“…turn in any direction you like, caste is the monster that crosses your path. You cannot have political reform, you cannot have economic reform, unless you kill this monster.”
– B. R. Ambedkar, Annihilation of Caste
“To be radical is to grasp things by the root.”
No two words in modern history might have had as menacing a consequence to the future of a country as caste and class. They have not only divided the working class movements into two camps, viz., movements believing in class struggle and movements believing in anti-caste struggle, but each backed by the ideological obsession of their protagonists and their historical trajectories pushed them onto the path of divergence and in course weakened both of them to the extent that today they find themselves struggling for relevance. Castes have been the life-world of people in the Indian subcontinent for more than two millennia and largely acknowledged to be the unique feature of its majority of people called Hindus although they never remained confined to them and infected the other religious communities that came into being since medieval times. It did face threats from counter-ideological streams such as shramans (later best represented by Buddhism) and political threats by the outsider invaders coming in from north but managed to outlast all of them. Contrary to a commonplace notion, Buddhism despite its ideological hegemony over the subcontinent for about a millennium could not disturb this life-world. Most of the outside invaders either left or settled mixing up with the local population leaving this life-world undisturbed in its essence. The medieval period saw emergence of Islamic society in India presenting an alternate civilizational prospect to the lower castes and it posed a significant threat to this life-world to the extent a large section of them escaped the thralldom of Brahmanism and embraced Islam. However, even this threat remained short-lived and soon even this new society got infected with caste virus. The new religion of Sikhism ostensibly professing equality of all humans by assimilating noble precepts of both Hinduism and Islam, also could not guard off the caste virus from infecting its society. Later, when Christianity came in, similarly attracting the lower castes in huge numbers as Islam did, the minority of upper castes who embraced it, castized it. Castes thus remained a pervasive reality of the India since antiquity to this day.
The life-world implied all its inhabitants internalized its principles and ethos. The people behaved as they were expected to by the caste code. It was only during the colonial rule that anti-caste consciousness germinated in the lower castes. The opportunities for economic progress, the new institutional mode of governance and the advent of capitalism under its shelter, catalysed it. Barring stray pockets in the world that reflected caste-like characteristics and African continent which had dominance of tribalism, classes characterized rest of the world. They came into prominence, however, with the spread of capitalism, which in its idealized form, divided the society into two interdependent but antagonistic classes, viz., proletariat and bourgeoisie. They particularly assumed prominence with the theories of Marxism that saw struggles between these two classes reaching their zenith where they would usher into a revolutionary change to socialism and thence, communism.
In this note I intend discussing the meaning of caste and class to elucidate the mistake committed by both the movements, dalit as well as communist, in dealing with them. While presenting my analysis of the situation of these movements, I try to sketch out a strategy for them to converge over a reasonable timeframe.
Definitional Aspects: Varna and Jati
Simply put, caste is a defining feature of the Indian society. Etymologically, the English word “caste” derives from the Spanish and Portuguese casta, with its roots in Latin castus. It meant “race, lineage, or breed”. When the Portuguese arrived in India in 1498 and encountered thousands of in-marrying hereditary Indian social groups they called them “castas”, which became “castes” in English in 1613. The Indian name for castes is Jati or Jat. While the Europeans did not know anything like jati, their conception of caste subsumed racial connotations and tended to confuse with the varna division of the society, which still prevails significantly among the western scholars.
There is much confusion even in the scholarly literature between jati, and varna [They are used interchangeably by most scholars. For instance, Stuart Corbridge, John Harriss, Craig Jeffrey, India Today: Economy, Politics and Society, Polity Press, Cambridge, 2013; Also see Bharat Jhunjhunwala, Varna Vyavastha: Governance through Caste System, Rawat Publications, New Delhi, p. 183; Binod, C.Agrawal, Anthropological Approaches to the Study of Complex Societies, Ethnographic & Folk Culture Society, Lucknow, 1982, p.44; N. K., Dutt, Origin and Growth of Castes in India, Vol. I, The Book Co. Ltd., Calcutta, 1931, p. 4.], which together constitute basis for the caste system. It is largely agreed that varnas were brought into India by the conquering tribes of Aryas during the dark period of history. If the lineage of Aryans is traced to the Iranian society, Avesta mentions only three classes of people based on economic functions in society [See, Mukhtar Ahmed, Ancient Pakistan: An Archaeological History, Vol. V, Foursome Group, Reidsville, 2014, p.149.] sans hierarchy, evolved into four (Brahman, Kshatriya, Vaisya and Shudra) varna System (Chaturvarna) by the end of Rigvedic period with a notion of hierarchy and then led to designate the excluded ones as the avarnas (non-varna) or pancham (fifth) varna,.Thus, varnas were finite and with definitive hierarchy. Castes (jatis), in contrast, are countless and (because of it) with fluid notion of hierarchy. [The rough estimate of castes runs into thousands but no one for sure can vouch for those numbers. Louis Dumont deals with this question but leaves it unanswered because of its infeasibility. See Louis Dumont, Homo Hierrachicus, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1970, p. 33]. Varna is the vedic classification of the four ranked occupational order, whereas caste refers to ranked hereditary, endogamous and occupational groups separated from each other by the ideas of purity and pollution. Classically, varnas defined the borders of Hinduism, whereas jatis were local within the borders of ethnolinguistic regions. The varnas may be taken as theoretical, a framework, whereas castes (jatis) are real and concrete. Besides, Brahman and the shudra within the original chaturvarna and avarna dalits in its extended form, which bracket overall Hindu social order, all other varnas are rarely found everywhere, but castes are found all over. As a result, the mapping of castes with intermediate varnas remains hazy and not accepted by many castes. Many castes reject legitimacy of the varna hierarchy and/or the places assigned to them by others. In the Brahmanical strongholds of south India itself the intermediate varnas hardly exist. Where they exist, they do so with local variations. Even historically, the village roost was not necessarily ruled by any Brahman caste; when it was, one could find wealth and power rather than its ritual status being instrumental in its placement. Many Brahmans did not enjoy any such reputation. Second, even their explanation for the advent of varnashram dharma also is unconvincing as it does not explain why it only survived in India and not elsewhere.
Historicity of Castes
The discourse on caste customarily starts curiously with the origin of caste, as though castes were the same as they originated. Many scholars have proffered theories of the origin of castes which in sum are no better than a blind man’s description of an elephant. Whether they are plausible or not, from the perspective of their annihilation, they do not serve any purpose. One of the motivations behind knowing the origin of caste is to possibly strike at its root in order to eradicate it. Probably Dr Ambedkar adopts it when in Annihilation of Caste; he attributes its origin to the Dharmashastras of Hinduism and therefore infers that unless they were dynamited, the caste system would not be annihilated.
The theories of the origin of castes may be broadly classified into as many as ten classes based on their thrust: (i) traditional or Indological theory, (ii) racial theory, (iii) political theory, (iv) religious theory, (v) occupational theory, (vi) racial/functional theory, (vii) guild theory, (viii) mana theory, and (ix) evolution or multi-factor theory. According to the traditional or Indological theory, the caste system is of divine origin. It is based on the allegorical explanation in Purushsukta in Rig Veda for the origin of four varnas being parts of the cosmic being purusha or the supreme creator (God)., Castes were born later as a result of different types of marriages between varnas in ancient India. Although of little intellectual value, it underlies the popular belief in castes. The Racial Theory propounded by Sir Herbert Risely held that caste system was due to racial differences between migrant Aryas and Anaryas (native people). G. S. Ghurye (1932) appear to support this theory. The political theory held that caste system was the result of political conspiracy of the Brahmans to secure control over the functions of the society. This theory was originally propounded by a French scholar Abbe Dubais and found tacit support in many scholars like Denzil Ibbetson and also S.G. Ghurye. The religious theory was advocated by Hocart and Senart. Hocart postulated that castes were a hierarchy of ritual offices centered on a king (or a local lord) having as their purpose the performance of the royal ritual for the benefit of the entire community. The king, as the representative of the god and religion, allotted positions to different functional groups. Senart tried to explain the caste system on the basis of prohibitions regarding sacramental food. Occupational/Functional theory, originally propounded by Nesfield, held that occupation were the main base of the caste system. The notion of hierarchy of castes stemmed basically from the superiority or inferiority of occupations. The Racial/ Functional theory put forth by Slater combines both the racial and functional origins, postulating that the caste system was created to safeguard the professional and occupational secrets of different races. The Aryan invasions intensified and developed the existing structure making occupations hereditary and marriages only within the same occupation groups, sanctified later by ritual practices and religious ceremonies. The Guild theory put forth by Denzil Ibbeston, holds that castes are the modified forms of guilds and the caste system was the product of three forces, (i) tribes, (ii) guilds, and (iii) religion. The guilds evolved into castes imitating the endogamy of the prestigious class of priests. The mana theory based on the views of J.H. Hutton accords the caste system pre-Aryan origin and suggests that the primitive belief in ‘mana’ among tribes accounted for the origin of the caste system. Mana was associated with magical and harmful powers and hence the ancient tribes evolved elaborate taboos or restrictions to protect themselves from other tribes’ mana. Lastly, the Evolutionary or Multifactor theory propounded by sociologists held that a complex phenomenon of the caste system could not be explained by a single factor and rather was a result of many factors such as beliefs in racial superiority, geographical isolation. metaphysical concepts, belief in mana, desire to maintain racial purity of blood and manipulation by Brahmans.
As could be seen, none of these theories, save for the last one, which does not claim a specific factor and hence is flexible enough to accommodate any of the above or entirely new one within its fold, are explaining the origin of the caste system. They rather explain the varna system and take for granted that caste system is born out of the varna system.
Ambedkar on Caste
In relation to castes, Babasaheb Ambedkar assumes extraordinary importance because of his life-long struggle, both in the realm of theory as well as practice. His seminal paper, Castes in India: Their Mechanism, Genesis and Development, which Ambedkar presented as a student, at an Anthropology Seminar taught by Dr. A. A. Goldenweizer in Columbia University on 9 May 1916, dealt with some of these views and also those of Dr. Ketkar and dismissed them as Petitio Principii of formal logic.. It was here that he observed, “A caste is an enclosed class”.
He disagreed with Senart that the “idea of pollution” was a peculiarity of caste as it was “a particular case of the general belief in purity”. As per him, the idea of pollution could be ignored without affecting the working of castes. It was attached to the institution of caste only because of the priestly caste which enjoyed the highest rank. To Nesfield’s theory highlighting absence of messing with outside the caste, Ambedkar would say that it was mistaking the effect for the cause. Caste being a self-enclosed unit, it naturally limits social intercourse, including messing. He did not find Risley’s views deserving even a comment. He rather included Ketkar who had defined caste in its relation to a system of castes, and had focused his attention only on those characteristics which were absolutely necessary for the existence of a caste within a system. Ambedkar however, critiqued Ketkar for taking “prohibition of intermarriage and membership by autogeny” as the two characteristics of caste and argued that they were but two aspects of one and the same thing. If intermarriage is prohibited, the membership of those born within the group also shall be automatically limited.
Ambedkar argues that the Hindu society like other societies was essentially a class system, in which individuals, when qualified, could change their class. However, at some time in history, the priestly class socially detached itself from the rest of the people and through a closed-door policy became a caste by itself. The other varnas, which were subject to the law of social division of labour, developed sub-division with social mobility of the class system. However, as he argued, they too lost the open-door character of the class system and have become self-enclosed units called castes. He explained their becoming castes saying “Some closed the door: Others found it closed against them.” He proffered a psychological explanation for the former saying that since the Brahmans or priestly class, occupied the highest position in the social hierarchy of the Hindu society, the other classes simply imitated them by adopting endogamy. Over the years, endogamy became a fashion since it originated from the priestly class, who were venerated and idolized in the scriptures. Endogamy was thus practiced by all the classes, which ultimately resulted into the rigid formation of castes. The custom of endogamy superimposed on exogamy, which prevailed in all ancient tribes, became the creation of castes. He points out that without the practice of endogamy, the caste system cannot survive. Along with endogamy, Brahmans followed the custom of sati and enforced widowhood which later spread to other castes. The mainstream sociology never acknowledged this analysis of Ambedkar, although it predated the thesis by G. S. Ghurye, celebrated as the first sociological treatise on caste by a decade and anticipated many of the ideas of the later scholars.
Ambedkar developed his theory of untouchability on the basis of ‘broken men’ (broken from their tribes during the tribal wars), who, since they were Buddhists, and did not respect Brahmans were made untouchables. He wrote, “...the Broken Men were Buddhists. As such they did not revere the Brahmins, did not employ them as their priests and regarded them as impure. The Brahmin on the other hand disliked the Broken Men because they were Buddhists and preached against them contempt and hatred with the result that the Broken Men came to be regarded as Untouchables”. They were made untouchables because they continued eating beef when the Gupta Kings made cow killing a criminal offence and beef eating a sin in the 4th century AD. This theorization that attributed untouchability to the struggle for supremacy between Buddhism and Brahmanism helped him to endow the dalits with Buddhist past.
Ambedkar’s theorization of untouchability is as problematic as his analysis of castes was insightful. It is pivoted on ‘broken men’ being Buddhist, which, as candidly admitted by Ambedkar does not have any evidential support. He just concludes it saying “No evidence is ... necessary when the majority of Hindus were Buddhists. We may take it that they were.”
While the ideological contrivance surely plays a role in sustaining a social order, it cannot create it. The fact that varna-like systems of stratification existed in most ancient societies and they were not ordained by any religious ideology, purely ideological explanation for the origin of the caste system becomes problematic. Social systems come into being because the material conditions demand them. The ideological superstructure develops later to preserve them. A section of society that benefits from the system develops vested interests and wants to preserve it through an ideological apparatus. The pervasiveness of the caste system over the vast subcontinental space and its becoming a ‘life-world’ of people is surely attributable to the spread of ideology but the origin of the caste system needs to be searched elsewhere.
The material factors that gave rise to the caste system can perhaps be located in the uniquely rich natural endowment of the Indian subcontinent for the biotic mode of production extant in ancient times. In terms of plentiful flat, fertile land; rivers and water bodies; abundant and all time sunshine, and congenial climate, Indian subcontinent may scarcely have parallel on the planet in its richness for agriculture. These factors might be seen to be the key to unfathom the mystery of the unique system of stratification in the form of the caste system. When nomadic tribes began settling for agriculture, they necessarily underwent change in their social structure everywhere confirming to their material conditions. For instance, the places where lands were hostile and not so fertile; water sources were scanty and seasons were erratic; and sunshine had a narrow window of a few months, as for instance in England, it gave rise to a system of serfdom. In order to cultivate vast tracts of lands within a small time-window necessitated huge army of serfs to work and a lord to control them. In contrast, Indian tribes did not have to undergo such a structural transformation and had settled down with their tribal identities intact. These tribal identities were rather castes, albeit sans hierarchy or any stigma.
The notion of hierarchy and stigma (purity and pollution) were rather superimposed by the post-Rigvedic varna system. Thus, contrary to the proposition of the traditional ideological theory, it is not the varnas that came first and they evolved into castes, but quite the opposite. The castes in the form of tribal identities with some amount of magico-religious development, natural to agricultural communities, already existed in India, which were later overlain by the varna system brought in by the vanquishing Aryan tribes. With the growth of surplus production, it needed an intricate ideological contrivance, appealable to agricultural society as it purported to solve their myriad knowledge problems about natural events on which agriculture depended. The priestly class of Brahmans assumed the role of a mediator between people and gods, and slowly became ‘gods on earth’ themselves to establish their hegemony. They propounded a theory of karma to justify the present order and fortify their own supremacist position. While it made people to accept their caste statuses as their destinies according to their past karma, it also motivated them to adhere to the caste dharma in order to be born into better caste in the next birth. Besides this self propellant, there was a cobweb of rules as in Manusmriti that prescribed their behavior and punishments for any deviation from the prescribed code. This entire superstructure would stabilize making castes as the life-world of people.
It may be noted that the Manusmriti-like rules with harsh punishments provided for violation of caste code must have occasioned clearly to thwart the tendencies towards violation of the caste code. One may attribute it to the ideological influence of Buddhism when it began spreading among masses. In order to fortify the brahmanic structure of the society, such regidfied code might have been occasioned. But during the period of Buddhist hegemony, there appears no evidence that Buddhism actively engaged to fight the caste division in the society. It may be that while people followed Buddhism, the life-world of caste also survived. Buddhism, after it got royal support, lost its missionary zeal and became vihar centric engaged in production of intricate philosophies. People did adore Buddhism and its monks but the practice of castes also continued as a cultural drag. If the Buddhist tenets had crystallized into the cultural practice of people, it would be difficult to imagine complete erasure of it all over the subcontinent.
There were many upheavals in Indian history but this life-world adjusted itself to any disturbance. After the resurgence of Brahmanism under the leadership of Shankara in eighth century, it got strengthened further. It received numerous jolts during the medieval times through the stabilization of Muslim rule, emergence of Bhakti movement, emergence of Sikhism, etc., all of them ideologically oriented against castes, but it managed to adjust itself to the emerging circumstances.
Catalytic Role of the Colonial Rule
However, it received its severest jolt during the colonial period. The advent of western liberal institutions of governance, English education and capitalist enterprises proved hugely beneficial to the lower classes. Many of them ran after the opportunities created in new urban centers and made significant economic progress. Even before these changes began to befall, the advent of Britishers opened up opportunities for the lower castes to get into their employ and later into army. The latter proved especially significant because it not only gave them an opportunity to wield weapons, which were forbidden to them, but also win wars. It proved great moral booster in decimating the self image of inferiority solidified through centuries’ Brahmanic culture and realizing their martial prowess. The compulsory education in military service further reinforced it. All these changes created a class of relatively educated and economically well off Dalits, who became the harbinger of the Dalit movement. The work of Christian missionaries among them pushed the upper castes into taking up reforms in the Hindu society. The colonial rule variously impacted various sections of the Indian society including their life-world of castes.
From the dawn of the twentieth century, in process of responding to the various mass agitations (militant youth uprising in Bengal in response of partition and other parts), the British strategized to devolve power to Indian elites, albeit along the communal lines, so as to keep it in their control. The communal basis of sharing political power between two major divisions, Hindus and Muslims represented by the Congress and the Muslim League respectively, inevitably brought the question of where dalits and tribals belonged. On the eve of the Morley-Minto reforms in 1909 the Muslim League objected to the Congress’ taking them for granted as Hindus. It seeded the political space for the dalits in future to claim their separate identity and use it to bargain for their rights. The descent of Ambedkar, endowed with high academic accomplishments, as the dalit leader greatly accelerated this process. His main contributions have been in catapulting the caste question into the political arena, winning the dalits certain special rights such as reservations, theorizations of their struggles, and providing vision of emancipation.
The most significant measure that is entirely attributable to him is the scheme of reservations. Ambedkar won the dalits reservations with separate electorates in the Round Table Confernces during 1931-32 in contention with Gandhi. He was, however, blackmailed into giving up separate electorates by Gandhi with his fast unto death. The Poona Pact that symbolized the new agreement contained the principles of preferential recruitment of dalits in public services and other necessary things from the viewpoint of their uptliftment. In course, reservations in political representation, educational institutions and in public services (in 1943 when Ambedkar was a member in the Viceroy’s Executive Council) were established. The main justification of this ‘affirmative action’ was the exclusion suffered by the dalits in the Hindu society. They were accepted by the colonial rulers as an exceptional policy in favour of the exceptional people and were also largely reconciled by the populace. The significant development that happened for instituting these policies was the creation of a schedule that included all the untouchable people, imparting them a new administrative/political identity as scheduled castes. There was no back reference to the Hindu religious texts or customs necessary in future, thereby rendering the castes as such redundant.
When the reins of power came into the hands of the native upper caste-class elites, then represented by the Congress Party, they resorted to their Brahmanic cunning lain over the learning from colonial masters. The constituent assembly set up in accordance with the cabinet mission plan with the representatives elected by the provisional assemblies formed through the elections in July-August 1946 had to deal with the aspirations of masses, built up by the Congress during the freedom struggle. Way back in in 1928, under the Nehru committee, the Congress had resolved to undo untouchability. Later, in 1936, the Congress had decided to have a socialist system inspired by the constitution of Soviet Russia. Behind this mass façade, the Congress at its core remained the representative of the interests of the incipient bourgeoisie like Kuomintang in China during the same period. After gaining power, while it tried to keep up this façade, in reality it began surreptitiously but systematically pushing for the development in the interests of the capitalists as could be seen from its clandestine adoption of Bombay Plan (An investment plan prepared by the eight big capitalists during January 1944 for a period of 15 years in the post-colonial India, with the objective of doubling the GDP and trebling the per capita income) while rejecting it in public. In the context of castes, the constituent assembly took a decision to outlaw untouchability with much fanfare and amidst the slogan ‘Mahatma Gandhi ki Jai’. It was indeed a victory to strategist Gandhi as he best represented all the upper caste reformers who wanted to abolish untouchability but variously defended castes. Untouchability, however, was a mere aspect of caste; it could not go away if the castes existed. There was a clear opportunity for the new ruling classes to outlaw caste itself. With castes gone, untouchability would automatically vanish. As could be experienced, nothing happened with the untouchability law as survey after surveys, right from the 1950s to just the present day (NCAER report) reveal.
Castes were not abolished ostensibly for giving reservations to the dalits. While theoretically, it may be conceded that the constituent assembly could do away reservations for the dalits that came through colonial times, none little versed with politics would dare say so. The constituent assembly expectedly adopted the 1936 schedule and continued with the reservations to the dalits but not without a mischief. It created another schedule for the tribals and extended the ditto provisions to them as were given to the scheduled castes. In doing this, it skillfully projected reservations as the only measure of social justice. Notwithstanding the fact that the tribals also were excluded like dalits, albeit not stigmatized socially, and therefore deserved reservations like dalits, the natural solution could have been to expand the existing schedule to include the tribals. By so doing the stigma associated with the schedule for the Dalits could have been diluted as the tribals did not have castes. It would have greatly aided the objective of eradicating untouchability if it honestly meant it. But it was not to be. There were many other problems too in creating this schedule. Foremost, there was no indisputable criterion like untouchability to identify tribals. Many a well-off caste managed to get them included into the schedule and deprived the real tribals of its intended benefits. It is an empirical fact that the entire benefit of the ‘scheduled tribes’ is bagged by these fake ‘tribes’ keeping the real tribals high and dry to take up guns. The ruling classes haven’t even stopped at that. They would create a vague provision that the state would identify the ‘backward classes’ (read castes) so as to extend similar provisions in future. They were to seed the reservations for the so called Backward classes but in reality was meant to construct a can of caste-worms the lid of which could be opened at an opportune time in future. As we see, the Prime Minister, V.P. Singh opened the lid in 1990 and unleashed the caste worms all over, castizing the country as never before.
The entire schema about castes being kept alive comes out clear when we see similar scheming around religion, the other weapon to divide people. The constitution scrupulously avoided the term secular that could create a separating wall between religion and politics with an alibi to have space for the state to carry out religion-related reforms. The only reform, seen with hindsight, that one could imagine was in the form of passing the Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987 in the wake of the burning of Roop Kanwar on her husband’s pyre. It is important to understand these matters to uncover the real strategies of the rulers in devising multiple layers of fortifications over castes.
