be quoting such reliable ‘figures’ for properly estimating its revenue and expenditures. However, for the first time in Indian budget history, the Modi regime has violated this precedent of presenting the Economic Survey as a prelude to the budget. The reason is obvious. Such statistical information coming through the Economic Survey would have exposed the last five years’ of frightening economic disruption that has created by the Modi regime. In fact the BJP government has been trying its level best to deliver a series of doctored data by manipulating National Sample Survey and Central Statistical organisations and unable to withstand the pressures, several leading members of these agencies were compelled to resign from their posts. Obviously, this was the context that prompted the Modi regime to abandon the practice of presenting Economic Survey on the eve of the budget.
Another aspect is with regard to the content of the budget document itself. According to established parliamentary conventions, when the term of the incumbent government is coming to a close and the country is going for a general election, it is the usual practice on the part of the outgoing government to refrain from making any policy announcements. In that case, instead of a full-fledged one, the budget document shall be nothing more than an “annual financial statement” or “vote on account” or utmost an “interim budget”. It will be the immediate task of the newly elected government to convene the budget session of the parliament and present the full-fledged budget with policy announcements at the earliest. But true to its fascistic orientation of disrespecting and discrediting even bourgeois parliamentary institutions and norms, the Modi regime in the guise of an interim budget has overstepped its mandate (which is for presenting five full budgets only)) and manipulated the occasion for presenting the sixth full budget with a series of policy announcements including the outlining of a “vision statement” for the next ten years. In the process, Piyush Goyal who now acts as finance minister, in his rhetoric spanning 100 minutes utilized the opportunity to convert the budget presentation into an election speech based on manipulated data and bogus claims with a whole set of freebies, giveaways, tax concessions, money transfer schemes and other populist programs, each being addressed to specific vote-banks.
Before coming to an exposition of the bundle of promises in Goyal’s speech, the financial sources of which have not at all earmarked and hence its liability shall be on the coming government, it would be in order to have a glance at the poll promises upon which Modi sought votes in 2014. The most infamous of all was his commitment of bringing back Indian black money from foreign tax havens and putting Rs. 15 lakh in to the account of each Indian citizen. To this day not even a rupee has been deposited in this manner. On the other hand, black money and corruption have assumed a multi-dimensional growth under Modi. While Modi regime has suppressed domestic data on corruption and black money, international agencies have come up with their studies as to how India under Modi has become a “flourishing example of crony capitalism” and how it became the most corrupt country in Asia. Again according foreign studies, Modi regime has granted all opportunities to the leading Indian corporate giants to loot the public sector banks in the guise NPAs such that the first ten corporate looters led by Ambani, Adani, Essar and so on are responsible for more than 90 percent of the Rs. 15 lakh crore worth of NPAs created in India. Demonetisation itself was a cunning move that facilitated the most corrupt corporate-saffron black money holders to whiten their black money. According to latest available RBI report, while it had printed only Rs. 14.11 lakh crore demonetised notes, it really got back Rs. 15.28 lakh crore worth of them! On the other hand, Modi government’s affidavit submitted to Supreme Court had claimed that around Rs. 3-4 lakh crores of demonetised notes being black money would not be returned to RBI. Hence if the claims both RBI and Modi regime are taken in their face value, then around Rs. 5 lakh crore worth black money might have been whitened through demonetisation.
Another poll promise of Modi was regarding the creation of 2 crore jobs per annum. But under Modi what occurred has been a total disruption of the productive and employment-oriented sectors of the economy. Not only no new jobs were created, but according to the 2018 statistics, the country is actually losing more than 1 crore jobs per annum. Even the logo of the much trumpeted “Make in India” was designed abroad and the unhindered entry of foreign capital in to the economy and concomitant growth of crony capitalism has led to an unparalleled joblessness. Demonetisation that denied cash transactions that form the life-blood for the informal sectors where 93 percent of the workforce depends for sustenance was a mortal blow for the unemployed millions. Further GST that put the tax burden on the unorganised sectors also resulted in massive job loss. Modi has not taken any step to fill the 24 lakh vacant posts in the central government sector so far. Decreasing the price of petrol to Rs. 40 per litre, reversing the depreciation of rupee, ban on FDI in retail, etc. were similar election promises of Modi; but what happened was the opposite. It was under his five year-rule that the number of peasant suicides crossed all previous records. Thus goes the list, and by this time Modi has proved an expert in the art of making election stunts.
The upshot of the argument is that it will be difficult for Modi regime to fool the people again. All the populist announcements in the budget speech by Piyush Goyal solely aiming at appeasing vote banks are the last resort of a desperate Modi who is sure that there is little chance of his return to power. The only gamble for him is to hoodwink the people once again. Therefore, the budget, breaking all previous records in terms of populism, has attempted a “cash-for-votes” program to please a range of vote-banks, most important being farmers, unorganised workers and middle classes.
The most populist among them is a farmer distress relief program known as Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi covering 12 crore small and marginal farmers who own up to 5 acres of land. It is an insult to the peasants of this country that the Modi regime which was consistently ignoring them for the last five years has suddenly woken up and started shedding crocodile tears for their plight. As laid down in the budget, the farmer who comes under this scheme shall get an annual money transfer of Rs. 6000 (Rs. 500 per month). If implemented, for a peasant family of five, this would mean just Rs. 3.30 per day. Ironically, as a result of Modi’s ultra-rightist and pro-corporate policies, the wealth of just 9 billionaires with Ambani in the forefront is swelling at the rate of Rs. 2200 crore a day, and the total wealth of 119 Indian billionaires has crossed Rs. 28 lakh crore in 2018! While large sections of the peasantry are landless, those with meagre possessions are deprived of credit, and the prices of all agricultural inputs and outputs are determined by corporate speculators. Fund allocations for agriculture and rural development remain in paper only. With reduction in fund allocation to MGNREGA, the peasants displaced through agricultural corporatisation are migrating to urban slums in search of sustenance, and for them Rs. 3.30 per day is nothing but an eye-wash. Even non-BJP state governments like Telengana and Odisha have announced more attractive cash-transfer programs for farmers.
The pension scheme, namely, Pradhan Mantri Sharam-Yogi Maandha addressed to informal or unorganised workers envisaging social security for 10 crore among them is the second in the series of dole-outs. According to this scheme, an unorganised worker who carry on remitting Rs. 100 per month as premium shall get Rs. 3000 as pension if she/he is lucky enough to live beyond the age of 60. Today more than 93 percent (around 45 crores) of the Indian workforce is depending on the informal/unorganised sector which is totally outside the social security net including pension. During its five-year term, the Modi government has done nothing to deal with the pitiable situation of this largest section of Indian society. On the other hand, demonetisation and GST designed at the behest of corporate centres have devastated the unorganised altogether. How can a casual worker in India regularly remit Rs. 100 per month for 30 years or more until he/she reaches is itself a serious question. No analysis is needed on the part of well-meaning people to easily comprehend the cunningness behind this announcement targeted at informal workers.
The income tax rebate proposing a gain of Rs. 12500 for those whose annual income is up to Rs. 5 lakhs is definitely intended to gather urban middle class votes. However, so long as the tax slabs remain unchanged, this rebate is going to be enthusing only a minor section who has extra income to invest in tax-saving schemes of the government. Therefore, the extent to which this measure can pacify those middle class voters who have been hit hard by such assaults as demonetisation, fuel price rise and GST is uncertain.
In the same vein, several giveaways are showered on marginal and weaker sections without any financial backing. Allocations for SCs & STs, MGNREGA, national Education Mission, Integrated Child Development Scheme, Mission or Protection and Empowerment for Women, Ayushman Bharat, etc., the liability of implementation of which will be on the shoulders of the coming government are done in a high-sounding way, though the real value of such expenditures are coming down. But in a context in which the Modi regime has become infamous for hiding or withholding economic data, it will be difficult for the people to believe what the regime has proposed. And if we take the Consumer Confidence Survey released by RBI in September 2018 in to consideration, the electorate is totally dissatisfied with the Modi regime.
Coming to the resource mobilisation front on the other, no new efforts are there to tax the superrich and the billionaires who control the entire reins of the economy. While the number of billionaires and wealth accumulation by them are galloping, there is no move in the direction of reinstating the wealth tax which the BJP government had abolished in 2015, and no initiative is there to bring the spectacular speculative gains gobbled up by the top one percent of financial elite who controls 73 percent of the additional wealth created in India under the Modi regime. Consequently, direct tax collection as a proportion of total collection is steeply going down. Under the new GST regime, (GST-evasion by leading corporate businesses who control the market for goods and services is also resulting in loss in revenue collection through this route also) there has been a further shift of the tax burden to the shoulders of broad masses of toiling people. While the direct-indirect tax (burden of the latter is borne by common people) ratio in India is 35:65, the reverse is the case with other countries in general. According to conventional bourgeois economic theory, increasing wealth concentration is a favourable condition for taxing the rich more intensively and improving the tax-GDP ratio which for India, despite very unequal, is one of the lowest in the world. With the existing nominal corporation tax rate of 25 percent (the effective rate while taking the exemptions in to account will come to around 15-16 % only), the tax burden on the upper richest section is one of the lowest in the world, even much below that of the leading capitalist countries. Modi-bhakts and saffron intellectuals who become ecstatic about the dole-outs to the poor are conveniently silent over this grave inequity in the budget.
