In 2020 September Issue of Red Star, under the title “India’s Economy is projected for the Biggest-ever Contraction”, quoting both international sources and official Indian agencies, we have briefly outlined the unravelling economic scenario for India in 2020. Accordingly, IMF, World Bank and ADB, together with India’s own Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation (MoSPI), RBI, and the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), have come to a consensus on the projection that the Indian economy was moving to a 4.5 percent contraction in 2020. Some independent researchers even predicted a shrinkage of India’s GDP from $2.11 trillion as estimated in 2019 to $ 1.9 trillion in 2021. Of course, independent institutions such as the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning (CESP), had even went a step ahead warning an impending 15-22 percent contraction for the economy. Among the factors identified by these studies that led to this historic downturn, the most important was the prolonged, ill-conceived and coercive and authoritarian lockdown superimposed by Modi.
However, most of these agencies were unwilling to have a close scrutiny of the economic performance of the 6 years (2014-20) of Modi’ rule and more or less were concentrating on the pandemic-link of the economic crisis including the regime’s ill-conceived policies that accentuated it. Though India’s per capita GDP has been one of the lowest in the world (140th rank according to 2019 estimate), corporate centres along with Modi government were still spreading the illusion that by 2024 India’s economy would move to a $5 trillion size. Contrary to the perspectives put forward by well-meaning scholars that Indian economy under Modi has been plunging throughout, the neoliberal pundits and a many academics were reluctant to have a concrete evaluation of the crisis confronted by the broad masses of Indian people. Though a general agreement is there among them that lockdown is the immediate cause for economic reverse, still they are in tandem with the official view that strict lockdown has helped India keep case fatality rate lower than counties like the US, the UK, France, Japan and Italy.
However, following the Economic Review report for August prepared by Indian Finance Ministry that was released following the spread of the information that GDP numbers for the first quarter ending June showed the worst ever quarterly performance by the Indian economy, the government was forced to willy-nilly admit thus: "Data now available for the April-June quarter confirms a significant world-wide year-on-year contraction of output resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. US economy has contracted by 9.1 per cent, UK, France, Spain, Italy and Germany by 21.7 per cent, 18.9 per cent, 22.1 per cent, 17.7 per cent and 11.3 per cent respectively with the overall Euro area contracting by 15.0 per cent and Japan has contracted by 9.9 per cent. Relative to these advanced nations, India's GDP contraction at 23.9 per cent is slightly higher." And it is to justify this unparalleled collapse which Modi regime whitewashes as “slightly higher” without any scientific basis, that the Finance Ministry claims the “stringent lockdown” as helping the nation to contain its COVID-19 case fatality rate to 1.78 percent, as compared to 3.04 per cent in the US, 12.35 per cent in the UK, 10.09 per cent in France, 1.89 per cent in Japan and 13.18 per cent in Italy. On the contrary, as is evident from IMF’s Gita Gopinath’s unkind comment on India’s GDP contraction as “worst among G-20 countries”, neoliberal centres are unwilling to take Modi regime’s explanation as taken for granted. And of late, Lancet, the renowned medical Journal has vehemently criticised both Modi government and the ICMR under its control for covering up the gruesome pandemic situation in India.
Coming to the economic scene, the 24 percent collapse in GDP in the first quarter (April, May, June) of the financial year 2020-21 has gone against the calculations of the ruling classes. In common parlance, it implies that the total value of goods and services produced in India in April, May and June this year is 24 percent less than the total value of goods and services produced in India in the same period last year. In fact, sector-wise analysis of data shows a more frightening situation. In terms of the gross value added (GVA), barring agriculture where GVA grew by 3.4 percent (on account of favourable weather good monsoon) as claimed by government, all other sectors of the economy saw an absolute collapse. Thus, GVA in construction sector has shrunk by 50 percent, in trade, hotels and similar services by 47 percent, manufacturing by 39 percent and mining by 23 percent. According to some estimate, the entire economic activity during the quarter has been only 25 percent of what it was during the same period in 2019. The job-loss due to the collapse of the relatively labour-intensive sectors mainly comprising informal/unorganised activities alone is estimated at around 140 million. Meanwhile, the Express Research Group of MoSPI has made the startling revelation that compared with the first quarter of the previous financial year, individual consumption expenditure that comprises around 56 percent of GDP experienced a decline worth Rs. 531803 crore (the decline is estimated at 27 percent) and private business investment that is composed of 32 percent of GDP collapsed by Rs. 533003 crore (the decline is estimated at around 50 percent) in the first quarter of the current financial year.
The outcome of this unprecedented decline in respect of the two biggest “growth engines” (i.e., individual consumption and private investment which form economy’s driving force on account of the continuous downsizing of the government expenditure resulting in a decline in its share in GDP to around 10 percent) of the neoliberal economy that accounted for 88 percent of India’s total GDP, The government has no data regarding the millions of informal/unorganised workers, migrant and daily workers who lost means of livelihood and employment, though unofficial estimates count them in the range of 12-14 crore. As estimated by CMIE, around 21 million white collar professional employees and 5 million industrial workers have been sacked in India during the past one year alone that does not all include self-employed professionals like doctors, lawyers, chartered accountants, etc. As a matter of fact, the 23.9 percent GDP contraction in the first quarter of 2020-21 as estimated by Indian Finance Ministry, on account of paucity of data, is not based on the real state of the economy pertaining to the informal sector. Therefore, as pointed out by US-based neoliberal experts like Raghuram Rajan, if the damage to the informal sector is also taken into consideration, then the economic collapse will be worst in sharp contrast to the GDP drop of 12.4 per cent in Italy and 9.5 per cent in the US, two of the most COVID-19 affected economies. Hence, as the global economy is going to contract by 4.3 percent this year (as calculated by UNCTAD, this year the world will experience a complete wipe-out of $ 6 trillion in terms of GDP –equivalent to the combined GDP of Brazil, India and Mexico), as estimated by MOSPI, Indian economy is going to collapse at the rate of 7 percent in the current year!
