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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.  

What we are witnessing in Venezuela presently is a neocolonial scramble among the imperialist powers, mainly US imperialism for the control of its rich petroleum wealth. The recognition of US installed Guaido as the president of Venezuela by NATO forces has put Venezuela in a critically vulnerable situation. This criminal move on the part of Britain, Germany, France and other EU members is part of a broader strategy of looting the oil reserves of Venezuela along with US by effectively curtailing the growing influence of China and Russia not only in Venezuela but in Latin America as a whole.
Taking advantage of Venezuela’s economic collapse and social tensions arising from the plunge in oil prices coupled with the tactical mistakes on the part of Maduro, US president Trump had already initiated the blueprint for a coup there by anointing his puppet Guaido as president. Together with the sponsoring of a bloody civil war, US imperialism may also pursue the option of a direct military intervention in Venezuela.
 
The present collusion among Western imperialist powers unveils the true essence of bourgeois democracy and a whole set of international institutions so assiduously propped up by US led imperialism for management of the post-war neocolonial order. The UN and its agencies are once again exposed as mere rubber-stamps of US led imperialism. Western imperialists with the backing of Bretton Woods funding institutions and military-industrial complexes are now planning to install an ultra-rightist, arch-reactionary puppet regime on the backs of Venezuelan people. 

It is high time that the progressive-democratic forces the world over should rise up against imperialist machinations of converting Venezuela in to a typical neo-colony under US hegemony. In this situation, CPI(ML) Red Star declares solidarity with the struggling Venezuelan people. It appeals to the working class and oppressed people of Latin America to come forward resisting and kicking out imperialism, mainly US imperialism, and its local compradors from their soil.  It calls upon all Party committees to organize demonstrations and other protest actions with the slogan: US and European Union, Hands Off Venezuela! Let Venezuelan People Decide Their Future!

KN Ramachandran,

General Secretary

CPI(ML) Red Star

 

New Delhi

6th February 2019

The US-based ‘hacker’ Syed Shuja, claiming himself as a former employee of  the Electronic Corporation of India, which designed the EVMs, is the latest one to allege hacking of  electronic voting machines and ‘rigging’ of 2014 Indian general  elections in favour of the ruling party. In this context, we are reiterating the CPI (ML) Red Star’s position on the use of EVMs in elections, and on other important changes to be implemented in the Election laws. The following excerpt dealing with this question is from the Political Resolution adopted at the 11th Congress of the Party held on November 27-December 1, 2018, at Bengaluru. 

“2.xix.  Urgent attention is called for a major restructuring of the entire election process in the country. The BJP which till 2014 had been vociferously condemning the EVM on account of its vulnerability to fraud and tampering has now become its ardent champion as it can effectively utilize the same in its favour. The possibility of insertion of malicious software in to EVMs and manipulation of voting preferences being already proved, several countries of the world have abandoned EVMs and are pursuing the ballots. While raising this issue together with all like-minded forces, a concerted campaign is also required for replacing the ‘first pass the post system’ with proportional representation in elections and introduction of people’s right to recall the elected representatives. Similarly, provisions should be incorporated for totally keeping communal forces away from interfering in election in any manner. In brief, our Party should unite in campaign with all democratic and progressive forces for a thorough democratization of the election process.

RYFI’S CALL: OPPOSE ECONOMIC RESERVATION

The Reservation quota bill presented by the Modi govt, passed with the support of almost all big political parties in the parliament and signed by the president is a direct attack on the oppressed castes and it undermines the very Constitutional basis of caste based reservation in India.

Presently the unemployment rate is increasing day by day, and now it is the highest in last four years. No step has been taken by the Modi government to ensure employment for the youths. Migration rate of youths for work is increasing. No scope of a secure job, now it has become just a dream. In all government institutions and companies, the number of permanent posts is vanishing fast. With the fading hope of “acche din” dissatisfaction against Modi government among the youths is increasing. In this situation without taking proper steps to create proper employment the government is trying to divide the youth through the Economic Reservation Quota. It is a conspiracy to divert attention from the unemployment issue.

Moreover, when the upper castes as a whole have overwhelming predominance in socio economic and administrative fields this bill goes against the very principle of social justice. The Reservation system was  intended to mitigate this kind of the wrongs of caste system, which suppressed the Dalits and other oppressed sections for millenniums.

Revolutionary Youth federation of India condemns this shameful and heinous act and demands the government to withdraw it. We would also like to ask the BJP government about what happened to the 2 crores of jobs a year which was a key 2014 election promise to the youths by Modi.