Notwithstanding huge scholarly interest in caste in recent years, there is huge intellectual inertia in understanding them. Castes today are not the classical castes representing graded inequality. Actually, castes today are reduced to their primordial kink in continuum: dalit versus non-dalits. With the advent of capitalism the ritual aspects of castes have been fast weakening in direct proportion to the degree of interface the castes had with the capitalist system. The traditional ritual differences would come in the way of building supply chain relationships, thereby tending to increase transaction costs. Moreover, the rational base of capitalism also acted against the ritualistic systems. Therefore, the castes in urban areas that entered the sphere of capitalist relations began gradually dropping the ritualistic aspects of castes. It happened with the dwija castes. There is no necessity in caste context that all people belonging to a caste or caste group have such an interface. It may typically happen to a few families but the entire caste would emulate them as the leading elements of caste. When during the first decades of independence, the ruling classes carried out Land Reforms and brought in the capitalist strategy of Green Revolutions, in the name of giving land to the tillers and boosting agricultural productivity, respectively, but in reality to create a class of rich farmers in rural India that would stay as an ally of the center, the phenomenon extended to the shudra castes.
With the capitalist relations entering the country side, the bandwagon of the shudra castes also got hitched to the dwija castes. As for the dalits, these developments proved utterly detrimental. The traditional jajmani relations of interdependence collapsed under the onslaught of capitalist relations, reducing the dalits to be the rural proletariat, utterly dependent on the farm wages by the rich farmers. The latter wielding the baton of Brahmanism from the erstwhile upper caste landlords, who fled to the greener pastures in the urban areas, proved far more atrocious than the ones before because of the backing of overwhelming numbers of their castemen and their lack of cultural sophistication. The conflict over farm wages between the dalit labourers and the shudra farmers began to manifest through the familiar faultlines of castes creating a new genre of caste atrocities. Kilvenmeni, a village in old Tanjavur district classically inaugurated this new phenomenon. On 25 December 1968, the landlords along with their army attacked the agitating dalits and burnt 44 of them (mainly their women and children) alive. The saga of these atrocities continues unabated and unacknowledged by our bankrupt scholarship as characterizing changes in castes!
On the one hand, the majority of dalits in rural area (they are predominantly a rural people) suffered dual prospect of marginalization and repression by the new ‘Barhmans’ and on the other, they were seen as the undeserving beneficiaries of the state largesse. Their cultural awakening due largely to the Ambedkarite movement reinforced this perception. There is a widespread grudge against dalits in rural population. The politicians keep on announcing a plethora of schemes and keeping the fire alive. These schemes, if at all, benefit a typical minority of better off dalits but are propagandized in the name of entire people. As a matter of fact, reservations, as they have been formulated, benefitted only the relatively better-off dalits and thereafter kept on benefitting only them, increasingly excluding the needy ones. They have rather acted against the interests of majority of dalits. If one took an objective stock of this policy, the people it benefitted in terms of economic uplift may be less than 10 percent. However, the brunt of reservations is borne by the rest 90 percent of dalits in rural areas who can never dream of availing them. As I explained the mechanism of caste atrocities in my books , Khairlanji and Persistence of Castes, the pervasive grudge against dalits acts as fuel, which with the presence of systemic impunity (oxygen) can easily precipitate into a gory caste atrocity with a minor spark (source of ignition) explained with an analogy if fire triangle.
Dalits today are the sole prop of castes which cannot be afforded by the ruling classes to die. They may allow a section of them to be capitalist (as they indeed are promoting so called Dalit Capitalism) so as to neutralize potential resistance of dalits to their social Darwinist neoliberal policies but will not permit the same logic of capitalist relations to permeate the dalit masses. This feat is achieved through the instrument of reservations that preserves their dalithood. Interestingly, the bunch that flaunts their ‘coming of age’ as job givers and not job seekers also are sustained by reservations. The state that never listened to even the agonizing cries of dalit masses has picked up whispers of this bunch and promptly reserved a 4 percent of the SME quota for them. Tomorrow, the cost of this development also shall be borne by ordinary dalit masses.
Reservations as the Bane
Reservations have been used dexterously by the ruling classes in decimating dalit, which was a quasi class category Ambedkar conceived. Reservations as stated before benefitted a relatively tiny section of better-off dalits, who invariably belong to the most populous dalit castes anywhere. There is a material reason for it. The most populous dalit castes, because of their ‘excess' population could not be absorbed within a village system with any specific caste vocation. As a result, they have reflected most enterprising tendency in grabbing opportunities in history. As they did not have any stake in the village system, they were the first ones to go out. It follows that they were the ones who came to constitute the dalit movement. By the same logic, they grabbed better share of reservation when they came in. Over the years, this was gradually grudged by the other castes among dalits which could not stand in competition with them. The politicians rushed to cash in on this grudge. They could easily incite the next populous dalit castes to demand their due share of reservation as per their population. As a matter of fact (as I showed in many of my analyses) even among the most populous dalit castes, all people have not benefitted equally. When caste is taken as a unit, the most populous caste appears to have grabbed most of the reservation. In terms of family, (which I had proposed to be a viable unit as it is family—an immediate family—that really benefits if a member gets reservation benefits) my hunch is that the situation across the castes may be the same. But reservation has never been subject to amy such objective analysis. Today, this categorization demand, which had started in Andhra Pradesh in 1995 by the Madigas there (through their Madiga Reservation Porata Samiti) has spread all other states, making Ambedkar’s dalits as the most casteist community.
Reservations have distorted the entire politics in the country. They have been taken for granted as benefit by dalits, who never counted costs paid for it. Indeed, dalits have paid huge costs – psychological costs of killing one’s self esteem right in the childhood, living with social stigma for the entire life; depoliticization of the advanced elements of dalits (as they land up in the public services where politics is banned), questionably benefiting a few but definitely costing the majority, incurring the grudge of the entire society, and distortion and marginalization of the fundamental obligation of the state in terms of providing basic inputs like health care, education, jobs, land, etc. to the population, to recount the broad ones. Reservation-like policy could only be valid if the state has fulfilled its minimal obligations towards all. There have been numerous such deficiencies with reservation policy as it is designed and operated. I have been writing about them over many years (you may refer “On Reservations” in Mainstream, easily accessible on the net) but without much reception.
The concept of reservation was a product of representation strategy of Ambedkar. He thought that if dalit representatives reach legislative bodies, they would take care of political interests of dalit masses. Likewise, he expected dalits, endowed with higher education, to occupy important positions in bureaucracy to create a protective cover over the dalit masses from the bureaucratic bias and possibly help them. He experienced the folly of this strategy in his own life time insofar as he could never win an election in independence India. He painfully realized that the political reservations had turned out to be more beneficial to the ruling classes than to the dalits. It only produced the ‘stooges’ to use Kanshiram’s language. It is a proof enough that the political reservations which were meant only for initial ten years get automatically renewed before their expiry, without anybody especially asking for them. Ambedkar had similar experience even with reservations in public employment. He found that the beneficiaries of them were engrossed with their own promotion and betterment of their families. It was this realization that he vented off in a public meeting in Agra in 1953 saying that the educated people had cheated him.
While reservations are grudged by the non-dalit masses, this grudge is accentuated by treating them as holy cow by politicians. As far as they could be attributed to Ambedkar, with his iconization and glorification, as it has been happening in recent years, they killed many birds with a single stone. They wooed dalits by titillating their identitarian pride and correspondingly intensifed the grudge in non-dalit population. This may be roughly correlated with the increasing atrocity numbers. Politicians of all hues, including the parliamentary left (they essentially follow the same grammar as any ruling class party for winning the electoral race in the first-past-the-post type of elections) and even the revolutionary left. The latter is certainly surprising and one would wish to imagine that it is just because of the understanding deficit on their part. But unfortunately one cannot ignore the aspect of wooing dalits even among them. More unfortunate in their case is the ideological laziness that accepts any reservation as progressive and pro-poor. As reservations have become a ‘holy cow’ for politicians, for dalits, they are an irrational emotional issue. For instance, I have been telling them that the public employment had reached its peak in 1997 and since then it has been consistently declining declining. Over the first decade (i.e. up to 2007), there was a decline of over 1.7 million jobs over a base of 19.7 million. It clearly indicates that reservations in net terms had come to an end right in 1997 itself. Paradoxically, only after this decline set in, the clamour for reservations virtually by all castes, has reached its zenith. Dalits, anyway, would not like to listen to it as many of them engaged in pseudo-activism would find themselves jobless.
It is therefore that once I said that the day dalits come out and declare that they do not want reservation, that day will be the beginning of the Indian revolution.
Class Analysis and Castes
The ‘class-caste’ duality came into being with the communists coming on to the scene. They typically belonged to upper caste educated middle class youth dreaming of a revolution in India inspired by the Bolshevik revolution in Russia in 1917. They were fed on the secondary sources of literature which was smuggled into the country. As such there was neither an adequate understanding of the philosophical framework of Marxism, much less the nuanced understanding of its formulations. What guided their actions was the youthful romanticism about revolution. They jumped on to organize the workers in the urban industrial centers with stereotypical understanding that they were the proletariat who had nothing to lose but their chains. The environmental problem of castes that excluded almost half the population did not bother them. They convinced themselves that it was a superstructural matter drawing support from a metaphorical dictum of Marx, blissfully ignorant about the follow up on it that made both Marx and Engels to regret it. The dictum informed them that once the material (read economic) structure is revolutionized, the superstructure would ‘automatically’ confirm to it. Truly speaking it reflected a Brahmanic attitude of taking the word as sacred, a ved vakya syndrome. The words that reached them, they followed literally. The Brahmanic inertia in realizing the misery of the lower castes also played a role. And Brahmanic arrogance about their own ‘knowledge and wisdom’ added fuel to fire. The birth of idiocy was thus nevitable.
While castes are not a class they were not entirely different either. Ambedkar’s understanding that they were the enclosed classes was far superior compared to theirs. The simple thing to understand was that if castes were the life-word of people, how they could be excluded in the possible class analysis. It was gravest error to think that they were mere religious-cultural matter that belonged to superstructure. Unfortunately, even Ambedkar in his enthusiasm to prove them wrong came to support them when he argued in his celebrated text of Annihilation of Caste that religious revolutions always preceded political revolutions. Even when they (communists) confronted castes in practice, they shied away from correcting themselves and preferred to keep away from the monster. The case in point is the Girni Kamgar Union under their leadership (SA Dange, one of the stalwarts of communist movement was the secretary of the union) which did not take any note of exclusion of the dalit workers from the better paying jobs in weaving section of the mill and the blatant practice of untouchability in keeping separate pitchers for drinking water for dalits. Even when Ambedkar challenged them over the issue, it was not corrected. The communists, informed by their understanding that the caste issue was a superstructural matter, not only kept themselves away but also ridiculed Ambedkar for belabouring a non-issue. The other factor beneath their behavior was the fear of displeasing the non-dalit workers who were in larger number, reflecting the embryonic attitude that would that would dominate their politics when they entered parliamentary system..
What could have been done?
Class is a pivotal category in Marxism but Marx or Engels did not give its precise definition as for many such terms in their writings. The basic theme was that there could not be possible definition of such categories or constructs lest they should be inapplicable to some other social systems that they were not familiar with. It is not to say that they left any ambiguity about what they meant. In various historical contexts they discussed classes which make it clear that classes were to be conceived in concrete social conditions obtaining in a space and time. Marxist-Leninists hold that a person’s social class is determined not by the amount of his wealth, but by the source of his income as determined by his relation to labour and to the means of production. Lenin, who had to translate Marxism into practice to bring about revolution in Russia necessarily had to define class as follows:
“Classes are large groups of people differing from each other by the place they occupy in a historically determined system of social production, by their relation (in most cases fixed and formulated by law) to the means of production, by their role in the social organisation of labour, and, consequently, by the dimensions of the share of social wealth of which they dispose and their mode of acquiring it”. (Vladimir I. Lenin: 'A Great Beginning: Heroism of the Workers in the Rear: 'Communist Subbotniks' in: Collected Works, Volume 29; Moscow; 1965; p. 421).
To Marxist-Leninists, therefore, the class to which a person belongs is determined by objective reality, not by someone’s opinion. What was the objective reality of India then? If one goes by the above definition, one would necessarily come closer to consider castes themselves as classes. Are dalits, for instance, not differing from non-dalits ‘by the place they occupy in a historically determined system of social production, by their relation (in most cases fixed and formulated by law—law of Manu (?)) to the means of production, by their role in the social organisation of labour, and, consequently, by the dimensions of the share of social wealth of which they dispose and their mode of acquiring it’? This perhaps is the sense in which Ambedkar said that the castes were the enclosed classes. But there is obvious difficulty in considering dalits as class because the law which made them different from non-dalits also could apply to the castes within them. While class potentially brings people together, caste tends to divide them by seeking hierarchy. Therefore they do not become a class. Moreover, the classes are to be conceived in relation to the dominant mode of production wherein the caste would lose their salience. Therefore, class analysis in the caste society should necessarily subsume castes. For example, proletariat would include most of the shudras and dalits but they would not be automatically a class until the caste contradiction between them is not eradicated. Therefore, the process of class consolidation should embed the anti-caste struggles. If this had been done in the 1920s, the need for the separate dalit movement itself could have been eliminated. It would have given real fillip to the anti-caste struggle accomplishing the annihilation of caste. It may sound exaggeration today, but this approach would have made Indian revolution a reality much before China.
What Can Be Done Now?
As discussed, both movements—dalit as well as communist—have their share of wrongs committed during the last centuries. The wrongs by the communists, however, certainly outweigh those of the dalits. Dalit movement confronted a unique issue and was juggling with theorizing and strategizing its struggle. It was thus an original exercise in which errors were natural. But the communists had a grand theory of Marxism to guide and the task was just to apply it in the concrete condition of Indian society. The errors therefore were expected to be minimal. But looking back, they were not even errors; they were blunders. The blunder related to ignoring the almost one-fifth of the population that could be the organic proletariat. The dictum of the dalit movement (given by Ambedkar) was not incorrect when he said that whatever path one traversed in India, one necessarily crossed the path of castes. The communists of all hues today have reluctantly come to terms that castes are a part of structure as well as superstructure, and hence deserved attention of the revolutionists; they just reflect a tailist tendency. Why can’t they discard the useless metaphor of structure-superstructure that has done more harm than good to the communist movement right since its birth?
Dalit movement, today equally dilapidated, failed to provide any solution to dalits. Contrary to the slogan of ‘annihilation of caste’ the dalits are out to strengthen castes and have already descended to the sub-caste levels. Ambedkar’s vision of Liberty, Equality, Fraternity is in shatters today. The political democracy that he imagined was established by the constitution itself is in question. It is only a notion of ‘one man, one vote, one value’ that is not even valid in rituals of elections. The economic and social democracies have been the chimera. He had famously warned that if they were not achieved soonest, the victims would blast off the structure of political democracy. Even this warning of him failed to materialize. Indian democracy neither flourished nor perished and has only limped along with its burden of contradictions. Ambedkar’s other solution such as conversion to Buddhism also yielded questionable result. The greatest contra-evidence is that castes are kicking as never before, untouchability is intact, and the condition of dalits, measured in terms of relative distance between them and others, is perhaps worse than when they kicked off the dalit movement. Then they had a hope, today they do not have any.
In such a hopeless situation, how does one look at castes? There should be no doubt that without annihilation of castes, there is no radical future for India. It should also be clear that annihilation of castes is impossible to accomplish only by dalits hampering upon castes. Unless masses of broad people realize the fact that their radical emancipation is not possible without eradication of castes, it would stay as distant goal. Annihilation of castes in this sense is an integral part of the Indian revolution. Those who tend to consider and contrast caste against class must understand that caste is a poisonous category unlike any other. Its fundamental property is seeking hierarchy. Therefore, it knows only to split; split ad infinitum like amoeba. It is incapable of uniting. It should therefore be clear that no radical movement can be articulated on the basis of castes. Even for annihilation of castes, class is inevitable. The caste question is an integral part of the class question and they cannot and should not be spoken in dual terms.
Necessarily, it demands coming together of the communist and dalit movements. In the current situation it may sound like a wishful thinking. But unfortunately there is no option than working for it. Since, the communists had blundered more; they must take an initiative in this regard. Apart from their failure to understand and analyse Indian society, the Brahmanical arrogance and superiority complex of the early communists had played a big role in alienating the dalit movement. The divide between them has gone deep enough and there developed vested interests in deepening it further (many educated Dalits vehemently treating communists as enemy number one), there are even opportunities emerging out of the intensifying crisis of living. The prerequisite in availing of these opportunities however is reestablishing dialogue with the dalit movement. This may only be done if the communists honestly admit their mistakes demonstrate their new understanding of the caste situation. While this may be necessary for moving closer to the dalits, it is in no way sufficient to get them into struggle.
The communists need to discard their dogma and rethink their theories and practice in light of the fast changing world. While the core of their theory still holds good, many a derivatives need critical examination. All this need to lead to a viable strategy in face of fascized and militarized states. Unless they convince dalits or for that matter any people that they can win them a better world, their project may be a non-starter.
Fascism as a topic is conceptualized and debated today with respect to different ideological persuasions ranging from liberal bourgeois and reformist to Marxist positions. A striking characteristic ofthe fascist parties, movements and regimes today is their adaptation to contemporary conditions and unlike that of the inter-war European fascism, many of them are coexistingin varying degrees with outward manifestations of bourgeois parliamentary democracy, though in essence all of them stand for an outright negation of it. A de-facto fascist dictatorship can exist even with the façade of elections if it is possible to hold entire mechanisms of state power under its control so that no other party or coalition of parties except the fascist party comes to power. Common manifestations of fascism (also called ‘neo-fascism’ today to differentiate it from‘classical fascism’ that emerged in Europe of the inter-war period) such as terrorism, ethnic and racial cleansing, extermination and oppression of minorities, immigrants, refugees, women and other oppressed, climate catastrophe, super-exploitation and oppression of workers, elimination of hard-earned democratic rights, militarisation and above all unleashing the power of corporate capital on all aspects of socio-economic life are visible at a global level ranging from the Americas and Europe to Asia. However, irrespective of the manifestations of fascism, Marxism invariably situates it in the whole trajectory of transformation of imperialism and finance capital. At the same time, from a Marxist perspective, no social phenomenon can be a text-book copy from an erstwhile period, nor can bean alysed from a static perspective. Therefore, fascist regimes’ organic link with the logic of capital accumulation today may assume different characteristics according to varying historical, national, political, economic and cultural context.
Origin and Development of Fascism
From the very beginning of the outbreak of fascism in Europe, when liberal-bourgeois and reformist circles interpreted the phenomenon as ‘authoritarian capitalism’,it was Marxism that based on a comprehensive analysis of monopoly capitalism approached fascism as rooted in the very foundations of finance capital with its economic, political, and cultural manifestations. Accordingly, fascism has been the outcome of the extreme intensification of the internal contradictions of finance capital or imperialism. Fascism outbreaks when these contradictions sharpen and lead to a severe internal crisis which cannot be resolved through normal methods of surplus value extraction from both internal and external sources. For instance, unlike the other European powers who had their colonial empires and the US which could enforce its imperialist diktats over the entire Americas and the Pacific even “withoutcolonies”, both Germany and Italy had restrictions to pursue an imperialist policy abroad. On the other hand, these two countries though rivals in World War I, and having lost their colonies and hence weakened during the war, went through unprecedented domestic economic crises resulting in militant working class struggles leading to social disruption, especially in the context of the ideological-political challenges raised against the capitalist-imperialist system by Socialism in Soviet Union. However, in the absence of a communist leadership in these countries, as that led by Lenin in Russia capable of overcoming the crisis through a revolution, the situation was favourable for an interpenetration between monopoly finance capital and bourgeois political leadership giving rise to fascism.
Thus the social anarchy arising from all round economic crises and political turmoil provides a fertile breeding ground for fascism. Such a situation is an opportune moment for fascists to have their firm foothold by attracting the depoliticized petty-bourgeois sections through rhetorical and demagogic proposals, though they are mutually contradictory and ill-digested, and blaming the racial, religious, regional and national minorities and other marginalized for all the misfortunes of the society. Once fascism firmly establishes, as happened in Italy and Germany, along with the petty bourgeoisie, other sections of the population such as unorganized workers, unemployed youth, criminal and lumpen elements are also attracted to fascists. Gradually fascism makes further headway through elections by appeals to the disgruntled larger sections of the dissatisfied people. Both Mussolini and Hitler in their programs even included better wages and social security for workers, protection to petty traders, increased state-sector investment, more taxes on the rich and similar other demands pampering to the sentiments of common people. Together with this, blatantly false and malicious propaganda were systematically used to build up hatred among the common people against targeted sections of the society. For instance, in the fascist definition of ‘New Germany’, Jews, communists and trade unions were identified as enemies of the nation. After assuming power, while constitutional and parliamentary institutions and democratic values were demolished from above, armed fascist goons and storm troopers (black shirts, brown shirts, etc.) integrated with state’s repressive apparatus and effectively propped up and funded by monopolies are let loose on the people from below.
From the very beginning Marxists tried to have an in-depth understanding on the fascist transformation of the bourgeois state. In fact, Lenin had mentioned on Mussolini fascism though he had no direct knowledge of the working of the fascist party at that time. And, he had interpreted the Russian ‘Black Hundreds’ as a proto-type of fascism which in the hands of police chiefs under Tsardom was used as a para-military weapon against the revolutionary movement.However, it was only after the coming to power of Mussolini and Hitlerthat Comintern (Communist International)came to have a clear-cut understanding of fascism. Thus, it was based on an objective evaluation of the transformation of the bourgeois state into a dictatorial, terrorist and annexationist regime during the twenties and thirties that the Report drafted by Dimitrov and adopted by the 7th Congress of Comintern (1935) and endorsed by its 13th Extended Executive Meeting defined fascism thus: “Fascism is an open terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary, the most chauvinistic, the most imperialist elements of the finance capital… Fascism is the government of finance capital itself. It is an organized massacre of the working class and the revolutionary slice of peasantry and intelligentsia. Fascism in its foreign policy is the most brutal kind of chauvinism, which cultivates zoological hatred against otherpeoples.” Obviously, this definition of fascism is the most comprehensive one that unfolds the close integration of both the economic foundation and political superstructure of fascism with the domestic and overseas interests of finance capital. In those countries where the fascists took over power, the communists and trade unions were physically eliminated while bourgeois opposition was in total disarray. And, as elucidated in the above definition which provided a concrete understanding of fascism at that historical context when domestic resistance against fascism became virtually impossible, it was Comintern that under its initiative forged an anti-fascist front including a broad alliance with other bourgeois regimes to resist and defeat the fascist challenge.
The defeat of fascist powers Germany and Italy in World War II followed by the surging national liberation movements and advancement of socialism increased the prestige of communist movement and inspired world people in general. These were threatening factors for the perpetuation of the colonial system of imperialism. This prompted world imperialism led by USA, the supreme arbiter in the postwar order to bring about necessary changes regarding the form of finance capital’s continued expansion at a global level. Thus to hoodwink world people, the camouflage of decolonisation together with welfare state based on Keynesian state intervention was initiated even while laying down the foundations for a neocolonisation process for more intensified penetration of finance capital into erstwhile colonies. However, asgenerally acknowledged, the International Communist Movement(ICM) on account of ideological-political factors, failed to properly grasp the content and gravity of this epoch-making transition from colonialism to neocolonialism. The Khrushchevite revisionism that emerged in the mid-fifties even interpreted neocolonialism as a weakening of both imperialism and hegemony of finance capital. This was at a time when the US ascendancy as the postwar imperialist leader had been filled with loot, plunder, horror, genocide and even ‘holocausts’on defenceless people the world over.