However, the very same neoliberal centres who now expose India as the worst performing economy were unanimous in characterising it as the “best performing country” in the world in 2014 with a GDP growth rate of around 7 percent when Modi government assumed power 6 years ago. Since then, what happened has been an irreversible downward trend in GDP growth rate along with the intensifying poverty, deprivation and pauperisation of the broad masses of toiling people as manifested in the historic decline in production, biggest unemployment in five decades, horrific levels of inequality and corruption. Though already discussed much, let us go through a few indices to unravel this historic plunge of India during 2014-20. For instance, in 2014 India’s ranking in Global Hunger Index (prepared by the International Food Policy Research Institute) was 55. Under Modi, within two years it steadily declined to 100 in 2017 and further to 102 in 2019 among 117 countries in the world and much below that of all South Asian countries such as Sri Lanka (66), Nepal (73), Bangladesh (88) and Pakistan (94) in 2019. Regarding hunger and deprivation of children, an indication of the seriousness of poverty and deprivation, Indian position is despicable. In India, only 9.6% of all children between 6 to 23 months of age are given a minimum acceptable diet and medical care. India is also notorious for under-5 mortality rates and prevalence of undernourishment owing to inadequate food. And, as an indicator of inequality and deprivation, India’s rank out of 189 countries on the 2019 Human Development Index released by UNDP is 129. Of course, there is no dearth of statistics highlighting the extent of poverty, hunger, inequality, unemployment, corruption, etc. in India.
Let us see the other side of the picture too. Under Modi regime during the same period, the concentration of income and wealth with the superrich Indians witnessed a sky-rocketing. For instance, in 2013, i.e., before Modi’s ascendance to power, the number of dollar billionaires (those having assets worth $100 crore and above) in India was 63. After Modi’s coming in mid-2014, their number steadily grew to 90 and further to 138 in 2019. Ambani who leads this list with $ 8060 crore (equal to around Rs. 6 lakh crore) is the fourth richest in the world today. In the absence of reliable domestic data, we have to depend on international sources such as Forbes, Oxfam, Credit Suisse, etc. to get a real picture on this. While 53 percent of the entire national wealth is gobbled up by just one percent of the superrich, the poorest bottom half of the population owns only around 4 percent of the national wealth as of now. When Modi came to power if one percent of the superrich appropriated around 50 percent of the additional wealth generated in a year, on account of his superimposition of corporate saffron-fascism, today this proportion has grown to almost 80 percent, quite unheard of anywhere in the world!
Over the last six years of Modi regime, this horrific wealth concentration on the one hand, and hitherto unknown levels of deprivation and destitution of the masses on the other, have revealingly taken place along with a process of India’s economic transformation from “best performing” as estimated in the 7 percent GDP growth rate in 2014 (as recognised by both Indian international agencies) to “worst performing” as is manifested in the 7 percent contraction of GDP as now admitted by the Indian Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation (MoSPI). Obviously, the roots of this destructive process are not caused by any extraneous or external disturbances but a logical corollary of the fascistic “surgical strikes” directed against the people ranging from the superimposed demonetisation to the coercive lockdown pursued by Modi without any economic or medical basis. Demonetisation in 2016 that terrorised and subjugated the people in the guise of dealing with black money was an ingenious move for an unprecedented concentration and centralisation of wealth in most corrupt corporate, crony capitalists. The GST that followed (since mid-2017) was also aimed at bringing India’s goods and services market under the firm control of corporates after demolishing the federal structure of the Constitution. Both these neoliberal-fascist offensives that may be characterised as economic holocausts led the entire economy to a frozen state, brought all economic activities to a standstill and paralysed the agricultural sector that provide sustenance to 50 percent of the people and destroyed the informal and traditional sectors which are the sole source of livelihood for 95 percent of the 52 crore workforce in India.
The whole package of far-right neoliberal polices and direct measures such as pro-corporate tax exemptions, neoliberal labour and environmental deregulations, series of stimulus and economic packages that directly channelled trillions worth of public money into the coffers of corporate thugs and outright loot of public sector banks coupled with the fascistic demonetisation that at a stroke wiped out 86 percent of currency in circulation quite unheard of in modern history, followed by GST and so on have already led India to a historic economic stagnation on the eve of COVID-19 itself. The fabulous wealth thus appropriated by corporates, both foreign and Indian, according to the logic of neoliberal accumulation, instead of contributing anything towards employment-oriented productive sphere, actually went into money-spinning speculative spheres or for further appropriation of public assets by a handful of the superrich billionaires. Consequently, on the eve of COVID-19 itself, Indian economy had entered into the biggest-ever contraction in its history along with its concomitant manifestations in all spheres.