Raju Singh, General Secretary, RYFI 

THROW OUT CITIZENSHIP AMENDMENT BILL!

The people of Northeast and Bengal are struggling against the Citizenship Amendment Bill the Modi government which it is trying to push trough hastily to impose its saffronization. All of us should raise the question: if all Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Christians and Parsis who are forced to migrate from Pakisthan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh etc can be given Indian citizenship, why not the Muslims? Out of the large number of people who were forced to migrate from Bangladesh to Northeast, about half are Hindus and remaining Muslims. Modi govt wants to give citizenships to all Hindus, not to Muslims, thus creating conditions to in which millions of Muslims are going to become stateless! Same policy was followed in the case of the Rohingya refugees who were thrown out of Myanmar also. Instead of finding a political solution to these migrants’ question involving the state governments and political representatives from the Northeast and Bengal, Modi government and the BJP government in Assam are trying to saffronize the question, endangering the whole region. All democratic forces should raise their vice and campaign to defeat the Citizenship Amendment Bill moved by the Modi government.

The education system of our country is facing an unprecedented onslaught from the neoliberal, corporate and Hindutva fascist forces that are working covertly and overtly to subvert the Constitution and to reduce the republic into a paranoid nation of lynch mobs led by criminal ring masters. While it is true that the previous governments are responsible for the rot that afflicts our education system from school to higher levels, the present dispensation in Delhi is working zealously to wipe out whatever gains the people of our country, mainly the Dalits, bahujans, adivasis and minorities have so far made in terms of access to educational opportunities. The draft of new education policy earlier released by the central government has already stated the intention of the government to detain children in earlier stages (class V) and push them out of the formal education system into parallel and inferior skill development streams. Government school system is being consistently starved of funds and thousands of government schools are being closed across the country.

Similarly, higher education is also under calibrated assault – fund cuts, curtailment of scholarships, curbs on teachers’ and students’ rights, surveillance and bureaucratisation have become order of the day. Needless to add that this is just a glimpse of the total attack on our education system. At the same time, the Hindutva forces are constantly deflecting public discourse and debate on these fundamental issues affecting every child and youth and trying to raise false issues of protecting cows and building temples that stand in stark contradistinction to all the ideals of our freedom struggle to build a humane and enlightened society.

It is to counter this perverse discourse and to make education a rallying agenda in the coming general elections and political discourse of the country that AIFRTE decided to organise the All-India Hunkar Rally on 18th Feb 2019 in Delhi. This is not a single-point event, but a concerted movement under which we have been organising meetings, seminars, yatras and other programmes across different states in the country. We have approached different sections and different lines of democratic thought in the process, thus trying to build a synergetic action to effectively counter the reactionary agenda of neo-liberalism cum Brahmanical forces.

Please see our leaflet and the Programme of Action (PoA – 2018-19) document to know in more detail our position and the various assaults on our education system. We take this opportunity to appeal to you to support, participate and generously contribute in making the Hunkar Rally a resounding success. Please note that we are an entirely public-driven movement and we do not accept funding from any source except donation from individuals supporting the cause. Hence, your contribution would be invaluable for the movement. The details of the bank account will be provided if you inform us of your desire to making any contribution, and a proper receipt can be issued and provided to you. 

Prof G Haragopal, Chairperson, Prof Anil Sadgopal, Convener, Dr Swati, Co-convener, All-India Steering Committee of Hunkar Rally, Dr Meher Engineer, Chairperson, Dr Vikas Gupta, Organising Secretary, All India Forum-Right To Education (AIF-RTE).

AIRSO and RYFI call upon all students, youth, oppressed sections, working class and Dalit-Bahujan forces to actively participate and support the rally with the resolution to carry forward struggle against the neo-liberal attacks on education and overthrow the root cause of these attacks, the present ruling classes, for which we must actively ally with the working class. It should contribute to uncompromising and revolutionary struggle against the neo-liberal attacks on education, beyond election-centrism and tokenism. n