Neocolonialism does not at all imply that it is less militaristic than old colonialism. As an inalienable component of Cold War initiated against Soviet Union and socialist bloc, the US also went on installing ‘fascist regimes’backed by military coups in many countries from Latin America, its backyard to Asia. As part of the Cold War offensive, several anti-communist, fascistic, terrorist and counterrevolutionary organisations were also planted within seemingly independent bourgeois regimes in many parts of the globe. Such terrorist outfits and right-wing forces often acted as effective tools in the hands of US imperialism to direct against the emerging national liberation and revolutionary movements in neocolonially dependent countries. In a number of countries from Latin America to Asia including Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Iran, Greece, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, Indonesia, Philippines and so on, US succeeded in installing fascistic regimes through military coups. McCarthyism characterised by heightened anti-communism and political repression in the US that flourished in the 1940s and 1950s provided the required ideological basis for all these fascistic-counterrevolutionary US overseas moves often keeping US-trained fascist cadres at “civilian deep cover” in neocolonies and dependent countries ensuring the neocolonial rules of the game of as per the diktats of finance capital.
By the turn of the 1970s, the post-warimperialist ‘boom’ came to a close and on account of the irresolvable contradictions inherent in capitalist-imperialist system, persistent stagflation emerged as a relatively new, more prolonged and more complex phenomenon compared to the imperialist crisis of the 1920s and 1930s that gave rise to fascism. However, unlike the situation then, by the seventies the ideological-political setbacks of the ICM became so glaring that yielded the political condition for imperialism to abandon ‘welfare state’ altogether and resort to a change in the accumulation process through neoliberalism. In essence, it implies a reversal of the downturn in profit rate from stagnating productive sphere by developing new avenues of plunder from the ballooning financial sphere utilizing latest advancement in information and communication technologies. Obviously, the parasitism, decay and degeneration associated with this neoliberal accumulation has been complex, multi-dimensional and several-fold more pronounced than that exposed by Lenin a century back and the political reaction emanating from it shall therefore is bound to be horrific. On the eve of the altogether collapse of Soviet blocand emergence of post-Cold War neoliberal situation, US imperialism so cunningly and assiduously brought up the so called “Islamic terror” as its new enemy and a critical counterweight in its militarisation strategyleading to a more favourable condition for a bouncing back of fascism with intensified vigour. However, instead of openmilitary coups, required groundwork has already been underway byneoliberal centres and deep-seated reactionary forces that made it possible for fascist parties with their far-right socio-economic and political agenda to ascend to power through ballots even maintaining formal constitutional edifice or apparent features of bourgeois parliamentary democracy. As such, today’s fascism or neo-fascism cannot or need not be mere text copies or stereotyped versions of erstwhile classical fascism of the 1930s.
Fascism under Neoliberalism
From the Marxist-Leninist perspective, the neoliberal wave of fascism or contemporary fascism can be analysed only with respect to what is called globalisation or internationalisation of capital, i.e., limitless and uncontrollable cross-border movement of finance capital. On the one hand, by restructuring the erstwhile centralised and nation-centred basis of production and by super-imposing a new international division labour, internationalisation of capital has enabled imperialism tobring about an alteration in the process of surplus value extractionand unleash a world-wide super-exploitation of working class thereby temporarily overcoming the crisis associated with capital accumulation. On the other hand, while capital has increasingly become global and transnational, by utilising the heterogeneity among proletariat of different countries and through the effective use of postmodern identity politics, international finance capital also succeeded in creating division among anti-globalisation forces by disorganising and fragmenting resistance to capital. Together with this, being freed from all erstwhile controls, finance capital moved into the sphere of speculation at a maddening pace and for the first time in the history of capitalism the global speculative bubble started thriving on the stagnating productive economy. Consequently, the decadent and reactionary essence of finance capital pinpointed by Lenin almost century ago has become terribly destructive under neoliberalism. To be precise, unlike the period of ‘classical fascism’ which was specific to capitalist-imperialist countries, fascism under neoliberalism has become transnational on account of internationalisation of capital.
The ideological-political weakness of the International Left and on the part of organisations and movements leading the working class and the oppressed prevented them from taking up the required organisational tasks. For instance, when imperialismstarted unleashing the tyranny of finance capital on workers and oppressed beginning with Thatcherism and Reaganomics by resorting to a dismantling of the welfare state and replaced public sector and social democratic ideas of distribution with privatisation/corporatisation together with propping upof voluntary and NGO spending as an alternative to public spending,the Left failed to build up effective resistance against them due to lack of a coherent and clear grasping of neoliberalism. The emergence of postmodernism and post-Marxism as neoliberal ideologies espoused by ultra-reactionary imperialist think-tanks since the eighties and manifested in such prognoses as ‘identity politics’, ‘multiculturalism’ (that emphasises difference rather than commonality), etc. that negated both the importance of working class resistance against capital and united political struggles by the oppressed has led to an effective depoliticizing mission preparing the groundwork for the emergence of several neo-fascist trends. In the guise of fighting the ‘evils of capitalism’, postmodernism went on glorifying and romanticizing the orient, the past and all obscurantist and pre-modern identities and ‘subaltern cultures’. This brought forwardvarious religious fundamentalist, revivalist, chauvinistic, xenophobic, and autarkic reactionary ideologiesto the centre-stage of history to divert world people’s attention away from the global operations of corporate finance capital. Quite revealingly, the Left failed to put forward what is called a “counter narrative” or an alternative to this neoliberal offensive from a progressive-democratic perspective.
This all round depoliticising provided a fertile ground for the rapid emergence of many neo-fascist forces all over the world. Neo-fascists everywhere are quick to take advantage of the mass psychology of social and economic insecurity due to the loss of livelihood, employment, habitat and environment arising from corporate plunder as well as people’s loss of faith in mainstream traditional parties includingsocial democrats who have no alternative to neoliberal policies. Everywhere, fascists use more or less the same campaigns with populist, romantic, idealist and moral nuances often filled with hatred towards the ‘other’ based on hypotheses such as ‘clash of civilisations’ though with variations according to concrete local, national, historical and cultural contexts. Often, according to the specificities of each country, fascists could be seen conspicuously pursuingan exclusivist line allying with the ‘homogeneous’ part (often representing the majoritarian culture) of the population effectively pitting against the ‘heterogeneous’ sections generally composed of religious, ethnic/racial and linguistic minorities, migrants, refugees, dalits, tribals and other marginalized and oppressed sections. And a striking feature of all the far-right neo-fascist parties and forces is their apparently anti-establishmentarian and anti-globalisation (often right-wing populist) stance often sprinkled with seeminglyanti-ruling classrhetoric directed against the privileges of the superrich and the elite.Trends like ‘new history writing’ being sponsored by European neo-fascists today is also of particular relevance here. An example is the McCarthy-styleargumentation thatthe anti-fascist alliance of Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt was the wrong one; rather what required was Stalin’s defeat led by the Hitler-Chamberlain-Hoover coalition. In the latter case, Europe would not have to bear the burden of the ‘welfare state’ that led to the stagflation of the 1970s, it is argued. From this perspective, the neo-fascists in European parliament recently have even moved a Resolution equating communism with “fascism” with the aim of whitewashing the latter. In India, for instance, a ‘new history-writing’ is in the offing camouflaging all the misdeeds and ‘anti-national’ history associated with RSS. No doubt, whatever be their populist pretensions, once in power, the neo-fascists show no qualm for betraying those masses who enabled them to rise to power thereby wholeheartedly serving the interests of international finance capital and ruling classes -- a common feature of fascists of all hues, both old and new.
Fascist Transformation in India
The advent of fascism in India needs to be analysed in the broader global context briefly analysed above. BJP that rules India today is just a political outfit of RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) that came in to being in mid-1920s more or less at the same time when fascism appeared in Europe, and as per records, fanatical adulation or admiration of both Hitler and Mussolini was endemic to RSS leadership from the very beginning.For instance, Moonje, the mentor and political guru of Hedgewar, the founder of RSS, hadvisited the Italian fascist dictator Mussolini in 1931 and inspired by the Fascist Academy of Physical Education that trained paramilitary lumpen goons like Black Shirts, started the Bhonsala Military School in Nasik in 1937 for imparting paramilitary training to RSS cadres and Hindutva goons under the management of Central Hindu Military Education Society. In fact, Bhonsala School’s links with terroristic actions by Hindutva extremist groups including 2008 Malegaon blasts had beenknown to Maharashtra Anti-Terror Squad led by Hemant Karkare. Now after the ascendance of Modi.2, the RSS initiative to start Army Schools on the model of Indian Military Schools to train children to become officers in Indian armed forces with effect from April, 2020 directed towards open saffronisation of the entire Indian military apparatus should be seen aspart of the qualitatively new trends linked with RSS directly taking India’s reins in its own hands.
Meanwhile, as a fascist organisation espousing Hitler’s Aryan racial puritanism and white supremacy together with genocidal hatred towards Muslims in a predominantly brown-skinned India and with extreme servility to British imperialism, from the very beginning, the RSS totally distanced itself from the independence movement, and hence remained outside the Indian political mainstream for a long period. As a brahmanical saffron supremacistorganisation upholding Hindutva (which is basically different from Hindu) as codified by Savarkar and later clarified by Golwalkar, the RSS vehemently opposed the adoption of Indian Constitution and suggested ‘Manu Smriti’ (the sacred book of chaturvarnya or varna system) in its place on the ground that a Republican Constitution would give equality to all castes. Being banned three times as a terrorist organisation, it was its ‘laudable action’ during Indira Gandhi’s Emergency that enabled its entry into the mainstream politics. Since then, leading the ‘Sangh Parivar’ composed of hundreds of secret and open, militant terrorist outfits and widening and deepening itselfacross space and time and with its far or ultra-right economic philosophy and unwavering allegiance to US imperialism that leads the imperialist camp, today RSS has grown into the biggest fascist organisation in the world with innumerable overseas saffron extensions and affiliates backed by immense corporate funding.
Revealingly, RSS’ sudden shoot-up from relative obscurity to the political lime-light in mid-1970s is coterminous with imperialism’s transition to neoliberalism in the context of its first biggest postwar crisis. And, as a manifestation of the mounting neo-colonial plunder and consequent increasing integration of India with imperialist capital, by 1970s, India was also in the grip of an unprecedented political-economic instability aggravating all the contradictions in the country and Indira Gandhi’s proclamation of Emergency in 1975 was comprador Indian state’s response to this crisis. In view of Indira Gandhi’s alliance with Soviet Union at that time, it was also convenient for the pro-American RSS to carry on its anti-Emergency campaign with US backing. Obviously, lifting of Emergency and Indira Gandhi’s return to power in 1980 was immediately followed by India’s abject surrender to US diktats through a huge Extended Fund Facility loan from IMF with stringent conditionalities. It was during this extremely crisis-ridden period of India that RSS designed its well-thought-out strategy ofeventually transforming Indiaas a Hindutva fasciststateby floating BJP as its political party. In the ensuing period, it was effectively taking advantage of the facilitating role of the soft-Hindutva Congress that RSS transformed BJP, its electoral machine into India’s biggest ruling class party within a relatively short span of time.
And, withthe entire trajectory of this long drawn-out process marked by such milestones as the beginning of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement after the assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984, demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992, Vajpayee-led government in the late 1990s, Gujarat Pogrom in 2002, the ascendancy Modi regime in 2014 followed by its reiteration as Modi.2 in 2019, the fascistisationhas reached a qualitatively new stage in India.With Modi.2, in continuation of the saffronisation of all the constitutional, administrative and institutional structures required for a fascist transformation already underway, RSS is now moving towards its ultimate goal of establishing Hindu Rashtra, which is an intolerant theocratic state unequivocally defined by M S Golwalkar in 1939 in his magnum opus, ‘We, Our Nationhood Defined’. For instance, under its corporate-saffron raj of Modi.2 is blatantly unveiling itself as a typical fascist state acquiring all the requisite features of a majoritarian Hindu Rashtra firmly adhering to the process of forcible integration of Kashmir into Indian Union, superimposition of Hindu code under the euphemism of ‘uniform civil code’, construction of Ram Temple at the site of Babri Masjid and even making Muslims as second class citizens by amending the Citizenship Act itself.All other specificities of corporate saffron fascism such as anti-Muslimness, pan-Indian homogenizing drive subjugating the oppressed caste organisations aimed at integrating them intoHindutva, rejection of all values of modernity such as rational-scientific thinking, fostering the cult of tradition and obscurantism, treating dissent and disagreement as treason, worship of heroism and elitism, anti-communism and an uncompromising integration with corporate finance capital are to be analysed in the proper perspective.
And, in thiswhole course of transformation that propelled RSS to wielding Indian state power, a neoliberal process spanning almost a quarter century, the soft-Hindutva Congress had been faithfully playing second fiddle to the former without any let up. After her return to power in 1980,Indira Gandhi totally reversed her earlier approach towards Sangh Parivar. After her assassination, her son Rajiv Gandhi who ascended to power provided facilities to Hindutva forces for performing shilanyas at the disputed site where Babri Masjid was located. In the series of highly venomous and violent saffron offensives and communal riots that ensued since 1984 such as the ‘Liberation of Ayodhya’ campaign by Dharam Sansad, formation of Bajrang Dal and Durga Vahini as aggressive Hindutva militant organisations respectively for young men and women, etc., the Congress while remaining a mute spectator, also tried to cash in Hindu sentiments for electoral gains. It extended all facilities to VHP to collect Ram Shilas for the foundation of Ram Mandir at Ayodhya and even allowed it to lay foundation stone of Ram Mandir in 1989. The Congress government pursued the same soft Hindutva approach when the VHP organised a number of international conferences since mid-1980s for rallying Hindutva expatriates around the idea of saffron consolidation. In the background of the Mandal agitations, though Advani’s Rathyatra was stopped in Bihar, with the connivance of the Congress regime, including communal riots in many parts of India, immense damage had already been done as was manifested in BJP winning Assembly elections in Gujarat, Rajasthan, MP, Bihar and UP. Quite logically, the Rao-Manmohan government that demolished the Nehruvian model and embraced full-fledged neoliberalism in 1991 also extended security cover for the demolition of Babri Masjid by Hindutva goons in the next year. By that time RSS had succeeded in converting Ram into a political symbol for capturing state power. And the ten-year UPA regime in its relentless pursuit of soft-Hindutva did nothing to bring the perpetrators of Gujarat Pogrom before law even as US denied visa to Modi for ten years due to this. To be precise, while the soft Hindutva pursued by the Congress totally devastated it, the RSS-led BJP with its hard Hindutva became the ultimate victor.
This understanding on Indian fascism is also fully in accord with the specific historical factors and concrete political conditions of the country. It is a fundamental Marxist approach that any social phenomenon when develops further and transforms in a different social formation will inevitably adapt itself to the particularities and specificities of that context. Of course, fascism’s inseparable integration with the hegemony of corporate finance capital is its universal character. However, ascribing a universal pattern or form to the emergence of fascism for all situations is erroneous, and it will impede the building up of anti-fascist struggles too. For instance, in his concluding speech at the 7th Comintern Congress that defined fascism with its firm foundations in finance capital, its General Secretary Dimitrov had also underlined different course of development of fascism in colonial and semi-colonial countries,and in these countries, according to him, “there can be no question of the kind of fascism that we are accustomed to see in Germany, Italy and other capitalist countries”, and for such countries he suggested an analysis of their specific economic, political and historical conditions based on which fascism may assume different forms. As such, communists can formulate the methods of resisting and defeating fascism in India only through an evaluation of the country-specific or national peculiarities that provide the fertile basis for the development of Hindutva fascism integrating itself with corporatefinance capital today.
Viewed in this perspective, the specific feature of Indian fascism as embodied in the ideology of RSS is aggressive ‘Hindu nationalism’ or Hindutva aimed at the establishment of a Hindu theocratic state or Hindu Rashtra. But as is obvious, the content of this nationalism is at variance with classical fascism that waged aggressive wars for the protection of bourgeois national capitalist interests. In Afro-Asian-Latin American countries which have a long period of colonial and neo-colonial oppression, nationalism or patriotism must invariably be linked up with anti-colonial and anti-imperialist struggles and anti-imperialism is, therefore, an indispensable component of nationalism in these countries. On the other hand, neither in the colonial period nor in the postwar neo-colonial period, RSS has ever resorted to any genuine initiative for an independent national capitalist development. Rather, its entire history from the very inception has been that of betrayal of genuine nationalism. Even today its far-right economic orientation or affinity to neoliberal-corporatization is integrally linked up with its allegiance to US imperialism, leader of the neo-colonial global order. That is, its ‘cultural nationalism’ is only a camouflage for serving international finance capital. In this context, it would be in order, if we make a distinction between jingoistic and pseudo nationalism of RSS from that of the progressive and democratic national sentiment of the people which is directed against imperialism. While the former is chauvinistic, jingoistic, exclusivist, divisive and reactionary that inevitably leads to fascism, in the present historical context, the latter is anti-imperialist and hence progressive, secular, democraticand inclusive consisting of the struggling unity of workers, peasants, women, dalits, adivasis, minorities and all oppressed.
A striking feature of Indian fascism that makes it all the more venomous is its shamelessideological orientation towards Brahmanical Hindutva supremacy. According to this ideology, vast majority of Indian people composed of the lower and oppressed castes are subhuman who deserve no civic or democratic rights. As a result, under Modi.2, on the one hand, most heinous atrocities on dalits and other oppressed castes are strengthening without any let up. Such atrocities manifested in the form of lynching, mass rape and ‘honour killings’ have even permeated to institutions of higher learning and research in the form ‘institutional murders’.On the other, RSS is most opportunistically and cunningly utilising identity politics to carve out caste-based vote banks along with unleashing a process of forcible integration of the oppressed castes in to the Hindutva fold.That is, pursuing an aggressive policy of saffronisation and divide and rule, the manuvadi RSS has also succeeded in deconstructing the various caste-based parties so as to submerge them in to the majoritarian saffron agenda. Therefore, in the Indian context, along with sustained struggles against the foundations of corporate capital, building up effective resistance against the Brahmanical caste system through appropriate ideological and practical interventions such as caste annihilation movementis a major task of the anti-fascist movement that invariably encompasses economic, social and cultural dimensions.
In the 1930s when two imperialist regimes, Italy and Germany had embraced fascism, the Comintern and Soviet Union had been there giving ideological-political leadership to the anti-fascist struggle. On the other hand, today in Europe alone ten neo-fascist parties are in power, and backed by financial oligarchs they have also initiated steps for a pan-European fascist alliance against workers, migrants and refugees. Meanwhile, unlike the relatively nation-centred capital of the pre-war period when European fascism emerged, today finance capital has become internationalised. Consequently, in accordance with the complex dimensions of capital accumulation and the concomitant decay, parasitism and reaction associated with internationalisation of finance capital, 21st century fascism shall inevitably be several-fold oppressive and militaristic.On the other hand, on account of its ideological-political weakness, the communist movement todayis not capable enough to take up the task of objectively evaluating and effectively challenging this fascist threat. The situation in India is also the same, though the specificities of Indian corporate-saffron fascism are different. Of particular importance here is the need ofclarity on the constituents of an anti-fascist front or platform.
In this context, Dimitrov’s observations in his address to the 7th Congress of the Comintern is very relevant even today. For instance, he had been very sceptical of the involvement of the imperialist bourgeoisie as fascism was inherently connected with the bourgeois attempt to shore up plunder by changing the state-form of class domination. Another weakness pinpointed by him was the class collaborationist attitude of the social democrats. Later, Stalinhimself endorsed this position of Dimitrov by pinpointing the weakness arising from the alliance with bourgeois regimes in the anti-fascist front of the 1930s. According to Stalin, at that time itself, the unique nature of accumulation under the hegemony of finance capital had made it difficult for the imperialists to adhere to a regime of bourgeois democracy. He also characterised the reactionary character ofsocial democracy as ‘moderate wing of fascism’ having affinity to the policies of financial oligarchs. In fact, Stalin’s criticism was vindicated later when, in spite of the horrors of Hitler fascism, US imperialism under the camouflage of decolonisation and welfare state went on installing terrorist-fascistmilitaryregimes across many countries in accordance with the needs of neo-colonial expansion of finance capital in the immediate postwar period, an aspect already referred.
Today, the fascist offensive is taking place in the neoliberal context whencorporate capital as represented by both imperialist and comprador bourgeoisiealong with social democrats who are apologists of neoliberal policies has degenerated furthertogether with the concomitant ideological-cultural challenges at the superstructure. In this context, the communists have to pay much attention in differentiating the sustainable friends of the anti-fascist front from its foes and win over the former (including progressive sections of social democrats) to the side of the struggle against neoliberal fascism. The Indiansituation is such that along with the Congress which is in total disarray,other ruling class parties together with the social democratic leadership has already gone over to the side of neoliberal-corporatisation that forms the foundations of fascism today, even as the people are coming out against ruling regime in diverse forms. In this context, an anti-fascist offensive is to be initiated based on studying lessons from past experiences and concrete evaluation of the present with particular attention to the objective realities of India. For instance, though religion in itself is not fascistic, under neoliberalism majoritarian religion everywhere is amenable to be used by finance capital as an ideological basis of fascism (e.g. Evangelism in the Americas, Political Islam in West Asia, Hindutva in India, Buddhism in South-east Asia).As such, majoritarian fascist oppression on religious minorities is to be identified as an objective fact today. Hence, while isolating extremist groups and fundamentalist elements of all religions, it is the task of the anti-fascist democratic forces to declare solidarity with the oppressed religious minorities, especially the Muslims who are particularly targeted in the concrete Indian context.
Thus, in continuation of the Political Resolution as adopted in the 11th Congress of our Party and taking into account the qualitative changes associated with Modi.2, the Central Committee (CC) has stressed the central role of the revolutionary unity of struggling left forces in the fight against corporate-saffron fascism. The essential basis of such an initiative is the building up of mass movements and class struggle capable of imparting effective resistance against fascism in all its manifestations. To initiate this process, the CC has called for an open dialogue among the struggling left forces to explore the possibilities of developing mass political platformsbased on common minimum program at the national and state levels encompassing both parliamentary and non-parliamentary struggles according to concrete conditions. This initiative on the part of the Left with a people’s alternative shall form the core and the prelude for abroad anti-fascist united platform at the all India level. Such an effort uniting with all progressive-democratic forces on the one hand, shall effectively explore the possibility of tactical issue-based alliances with other sections based on people’s genuine needs and requirements according to the concrete conditions on the other. This approach, while ensuring our independent fighting space, is indispensable for winning over more and more forces with an anti-fascist orientation andfor utilising contradictions within the ruling classes and for isolating the most reactionary elements of who are allying with corporate-saffron fascism.This shallenable us to pursue for ourlong-term goal of achieving genuine democracy for all the people.
- Georgi Dimitrov, Selected Works (www. Marxists.org)
- Lenin, Left-Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder
- James VGregor, Interpretations of Fascism, Transactions Publishers, New Jersey, 1997
- John Bellamy Foster, Monopoly Capital at the Turn of the Century (www. monthlyreview.org)
- Thomas Klikauer & Kathleen Webb Tunney “Rise of Saffron Power: Reflections on Indian Politics , Counter Currents, May 4, 2019
- Red Dawn (MLKP), Issue 18-Winter 2018/19
- P J James, Imperialism in the Neocolonial Phase, Second Edition, 2015
- “ “ , “imperialism Today”, Red Star, November, 2018, p 8-15
Resolution adopted by the June, 2019, CC Meeting of CPI (ML) Red Star:
What happened from the beginning of this year, especially after the election schedule was declared by the Election Commission, was a feverish and acrimonious election campaign for the 17th Lok Sabha, with the BJP trying to gain initiative right from the beginning utilizing the state machinery and all Constitutional institutions nakedly and based on its majoritarian Hindutua communal polarization strategy. The result of these elections, giving almost a two third majority to NDA in the new Lok Sabha, has surprised not only the mainstream opposition parties, but all the progressive, democratic, struggling people’s forces, who were leading numerous struggles against the Modi rule during last five years and campaigning vigorously against it.