Historically, crisis has been an opportunity for fascists and Modi knows the art of effectively utilising it from his experience of heading both state and central administration. Thus without even consulting the parliament or opposition, and with a four-hour notice, and quite reminiscent of the manner in which demonetisation was implemented, he superimposed the most stringent and most coercive lockdown that continued at a stretch for two months on an economy which, as we noted in earlier articles, was already in ICU. This highly authoritarian and destructive move which is unjustified and uncalled for while collapsed the entire industry and service sectors, also impacted the agricultural sector due to abrupt collapse in demand and freezing of trade and transportation. Only the fascistic administration and its oppressive instrument such as police required to implement the lockdown remained functional. The outcome: India has become the worst performing economy in the world during 2020 April-June quarter.
Now if we take the entire Asian countries, the estimated COVID-triggered economic contraction for this part of the world during this period now hovers around an average of around 6 percent, even as the real economic collapse of India may be larger than the 24 percent now estimated by government’s own agencies. For instance, former chief statistician Pranab Sen had projected a GDP contraction to the extent of 35 per cent if the real situation in the informal sector is also taken in to consideration. Therefore, COVID-19 is only partial explanation for India’s current economic collapse. Rather, it is directly connected with Modi regime’s far-right fascistic policies that serves corporate capital since 2014. The present unparalleled economic collapse of India is corporatisation-induced. To reiterate again without much elaboration, as we have already said, unless this trend is reversed through an appropriate political intervention, the corporate-saffron fascist regime will again try to deploy all avenues at its disposal to carry forward its disastrous pro-corporate agenda and put heavier burdens on the backs of common people.
A vast section of progressive, democratic, leftist, revolutionary people are in favour of forging a broad-based joint front against the Fascists – that is against the Modi Government and RSS and Sangh Parivar and mainly against Fascism. In essence this aspiration is commendable and cannot be differed with. A broad-based, anti-fascist front is required to fight against and defeat fascism. This is an undeniable task of the communist revolutionaries. The contemporary situation is also fully ripening towards an upsurge of fascism. Fascist forces are going ahead increasingly aggressively to execute their policies by hook or by crook. So there is no debate or difference regarding the making of an anti-fascist, broad-based front. The central task of every class conscious proletariat is to combat fascism. To combat fascism is the central task of the vanguard section of the proletariat of the party of the proletariat. But the point is how to build up the broad-based, anti-fascist front? How will it evolve? Will it evolve through table talk? Will it evolve through the unity of struggles within parliament? Will it evolve through extra parliamentary struggles? What is the way to develop a broad-based, anti-fascist front?
To understand this we have to first understand the characteristics of fascism and the perspective of rise of fascism in our country. Our party CPI(ML) Red Star has defined BJP and Sangh Parivaar as corporate Hindu fascists. That means this is the most reactionary representatives of corporate capitalist class and through spreading Manuvadi or Brahminical ideology they are creating their ultra-nationalist base so that all people’s issues can be relegated to the background. So if we have to fight against fascism we have to fight against corporate onslaught as well as Brahminical and ultra-chauvinist ideology. Without fighting against both of these, no anti-fascist struggle can be developed. Now the point arises, is it possible to fight against both at the same time? The answer is, ultimately it may not be possible. In the ultimate sense, the necessity may arise to choose the principal aspect between these two things. But what is the importance of saying ultimatesense and not immediate sense? Actually, Brahminical ideology and corporate onslaught share a reciprocal relationship – Hindutva is the ideology while corporate interest is the class interest.
So basically if we want to fight against fascism that means we have to fight its class position, ideological position, philosophical position, political position, everything. Fascism is not a single aspect. It comprises the whole of the reactionary aspect of the ruling class. So what will be the minimum programme to fight against fascism? Actually there is no minimum or maximum programme against fascism. If we think along that line, we may end up in the trap of fascism. We have to fight against the reactionary upsurge. In that struggle, a particular aspect may develop as the principal aspect.
In the light of the above, let us discuss the current situation. Some sections are of the opinion that an anti-fascist front can be developed by bringing together the entire parliamentary opposition. Is that correct in this situation? Are all sections of the parliamentary opposition fighting against fascism or at least fascistic aggression? Let us take the example of the main parliamentary opposition, Congress. Is it fighting against fascism? The answer is no. They are not fighting against fascism. They did not come up with a single statement of protest against Umar Khalid’s arrest. On the question of selling Railways, Banks etc., they are totally silent as because aggressive privatization is also their policy. Regarding the Indo-China border conflict, Rahul Gandhi Tweeted to Narendra Modi asking whether the PM will fight against China or not, in fact provoking the development of a border conflict into a full-fledged war. The abrogation of Article 370 did not happen in a day. The final stroke may have been Modi’s, but Congress was responsible for diluting the Article beyond measure, denying Kashmiris the right to self-determination and exacerbating the situation in the Valley. BJP simply lifted the ‘fig leaf cover’. The Congress made some half-hearted protests against abrogation of Article 370 but never fought even verbally for the right of Kashmiri people. On the question of Ram temple, Priyanka Gandhi said that her father Rajiv Gandhi had opened the door of Ramlala, and through this continuity today the Ram Temple is being established. Ex Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Kamal Nath sent 16 silver bricks for the building of the Ram Temple. In the crucial matter of paying wages to workers during the lockdown period, the Joint Parliamentary Committee speedily gave its opinion that owners cannot be forced to pay wages to workers for the lockdown period. The Congress did not oppose the recommendation. Actually, if we go a little deep, we will see that most of the anti-people economic policies that the BJP is trying to implement had their origin in the Congress and UPA era. BJP has simply made it more apparent and vulgar. That is the only difference.
