To comrade MB Singh, General Secretary, NCP(Mashal) on behalf of the Central Committee of the CPI(ML) Red Star on the occasion of its 8th Congress

Dear Comrade,

On behalf of the Central Committee of the CPI(ML) Red Star, I extend revolutionary fraternal greetings to the Central Committee of the NCP(Mashal) and to the 8th Congress of your Party. Our two parties have a history of four decades of fraternal relations, and our close relation based on proletarian internationalism has stood the test of time. We hope you shall successfully complete the 8th Party Congress in a revolutionary atmosphere taking up the revolutionary tasks at national and international level.

The 8th Congress of your Party is taking place at a critical time when the imperialist system is intensifying its aggressive acts against the world people. At the same time, the inter-imperialist contradictions are also sharpening in newer forms like the trade war. Imperialist powers, especially US imperialism and its NATO allies are trying to perpetuate their hegemony by threatening Venezuela in Latin America, Iran in West Asia and other countries with armed intervention. With US and NATO backing the Zionist Israeli fascists are intensifying the genocide of the Palestinians. The imperialists are intensifying the plunder and oppression against the people of the neo-colonially dependent countries including India and Nepal.

At the same time, as our 11th Party Congress has pointed out, the Indian government, instead of standing with the South Asian countries and developing fraternal relations based on equality and non-interference in internal affairs, is continuing its expansionist policies against them fulfilling its role as a junior partner of US imperialism in the region. It is not because India has become an imperialist country as some friends like to think, but because of the comprador nature of its ruling classes who are dove-tailing India with the hegemonic interests of imperialist powers. While the CPI(ML) Red Star stead-fastedly stand with you and the people of Nepal, we in India still have to complete the People’s Democratic Revolution by overthrowing the still surviving imperialist yoke made more repressive under neo-liberal policies and corporatizatiion.

We in India, as you are aware, are facing the intensifying challenge posed by the corporate-saffron fascist regime guided by the RSS parivar and backed by the forces of international capital. After the just concluded elections which has ended with the return of these neo-fascist forces with more strength, we are afraid that its expansionist policies against its neighbouring countries may be further intensified. But, as a fraternal party we shall firmly stand with you, as earlier we have stood with you when the Modi government had blocked goods traffic, including vital petroleum, to Nepal.

As members of ICOR (International Co-ordination of Revolutionary Parties and Organisations), we are already working closely on all fronts upholding proletarian internationalism. Let us strive hard to develop our fraternal relations more closely in the coming days. We once again wish all success to your 8th Party Congress.

Long Live ICOR!

Long Live the Fraternal Relations Between NCP(Mashal) and CPI(ML) Red Star!

With fraternal greetings,

KN Ramachandran

General Secretary

CPI(ML) Red Star n

What happened during last three months was a feverish and acrimonious election campaign for the 17th Lok Sabha.  The results of these elections, giving almost a two third majority to NDA in the new Lok Sabha announced on 23rd May, has surprised not only the mainstream opposition parties, but all the progressive, democratic, struggling people’s forces who were campaigning against and leading numerous struggles against it. If Modi led BJP had won the 2014 elections with the slogan of Sub ke Sath Sab ka Vikas, during the last five years all the major initiatives his government took including demonetization, GST,  intensification of corporatization of all sectors etc had led to highest rates of unemployment during last 45 years, acute distress in farm sector leading to suicides by hundreds of farmers in many states, serious slow down of the economy and growing ecological destruction making the climate change like phenomena severe day by day, to mention a few of the serious consequences. At the same time pursuing aggressive saffronization, spreading politics of hatred, targeting the religious minorities and dalits, etc majoritarian divide and rule politics is taken to extreme levels.

In this situation the resistance against Modi rule went on increasing, first through numerous people’s struggles and then, as reflected in electoral reverses, especially in the defeat of BJP led state governments in Rajasthan, MP and Chhattisgarh six months ago. All these factors had pointed towards possible defeat of Modi government in the 2019 elections.

The mainstream opposition parties, though none of them had led any major campaigns or struggles against the Modi rule during the last five years, were expected to pick up these issues and the failure of Modi rule in implementing any of its major promises of 2014, for defeating Modi and replacing it with their alliance after the elections.