Thus, in view of the impending Lok Sabha elections, the Modi government which during the past five years has been ignoring or side-lining the vast majority of the poor voters and shamelessly serving the most corrupt corporate class, is suddenly bending back to appease the voters through several allurements throwing to winds the so called solemn principles of bourgeois budget. Needless to say that this attempt at winning election with a populist budget is an insult to the political consciousness of the people. Vast majority of the people are suffering from lack of food, shelter, livelihood, essential services such as drinking water, education, health facilities, and other basic amenities indispensable for a decent life. Modi’s last budget has treated all of them as if they are last-minute deliverables, while over the years he has been destroying the foundations of the economy by facilitating the corporate plunderers, both Indian and foreign, to loot the workers and country’s resources under the camouflage of “make in India”, “start-up India”, “skill India”, etc. While his doctored statistics claim about the biggest GDP growth rates for India, it is a fact of life that people are not experiencing it. As a manifestation, unemployment rate is the highest in 45 years, that is, since the 1970s and agriculture growth has become negative. Around 60 percent of the GDP growth that Modi claims comes from the money-spinning service or tertiary sector, even as agriculture (where almost 50 percent of the Indians still cling on for sustenance) and industry are displaying deterioration. And the money-spinning, speculative service sector, on the other hand, provides employment only to less than 10 percent of the population. Nothing substantial is done towards creation of gainful employment to the unemployed whose number is now reaching 20 crores-much larger than the total population of many European countries taken together. Modi has cleverly excluded the issue of unemployment and corruption from his election stunt this time.
No amount of populism can resolve the basic malady confronting the economy which require a fundamental restructuring of the whole socio-economic structure. Modi regime or a different government led by another ruling class combine cannot resolve this question. The only alternative is a sustainable development paradigm led by the politically organised people capable of demolishing neoliberal-corporatisation altogether.
The 2nd March, 2019, marks the centenary of the Communist International (CI) launched under the leadership of Lenin a hundred years ago with the slogan Workers and Oppressed Peoples of the World Unite. Presently when the imperialists of all hues and their lackeys are intensifying their neo-colonial/neo-liberal attacks on all classes and sections of toiling masses all over the world through counter revolutionary ultra rightist, neo-fascist offensive, the importance of the slogan Workers and All Oppressed Peoples of the World Unite has increased manifold. Of course, the vast spectrum of all left, who wave the red flag, ranging from the social democrats on the one hand to the left adventurists and anarchists on the other, shall also be observing this centenary of the CI. But, with their opportunist interpretations, almost all of them have in practice abandoned the significance of rebuilding the CI according to present concrete conditions. This is yet another cardinal point on which the Communist Revolutionary (CR) forces basically differ from them.
The CR forces like the CPI (ML) Red Star uncompromisingly uphold the historic significance of the slogan raised by Marx and Engels in Communist Manifesto: Workers of the World Unite against the international system of capitalism. They continuously strive to learn lessons from the experience of the First, Second and Third (Communist) Internationals and to rebuild it according to the conditions and needs of the present situation. The experience of the CPI (ML) Red Star during the last four decades, started with issuing the joint statement of six revolutionary organizations in 1979 upholding Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought and denouncing the usurpation of power by the capitalist roaders in China immediately after the death of Mao. Then we struggled against the erroneous concepts put forward by the RCP (USA) while building the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM) and dissociated from it because of them. Following it, after becoming a constituent of the broad platform of International Conference of Marxist Leninist Parties and Organizations (ICMLPO), we proceeded to play an important role in the formation of the International Coordination of the Revolutionary Parties and Organizations (ICOR) in 2011 along with the MLPD (Germany) and other revolutionary forces.
For us in the CPI (ML) Red Star, observing the Centenary of the CI is not a ritual or mere academic exercise, but an organic process. It entails taking lessons from the experiences of the First and Second Internationals, from the collapse of the Second International, from the founding of the CI, its experience till its dissolution in 1943, the experience of the Cominform, the repeated efforts by the revisionists of all hues to defame proletarian internationalism in practice which has influenced the large number of social democratic forces whose concept of proletarian internationalism is limited to occasional international conferences for issuing joint statements devoid of any practice, the struggle against the erroneous concepts that emerged in the Communist Party of China against rebuilding the CI which has influenced vast sections of the Marxist-Leninist forces that emerged in the 1960s, and our four decades long struggles which have reached the phase of building ICOR as a step towards the rebuilding of the CI. So, for the struggling communist forces, the observation of the Centenary of CI is an opportunity for intensifying the campaign for rebuilding the CI according to present conditions and challenges.
The capitalist system had emerged and strengthened as an international exploitative system by the time of 18th century. As the newly emerged working class was reduced to wage slavery, they were forced to wage numerous struggles. Initially utopian socialist and anarchist streams of thoughts were dominating them. It was by challenging them, the theory of scientific socialism, of class struggle, and the concept of the dictatorship of the proletariat were put forward. By that time, as pointed out in the beginning of the Communist Manifesto, all the Powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre: Pope and Czar, Metternich and Guizot, French Radicals and German police-spies joined hands against the spectre haunting Europe — the spectre of Communism. The Manifesto concluded with the declaration: “The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. WORKING MEN OF ALL COUNTRIES, UNITE!”
In order to put this call in to practice, the Communist League, an international association of workers was formed which commissioned Marx and Engels, at the Congress held in London in November 1847, to draw up for publication a detailed theoretical and practical program of the Party. Such was the origin of the Communist Manifesto. The International Workingmen’s Association (IWA), often called the First International (1864–1876), was formed based on the orientation provided by the Manifesto as an international organization which aimed at uniting a variety of different left-wing socialist, communist and anarchist groups and trade unions that were based on the working class and class struggle. It was founded in 1864 in a workmen’s meeting held in St. Martin’s Hall, London. Its First Congress was held in 1866 in Geneva.
Marx agreed to outline the purpose of the organization. The General Rules of the International Workingmen’s Association was published in October 1864. Marx’s introduction pointed out what they hoped to achieve: “That the emancipation of the working classes must be conquered by the working classes themselves, that the struggle for the emancipation of the working classes means not a struggle for class privileges and monopolies, but for equal rights and duties, and the abolition of all class rule... That the emancipation of labour is neither a local nor a national, but a social problem, embracing all countries in which modern society exists, and depending for its solution on the concurrence, practical and theoretical, of the most advanced countries.”
Marx pointed out: “The International was founded in order to replace the socialist and semi-socialist sects with a genuine organization of the working class for its struggle..” Along with many revolutionary movements which broke out in Europe, the Franco-German war led to the uprising in March 1871and to the Paris Commune. In spite of its great contributions to create a new form of society, the Commune was suppressed by the joint might of the bourgeoisie.
But the anarchists and the opportunists were not ready to take lessons from this experience. At the Hague congress a report was presented advocating the stand of anarchists and trying to establish a secret society within the IWMA. Marx wrote in 1874 that “in England the International is for the time being as good as dead”. However, it was not until 1876 that the IWMA was officially dissolved. After this it became known as the First International.
Not disheartened with the dissolution of the First International, efforts were continuing for its rebuilding. The Second International (1889–1916) (SI), as an organization of socialist and labour parties was formed in Paris on 14 July 1889. At the Paris meeting, delegations from twenty countries participated. The International continued the work of the dissolved First International. It was during the Second International the 1889 declaration of 1 May (May Day) as International Workers’ Day and its 1910 declaration of the International Women’s Day, first celebrated on 19 March and then on 8 March after the main day of the women’s marches in 1917 during the Russian Revolution.
During this period the capitalist system had transformed to monopoly capitalism, imperialism, on the evaluation of which sharp differences emerged among the constituents. The imperialist powers had, in the main, completed the territorial division of the countries under colonial domination and the new contradiction for the re-division of the world among them went on intensifying. As the focus of plunder shifted from against the working class of their own countries to the natural resources and labour of the colonized countries, the imperialists by sharing a small part of this loot, could win over increasing sections of labour aristocracy to pacifist positions.