SECOND MARTYRS' DAY OBSERVED AT BHANGAR

At the call of JJBPRC (Jomi Jibika Bastutantro O Poribesh Raksha Committee/ Committee for Protection of Land, Livelihood, Ecology and Environment) the second Martyr’s Day was observed on 17th January of this year at Tapoban Maidan in Bhangar, West Bengal. Thousands of committee members worked day and night for over a month to make the day successful. According to the decision of the Central Council of JJBPRC three martyr’s columns were erected across the vast stretch of the struggle area. The first column was erected at Shyamnagar, the place in the northern side of the stretch where Alamgir became a martyr. The second column was erected in Kamarbari where Mafizul became a martyr and the third column was erected in Natunhat where Hafizul was murdered by the goons led by the notorious Trinamool leader Arabul Islam. The Martyr’s Day programme started at 10 ’o clock in the morning with the unveiling of the martyr’s column at Shyamnagar by Comrade Pradip Singh Thakur, veteran central committee member of CPIML (Red Star). Com. Thakur had taken an active role in initiating the Bhangar movement and consequently been arrested in the night of 25th January, 2017 by the state police. He was slapped with UAPA along with comrade Sharmistha Choudhury, another leader of Bhangar movement.

Several thousand people gathered in Shyamnagar. Comrade Alik Chakraborty, the leader of Bhangar movement and spokesperson of JJBPRC, made the introductory speech. Amidst slogans and songs the leaders of the movement, the family members of the martyrs, the central and state leadership of CPIML (Red Star) including Comrade K.N. Ramachandran, the General Secretary of the party and Comrade R. Mansaiyya and Comrade Tuhin Dev, the Politburo members, offered garlands and flowers in the column. Students from Presidency and Jadavpur universities and other institutions offered homage to the martyrs. All the participants vowed to continue the struggle to retain the achievements of the movement.

Then, a huge rally started to proceed towards Kamarbari where the second martyr’s column was unveiled by Comrade Abdul Aziz Mallick, president of JJBPRC. Comrade Sharmistha Choudhury addressed the gathering. Mr Jalaluddin Ahmed, leader of the Welfare Party, addressed the gathering. Next, the giant rally proceeded to Natunhat where the third column was unveiled by Comrade K.N. Ramachandran. The students, Comrade Bandana and her team sang spirited songs. Comrade Biswajit Hazra, leader of MKP and one of the committee members, joined the programme and paid homage. Comrade Alik Chakraborty addressed the gathering. The leaders of some of the associated organizations were also present in the programme.

After a short lunch break a huge public meeting began. Several left leaders like Comrades Sumit Bhattacharya, advocate Bharati Mutsuddi, Dipali Bhattacharya, senior advocate Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya and others attended and spoke in the meeting. They emphasized on the importance of Bhangar movement and the task to continue the struggle through the zigzags of the movement. They criticized the sundry efforts to belittle the Bhangar movement. Eminent writer Kinnar Roy attended and addressed the meeting. Veteran trade unionist and communist leader Comrade Kushal Debnath, one of the conveners of Sanhati Committee, attended the meeting. Comrade Sankar Das, another convener of Sanhati Committee, also spoke in the meeting. Comrade Biswajit Hazra addressed the meeting. He said, Bhangar is a piece of land where the people control the developmental works. It is like a free land of the people. Comrade Basudev Nag Choudhury, the convener of People’s Brigade, addressed the gathering. Comrade Abu, state secretary of Revolutionary Youth Federation of India, Comrade Fatema Bibi, the state committee member of the Party and leader of All India Revolutionary Women’s Organization, Comrade Pradip Singh Thakur from All India Krantikari Kisan Sabha and Comrade R. Manasaiya from Trade Union Centre of India addressed the meeting. JJBPRC leaders like Ahad Ali Mollah, Asura Bibi, Jahanara Bibi, Sattar Molla and many others made speeches reiterating the pledge to hold high the banner of resistance and continue the fight for people’s democracy so that the sacrifice of the martyrs would not be in vain.

Comrade KNR said in his speech that the Bhangar movement had created history by challenging the neoliberal system and put forward an alternative model. He stressed upon the importance to develop a country-wide people’s alternative from the inspiration of Bhangar movement. Comrade Alik coordinated the session while Comrade Sharmistha Choudhury was the last speaker. 

At 7.30 pm the cultural programme began with songs presented by famous mass singer Comrade Asim Giri. Several singers sang and the show was led by Comrade Asim Giri and Comrade Lida Chakraborty. Lida sang some of the mass songs of legendary Hemanga Biswas. Finally, a drama – ‘Adab’ – based on the subject of communal harmony and written by famous communist writer Samaresh Basu was staged by the cultural troop of People’s Brigade. n

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.

II

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.

III

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.

IV

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 [1928], 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.

V

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!

VI

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

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The Communist movement in India has a history of almost a century after the salvos of October Revolution in Russia brought Marxism-Leninism to the people of India who were engaged in the national liberation struggle against the British colonialists. It is a complex and chequered history.