Now let us come to the Parliamentary Left. On paper, at least, they have a separate policy from the Congress or the BJP. We do not say that they are the representatives of corporate monopoly capital. They had a tremendous responsibility of fighting against fascism from the beginning because they were the biggest left and democratic force in society. Besides, they had been in power in three states for decades. So they did actually have the opportunity of implementing an alternative policy to that of the ruling class. But through their policy of compromise they totally adopted the neo-liberal path in all states where they are and were in power. The people’s uprisings against the Left Front government’s anti-people and corporate-friendly policies in Singur, Nandigram, Lalgarh etc. were the offshoots of their policy of compromise. When they were in power in West Bengal they implemented the draconian UAPA law at will and they are still doing the same in Kerala. And even if we leave aside the point of the alliance with BJP in 1989 parliamentary election, can it be forgotten that at the time of Jyoti Basu RSS was permitted to hold a parade at the Maidan? Further, all of us remember how Advani conducted his Rath Yatra in West Bengal, unchallenged by the government and administration.
Many comrades are now insisting that we should not dwell on the past – on what the Left Front did when it was in power in West Bengal – because the situation is now so serious that if the Parliamentary Left retains a grain of fighting element then that has to be utilized in our fight against fascism. Basically, this is not to be disagreed with. But even if we forget the past and look at their (Parliamentary Left) present, we shall see that they have made no departure from the past. In fact, after losing power in two states (Tripura and West Bengal), they are moving farther to the right. In Bengal they have made an alliance with Congress. We have mentioned above the present role of the Congress in brief. Actually, it is the bitter truth that the CPIM-led Left Front is not as keen on fighting against fascism as they are on coming back to power in the state government of Bengal and retaining state power in Kerala. All their policies are directed towards coming to power in Bengal in the upcoming Assembly elections. So their principal target in Bengal is not the fascist BJP but the Trinamool Congress. Therefore they forged an alliance with the Congress. It is important to note that they did not form an anti-fascist front with the Congress; they have formed an anti-TMC front with the Congress. The Left Front is courting the Congress in a state like Bengal where the people completely and consistently rejected the Congress after 1977 because of their long years of semi-fascistic rule. The Left Front is courting the Congress in a country where the Congress was in power for several decades and brought things to such a pass that the BJP was able to win the votes of the masses. Now this Congress is the ally of the Parliamentary Left! These ‘Left’ leaders even attended the birth anniversary of ex West Bengal Chief Minister Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy – hosted by the Congress – whose hands were bloodied by the brutal killings of workers, peasants and democratic people during his rule. Is it possible to resist fascism through this type of unholy alliance?
If we consider the process of coming to power of the BJP, we will see that they utilized the people’s wrath against the corruption and anti-people policies of the UPA government. In West Bengal too, there would have been no question of such a debacle of the Left Front if they had not shed common people’s blood in Singur, Nandigram, Lalgarh, Netai etc. But they have not learnt any lesson from their experience. They continue to advocate that what they had done in Singur, Nandigram and Lalgarh was absolutely correct. They loudly proclaim that if they come back to power they will set up Tata’s factory in Singur, that they had all along been right in snatching peasants’ land and handing it over to the Tatas. In this context, the CPIM has no difference with the BJP in Bengal, because BJP has also promised that if it comes to power in the state it will establish the factory in Singur! So how can the Parliamentary Left fight against the BJP and Sangh Parivar with the policy they are upholding and following?
Some comrades still say that in spite of all these, the Parliamentary Left are fighting against corporate loot in agriculture, against privatization and so on. We shall refrain from pointing out that even these in these struggles the role of the Parliamentary Left is at best half-hearted and they are certainly not utilizing the whole extent of their power and mass base in these struggles. Our position is that wherever such struggles are developing, however feebly, we have to stand with this struggle. Obviously such struggles are contributing to the resistance against fascism to some extent. But such struggles are not being led only by the Parliamentary Left. Every ruling class party in opposition, for the sake of retaining its mass base, is bound to take up some protest programmes against anti-people government policies. Even Shiv Sena has played a serious role against the installation of nuclear power project in Jaitapur in Maharashtra. The BJP’s labour wing, the BMS, is also against the auction of coal block and is part of that movement. So we cannot say that all these are part of the anti-fascist movement. Rather, we can take decision on that when we discuss the other side of the problem. That is, the Congress is not against corporate loot in agriculture. Even CPIM is not against the entry of corporate in agriculture. Neither the CPIM nor the Congress is against the entry of monopoly capital in retail trade. So what kind of resistance can they build up against fascism? The people of the country are well aware that after coming to power they will execute the very same policies that the BJP is implementing today. Appeasement of Hindutva fundamentalist forces is something that even the Parliamentary Left is engaged in. Recently, a CPIM leader went on record saying that Ram is God!