But as the campaign was starting by February, with the militants’ attack on the CRPF convoy at Pulwama, followed by the Balakot air strike against the terrorist base inside Pakistan, Modi turned around the possible anti-incumbency against his government by projecting the national security matters and muscular nationalism targeting Pakistan, the Muslim minorities and the Kashmiri people’s movement through a protracted, colourful and extremely expensive sectarian political campaign, with the slogan: We will enter your house and kill you, This is New India.  Modi, Amit Shah and other leaders, blatantly violating the Model Code of Conduct rules of the Election Commission, were asking the people to vote BJP in the name of the Pulwama martyrs, for the Balakot ‘surgical’ strike, for Modi’s army! The first accused in Malegaon terrorist attack, Pragya Thakur was fielded as candidate, further intensifying the saffron campaign. In this process, the identity politics of the caste based parties were, in the main, submerged by the frenzied saffronization of the RSS parivar.

Surprising its opponents, the BJP and its NDA allies led a presidential style campaign, appealing for each vote to their candidates as a vote for Modi, projecting the election as a referendum for him. It was turned in to a jingoistic campaign with an anti-Muslim political narrative. The opposition parties, especially, the Congress, could not or failed to expose this sinister BJP campaign organized with the connivance of a majority in the EC. Besides, while the BJP even made concessions to forge unity of the NDA parties, the opposition, mainly Congress, failed to forge unity among themselves, or to put forward a unified approach. In this situation, utilizing huge corporate funds, services of the media, planned use of social media, EC majority’s connivance which went to the extent of planning the seven phase elections to suit Modi’s public meetings and road shows, to allowing him to stage a sort of ‘road show’ at Kedarnth and Badrinath on 18th and 19th May, on the day of silent campaign and the last polling day, Modi and company created conditions for its victory.

The disunited opposition parties who have no alternate vision about the corporatization speeded by Modi, who pursue caste based politics compromising with Hindutva ideology, easily crumbled before the Modi-Shah juggernaut, helping BJP led NDA to a massive victory, polling more than 50% of votes in 17 states and spreading menacingly to W. Bengal, Odisha like states also.  And, with the connivance of the EC and utilizing loop holes in the present electoral system including the use of EVMs against which criticism are increasing day by day, Modi could outsmart the divided opposition easily. As far as the traditional left, the ‘Left Front’ parties, are concerned, they have refused to take lessons from their hitherto debacle due to pursuing neoliberal policies. So, even after getting unseated in W. Bengal and Tripura, they repeat same mistakes in their last resort, Kerala. In front of Modi- Shah offensive they were swept away in Bengal and Tripura, and severely mauled in Kerala

The coming to power of Modi for another five years with added strength poses a serious challenge before the toiling masses as well as to the struggling left forces who waged a campaign, fielding candidates in few seats, with the slogan: “Defeat corporate-saffron fascist Modi rule, Build people’s Alternative”. While actively participating in all movements to weaken the saffron fascist forces, they should take up the question of building people’s alternative against increasing corporate-saffron fascist threat more actively,  striving to participate in all forms of struggles with the orientation of developing independent communist assertion. It calls for concrete analysis of the present developments leading to the victory of Modi, mobilizing all struggling forces for launching people’s movements against it. The growing ultra rightist, neo-fascist challenge, a growing danger at international level itself, can be confronted and defeated only by putting forward an alternative manifesto for democracy and development, and mobilizing the toiling masses and all oppressed sections for people’s democracy and socialism. Let us take up this challenge with firm resolve

Elitist ‘high culture’ of political Hindutva is attempting to make significant inroads in the mass culture of the Indian society. Cultural practices promoted by the right wing Hindutva forces are gaining popular support among the Indian middle and upper classes. We have reached a point of crisis in our cultural history which demands intervention by the forces concerned with the growing trend of vicious Hindu nationalist culture in our society. Divisive communal ideologies are brazenly propagated in defiance of our constitutional principles. If you have not noticed this you are not paying attention.

Hegemonic mono-cultural drive unleashed by the corporate sponsored right wing forces has placed religion at the centre of cultural and social practices. The Brahminical version of Hinduism is made popular among the Indian masses in the name of Indian Nationalism. This in turn creates ground for the rise of Muslim radicalism too. The communal divide thus formed is a breeding ground for ideas of religious sectarianism. Ideas of post-modernism are reflected in the new mass culture through revival of the traditional in the banal contemporary forms. TV soaps, films based on hyper nationalist themes, hate clips on social media, etc., are examples of manifestation of these post modernist trends. Neglect of fine art institutions, interference and interventions in the regional literary festivals by the saffron brigade, using censorship to muffle expression of dissent through media, saffronisiation of the cultural events are the examples of project of de-secularisation of our culture.

Authoritarian regime at the centre is set to wipe out liberal democratic values in our culture. Rise of communalism in India has posed a challenge before the advancement of progressive cultural movement. Mass culture is developing in a direction of serving the interests of imperialism and ruling classes of our country. Peoples interests are being ignored, artistic freedom is being impinged and real cultural progress is facing opposition from the pretentious Hindutva Cultural brigade.