If Modi led BJP had won the 2014 elections with the slogan of Sub ke Sath Sab ka Vikas, during the last five years all the major initiatives his government took including demonetization, GST, intensification of corporatization of all sectors etc had led to highest rates of unemployment during last 45 years, acute distress in farm sector leading to suicides by hundreds of farmers in many states, serious slow down of the economy and growing ecological destruction making the climate change like phenomena severe day by day, to mention a few of the serious consequences its policies. Pursuing aggressive saffronization, spreading politics of hatred, targeting the religious minorities and dalits, increasing gender inequality etc, majoritarian divide and rule politics was taken to extreme levels. In this situation the resistance against Modi rule went on increasing, first through numerous people’s struggles and then, as reflected in electoral reverses, especially in the defeat of BJP led state governments in Rajasthan, MP and Chhattisgarh six months before. All these factors had pointed towards possible defeat of Modi government in the 2019 elections.
The mainstream opposition parties, though none of them had led any major campaigns or struggles against the Modi rule during the last five years, were expected to pick up these issues and the failure of Modi rule in implementing any of its major promises of 2014 for defeating Modi, by forging unity among themselves in the elections, and replacing it with their alliance after the elections.
But as the campaign was starting the BJP leadership, utilizing the terrorist attack on the CRPF convoy at Pulwama and the Balakot air strike inside Pakistan turned the possible anti-incumbency against it by projecting the national security matters and mascular nationalism targeting Pakistan, the Muslim minorities through a protracted, colourful and extremely expensive sectarian political campaign, with the slogan: We will enter your house and kill you, This is New India. Modi, Amit Shaw and other leaders, blatantly violating the Model Code of Conduct of the Election Commission, were openly asking the people to vote for BJP in the name of the Pulwama martyrs, for the Balakot ‘surgical’ strike, for Modi’s army! The first accused in Malegaon terrorist attack, Pragya Thakur was fielded as candidate, further intensifying the saffron campaign. In this process, the identity politics of the caste based parties were, in the main, submerged by the frenzied majoritarian saffronization campaign of the RSS parivar.
Surprising its opponents, the BJP and its NDA allies led a presidential style campaign, appealing for each vote to their candidates as a vote for Modi, projecting the election as a referendum for him. It was turned in to a jingoistic campaign with an anti-Muslim political narrative. The opposition parties, especially, the Congress, could not or failed to expose this sinister BJP campaign organized with the connivance of a majority in the EC. Besides, while the BJP even made concessions to forge unity of the NDA parties, the opposition, mainly Congress, failed to forge unity among the main opposition parties, or to put forward a unified minimum programmatic approach. Legalizing corporate funding of election, BJP amassed and utilized huge corporate funds, reportedly Rs 27,000 crores. The corporate forces and the mainstream media once again campaigned for it extensively. Compared to other parties, its planned use of social media was far superior, resorting to spreading of communally loaded false news It blatantly utilized the EC, which went to the extent of planning the seven phase elections to suit Modi’s public meetings and road shows, refusing to take any action against Modi and Shaw who nakedly violated the MCC, and to allowing him to stage a sort of ‘road show’ at Kedarnth and Badrinath on 18th and 19th May, on the day of silent campaign and the last polling day. Along with the state machinery, it used the CBI and Enforcement Directorate to intimidate the opposition. In short, it was a no holds barred campaign by the Modi gang, further communalizing, criminalizing and corrupting the election process. And, with the connivance of the EC and utilizing loop holes in the present electoral system, including the use of EVMs against which criticism are increasing day by day and for replacing it with the ballot system the demand was raised by the opposition parties though belatedly, Modi could outsmart and defeat the divided opposition easily.
The disunited opposition parties who have no alternate vision about the corporatization speeded by Modi, who pursue caste based politics compromising with Hindutva ideology, easily crumbled before the Modi-Shaw juggernaut, helping BJP led NDA to a massive victory, polling more than 50% of votes in 17 states and spreading menacingly to W. Bengal, Odisha, Telengana like states also. As far as the traditional left, the ‘Left Front’ parties, are concerned, they had refused to take lessons from their hitherto debacle due to pursuing neoliberal policies. So, even after getting unseated in W. Bengal and Tripura, they repeat same mistakes in their last resort, Kerala. In front of Modi- Shaw offensive, their ideological-political bankruptcy got further exposed with large sections who were voting for them in Bengal and Tripura shifting their loyalty to BJP and they were swept away in Bengal and Tripura, and severely mauled in Kerala.
As far as the communist revolutionary forces who uphold the Naxalbari Uprising are concerned, while some of these organizations deviated to the side of CPI(M) led Left Front, the CPI(Maoist) is alienating itself from the masses due to its sectarian actions. Since uniting the struggling left and democratic forces who uncompromisingly oppose the neoliberal/corporate- neo-fascist policies of Modi rule is still in the formative stage, their electoral gains, including our party’s was nominal, even after we waged an intensive campaign with the slogan: Defeat BJP, Build people’s Alternative, fielding 29 candidates.
The coming to power of Modi for another five years with added strength poses a serious challenge before the toiling and oppressed masses. Already, reports are coming out every day about how the serious economic slow-down is taking place in all fields. The details of these were concealed from the people. Besides, Modi’s surrender before Trump’s sanctions against purchasing the cheap petroleum from Venezuela and Iran, its order blocking purchase of weapons and missiles from Russia, its efforts to make India subservient to its trade war with China etc, even while it boasts about its nationalist credentials, are aggravating this economic slow-down. Instead of addressing these, Modi-2 is trying to intensify the economic reforms further as demanded by US and its allies. Remaining public sector units are threatened with privatization soon. It is planning informalization of education, healthcare like sectors. All labour laws are going to be changed to please the corporates. It has no answers to increasing rate of unemployment or farmers’ distress. It is totally neglecting the increasing ‘climate change and its consequences. Modi-2 is going to further speed up all neo-liberal/corporatization policies.
Soon after Modi-2 took over, there are reports of spurt in mob lynchings, attacks on Muslims and dalits, on journalists. Fascistization of all fields are taking place more aggressively. The RSS parivar is on the offensive to transform India in to a Hindurashtra by 2024.
As far as the opposition parties are concerned, the Congress is total disarray. So is the condition of other mainstream parties even when BJP is on the offensive in W. Bengal and elsewhere to de-stabilize the existing non-BJP state governments. But like what happened during 2014-19, once again sporadic resistance against the corporate-fascist offensive of Modi-2 is visible. Along with all secular democratic forces we should join them, strengthen them and try to provide correct orientation to them.
To combat this all round intensification of neoliberal/corporatization policies and fascistization of all fields, the Central Committee calls for: Firstly, take up the party building as the first and foremost task, trying to merge all genuine communists and streamlining the party committees at all levels; strengthen class/mass organizations, and develop people’s movements in all fields and at all levels according to the concrete situation;
Secondly, draft common minimum program at state level focussing on present demands and try to launch mass political forums based on it uniting the struggling left and democratic forces to wage people’s struggles and parliamentary struggles;
Thirdly, at central level, start discussions with struggling left and democratic forces with the aim of launching a nationwide mass political platform. In order to facilitate this, focussing on the present grave situation and urgent democratic tasks, organize open dialogue among the left forces as early as possible leading to drafting a people’s manifesto as the basis of this initiative.
CPI(ML) Red Star
13th June 2019
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.
1.1) The Eleventh Congress of the CPI (ML) Red Star was convened by the Central Committee from 27th November to 1st December, 2018, when the ultra rightist and communal fascist BJP led NDA rule is intensifying the corporate raj at maddening pace. It has further intensified all the major contradictions in the country. As the Ninth Congress held in 2011 had evaluated, the UPA rule led by Congress from 2004, instead of providing relief to the people from six years of BJP led NDA rule, continued to impoverish the masses and devastate the country by increasing corporate loot. The price rise, unemployment, corruption, and attacks on the toiling masses increased as the neo-liberal policies imposed from 1991 were further accelerated. During the last phase of UPA rule, all these reactionary policies went on intensifying, alienating and angering the people. Neither the regional, caste based, reformist parties, nor the CPI(M) led Left Front could challenge the Congress-led UPA rule and the danger posed by the BJP at all India level. Instead they were compromising with the Congress at various levels.
1.2) It was by utilizing this situation and all out support extended by corporate forces including their media, the ultra rightist BJP guided by Sangh Parivar could capture majority in the 16th Lok Sabha elections under Modi’s leadership, replacing the rightist Congress led UPA rule. As evaluated in the Tenth Congress in 2015, what happened under Modi rule was further speeding up of the neo-liberal policies and implementation of the RSS agenda of communal-ization. During the last four years, condition of the vast masses of people and the country was like ‘getting thrown from frying pan to fire’. Under Modi government all basic contradictions in the country have further sharpened, intensifying the corporate raj along with saffron fascism. It calls for an all out offensive by the struggling left and democratic forces along with the growing people’s movements to resist the reactionary BJP rule, to overthrow it and to build people’s alternative at all India level. .…
2.b) Our (International) Tasks
2.b.1) After the Tenth Party Congress our Party continued to play a major role in developing the activities of the International Coordination of Revolutionary Parties and Organizations (ICOR) As a leading member of the International Coordination Committee (ICC) of the ICOR, the Party delegation actively participated in its Third World Conference in October, 2017. We also actively participated in the International Theoretical Seminar focussing on the centenary of October Revolution.
2.b.2) Following the founding of ICOR steps towards organizing programmes of the International Workers’ Conferences in different fields, World Agricultural Conference, World Women’s Conference, ecological and anti-nuclear movements etc. are taken up. Our delegations actively participated in the World Miners’ Conference at Ramgundam, Telengana, held in India, and in the World Agricultural Conference and World Women’s Conference at Kathmandu. AIRWO successfully hosted the Theoretical Seminar organized by the WWC at Bengaluru on 2 to 4 December, 2018.
2.b.3) At the same time, though our International Department has coped up with the responsibilities satisfactorily so far, we have to prepare it to take up more responsibilities in coming days. We have to contribute much more to develop ICOR as a vibrant international platform. We have to make it capable of reacting readily to significant international issues that require immediate reaction, and to organize frequent international solidarity campaigns. We have to contribute more to increase the participation of more communist parties, especially from Asia, in the ICOR. We also have to actively participate in the theoretical struggle focussing on the cardinal challenges before the ICM. ......
4) Campaigns and Agitations
- a) Significance of Bhangar Movement, Its Future Perspectives and Overview of Other Struggles
4.a.1) The 10th Party Congress had called on the Party committees to develop mass movements at all levels. The Bhangar movement in South 24 Parganas district of W. Bengal marks the peak of the Party’s efforts so far to launch and sustain people’s resistance movements. It mobilized the masses against annexation of their agricultural land, opposing the imposition of the Power Grid Project which destroys their environment and livelihood. It started with the formation of the Committee for Protection of Land, Livelihood, Ecology and Environment by the end of November. 2016. The overwhelming majority of the people got organized under this Committee. It made repeated efforts for discussion with the state government, the governor and the Power Grid Corporation. Instead of initiating negotiations, police forces were deployed in large numbers and TMC goons started attacking the people with bombs and guns. As the state terror intensified and two comrades became martyrs in the police firing on 17th January 2017, the people were forced to raise barricades and launch a resistance struggle, demanding the return of the 13 acres of land forcefully annexed, cancellation of the Power Grid Project, withdrawal of all cases charged implicating large number of villagers and activists, and compensation for the loses to the villagers including the martyrs’ families. In this movement women played a very significant role. Our Party General Secretary Com KN Ramachandran was abducted on his way to Bhangor by the State Police machinery. The abduction news was widely covered by media and peoples protests followed all over the nation, which forced the state machinery to release Com KNR after 24 hours. In fact the abduction made the Bhangor struggle better known at the national level As the central authorities and state government refused to accept people’s demands, the struggle continued and expanded to more areas, inspiring many such movements inside and outside the state. The Committee sought new avenues of offensive to break out of the stalemate and to win the struggle. In this atmosphere of protracted people’s resistance, finally the CPGC and the state government signed the agreement on 11th August with the Committee agreeing to all its demands, marking successful culmination of the two year long struggle.
4.a.2) Bhangar movement cannot be seen in isolation. It should be seen as a continuation of the Singur and Nandigram movements which played significant role in throwing out the 34 years long Left Front rule. Though the TMC succeeded to come to power in 2011 and got re-elected in 2016 utilizing fall out of these movements, it is pursuing the very same LF’s path of ‘development, imposing Bhangar like projects over the people. But contrary to its expectations, if it could demolish the mass base of the CPI(M) through criminal attacks by TMC goons and using state terror, the people of Bhangar have so far successfully resisted these. It is creating a new political situation in the state. Except TMC and BJP, all parties, even Congress, were compelled to support this movement.
4.a.3) Evaluating the situation, the Committee decided to contest the local bodies elections at Bhangar and nearby villages under its banner. In the district, it planned to make tactical adjustments with all those who supported the struggle to defeat TMC and BJP. At the state level, the Party state committee planned to organize People’s Alternative based on People’s Manifesto to contest these elections. But under state terror unleashed by TMC government, it became difficult to put these plans in to action. Even the filing of nominations itself turned out as a major struggle as TMC goons with support of police and administration launched criminal attacks to prevent opposition nominations. Finally after facing many attacks and imprisonment of many comrades, the Committee could field 8 candidates at Bhangar and in a nearby panchayat, that also through WhattsApp with special permission from the High Court. During the campaign one more comrade became martyr as the rally was fired upon by TMC goons. Out of these, TMC goons captured three booths, and the remaining 5 seats were won by the Committee with overwhelming majority. It was another step forward. It proved people’s support to the resistance movement against the Power Grid. It was another rebuff to TMC government.
4.a.4) It was at this important stage com. Alik who was leading the movement from the beginning was arrested on 31st May from Bhubaneswar, where he had gone for urgent medical treatment. The people’s response and media attention of his arrest and the continuing protest actions reveal the political importance of Bhangar movement not only in Bengal, but all over the country. Contrary to the expectations of the enemy forces, in spite of the arrest of Alik, which was a great loss at this juncture, the Committee and the people were so well politicized and organized that with the help of party comrades and fraternal forces in the state the movement shall advanced. While the TMC and BJP were engaged in a war of attrition for hegemony, Bhangar became the focal point of people’s alternative in the state leading to the signing of the agreement on 11th August. It is the important task before the Party to unite all fraternal forces to further develop and consolidate the Mass Political Movement.
..... (after presenting an overview of the political organizational developments in other states, Kerala, TN, Karnataka, AP, Telengana, Maharashtra, Gujarat, MP, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Jharkhand, UP, Punjab, Delhi-NCR and Overseas Committee also where state level party committees are functioning, this part concludes as follows) 4.a.9. In other states also party committees have played important role in the mass movements and struggles against neoliberal projects like the nuclear power plants in MP, Haryana and Gujarat, in the peasant movements highlighting the plight of the peasantry, in the housing right movements of slum dwellers in different states, in Himalaya Bachao like movements focussing on the problems of people in Terai region of UP etc, in most of the places making issue based unity with large array of organizations and individuals. Though the objective conditions and possibilities for launching and leading forward numerous mass people’s movements in all states, and possibilities for joining many of the ongoing movements and providing them correct orientation exist, due to lack of developed cadres and overall organizational limitations, we are facing many obstacles in this important field.
The consistent efforts for expansion and consolidation of these activities shall help to develop mass upsurges at numerous places based on the orientation of our Party line. On the strategic line of the People’s Democratic Revolution our Party Program states: “Rejecting the line of parliamentary cretinism and the line of sectarianism and individual terrorism, upholding path of revolutionary mass line, it (our Party) resolves to utilize all forms of struggle and organizations to mobilize the working class and all revolutionary classes and sections for a massive countrywide people’s uprising to overthrow the Indian state and to seize political power”.
- b) Centenary of October Revolution
4.b.1) The centenary of October Revolution was observed for a year. It was very significant both ideologically and politically as the international communist movement still has not overcome the severe setbacks it is confronting from the second half of 1950s. It was also important to expose the anti-communist campaign of imperialists and their lackeys. The centenary programs helped to evaluate and take lessons from the contributions of Marxism as a whole and Lenin in particular which made the October Revolution possible; to evaluate the Soviet experience in socialist transformation, and the experience of the Communist International. On the whole, this campaign which started with a mobilization at Jantar Mantar on 7th November, 2016, helped the ideological and political strengthening of the Party. It concluded with important state level mobilizations and many seminars and propaganda campaigns.
4.b.2) On the whole this campaign was successfully organized, But due to weaknesses of some of the state committees, and as lot of attention had to be diverted for organizing solidarity campaigns for the Bhangar movement, some of the programs planned in the beginning could not be fulfilled. The party committees can overcome such weaknesses only by further strengthening themselves, both politically and organizationally.
4.b.3) The international level programs under the initiative of ICOR gave a good fillip to it. Our Party actively participated in it.
- c) 50 Years of Naxalbari Uprising
4.c.1) The Central Committee called for observing the 50 years of Naxalbari Uprising from 25th May 2016 to 25th May 2017 at an important juncture in our country, when attempts are made to dilute the historic significance of the Uprising from within the movement as well as by the revisionists of all hues and the reactionary forces. The outbreak of Bhangar movement gave new significance to the programs taken up during this period, culminating with the rally and public meeting at Naxalbari on 25th May 2017.
4.c.2) The Naxalbari Uprising took place when usurpation of power by revisionists had degenerated Soviet Union to capitalist path and weakened the international communist movement. Under its influence, the CPI and soon the CPI(M) leaderships embraced revisionism. Both started pursuing path of parliamentarism, abandoning path of class struggle. The Naxalbari Uprising brought revolution back to the agenda of the communists. The campaign organized by the Party focussed on these cardinal questions extending to struggle against all hues of right opportunism. Similarly, the campaign also focussed on the ideological struggle against the left sectarian line which refuses to make concrete analysis of the conditions of our country and to develop Marxist theory and practice accordingly. Campaigns were organized explaining basic documents of the Party, emphasising significance of the theoretical offensive against all alien trends.
4.c.3) Though a much more vigorous campaign was needed, due to organizational limitations and as major section of the W. Bengal committee had to concentrate on Bhangar movement, it could not be taken to such levels. Overcoming these weaknesses, party has to make all out efforts to continue theoretical offensive focussing on Naxalbari Uprising, later developments and on developing Bhangar like movements in more places leading to strengthening of the people’s alternative against the ruling class alternatives.
- d) Other Major Campaigns and Agitations
4.d.1) Against the neoliberal policies speeded up by the Modi government including demonetisation, imposition of the GST and against the latest budget which further accelerated liberalization policies under the cover of populism, the Central Committee has brought out studies and handbills and called for countrywide campaigns. These campaigns were linked to propagation of an alternate development path based on all round democratization of the society, combating the neoliberal raj and saffron fascist onslaught carried forward by the Modi rule.
4.d.2) In the working class front, TUCI in alliance with like-minded organizations took up many campaigns focussing on the increasing attacks on them. There is an expansion of the work in this field. But much more is needed. Resisting the increasing attacks by the vested interests, many spontaneous struggles are breaking out. Conscious efforts to politicize and bring them nearer to organized movements are required.
4.d.3) In the agrarian sector, under neo-liberal policies, In many states increasing number of peasants are committing suicide. At the same time, refusing to surrender, the peasantry is waging numerous struggles.. The condition of the agricultural workers and poor peasants is becoming worse. The AIKKS is participating in many joint campaigns. At the same time, it waged many struggles against displacement on the one hand, and struggles for land on the other in few areas. Considering the magnitude of the challenges in this field we have to overcome present organizational limitations and expand the movement to more areas mobilizing millions of the peasantry as well as the agricultural workers and landless peasants, the most oppressed sections like dalits, adivasis etc.
4.d.4) In some of the states women’s committees took up campaigns against attacks on them and children. Youth and student organizations also took up some campaigns in few states. AIRSO is active in the movement against commercialization of education as part of AIFRTE. The cultural and caste annihilation movements took local level campaigns focussing on burning issues in these fields and oppression of dalits by saffron fascist forces. Party committees and the mass organizations joined hands with like mind forces in numerous movements against attacks and murder of leading democrats, institutional murder of Rohit Vemula, communal riot in Muzafarnagar and other places, RSS parivar’s attacks on educational and cultural institutions etc. Wherever the Party and class/mass organizations are active they have actively participated n the movement against Sangh Parivar’s communal fascist attacks. Party committees actively participated in the All India Bandh Call by dalit organizations on 2nd April.
4.d.5) During these years Party comrades actively participated in numerous environmental movements including the anti-nuclear power movements, Save Western Ghats movement, Terai Bachao Movement (UP), anti- Bullet Train, Industrial corridor movements etc. The anti- POSCO like movements became successful during this period. The slum/housing right movement was also active in this period, extending its activities to new areas. On the whole, along with Bhangar movement, the Party, class/mass organizations and various people’s movements were actively engaged in numerous campaigns and agitations.
4.d.6) During these years Party comrades actively participated in numerous Digital Media Campaigns and proved our Party Website and Social Media page as one of the important organizer of our party now. With comparatively limited resources of our party, we could achieve wide level of peoples reach through digital media campaign for various major struggles including Bhangor movement and many political campaigns. During last one year, our Party Website and Party Social media Pages collectively attracted larger number of people. We need to intensify our digital campaigns further in systematically organized and collective manner by developing effective Digital Media Cell as explained in the Party Letter on Social Media
5) On Party Building
- a) Significance of Theoretical Offensive
5.a.1) “The Resolution on Theoretical Offensive for Communist Resurgence” adopted by the Tenth Party Congress, after explaining the communist advances following the October Revolution, and the severe setbacks suffered by the movement following the 1956 Twentieth Congress of the CPSU which advocated the Theory of Peaceful Transition, it pointed out: “This (experience) clearly outlines the need for a theoretical offensive. At the international level we are one of the few parties which are now willing to see the real concrete situation. We are willing to make a self-criticism of our past and are also willing to make an attempt to rectify these mistakes. We are therefore in a stronger and more advantageous situation for undertaking such a theoretical offensive. What does such an offensive entail? a) We have to undertake a thorough study and analysis to identify the causes of the collapse of the erstwhile socialist countries, especially Soviet Union and China; b) We have to launch a vigorous ideological struggle to establish across society the superiority of communism over the present ruling system as well as over various alien trends; c) We have to develop Marxism-Leninism on the basis of a concrete analysis of the concrete situation…” The Tenth Congress had called for serious study of The Resolution and the implementation of the conclusions put forward by it at all levels.
5.a.2) Adoption of this Resolution by the Tenth Party Congress was a bold step forward. Based on this we further developed our analysis of present day imperialism and discussed it in the Party Schools. When the MLPD came up with the interpretation of New Imperialist Countries, trying to explain India also as a new imperialist country, we came forward with critic of this erroneous concept. We have taken up the environmental movements emphatically, joining hands with like minded forces. Bhangar movement has shown how to resist the annexation of the land, livelihood and environmental aggression by mobilizing the masses. The successful anti nuclear power movements also gave new insight in to the struggle against imperialist development perspective which is leading to environmental catastrophe. The Caste Annihilation Movement has initiated moves to build movements for social change as a continuation and development of the Renaissance movement. The Cultural Movement has put forward the significance of the protracted Cultural Revolution for continuous transformation of the superstructure.