A projected mathematical majority against the BJP cannot resist fascism. Neither will such mathematical majority come to fruition if the Congress, CPIM-like forces cling on to corporate appeasement and Hindutva appeasement. If we cannot fight ideologically and politically, on the streets and in parliament, we cannot take on fascism. So an alternative revolutionary left force is necessary to resist this situation. As long as this force does not develop, the fight against fascism will go on in a distorted, half-hearted way. There is no hope that the Congress will fight the fascist policies of the BJP either on the streets or in Parliament or in the ideological sphere. Yet, we cannot rule out electoral support to any anti-BJP party in elections as long as a new force does not come up as an alternative. But instead of considering only electoral support to a certain extent, we think of forging electoral alliances with them, the soul of the movement against fascism will be lost. CPIM and Left Front are doing just that. At first they supported the BJP against the Congress and made it powerful, and now they are forging an alliance with the Congress, the tested representative of imperialist monopoly corporate capital
Even a cursory glance through what is happening in the country will convince anyone what a challenging, dangerous, and in many ways, a desperate situation our country and people are facing. To understand this one need not be a Marxist intellectual. From their day to day sufferings, vast majority of the people, the working class and all other oppressed classes and sections are recognizing this, in spite of massive Sanghi media trying to conceal and distort facts. After last six years of Modi rule, especially its last one year’s actions leave no doubt before anyone that it is fascism in action with majoritarian Hindutva as its theoretical base. Its foreign policy has integrated India within the strategic partnership with US led Asia-Pacific axis more than ever, with US administration using the India-China border standoff also to advance its inter-imperialist contradictions with China for world hegemony.
As expected, the parliamentary opposition, in the main, is in total disarray. On 5th August they were found competing with each other to support Ram mandir construction. They were not daring to question the way it was done as a state function, in effect throwing away the basic tenets of the Constitution, as they are also upholding the soft Hindutva line and do not want to openly oppose the Manuvadi Hindutva of RSS pursued by Modi rule. Except some token opposition within the parliamentary forums, they do not oppose the neoliberal/corporatization offensive taking place in practice. In spite of planned moves of Modi govt. to weaken and subvert its ministries as in MP, or Rajasthan or elsewhere, Congress is only competing with Modi to show themselves as more chauvinist, and more pro-Hindutva! Still the social democratic Left Front parties are following their class collaborationist subservience to Congress and other ruling class parties. There is nothing new in their approach, than waiting for BJP to fall due to its own weaknesses, almost waiting for a repetition of what happened in 2004! They do not want to think whether such a repetition is possible even after the RSS neo-fascism has so much entrenched in the country penetrating the state machinery and even Constitutional institutions! In spite of it, the CPI(M) led Left Front parties are tailing behind Congress and other ruling class parties. In the concrete conditions of today, though all these parliamentary opposition parties shall continue to have their dominance over the numerous people’s struggles coming up against Modi rule, they have no alternative to RSS neo-fascism.
The only force who can challenge the corporate fascist Modi rule with an alternative perspective and program, and inspire the masses are the communist revolutionary forces. They have a history of waging uncompromising struggle against neo-revisionist CPI(M) leadership, organizing the Naxalbari Uprising, bringing revolution back to the agenda, and challenging the neoliberal corporate rule and state terror during the last 4-5 decades. Only they, along with the revolutionary intellectuals have the vision of extending the struggle against counter-revolutionary policies of Modi rule, extending it to fighting the reactionary, obscurantist theoretical base of RSS.
But even after the fascists are riding rough shod over the people, abusing, lynching, torturing, suppressing all opposition voices, taking the plunder of labour and nature to unprecedented levels, opening the country to foreign and native corporates, imposing Brahmanical Manuvadi terror, some of the CR forces have betrayed the Naxalbari movement and have become apologists of neoliberal agenda of the ruling classes. The many decades of the CPI(M) led governments in W. Bengal, Tripura and Kerala, have only defamed the communist movement. On the other extreme, the left sectarian, anarchist forces have reduced themselves to nothing more than a cover for the state to suppress the masses. It was expected that upholding the glorious history of the Naxalbari Uprising, and struggling against these right and left deviations, the remaining forces shall unite to create a revolutionary left core to build a broad based anti-fascist front similar to the one which came up against the CAA/NPR/NRC. But, while we could initiate building this RLC with few like - minded forces, others are still hesitant, so that we have to continue this effort.
When the neo-fascist Modi government is consolidating its hold everywhere very fast, launching various attacks on the working class and oppressed people as a whole, especially the Muslim minority, dalits, Adivasis, women and other oppressed classes and sections, we have to carry forward the task of uniting major section of the CRs in the RLC with a common program to challenge the fascist forces and develop te anti-fascist front, while upholding the approach of “independent communist assertion” inside the movement,
Analysing present situation, the Central Committee has called for giving priority to party building. It calls for intensifying the ideological, political struggle for building a Bolshevik style powerful party winning over all revolutionary communists and new comrades to its fold, and for developing various struggles, campaigns and movements against the central and state governments, giving top priority to fight against the RSS/BJP rule.
Secondly, we have to strengthen the class/mass organizations and various people’s movements at all India level in which our party comrades are playing leading role. Present situation demands continuous efforts to develop them, give political orientation to them to play more active role in the anti-fascist movement. It also calls for developing struggles in all fields and winning new forces to build united fronts at all levels.
It is a Marxist-Leninist teaching, a repeatedly proved historical fact that without a strong Communist Party built on Bolshevik lines, surrounded by class/mass organizations and people’s movements, and according to the conditions of our country, all round offensive of the party cannot be developed. These initiatives cannot be developed fast. The party building by winning over the communist forces and to attract the new generation to the movement, calls for an intensive ideological political struggle as explained in the Resolution for Theoretical Offensive adopted by the 10th Party Congress. How the new forces can be attracted to the communist politics if those who claim themselves communists uphold China, which is only socialist in name, but an imperialist power contending for world hegemony with US imperialism, resorting to fascist oppression of the Uighur like nationalities and not prepared to resolve the national question within it, and not prepared to settle border problems with the neighbouring countries through bi-lateral discussions?
