2019 Election Manifesto of CPI (ML) Red Star
Defeat BJP, Rally for People’s Alternative
1.1 The 2019 General Election for the 17thLok Sabha is taking place at a critical juncture. Anti-terror jingoism and Pakistan-hatred are cunningly whipped up by Modi and the saffron forces on the eve of the elections. Though the trend is towards de-escalation of tension on the border, the war hysteria is still spread through corporate media. But as reflected in the recent assembly elections people’s resentment is growing against the neoliberal Modi regime. Country-wide peasant upsurges, militant working class struggles as manifested in the January 8-9 General Strike, youth and students movements, protests by oppressed castes against subversion of caste-based reservation, adivasis’ movement against depriving their rights to land and livelihood, women’s fury against patriarchal oppression and gender inequality, struggles for protecting the environment and habitat, etc. are gathering momentum against the corporate-saffron fascistic rule. It is in this context, the CPI (ML) Red Star is intervening in the forthcoming elections with the call to defeat BJP, build up people’s alternative based on a people-oriented development program as explained in the Political Resolution adopted in the recently concluded 11th Congress of the Party.
- Five Years of Modi Regime and the Indian Situation Today
2.1 BJP came to power in 2014 utilising the people’s fury against the 10-years of Congress-led UPA rule with just 31 percent of the votes polled. With the backing of corporate media Modi made use of populist, anti-corruption election plank to ascend to power. But within no time Modi unveiled himself as the chosen representative of the most corrupt corporate class. The BJP itself later admitted Modi’s promise of putting Rs. 15 lakh in the account of each Indians after repatriating unaccounted money from abroad as a mere election stunt. Backed by RSS-led extreme divisive policies, instigating mutual hatred among people, creating feelings of insecurity among the oppressed including dalits, adivasis, minorities and unleashing patriarchal and obscurantist attacks on women, the Modi regime has put every aspect of social life under the firm grip of corporate-saffron forces. A corollary of this ultra-rightist neoliberal-corporatization has been India’s conspicuous transformation as a strategic junior partner of US imperialism under corporate saffron fascist regime.
2.2 In the economic front, the Indian situation today is the worst since 2008-09 when the country was confronting the global slow-down. Under Modi rule, agricultural growth declined from 4.2 percent in 2014 to around just one percent as of now. During this period, India witnessed a 40 percent increase in peasant suicides, two-thirds of which are in BJP ruled states alone. As against Modi’s election pledge of creating 2 crore additional jobs per year, not only no new jobs were created, but according to the 2018 statistics, the country is actually losing 1 crore jobs per annum. Even the logo of the much trumpeted “Make in India” was designed by a foreign company, namely, Weiden+ Kennedy and the unhindered entry of foreign capital to the economy has led to an unparalleled joblessness. Together with this, the immediate cause behind the economic slow-down has been the imperialist-sponsored demonetisation that Modi super-imposed over the people for facilitating corporate loot. Based on Modi government’s affidavit to the Supreme Court and latest RBI Report, illegal cash alone worth Rs. 5 lakh crore might have been whitened through demonetisation. Demonetisation coupled with GST that deprived the states of its constitutional right of tax collection, have devastated entire unorganised sectors providing livelihood for more than 90 percent of India’s workforce; it led to 2-3 percent reduction in country’s national income. As a manifestation of country’s weak economic foundation, between June 2014 (when Modi came to power) and December 2018, while the rupee has depreciated by more than 30 percent, central government debt has shot up by around 50 percent from 54 lakh crore in June 2014 to more than 82 lakh crore!
2.3 During Modi rule, taxes on petrol and diesel were raised by 200 percent and 400 percent respectively, while LPG price doubled. Together with the highest GST rates in the world coupled with corporate control over price-fixing, the fuel price hike which also is the highest in the world, has led to sky-rocketing of the prices of all items of mass consumption and essential services, even as peasants are denied minimum prices for their sustenance. Earnings and living conditions of the common people have declined further such that in the Global Hunger Index India’s ranking under Modi rule has deteriorated by 37 percent reaching 100th among 119 countries, much below that of neighbouring countries. The top one percent of the super-rich holding around 52 percent of country’s total wealth and the total wealth of the top 9 billionaires being equal to that of the bottom 50 percent of the population, India has become one of the most unequal countries in the world. As a result of Modi’s policies, while the wealth of these billionaires swelled by Rs. 2200 crore a day, the total wealth of 119 Indian billionaires crossed Rs. 28 lakh crore in 2018! Under Modi, India has become the most corrupt country in Asia. The Rafale deal involving Rs.30,000 crore corruption in which Modi himself is alleged to have involved is only the tip of the iceberg. Demonetisation itself has been unfolded as Modi’s cunning move to whiten the huge unaccounted hoardings of corporate black money holders closely associated with BJP. The same corporate class is also allowed to loot the public sector banks leading to the accumulation of a whopping Rs.15 lakh crore worth of “non-performing assets” with banks.
2.4 Social condition of the oppressed has further worsened. Under Modi regime, sexual violence against women has become horrific prompting international media to characterise India as the “rape capital” of the world. Moral policing by free-wheeling saffron goons against women, especially dalit women, has become conspicuous. The BJP leadership that tries to reap maximum communal mileage from the Triple Talaq issue maintains total silence on women’s reservation in parliament and legislatures. Atrocities on dalits and adivasis have become regular feature. The Supreme Court judgement on the SC/ST atrocities Act was another manifestation of the growing brahmanical offensive against the oppressed castes. Caste-based reservation is undermined by enacting the 124th Constitutional amendment on 10 percent economic reservation. Malnourishment and hunger deaths have become frequent among adivasis; while bureaucratic manipulation has led to recent supreme Court order threatening to throw out millions of adivasi families from their habitats. Islamophobia is systematically built up and Muslims are frequently attacked and lynched by Hindutva goons masked as cow vigilantes. Patriarchal and caste-based codes and obscurantist brahmanical values are substituted for progressive cultural and scientific thinking at all levels. Dissenting scholars and media-people are targeted as anti-nationals and charged with UAPA and anti-sedition laws. All key policy-making and implementation bodies of the central government are packed with RSS-affiliated intellectuals and corporate-saffron leaders even as autonomy of all Constitutional institutions is undermined.
2.5 In the name of development, all environmental regulations and labour laws are liberalized, amended or abolished. Corporate financiers engaged in infrastructure projects are given unfettered freedom for natural resource exploitation in gross violation of laws pertaining to workplace, land conservation, food agriculture, forest, wildlife and coastal zones, with highly detrimental impacts on the sustenance of workers especially women workforce, dalits, adivasis, fishers and so on leading to a surge in people’s struggles from various parts of the country.
2.6 Kashmir and the entire North-east are totally militarised. Implementation of the saffron agenda in Kashmir has increased the killings of civilians by military and police, even as the death of soldiers has gone up by 93 percent under Modi rule before the Phulwama suicide attack. Wanton use of black laws such as AFSPA and militarization coupled with the Citizenship Register program specifically targeting against the Muslims in Assam and selective granting of citizenship to Hindus from neighbouring countries have resulted in communal polarisation throughout the border regions of India. Internal saffronisation has its external dimension too. Modi government’s communal handling of the Rohingya refugees identified as the most persecuted people in the world question is an example. In the same vein, Modi regime’s big-brother bullying attitude has also led to an unprecedented worsening of relations with India’s neighbours.