5.a.3) But while considering the magnitude of the theoretical challenges confronting the communist movement, as explained in The Resolution, what we could do in this field so far is still very little. The Central Committee self critically view this. In spite of many initiatives taken through the pages of The Marxist-Leninist, our theoretical organ, of the Red Star, our central organ, and through the website: ecopolitiks.org, very little contributions have come forward to carry forward the debate. There are three reasons for it: firstly, the large gap between what we try to achieve and the real theoretical level of our party cadres and ranks; secondly, still we have failed to raise the intellectual level inside the Party, to recruit revolutionary intellectuals in to the Party and to involve intellectuals from outside the Party to participate in the debate; and thirdly, due to the objective reality that powerful influence of right opportunism and sectarianism prevent most of the organizations outside our party from taking such initiatives. A serious effort is required to overcome these weaknesses and obstacles.
5.a.4) Through the various environmental movements and initiative, the Caste Annihilation Movement, the Revolutionary Cultural Forum etc many initiatives were suggested on the theoretical offensive. But what we could achieve so far is minimal. Here again, both in developing the theoretical level of our activists and cadres, and in attracting the involvement of revolutionary intellectuals from outside, our efforts are still unsatisfactory. A major effort is needed in this sphere. Similar is the case of the development of the class/mass organizations and the various people’s movements initiated with the help of the Party. Though the challenges before them are enormous, very little advances could be made to overcome them by equipping these movements theoretically and practically. In this the Party Working Groups have to work hard to fulfill these tasks. The Party Central Committee and the state committees should overcome the present weaknesses in this field.
5.a.5) In a country where 60% of the population is below 35 years old, and when this new generation is systematically kept ignorant about socialism and of Marxist thought, the Tenth Congress also had highlighted the significance of organizing the youth and students and of politicizing them. But during last three years only negligible advances could be made in these fields.
5.a.6) The Party publications including the central and state organs have to play a leading role in raising the ideological and political level of the movement as a whole. Though the central organs are trying to take up these tasks to some extent and are published regularly, their readership has increased only marginally. As far as the state organs are concerned, except in Kerala, no other state committee is publishing them regularly. Though a Party Letter to streamline the utilization of the New Social Media was discussed in the CC and send for discussion at all levels, no considerable progress is visible in this field also. Once again a more developed note is sent for discussion. At all levels these questions should be taken up and seriously discussed during the Party Congress process for necessary rectification.
5.a.7) Deepening the theoretical studies and preparing the party members for ideological political offensive demands party study classes and party schools. After the Ninth Congress the process of conducting regular study classes from top to bottom level was started. But hitherto experience shows that though regular arrangement for preparing materials for studies and organizing central study classes are started, except in few states, organizing regular party schools from state to area level is not taking place. The papers for the study classes are not translated and distributed. It is a big challenge before the whole Party. All these weaknesses should be self critically evaluated in the reports of the concerned committees, in-depth discussion should be held and methods to over come them should be evolved.
5.a.8) In the Tenth Party Congress an amendment to the Constitution was adopted calling on the comrades working in higher level committees to participate in the meeting of the grass root level committees when they go to native places. It is not at all implemented. Condition of our grass root level committees are very bad. Even where they exist, most of them are inactive or do not take part in day to day problems of the people. There is no supervision from above to overcome this serious weakness.
5.a.9) Our Party Constitution demands from every member, and it is repeatedly reminded by the CC Circulars, that levy collection from members should be regularized, party fund collection streamlined and account system maintained at all levels. But in spite of reminders our weakness in this field continues. It calls for immediate rectification. A dedicated sub-committee team or a responsible comrade from each / concerned committees to be assigned for monthly levy collection from part-timers and close sympathizers. The proper materialization of levy will enable our party committees to provide uninterrupted allowance to full timers.
5.a.10) Pointing out many of the weaknesses in the Party organization, after the Varanasi CC meeting a call for rectifying various influences of liberalism in the party was issued. The latest developments in some of the party committees reveal that this rectification is not taken up by many of the state committees. The state committees were asked that the POR of the state committees should evaluate its implementation and future plans to fight influence of liberalism within the party.
5.b) Overview of the Party Organization in the States ….
5.c) Unification of Communist Revolutionaries
5.c.1) The present situation, more than ever, demands the unity of the communist revolutionary (CR) forces to defeat the ruling class forces and to advance towards people’s democracy and socialism, in continuation to the Naxalbari Uprising, which was a revolt against the revisionist CPI and neo-revisionist CPI (M). After last five decades’ practice of parliamentary cretinism, the CPI(M) led Left Front has degenerated to Indian Mensheviks. At the same time, on the other extreme, the CPI(Maoist) has degenerated to Indian Narodniks. In this situation, the unity of the communist revolutionaries can be achieved only by linking it with the ideological-political struggle against these deviations and based on developing Marxist-Leninist theory and practice according to the concrete analysis of present international and Indian situation.
5.c.2) Based on this understanding, during the last one decade after the Bhopal Special Conference in 2009, many sections/organizations of communist revolutionaries have merged with Red Star. This process is still continuing. Presently, when almost all the parties/organizations within the broad “left spectrum” are undergoing a major churning due to many reasons, there are good possibilities for a new polarization, including merger of many of them with us. After Tenth Party Congress, we have patiently continued ideological political discussions and efforts to win over them, always stressing the urgency of this question.
5.c.3) The experience of the Bhangar people’s resistance struggle has created more favourable conditions for advancing unity talks with the communist revolutionary forces. These efforts should be energetically pursued at all levels.
6) Evaluation of experience of building class/mass organizations, people’s movements
It was following the First All India Conference of the CRC-CPI(ML) in 1982 the process of building class/mass organizations was started. Firstly the TUCI was formed. Later other class/mass organizations were formed, first at state level and then united at all India level. Initially there were problems as there was absence of enough experienced cadres to lead this process. During this decade to some extent these problems are resolved, they continue to affect their development.
- a) Mobilizing Working Class as Leader of People’s Democratic Revolution
6.a.1) Compared to the situation in the countries where revolutions had taken place in the past like Russia, China or other countries, under neo-liberal policies and consequent changes in the mode of production, the strength of the working class in India is much more since the end of Second World War. Including the very large number in the unorganized sector, their strength is growing every year. The working class and other oppressed classes and sections including dalits, adivasis, women etc constitute overwhelming majority of the population. So the question of establishing the working class leadership in the PDR is not just a question of theoretical importance. Without establishing their physical leadership in practice in all fields the PDR cannot advance. So the Party should give cardinal importance to mobilize the working class and to politicize them along with establishing its closest relations with other oppressed classes and sections, including establishing worker-peasant alliance.
6.a.2) But in spite of their increasing numbers, attacks on them are intensifying, snatching away almost all the wage and democratic rights they had won in the past. Under contract system, hire and fire etc their condition is worsening fast. But, the response of the major trade union centres to these attacks do not go beyond occasional token hartals. They do not take up any movement to reverse the anti-working class policies pursued by the central and state governments under globalization-liberalization-privatization policies. Though the leaderships of major trade union centres claim to oppose neo-liberal policies, their leaders are linked to political parties leading the central or state governments which are implementing these policies. After Modi government coming to power, Sangh Parivar’s saffronization has divided the working class and weakened them further.
6.a.3) The TUCI has led some important struggles and achieved organizational gains during last three years. It has brought together various trade union centres committed to fighting the neo-liberal policies under the banner of MASA. The party has to play an important role in building up the TU movement
6.a.4) The work of mobilizing the working class as the leader of the PDR should be undertaken by the Party with all the importance it deserves. It has to concentrate on organizing the working class as a class in itself to elevate it to the position of leader of the revolution. All out efforts including organizing Party fractions at all levels in the working class front including in the unions in the core sectors are needed. Politicization of the working class through ceaseless agitations and propaganda, along with organization of study classes has to be taken up in planned manner. Our party members working in the trade unions should strive to lead struggles of the working class, not only for better remuneration, but also for politicizing them to take up the task of abolishing the existing social system. For this we have to overcome present organizational and political weaknesses in this field. The Party as a whole and the party cadres deputed to working class field should strive hard for this.
- b) Building Revolutionary Peasant Movement
6.b.1) Still more than half of the population in the country has their subsistence linked with the agrarian sector. So, advancing the agrarian revolution according to the specific features of the neo-colonial phase is a cardinal task in front of the party. The All India Krantikari Kisan Sabha (AIKKS) which held its first All India Conference in August 2011 had adopted an immediate action plan. During the last seven years, it has waged many mass movements against the anti-peasant state policies, against the corporate houses and MNCs, landlord classes and land mafias to resist land confiscation for neo-liberal projects, for capture and distribution of land for the landless tillers etc. The Bhangar movement in W, Bengal against land confiscation and the Power Grid Project, and waging people’s resistance to defend it against state terror has provided an orientation to take these movements to a higher level.
6.b.2) After the last Party Congress, during the last three years advances are made in the activities of the AIKKS in a number of states. Still the overall membership is as low as 15,000. The experience during the period was evaluated and a new Program and Constitution were adopted in its Second Conference in March 2018. The Conference has worked out plans to increase the membership, to strengthen the organization and to intensify the agrarian programs more actively. Overcoming present organizational weaknesses, this task should be carried forward.
6.c) Women’s Movement
6.c.1) Attacks on women are intensifying under the neo-liberal regime. Recognizing the significance of organizing the Women’s movement to lead the struggles for women’s liberation, the first all India Women’s Conference was held at Kolkata in December, 2010. It called for building a broad based revolutionary women’s movement, and the All India Revolutionary Women’s Organization (AIRWO) was launched. Evaluating the hitherto experience a new Program and Organizational Principles were drafted and its fourth All India Conference was planned at Delhi on 4-5 June 2018. But the major challenge confronting its expansion is the lack of cadres capable of providing central and state level leadership. This is a major question to be addressed urgently and party committees should give attention to it.
6.c.2) As its GS com. Sharmistha could not participate due to her involvement in Bhangar movement, during the last minute the the Fourth Conference was postponed. The comrades who reached Delhi from Odisha, Chhatthisdarh, MP, Kerala, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Delhi decided to hold it as a leading activists meeting which decided to start membership drive and conening of conferences up to state level by 31st August and to convene the Fourth Conference at an appropriate time.
6.c.3) An AIRWO delegate participated in the international conference of women held at Caracas, Venezuela, in 2011. Its delegation attended the Second Women’s World Conference at Kathmandu also. These international contacts are maintained and an international theoretical seminar of women is proposed to be held in India by the end of this year. In order to take up the challenges confronting women’s movement and fulfill the national and international tasks a serious effort is needed overcoming present weaknesses.
- d) Youth Movement
6.d.1) Organizing the youth for their immediate demands and politicizing them to play major role in the struggle for social change are important tasks before the party. Under neo-colonization intensified though neo-liberal policies and corporatization the unemployment, under employment, and socio-cultural attacks confronted by youth have intensified many times. It has led to alienation and criminalization of increasing number of youth. With the coming to power of BJP led NDA government and the reactionary offensive unleashed by the Sangh Parivar using state power the challenges faced by the youth who constitute almost half the population, have aggravated. Under saffron fascist onslaughts unleashed by the Brahminical forces, all renaissance, democratic, secular and egalitarian values are under attack. Communal, caste-based, chauvinist divisions are intensified. Youth have come under the increasing influence of consumerism and capitalist values. To liberate youth from the clutches of these forces, to win them over and politicize them for social change, is a major task.
6.d.2) It was after prolonged deliberations, the party took initiative in helping the founding of the Revolutionary Youth Federation of India (RYFI) at Bangalore in February, 2010. This first Conference adopted the Program and Constitution and defined the tasks before it. But, after the Second All India Conference at Bhopal in October, 2012, in evaluating the objective situation, in defining the tasks before the youth and in developing struggles in different fields, and in politicization of the youth, it faced serious problems. It also faced serious problems in developing cadres at central and state levels, capable of building RYFI as a struggling and broad based youth movement. An effective central functioning could not be developed. As the central functioning became weaker, the coordination of state level functioning with all India activities and publication of its organ Rebel were also affected. The central question was to attract the tens of millions of youth who are getting increasingly dissatisfied with the present social system but are at the same time getting alienated from the ideals of Bhagat Singh like revolutionaries.
6.d.3) Though the Third Conference at Varanasi tried to evaluate these problems and to find answers, the central functioning became further weakened. The Fourth Conference at Ranchi in February 2018 has made an evaluation of the situation, adopted amended Program and Organizational Principles, and elected a new All India Committee. At state level also there are some advances. More attention is needed to face the challenges in building a powerful youth movement. At central and state level more attention should be paid by the party to overcome these present problems.
6.e) Revolutionary Student Movement
6.e.1) The number of students in the country, an important section of the society, is increasing very fast. Organizing and politicizing them is an important task before the party. It is with this understanding the All India Revolutionary Student Organization (AIRSO) was organized as the mass organization of the students. Its first Conference held at Mumbai, in May, 2010, adopted the Program and Organizational Principles. Under the neo-liberal policies the education right from the KG level is increasingly privatized and commercialized.. The religious - casteist organizations, ruling class institutions and imperialist agencies are concentrating their efforts to destroy the revolutionary potential of this most vibrant section of the society and to impose the hegemony of the ruling system over them. In the name of job oriented education, reactionary, consumerist, elitist ideas and concepts are imposed. With the ascendance to power of Modi government, along with commercialization, communalization and saffronization of education is intensified further. In this situation, the tasks faced by the AIRSO is a challenging one. Uncompromisingly struggling against these reactionary, reformist, revisionist and decadent values, progressive, democratic and secular orientation has to be developed among them through campaigns and struggles.
6.e.2) The serious problem faced by AIRSO is that it has very little mass base and organizational leadership still in many states, while where it is having mass contacts as in Karnataka its organization is weak. One positive development is that during the last few years a leading nucleus could be developed. Under its initiative strenuous efforts were made to strengthen it including launching a website, utilization of new social media etc. A Special Conference was held at Nagpur in December, 2017, which adopted a Political Resolution explaining urgent asks and has developed the Program and Organizational Principles. A website of the AIRSO is also launched.
6.e.3) On the whole the AIRSO is still very weak while considering the fast increasing number of students, the challenges faced by them and the tasks to be undertaken to realize secular democratic and universal education at all levels. The entire Party has to give more importance to this task by selecting schools and colleges in areas where the party and class/mass organizations have mass base, by organizing nuclei of students in them and helping them to organize membership campaigns during the time the educational institutions are opening, by taking up organizational work and campaigns focusing on student issues etc, and continuing this process during every academic year.
- f) Cultural Movement
6.f.1) Imperialism and its lackeys along with the Indian ruling system, religious fundamentalists, Brahminical-Manuvadi forces, and caste-communal forces use culture as an effective tool to beat back secular democratic ideas and democratic forces in general. This reactionary offensive has further intensified after the severe setbacks suffered by the international communist movement. To re-capture the democratic offensive in continuation of the values of the renaissance movement, anti-imperialist movement and the experience of the Cultural Revolution, and to develop the people’s cultural movement in theory and practice, the party has to play a major role in developing the revolutionary cultural activists capable of leading the movement according to present challenges and needs. Also, the party should appreciate such cultural activity from any part of the society which opposes the caste system, religious fundamentalism and racism, and which promotes secular and democratic culture, and to unite them in a platform.
6.f.2) In the 1980s itself, starting with the People’s Cultural Forum in Kerala, initiative was taken in this direction. Following series of meetings of cultural activists, artists and writers from different states during 1990s and later, a Coordination Committee of Cultural Activists was formed to carry forward this initiative in as many states as possible. Its Thrissur, Kerala, meeting decided to launch the Revolutionary Cultural Forum (RCF) or Krantikari Sanskritik Manch (Kasam). During the last few years it has succeeded to hold all India conferences, to develop state level activities and to develop a few cadres with all India perspective. . Second All India Conference of RCF and Cultural Fest at Humpi (Karnataka) in December 2015, in which Prof. K S Bhagawan attended as Chief Guest, was a remarkable national level initiative to resist Sangh Parivar Fascist death threat to progressive intellectuals all over the nation, especially after the killing of Dr. Kalburgi. Based on the evaluation of the present challenges in this field and it’s hitherto experience, a new Program and amendments to its Organiational Principles were drafted. For adopting these and to consolidate the organization and activities at all India level, the Fourth All India Conference was held at Bhopal. To take up the important tasks confronting it, the party should extend all possible help to the RCF, including facilitating more effective organization of state level activities winning over progressive forces in to it.
- g) On Building the Adivasi Movement
6.g.1) In 2010 an attempt was made to coordinate our activities among the Adivasis who constitute more than 12% of India population, by organizing the All India Krantikari Adivasi Mahasabha. Though the state level activities continued, the all India coordination did not function as its leading cadres left our ranks. Evaluating this experience, and establishing relations with like minded Adivasi organizations, a meeting of representatives of these organizations and leading Party cadres active n this field was held at Bhopal in September, 2017. It drafted a Program and Organizational Principles for this coordination and launched the Adivasi Bharat Mahasabha.
6.g.2) The First All India Conference of ABM was held at Raipur on 2-3 February which adopted the Program and Organizational Principles, and resolutions on immediate demands of the Adivasi people. It decided to launch continuous movements for Adivasis’ rights over Land, Forest and Environment. It condemned the oppression of Adivasis in the name of ‘Maoist’ activities and demanded the withdrawal of para military forces from Adivasi habitats and the release of all Adivasis from jails, including withdrawal of false cases charges against them. A 17 member All India Coodination Council and a seven member Central Secretariat were formed to carry forward the activities. It is another important step taken by the Party which should be carried forward actively to mobilize the Adivasi masses for their rights.. To make this coordination to function effectively firstly, wherever party has already influence among the adivasis, they shuld be organized under the banner of Krantikari Adivasis Mahasabha and made part of ABM; secondly all state committees should try to establish contacts with already functioning adivasi organizations and win over them to coordinate with the ABM. Initiative should be taken at both levels.
- h) On Developing Caste Annihilation Movement
6.h.1) In line with the imperialists and their lackeys who are utilizing caste-race-chauvinist divisions and religious fundamentalists of all hues to perpetuate their counter revolutionary domination, with the coming to power of Modi government, it has further intensified the attack on secular values in the county; it has intensified Manuvadi caste based oppression. In the neo-colonial phase, the imperialists and their lackeys had started the utilization of religion, race, caste like institutions in more frenzied manner to degenerate the state as an institution to serve communal appeasement and rabid fundamentalist positions. Religious fundamentalists are promoted to beat back progressive movements and democratic values. Presently, when the crisis faced by the global imperialist system is intensifying in all spheres, in order to transfer this burden to the international proletariat and people of the neo-colonially dependent countries, the imperialists and all forces of reaction are promoting all hues of religious fundamentalists and ultra rightist regimes led by them. What is happening in India cannot be seen in isolation to these. So, the importance of developing an active secular and caste annihilation movement has intensified manifold.
6.h.2) One of the basic weaknesses of the communist movement in our country right from the beginning was that, though it claimed to uphold the renaissance movement, it refused to accept genuine secular values of treating religion as a private affair and the caste annihilation movement as a part of class struggle. So, along with its other basic weaknesses, they also played major roles in its failure to establish the leadership of the working class movement in the socio-cultural and political fields. Once the movement started surrendering to parliamentarism, like the ruling class parties the revisionists also started utilizing communal-caste vote bank politics.
6.h.3) Caste system continues as a distinctive inhuman unique feature of Indian society. In spite of capitalist relations coming to dominance in the agrarian sector also under neo-colonization, the ferociousness of this plague has not reduced. On the other hand it has taken barbarous new forms. It is by recognizing the weakness of the communist movement to realize the importance of caste annihilation to develop the class unity of the exploited classes, the Party took the initiative to launch the ‘Caste Annihilation Movement’ in 2011 by joining hands with a broad spectrum of like minded forces.
6.h.4) After the last Party Congress many efforts were made to advance its activities and to develop it at all India level. Calling for enhancing the coordination of its activities at all India level the Third Conference was held at Raipur. But in the absence of leading cadres capable of advancing the movement theoretically and in practice, it faced many obstacles. In the context of Sangh Parivar blatantly advancing Brahminical offensive and caste system, there are many sections who are increasingly recognizing for secularism and resistance to caste oppression. But what is lacking is the will to advance this movement as a continuation of the great renaissance movement according to the concrete conditions of today, defeating imperialist promoted ‘identity politics’ like post-modernist ideas.
6.h.5) The Fourth All India Conference of the CAM held at Nagpur in January, 2018, tried to address these problems. The participation of many leading comrades from the dalit organizations and progressive intellectuals helped to take up a serious discussion on how to take up the struggle for caste annihilation. Following it an All India Coordination Committee is also elected with an all India perspective and action program. Party should give continuous attention to this field deploying cadres who can be active in this field.
- i) On Building the Environmental Movement
6.i.1) Plunder of nature is inseparable from the mainstream development paradigm. It has reached the level of a global environmental catastrophe today. Industrial revolution had already done irreparable damages to global environment. It got further momentum in the post- Second World War neocolonial phase when rapid technological advances provided new avenues to corporate capital for intensified exploitation of world people and nature leading to the contradiction between capital and nature becoming one of the major contradictions under neoliberal corporatization. Internationalization of production and global market expansion led by monopoly finance capital leading to change in the life styles and growth in the conspicuous consumption and wastage of energy by the superrich financial elite have directly contributed to ecological damages everywhere. Today, this damage is exemplified through unpredictable climate change, loss of biodiversity, desertification, melting of the glaciers, problems of river protection, ocean acidification, drinking water scarcity, global warming, chemical pollution, deforestation, conversion of food agriculture to bio-fuels, alarming extinction of species, and above all the threat of radioactive contamination from nuclear industry. The repercussions of these transformations on climatic patterns have resulted in loss of livelihood, food shortages, massive displacement and migration of people, all leading to the worsening of already existing poverty, unemployment, hunger, oppression and inequalities. Meanwhile, in response to people’s ever-growing ecological consciousness and consequent worldwide environmental struggles and emergence of worldwide movements against environmental destruction, discussion on ecology has come to the centre-stage today.
6.i.2) It is in this context the Ninth Party Congress adopted the contradiction between capital and nature as one of the major contradictions at international and national level in the Party Program. Based on this understanding Party committees at various levels have taken up many ecological issues as part of the class struggle. The Election Manifesto put forward by the party for the 16th Lok Sabha elections had given the call for sustainable and people oriented development paradigm against the imperialist promoted neo-liberal development which leads to devastation, and campaigned for it. When all the so-called main stream parties are practicing imperialist dictated neo-libeal policies wherever and whenever they come to power, and when the revisionists of all hues refuse to recognize the fundamental importance of the struggle against ecological catastrophe, the theoretical stand and the various movements taken up by the Party at all India level has contributed much to strengthen the environmental movement.
6.i.3) Formation of the People’s Initiative against Nuclear Power and the campaigns organized joining with like minded forces scored great success in blocking the ten major nuclear projects including the ‘nuclear hub’ planned at Jaitapur in Maharashtra by the UPA government. This movement is continuing to resist and defeat the large number of nuclear power projects planned by the Modi government. Following Fukushima nuclear disaster, ICOR has launched an international campaign against nuclear power. This movement has already scored significant victory with many of the imperialist countries already starting to dismantle their nuclear power plants. This movement has to be carried forward vigorously.