Lenin explained the significance of the period represented by the SI as follows: “The First International laid the foundation of the proletarian, international struggle for socialism. The SI marked a period in which the soil was prepared for the broad, mass spread of the movement in a number of countries.” The Congresses of the SI in 1891 and 1896 carried resolutions against war and armaments. The Resolution of the Zurich Congress of 1893 called on all socialist parliamentary representatives to vote against war credits, and adopted the demand for disarmament. The Paris Congress in 1900 adopted a Resolution, moved by Rosa Luxemburg, against militarism and colonialism, which exposed the roots of these and of War in capitalist imperialist period, and set concrete tasks for the fight; First, to vote against all military and naval estimates, or colonial expenditure; second, to train the youth in anti-militarism; third, for simultaneous demonstrations in all countries in the event of an international crisis developing.
At the Stuttgart Congress of 1907 the question of war dominated all issues. Its Resolution urged: “If a war threatens to break out, it is the duty of the working class and of its parliamentary representatives in the countries involved to exert every effort to prevent the outbreak of war, using all appropriate means, which naturally vary and rise according to the degree of sharpening of the class struggle and of the general political agitation. Should war nonetheless break out, it is their duty to intervene to bring it promptly to an end, and to strive with all their energies to utilize the economic and political crisis brought about by the war in order to stir up politically the masses of the people and hasten the downfall of capitalist class rule.” The Resolution was carried unanimously.
At Basle Congress in 1912 a manifesto was adopted, which emphasized the revolutionary meaning of these decisions. But when the imperialist war actually broke out in August 1914, the parties of the SI voted with their respective imperialist governments for conducting the war. Only the Bolshevik Party in Russia led by Lenin, Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg in Germany and a few others voted against war. Though the struggle continued in the Zimmerwald Conference of 1915 and in the conference at Kienthal of 1916 against the opportunist trend under the leadership of Lenin, the liquidation of the SI could not be prevented. The struggle waged by Lenin against the liquidationists is explained in detail in the two articles given as appendix in this booklet.
In 1916 “Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism” was published in which Lenin scientifically explained the transformation of capitalism to imperialism, the class analysis and nature of contradictions in the new era, and the shifting of the centre of revolution to the ‘weak links of imperialism like Russia’. Based on these, Lenin developed the strategy and tactics of revolution in Russia, developed the Bolshevik Party capable of leading this revolution by struggling against the Mensheviks and Narodniks, and led the October Revolution to victory. Soon the Soviet Union was formed and the socialist transformation was launched. As the imperialist powers were alarmed by these developments, they ended the First World War, and jointly tried to destroy the first socialist country. In the middle of all these crucial developments, recognizing the significance of reorganizing the SI assimilating the developments following its liquidation by the opportunist forces, Lenin spent precious time to launch the Third (Communist) International (Comintern) with its First Congress starting from 2nd March, 1919.
Lenin’s preliminary draft thesis contained the essential guidelines for developing an integrated theory, strategy and tactics of socialist revolution in the imperialist countries and democratic revolution in the colonies, semi-colonies and dependent countries. He pointed out (1) clear distinction between reformist and revolutionary tendencies in the national liberation movement, fighting the former; (2) adapting the Soviet idea to the specific conditions of the democratic revolution in these countries, and (3) indicating how this revolution can pass over to socialist revolution avoiding the capitalist stage.
The significance of the Second Congress in 1920 was that it worked out the political line of the World Communist Movement in the struggle against imperialism according to the then concrete conditions when revolution looked possible in Germany and few other countries. It gave guidelines for establishing a lasting alliance of the proletariat with the peasantry and the national liberation movement of the oppressed peoples, closed the door of the Comintern to opportunists, mapped out ways for rectifying leftist errors in the communist movement and set the task of strengthening the communist parties ideologically and organizationally, strengthening their ties with the masses. With the Second Congress adopting the 21 ‘conditions’ and the statutes, the Comintern assumed its organizational shape as ‘united world party of the international proletariat’.
As far as the perspective put forward by Lenin is concerned, the primary task was to advance towards World proletarian Socialist Revolution’ with Soviet Union (SU) serving as its base. Building socialism in SU should serve this international task. With this spirit the building of communist and workers parties was taken up with urgency all over the world. Besides Marxist-Leninist literature was made available in most of the languages. International forums of the workers, women, youth etc were launched. Students from most of the countries were given opportunity to take up studies in SU and learn from the Soviet experience. On the whole, Comintern served as the anti-imperialist centre for the world people.
During these post-War years, the crisis faced by the imperialist system went on intensifying. It took a dangerous turn by the 1930s with the finance capital reaching a period of Great Depression. Coupled with the inter-imperialist contradiction for re-division of the colonies, it led to the emergence of ultra rightist, fascist forces to power in a number of countries led by Nazi Germany. In his speech to 7th Congress, CI’s general secretary Dimitrov explained: “Comrades, as early as the Sixth Congress , the Communist International warned the world proletariat that a new fascist offensive was under way and called for a struggle against it. With the general crisis of capitalism becoming sharply accentuated, the ruling bourgeoisie more and more sought salvation in fascism, with the object of taking exceptional predatory measures against the working people, preparing for an imperialist war of plunder, attacking the Soviet Union, and by all these means preventing revolution”.
Fascism in power was defined as: “the open terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary, most chauvinistic and most imperialist elements of finance capital”. His Report added: “But whatever the masks that fascism adopts, whatever the forms in which it presents itself, whatever the ways by which it comes to power
l Fascism is a most ferocious attack by capital on the mass of the working people;
l Fascism is unbridled chauvinism and predatory war;
l Fascism is rabid reaction and counter-revolution;
l Fascism is the most vicious enemy of the working class and of all working people”.
In order to combat this increasing danger, the Report called for: “...striving to establish the widest united front with the aid of joint action by workers’ organizations of different trends for the defense of the vital interests of the labouring masses. This means:
l First, joint struggle really to shift the burden of the consequences of the crisis onto the shoulders of the ruling classes, the shoulders of the capitalists and landlords — in a word, onto the shoulders of the rich.
l Second, joint struggle against all forms of the fascist offensive, in defense of the gains and the rights of the working people, against the abolition of bourgeois-democratic liberties.
l Third, joint struggle against the approaching danger of an imperialist war, a struggle that will make the preparation of such a war more difficult.
We must tirelessly prepare the working class for a rapid change in forms and methods of struggle when there is a change in the situation”
In spite of this, in the main, correct tactical line put forward, including the call for independent communist assertion, as the fascist offensive led by Nazis aggravated to open attack on the SU, the Comintern changed its stand. It analyzed that the anti-imperialist, anti-war stand should be changed to the line of people’s War against the fascist axis powers. The SU put forward ‘defense of the fatherland’ as the strategic slogan. All united front tactics were changed accordingly. Though the SU could be saved and crushing defeat could be inflicted on the fascist forces, how far the tactics adopted during the War and in the years following the War, as well as the dissolution of the CI in 1943 helped the advance of the forces of revolution at a time when the US led imperialist camp was launching an all out offensive to impose its hegemony in all fields calls for serious evaluation.
When the Second Congress of the Comintern took the decision to build it as a ‘united world party of the international proletariat’, the CPSU was the only leading party and the possibility for revolution breaking out in a number of countries had looked imminent. But soon the international scene had changed with the imperialists re-establishing their dominance. Along with this, in the following decades many communist parties emerged which were leading the revolutionary struggles in their country. They were developing their tactical line according to conditions in their country. As pointed out in the Statement dissolving the Comintern in 1943 itself:”The Seventh Congress of the Communist International held in 1935, taking into consideration the changes which had come to pass in the international situation as well as in the labour movement, changes which demanded greater flexibility and independence for its sections in solving the problems facing them , then emphasized the need for the E.C.C.I., when deciding upon all problems of the labour movement, “to proceed from the concrete situation and specific conditions obtaining in each particular country and as a rule avoid direct intervention in internal organizational matters of the Communist Parties.”
According to this 1943 Statement: “Proceeding from the above-stated considerations, and taking into account the growth and political maturity of the Communist Parties and their leading cadres in individual countries, and also in view of the fact that during the present war a number of sections have raised the question of dissolution of the Communist International”, after seeking opinion of the presidium members, the ECCI decided to dissolve the Comintern in June, 1943.
As pointed out in the beginning, in spite of so many pressing problems soon after the October Revolution, the CPSU under Lenin’s leadership took urgent steps by 1919 to launch the Third (Communist) International, convening its First Congress. Its Second Congress was convened which took significant decisions when possibilities for revolutionary upsurges were visible in number of countries. Even when these possibilities subsided soon and the imperialist forces once again started taking aggressive positions, the 3rd and 4th Congresses were convened in 1921 and 1922 and Lenin played active role in developing the Colonial Thesis. Though Lenin could not attend, he had prepared the ground work for the 5th Congress in 1924 also. But after Lenin’s death, the 6th Congress was convened only in 1928, and the function of the Comintern was mostly carried out by the ECCI. The 7th Congress was convened only in 1935 and the CI was dissolved in 1943. It shows that during Stalin’s period adequate regular attention was not given to analyze the unfolding situation and to amend the structure of Comintern according to the new situation. Besides, though constant discussions among the leaders of the communist parties were required to develop the strategy and tactics to be followed in the fast changing new situation, it did not take place. So, the form and content of the Comintern could not be developed according to the needs of the fast changing world situation, The differences in the approach to various problems went on increasing, creating a situation when the CI had to be dissolved. Communist parties should learn from this.