All concerned artists and cultural activists should therefore actively resist this communal onslaught on our culture. We should also do all we can to promote secular popular culture. We should form action networks on issues concerning the project of opposition to the communalisation of Indian culture. It is also necessary to support the civil society institutions struggling to protect their independence from authoritarian forces. All our efforts to save democratic space for art and culture should be combined with struggle against neoliberalism which is the real prop for Neo conservatives of Hindu National variety.

Even liberal democratic values cannot be realised without addressing the real issues of social and economic inequalities in our society. We should therefore also strive to give form to the aspirations of the victims of these inequalities through our works of art and literature with a renewed vigour. This appeal is meant to address the cultural activists and the artists to defend our composite culture and strengthen the movement for cultural advancement of our country.

  • Reject the ‘high culture’ of political Hindutva!
  • Let us join the struggle to preserve and promote the syncretic traditions of our culture! 
  • Protest against the onslaught on the basic cultural rights and freedoms of Indian people!
  • Get active, rise up!

[Tuhin, Pravin Nadkar, Aseem Giri, Ravi Paloor, Samar Sengupta and Rajendra Prasad Singh on behalf of All India Coordination Council of Revolutionary Cultural Forum] n

We don’t want missiles, nuclear bombs and war, but we need bread, peace and equality.

Cultural evening was organized at Vrindavan Hall, Raipur (Chhattisgarh) on 31th March against yuddhonmad and communal hate by Revolutionary Cultural Forum (kasam). Com. Tuhin, its general secretary, highlighting the purpose of the program, said that today the whole country is severely affected by the spread of the poison of blind nationalism and yuddhonmad. As a result, unemployment, inflation, poverty as well as attacks on the common people by corporate forces are increasing. He explained that the cultural evening has been organized at Raipur as part of the countrywide campaign to raise the voice of peace, understanding and secularism against war mongering. The main attraction of the cultural evening was the participation of the famous singer Asim Giri, a member of the central committee of the Revolutionary Cultural Forum, who presented many popular songs in Bangla and Hindi along with lyrics.

A solo act  No. 13 Prasad was presented by the well-known cultural activist from Jabalpur, Samar Sengupta, also a member of the central committee of the RCF. He also presented Kaifi Azmi’s Nazam and presented the song “ Katasa-Kasa Step-step “ written by Shalove Singh Ram Singh. There was presentation of public songs, poetry / saswatext and laghnatika spreading messages of anti-communal, anti-violence humane values by the cultured personnel from Bhilai and Raipur. In the program, journalist and cultural activists, Rajkumar Soni, Bipasha Rao, ipta Bhilai’s Manimaya and Sucheta Mukherjee presented joshile jansongs and poetry lessons (written by Uday Prakash and Liladhar Mandalai). The presentation of short poetry and Ravindra Sangeet against the war hysteria by the poets Shivani Moitra, Aada cultural forum and the poet Nikhil Bang Parishad, poetry by Vijender of Bhilai, all of these were rich contributions. Presiding over the program, the city’s senior repertoire Bodhisava Chatterjee said in his statement that we do not need missiles, guns, nuclear bombs and no war, but want rise-bread, peace and equality. He spoke of anti-war books and films by director Michael Moore and the need to defeat the communal fascism which is the major threat today. Ravindra Yadav of Raipur conducted the program. In the program many cultured personnel, intellectuals, students and youth attended. n

As apprehended, according to reports, the first phase of elections on 11th April witnessed widespread malfunctioning of the EVMs in many places where elections took place. The second phase of elections on 18th April also proved that EVMs are faulty and they cannot be relied on. For the last one decade CPI(ML) Red Star is demanding that EVMS should be replaced with the ballot system as done in vast majority of the countries. It is a good sign that all the opposition parties are also upholding this view now. But the Election Commission is adamant to persist with them and was not ready even to increase the number of VVPATs till the Supreme Court intervened. Still the demand to use 50% VVPATS is not accepted. There are reports that this system is also malfunctioning in many areas delaying the election process. The common feature is that everywhere EVMs are favouring BJP, that is even when button is pressed for a non-BJP party, vote goes to Lotus symbol! It itself shows the extent of malpractice and that it favours the ruling party. In our Election Manifesto we have demanded that:”Since the possibility of insertion of malicious software in EVMs and manipulation of voting preferences being already proved, immediately we should return to the ballot system”. In view of widespread complaints about EVMs, CPI(ML) Red Star reiterates this demand. n