6.i.4) The Save Western Ghats Movement demanding the implementation of Gadgil Report to save Western Ghats from the loot of mining, plantations and real estate mafias in Kerala, Tami Nadu, Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra with formation of state level coordination committees which are launching campaigns. joining hands with many like-minded forces. Following the Uttarakhand catastrophe in 2013, recurring huge landslides in Himalayas and yearly floods in Terai region, a macro level study of the ecological challenges is initiated with the objective of organizing Save Himalayas Movement. At local level in some parts of the Terai region of UP an attempt was made to launch such campaigns. A major initiative is require to take up this macro project affecting about 200 millions of people in the Himalayan region.
6.i.5) The Bhangar Movement against confiscation of agricultural land and for throwing out the Power Grid Project has given a new dimension to the movement for protection of environment. The broad based movement for protection of environment initiated by the Party or joined by it along with the scientists, environmentalists and various groups engaged in this field is increasingly challenging the devastating neoliberal development paradigm imposed by the forces of reaction. Various initiatives are taken by the Party and class/mass organizations to intensify the resistance against it. It is as a part of it a website is launched to help the coordination of the campaigns for it. As early as possible initiative is to be taken to launch a countrywide coordination, People’s Forum for Environmental Protection, as an umbrella forum of all these movements with the website: www.ecoplitiks.org as its publicity organ.
6.j) Strengthen Slum/Housing Right Movement
6.j.1) Under neo-liberal/corporatization policies, the process of migration and urbanization has intensified. The internal migration to urban centres has led to proliferation of slum clusters with tens of millions of people living in sub-human conditions. Though most of the contract workers live in them, the central and state governments and the city administrations do not provide housing rights and civic facilities to them.
6.j.2) The Basti Suraksha Manch of Bhubaneswar has organised continuous resistance struggles to beat back the government’s move to forcefully throw out the more than four lakh slum dwellers in the city. In these resistance struggles the women and children play a major role. The slum movement of Bhubaneswar is a very good example of urban resistance movement mobilizing the masses. Taking lessons from this, at many urban centers in Odisha and in other states also movements of slum dwellers and houseless people are becoming active under the initiative of our party committees. In Odisha state level coordination of the slum movements has started functioning.
6.j.3) The initiative taken for All India Coordination of these movements based on a Charter of Demands had led to meetings at Bhubaneswar followed by Bengaluru. In continuation to the coordination efforts so far made, an all India convention of the activists of this movement was held on 28-29 May at Delhi. Delegates from eleven organizations from different parts of the country participated. At the culmination of two days of discussion All India Coordination of Slum Dwellers and Housing Rights Movements was formed with Stop All Forcible Eviction and Ensure Housing for All at Work Place as central slogans. It adopted a 10 point Charter of Demands, and elected a seven member All India Committee for coordination Work with com. Sivaram as convener. This is another important area of work which calls for more attention. All state committees should take initiative in this field also.
6.k) Democratic Rights Movement
6.k.1) Under neo-liberal policies, even existing democratic rights are taken away and state terror is intensifying. With the coming of Modi government saffron fascism is let loose with the Sangh Parivar playing aggressive role. In this situation it is the task of the Party to assist democratic right activists to launch a broad based democratic rights movement. Though many organizations for the protection of democratic and human rights were formed in different centers especially after the emergency declaration in 1970s and they have taken many democratic rights issues, the experience so far is that most of these activities were confined to the release of political prisoners linked to the Communist Revolutionaries. By and large they have failed to take up the democratic rights of the toiling and oppressed masses in general. So, following the merger of leading comrades, who were organizing the OPDR for decades, in the party, it was resolved to activize OPDR as a broad based organization which shall take up all questions concerning the democratic rights of all oppressed classes and sections. Based on this concept the Program and Organizational Principle of the OPDR were developed, and they were adopted in a Conference attended by delegates from eight states. A leading committee was also elected. Following this its organizational work and activities have spread to AP, Telengana, TN, Karnataka, Odisha and UP.
6.k.2) It is an important field where Party comrades have taken initiative joining hands with democratic right activists and progressive intellectuals. All possible assistance should be provided to make it active and to spread its activities at all India level.
7) On Developing United Front Activities
7.1) From the time the party reorganization process was taken up after the 1982 First All India Conference, the CRC-CPI (ML) had taken up a number of joint activities with like-minded forces and gained experience in it. After the Bhopal Special Conference in 2009, in continuation to many bi-lateral discussions, the Democratic People’s Forum was formed based on a Common Minimum Program. The DPF took up many programs at Delhi and a big rally at Ahmedabad in November, 2012,and many other joint programs. On 7th November, 2016, a mass mobilization launching the year long centenary programs of October Revolution was organized at Delhi. In spite of all these efforts and appeal to CR forces as well as democratic organizations, no positive response was forthcoming from them. Besides, the existing constituents of DPF were organizationally weak. They could not mobilize for any program. They were local based and were reluctant to participate in all India programs. In this situation the DPF has become inactive.
7.2) The new situation demands a new initiative to unite the struggling left and democratic forces along with the various people’s movements to build Mass Political Platforms based on common manifesto at state level as the first step., At all India level they can be united as a broad coordination of the Party with other struggling left organizations, struggling mass platforms like the Bhangar committee (Committee for Protection of Land, Livelihood, Ecology and Environment), organizations of oppressed classes and sections like dalits, adivasis, women, minorities etc based on a People’s Manifesto. In the coming days this initiative has to be taken energetically.
8) Tasks Before the Party
8.1) The Resolution on Theoretical Offensive adopted by the 10th Party Congress pointed out: “We have already made certain theoretical gains. We have a deeper understanding today of the neo-colonial system. We have found that in India and in many other countries under neo-colonial domination, there has been an ever more capitalistic system being introduced in agriculture. We have understood the importance of the environmental question and given it the importance it deserves. Many more questions still face us, such as further studies on the nature of imperialism today, the meaning of a new paradigm of development and the building of socialism with greater democracy. We have to face such questions fearlessly and study them. ……
“The task before us is to take up the building of the communist movement in India and to play an active role in doing so in the rest of the world. …We must boldly seize the real questions faced by the people in today’s situation and must scientifically search out the solutions. We must unsparingly lay bare our own history, the history of the communists in India and all over the world. We must make a base for combining with all sections of the people who are fighting against the injustice caused by the present capitalist imperialist system – whether in intensifying human exploitation, in all forms of environmental damage, gender injustice, caste and racial injustice, persecution of minorities, etc. We must fervently organize the workers and peasants to face the new situation. Students, youth etc. must be rallied on the basis of the new understanding. It is precisely if we develop the correct theory, that we will not have to go behind the workers, peasants, youth, women, etc. – they will be drawn forward to the correct theory. This true measure of the theoretical offensive has to be grasped and carried forward”.
8.2) The main tasks before the Party starts with energetic party building, intensifying the building of class/mass organizations and people’s movements, developing class struggle with a comprehensive understanding, launching people’s struggles vigorously focusing on urgent issues, utilizing all forms of struggle to intensify class struggle, and build up People’s Alternative based on People’s Manifesto to develop both non-parliamentary and parliamentary struggles. All out initiative for advancing these tasks should be taken up with the perspective of creating revolutionary upsurge.
9) Political Organisational Report Part II (In this part a summary of the PORs adopted by the state committees, of the overseas committee and the Party Centre was given)
10.1) The successful convening of the Eleventh Party Congress marked an important step forward not only for our Party, but for all the Marxist-Leninist forces and progressive forces who look forward to the emergence of a unified Party with all India influence, capable of leading the PDR to victory and advancing to socialist revolution. During the period following the Tenth Congress the neo-colonial/corporate plunder became more pernicious. As the capitalist-imperialist system is facing further crises, its burden is increasingly shifted to the working class and world people through intensification of the neo- liberal policies utilizing the religious fundamentalist, casteist-racist like forces and corporate fascist offensive. The absence of Marxist-Leninist forces capable of effectively challenging this ultra rightist corporate offensive is the major challenge before the world people. To overcome this, launching of relentless theoretical offensive against wrong ideas prevalent within the revolutionary camp, as also against all anti- socialist ideas and tendencies propagated by the bourgeois theorists in the wider society as a whole, are of paramount importance. This situation demands revolutionary initiative on the part of the Marxist-Leninist forces to free themselves from the old shackles binding them, daringness to find answers for past weaknesses, and to find solutions for future revolutionary advances. It demands intensification of class struggle in all fields
10.2) As the obstacle for the development of the people’s upsurges coming up is the absence of Marxist- Leninist parties capable of leading them towards social change, it can be overcome by developing the theoretical understanding according to the present concrete condition and through intensification of class struggle everywhere. This is also the situation in our country. We have made advances during the last four decades after we took up the theoretical studies, developed theory and practice utilizing all forms of organizations and struggles. In spite of the counter revolutionary fascist offensive by the RSS Parivar, a favourable situation for the revolutionary forces to advance is emerging by daring to challenge this by mobilizing the masses as at Bhangar . Let us seize the day, seize the hour, march forward uniting all oppressed classes and sections, and wage relentless struggles to overthrow the reactionary ruling system in a mighty wave of people’s uprisings with the working class and its Party in the vanguard.
Long Live Marxism-Leninism-Mao Thought !
Long Live Proletarian Internationalism !
Long Live ICOR !
Long Live CPI (ML) Red Star ! Advance Along the Path of People’s Democratic Revolution as Part of World Proletarian Socialist Revolution ! n
The 2nd March, 2019, marks the centenary of the Communist International (CI) launched under the leadership of Lenin a hundred years ago with the slogan Workers and Oppressed Peoples of the World Unite. Presently when the imperialists of all hues and their lackeys are intensifying their 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!
In Memory of Martyrs and Departed Comrades.
The 11th Party Congress of CPI(ML) Red Star extends revolutionary greetings to all martyrs the world over who laid down their lives in the struggle against imperialism and forces of reaction.
During this period Comrade Ramachandra Singh, our Central Committee member and Comrade Rebati Ballav Mohanty, Central Control Commission member had departed. Other party members from various states also departed during this period while engaged in people’s movements and organizational activities . This Party Congress extends revolutionary greetings to all of them.
During the period after 10th Congress of our party we had several valiant struggles in various parts of India against the neo liberal policies. In the Bhangar peoples Movement comrades Mofizul, Alamgiri abd Hafizul became martyrs. We remember all these martyr comrades and those other comrades who have laid down their lives in peoples struggles against the rulling system.
We pay revolutionary tributes to all martyr and departed comrades.
Defeat Modi Government in the next General Elections.
The Modi regime has brought India to a critical Juncture. Its four and half years rule has intensified the neo liberal, Communal fascist policies at a maddening pace. Under Modi, who has come to power with an anti-corruption plank, India has become the most corrupt country in Asia. Demonetization super-imposed on the people at the behest of imperialist centers has enabled the super-rich black money holders to suck out the life-blood of the common people. The GST that destroyed the federal structure of India has further put the tax burden on the shoulders of workers, peasants and all toiling people. Neoliberal-Corporitization policies have devastated agriculture and industry and peasants suicides have become more frequent. Unemployment, inequality and inflation have risen to horrific proportions.
All avenues are used for communally dividing the people. Fascist attacks by Hi dutwa goons on minorities, Dalits, adivasis, women and all other oppressed classes have mounted. Working class has been denied even basic rights and all hard-earned democratic rights are being curtailed. History, culture, education, research and so on are saffronised. All Constitutional institutions are systematically undermined.
People's resentment against the Modi regime is growing in manifold ways. Workers', peasants, and all oppressed sections are riding up against the corporate-saffron regime. At this critical juncture, the 11th Congress of CPIML Red Star calls upon the people of India to resolutely come forward to vote out the Modi regime in the forthcoming general election. We appeal to the people to strive for a people's alternative based on demonetization in all fields along with the building up of a people-oriented and ecologically sustainable development paradigm.
In Support of the strike on 8th and 9th January 2019
The Central Trade Unions have called for a two day strike on 8th and 9th January 2019. The demands are basically against the neo-liberal polices and draconian anti-democratic methods being used by the Modi Government. They include the demand for a proper minimum wage, against the attempts to introduce anti-worker changes in the labour laws, against unbridled price rise, ratification of the ILO conventions 87 and 98 concerning collective bargaining etc. These are genuine aspirations of the working class and the oppressed people at large. At a time when the Modi Government is hell bent upon curbing the rights of the workers as a part of the drive to implement neo-liberal policies, such protests are urgently required. They have to be taken up not just as sporadic incidents but as sustained campaigns even beyond this strike. The CPI (ML) Red Star supports the strike of 8th and 9th January 2019 and calls upon all workers and unions all over India to support the strike.
Resolution on Minimum wages
In 1957 the 15th Indian Labour Conference passed a resolution on the formula to be used to fix the minimum wage. The formula was accepted by the Supreme Court as just and proper in various judgements. In fact, 1991, in the matter of the workers of Raptakos Brett, the Supreme Court added a further 33% to this formula to provide for education, health, savings etc. Till today the various wage commissions formed by the Government have acted on the basis of this formula, up to the 7th Wage commission which gave its report in 2016. By this formula the minimum wage all over India in January 2016 should have been Rs. 22000. This corresponds to about Rs. 25000 today. However, the minimum wage committees for various industries formed by the Central and State Government are still recommending minimum wages in the range of Rs. 8000 to Rs. 10000. Many unions like the TUCI and MASA have been demanding Rs. 25000 as the minimum wage. This house fully supports the demand for Rs. 25000 as a minimum wage.
Resolution on changes in Labour Laws
With the advent of globalisation there is a greater pressure to adopt the rule of hire and fire. The new organisation of production internationally requires vast outsourcing which leaves great sections of the working class vulnerable to massive exploitation. In this situation the workers are in need of laws which afford them greater protection against arbitrary dismissals and against arbitrary reductions in wages and other facilities like social security, workplace safety and security, etc. Instead of making such changes to afford protection to workers, the Central Government and State Governments especially in the NDA ruled states are amending the labour laws to reduce the protections given to workers. The Apprenticeship Act is being amended to allow apprenticeship in all work for a period of 5 years where apprentices will not get the benefits of labour laws. The contract labour act is now to be applicable only where there are 50 or more contract labour in place of 20 at present. The Industrial Disputes Act is being amended to allow for arbitrary closure or retrenchment of workers where there are less than 300 workers in an establishment as opposed to 100 today. Though the UPA government had mooted similar changes, the present government is implementing them with indecent haste. In such a situation this house opposed the current proposed anti-worker changes in labour laws and supports the various struggles of the workers against such changes.
Resolution on contract labour
The abhorrent contract labour system is growing day by day. In fact, it is being strengthened in new ways like the recent changes in the Apprenticeship Act. In spite of various commissions and judgments of the Supreme Court calling this system as a “pernicious system”, a “system of human trafficking”, etc. recent governments have been making policy on the assumption that the contract labour system is unavoidable. They argue that contract labour at least allows more jobs to be created though the quality of jobs may deteriorate. Statistics shows that even this is not true. Even if it were true, this system would still lead to the depression of the average wage. The CPI (ML) Red Star opposes the Contract labour system and calls for abolition of contract labour in all jobs which are of a perennial nature.
On Global Warming.
As all of us are aware the danger of Global warming is intensifying day by day. Now it is very clear that the reasons behind it are the Corporate led so-called development policies. In Indian context, earlier from Uttarakhand to recent Kerala and Karnataka's natural calamities created havoc and took the lives of many people. Worldwide scenario is also similar. Yet Imperialism, especially US imperialism continues their greedy nature with causing more and more natural devastation. Recently the Trump administration decided to quit from Paris agreement, earlier delayed Kyoto Protocol for long time. All these show the ulterior motive of imperialist agenda. Only people's agitation with increasing awareness can be compel the ruling system to change its policies.
The 11th Party Congress resolves to struggle for people centric policies which alone can put an end to disastrous global warming.
Stop All Nuclear Power Plants.
Repeated instances exposing grave consequences of nuclear power plants and people’s movements against them have compelled the imperialist countries to start shutting them down. But they are exporting this obsolete technology to the dependent countries causing immense harm to people there.
Under the sway of imperialist powers the ruling class of India is engaged in importing this disastrous technology, the nuclear power projects program, disregarding the possibilities for developing alternate sources.
During the UPA regime people’s movements in which we also played active role succeeded in preventing the large number of projects taken up by it. In spite of it the Modi government tried to continue this disastrous program, which the people’s movements have succeeded to stop so far.
The 11th Party Congress appeals to people to become aware of the dangers of nuclear power plants and to uncompromisingly struggle against installation of any new projects and to compel the government to start shutting down all existing plants.
On US Withdrawal From Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.
Declaration bu US president Trump of withdrawing from Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) is a grave concern for all peace loving forces of the world. This Treaty was signed by then USSR and the US in 1987. It played a significant role in eliminating 2700 short and medium range missiles and gave relief for world people and particularly European people for three decades.
In continuation with the position of unilateralism, Trump administration not only withdrew itself from the INF, it has already stated that it will also not continue with the New Start Agreement whose term expires in 2021. If the INF treaty collapses and with the New Start Agreement on strategic arms due to expire in 2021 the whole world would be left without any control on nuclear armaments for the first time since 1972.
Opposing Trump the NATo ministers have come out with a sharp statement: “INF Agreement has been crucial to the Euro-Atlantic security and we remain fully committed to the preservation of this landmark arms control treaty”. This statement not only reflects the inter imperialist contradictions, it also expresses the general desire of every peace loving people.
The 11th Congress of the CPI(ML) Red Star emphatically denounce the positions of Trump administration; it urges for a broad based world wide struggle for a nuclear arms free world and for lasting peace throughout the world.
Resolution on Peasant Problem
The Eleventh Congress of CPI(ML) Red Star is expressing its deep concern on the serious and acute problems of the peasantry of our country.
These serious and acute problems are manifested in various ways: increasing landlessness; non existence of any kind of comprehensive all India law for agricultural workers; absence of statutory laws for tenants in many states of India or non-implementation of existing laws; suicides of more than four lakhs of peasants, migration of lakhs and lakhs of peasants due to loot of land, forest and rivers; severe indebtedness of the peasants, particularly small and marginal farmers; barbaric and naked social oppression and discriminations against ST, SC and OBS people.
Due to neo-liberal policies, when landless is increasing every day, governments are giving thousands of acres to domestic and foreign corporate houses. When peasants are fighting for the protection of Land, Ceiling Acts and Acts like Santhal Parganas Tenancy Act, the central and state governments are changing these laws for the corporates. When peasants are demanding remunerative prices for agricultural products, they are getting only bullets, torture and empty promises by Modi government and state governments.
Eleventh Congress of CPI(ML) Red Star is again emphasizing the importance of peasant problem, which is one of the most important national problems. History and experiences teach us that only an agrarian revolution can solve this problem. Agrarian Revolution will confiscate all the land of landlords without compensation and distribute that land to agricultural workers, landless and poor peasants. So 11th Congress of CPI(ML) Red Star is giving a call for nation-wide militant peasant struggle on the immediate burning issues of the peasants for the necessary preparation for a successful agrarian revolution.
In India peasants have a glorious past of struggle and sacrifices. They have shown that in Telengana and Naxalbari and other struggles. Bhangar is the latest example. So, the 11th Congress of CPI(ML) Red Star is confident that in the coming days, there will be nation-wide long drawn militant peasant struggles against imperialism, comprador bureaucratic capitalism and landlordism and for a free, independent and democratic India which will emerge in the midst of these struggles.
On Question of Women’s Employment
The female work participation rate of our country, as per the Economic Survey 2018, stands at an abysmal 24%, among the lowest in South Asia and the lowest among BRICS countries. The basic premise for the emancipation of women being the induction of the entire female sex into public industry, the aforementioned statistics is a telling commentary on the status of women in our country. The 11th Congress of the CPI(ML) Red Star demands 100% employment for all women of working age (or unemployment benefit if required), equal pay for equal work and enabling work spaces for women. The CPI(ML) Red Star strongly champion the concept that the principal social identity of women should be related not to her role in the family, but directly with her role in social production.
Against Bhima-Koregaon Arrests
The CPI(ML) Red Star strongly condemns the arrest of human right activists purportedly in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon violence, which was, as a matter of fact, instigated by the Hindutva brigade. The sudden crackdown on activists and the intelligentsia since the middle of this year, the labeling of all dissenters as ‘anti-nationals’ and ‘urban Naxals’ and the peremptory use of draconian laws like the UAPA, coupled with the sustained and ruthless attacks on the struggling masses (workers, peasants, Dalits, adivasis, women) across the country has served to severely damage the democratic and secular fabric of the country. The 11th Congress of CPI(ML) Red Star call for the immediate release of the Bhima-Koregaon arrestees, the repeal of draconian laws like the UAPA and an end to the targeted throttling of dissenting voices. The 11th Congress also appeals to the people to unite against state terror.
On Peasants Right over the Compensation towards Damage in Regard to Right of Way for Transmission
As rapid growth in high voltage transmission network is taking place all over the country, huge amount of land is getting affected and devalued. The patch of land under the High Voltage/Extra High Voltage line comes under the perpetual ownership of the transmission companies, though legally the ownership remains with the landowner, which causes an economic loss to the farmers and landowners. To compensate the loss, following many farmer struggles, the Government of India, Ministry of Power appointed committee put forward guide line for payment of compensation towards the damage in regard to Right of Way (ROW) for transmission line on 2015. According to the guideline the transmission company need to give 85% of the land value to the landowners on whose land transmission tower is being erected and 15% of the land value to the landowners whose land is coming under the Right of Way.
Since this guideline is being hardly implemented by the transmission companies, the landowners and farmers are opposing HV/EHV project all over India. The struggle of peasant’s of Bhangar, Tamil Nadu, Assam, etc. against Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCLI) High Voltage project are such examples. Among these Bhangar, through its continuous struggle compelled the government and PGCLI to come to an agreement with the struggling committee and to compensate more than the guideline suggested. Other struggles are still continuing and new farmers struggle are developing on same demand.
The 11th Congress of CPI(ML) Red Star expresses its solidarity with these struggles. The 11th Congress is demanding compensation to farmers and landowners following the guideline and supporting all the associated demands raised by the struggling peoples.
Repeal the SURFAESI Act.
11th Party Congress demands the repeal of the anti-people SURFAESI Act (Securitization and Reconstruction of Financial Assets’ Enforcement of Securities’ Interest Act) passed by the parliament in 2002 to confiscate the security without even being informed. As a result of this Act lakhs of people are facing the wanton acts of auction of their property when billionners are looting the banks and save themselves by relocating to foreign countries with the help of the ruling system.
Implement SC/ST Quota in Appointment of High Court and Supreme Court Judges.
While examination system and quota based on reservation are followed in the selection of magistrates and judges up to Sessions’ level, no such yardsticks are followed in the case of selecting judges to High Courts and Apex counrts. The 11th Party Congress demands that the selection of judges to these higher courts should be made transparent and reservation quota should be implemented to ensure social justice.
Resolve the Mullaperiyar Dam issue Scientifically.
The Mullaperiyar dam issue is a burnibg question affecting people of Kerala and Tamilnadu.The century old dam is a threat to the security of the people in adjacent areas. At the same time people of adjacent districts of Tamilnadu depends on water from this dam for drinking and cultivation. This issue should be sorted out scientifically protecting the lives and assets of people of Kerala, while ensuring the quota of water from this dam to the people of TN. Since this dam is situated in an earth quake prone environmentallt sensitive area and considering the security risk this old dam may cause, this Party Congress appeals to the central government to take appropriate steps in consultation with both state governments to resolve this urgent question ensuring the safely of people of Kerala and water requirement of people of TN.