The new generation are not familiar with much of Marxist literature and are mostly ignorant of what happened in Soviet Union and China during their socialist days. They are witnessing the ‘mainstream communist parties’ wherever still in power, even after the severe setbacks in W. Bengal and Tripura for many decades, are still pursuing the neoliberal/corporate policies. They have nothing to offer except playing parliamentary politics as allies of one ruling class party or other, in state after states. They cannot be attracted to communist path, when they see and read how even those who claim to uphold Naxalbari Uprising and CPI(ML) heritage rush to join the band wagon of the very same forces by fighting against whom this great movement had emerged.
In spite of the severe setbacks suffered by the communist movement all over the world with all former socialist countries abandoning the socialist path, in the atmosphere of powerful anti-communist propaganda onslaughts by the imperialists and their lackeys, the new generation shall give credibility to the communist vision, and be attracted to it, only if, along with ideological political offensive, we take up the struggle against gender inequality, caste oppression, division based on caste system, the soft Hindutva vote bank politics, the ecological destruction leading to severe catastrophe, the development path based on capitalist lust and consumerist greed etc as integral part of the class struggle. Uncompromising struggle is called for against those parroting the mechanical materialist rhyme that all these problems need not be taken up from now, but shall disappear automatically once the communists capture power. After all that has happened in the world during last few decades including the disappearance of socialist countries, when the capitalist-imperialist system through neoliberal/corporate loot of labour and nature has transformed the whole world in its own image, if accordingly the Marxist theory and practice are not developed, and a new vision of development paradigm and democracy with all power to the people is presented before the people, the new generation is not going to come forward, daring to think, daring to struggle and daring to win a socialist future. So, the party building calls for such a vigorous struggle against the right deviation which is presently the main danger in the communist movement, while guarding against the anarchist trend. So, the CC has asserted that the party building should be taken up vigorously, linking with ideological offensive.
Another aspect of party building which calls for attention is the taking up of a powerful campaign against the Manuvadi Hindutva, the ideological base of RSS. Based on Manusmriti, writings of Savarkar, Golwalkar and other leaders, also drawing lessons from Mussolini and Hitler, the RSS could grow in to the biggest and most powerful neo-fascist organization in the world, as not only Congress and other ruling class parties, but the socialist stream as well as the Communist stream refused to learn the importance of Renaissance movement and take up the caste struggle along with class struggle, while the caste-class relation is a unique feature of India. So, only by waging a powerful ideological struggle against the theoretical base of RSS, the new generation who are influenced or at least confused by the RSS dominance can be won over or at least neutralized. The decision of the CC in its August meeting to take up these two campaigns immediately shall help the building and expansion of the party with more ideological clarity, winning over new forces to our side.
Presently humanity is passing through an unprecedented crisis when all over the world it is almost paralyzed under the Covid19 pandemic, with no hope an early control of its very fast infection. But the ruling system in all the countries along with the mainstream media are indulged in diverting attention from the intensification of climate change or global warming, basic reasons for the outbreak of viruses like SARS in 2003, then MERS in 2012 and now the Covid19 with extremely high capacity to spread, or about the fast melting of huge glaziers in North and South poles, or about the receding of glaziers in Himalayas, about the super cyclones, wild fires as the one raging in US for weeks and so many other cases of destruction of eco-system and bio-diversity exposing how the corporatization/neo-liberalization under the capitalist imperialist system have taken the imperialist loot of nature to extreme levels. As the ruling system in all the countries which is becoming increasingly fascistic, stubbornly persists with very same policies, humanity is facing the danger of ecological catastrophe and threatened with even extinction of human species.
As the ecological destruction becoming increasingly dangerous following the imposition of neoliberal policies from the 1970s, there were numerous protests by people forcing the imperialist powers and their junior partners in power to convene climate conferences which were coming out with many proposals like Kyoto Protocol. But, the imperialist countries were not ready to cut down the energy consumption or to control the consumerist lust. So, all these proposals remained only in paper, they were not implemented. In Madrid Conference most of these powers withdrew from even these conferences, and the token climate conferences have also coming to an end. Even after the Covid19 outbreak and possibilities for more dangerous viruses surfacing and natural calamities breaking out, like the corporates allowed to loot the workers to any extent they want by throwing out even the existing labour rights, they are allowed to neglect all restrictions on environmental protection in spite of repeated warnings from the scientists and the concerned people’s movements.
It is imperialist barbarism and arrogance of the ruling system in action. It is a great challenge we have to take up urgently. The CPI(ML) Red Star calls for united action at national and international level to throw out the capitalist imperialist system and create conditions for protection of nature and creating an egalitarian society.
CC, CPI(ML) Red Star
“A spectre is haunting Europe – the spectre of communism. All the powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre: Pope and Tsar, Metternich and Guizot, French Radicals and German police-spies”.
Though 172 years have passed after Marx and Engels started The Communist Manifesto with these words, we are living in a period when the rabid and venomous anti-communist campaign is still powerful. The major difference is that presently this blitzkrieg is joined by the social democrats, petti-bourgeois intellectuals, and unlike the period up to 1950s, by hordes ex-communists to ex-Naxalites to ex-Maoists. The repeated setbacks suffered by the Communist movement have made the Communists defensive. As a result, it is failing to expose how the capitalist imperialist system these, these critics are upholding directly or indirectly has exposed itself as the most inhuman and barbaric, and it is in the middle of unprecedented crisis following the Covid19 pandemic, helping the neo-fascist wave sweeping across the continents more powerful.