2.7 In brief, Modi government’s five year rule has brought the country to a disastrous situation having all round economic, political, social and cultural consequences. The corporate-saffron fascist regime has deprived the vast majority of people of their meagre livelihood and sustenance. Massive subsidization, tax exemptions and diversion of the country’s wealth to the corporate class, both foreign and Indian, have resulted in steep cuts in all kinds of social welfare spending and forcible extraction from even the bare minimum subsistence of people. In the name of ‘ease of doing business’, a whole set of corporate-friendly regulations are imposed on the one hand, while hard-earned democratic rights of workers, peasants and oppressed people are snatched away on the other. Against this corporate onslaught, protests by women, workers, peasants, oppressed dalits and adivasis are rising up all over the country. All present indications clearly point to Modi’s ouster from power in the forthcoming elections. As BJP is the most reactionary of all the ruling class parties in India, presently the number one political representative of the corporate ruling class imposing saffron fascistic policies, it is the biggest threat to the people, and its ouster is the central task before them in this election.
- Positions of other Political Parties
3.1. Though almost all other parties are getting united to oust BJP from power, it is necessary to understand their approaches to all vital challenges before India polity. It was the Congress which initiated the neoliberal policies in 1991 and which dragged India in to IMF-World Bank-WTO trio, the pillars of neo-colonialism without even consulting the parliament. Congress’ claims of fighting communal fascism are hollow as it was the Rao government that provided the umbrella for demolishing the Babri Masjid. Saffronisation of the state machinery and spreading of the Hindutva tentacles started during the Congress regime. While targeting Muslims for all terrorist attacks, to appease Hindutva sentiments, the Congress government had refrained from taking actions against the RSS outfits involved in various communal riots and massacres including those perpetrators of the Gujarat genocide. The Hindutva orientation of Congress is once again exposed in the recent MP government’s decision to invoke the National Security Act on Muslim youth in the name of cow smuggling.
3.2 Various regional and state-level parties with communal, casteist and parochial interests not only compete and collude with the Congress and BJP, but also among each other for implementing neoliberal policies. Though the CPI (M) and the Left Front led by it speak at length against both saffronisation and neoliberal policies, in practice, its stance against saffron fascistization is separated from the latter’s inseparable link with neo-liberalism. For instance, when Modi government at the behest of neoliberal centers superimposed the anti-federal, pro-corporate GST, the CPI (M) led Kerala government was in the forefront in wholeheartedly supporting it. Without any qualms it also supported the economic reservation bill of Modi that undermined the caste-based reservation system in India. And the left sectarian sections of the political spectrum are getting alienated from the people and also becoming increasingly politically irrelevant.
- CPI (ML) Red Star’s Approach
4.1 It is in this context that, as upheld in the Political Resolution adopted by the 11th Congress, the CPI (ML) Red Star is putting forward this Election Manifesto with the principal task of defeating the corporate-saffron rule of BJP in the 2019 election. From the Party’s perspective of independent left assertion, this task is invariably connected with the proposal for building up of a people’s alternative, or a people’s development paradigm, against the ultra-rightist neoliberal policies. It calls for uncompromising struggle against neo-liberalism together with the struggle for all-round democratization of society based on firm unity among genuine left, secular, democratic and struggling forces.
4.2 During the past several years, CPI (ML) Red Star has been actively engaged in building up people’s struggles and movements against imperialist globalization and the liberalization-privatization or corporatization agenda of central and state governments. It was consistently participating in the struggles against displacement of people from their habitat in the name of infrastructure build-up, environmental destruction, corporate loot of nature and people through PPP projects, super-imposition of nuclear projects, saffron attacks on women, dalits, advasis and minorities, eviction of slum dwellers, violation of democratic rights, etc. The Party carried out nation-wide campaigns against Modi’s demonetization and against the anti-federal, pro-corporate GST. Along with campaigns and struggles in different fronts pertaining to women, working class, peasantry, adivasis, youth, students, culture, democratic rights etc., the party has taken initiative for building up the Caste Annihilation Movement whose ultimate task is elimination of the inhuman caste system.
4.3 In this context, the success of the Bhangar people’s resistance movement in West Bengal developed under the political leadership of CPI (ML) Red Star together with left, democratic and struggling forces against the power grid line displacing people from their land, depriving livelihood and destroying environment is of particular relevance. While defeating super-imposition of the grid project, the movement also has become a model for successfully resisting the repressive policies and reign of terror unleashed by the state. And the Committee for Protection of Land, Livelihood, Ecology and Environment that stood for the local body elections in Bhangar could also make impressive victory in those seats where it contested. The Bhangar people’s movement underscores the correctness of the Party’s political line that movement-backed political atmosphere is indispensable for the electoral victory of a revolutionary party. Accordingly, the Party has resolved to carry out its electoral struggles wherever the Party can take the lead for mass people’s movements and appropriate political initiatives according to concrete conditions with the perspective independent self-assertion.
- Program for People’s Alternative
5.1 In this background, the CPI (ML) Red Star is putting forward this manifesto that calls upon the people to defeat of the corporate-saffron fascist regime of BJP from the perspective of building up progressive-democratic people’s alternative against neoliberal policies. The party appeals to the people, the oppressed women, the working class including the vast majority of informal and unorganized among them, the peasantry and the landless poor peasants, agricultural workers, slum dwellers, youth, students and all democratic forces to cast their votes based on this manifesto and get mobilized in struggles and campaigns to elect a people’s government to fulfill the tasks as briefly put below.
5.2 Constitutional Tasks
5.2 a Transform the parliament as the genuine representative body of the people instead of its present position as a rubber stamp of the executive which is serving corporate capital.
5.2 b Make it mandatory on the part of executive to seek prior permission from the parliament on basic policy-making regarding economic, political and international questions.
5.2 c Since the possibility of insertion of malicious software in to EVMs and manipulation of voting preferences being already proved, one of the immediate tasks of the people’s government shall be a return to the ballot system. Along with this, steps shall be initiated to democratize the electoral process by totally keeping communal forces away from interfering in election and replacing the ‘first pass the post system’ with proportional representation and introduction of people’s right to recall the elected representatives.
5.2 d Overhaul the present authoritarian and bureaucratic administrative system; ensure decentralization of power to the people at all levels like administration, judiciary and police.
5.2 e Establish civilian control over military establishment; defense sector shall be subjected to parliamentary auditing.
5.2 f Ensure federal principles ingrained in to the Constitution. Except foreign affairs, defense, currency, international trade, national public utilities and central planning, all other tasks should be taken over from the central government and vested with the states and local governments.
- 2 g Stop militarisation of Kashmir; settle Kashmir question politically through people’s referendum. Deployment of military in frontier states in the guise of law and order and imposition of draconian black laws should be stopped.
- 3 Administrative Reforms
5.3 a Broadest possible participation of the people at all levels should be ensured. Local bodies, with gram panchayats as the base, should be entrusted with the task of micro-level planning pertaining to agriculture, agro-based, small and medium industries, housing, healthcare, school education, panchayat courts and ecological protection. Appropriate measures for the devolution of police and judicial functions to local bodies for effective decentralization of power should be carried out.
5.3 b Ensure genuine multi-layered decentralization and devolution of administrative power to the lowest levels so that work-based committees of people wield real power in their habitat, surroundings and neighbourhoods. Eliminate all forms of bureaucratic control over the elected bodies.
5.3 c The people’s government shall appoint a Commission or inter-state council to study and resolve all inter-state problems including river-water and natural resource sharing.
5.4 People-oriented , Ecologically Sustainable Development Paradigm
5.4 a Replace the present development model driven by corporate capital accumulation, ruthless plunder of nature and curtailment of democratic rights with a people’s development paradigm from the perspective of working and broad masses of toiling people, and expand the realm of democracy in a sustainable manner. Strive for a development perspective which is pro-people, pro-nature and pro-women.
- 5 Fulfillment of Anti-imperialist Tasks and Building up of National Self-reliant Economy
5.5 a Take urgent steps to build a national, self-reliant economy with the orientation of people’s alternative. Take immediate steps to quit IMF, World Bank and WTO and to put an end to dependence on all forms of imperialist capital. Immediate steps should be taken to bring back all the funds taken out and deposited in foreign tax havens. Such money should be invested productively for building up self-reliant national economy. Confiscation and nationalization of the assets of imperialist-based MNCs are preconditions for independent national development. As part of this, all debts owed to imperialist governments, neocolonial institutions, funding agencies, banks and financial agencies shall be written off.