In the very year in which the CI was dissolved, the US imperialists convened the Brettenwood Conference and decided to launch the IMF and World Bank in preparation for the neo-colonial offensive it had started planning. By 1945 while nuking Hiroshima and Nagasaki on the other hand, the UN was launched, along with the Human Rights Declaration on the other. The post- WW 2 years saw the US-led imperialist camp initiating the ‘decolonization’, replacing colonization with more pernicious neo-colonization. The imperialist plan was to fight the mighty socialist offensive through an admixture of counter-revolutionary and reformist measures.
In order to defend and expand the socialist gains, a revolutionary offensive was called for. The rebuilding of the CI according to the needs of the post-War situation was an important step needed. Launching of the Cominform in 1947, launching of the World Peace Movement against US led aggressions, struggle against revisionist stand of Yugoslav leadership, resisting US led aggression in North Korea etc were positive steps taken in these years by the socialist camp against the imperialist offensive. But a theoretical offensive was needed analyzing the transformation taking place in the content and strategy of imperialist system, about its post-War plans and by putting forward the socialist alternative against the counter revolutionary offensive of the imperialist camp. Concrete steps were needed to go beyond Cominform for rebuilding the CI according to new situation.
But, instead of taking up this challenge, the post-Stalin leadership in SU, based on basically erroneous evaluation that the imperialist camp has become weaker and a ‘peaceful transition is possible to socialism’, embraced class-collaborationist line, betraying the ICM. Even the Cominform was abandoned. The meetings of the communist and workers parties in 1957 and 1960 could not yield any positive results, except postponing an inevitable split. As a result of all these, from the great heights it had reached in early 1950s, within a few years the ICM fell to total disarray, with most of the communist parties formed during the Comintern period tailing behind the Soviet revisionist line put forward by Krushchov.
It was at this time, in continuation to the struggle waged during the 1957 and 1960 Moscow conferences, in 1963 the CPC came out with the Great Debate documents, putting forward the General Line of the ICM based on the concrete analysis of the contemporary situation and out rightly rejecting the Soviet revisionist line. It was supported by PLA of Albania like parties and the Marxist-Leninist forces emerging in large number of countries in the 1960s. The CPC could take initiative to convene a meeting of these forces based on the General Line document and try to form at least a platform of these forces as an initial step towards rebuilding the CI. But sighting the bad influence under the Comintern, it refused to do so, limiting its fraternal relations to party to party talks. After usurpation of power by the capitalist roaders reducing it to a social imperialist power, the CPC was interested only to use those organizations tailing behind it and eulogizing it as its propagandists.
Presently, when the imperialists of all hues are intensifying neo-colonial/neo-liberal offensive, leading to ultra rightist, neo-fascist forces coming to dominance in increasing number of countries, when the internationalization of production is the intensifying phenomena, the significance of rebuilding the communist international to challenge the imperialist system and to create conditions for internationally united initiative for revolutionary advances have unprecedentedly increased. Not only such a unity is not taking place, but numerous pseudo theories are put forward to oppose any unity efforts.
For example, though the revisionist parties present in almost all countries who have become parties serving the ruling system, convene international conferences and issue pseudo left statements, they are consistently opposing formation of any international organization. Though on the extreme left, the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM) was formed in the 1980s, and it had advanced the concept of Maoism, it has become almost dysfunctional now. The international platform created by the forces upholding the Hoxhaite line is limited to issuing joint statements. The large number of ML forces between the social democratic and extreme left forces, even while claiming to uphold proletarian internationalism, is against putting it to practice in any form. For justification they misquote the Statement dissolving the Comintern, or articles of Chou Enlai like leaders opposing any form of international communist organization. So, even though many of them may observe the Centenary of the Comintern, in practice, they are against any more internationals or even building broad platforms!
The CPI(ML) Red Star approaches this problem of rebuilding the Communist International upholding proletarian internationalism as a question of paramount importance, as a task to be taken up based on basic Marxist-Leninist positions. As far as Marx and Engels were concerned, after putting forward their analysis of capitalism as a global system, right from the beginning they called for, and worked for the formation and development of the First International for the overthrow of it and to advance towards socialist future. So, when the international developments, and the struggle within the FI, called for its dissolution, it was dissolved, and within a decade it was reorganized as Second International. When the opportunist tendencies led to its liquidation, analyzing the transformation of capitalism to imperialism, according to the need of the new situation Lenin led the struggle for reorganizing the SI as the Third (Communist) International very soon. In spite all the weaknesses later, it contributed enormously for the great advances made by the socialist forces by the 1950s. When we look back 76 years after its dissolution in 1943, it is not difficult to understand that absence of any major initiative for its rebuilding, learning from its positive contributions and weaknesses, played a major role in leading to the severe setbacks suffered by the communist movement. Objective reality demands such a platform to help the people’s democratic/socialist revolutions in the neo-colonially dependent and capitalist countries to lead the world socialist revolution forward. This basic understanding has guided us right from the time the reorganization of the CPI(ML) was taken up by us four decades ago, as a matter of primary importance.
As far as rebuilding the CI is concerned, the formation and functioning of the ICOR is only a beginning. Observing the Centenary of the formation of the Communist International in an inspired manner, let us study from its past experience, and take up its rebuilding as a process according to the present realities, always giving emphasis to the theoretical offensive and to seeking truth from facts, so that World proletarian Socialist Revolution can march forward!
Uphold Proletarian Internationalism; Intensify Efforts to Rebuild Communist International as Mighty Weapon for Victory of World Proletarian Socialist Revolution! n
The Eleventh Party Congress of CPIML Red Star has given a call---- “Defeat Corporate Saffron Fascisitization, Build up Independent Left Assertion based on People’s Alternative”. Prolonged discussions took place before and in the Congress on this call. Generally, according to our common wisdom when a call is given to defeat someone, it is understood that it says to organize all possible forces against that enemy in a common platform. However, we have said a different thing. Actually we have put two different positions into one slogan. It could not be appearing as a problem if the prevailing political situation would indicate a possibility to defeat BJP by an independent left assertion. But this situation does not exist. Therefore, this slogan appears as impractical and thus self-contradictory to the practical wisdom of many communists. But the Eleventh Party Congress of Red Star has considered the fact that at present time this practical wisdom not only cannot serve the revolutionary purpose but cannot put forward a rational and logical political position to the people. Let me elaborate the subject.
The Political resolution of the Congress says: “The disastrous situation brought out by BJP regime and the mounting all round social contradictions have brought India to a critical situation. In this context, the debate whether India has become a fascist state or not, or attempt at differentiating between fascism and authoritarianism is not the relevant issue now; rather, the immediate task today is to resist and resolutely defeat the intensifying trend towards corporate saffron fascistization, the concrete manifestations of which are self-evident before the people.”
Why it says like that? It says this because we cannot but notice that most of the Communist Parties are debating on this issue in order to justify their practical political tactics. Therefore, the debate often becomes an academic one and sometimes the debate itself becomes irrational. Those who are propagating in favour of an all-party joint platform against BJP are unexceptionally giving the opinion that a fascist rule has now developed in India. On the other hand those who are not ready yet for this type of all-party platform vehemently are in the opinion that BJP’s rule is obviously authoritarian but cannot be called fascist. The parties which are taking the former position are panic driven and thus are ready to sacrifice the long term interest of the working masses, and the other side is reluctant to resist BJP desperately, as if, when fascism stays in a process to come in power we may sleep in peace! These parties are sacrificing the short term interest of the working masses. Both of these positions are harmful for the people.
Moreover, this debate can continue because no one point out the simple fact that the fascism in Germany and Europe of 1930s and that of present day India necessarily do not look similar. Therefore, pointing out the similarities between both of them one side asserts that the fascism has won the state power in India, and pointing out the differences the other side asserts the opposite.
Today, it is as clear as daylight that the world capitalist economy has failed to recover from its deadliest crisis ever in spite of desperate attempts it has taken throughout last one decade. One form of crisis is continuously giving birth to another type. The gap between the finance capital and productive capital is increasing in unprecedented rapidity. The engulfing difference between the magnitudes of value producing capital and interest bearing and other financial capital is putting such a huge load on the rate of exploitation of labour that it is bound to create millions of volcanoes throughout the world. On the other hand the competition among the corporations has reached an unprecedented level, scores of amalgamations taking place every day cannot save them from the competition and subsequent default to repay international loan in scheduled timeframe. However, in modern capitalist economy the risk is always distributed among other entities including other corporations and the banks. Unrestricted use of credit default swap and other derivatives distribute risks in such a level that the economic crisis of one entity always becomes of others too, and a territorial crisis becomes a global one. Therefore, whenever the time of repaying the debt is coming nearer the world capitalist system is started trembling in fear of a coming crisis.