Resolve the Mahanadi River Dispute Giving Priority to Peasants’ Demands.
River Mahanadi is the life line for vast masses of farmers of Odisha. During the last few years the Chhattisgarh government has began constructing a number of barrages across upstream of Mahanadi for providing water for increasing industrial demands. Rampant industrialization along the river basin in both the states is the real cause of the inter state water dispute. Both state governments are primarily interested to cater for the increasing demands of the mushrooming industries. Both are not showing concern for the water demands for agriculture. At the same time both state governments are politicizing the water dispute for sectarian political interests rather than finding amicable solution to it putting the larger interests of the people and sustainability of the river in the forefront.
It is in this situation, under pressure from people’s movements and environmentalists the apex court has ordered and the central government has constituted a tribunal to settle this question.The 11th Party Congress demands that the the Tribunal should settle the dispute by giving priority to the requirement of the agriculture and daily requirements of the vast masses, rather than protecting only the interests of the industries.
Resolution On Culture
Gouri Lankesh, a prominent journalist writer of the country has been murdered by Hindutva fanatics. She had been active in the movement against religious dogmatism, superstition and communal fascism for last many years. Just like the recent murders of rationalist thinkers like Dr. S.M. Kalburgi, Dr. Narendra Dabholkar and Com. Govind Pansare, Gouri Lankesh assassination too is a part of the conspiracy to silence progressive voices through physical extermination. This Congress severely condemns these savage attacks on the freedom of expression and resolves to spread of their thoughts among masses of people and at the same time ensure that the perpetrators of this dastardly act are punished.
In another dastardly attack, raising the bogey of Love Jihad, fanatical Hindutvavadis murdered an innocent man named Md. Afrazul at Rajasmand, Rajasthan. Earlier in tune of this Akhalaque, Junaid, Pahlu Khan and Umar were brutally murdered by fascist cow vigilants inspired by RSS. These fundamentalists wish to control the food habits, dress code and lifestyle of the people as per their fanatical agenda. Without doubt such brutal tactics are employed to cover up government’s failure to solve basic issues like poverty, unemployment and hunger. The Sangha Parivar, through its various terroristic organisations has been stoking the fire of intolerance, communalism and casteism with the ultimate objective of destroying the ages old multi-cultural fabric of our society. They are advocating incorporation of Ramayana and Mahabharata into the curriculum of primary schools. Simultaneously, the demand for teaching Manusmriti at school level has also been raised. Efforts are being made by the Chhattisgarh government to teach Ramayana and Mahabharata in Gondi and Halbi at school level. Such steps would prove to be a hindrance in the way of instilling scientific education among the new generation. This congress strongly opposes the distortion, saffronization and vulgarization of Indian history and culture and the replacement of progressive intellectuals by votaries of Sangha Parivar at important posts of institutions – educational, technical and others related to art. This congress severely condemns this well-orchestrated and pre-planned Hindutva agenda.
In order to implement their fascist goal, Sangha Parivar has been proclaiming all the minorities like Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs, Dalits and Tribal as being Hindu. They celebrated the 125th Anniversary of Baba Sahib Ambedkar but overlooked and avoided his critical thoughts about the fanatical and inhuman aspects of Hinduism. This congress condemns the distortion and vulgarization of the thoughts and philosophy of Babasaheb Ambedkar by the Sangha Parivar. This congress also opposes Brahmanism, retrograde customs like child marriage and forced widowhood and demands appropriate measures to promote inter-caste and inter-religion marriages. This congress strongly opposes distortion and vulgarization of Indian History and Culture.
Resolution On Caste Annihilation and Dalit Question
Within four and half year since coming to power, the arch rightist forces have intensified their attacks on the lives and livelihood of the poor, Dalits, Tribal communities, women and the working people for the benefit of a handful of corporate houses. This congress condemns these acts of atrocity by castists, Brahminical, communalist and corporate forces in Bheema Koregaon, Pune in Maharashtra, Una in Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Saharanpur and in Bulandshahar UP, Mana (Malwa) in MP, Dulina in Haryana and other states arresting of Chandrashekhar (Ravan) of Bheem Army in Hyderabad and calls upon the people to rise against them.
Party Congress appeals to the masses – Let the superfluous and obscurantist rituals like Shradh etc. be done away with and let the spread of scientific awareness in lieu of superstitions be encouraged. Efforts to build up organisations at village, towns, block and district levels and organising such awareness programmes should be encouraged. Let the party activists take lead themselves. Let the inter-caste and interreligious marriages encouraged. Let the party activists of party take lead themselves in creating examples in the society. Such persons should be felicitated, protected and honoured. Oppose Caste/Social organisation/panchayat and oppose Caste/Social boycott move of any community/panchayat. Let the people be appealed to incorporate the caste annihilation and anti-superstition ideals in their day to day life. Again, the political parties with religious, casteist and communal agenda have to be unmasked and combated against. Oppose the Bramanical life style, dress code, nomenclature and eating habits. Party congress condemns the ban on beef eating in deference to the whim of a particular community and passed the resolution in the favour of caste annihilation movement.
Resolution on Violence against Women
The Thompson Reuters survey, 2018, has ranked India as the most dangerous country for women. Although the rank may be disputed, there is no gainsaying the fact that women form the most oppressed section of society in India today, with violence against them spiraling, the most gruesome atrocities being committed against them and a patriarchal state clearly with neither will nor inclination to take any steps to ensure women’s liberation from inequality, oppression and subjugation. Rather, one of the consequences of the steady rightward shift of the Indian polity is the intensifying violence against women, especially in the name of caste and religion, coupled with an ideological onslaught against the very concept of women’s rights and liberation. Sexual violence against women by the India state — the army in places like Manipur and J&K, the police in Chhattisgarh and generally by men in uniform throughout the country — in the name of ‘nationalism’ and ‘development’, pave the ground for horrific sexual violence against women in society. The increasing commodification of women spurred by neo-liberal policies on the one hand, and the relegation of women to a domestic slave by right wing fundamentalism on the other negate the hard-earned rights of women and imperil their very existence as equal citizens.
The 11th Congress of CPI(ML) Red Star pledges to intensify the struggle against all forms of violence against women and strive tirelessly for the emancipation of women from all oppression and subjugation.
Unite Against Communal Fascism
Communal Fascism is menacingly striving to be the strategic partner of global state Fascism and Zionism. Wanton attacks on intellectuals, socio-political and cultural activists go on unabashedly. Merger of Indian corporate capital with Global State Monopoly capital is total. Militarization of the state is accompanied by increasing exclusion and marginalization of the working class peasant communities. While the Rafale Deal marks the latest scam of Primitive accumulation under the neo-liberal, neo- fascist dispensation; demonetization, GST, and the manipulation of the financial/ speculative sectors, including the fall of the Rupee, denote the sharp polarization of the nation between the Corporate/ monopolistic sections increasingly collaborating with global state and ruling class on one side and the working people and toiling masses on the other side. The class and mass movements are putting up stiff resistance all over the country.
Systematic attacks on the autonomy and freedom of the educational sector, including cultural institutions, as well as murderous attacks on activists, dalits, tribals, minorities and women get intensified and widespread. Even as the Lok Pal/ Right to Information legislations are scuttled, democratization of the judiciary remains a far cry. Even the CVC, CBI as also the Supreme Court and the RBI are being undermined by the Modi- Shaw regime. While contemptuously rejecting the democratic urge for reservation in the higher Judiciary, the Sangh parivar wants to do away with reservation in the government services and education. While reservation in the private sector is a must, the demands of major peasant communities are also to be dealt with in accordance with the constitutional mandate for adequate representation of Socially and Educationally Backward classes in the affairs of the state, which includes Judiciary and also police and Military.
The Sangh Parivar’s re-launch of the Ram mandir agitation amounts to defiance of the Supreme Court and the Constitution. It is an affront to our secular-democratic ethos and nationhood. This should be seen in the context of the systematic effort to undo the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and also the abandonment of the Vajpayee initiative to deal with the Issue in the orbit if ‘Insanyat’. Sangh Parivar-led agitation against the Supreme Court order on women’s entry at Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple is yet another affront to the very Ayyappa legend that symbolize the confluence of the Buddha heritage and the anti-caste/untouchability tradition of Southern India.
We have to initiate the process of formation of a common platform of all the democratic forces and peoples movements engaged in resistance to the communal fascist regime. We are sure that forces of resistance have to unite with the empowerment battles of the excluded and marginalized as also organized sections of workers, farmers, women, intelligentsia, youth and students. Forces of social Justice and Cultural Revolution too have a crucial role at this critical moment.
We appeal to all progressive democratic forces to participate in effort and join the collective effort to unitedly fight he communal fascist forces who undermine our secular democratic polity and our humane socio-cultural ethos.
Struggle against Central Government’s Move for depriving State Governments’ Right on Education
Initially the education was being under the state-list of Constitution. In the course of development in political arena, the education came under the con-current list of the Constitution. Later, every move of the successive Central Governments, led to the whole education, irrespective of elementary or higher education, coming under the Central list. Now, most of the state governments have abolished or incorporated their Education Boards into Central Educational Board. In the name of the all India Entrance Examination or Screening Test, all state education boards are compelled to merge their education boards into central boards or to merge their syllabus into central syllabus. Along with the central universities, state universities are under threat of Governors of the state appointed by the central government. In this way the central and state university designation have practically vanished.
Under globalization, the education sector is under swift changes to privatization. The entry of foreign universities and mushrooming growth of Deemed universities are the order of day. Out of the 127 private Deemed universities in India, 27 universities are permitted in Tamil Nadu. In Tamil Nadu, entrance examination to professional courses were abolished before 2 decades. The voices raised for ensuring implementation of SC/ST and OBC reservations are suppressed. After a long struggle only entrance examination system was abolished. At present, as a continuation of the earlier Congress government’s policy, the Modi government and the judicial activism of the court imposed the NEET examination. Hence the Party Congress demands that the the education should come under state list as original Constitution of India.
Organize Country-wide Movement against Anti-Federal GST
The anti-Federal GST super-imposed by the Modi regime in continuation of the pro-corporate Demonetization has completely deprived the states of their constitutional power to levy indirect taxes that form the main source of state revenue in India. GST regime has led to a galloping of the prices of all essential goods and services as it is imposed on the prices decided by corporate giants. Consequently, vast majority of common people are suffering from the double burden of higher taxes and rising prices, even as corporate profits are reaching new heights. Thus, India is facing high level of inflation and price rise as a result of GST.
All the informal and unorganized sectors, where vast majority of the Indian workers are depending for their livelihood and sustenance, along with the Small and Medium enterprises, which accounts for a quarter of India’s export revenue, are in doldrums as the pro-corporate GST has taken away all tax exemptions, price support and protective measures extended to them by central and state governments. While the pan-Indian unified GST has immensely benefitted the big businesses and retail giants, millions of retailers, unable to compete with former, are collapsing. India having the highest GST rates in the world, the reins of economy are now with the most corrupt corporate hoarders, black marketers who have given unfettered freedom for marking up the prices of all items of mass consumption.
This situation calls for a clear-cut political position against the GST that has demolished the federal structure of the constitution on the one hand, and centralized economic power in corporate-saffron state. The task of repealing the GST has become one of the central issues of the people’s political program against the Modi regime today. The 11th Congress of CPI(ML) Red Star calls upon the people of India to prepare themselves for all-out offensive against the GST uniting all progressive, democratic forces in the country.
Resolution On Education
This Congress condemns the conspiracy to close down one lakh schools in our country. At the behest of imperialist globalisation, the government has been privatising education and conspiring to make education inaccessible to Dalits, backward castes and poor in general. While opposing saffronisation, privatisation and commercialisation of education, this congress demands equal access to education for all. This congress condemns barbaric attacks over freedom of exression in university campuses and expressed solidarity with students of HCU, JNU, DU, BHU, Jadavpur, Kolkata, Allahabad, HLU Raipur and FTII Pune.
Resolution On Unemployment
Quoting from the ILO Report on “World Employment Social Outlook” of 2018 released in January 2018 and also quoting from its leaf author, Live Mint reported, “.......77 % of workers in India will have vulnerable employment by 2019”. According to the ILO’s world employment and social outlook report released “A large part of the jobs created in the region remain of poor quality”. Vulnerable employment affects almost half of all workers in Asia- Pacific, or more than 900 million men and women. The report comes amid a jobs debate in India, which many believe is not creating enough jobs even as some 12 million people get added to the labour market every year. This is then the reality of neoliberal politics. Growth of unemployment and underemployment and growing disparity. This is the real “growth” of the Indian economy that the GDP figures hide. The congress severely condemns neoliberal politics which created large scale unemployment in India and calls upon the youth to organise and resist against unemployment and neoliberal corporate fascist regime.
Resist and defeat onslaught on democratic rights and democracy by Neo-Liberal regimes, especially Sangh Pariwar regime.
The right to struggle for economic-political-social- cultural advancement is the basic Democratic Right of the people. From this flows the right to freedon of thought, belief, worship, expression, assemble, association and the right to organise and get organised. The right to life and the dignified life is the basic human right. From this arises the right to education, health, minimum wage, social and gender equality etc.,. Many of these freedoms or civil liberties, of course with tags, are enshrined in fundamental rights and directive principle chapters of Indian Constitution drafted by Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar. But every struggle of toiling masses for better life and living conditions, in the last 70 years met with state and ruling class repression. To give a legal framework to this repression many an authoritarian law are enacted since 1951 by governments of all hues. P.D., D.I.R., MISA, NASA, TADA, AFSPA and UAPA are some of them. Fake encounter killing and lock-up torture are the worst violation of every democratic, civil and human right. Indira Gandhi's internal emergency is a peak of the proceeding quarter century repression. However, it is worth noting various memorable struggles of working class and peasants including adivasis dalits and women led by various progressive forces resulted in the enactment of certain ameliorative laws.
Since the onset of neo-liberal imperialist globalisation and especially during the last four and half years of saffron fascist and international-Indian big capital stooge Modi BJP regime centuries old hard won rights of working class and adivasis, and various environment laws are systematically curtailed. The Sangh Pariwar forces with tacit approval of BJP/NDA government at the center and BJP governments in the States are acting as moral police to curtail the rights of female gender free movement, choise of dress, and marriage and they are denied even the right in to temples.BJP governments and Sangh Pariwar forces hand-in-glove are assaulting the people's right to food, belief and worship, to dissent and criticize and in that they go to the extent of murdering the persistent explicit intellectual dissenters of archaic brahminical values. The free wheels Saffron forces are assaulting, including killing, Muslim minorities and daliths alleging the latter are killing cows. It is a punishable act of blatantly taking law into private but the powers that be are at best silently or at the worst explicitly supporting private actors taking law in to hands.
The repression on the people of Kashmir valley, demanding the implementation of 'human' and legal right of self determination, has reached unprecedented brutal level during Modi regime. The use and misuse of draconian UAPA has become highly rampant in the last 4 years. By inventing the word 'urban naxalites' Mody regime has opened another front of assault against the democratic right of people.
Hence, the 11th Congress of CPI (M-L)Red Star appeal to all democratic forces and intellectual democrats of the country unitedly resist the onslaught on the civil, democratic and human rights of the people of India by Corporate-Saffron neo-fascist forces abbeted by Sangh Pariwar governments. The situation become terribly grave if BJP retain power at the center and hence we appeal vote out BJP in 2019 general election.
Resolution on fighting for 6 hours Working Day and 5 Days Working Week
In the 19th century the working class fought for shorter working hour. They achieved the right of 8 hours working day. After the World War-II the technology grew rapidly and especially in electronics, communication and computers. And we now live in the era of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation. Instead of dumb machines we now deal with intelligent machines. As a result there are rapid changes in production system and workers are the main sufferers in these changes. On one side the more intelligent machines are replacing workers in each field from clerical work to construction to even middle management. We witness how the construction sector is totally occupied by the machines. Thus the owners of the means of production are gaining high profits. The increase in the number of billionaires in each year shows that the modern production system equipped with modern technologies have brought havoc in the life of workers. And on the other side the workers are still bound to work for 8 hours a day, and in most cases for much more hours under contractualization and casualization of jobs. And as a result, huge reserve of unemployed are created. Workers now live in uncertainty for their lives and livelihoods.This Party Congress calls on the working class and the unemployed to get mobilized for a six hour day and five day week..
Book the culprits responsible for disappearance of JNU student Najeeb
"I am saddened because the CBI carried out a biased investigation and its sole objective was to shield those who assaulted my son before he went missing. I have been facing injustice right from the first day,"
“I just want to know my son is safe. I know he will come back one day. The CBI claims they have found people who went missing five years ago. Why could not they find my son?"
These are the very words in crying for justice from Ms Fatima Nafeez od Badaun, Uttar Pradesh, the mother of Najeeb Ahmed, 27, pursuing M.Sc. in Biotechnology, went missing from the Mahi-Mandvi Hostel of the Jawaharlal Nehru University more than 25 months back on October 15, 2016. The student had gone missing a day after an altercation with some ABVP (student wing of BJP) students on the night of October 14, 2016 which itself is an evidence of their (ABVP’S) role in the matter.
Even the High Court had to rap the police over the manner of its probe into the disappearance of Najeeb, saying it appeared to be looking for an “escape route”. The court had also lashed out at the police saying it had been “beating around the bush and not in the bush” as it had been sending people across the country and setting up special investigation teams (SITs), but the nine students suspected to be behind Najeeb’s disappearance were neither questioned, nor taken into custody.
From the above we could assess the gravity of the alarming and dangerous situation in the country after fascist BJP’s reign at the helm of affairs of the nation. Not a single citizen is safe under their rule. All democratic and constitutional rights of the citizens are hampered. The culprits behind the disappearance/murder of Najeeb, the looters of Nation’s wealth, the hooligans and all miscreants in the name cow vigilantism are freely moving and enjoying the victims and protesters, human rights activists, political activists waging against injustice, workers fighting for their legitimate demands are grilled and tortured.
The 11th Party Congress of CPIML Red Star , demand immediate steps to arrest the culprits and find the whereabouts of the missing student Najeeb Ahmed.
Take Immediate Measures for the Rehabilitation of Indian Expatriates Returning from Gulf Countries
During last few years, due to global economic meltdown and oil sector crisis in Gulf countries, many thousands of expatriate workers have forced to return to India. This trend is going to intensify further in coming years and millions of Indian expatriates in Gulf are expected to return to India, majority of them to Kerala. In this situation, 11th Party Congress of CPI (ML) Red Star demand to Central and State Governments to take immediate measures for effective rehabilitation of the Gulf Returnees who have been providing around one trillion rupees of foreign money per annum to the country, sacrificing their live with family in homeland. This Party Congress also demands to Central-state governments to structure suitable programs in the productive sector utilizing the Gulf expatriates deposits and utilizing their expertize & experience, based on peoples echo friendly development paradigm.
On Entry of Women to Sabarimala Temple in Kerala
The 28 September 2018 Supreme Court Verdict that allowed the entry of women of certain age group (10-50 – said to be menstruating years) which was banned by a judgement of Kerala High Court in 1991. This is an important judgement as the Gender justice is concerned which was denied by the Kerala Devaswom Board controlled and ruled by Bhramanical Authority which practices the age old customs and faiths. The Constitutional Bench headed by the then Chief Justice Dipak Misra rightly observed that any rule based on segregation of women pertaining to biological characteristics is indefensible and unconstitutional. The majority judgement categorically stated, giving no space for any ambiguity, that discrimination of women of certain age group in entering a religious place is totally against the principles laid down in the constitution ensuring the gender justice. Even the judges noted that such action of Temple Authorities in the name of customs, rituals and faith is nothing but religious patriarchy which should not be allowed.
Though almost all progressive and democratic forces of the country hailed the verdict, the religious fundamentalist forces led by Sangh Parivar quite naturally protested and let loose their hooligans in the streets against the verdict to vitiate the comparatively secular, progressive and democratic atmosphere in Kerala created through renaissance movements led by the social revolutionaries. As expected the Kerala Unit of Indian National Congress even after their central leaders hailed the judgement suppported the protest of Sangh Parivar. It is like the “Vimochana Samaram” (“liberation movement”) organised by the reactionary forces against the 1st EMS led Communist Ministry in Kerala in the year 1958-59 which led to the dismissal of 1st elected Government of Kerala by Nehru government abusing the Constitution.
Though CPIM led LDF organises big Rallies in support of the judgement and speak about safeguarding the democratic rights of women, in practice it is not seriously fighting the machinations of the reactionary forces.. The LDF government, instead of arranging facilities for the devotee women to visit Sabarimala and offer prayers, is discouraging them from doing so by intimidating, creating fear in the mind enquiring their whereabouts and other details..
Hence it is the duty of all revolutionary left, progressive and democratic forces to come out in the streets and fight against the hooliganism of reactionary forces. They should try to nsure the defeat of obscurantist forces and struggle for implementation of the Supreme Court order..
The 11th Party Congress demand immediate steps to ensure the rights of the women devotees to visit the Sabarimala Deity.
On Price Rise and the Gilet Jaunes (in France)
Price Rise is not a natural phenomenon. Prices are clearly controlled by the imperialists and the big corporate houses. They are used as a devious method to reduce the real wages of the people. At present, price rise is being used as a weapon against the people by different governments in the world including by the Modi Government in India and the Macron Government in France. Both continue to raise the price of fuel even at times when the global prices of crude are falling. Against the price rise in France, the people of France have come out in massive numbers to protest against the rise in fuel prices implemented by the Macron Government in a huge people’s movement known as the ‘Gilet Jaunes’ or the ‘Yellow Vests’. The Macron Government has tried to justify its taxes on fuel in the name of environmental protection. This is clearly a ruse which is not fooling anybody. The Gilet Jaunes are an apolitical and unorganised movement which held massive barricades first on 17th November. Since then there have been huge demonstration in various parts of France and there is a huge gathering planned on 1st December in Paris with the Gilet Jaunes proposing also to block all the ports of France. The CPI (ML) Red Star supports the demand and movement of the Gilet Jaunes and calls upon the people of France to organise and fight for a new form of society free from the dictates of the big corporates which alone can guarantee against arbitrary price rise.
In support of the strike of the workers and officers of BSNL
The CPI (ML) Red Star supports the strike called by the workers and Officers of BSNL all over India on 3rd December 2018. Though BSNL has consistently show profits for the past few years, the wages and pensions of the employees are not being revised though due since 1st January 2017. It is clear to all and sundry that the Government is trying to run BSNL into the ground to help the big corporates like Jio, Airtel and Vodafone. The service is being purposely deteriorated and the facilities are being curtailed so as to force all customers to leave this service and move to other private providers. No doubt the move of the Government to deny the new wage and pension rise is a part of this diabolical plan. We hope that the strike will help to scuttle this plan of the Government.
(Adopted by 11th Party Congress of CPI (ML) Red Star held at Bengaluru from 26th November to 1st December 2018)
The political tasks before us today need to be assessed in the context of the objective international and national situation, especially since the 10th Congress of our Party in 2015.
- International Situation
1.i The Political Resolution adopted by the 10th Congress had evaluated the international situation as crisis-prone and of growing multi-polarity. In the last three years, those trends have developed further leading to an aggravation in the economic and political crisis of world imperialism today.