5.5 b All strategic, key and core sector industries, services, infrastructures and public utilities including petroleum, electricity and energy sources, mining, steel, communications, ports-roads-railways-airways, etc. and such other sectors which are deemed necessary by the people’s government shall be nationalized and brought under public sector. The trend towards privatization shall be reversed and crony capitalist nexus among corporate houses, ruling class politicians and higher bureaucracy which is the basis of flourishing corruption and scams should be eliminated. The people’s government shall unearth and confiscate all black money including those connected with religious and spiritual institutions. types of mafia operations shall be suppressed.
5.5 c The people’s government shall abolish all tax exemptions to the corporate and super-rich classes and the system of progressive direct taxation on wealth and profits has to be strengthened. It shall abolish the anti-federal GST and remove indirect taxation on necessaries and essential items such as food and fuel used by the vast majority of people. The people’s government shall pursue a policy of price stability especially regarding mass consumption goods and services. It shall prohibit all forms of speculation, real estate and money-spinning businesses.
5.6 On Equality of Women and Transgender Community
5.6 a The people’s government shall guarantee equality of women and trans-genders in all fields. It shall eliminate all sorts of violence, exploitation and oppression of women within the family, workplaces and public spaces. It shall abolish all forms of patriarchy that give rise to gender inequality at all levels and all places. It shall ensure women’s and trans-genders equal right to inheritance and property. All kinds of discrimination and harassment to LGBT+Q community shall be stopped forthwith.
5.6 b It shall abolish prostitution in all its forms including child prostitution and ensure rehabilitation of the victims. It shall end commodification of women and sex tourism.
5.6 c It shall implement a uniform civil law for marriage and strictly implement anti-dowry law with people’s participation. It shall ensure the right to all to select their partners without interference from state, caste, religion and other obscurantist forces. Caste-religious based patriarchal codes, values, customs and traditions against women shall be abolished.
5.6 d Implement 50 percent reservation for women in all elected bodies up to Lok Sabha, in the judiciary, police and in administration.
5.6 e It shall ensure full maternity benefits including six months’ leave with full wage/salary with provision for extension if need arises. Ensuring community day-care facilities for all children in the pre-school stage with full guarantee for their healthcare and recreation shall be essential task of the people’s government.
5.7 Tasks of Caste Annihilation and Secularism
5.7 a The people’s government shall resort to all required steps to break the backbone of brahmanical caste system paving the way for caste annihilation altogether. Together with radical land reforms and caste-based reservation, it shall carry out all required administrative steps to deal with perpetrators of all forms of caste-oppression, caste-discrimination, untouchability, and Khap panchayats like reactionary institutions. It shall ensure reservation based on caste as a democratic right in all fields including private sector till cast-based inequalities and disabilities are abolished. Brahmanical offensives like economic reservation undermining the concept of caste-based reservation shall be defeated. People’s government shall initiate broad-based anti-caste, democratic movements and campaigns and appropriate cultural interventions for developing people’s consciousness against the inhuman caste system.
5.7 b It shall abolish all religious discriminations and ensure the protection of all religious minorities. It shall take necessary steps to make the state genuinely secular and religion as a private affair of believers. The people’s government shall have its firm stand against religious intervention in political, economic or administrative matters. It shall also take all necessary steps to put an end to all communal interferences in matters connected with education and culture including art, literature and media. It shall take strict action against those indulging in unlawful activities irrespective of their religious beliefs. Victimization of minorities under the guise of Islamophobia shall not be tolerated.
5.8 Agrarian Policy
5.8 a The people’s government shall implement radical land reforms based on the principle of land to the tiller, by fixing a ceiling of five acres of fertile irrigated land or equivalent un-irrigated land to a family fully dependent on agriculture, and by fixing a ceiling of one acre for a family whose means of livelihood is not mainly agriculture. It shall clearly identify and earmark all forest lands, ecologically sensitive wet-lands, water-bodies, mangroves, and other lands required for ecological conservation, land required for public spaces and purposes, education, health, people’s recreation and industrial sites. All lands in excess of this, shall be distributed to landless peasants and agricultural workers. It shall eliminate still surviving feudal remnants and illegal occupations by land mafia. The people’s government shall implement urban land ceiling and taxation of urban property.
5.8 b It shall stop corporatization of agriculture and throw out MNCs and corporate agribusinesses from land grabbing and seed-fertilizer-pesticide sectors. It shall eliminate corporate control over agricultural input and output prices. It shall abolish all anti-peasant import, price, and credit policies. It shall ensure all agricultural inputs such as seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, irrigation, credit, electricity, etc., at subsidized and affordable rates to peasants. It shall abolish all forms of usury by extending cheap credit for peasants on a priority basis from public sources through a network of rural banking. It shall provide adequate support prices for all agricultural products and ensure procurement of all agricultural surplus at remunerative prices by public sector. It shall put an end to private procurement, hoarding and speculation of agricultural products including food grains by corporate traders.
5.8 c Co-operative and collective farming shall be encouraged along with providing all assistance for developing agriculture on a sustainable basis. It shall give particular attention for all avenues of organic farming and sustainable irrigation projects including rain harvesting. It shall stop bio-fuel cultivation and replace export-oriented cash crop agriculture with special orientation towards food self-sufficiency. It shall appropriately link agricultural development with ecologically sustainable employment generating agro-industries.
5.8 d The people’s government shall take over all surplus lands, illegally occupied government land, land belonging to mutts, religious-caste organizations and trusts after fixing a land ceiling for such agencies and distribute them among landless poor peasants and agricultural workers. It shall take over the plantations, farms, etc. held by MNCs, corporate houses and land mafia and shall be brought under workers’ control. It shall take over lands owned by NRIs, bureaucrats, high income sections, industrialists, corporate traders, etc., and distribute them among the peasantry.
5.8 e The people’s government shall defeat all neoliberal moves to reverse land ceiling acts and to promote land concentration in corporate and mafia hands. It shall strictly stop conversion of prime agricultural land for SE2s, tourism zones, townships, airports and industrial sites. It shall issue ownership rights to land already distributed or in possession of landless peasants and agricultural workers, cancel all debts of landless peasants/agricultural workers and peasant families owning up to 5 acres of irrigated or equivalent un-irrigated land.
5.8 f It shall implement comprehensive agricultural workers act ensuring welfare measures, including food, shelter, education and healthcare needs. It shall implement proper rural employment programs with guaranteed minimum wages. It shall empower gram panchayats and village level people’s committees to be vigilant against displacement of peasantry and defeat the involvement of corporate and real estate mafia in the country-side.
- 9 Adivasi/Tribal Question
5.9 a The people’s government shall resolve the grave problems confronted by adivasi/tribal sections who constitute 8-10 % of the country’s population. Together with strict implementation all existing laws, the people’s government shall promulgate new laws for the protection of their land including the establishment of adivasi autonomous councils in all tribal-majority areas, and eliminate all forms of exploitation against them. It shall protect land, culture and languages of all tribal people through appropriate legal and administrative steps. The people’s government shall give specific attention to the educational and health requirements of adivasis.
5.10 Industrial and Technological Policy
5.10 a The people’s government shall take all necessary steps for reversing the neoliberal trends pertaining to industry, and shall pursue an inward-looking, self-reliant, job oriented and ecologically sustainable industrial policy ending its dependence on imperialist capital, technology and market. It shall take urgent steps to bring all key and core sector industries and infrastructures under public sector.
5.10 b Industrial locations shall be decided after proper planning to avoid the evils of urbanization, concentration of industries in any particular region and displacement of people from their habitats. There should be an adequate and proper relation among large-scale, medium and small-scale industries on the one hand and agriculture and service sectors on the other. Industries shall be diversified, decentralized and labour-intensive as per the requirements of the people oriented development paradigm.