What the world capitalist economy does for coming out of this type of situation to a comparatively comfortable one in order to reach again in a flourishing condition? The answer was given by “Communist Manifesto” in 1948. It said, “And how does the bourgeoisie get over these crises? On the one hand by enforced destruction of a mass of productive forces; on the other, by the conquest of new markets, and by the more thorough exploitation of the old ones. That is to say, by paving the way for more extensive and more destructive crises, and by diminishing the means whereby crises are prevented.”
“The Communist Manifesto”, thus pointed out three steps which are usually taken by the bourgeoisie in the time of an all-pervading economic downturn as: 1. Destruction of a major part of productive forces, 2. Enforcement of a more thorough exploitation of the old markets, and, 3. Conquest of new markets. Like in 1930s, today also, all the major bourgeois nation states are trying to follow the same path with desperation and vigor which is bound to give birth to fascist rule in most of the major nation states at present economic and political scenario.
Here the debate is absolutely irrelevant that whether the fascist forces have conquered the power or yet in a process to conquer, or if they have conquered, then whether the fascist rule is fully developed one or in a process to reach that level! All these debates are irrelevant because in all these cases the communist tactics must be the same. And that is to resist them all out. Here the pertinent question is: Do the communists mean the same thing as an “all out resistance” in all types of situations and in all the places? In other words: Is the concept of “all out resistance” a static one? Our answer is---No.
The communists took the line to mobilize all possible forces against the fascists in a united platform in 1930s. Although the Communist International kept changing its tactics frequently, ultimately this was the most successful practice of the communists. However, at present in the political scenario of India we cannot take the same line. The reason is clear. It does not mean an all out resistance at present context in our country.
This is as clear as daylight that, fascism springs out from the deep rooted economical crisis of capitalism which is otherwise unsolvable. Therefore, if that very economy continues with the same form then nothing could be achieved by replacing the fascist party only. If the economic base remains as before then it is obvious that the new party which comes in power by replacing the fascist one must be suffering by policy paralysis which will give birth of a larger danger of fascist come back or the new party itself will be converted into a fascist party.
The political situation between 1917 and 1939 was a different one. Due to the impact of the October Socialist Revolution of Russia the communist movement was rising up throughout the world. In spite of the defeat of the German revolution in 1923 this general tendency prevailed uninterruptedly. Communist Parties were formed in all the major countries in Asia-Africa-Latin America and the movement was in ascendency. There was a simultaneous presence and growth of national liberation movements throughout the above mentioned part of the globe. The anti-fascist demonstrations were going on in full swing in Europe. Most importantly the experiments of socialist reconstruction in Russia brought forward an alternative path of development in front of the world people. This was the most important factor behind the growth of the communist movement at that time. Fascism must be defeated, but it does not mean by which way it shall be replaced? This was the most urgent and cardinal question to which the communist movement at that time provided an answer of.
The biggest proof of this development lies in the fact that after the WW-II the fascists were not only defeated but the world economic system had to undergo a thorough change. The world after the War was divided into three regions. The socialist experiments were going on in a large area. On the other hand, in the capitalist world the common form of capitalism was rejected. The Keynesian economics altered the form of capitalism which restricted the role of market and in lieu of that the role of the state increased. By this change the anarchy in production and distribution was curbed. The world imperialism shunned the path of old type of colonialism and adopted the neo-colonial path. The third part of the world at that time was formed by the newly liberated countries in Asia-Africa-Latin America through the national-liberation movement. The ruling classes in these countries developed a path based on the mixed economy giving the state ownership and state planning the highest importance. In the main, the world at that time moved forward with different answers of the reasons behind the capitalist economic crisis.
At present this type of situation does not prevail in India. If it becomes possible to defeat BJP by forming a largest possible electoral alliance, then also, the pertinent question is, what economic policy Congress (and other regional parties) will follow? There is no doubt that they will follow the same neo-liberalism, which plays the cardinal role giving birth to the present crisis and the danger of fascist takeover. Then, what is the concrete meaning of forming an all-party electoral alliance against BJP in ensuing election? It only means to uphold the cause of the same effect which we are fighting against! We have landed in this absurd situation because anti-neoliberal economic and political program is almost absent in present Indian politics. Organizationally we, who staunchly oppose neo-liberalism, are microscopic entity. Therefore, neither organizational nor programmatic alternative of neo-liberalism exist before the people.
What should be the task of the communists in this situation in order to build an all-out resistance against the fascist danger? The answer is absolutely clear. The communists need to reorganize their ranks on the basis of definite and uncompromising anti-neoliberal program. The CPI-CPIM like parties must shun their neo-liberal path which they practice wherever they are in power in spite of their declared position against neo-liberalism in their documents, in spite of their long articles against neo-liberalism in their organs, in spite of their several field researches on the catastrophic effects of neo-liberalism on different fields of Indian economy. Under this strict condition they can be included (like anyone else) in the anti-fascist platform. The task of the left block is to assert the independent left position on the path of building a new India before the people.
The second task of the left block is to organize the dalit and tribal organizations along with all oppressed classes and sections against BJP and RSS to form a larger alliance on the basis of on uncompromising opposition to saffron, corporate fascism politically and neo-liberalism economically. This is the essence of the call of the Eleventh Party Congress of Red Star, and if this can be accomplished further avenues will be opening up in coming future.
People’s protests that began during the last quarter of 2018 against ultra-rightist and neo-fascist regimes especially in European countries are gathering further momentum as the New Year dawns. The global media that promptly highlighted the growing influence of Alternative for Germany (AfD), was relatively silent on the protest march of an estimated 242000 people along the streets of Berlin against the ascendancy of neo-fascists and their anti-immigration campaigns. According to reports, this mid-October protest rally which has been the biggest in recent years was led by a broad alliance of anti-austerity initiative composed of trade unions, democratic right groups and progressive associations.
In the first week of December, thousands of people marched in several cities in southern Spain to protest the rise of Vox, the far-right party that suddenly appeared onto the political scene. Youth in large numbers who participated in the protests, blocked city lanes and entered in to confrontations with police. In some cities, the protestors blocked traffic and raised slogans: “It is fascism, not democracy,” “Refugees welcome”, etc. By the end of the second week of December, in Austria, thousands of protesters marched along the streets of Vienna raising the banners against fascism and racism propped up by the ruling coalition composed of the neo-conservative People’s Party (OeVP) and far-right Freedom Party (FPOe). Though police claimed the number of protesters as around 17000, actual turnout is estimated at 50000 in spite of bad weather. This people’s initiative was in the context of a series of tough anti-immigration measures, especially welfare-cuts aimed at immigrants imposed by the Austrian government which holds the presidency of EU till the end of 2018. In Brussels, on Decmber11, though the anti-austerity rally started as a peaceful demonstration, soon it became militant with 50000 protesters blocking streets and masked protesters even hurling fire-crackers at the police who responded by firing water cannons.
The ongoing “yellow vest” protest in France against the ultra-rightist policies of Macron is a much discussed one. His efforts to cool down people’s resentment by reducing fuel taxes are not enough to pacify the protesters. Within a year, Macron’s approval ratings have gone down by almost 30 percentage points and according to latest information, he has deployed the entire French police to suppress people’s riots. Meanwhile, the chauvinistic British ruling classes now led by Theresa May are facing repeated political reverses in the pursuit of materialising the Brexit deal and leaving the EU. Even within the arch-reactionary conservative sections divisions have arisen over the question of Brexit.
With the beginning of the third week of December, the streets of Budapest in Hungary are witnessing large-scale mobilisation of workers against the amendments in labour laws in the interests of corporate capital. The anti-worker law enacted by right-wing government led by Victor Orbán and its attempt to curtail the power of the judiciary have led to upsurges from workers characterised as “the most violent protests in more than ten years.” As in France, the protests in Hungary supported by students and youth have assumed the character of a broad people’s movement against far-right, pro-corporate austerity measures. Except the financial elite who are the beneficiaries of the neoliberal system, vast majority of the people including workers, women, youth and students are sympathetic to the protests in all European countries.
Historical Context of the Advent of Ultra-Right Politics
Today, the neo-fascist or far-right political spectrum has become a well-defined and consolidated force in almost all European countries that pursued a liberal bourgeois order for almost three decades following the Second World War. A whole set of ideological and political factors contributed for the shift towards right-wing marked by anti-communism, neo-fascism, ultra-nationalism, chauvinism, xenophobia, racism, authoritarianism and so on that often combine laissez-faire/free market fundamentalism in economic policies with ultra-nationalist/protectionist militarism in international relations. The discrediting of fascism and advance of socialism had effectively prevented the emergence of such reactionary ideologies in the immediate postwar context.