At the same time, in spite of all the setbacks it suffered, its contributions in socialist construction during the revolutionary days in the former socialist countries, and the vision of World Proletarian Socialist Revolution and an exploitation free new world with sustainable relation between human and nature it promises, still inspires the masses who are thrown in to a hopeless condition by forces of capital. That is why every year we re-visit October Revolution in Russia and the Chinese revolution and all other revolutions and try to understand their contributions and reasons for their setbacks.
The October Revolution of 7th November (according to new calendar), 1917, liberated Russian people from the clutches of Tsarist dictatorship, led to the formation of Soviet Union and initiated socialist transformation in the most backward capitalist country. It took place when the imperialists had waged the First World War for re-division of the world. Though the War ended in 1919, it did not resolve the inter-imperialist contradictions, creating conditions for another World War, with some of these forces embracing fascist policies soon. But, what the Soviet Union could do for creating a new society during this period threw up hopes of emergence of an alternative to the capitalist-imperialist system. This expectation along with the sacrifices it made to save the world people from fascism, led to an upsurge of social revolutions and the emergence of a powerful socialist camp, with the Chinese Communist party led by Mao Tsetung leading the Chinese people to liberation from the domination of imperialism and feudalism and the formation of People’s Republic of China on 1st October, 1949. In spite of these victories, in the present objective situation when the conditions for a worldwide advance of communist forces is so bright, the ICM is in a condition when there is not a single communist party in any of these countries capable of using this excellent situation and capture political power. We have to search for the reasons for it.
The Communist Manifesto has explained that “the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles. Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes. In the earlier epochs of history, we find almost everywhere a complicated arrangement of society into various orders, a manifold gradation of social rank. In ancient Rome we have patricians, knights, plebeians, slaves; in the Middle Ages, feudal lords, vassals, guild-masters, journeymen, apprentices, serfs; in almost all of these classes, again, subordinate gradations”.
Though capitalist revolutions transformed this situation in the countries it took place, with the bourgeoisie and the proletariat coming to the foreground as predominant classes, still vestiges of the old classes continued there, making the socialist transformation a complex task. As the capitalist forces were trying frantically to transform the whole world in its own image, it went on changing its tactics to achieve this, and considered the emergence of a socialist alternative antagonistically. So, using its hegemony in spreading its ideas and culture, it was waging a fierce struggle against the socialist forces, unleashing wild anti-communist campaign. So, the possibility for falling back, degenerating to capitalist path always existed, unless the communist movement is capable of “swimming against the tide”, and alert to evaluate every new move of the imperialist camp and develop its own theory and practice continuously.
The post Second World War period was a difficult time. Emerging as the leader of the imperialist camp, US imperialism had launched transformation of colonial countries to neo-colonially dependent countries, with IMF-World Bank in control of the export of imperialist finance capital and technology. The formation of WTO was also in the anvil. Unlike utilizing the pre-capitalist forces as is social base during the colonial days, under neo-colonialism, imperialist think tanks encouraged the junior partners of imperialism who had come to the leadership in the “newly independent” countries for land ceiling from above and promotion of capitalist mode of production in the agriculture to facilitate the entry of finance capital, technology and market forces. Welfare policies also were promoted to some extent to challenge the socialist countries. As the post-Stalin leadership in Soviet Union analyzed these as signs of weakening of imperialism, took the path of peaceful transition to socialism, abandoning the path of revolution, degenerating not only SU and East European countries to capitalist path, but the communist parties built up under Comintern guidance to revisionist path.
Even before overcoming this grave setback, based on the same erroneous evaluation of imperialist exploitation from colonial to neo-colonial forms as sign of its weakening (contrary to what the CPC had earlier evaluated in the “Apologists of Neo-colonialism” during Great Debate, that neo-colonialism is more pernicious and ferocious), the left sectarian Lin Biaoist line which dominated the CPC for a brief period from 1966 to 71, quite opposite to the Soviet revisionist line took a left adventurist sectarian line and called on the newly emerging Marxist-Leninist forces for mechanically copying the Chinese Path, soon leading them to disintegration or destruction. In spite of the brilliant victory of the liberation struggle of the Indo-Chinese countries against US imperialism and its lackeys by 1975, following the degeneration of China to capitalist path by 1976, the parties in these countries also came under right or left deviation.
In such a grave situation, the revolutionary communists in almost all countries, who could come out of the right and left deviations, are ‘seeking truth from facts and are in the process of developing new theoretical and practical advances according to present social, political and economic realities. It is in this situation, the ICOR, the international coordination of these organizations from more than 60 countries, has called on the constituents to make concrete analysis of the condition in each country and develop the program and path to develop the class struggle to higher levels, to become capable of leading the mighty people’s upsurges going to take place all over the world.
It is a great challenge. Instead of becoming despondent, let us dare to make a concrete analysis of the international and national developments, develop our theory and practice, dare to draft our path forward struggling against the right deviation, the main danger, as well as the left deviation, dare to build up communist party and dare to advance towards a new offensive to throw out the capitalist imperialist system and advance to people’s democracy and socialism
Why CPI(ML) Red Star has called for a countrywide people’s offensive against Fascist Hindutva onslaughts led by RSS, attacking its Manuvadi theoretical base now? The historic significance of it can be understood when an evaluation of the present critical national and international situation is made. Though, the neo-fascists Trump, Modi, Boslonaro and others like them pooh-poohed Covid19 pandemic till February, what is the situation after 7 months? The number of Covid patients in US is racing to 1o million and dead to 3 lakhs, percentage to population wise, Brazil is just behind it. Soon India is going to surpass US in the number of Covid 19 patients, reaching the first place! In the early days, US, China and all imperialists along with their junior partners first talked about containing Covid fast, now talking about co-existing with it, and return to “Business as usual”. But the economy is contracting everywhere and collapsing in many countries, posing the greatest ever challenge faced by the capitalist imperialist economic system.