5.10 c Scientific research and development shall be brought under democratic control of the people’s government abolishing the imperialist stranglehold over them as dictated by WTO-led intellectual property system. Erecting barriers on scientific know-how and information through corporate monopoly over patents, copyright, design and trademark shall be abolished. All scientific, technological and research institutions shall be brought under the democratic control of people who should have free access to them. The stature of Indian scientific research institutions as appendages of imperialist research centers needs to be stopped. The whole process of scientific research shall be decentralized incorporating people’s initiatives at all levels. Based on an objective evaluation of industries like IT which is based on outsourcing and lacking domestic linkages, particular attention is required for developing appropriate linkages of industrial research and technology with various sectors of the domestic economy.
5.10 d One of the primary tasks of the people’s government shall be freeing industry from corporate greed. Most of today’s ecological questions such as global warming, ozone depletion, fresh water scarcity, deforestation, desertification, extinction of species, loss of biodiversity, chemical pollution, radioactive contamination from nuclear industry and so on can be resolved only through an appropriate industrial, scientific and technology policy which should be fully compatible with the preservation of ecology and habitat of the people. The people’s government shall strive for a sustainable development policy that must reject emulation of mainstream capitalist model of development and the notion of catching up with the GDP growth rates of western countries.
5.11 Energy Policy
5.11 a The people’s government shall take up the development of an energy policy that is independent of all sorts of corporate control and in conformity with the priorities of the people’s development in all fields. As fossil fuels which form the major source of energy today are going to be depleted within a period of 50 years, and as the nuclear energy is scientifically and economically unviable, as in the west, we should strive for the development of non-conventional forms such as solar, wind and tidal energies. In this situation, as the very nature of these new energy sources such as solar and wind power are conducive for decentralized, employment-oriented and eco-friendly industrial and economic pattern, the people’s government shall give maximum attention to them, linking this policy with the people’s development alternative. Providing special attention to India’s geographical and climatic location, it shall give special attention and take appropriate measures for solar energy like sources which will help India to fully solve its energy problem in a self-reliant manner.
5.11 b The people’s government shall work for a development culture that minimizes energy consumption. It should repudiate the imperialist consumer culture for which the level and quality of development is measured in terms of per capita energy consumption. It shall advocate and educate the people for the development of a culture minimizing energy consumption that is ecologically sustainable and economically efficient. At the present stage of scientific development, as nuclear energy is totally untenable and unworkable, it shall reject all nuclear plants, including the newly proposed ones and strive for universal nuclear disarmament.
5.12People’s Transportation Policy
5.12 a Developing and strengthening public transport system affordable to the broad masses of toiling people should form the core of people’s transportation policy. Proliferation of private vehicles and the growth of road lobby in unholy alliance with the politician-bureaucratic– corporate-contractor nexus shall be dealt with appropriately.
5.12 b In view of the geographical diversities of the country, instead of relying heavily on any one particular mode of transport, an integrated transportation policy composed of road, rail and water transport, both coastal and inland, has to be adopted and developed. Along with this the neoliberal policy of constructing infrastructures like road, rail, ports, etc. under PPP basis that allows corporates to indefinitely and unscrupulously carry on their plunder of the people and naturalresources shall be reversed.
5.13 Prohibiting FDI in Domestic Trade
5.13 a The people’s government shall take appropriate measures for protecting retail trade, the share of which in providing employment and livelihood to people in India is second only to agriculture. Around 95 percent of the retail trade in the country is in the informal/unorganized sector that where around 5 crore retail outlets provide sustenance and livelihood to almost 20 crore people. Therefore, the entry of MNCs through FDI in retail trade where no valid political or economic justification has been put forward by vested interests is an urgent task of the people’s government. This is essential for preserving the badly needed linkages among agriculture, industry and trade from the perspective of a national, self-reliant democratic development.
5.14 Provision of Social Services and Public Distribution
5.14 a Ensuring the right to food, clothing, housing, education, healthcare and employment for all by incorporating it as fundamental right in the Constitution and taking appropriate steps for its implementation shall be the prime task of the people’s government. The neoliberal approach of cutting subsidies for food and fuel should be ended and PDS shall be strengthened and expanded further by extending statutory rationing not only for food items, but for all essential commodities.
5.14 b The people’s government shall reverse all policies of commercialization and corporatization of education forthwith. It should take appropriate measures to develop and implement scientific, secular, democratic education, starting with community schools. It shall promote and develop all national languages. It shall ensure universal, free and compulsory education in the mother tongue up to the secondary level. The people’s government shall frame an educational policy excluding private and foreign corporate forces of all hues including religious and caste organizations and other reactionary forces from the field of public education altogether.
5.14 c It shall ensure universal and affordable primary health facilities for all. Domination of pharmaceutical MNCs and private commercial interests in the country’s health sphere shall be abolished. Medical profession shall be democratized by evolving an integrated medical system drawing the positive aspects from various traditions and systems of medicine. Present use of Indian people as guinea pigs by corporate medical companies with the connivance of the anti-national, local middlemen shall be abolished.
5.15 Question of Slum Dwellers and Housing Right
5.15 a Right to shelter shall be adopted as the basic human right. Housing based on generally accepted minimum space for living and standard with the right to food, water, electricity/fuel, sanitation, sewerage, drainage, community open space, playground, etc., shall be ensured to all. Eviction/demolition of the slums shall be stopped forthwith. All slum-dwellers shall be provided with the above minimum housing nearer to their place of work. A maximum ceiling for building-space for family houses shall be fixed and implemented.
5.15 b In all urban development projects, ensure 40 percent of the land for slum and pavement dwellers, street vendors, destitute, and weaker sections based on the principle “housing for all”. The people’s government shall take specific steps for the urban poor through cooperatives and local outlets under local bodies to ensure all essential goods and needs of sustenance.
- 16 Employment and Workers’ Rights
5.16 a The people’s government shall strive for strict implementation of six-hour work and five-day week in all sectors and establishments and guarantee employment for all. Based on the principle of ‘equal pay for equal work’, gender-bias in wages towards women shall be abolished. Women-friendly working conditions shall be ensured. In case of involuntary unemployment, compulsory unemployment allowance shall be provided at par with the statutory minimum wage as decided by the people’s government. It shall uphold the democratic and trade union rights of workers and shall ensure the right to form trade unions including the right to strike.
5.16 b The people’s government shall abolish contract labour system and ‘hire and fire’ policy. Statutory pension and retirement benefits including state-managed provident funds managed to ensure a safe retirement life shall be ensured. All forms bonded labour and child labour shall be abolished and those who were subjected to these practices shall be appropriately rehabilitated.
5.17 Youth Policy
5.17 a Taking the specificities of contemporary changes pertaining to ideas, employment and culture that have serious impact on the material life and mental make-up of youth, the people’s government shall evolve a scientific youth policy. It shall pursue appropriate interventions to ward off the reactionary and neo-conservative ideas on youth. It shall have a scientific approach to the universal involvement of youth in sports and games against feudal prejudices and market interests. It shall evolve a national sports policy and must eliminate speculative/betting/gambling interests in this field.
- 18 People’s Culture
5.18 a The people’s government shall initiate steps to promote scientific outlook in all fields and shall strive to eradicate all feudal, casteist, obscurantist, superstitious, reactionary, decadent and revivalist ideas and culture. It shall put an end to all attacks on democratic cultural values, institutions, and on cultural activists by saffron forces and all religious fundamentalists. It shall stop the interference of all such reactionary forces in education, research, art, literature and media.
5.18 b It shall seek appropriate steps to resist commodification of culture as well as all forms of imperialist invasion in the realm of culture. Necessary steps shall be taken to deal with the culture of alcoholism and drug abuse directed at disorienting particularly the youth. Mafiosi and criminalization politics and culture propped up by vested interests shall be wiped out with people’s participation.