However the ideological-political setbacks suffered by the political Left since the seventies have enabled imperialist ruling classes to depoliticize the masses and put heavier burdens on the people in the mad pursuit of marking up profits. Together with this, views justifying the “superiority” of the elite and racial minority over the “inferior” masses and fascist ideas that “superior people” should have greater rights than common people have got legitimacy in political discussions. Often, these ultra-right and neoconservative thinking in the beginning was camouflaged under “right-wing populism” involving appeals to the “common people” against immigrants and refugees. It is only later that they have resorted to an exclusive neo-Nazi/neo-fascist identity-politics based orientation based on nationality, ethnicity, race, religion and even culture. Effectively utilizing the anti-establishmentarian attitude of the middle-classes, taking advantage of people’s mistrust of mainstream parties, mobilising hooligans and putting demagogues in front, the far-right could make electoral successes of varying degrees since the 1980s.
Table: Vote Share of Selected Far-Right Parties in EU
Country Name of the Party Vote Share (approximate %)
Austria Austrian Freedom Party 26
Czech Republic Freedom and Direct Democracy 11
Denmark Danish People’s Party 21
Finland The Finns 18
France National Front 13
Germany Alternative for Democracy 13
Greece Golden Dawn 07
Italy The League 17
Netherlands Freedom Party 13
Sweden Democrats 18
Switzerland Swiss People’s Party 29
More or less the same pattern of neo-fascist and ultra-right political trends in varying degrees are visible across many countries. The ascendancy of “anti-establishmentarian” Trump in the US and the coming to power of saffron fascist Modi rule in India are instances. Though their concrete manifestations are different, pro-corporate orientation in economic policies coupled with an all-out ideological-political offensive against all progressive and democratic forces is the hallmark of all of them. To camouflage this far-right offensive, along with “populism” postmodern/post-Marxist intellectuals under the service of imperialist capital everywhere provide the necessary inputs to the ruling classes for depoliticising the masses. And as already noted, to divert people’s attention from the operations of capital and to disorient their struggles against neoliberal policies, chauvinistic and fundamentalist ideas and ideologies based on nationalism, ethnicity, religion, race, and so on are suggested as the “preferred cohesion of the oppressed” against the injustices of the modern world. Quite reminiscent of the Nazi days, immigrants, refugees, low-castes, racial and religious minorities, are blamed for all the “misfortunes”. With the backing of state apparatus and corporate media, vigilante groups and storm troopers, hatred, suspicion and attacks are systematically spread and enforced to divide people’s fighting unity against corporate capital.
Return of People’s Surging Fury against the Far-Right
However, in Europe, Americas, Afro-Asian and Far East countries, the neoconservative, ultra-right forces are now facing people’s simmering discontent. Constant efforts on the part of ruling classes everywhere to keep the profit rates high have imparted heavier and heavier burdens on the backs of the working people in the form of declining earnings and falling living standards on the one hand and curtailment of hard-earned democratic rights on the other. And in order to effectively serve the corporate class, the neo-fascist rulers have replaced the veil of bourgeois democracy with authoritarian and dictatorial methods. At global level, this right-wing offensive is manifested in mounting trade/currency wars and protectionist policies. And the last several years of neo-fascist economic, political and cultural offensive together with the intensification of the inherent contradictions of the imperialist ruling system have immensely contributed in raising the political consciousness of the broad masses of people. Thus working class struggles and people’s discontent are surging in every part of the globe in one form or another. Though a revolutionary political leadership capable of leading these struggles against neoliberal policies and transform the system is yet to emerge, as noted in the beginning, people’s fury is rising up against the economic, social, political and ecological disruptions created by neo-fascists and ultra-rightists.
While these lines are being written, the French political scenario where the world has been witnessing relentless people’s struggles in recent days is becoming more critical. Being denied of decent pay and service conditions, the French police led by their unions have threatened to join the “yellow vest” protesters imparting a new political dimension to the crisis faced not only by the Macron government, but also by the ruling system as a whole. In a similar way, people’s opposition in many countries is developing in novel forms even as mainstream traditional parties and trade unions who have no alternative to the ruling class policies are remaining as spectators. Similarly, even though not so apparent and consolidated as in France and other EU countries, people’s resentment against Trump’s austerity measures (recently, thousands of teachers have marched through the streets of Los Angeles and California), especially against his anti-immigrant “child separation” policy is mounting in the US. Domestically the US ruling system itself is in a “destabilisation crisis”, as Trump the CEO of world’s leading imperialist power is facing several civil and criminal investigations especially with regard to violations of campaign finance laws during his election. Both the Republican and Democratic chieftains of American imperialism, world people’s number one enemy, are afraid of the potential damages to the system that may result from the present political crisis. And irrespective of the national specificities, as a manifestation of the crisis and rottenness of the ruling system, all the political and constitutional (as in India) institutions of the country are undermined in one way or other.
To be precise, worldwide surging people’s movements underscore that the days of class compromises and consensus are over and that contradiction between the people and the ruling elite is mounting. While struggling workers and oppressed masses are advancing, the march of unfettered neoliberal capitalism is blocked, and the latter is facing many reverses. The global crisis of imperialism everywhere has assumed an irreversible dimension as all its inherent contradictions are piling up on an unprecedented scale. Previous atraction to neoliberal ideologies are waning and concerned sections have started seriously thinking over the sustainability and continuance of imperialist globalisation. All existential tactics adopted by ruling classes have become ineffective. And the situation is very favourable for a revolutionary intervention by the political left who can put forward a people’s alternative to neoliberalism.
(Concluding Speech of Com KNR, GS of CPI (ML) Red Star after re-elected as General Secretary by the new Central Committee elected by 11th Party Congress on 1st December 2018)
I thank the new Central Committee for re-electing me as General Secretary of our party. I wanted to get relieved and new comrades taking over the responsibilities. But the Central Committee members decided that I should continue for some more time. Every communist, should continue to be an activist for life long. But to continue as General Secretary is something different. I had to accept the request of the Central Committee for the time being, and I shall strive to continue as General Secretary for some more time.
Comrades, we have successfully concluded our 11th Party Congress at an important juncture at International level and in our country, when the oppressed peoples all over the world and in our country are facing great challenges. And, compared to the great height it had reached during 1950s, today the Communist Movement has suffered severe setbacks and all over the world it is facing the challenge of throwing out the imperialist system and its lackeys everywhere and to usher in Peoples Alternative.
Recently in Brazil, after 15 years of social democratic rule, the ultra-rightist-fascist rule has come to power. Not only in Brazil, but all over the world and in our country, in the absence of an alternative by revolutionary forces, in the absence of revolutionary forces inspiring people with an alternative, rightist and ultra-rightist have come to power. So, when we have concluded our 11th Party Congress and are going back to our areas of work, the challenge we are facing is: are we prepared to throw up an alternative to the reactionary ruling system in our country, and to the imperialist system all over the world?
This challenge we can take up only when we consciously build up the communist movement everywhere. The problem we are facing is, as repeatedly asserted by the communist teachers, without a communist party capable of leading the people forward there will be no revolution. So our main and fundamental task is to strive hard immediately to build a powerful communist party in our country. Today, many are talking about many centers, only about alliances; they are not for building one communist party in a country, they think about many centers. We have to defeat such alien thoughts and strive to build a powerful communist party capable of leading revolution of the people of the country to victory.
Many of these forces are talking about many centers and united fronts, they are talking about bilateral talks for united fronts, they are not thinking about coming together, settling the problems and uniting to build a powerful communist party to lead the revolution. So, our important task is to focus on uniting the communist revolutionaries, developing communist carders and building a powerful communist party which is capable of compleating democratic revolution and advancing to socialist revolution in our country.
Along with this, I want to stress on an important point in this occasion; our state committees have immense responsibilities before them. As we all know, India is a multi-national country, and the state committees represent mostly these various nationalities and without building the state committees effectively, we will not be able to lead the revolution in the country. When we have many different languages of various nationalities, unless all the state committees concentrate on giving political materials to their cadres and in politicizing their cadres in their own languages, we will not be able to recruit larger number of comrades from the downtrodden sections and to build up a powerful communist party. The questing is to build a communist party at all India level which is integrally linked with the immediate task of developing state committees functioning in all the states.
And, in our last Party Congress at Lucknow, we had decided to take up the theoretical offensive at all levels. This theoretical offensive includes the evaluation of the experience of international and national communist movement of past decades including the experience of the hitherto socialist perspective which was practiced. These tasks should be taken up more vigorously and carried forward, because without evaluating the past, its merits and demerits, we will not be able to develop our line according to the present concrete condition. And, this task should be taken up by the new Central Committee effectively.