Leaders of CPI(M) are very angry because the Congress president Rahul Gandhi has decided to contest from Wayanad seat in Kerala also, besides Amethi. BJP is not a major force in Kerala.  It is difficult for it to get even one seat. There the main fight is between CPI(M) led LDF and Congress led UDF.  Whoever wins in this contest, all the 20 MPs shall support the anti-BJP government coming to power at Delhi. So, Rahul is contesting not against BJP at Wayanad, but against the LDF which is staunch opponent of BJP. This will only weaken the anti-BJP forces, according to them. They are angry and feel very hurt, because outside Kerala, either they are in alliance with Congress as in TN and Odisha, or supporting Congress in vast majority of the seats in other states except in W. Bengal and Tripura.  In this situation, its leadership asserts that it will strive to defeat Rahul Gandhi in Wayanad, and try for non Congress leadership to the anti-BJP alternative.

What is surprising is the naivety they exhibit about the class character and politics of Congress. Was it not the Congress which led the so-called liberation struggle in Kerala against the undivided CPI led ministry in 1959 and dismissed it under this pretext even when it had majority support? Was it not the Congress Prime Minister Indira Gandhi who imposed internal emergency in the country? Was it not Congress which allowed the RSS criminals to demolish the Babri Masjid in 1992? Was it not the Congress government which imposed the neo-liberal/corporate policies in the country? Were not all these and numerous other similar policies including its dynastic character and the bitter experience of the masses under the UPA rule which gave golden opportunity for ultra right and neo-fascist BJP to come to power with majority creating many illusions? In spite of all these, it was the CPI(M) and the LF parties who called for anti-BJP alliance led by Congress!

The problem with CPI(M) is that even now they refuse to see Congress as it is. Congress is not responsible if in 1955 Krushchov, then Soviet communist party leader characterized it as a predominantly national bourgeois party, when actually it was/is a party of comprador big bourgeoisie-big landlords, and if the then CPI leadership mechanically followed it. Similarly, if CPI and then CPI and CPI(M) abandoned the necessity for developing independent left assertion while utilizing parliamentary form of struggle and building a left alternative based on a people oriented program long back, and degenerated to the line of peaceful transition to socialism and parliamentarism, they themselves are responsible for it. They refuse to recognize that it is this degeneration which led to their decimation in Bengal and Tripura, and the threat of severe defeat in Kerala also in the present Lok Sabha elections and in future if Rahul Gandhi succeeds to polarize the minorities and upper caste Hindus in his favour. More than anything else it is this fear which has led its leaders to come out with such outbursts against his contesting in Wayanad seat.

Congress was the main party of the ruling classes in India till BJP replaced it in 2014. Its evaluation is that, in spite of all setbacks it has suffered and its organizational weaknesses, only it is capable to lead the anti-BJP offensive in this election. It is this arrogance which led it to enter UP elections in a big way, weakening the possibility for the SP-BSP combine inflicting a major defeat to BJP. Except in Kerala, TN, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Bihar it has not gone for any major alliance with other parties. By fielding Rahul Gandhi in Wayanad it wants to brighten its possibilities in Kerala, TN and Karnataka and to become the leading party in the Lok Sabha after the elections. While pursuing this arrogant path, true to its class character, neither it is prepared to accommodate other anti-BJP parties in a grand alliance to defeat the BJP which is posing the major threat to whatever is positive in Indian polity, nor it is prepared to reverse its neo-liberal/corporate policies or the communal-caste appeasement.

Nobody can wish away this reality. That is why the CPI(ML) Red Star has given the call for striving hard to defeat BJP from power by supporting the candidates capable of defeating BJP at all India level, while fielding candidates in limited seats for building up program based people’s alternative by strengthening independent left assertion and organizing mass political platform of struggling left, democratic, secular forces including people’s movements and organizations of oppressed classes and sections. Instead of pursuing such a Marxist-Leninist path, the CPI(M) leadership is pursuing the opportunist path of sailing in two boats, on the one hand  collaborating with the ruling class parties and implementing their policies wherever it comes to power, and on the other trying to pose as the Left or Left Democratic Front, which it is not. The whole discussions within the CPI(M) ranging from the debate in its last year’s party congress on the nature of the resistance to the threat posed by the Modi rule to the present outbursts against Rahul Gandhi’s candidature in Wayanad smacks of this opportunism, this refusal to seek truth from facts.

To be precise, CPI(M)’ s frustration and overreaction in the context of Rahul’s Wayanad candidature directly stem from its basic ideological-political weakness in concretely evaluating the inherently anti-Communist Congress as the leading party of Indian ruling classes till the BJP taking over that position. n

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.