All of them are planning how to overcome it. Firstly, take away all the benefits so far won by the working class, and subject them to worst ever loot, throwing out many more to the streets swelling the number of jobless and impoverished toiling and oppressed masses. Along with it intensify the plunder of nature more ruthlessly, which is already destroying the eco-system and bio-diversity. Even when the ‘hitherto greatest power in the world’, US imperialism is standing helpless before Covid19 and the raging wild fires in California and Oregon, when whole humanity is paralyzed by the pandemic, they refuse to accept all these have anything to do with ecology, and drag us to ecological catastrophe. While doing so, the imperialists are destroying what is left of the capitalist democracy ushered in by the French revolution and other revolutions. Trump is arrogantly declaring that if he is defeated in the November elections he may not transfer power! Xi Jinping and Putin have extended their terms in power indefinitely. And disciples of Mussolini and Hitler are growing in strength in Europe. So, the capitalist imperialist system is on the mad path of frenziedly speeding up neoliberal, corporate rule leading the humanity to the path of destruction, the extinction of human species, with or without another world war. The only alternative before the working class and oppressed people of the world is to get mobilized, fight against the reactionary ideologies serving as the base of the neo-fascist forces emerging in different countries, and overthrowing the imperialist system and their junior partners from power, moving forward to realize the blossoming of democracy and socialism.
Our national situation is not basically different. As the Covid19 pandemic is spreading fast, the private hospital mafia is on a looting spree, the poor are dying in ever larger numbers, economy is contracting fast, with the threat of a collapse looming large, more production units are closed down, many more are jobless, vast majority of people are in a desperate situation. The repeated intrusion of Modi government taking away all federal rights of the states on the one hand and brutal suppression of al dissent on the other threatens the very unity of the country. But Modi government is unconcerned. It is in a hurriedly imposing the RSS agenda of Hindurashtra. There are rumours of bringing the presidential system and the first presidential election in 2022. To facilitate it, the neoliberal/corporate reforms are taken to their peak, Krishna Janmabhumi campaign in Mathura and other divisive, hate politics projects are going to be speeded up, along with open flouting of Constitution as happened on 5th August at Ayodhya when PM Modi did Bhoomi Puja for Ram temple along with RSS chief, and the manner in which the bills for corporatization of agriculture, for taking away all workers’ rights etc were passed violating all parliamentary rules! It is Manusmriti, which RSS wants should be India’s constitution, in action.
Still, the parliamentary opposition is taking “business as usual! They are still thinking 2004 can be repeated, when BJP led Vajpayee government was defeated and Congress led UPA could take over. They have no alternative to put forward, they are still following their policies and practice which facilitated BJP’s ascendance to power. Still they do not recognize RSS neo-fascism is in power through Modi, or even if anyone accept it , not taking any moves to combat it. They are satisfied with contending with BJP in the parliamentary sphere taking soft Hindutva as well as national chauvinist line. Same is the case with CPI(M) led Left Front parties. Not only they helped the saffron forces to grow up many times by allying with them, still they do not recognize RSS/BJP is the main danger all over the country, besides following soft Hindutva line. So, they also do not recognize the need for all out attack on the theoretical base of neo-fascist RSS. It is in this fertile soil RSS has grown very fast using the hegemony Brahmanical forces in all fields, and the political Hindutva has become the ruling ideology, in theory and practice in the society.
Recognizing the gravity of the situation, some of the revolutionary intellectuals have taken up the study of Manusmriti, the main theoretical source of RSS as well as the writings of Dr. Munje who acted as an adviser to Hegdewar, the founder of RSS in 1925, and the writings of Savarkar, Golwalkar and others. These writings, the reports in RSS organ, Organizer, and present developments show how it has become the strongest fascist organization in the world. Along with this, under Modi, India is made a strong ally of US led Asia-Pacific Axis which is playing a major role as the US weapon against China, in its contention with it for world hegemony. Even the India-China standoff on the border issue also is internationalized as a result.
It is in this context, CPI(ML) Red Star has called for Launching Countrywide Campaign Against Manuvadi Hindutva, the Theoretical Base of RSS Neo-Fascism! As the first phase of this, a Campaign is organized from 28th September, Shahid Bhagat Singh birthday, to 25th December, when Manusmriti was burnt in 1927 as part of the Mahad struggle by women, dalits, and other oppressed sections under the leadership of Dr. Ambedkar, challenging the danger posed by the formation of RSS in 1925 with Manusmriti as its main theoretical guideline. Since, this struggle was not carried forward, learning from the experience of the anti-fascist struggles of last century and according to the present situation, RSS could develop in to such a powerful position. We appeal to all revolutionary forces, all organizations of dalits, Adivasis, oppressed classes and sections, progressive democratic forces and revolutionary intellectuals, the youth and students to join this campaign to expose, weaken and throw out RSS from hegemonic positions at the realm of thought and political power