5.19 Democratization of Media
5.19 a In the place of the mainstream corporate media moulding public opinion, the people’s government is duty-bound to take initiative for a democratization of the media.It shall reverse the ‘paid news’ culture and facilitate the evolvement of critical, democratic public opinion and progressive values without favour or fear. Avenues of democratic space associated with social shall be properly addressed. The people’s government shall initiate necessary steps required for regimenting corporate and neoconservative hold over media.
5.20 Protection and Expansion of Democratic Rights
5.20 a The people’s government shall totally reverse the neoliberal trend towards fascistization of the state machinery. While protecting the hard-earned democratic rights by people, it shall strive to expand them further.
5.20 b It shall stop bureaucratization of all sorts and encourage effective people’s participation in all spheres. All black laws such as UAPA, AFSPA, and anti-sedition laws which are in the statute books shall be repealed. Deployment of military, paramilitary and police forces especially in J & K and North East and people’s struggles in different parts of the country will be reversed.
5.20 c In the place of the worn-out and anti-people police force that is still rooted in the colonial tradition shall be appropriately transformed in to a people’s police with genuine and meaningful involvement of the people at the local-grassroots level.
5.20 d The entire judicial system and jail administration shall be revamped from the perspective of gr democratization of society. Death penalty shall be abolished.
5.21 Policy on Migration
5.21 a Large-scale internal migration arising from corporatization of agriculture and consequent displacement of peasantry calls for appropriate action on the part of the people’s government. This requires a reversal of the negative trends in agriculture on the one hand, and proper rehabilitation of the displaced with land, livelihood, shelter and social security.
5.21 b Rehabilitation of the large number of expatriates from Gulf countries who have contributed much to India’s foreign exchange reserve, and who are now forced to return due to economic downturn shift in policies there, is an important task of the people’s government. As the coming days are to witness an increasing inflow of the Gulf returnees, appropriate steps for their rehabilitation involving efficient use of both their hard-earned savings and expertize should form an urgent task of the government.
5.22 Approach towards Funded Organizations, NGOs, Micro-finance
5.22 a The people’s governmentfrom the perspective of people’s and national interest shall pursue a democratic approach to funded agencies working among people. It shall also pursue a flexible policy towards the well-meaning intellectuals in spite of their depoliticizing engagement with the people. Through politicization of the masses and developing the people’s political alternative against capitalist model of development, many youth and intellectuals now working with NGOs and funding agencies shall be won over.
5.23 Foreign Policy
5.23 a The people’s government shall take immediate steps to get India out of all unequal economic, political, military and cultural treaties and agreements so far signed by the hitherto governments. All treaties signed with US imperialism, world people’s number one enemy, including military and economic treaties, nuclear agreements that put India as a strategic junior partner of the US shall be scrapped. Efforts shall be made together with like-minded countries to come out of the present US led neocolonial international and regional economic institutions such as IMF, WB, WTO, ADB, etc. and to replace them with appropriate democratic economic, monetary and trade arrangements and cooperation agreements.
5.23 b The people’s government shall initiate uniting with like-minded forces at the international level for a basic restructuring in international relations. Instead of the UN system, Security Council and its affiliated institutions and agencies that primarilyserve the US-led neocolonial global order, concerted efforts are required to build necessary institutions and arrangements for facilitating fraternal international cooperation among peoples of different countries.
5.23 c In the same vein, it shall try to evolve regional economic and political cooperation and friendly relations among neighbouring Asian countries including Pakistan based on equality shedding the big brotherly posture of India built up by successive governments. Boundary disputes with neighbouring countries especially with Pakistan which are colonial left-overs shall be settled through bilateral discussions. It shall fight against all forms of neocolonial oppression and establish unity and solidarity among oppressed countries and peoples of the world; strive for world peace, abolition of arms race and for achieving universal nuclear disarmament.
- CPI (ML) Red Star’s Appeal
It was in the course of bitter struggle against the reformist and opportunist positions of CPI and later the CPI (M) the great Naxalbari Uprising, putting forward agrarian revolution with the slogan land to the tiller and upholding national liberation and democratic revolution, took place in 1967, followed by the formation of CPI(ML) in 1969. It is by consistently taking positions against right opportunism and left adventurism that the CPI (ML) Red Star could evolve as a struggling revolutionary organization over decades. Meanwhile, Party’s efforts to apply Marxist-Leninist theory and practice according to concrete conditions enabled it to have more clarity and understanding on the post-war neocolonial international and Indian situation in the proper perspective. In continuation to numerous struggles and movements led by the Party including great sacrifices inspiring the toiling and oppressed, the Bhangar people’s movement has become a breakthrough. It has opened immense possibilities for developing people’s movements at different levels according to the concrete situation.
CPI (ML) Red Star has been consistently fighting against neoliberal policies since their very inception. While resolutely fighting against the anti-people, pro-corporate, reactionary policies of successive Congress-led and BJP-led governments, the party took initiative for forming the Caste Annihilation Movement envisaging basic democratization of the Indian society together with agrarian struggles with the land to the tiller slogan. It has been in the forefront in resisting Modi’s ultra-rightist economic policies like demonetization and GST. Together with all progressive-democratic forces and the oppressed, it is now campaigning against the Economic Reservation of Modi that undermined the caste-based reservation in India and against the threat of throwing out millions of adivasi families from their habitats.
The CPI (ML) is contesting the Lok Sabha elections fielding candidates in most of the states based on this Election Manifesto. It calls for building People’s Alternative against all ruling class alternatives. At a time when the corporate-saffron stranglehold in its diverse reactionary manifestations are intensifying day by day, building-up the people’s alternative based on this Manifesto uniting all genuine left, patriotic, democratic, secular forces assumes great significance.
The CPI (ML) appeals to the working class, the landless-poor peasants and agricultural workers, to all other toiling masses and the patriotic democratic secular forces to rally for building this People’s Alternative.
* Defeat Corporate- Saffron Fascist Forces!
* Build up People’ Alternative based on Independent Left Assertion!
Published by the Central Committee of the CPI (ML) Red Star.
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 neocolonial/neoliberal attacks on all classes and sections of toiling masses all over the world through counter revolutionary ultra rightist, neo-fascist offensive, the importance of the slogan Workers and All Oppressed Peoples of the World Unite has increased manifold. Of course, the vast spectrum of all left, who wave the red flag, ranging from the social democrats on the one hand to the left adventurists and anarchists on the other, shall also be observing this centenary of the CI. But, with their opportunist interpretations, almost all of them have in practice abandoned the significance of rebuilding the CI according to present concrete conditions. This is yet another cardinal point on which the Communist Revolutionary (CR) forces basically differ from them.
The CR forces like the CPI (ML) Red Star uncompromisingly uphold the historic significance of the slogan raised by Marx and Engels in Communist Manifesto: Workers of the World Unite against the international system of capitalism. They continuously strive to learn lessons from the experience of the First, Second and Third (Communist) Internationals and to rebuild it according to the conditions and needs of the present situation. The experience of the CPI (ML) Red Star during the last four decades, started with issuing the joint statement of six revolutionary organizations in 1979 upholding Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought and denouncing the usurpation of power by the capitalist roaders in China immediately after the death of Mao. Then we struggled against the erroneous concepts put forward by the RCP(USA) while building the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM) and dissociated from it because of them. Following it, after becoming a constituent of the broad platform of International Conference of Marxist Leninist Parties and Organizations (ICMLPO), we proceeded to play an important role in the formation of the International Coordination of the Revolutionary Parties and Organizations (ICOR) in 2011 along with the MLPD (Germany) and other revolutionary forces.