Comrades, along with this, I want to stress that, we are facing Corporate Raj and Saffron Fascism; we are involved in the struggles to over throw Corporate Raj and Saffron Fascism. We can carry forward these tasks only when we develop the strategy and tactical line to utilize all forms of struggles. While we develop parliamentary forms of struggle to defeat Modi rule, we have to intensify our primary task of developing non-parliamentary struggles, the peoples movements. Now, many people are spreading the propaganda that there is pessimistic atmosphere and there is no future. But comrades, it is not such situation in our country and all over the world. Today, peoples’ movements are strengthening against price rise and for other people’s demands in France. Mighty peoples movements are taking place in many countries of the world. And in our country also, the struggles of oppressed masses, oppressed classes and castes are taking place and are going to intensify in coming days. So it is not an atmosphere of frustration. It is something like a 1970s situation. In 1970s, after the great Naxelbari Upraising and peoples movements all over the country, because of our sectarian line and because of the state repression, we suffered severe setbacks. And, when in 1971when Indira Gandi came again to power with mighty margin, there was rumor that Indira government will be in the power for long time. But, within a short time, many peoples’ movement broke out in Gujarat, Bihar and many other states. What happened later we know.
So, the question is of understanding the new situation, taking proper action in the changing fast situation, because people want to change the situation. And, when we come to current situation, there are large number of peoples’ upsurges developing against corporate raj and saffron fascism. We need to correctly analyze this situation to lead the peoples movements.
But without carrying forward powerful communist party building, we shall not be able to lead peoples’ movements and to lead people forward to revolution. I am not mechanically comparing the situations of 1970s to today’s situation. But, against the present neo-liberal corporate raj and saffron fascist rule, peoples’ upsurges are taking please and it is going to be more powerful in coming days. So, the task before us is to take up powerful communist party building capable of taking up the present challenges, to lead people’s upsurges and to consciously lead them towards capture of political power, towards completing people’s democratic revolution.
So, Comrades, let us depart from this Party Congress hall with the determination that we shall overcome our weaknesses, we shall face the challenges raised by the ultra-right forces of ruling system, and we shall take up the challenge of building the party and leading the peoples upsurges. Let us strive hard to take up these challenges in the coming days! Red Salute to all Comrades!
[Inaugural Speech of Com K N Ramachandran, General Secretary of CPI (ML) Red Star in the Inaugural Session of 11th Party Congress at Bengaluru on 27th November 2018]
Red salute to fraternal delegates from abroad as well as India, red salute to all the delegates, observers and our friends who are attending this inaugural session of our 11th Party Congress.
Comrades, we have reached this 11th Congress of CPIM-Red Star, after long period of struggle, achievements, setbacks, again achievements, and advances. So it is a long history which we have traversed. In our country we’ve got a century of communist history, a century of struggles organizing the toiling masses in the country. Like the history of the communist parties all over the world, in our country also the communist movement had its own periods of right deviations, left deviations , so many deviations, at the same time so many glorious struggles also. So, there were many struggles of the people which was we have spearheaded.
The reorganization of the movement through Naxalbari uprising fighting against the right deviation long embedded in the movement was a very important turning point in our history. Naxalbari uprising created an upheaval, an upsurge all over the country and millions got mobilized in the revolutionary movement. But as you all know, within a short period, within a period of 5 years, we suffered a very big debacle and our movement got splintered. And the struggle from the 1971-72 onwards was a very difficult one for the communist revolutionaries for reorganizing the movement, for building a Bolshevik style communist party.
By the end of 1970s the ideological struggles became very sharp and in analyzing the international situation, in analyzing the changes taking place in our country there were basic differences. We had to start our own method of reorganization. So from 1979 when we started the CRC-CPIML there was bitter struggle to bring the communist revolutionaries together based on an ideological political line. In the process of this struggle, we could bring many sections of the CRs in to the party. By this time in CPIML-Red Star we have brought together many sections of CRs from different regions in to the party and we have become an all India organization now.
And as the international situation is concerned when we raise the slogan “workers of the world and oppressed peoples unite” it is an immediate task before the communists to develop unity of the CRs all over the world, at least to build a platform of the CR forces. We are proud that today fraternal delegates from abroad are with us and we have succeeded in building a platform, however small it may be, the ICOR. During last one decade after its formation, ICOR it has achieved many gains all over the world. ICOR could come in to existence in the process of a struggle, the struggle against the wrong tendencies within the international communist movement. After the death of Mao Tsetung, we had to take a correct position; we had to develop the understanding about imperialism today. By taking ideological positions on all important questions, a situation was created that a platform like ICOR can be built and we have succeeded to a certain extent in that direction.
And as far as the building of the communist movement in our country is concerned, in uniting the CR forces in our country is concerned, we had to start by making a concrete analysis of the new situation, the transformation taking place in our country under the neo-colonial offensive. The Tenth Congress of our party held at Lucknow in 2015 had evaluated all these experience and we had made very important decisions to go forward. As we had pointed out at that time, during the last few years ultra-rightist forces, the Modi regime has made corporate raj and saffron fascism, a very immediate danger before the people. So naturally, in this Party Congress we have to take many important decisions, how to analyze the present situation which has come forward as a result of the ascendance of the ultra-rightist forces and how to fight it and how to create a peoples alternative led by the communist forces in our country. This is a first and foremost agenda before all the political forces in our country how to defeat BJP. How to defeat Modi rule, is a slogan Indian people has taken up. We also have take up the slogan, Modi rule has to kicked out, no doubt about that. But while raising this question, something like a one-sided approach is taken by many forces. They are not ready to analyze how Modi like forces could come to power or how could ultra-right forces come to the world scene. This is a very important question that we have to make an analysis. What are the historical developments internationally and within our country leading to the ascendance to power of the ultra-right forces. Without such an analysis whatever decisions we make will become one-sided and partial. So one important task in front of the 11th Party Congress through the Political Resolution we are going to discuss is the new situation and the challenges we are going to take up so that the independent communist assertion can be carried forward and strengthened, so that a peoples alternative can be realized in the country defeating all the ruling class forces.
At the same time, on our political organizational experience during the last 3 years also an evaluation is very essential because without properly analyzing what we could achieve within the last 3-4 years and carrying them forward, we shall not be able to build a powerful communist party in the country. As we know last year, all over the world and in our country communist forces have observed the 100 years of October revolution and we have pledged that we shall take lessons from the experience of the October revolution. One of the most important lesson we should take from the experience of the October Revolution is that only by building Bolshevik party, defeating the Mensheviks and Narodniks, Lenin could lead the Russian revolution to victory and build Soviet Union and create Communist Iinternational. This is the experience of the Chinese revolution also. Under the leadership of Mao Tsetung, they had to struggle against the right deviation and left deviation and build a powerful communist party which could lead Chinese revolution to victory.
So in our country which has got a very complex character with 135 cr population with so many nationalities, languages, culture and in such a situation without building a powerful communist party in this country uniting all these people, we shall not be able to lead a revolution. For achieving this we have to uncompromisingly struggle against the weaknesses and deviations of the past as well as the present, right reformist line as well as the left adventurist line. Only by uncompromisingly struggling against these lines & deviations, we can build a powerful communist party which can lead democratic revolution in our country. By understanding the importance of this task, on the one hand we have taken up a study on imperialism today and we are continuously developing our understanding about imperialism, its various manifestations, how it is suppressing people all over the world and in our country. Along with that we have taken up studies of ecological destruction created by imperialism today and we have developed our theoretical understanding as well as many struggles all over the country to develop a new development paradigm fighting against the imperialist mode of development. And side by side we have taken up caste annihilation movement in our country which is divided by numerous castes and sub castes. Without fighting against the caste system, the Manuvad, Brahmanical though, and developing a new understanding about a casteless society, a secular society we will not be able to go forward. While taking up the struggles of the working class, peasantry and all other oppressed classes and sections it is very important we have to take lessons from the Cultural Revolution, the core of which was given by Lenin and which was taken up by Mao in Chinese conditions in 1960s but which could not be carried forward. We have to take lessons from these things and we have to carry forward the necessity of launching a cultural revolution in our country according to our concrete conditions.
It is in this context in the last Party Congress we had adopted a very important resolution - a resolution on theoretical offensive, Actually though we tried our level best we could not advance much on that line during last 3 years and we have to understand the importance of such a resolution and take up the theoretical offensive so that changing the thinking, fighting against the imperialist and feudal and other decadent thinking, we have to create a culture, and the struggle for a new culture has to be combined with the struggle for democratic revolution.
So comrades, during the last 3 years definitely we have made many achievements and we have launched many struggles in all fields especially the most important struggle, the Bhangar struggle in West Bengal which has actually created a new history in the people’s resistance movement in our country. And today we have taken up the task how to develop Bhangar like movements all over the country according to the concrete situations in the different regions and how to build up mass political platform uniting all these struggles all over the country along with the struggling left forces. This is a major struggle we have taken up. So this Party Congress has got this challenge before it. We have to carry forward our tasks so that this objective can be achieved and we can contribute more on the international field also to develop and strengthen ICOR in different aspects.
At the same time we have to self critically see our weaknesses, how to overcome the weaknesses One important aspect of overcoming these weaknesses is by taking lessons from the past we have to learn more lessons about developing democracy within our party, democracy within the communist movement and how to develop a communist party with complete democracy within it. When the concrete situation is changing very fast day by day, and when numerous struggles are coming up in every part of the country, its reflection will be felt in the party also. The inner party struggles may become serious also; but the success of the communist party is how we are capable of taking up this inner party struggle democratically forward so that we can really build up a Bolshevik style communist party.
So comrades, it is a very important and challenging task in front of us and I hope that the 5 days of discussions in the Party Congress and the resolution of this discussions in this party congress, will lead us to march forward to achieving this task of building the Bolshevik style communist party which can take up the present challenge of throwing out the Modi regime as well as building the party and the struggles towards the people’s democratic revolution. I hope that all the comrades, delegates and observers who are going to attend this Party Congress shall take up this important task with all the seriousness it requires and make it a success. With these words I inaugurate the 11th Congress of the Party.
Red Salute to all comrades!
A SEMINAR on “Secularism : Present Challenges” was held under Asgar Ali Engineer Memorial lecture, organized by Vimarsh at Raipur on 11th August 2018 on the occasion of the martyrdom day of Shaheed Khudiram Bose. Well known thinker, litterateur, convener of CSSS Mumbai and editor of Indian Journal of Secularism Irfan Engineer gave the key note address.
Sanjay Gope, a 13-year-old boy from Bango village near Jadugora town in East Singhbhum district of Jharkhand, can not move or speak because he has been suffering from muscular dystrophy – a group of disorders that involves a progressive loss of muscle mass and consequent loss of strength – for the past nine years. At least one person of his family has to be with him all the time to look after him. He cannot be left unattended.
Eighteen-year-old Parvati Gope from the same village is suffering from lumbar scoliosis – a C-shpaed curve formation of her vertebral column. Rakesh Gope, a 13-year-old school-going boy, is also suffering from muscular dystrophy. Although he is active and walks with arched feet and soles, he is unable to speak normally. A three-year-old child Kartik Gope has been having seizures since birth and is developing muscular dystrophy too. These examples are not enough; there are hundreds of such cases of congenital illness and other birth defects in addition to high incidence of infertility, miscarriages and pre-mature deliveries.
Now, a pertinent question arises here: why are such large number of health hazards being reported from this remote and overlooked corner of the country? While India is dreaming to become energy efficient by 2032 by generating 63 Gigawatts of nuclear power, it is taking a major toll on human lives in a small township of Jharkhand. Jadugora has the deposits of world’s best quality uranium ore, magnesium diuranate. It is because of the rich deposits of the region, India is capitalising its nuclear dreams. The whole belt of the reactors is affecting the Adivasis (indigenous people) disproportionately in and around the uranium mining operational area.
“The tribals of Jadugora are being exposed to radioactivity directly and indirectly. Miners working in the mine areas inhale the dust and radon gas. Besides, the uranium ore are transported in uncovered trucks through roads that are full of bumps. This cause the debris to fall off on the sides of the road. Radiation are also caused by dumping of mine’s tailings in uncovered ponds,” said Ankush Vengurlekar, a photojournalist who has documented people’s suffering because of the “unsafe” mining. Locals say villages lying close to the tailing ponds are the worst affected. During the dry season, dust from the tailings blows through these villages. During the monsoon rains, radioactive waste spills into the surrounding creeks and rivers, causing further internal radiation as villagers use the contaminated water for washing and drinking and also use the nearby ponds for fishing.
“Children living near the mines are born with swollen heads, blood disorders and skeletal distortions. Cancer as a cause of death is more common in villages surrounding uranium operations,” said a local from Jadugora. According to a study by Indian Doctors for Peace and Development (IDPD), 68.33 per cent people are dying before the age of 62. The local river Subarnarekha that is flowing across the place is highly contaminated with uranium. The people living here are suffering from tortuous health problems.
Nuclear waste that is found in tons in the ponds of Jadugora is reportedly contaminating the entire place and is now creeping through soil into vegetation.
Professor Dipak Ghosh, a physicist and dean of the Faculty of Science at Jadavpur University in Kolkata, had collected samples from the river and also from adjacent wells a few years ago for research, and the result was alarming. The water was contaminated with radioactive alpha particles that cannot be absorbed through the skin or clothes, but if ingested, cause 1,000 times more damage than other types of radiation. In some places, the levels were 160 percent higher than the safe limits set by the World Health Organisation.
Another study conducted by Dr. Hiroaki Koide of the Research Reactor Institute, Kyoto University, Japan, uncovered hard evidence of the toxic footprint cast by the country’s nuclear mining and fuel fabrication program. He said the contamination from a uranium mine has spread in Jadugora. “The gamma dose in the air exceeds 1 mSv/y in the villages and reaches 10mSv/y around the tailing ponds. The circumference of tailing ponds is polluted with uranium. The strength of the pollution is of 10 to 100 times is high in comparison with the place without contamination. Tailing pond has contamination of Cesium. This fact shows that radioactivity was brought from another polluted source which was not uranium mine. Especially Dungridih that is in contact with the tailing pond has high contamination. There is a shade of uranium contamination also in a same village, as high contamination has been measured at Tilaitand or other village. This cause is because tailings were used for the building materials. There are places where uranium concentration is high in the road or the riverside, and it is thought that tailings are used for construction material. At the Rakha Mine station, the soil is polluted by only uranium. Its concentration is remarkably high. This shows that the uranium obtained by smelting fell and extended contamination. Not only K-40 or thorium but uranium concentration is high in Ranchi,” suggest his findings.
Denials by the Government and the Company
A comprehensive new energy plan approved by the government in October 2015 declared that nuclear power is “safe, environmentally benign and economically viable source to meet the increasing electricity needs of the country”.
Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL), the state-owned miner, too has denied all claims that the mining is affecting the small town and the communities living around it the uranium mines. Founded in 1967, the UCIL is a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) under the Department of Atomic Energy for uranium mining and processing. The centrally owned miner is responsible for the mining and milling of uranium ore in India.
Standing beside the then United States President Barack Obama at a Paris conference on global warming on November 30, 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said, “...India is a very nature-loving country and we are setting out, as always, to protect nature in the world while producing energy.” There is hardly any safety standard the company is abiding by to handle radioactive materials.
Deprived of Land First, and Now Health
The tribals of Jadugora were first deprived of their land, and now their health is being destroyed by making them labourers of a huge government enterprise. Moreover, they are subjected to the exposure to radioactivity in their everyday life. Anti-radiation movement activist Arjun Samat opened Pandora’s box when asked about the labourers working in the mines and their issues. The UCIL employs contractual labourers to mine the highly sensitive ore of uranium and they are not provided any safety gear reportedly. Mining is done by the contractual labourers at the remuneration of Rs 300 per day. They are not given any medical or health benefits, no protective suits or safety gear. Many lives have been lost so far in accidents but ironically, the affected were not given any compensation,” he told Newsclick.
“We had several rounds of talks with the company officials to try and pursue them for conducting medical tests for the contractual staff. The UCIL finally agreed to make medical tests compulsory for all daily wage workers. But they want it to be done by the workers themselves and the company will not bear the expenses because it is not mentioned in their work contract. The mandatory test costs around Rs 3,500 per person, which is equal to about 10 days wage for the labourers.”
“Without a medical certificate, the workers are not allowed to work. If the medical certificate mentions some ailment that is most probably caused by exposure to radiation or fine particulate matter, the contractor asks the person to leave,” he added.
Ankush alleges that the residue – once the ores are extracted in Hyderabad – is transported back to Jadugora for dumping into the ponds. The radioactive residue is stored in the open, he claims, posing health and environmental hazards. The tailing pond overflowed in 2008 because of heavy rains and the contaminated water entering the neighbouring farms, not only destroying all the crops that year, but also killing animals. These ponds have polluted the ground water, says Arjun, because of which people living in the nearby villages have been asked not to use ground water. “They take water from multiple water points installed by the company. During summers, the slurry dries up and gets carried by the wind all around the pond to neighbouring villages polluting air and soil,” he added. These tribals lose their lands for mining then get employed as contractual labour, and some even lose their life. “Why are they the only ones making all the sacrifices?” asks Ankush.