For us in the CPI (ML) Red Star, observing the Centenary of the CI is not a ritual or mere academic exercise, but an organic process. It entails taking lessons from the experiences of the First and Second Internationals, from the collapse of the Second International, from the founding of the CI, its experience till its dissolution in 1943, the experience of the Cominform, the repeated efforts by the revisionists of all hues to defame proletarian internationalism in practice which has influenced the large number of social democratic forces whose concept of proletarian internationalism is limited to occasional international conferences for issuing joint statements devoid of any practice, the struggle against the erroneous concepts that emerged in the Communist Party of China against rebuilding the CI which has influenced vast sections of the Marxist-Leninist forces that emerged in the 1960s, and our four decades long struggles which have reached the phase of building ICOR as a step towards the rebuilding of the CI. So, for the struggling communist forces, the observation of the Centenary of CI is an opportunity for intensifying the campaign for rebuilding the CI according to present conditions and challenges.
The capitalist system had emerged and strengthened as an international exploitative system by the time of 18th century. As the newly emerged working class was reduced to wage slavery, they were forced to wage numerous struggles. Initially utopian socialist and anarchist streams of thoughts were dominating them. It was by challenging them, the theory of scientific socialism, of class struggle, and the concept of the dictatorship of the proletariat were put forward. By that time, as pointed out in the beginning of the Communist Manifesto, all the Powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre: Pope and Czar, Metternich and Guizot, French Radicals and German police-spies joined hands against the spectre haunting Europe -- the spectre of Communism. The Manifesto concluded with the declaration: “The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. WORKING MEN OF ALL COUNTRIES, UNITE!”
In order to put this call in to practice, the Communist League, an international association of workers was formed which commissioned Marx and Engels, at the Congress held in London in November 1847, to draw up for publication a detailed theoretical and practical program of the Party. Such was the origin of the Communist Manifesto. The International Workingmen's Association (IWA), often called the First International (1864–1876), was formed based on the orientation provided by the Manifesto as an international organization which aimed at uniting a variety of different left-wing socialist, communist and anarchist groups and trade unions that were based on the working class and class struggle. It was founded in 1864 in a workmen's meeting held in St. Martin's Hall, London. Its First Congress was held in 1866 in Geneva.
Marx agreed to outline the purpose of the organization. The General Rules of the International Workingmen's Association was published in October 1864. Marx's introduction pointed out what they hoped to achieve: "That the emancipation of the working classes must be conquered by the working classes themselves, that the struggle for the emancipation of the working classes means not a struggle for class privileges and monopolies, but for equal rights and duties, and the abolition of all class rule... That the emancipation of labor is neither a local nor a national, but a social problem, embracing all countries in which modern society exists, and depending for its solution on the concurrence, practical and theoretical, of the most advanced countries."
Marx pointed out: "The International was founded in order to replace the socialist and semi-socialist sects with a genuine organization of the working class for its struggle..” Along with many revolutionary movements which broke out in Europe, the Franco-German war led to the uprising in March 1871and to the Paris Commune. In spite of its great contributions to create a new form of society, the Commune was suppressed by the joint might of the bourgeoisie.
But the anarchists and the opportunists were not ready to take lessons from this experience. At the Hague congress a report was presented advocating the stand of anarchists and trying to establish a secret society within the IWMA. Marx wrote in 1874 that "in England the International is for the time being as good as dead". However, it was not until 1876 that the IWMA was officially dissolved. After this it became known as the First International.
Not disheartened with the dissolution of the First International, efforts were continuing for its rebuilding. The Second International (1889–1916) (SI), as an organization of socialist and labour parties was formed in Paris on 14 July 1889. At the Paris meeting, delegations from twenty countries participated. The International continued the work of the dissolved First International. It was during the Second International the 1889 declaration of 1 May (May Day) as International Workers' Day and its 1910 declaration of the International Women's Day, first celebrated on 19 March and then on 8 March after the main day of the women's marches in 1917 during the Russian Revolution.
During this period the capitalist system had transformed to monopoly capitalism, imperialism, on the evaluation of which sharp differences emerged among the constituents. The imperialist powers had, in the main, completed the territorial division of the countries under colonial domination and the new contradiction for the re-division of the world among them went on intensifying. As the focus of plunder shifted from against the working class of their own countries to the natural resources and labour of the colonized countries, the imperialists by sharing a small part of this loot, could win over increasing sections of labour aristocracy to pacifist positions.
Lenin explained the significance of the period represented by the SI as follows: “The First International laid the foundation of the proletarian, international struggle for socialism. The SI marked a period in which the soil was prepared for the broad, mass spread of the movement in a number of countries.” The Congresses of the SI in 1891 and 1896 carried resolutions against war and armaments. The Resolution of the Zurich Congress of 1893 called on all socialist parliamentary representatives to vote against war credits, and adopted the demand for disarmament. The Paris Congress in 1900 adopted a Resolution, moved by Rosa Luxemburg, against militarism and colonialism, which exposed the roots of these and of War in capitalist imperialist period, and set concrete tasks for the fight; First, to vote against all military and naval estimates, or colonial expenditure; second, to train the youth in anti-militarism; third, for simultaneous demonstrations in all countries in the event of an international crisis developing.
At the Stuttgart Congress of 1907 the question of war dominated all issues. Its Resolution urged: “If a war threatens to break out, it is the duty of the working class and of its parliamentary representatives in the countries involved to exert every effort to prevent the outbreak of war, using all appropriate means, which naturally vary and rise according to the degree of sharpening of the class struggle and of the general political agitation. Should war nonetheless break out, it is their duty to intervene to bring it promptly to an end, and to strive with all their energies to utilize the economic and political crisis brought about by the war in order to stir up politically the masses of the people and hasten the downfall of capitalist class rule.” The Resolution was carried unanimously.
At Basle Congress in 1912 a manifesto was adopted, which emphasized the revolutionary meaning of these decisions. But when the imperialist war actually broke out in August 1914, the parties of the SI voted with their respective imperialist governments for conducting the war. Only the Bolshevik Party in Russia led by Lenin, Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg in Germany and a few others voted against war. Though the struggle continued in the Zimmerwald Conference of 1915 and in the conference at Kienthal of 1916 against the opportunist trend under the leadership of Lenin, the liquidation of the SI could not be prevented. The struggle waged by Lenin against the liquidationists is explained in detail in the two articles given as appendix in this booklet.
In 1916 “Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism” was published in which Lenin scientifically explained the transformation of capitalism to imperialism, the class analysis and nature of contradictions in the new era, and the shifting of the centre of revolution to the ‘weak links of imperialism like Russia’. Based on these, Lenin developed the strategy and tactics of revolution in Russia, developed the Bolshevik Party capable of leading this revolution by struggling against the Mensheviks and Narodniks, and led the October Revolution to victory. Soon the Soviet Union was formed and the socialist transformation was launched. As the imperialist powers were alarmed by these developments, they ended the First World War, and jointly tried to destroy the first socialist country. In the middle of all these crucial developments, recognizing the significance of reorganizing the SI assimilating the developments following its liquidation by the opportunist forces, Lenin spent precious time to launch the Third (Communist) International (Comintern) with its First Congress starting from 2nd March, 1919.
Lenin’s preliminary draft thesis contained the essential guidelines for developing an integrated theory, strategy and tactics of socialist revolution in the imperialist countries and democratic revolution in the colonies, semi-colonies and dependent countries. He pointed out (1) clear distinction between reformist and revolutionary tendencies in the national liberation movement, fighting the former; (2) adapting the Soviet idea to the specific conditions of the democratic revolution in these countries, and (3) indicating how this revolution can pass over to socialist revolution avoiding the capitalist stage.
The significance of the Second Congress in 1920 was that it worked out the political line of the World Communist Movement in the struggle against imperialism according to the then concrete conditions when revolution looked possible in Germany and few other countries. It gave guidelines for establishing a lasting alliance of the proletariat with the peasantry and the national liberation movement of the oppressed peoples, closed the door of the Comintern to opportunists, mapped out ways for rectifying leftist errors in the communist movement and set the task of strengthening the communist parties ideologically and organizationally, strengthening their ties with the masses. With the Second Congress adopting the 21 ‘conditions’ and the statutes, the Comintern assumed its organizational shape as ‘united world party of the international proletariat’.
As far as the perspective put forward by Lenin is concerned, the primary task was to advance towards World proletarian Socialist Revolution’ with Soviet Union (SU) serving as its base. Building socialism in SU should serve this international task. With this spirit the building of communist and workers parties was taken up with urgency all over the world. Besides Marxist-Leninist literature was made available in most of the languages. International forums of the workers, women, youth etc were launched. Students from most of the countries were given opportunity to take up studies in SU and learn from the Soviet experience. On the whole, Comintern served as the anti-imperialist centre for the world people.
During these post-War years, the crisis faced by the imperialist system went on intensifying. It took a dangerous turn by the 1930s with the finance capital reaching a period of Great Depression. Coupled with the inter-imperialist contradiction for re-division of the colonies, it led to the emergence of ultra rightist, fascist forces to power in a number of countries led by Nazi Germany. In his speech to 7th Congress, CI’s general secretary Dimitrov explained: “Comrades, as early as the Sixth Congress , the Communist International warned the world proletariat that a new fascist offensive was under way and called for a struggle against it. With the general crisis of capitalism becoming sharply accentuated, the ruling bourgeoisie more and more sought salvation in fascism, with the object of taking exceptional predatory measures against the working people, preparing for an imperialist war of plunder, attacking the Soviet Union, and by all these means preventing revolution”.
Fascism in power was defined as: “the open terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary, most chauvinistic and most imperialist elements of finance capital”. His Report added: “But whatever the masks that fascism adopts, whatever the forms in which it presents itself, whatever the ways by which it comes to power
- Fascism is a most ferocious attack by capital on the mass of the working people;
- Fascism is unbridled chauvinism and predatory war;
- Fascism is rabid reaction and counter-revolution;
- 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 laboring masses. This means:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 labor 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 labor movement, “to proceed from the concrete situation and specific conditions obtaining in each particular country and as a rule avoid direct intervention in internal organizational matters of the Communist Parties.”
According to this 1943 Statement: “Proceeding from the above-stated considerations, and taking into account the growth and political maturity of the Communist Parties and their leading cadres in individual countries, and also in view of the fact that during the present war a number of sections have raised the question of dissolution of the Communist International”, after seeking opinion of the presidium members, the ECCI decided to dissolve the Comintern in June, 1943.
As pointed out in the beginning, in spite of so many pressing problems soon after the October Revolution, the CPSU under Lenin’s leadership took urgent steps by 1919 to launch the Third (Communist) International, convening its First Congress. Its Second Congress was convened which took significant decisions when possibilities for revolutionary upsurges were visible in number of countries. Even when these possibilities subsided soon and the imperialist forces once again started taking aggressive positions, the 3rd and 4th Congresses were convened in 1921 and 1922 and Lenin played active role in developing the Colonial Thesis. Though Lenin could not attend, he had prepared the ground work for the 5th Congress in 1924 also. But after Lenin’s death, the 6th Congress was convened only in 1928, and the function of the Comintern was mostly carried out by the ECCI. The 7th Congress was convened only in 1935 and the CI was dissolved in 1943. It shows that during Stalin’s period adequate regular attention was not given to analyze the unfolding situation and to amend the structure of Comintern according to the new situation. Besides, though constant discussions among the leaders of the communist parties were required to develop the strategy and tactics to be followed in the fast changing new situation, it did not take place. So, the form and content of the Comintern could not be developed according to the needs of the fast changing world situation, The differences in the approach to various problems went on increasing, creating a situation when the CI had to be dissolved. Communist parties should learn from this.
In the very year in which the CI was dissolved, the US imperialists convened the Brettenwood Conference and decided to launch the IMF and World Bank in preparation for the neocolonial 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 wast 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, rom 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. But, not only such a unity is 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, are against putting it to practice in any form. For justification they misquote the Statement dissolving the Comintern, or articles of Chou Enlai like leaders opposing any form of international communist organization. So, even though many of them may observe the Centenary of the Comintern, in practice, they are against any more internationals or even building broad platforms!
The CPI(ML) Red Star approaches this problem of rebuilding the Communist Internal 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!
The 16th General Elections to the Lok Sabha had taken place when the neoliberal UPA regime had led to alarming price rise, unemployment, corruption, displacement, ecological destruction, loss of livelihood, etc, impoverishing the masses and widening the gap between the rich and the vast masses of toiling people. It had aroused unprecedented people's fury across the length and breadth of the country. In the absence of an effective left and democratic or progressive people's alternative against the Congress misrule and the ruling system, the BJP at all India level succeeded to utilize the people's fury to catapult itself to power, with the backing of corporate capital that gobbled up the biggest gains during UPA rule, together with the ideological and organizational support of the RSS Parivar. It replaced the rightist rule of Congress with its ultra rightist, openly communal rule. And regional parties like AIADMK, TMC, BJD like forces in TN, W. Bengal, Odisha etc also reaped the benefit of the anti- Congress wave. Along with the Congress and it allies, the CPI(M) led Left Front parties were also decimated.
The Modi government has already started further intensification of the imposition of neo-liberal policies, expanding corporatization of all fields, further pauperizing the masses, and distorting and commercializing the cultural and educational fields, while intensifying the spreading of communal hatred and divisions among the people. In this situation, the communist forces are confronting two frontal challenge: firstly, how to overcome the present crisis faced by the movement at theoretical, political and organizational levels and to build a party with all India influence capable of completing the remaining tasks of democratic revolution and advancing towards the socialist revolution; secondly, how to unite the genuine left and democratic forces to forge a program based people's platform against all forces of neo-liberalization and communalization as part of its tactical line.
On Communist Unity.
The CPI (ML) Red Star is of the view that though the building of the left platform and joint activities under its banner shall bring the left forces nearer and help to create condition for the unity of the Marxist-Leninist forces, it should not be mechanically linked or confused with the question of communist unity, that is with the question of uniting the communist revolutionaries in a single party. An evaluation of the past experience, when the first split in the CPI took place in 1964 leading to the formation of the CPI (M), and when the second split took place following an inner party struggle and the outbreak of the Naxalbari struggle leading to formation of the CPI (ML) and a number of CR groups show that, contrary to the expectations they created, a qualitative leap in the movement did not take place, though the objective conditions were favoring it. Why did it happen so?
The first split took place when the international communist movement was waging a life and death struggle against the revisionist line promoted by the Krushchevites who had come to the leadership of the Communist Party of Soviet Union. Under its influence the CPI leadership had adopted the line of National Democratic Revolution replacing the line of PDR under the leadership of the working class put forward by the Communist International, advocating peaceful socialist transition, collaborating with the native bourgeois class which it analyzed as predominantly nationalist in character. Though the CPI (M) leadership rejected this line, it did not make a break with Soviet revisionism or recognize that the big bourgeoisie in the country is in the main collaborating with imperialism or comprador in character. So, by the time of 1967 general elections both embraced the path of parliamentarism and took initiative to form coalition governments in W. Bengal and Kerala joining with even communal and ruling class parties, compromising communist positions. This has naturally led both, in course of time, to their present social democratic line.
Though the CRs broke away from this line and tried to learn from the Great Debate led by Mao against Soviet revisionism and recognized the comprador character of the big bourgeoisie in the country, they also failed to make a concrete analysis of the vast changes taking place in the Indian situation and to develop the Marxist-Leninist understanding accordingly. Instead, they soon embraced the left adventurist line which had emerged in China by the middle 1960s under the leadership of Lin Biao. Both the revisionist line which dominated the Soviet communist party and the sectarian line which dominated the CPC by the time of its Ninth Congress in 1969, refused to make a concrete analysis of the vast changes taking place at the international level with the transformation of the colonial plunder of imperialism to the neo-colonial phase. It led both to conclude that the imperialist camp has weakened. As a result, while the former embraced the line of liquidation compromising with imperialist positions abandoning the path of class struggle, the latter advocated a putschist line. Both caused severe damage to the communist movement. Unity of the communist forces calls for serious studies based on the fundamental principles of Marxism-Leninism for settling accounts with these basic deviations.
After the disintegration of the CPI (ML) and other CR forces by early1970s, extensive discussions on evaluating the mistakes leading to it had taken place at various levels. Most of the ML groups except those who united to form the CPI (Maoist) rejected the line of annihilation of class enemies, line of armed struggle as the only form of struggle and adopted the mass line. But these efforts were theoretically crippled as they refused to make an analysis of the vast changes taking place in the country under neo-colonial domination during the post-1947 decades. If imperialism used feudal forces as a social prop for its colonial domination, under neo-colonization it promoted fast changes in the pre-capitalist relations of production in the agrarian sector to integrate it with the international finance system through reforms from above including the Green Revolutions. The semi-colonial, semi-feudal frame mechanically carried forward by most of the ML forces made them incapable of understanding the neo-colonial phase of imperialism and the changes taking place to the relations of production in the agrarian field, and for developing the program and path of revolution according to these changes. On the other hand, another trend which recognized these changes went forward to analyze India as a capitalist country and stage of revolution as socialist, refusing to recognize the growing imperialist dominance in the country in newer forms.
The imposition of the imperialist globalization and neo-liberal policies and intensification of the corporatization of all fields including agriculture have led to some of these sections to re-examine their positions, at least partially. This has created conditions for new theoretical offensive and bi-lateral discussions with these forces. The CPI (ML) Red Star is actively pursuing discussions with these sections. Meanwhile the new generation, not having the burden of past frames and heritages, are coming forward, though in trickles now, to join the revolutionary stream. As the corporate loot and communalization intensifies under Modi raj, this tendency will be strengthened. So there are better objective and subjective possibilities for communist unity today, if the cardinal importance of the ideological political line and the struggle to develop it according to present conditions are recognized.
The Resolution on Theoretical Offensive being discussed in the Tenth Congress opens up possibilities for taking up the theoretical issues including the evaluation of the experience of the socialist practice in the former socialist countries, the question of broadening the democratic space within the party organization including development of the concept of democratic centralism. It shall provide enough scope for inner party struggle on all questions of difference. The practical application of the Marxist perspective of "all power to the people", developing the concept of proletarian dictatorship or proletarian democracy, transcending the limits of bourgeois democracy, developing the alternate development paradigm which is people oriented and eco-friendly etc shall open new scope for communist unity. Once the shortcomings and deviations which caused the setback to the movement from the great heights it had reached by 1950s are scientifically analyzed and self critically evaluated, and once the orientation for future advance of democracy and development paradigm are put forward, they shall provide the basis for the rebuilding of the communist party uniting all genuine forces. It shall help to win over the new generation who are getting increasingly alienated from the imperialist promoted development which is creating devastation and the shrinking of democratic space under bourgeois democracy. This is a critical time which calls for all round efforts for taking up the reorganization of the party. The CPI (ML) Red Star appeals to all Marxist-Leninist forces to recognize this and take up this great challenge with all seriousness.
On Building left and democratic Platform
While taking up the challenge of uniting the communists who are presently divided in to different sharply divided trends, it should be recognized that it is going to be a protracted affair. So immediate attention should be given to the question of bringing together the left and democratic forces in a struggle based platform on a common minimum program against the intensification of corporate loot and communalization under Modi regime. While expressing this desire one should be clear about the political reasons which led to the victory of BJP and why the communist movement which had a powerful presence in many parts of the country in the past, and which was often mentioned as the alternative to the Congress in the 1950s, drastically lost its political stature and organizational strength, weakening to its present condition. Even in the 2004 elections the CPI (M) led Left Front parties had 64 seats in the Lok Sabha and they were ruling in W. Bengal, Kerala and Tripura. But their policy of supporting the Congress led UPA rule which was merrily going ahead with the implementation of the neo-liberal policies for five years, and shamelessly implementing the very same neo-liberal policies in the states where they were in power, leading to Singur and Nandigram like incidents, alienated them from the people. The record of the CPI(M) led LF rule in W. Bengal and Kerala, the degeneration of CPI-CPI(M) leaderships to social democratic positions and of the anarchist acts of the CPI(Maoist) forces have defamed the communist movement and the left forces in general all over the country, especially from the new generation. This degeneration of the established left forces and anarchist Maoists contributed much, along with other factors, in the ascendance of RSS backed Modi to power, as the alternative to the hated Congress.
In spite of these, some of those who were part of the Communist Revolutionary forces and some good intentioned friends of the left movement advocate that, as the country is facing a dangerous situation, let us forget and forgive and build a broad left and democratic platform to confront this challenge. This is happening when, in spite of decimation in the LS elections and in all other elections including the recent by-elections to assembly seats in W. Bengal, the CPI (M)) and its allies are not ready to learn any lessons and are ready to support the Congress in the name of opposing BJP. They are still not convinced about the need for keeping these social democrats out of a left platform. Any effort to form a left and democratic platform with such parties will only further weaken the left forces politically and organizationally.
It is in this context, CPI (ML) Red Star is proposing the formation of a left and democratic Platform based on a common minimum program which can be arrived at through discussion based on following points:
(1) Oppose imperialist globalization-liberalization-privatization and neo-liberal policies; Struggle against imperialist domination through IMF, World Bank, WTO and MNCs; Fight against corporatization of all fields; End corporate-mafia raj.
(2) Stop displacements for Neo-liberal Projects; Confiscate all lands from mafias, big landlords etc; End corporatization of agriculture and Second green Revolution; Implement progressive land reforms promoting co-operative agriculture, providing assistance to the farmers for agricultural development; ensure rights of agricultural workers including dalits and adivasis ensuring their right over the land.
(3) End price-rise; Implement universal Public Distribution System; Ensure education, healthcare, housing and employment for all. Provide unemployment allowance to all unemployed.
(4) End corporatization of industry; Struggle for socialization of all core sectors including energy, mining, steel, minerals etc; Fight contract and casual labour system, struggle for need based wages, job security and democratic rights of working class.
(5) Democratize society through Constitutional and democratic reforms including the right to recall elected representatives as well as government servants; Reform electoral laws introducing proportional representation; Prosecute all corrupt through special courts; Bring in to force appropriate democratic agencies with full power for this; Confiscate all black- money deposited in foreign banks and other hide-outs.
(6) Ensure Adivasis' right over their land and natural resources; Implement autonomous councils based on Sixth Schedule in Adivasi areas; End caste-based and communal oppression, and attacks on women, dalits and oppressed classes and sections; Realize casteless and secular society.
(7) End all forms of gender discrimination; Ensure women's equality in all fields.
(8) Scrap AFSPA, UAPA and all other black laws; Withdraw military from Jammu- Kashmir and Northeast; End state terror and achieve all round democratization of the administration and society.
(9) Settle all border disputes, a hangover from colonial days, through bilateral discussions; With draw military from borders and cut down military expenditure; Develop fraternal relations with neighbouring countries; Liberalize Visa rules to improve people to people relations.
(10) Abolish imperialist promoted 'development' policies which devastate nature, cause 'climate change', lead to ecological catastrophes and impoverish masses; Implement people oriented, sustainable and eco-friendly development paradigm.
The CPI(ML) Red Star proposes that the strenuous efforts for communist unity based on ideological, political, organizational line according to present concrete conditions on the one hand, and for building the broad left platform based on a CMP should be tirelessly carried forward simultaneously in order to develop a powerful countrywide people's alternative to challenge all ruling class alternatives including the growing challenge posed by the BJP government through intensification of corporate loot and communal frenzy.