Crisis-ridden Neoliberal Imperialism
1.ii The systemic crisis of world imperialism even as internationalization of monopoly finance capital reaching new levels continues unabated. Most optimistic projections of the UN and Bretton Woods institutions are unable to cover up the continuing risk from the bubble-induced inflation and recession haunting the world. Last several years’ incessant pumping of trillions of dollars of cheap money from government treasury and banks in to the coffers of corporate financiers, rather than facilitating any recovery, has only worsened the situation. The chronic over-accumulation of finance capital as was exemplified in the speculative bubble that led to the ‘global meltdown’ of 2007-08 is strengthening. Consequently, the financial bubble measured in global stock market capitalization alone further rose from $ 63 trillion on the eve of the ‘sub-prime crisis’ in 2007 to more than $ 80 trillion by mid 2017, again resulting in the biggest-ever short-term collapse in capitalist history on February 6, 2018 eroding more than $ 4 trillion from US stock exchanges in a single day due to this ‘flash crash’! Thus the situation is ripe for another round of prolonged bubble burst. In that sense, the decade-long current phase of the imperialist crisis has turned out to be more prolonged and severe than that of the 1970s.
1.iii As a manifestation of this crisis in both imperialist and neocolonially dependent countries, fresh capital investment in employment oriented productive spheres is alarmingly collapsing. Corporate financiers everywhere are mainly interested in ballooning money-spinning speculative businesses. Growth in GDP indices arising from this is used by ruling classes to cover up the acute deindustrialization and joblessness today experienced by common people. Corporatization of agriculture and devastation inflicted on local and rural communities everywhere are resulting in de-peasantization, displacement, migration and refugee crisis. The decline in the consuming power of the vast majority of people, gruesome levels of poverty and inequality coupled with more intrusions on nature threatening the very existence of humankind have become unbearable. All over the world, neoliberal budget cuts in health, education and social welfare have worsened the suffering of the masses along with double exploitation of the mass of women in particular.
1.iv Imperialist globalization has been associated with liberalization of labour laws, tax systems and environmental regulations which are more severe in neocolonially dependent and oppressed countries. Internationalization of production and new trends in global division of labour such as outsourcing have led to the super-exploitation of working class and oppressed people especially in backward countries. The mad rush for profit has also resulted in the transplantation of polluting industries to neocolonially dependent countries and dumping of industrial waste in them. To facilitate the unprecedented levels of exploitation of people and plunder of nature by corporate capital, all democratic rights of workers and broad masses are curtailed in one form or another.
1.v Global inequalities have reached record levels. According to latest report by Oxfam, 83 percent of the wealth created in 2017 has gone to the top one percent of the global superrich. Country-level inequalities are also steeply going up. Even as the world economy is experiencing a slump, the number of billionaires and the share of wealth with them are having a steady upward trend.
1.vi While employment situation in imperialist countries is stagnant, real wages and living conditions of the workers and toiling people are continuously declining. Casualization and frequent hire-and fire have led to deterioration in working conditions. Even as labour productivity is steadily rising due to the application of new technologies, wages are maintained at the subsistence level while profit rates are going up. The consequence is a decline in the purchasing power of the broad masses of common people that prompts capitalists to bring about a relative curtailment in the production of mass consumption goods.
1.vii While the world is on the brink of an environmental catastrophe, the mad rush for profit is inflicting further damage on ecology. In continuation of consistent US violations of various international environmental treaties and protocols, Trump has unilaterally withdrawn from the Paris Accord thereby once again repudiating all “legally binding” international environmental regulations and mandated reductions in green-house gas emissions. Thus the struggle for a reversal of the adverse environmental damage caused by mainstream development paradigm and years of global warming has again come to a standstill.
1.viii Across the world, this has led to a favourable objective condition for the emergence of class and mass struggles. Workers, peasants, women, youth and students are rising up in imperialist as well as in dependent countries in one form or another. People’s movements for protecting habitats and for a sustainable environment, for democratic rights and against various forms of oppression are also springing up across the world. Against the imperialist and ruling class offensives, workers and oppressed people’s struggles are developing in several Latin American, African and Asian countries. Workers and youth are rising up in the US and in many countries of Europe, the latest massive people’s upsurge against Macron’s austerity measures being the latest. Across Asia, workers, peasants, women, youth and students are leading struggles against neoliberal policies, fascism and reaction. In particular, mass movements for freedom and democracy during the last three years have challenged ruling regimes in Egypt, Tunisia, Greece, Turkey, Bahrain, Iran, etc. Neoliberal budget cuts and austerity policies aimed at shifting the burden of crisis to the shoulders of workers and peasants have led to the eruption of large scale struggles in Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia, South Africa, Bangladesh, India, etc. Big global movements have developed against neocolonial-neoliberal agencies like IMF, World Bank, WTO and against various trade and military agreements. However, in spite of the prevalence of many left forces in the forefront of these struggles, those capable of concretely analyzing the situation with a correct ideological perspective and politically leading the people towards a revolutionary alternative is lacking.
Rightward Shift in Ruling Class Politics
1.ix To deal with the emerging people’s struggles and divert them away from developing into a revolutionary situation, almost everywhere ultra-rightwing, neo-fascist, racist, xenophobic, reactionary and religious fundamentalist forces are propped up by neoliberal imperialism. Strengthening of the repressive state apparatus along with the tendency to fascistization have become the general trend in both imperialist and dependent countries.
1.x In continuation of our analysis in the Political Resolution adopted in the 10th Congress, the following period has witnessed a clear-cut neo-fascist shift in politics at a global level. The ascendancy of Trump in the US, Brexit and further rightward political shift in Britain, victory of the right of centre forces in France, further strengthening of neo-Nazi Alternative for Germany, rise to dominance of the far right Freedom Party in Austria, fascist trends in Spain and so on are instances of this general trend. Similar right wing political trends are visible in Latin America. As a result, many progressive governments with a nationalistic and anti-imperialist orientation that have come to power in several countries in Latin America in the first decade of the 21st century have faced reverses in the context of the general rightward shift in global politics. Trump administration is openly engaged in destabilizing governments in Bolivia, Venezuela Ecuador, Honduras and Nicaragua which are not ready to toe the US line. The US and EU are in the pursuit of large scale military investments in North Africa, West Asia, East Asia and more recently in East Europe in the context of growing conflict with Russia. Superimposition of neoliberal policies coupled with postmodern identity politics that prop up new interpretations of tribalism and religious fundamentalism as new-found means of emancipation are sowing the seeds of disunity among the oppressed. Its outcome is an acute political and economic destabilization in many African countries like, Tunisia, Morocco, Nigeria and so on. Identical trends are visible in Asia too. The corporate-saffron Modi regime in India is a typical example of this ultra-rightist trend.
Geopolitical Trends and Sharpening Inter-imperialist Contradictions
1.xi This international situation in which scope of surplus capital investment as well as avenues of increased global market share shrink particularly due to collapse of the purchasing power of the broad masses has prompted imperialists to intensify their struggle for re-division and domination of world market and spheres of influence. Consequent inter-monopoly competition and scramble for political and strategic influence in various parts of the world have led to mounting global political instability, growing multi-polarity and sharpening of inter-imperialist contradictions in manifold ways.Bourgeois diplomatic deception is giving way to open external reaction and violence in international affairs even in the absence of a direct confrontation between the imperialists.
1.xii US imperialism, still the leading superpower and chief war monger, sponsor of terrorism and main threat to world peace led by its arch-reactionary president Trump today pursues an extremely diehard ‘protectionism’ at home along with an aggressive militarism abroad. Its policy towards Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Ukraine, etc., has become more ruthless. Even in gross disregard of the views of his NATO allies, by unilaterally terminating the 2015 Nuclear Agreement, Trump has taken an aggressive posture directed against Iran. The Trump administration is characterizing those countries that are reluctant to submit to the will of US imperialism as “rogue states”. Though North Korea is one among them and even bracketed as a “sponsor of terrorism” till recently, by now Trump has accomplished a bilateral discussion with it.
1.xiii Today, the inter-imperialist rivalry for world hegemony is most acutely manifested in imperialist China’s efforts to challenge US imperialism at both economic and political levels. Emerging as a rival centre of global production and market and as the second largest economy in the world, China has established its military base not only in Africa but even in far-flung Latin America. With its domination over global trade and finance, China has surpassed US in many spheres of production. For the uninterrupted continuation of such imperialist interests, both at home and abroad, recently the ruling Chinese regime has brought about a constitutional amendment of even abolishing the presidential term limit for putting the present incumbent Xi Jinping in the throne as the life-long head of the state. In view of such initiatives as Shanghai Cooperation Organization along with Russia, Belt and Road Initiative that in terms of its extent and scope is characterized as bigger than America’s postwar Marshall Plan, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank in which China’s currency Yuan is expected to play the crucial role, BRICS and especially Shanghai based BRICS bank, etc., led by China, the US economic position is waning both at regional and global levels. To counter this, while Trump is pursuing extreme protectionist policies as manifested in the repudiation of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), disenchantment with WTO, withdrawal from Paris Climate Accord and so on, China has become the ardent champion of “globalization” and open market policies today. US imperialism is trying to overcome the consequent relative deterioration in its economic position through more aggressive militarization everywhere.
1.xiv The non-viability of the postwar geopolitical arrangement in Europe including the internal crisis of NATO has been another manifestation of the unfolding inter-imperialist rivalry. The recent Brussels meeting of the EU member states with the exception of four smaller states of Denmark, Ireland, Malta and Portugal and the decision to revive the idea of ‘Schengen military zone’ based on a common defense policy comprising the development and accumulation of weapons and joint military interventions is a challenge to the coherence of NATO in the context of the emerging contradictions between the EU and US on many international questions. This resurgence of European militarism independent of the transatlantic NATO alliance has been driven by German and French imperialists whose initiative at the creation of a European army is to be evaluated in the context of the relative weakness of US imperialism. Trump’s extreme protectionist “America First” policy that has sharpened the tensions between the United States and Europe and the Brexit that eroded the clout of US’ closest ally Britain in EU affairs have prepared the background for this. Trump’s sanctions on North Stream Pipeline to Germany have eliminated a cheap source of fuel from Russia to EU as a whole. All these developments have already weakened the erstwhile coherence in NATO between the US and EU. In general, European imperialism led by Berlin and Paris has begun openly resisting the US policy particularly in West Asia as exemplified by its open defiance of US approach towards the “Qatar crisis”, recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, withdrawal from ‘two-state solution’ on Palestine and on the latest US withdrawal from Nuclear Agreement with Iran. Acute differences have emerged within the G8 and today cooperation between EU and US is more or less confined to the tactical use of NATO against Russia, their common enemy. In coming days, the materialization of an independent EU military is definitely going to sharpen inter-imperialist rivalries both in Europe and elsewhere in newer ways. At the same time, the large cuts in social spending necessitated by increased military outlays will aggravate the class contradictions in Europe and the unleashing of all reactionary, chauvinistic, anti-immigrant and neo-fascist elements on the one hand, and increasing intimidation of the revolutionary and democratic forces on the other.
1.xv Meanwhile, Trump administration has revamped the concept of the “Quadrilateral” (Quad) in alliance with its key regional partners, viz., Japan, Australia and India to further develop the so called “Indo-Pacific” bloc targeted against China in continuation Obama’s ‘pivot to Asia’ policy. As a result, the Asia-Pacific region has become a hot spot of growing inter-imperialist rivalries especially between the US and China. Quad’s earlier assertion to address the nuclear and missile programs of North Korea also displays US intention to isolate China in dealing with the former. At the same time, Quad’s main thrust will be on challenging Chinese territorial and maritime claims in the South China Sea. Meanwhile, the US has also intensified its “interventions” in Philippines, Indonesia and other countries of the region under the guise of “countering terrorism.”
1.xvi Growing multi-polarity and shift in geopolitics leading to disintegration and redrawing of the postwar international relations have other manifestations too. Imperialist globalization and unhindered cross border capital flows and integration of economies have enabled corporate monopolies from neocolonially dependent countries to enter into mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures with MNCs from imperialist countries. Regional powers like India in South Asia, Saudi Arabia in West Asia, Brazil in Latin America, South Africa in Africa, etc. which are acting under the economic, political and military umbrella erected by imperialism but incapable of accomplishing self-expanding capitalist path of development on account of their class character, are also playing their respective role as dictated by the imperialist rules of the game. India’s big-brother role in south Asia and its strategic military alliance with US imperialism as the latter’s junior partner is an example.
1.xvii These geopolitical trends give rise to new tensions and deep contradictions within imperialism which are moving toward further global instabilities as manifested in large-scale trade wars and regional military warin different parts of the world. The worsening situation in West Asia, Afghanistan and mass killing in Syria arise directly from US interventions there. Russia’s intervention in Syria in the guise of supporting the elected Assad regime is also motivated by the latter’s strategic interests. The ongoing US sponsored Saudi slaughter and blockade in Yemen, Zionist attacks on the people of Palestine and the latest assault on Gaza, atrocities committed on the democratic and revolutionary forces in Rojava and so on, though short of a full scale war, are wiping out the people of the region and have become threatening to the international community. Coordinated efforts are urgently required to kick out the imperialists, especially the US-Israel axis from West Asia for the maintenance of peace there. Along with West Asia, the Asia Pacific is also transformed as dangerous “flash points”. Imperialist intervention in West Asia and North Africa has led to the biggest-ever exodus of refugees whose number has already crossed 65 million. The Rohingyas in Asia have become one among the most persecuted refugees today.
1.xviii As a result, all the major contradictions at the global level, the contradiction between imperialism and the oppressed peoples and nations, the contradiction between capital and labour, the contradiction between capital and nature, the contradiction between the imperialist system and the socialist forces and the contradiction among the imperialist countries and monopoly groups have sharpened further. However, in the present phase of internationalization of monopoly finance capital, rather than moving towards an open military confrontation among the major powers, in conformity with imperialism’s geopolitical interests, through local wars, threat of wars and trade and currency wars, imperialists are expanding the markets for weapons and commodities, ensuring conditions for cross-border capital flows and sharpening the scramble for sources of raw materials and putting heavier burdens on workers and oppressed masses by intensifying neoliberal policies and resorting to fascistisation.
Our Tasks at the International Level
1.xix This international situation calls for cooperation and coordinated action among Marxist-Leninist parties and revolutionary organizations against imperialism from the perspective of proletarian internationalism. Such efforts based on a concrete understanding of the international relations should at the same time be interlinked with the specific strategy and tactics of revolution in each country.
1.xx The founding of ICOR in 2010 in which CPI (ML) Red Star played a major role and the practical cooperation in international issues together with the ideological-political exchange developing among its constituents since then leading to the successful completion of the Third World Conference of ICOR are welcome initiatives in this regard. While dealing with the new developments taking place in imperialism through various seminars and debates upholding the spirit of internationalism, positive experience has gathered through several successful international conferences on workers, peasants, women and youth as well as the initiatives for the protection of environment under the auspices of ICOR. The ICOR campaign on the occasion of the 100 Years of October Revolution has brought forward more unity of revolutionary forces against imperialist reaction and fascist repression. Along with the strengthening of these initiatives, it is also our task to carry forward the ongoing debate over the understanding on imperialism and major world contradictions today within ICOR.
1.xxi The concrete international situation demands broad-based campaign against imperialism and for world peace. It necessitates the need for coordinated work to establish fraternal relations with all like-minded forces. The success of such coordinated initiatives is already evident from the experience in organizing the October Revolution Centenary Rally in St Petersburg initiated by ICOR as well as in joint anti-nuclear and environmental campaigns. In the coming days there is ample scope for such issue-based coordination among those forces having an anti-imperialist orientation.
1.xxii However, when the objective situation for a revolutionary transformation is developing everywhere, the subjective factor essential for social change is still weak on account of historical, ideological and political reasons. This is manifested in the relative absence of Marxist-Leninist parties and revolutionary organizations deeply rooted among the working class and oppressed masses capable of leading such struggles within the country and at the same time supporting and coordinating them internationally. As the reactionary essence of imperialism is becoming more and more catastrophic, a worldwide anti-imperialist movement that can effectively challenge the threat of aggression, resist corporatization and fascistization and all forms of reaction and moving towards democracy and socialism has become an urgent necessity. This is possible only by the time-bound fulfilment of our international tasks.
- National Situation
2.i More than four years of Modi regime has brought India to a frightening disruption of its socio-economic and political fabric. In a situation of RSS led extreme divisive policies, instigation of mutual hatred among people, and in an atmosphere of increasing feeling of insecurity among dalits and minorities, BJP government has brought every aspect of social life under the firm grip of corporate capital. Strengthening India’s position as the junior partner of US imperialism and entering in to strategic alliance with it, Modi has destroyed to a great extent the erstwhile non-aligned position that India had in international relations. All institutions of parliamentary democracy are degraded so as to facilitate the corporate, saffron fascist offensive.
2.ii The Political Resolution adopted by our 10th Congress in 2015 when Modi completed just eight months of his tenure had recorded thus: “2.9 Modi’s ascendancy to power has been followed by a ruthless acceleration of Manmohanomics as is manifested in the extrapolation of his ‘Gujarat model’ to the whole of India with the corporate-friendly catchwords such as ‘minimum government,’ ‘good governance’, development, etc. The ‘road map’ for Modi regime’s economic policy in the coming years containing transparent policy environment for business including reforms to enhance “ease of doing business”, liberal tax regime, full liberalization of FDI regime in strategic sectors such as defense and railways, construction of freight and industrial corridors including the creation of what is called a Diamond Quadrilateral project of high speed trains, specialized Agro-Rail networks, promotion of air connectivity to smaller towns and development of airports, connecting ports with hinterland through road and rail, outsourcing of public sector banking operations to MNCs and corporate giants such as Reliance, building up of 100 cities equipped with world class amenities, etc. based on PPP, a euphemism for privatization, attracting private investment in coal sector, completion of nuclear power projects and operationalization of international nuclear agreements, modernization and corporatization of agriculture, time-bound forest and environmental clearance for projects, and so on are fully in conformity with the diktats and requirements of crisis-ridden international finance capital.”
2.iii Since then, the drive towards neoliberal corporatization unleashed by Modi has led the country to further disruption in productive and employment-oriented sectors. Thus, even according to usually doctored official data, economic contraction in India today is the worst since the fiscal year of 2008-09 when the country was confronting the global meltdown under the Congress led UPA government. The crucial reason for this socio-economic disruption has been the sudden deterioration in the purchasing power of the vast majority of Indian people on account of neoliberal policies coupled with the super-imposition of demonetization and neoliberal policies like anti-federal GST, the biggest-ever loot through corporate price-fixing of petroleum, etc., that have transferred the reins of the economy to the firm grip of corporate capital.
- iv Ultra-rightist and pro-corporate shift in economic policies including massive subsidization and transfer of wealth to the financial elite and superrich through several corporate tax exemptions along with a steep budgetary cut in all kinds of social welfare spending have resulted in a forcible extraction from even the bare minimum means of people’s subsistence. As a consequence, India has become one of the most unequal countries globally. According to a Credit Suisse analysis, the richest one percent owned 53 percent of the country’s wealth in 2016 compared to 36.8 percent in 2000. As per a latest report by Oxfam, the top 1 percent in India has gained 73 percent of the additional wealth generated in India in 2017.
- v Though the share of agriculture in national income is around 15 percent, almost half of the Indian people still depends on it for their sustenance. Unlike in the colonial days, the present trends in agriculture should be visualized in the context of the fast penetration of corporate capital in to it along with usury and still prevailing pre-capitalist relations in certain regions. The drive towards corporate agriculture is resulting in land concentration in agri-business companies, corporate farms and agricultural bourgeoisie on the one hand, and increasing landlessness, displacement and destitution of the peasantry on the other. With no avenues to subsist, large sections of the displaced landless peasants and agricultural workers are forced to migrate to urban centres only to join the ranks of informal working class and slum dwellers. On the other hand, the share-croppers, marginal peasants and even middle peasants having no other option except to cling on to agriculture have become the worst victims of neoliberal and WTO-enforced agricultural policies. Rise in input costs and decline in the prices of agricultural outputs in the absence of price support programs together with lack of peasant-friendly credit policies and hence mounting debt burden are pushing peasants to mass suicides.
2.vi Industrial sector including core and strategic industries remains sluggish. To ensure ‘ease of doing business’ for FDI and corporate capital, even the meagre pro-worker laws are amended and workers are deprived of their hard-earned democratic rights. Privatization of existing infrastructural facilities, extension of PPP model for new infrastructure projects, disinvestment of PSUs, etc. have already destroyed large number of employment opportunities in the organized sector. While casualization and contractualization in the organized sector are the general trend, more and more workers are forced to depend on the informal and unorganized sectors which have been the worst hit on account of demonetization and GST. Allocation on the much publicized MNREGA in real terms has gone down in successive budgets. While coming to power, Modi had promised new employment generation of 2 crores per annum; but the actual labour-participation rate is going down due to all round economic slowdown.
2.vii The condition of all oppressed including women, dalits, adivasis and minorities has become more devastating. Crisis in the unorganised sector has reduced women workers’ participation in employment. All forms of sexual violence both in home and at workplace against women and caste-based violence against dalit women have increased in manifold ways. Archaic and feudal values are imposed on women, who are subjected to moral policing by free-wheeling saffron goons. The BJP leadership maintains total silence on women’s reservation in parliament and legislatures, even as it reaps maximum communal mileage from the Triple Talaq issue.In spite of the Supreme Court judgement, the LGBTQ+ community remains subject to all kinds of illegal and unjust terror and harassment.
- viia Women have become the worst sufferers under the Hindutva rule. As exemplified by the response from saffron forces against Supreme Court order removing discrimination against women’s entry into Sabarimala Temple, all religious obscurantist and feudal forces are unleashed on every realm of women’s life. Even as patriarchal and caste-based codes and values irrespective religions are getting dominance everywhere, under the Modi regime and especially in BJP-ruled states violence against women is on the ascendance.
2.viii Privatization and disinvestment of PSUs and machinations against caste-based reservation have become threatening to dalits. Worst form of caste discrimination and humiliation and caste-based daily oppression together with forcible displacement from land and habitats and consequent increased marginalization have accelerated their discontent and resentment. Increasing dalit fury and resistance have been steadily growing beginning with the movements against Rohit Vemula’s murder and attacks on dalits in UP and Maharashtra. The Una flogging of dalits by saffron goons, attacks on dalits attending the Bhima-Koregaon anniversary and similar developments in various parts of the country are also the contexts for rapid politicization among the oppressed and for militant dalit assertion and resistance against brahmanical offensive. There is a growing demand for reservation in the private sector for SCs, STs and OBCs which the party must support.
- ix While budgetary allocations to adivasis are either curtailed or withheld on the one hand, various RSS-affiliated NGO organizations are actively engaged in dragging the tribal people in to the Hindutva fold. Penetration of corporate capital and forest mafia in violation of Forest Rights Act in different ways, hand in glove with politician-bureaucrat nexus, is threatening adivasis’s livelihood and right to forest produce. Like the dalits, tribal people are also subjected to massive displacement from their habitats and migration to urban slums. Malnourishment and hunger deaths have become frequent among tribal communities. The corporate- saffron regime is ruthless in suppressing adivasi struggles for land and livelihood as in the case of the struggles of other oppressed sections.
2.x Corruption which is inherent under capitalism has assumed new dimensions as an inalienable concomitant of neoliberal corporatization under the Modi regime. Corporate loot of public sector banks and creation of huge volume of NPAs under official patronage is just one glaring example. Most corrupt corporate leaders and CEOs accompanying Modi in his frequent foreign tours has become regular feature. Demonetization itself was an ingenious move for the corporate black money holders to whiten their huge unaccounted wealth through the legal route. Unlike in the past, the biggest corruption scandals of recent period including the latest Rafale deal are directly traceable to Modi with his ‘larger-than-life stature’ even as corporate media keeps a studied silence on them. India has become a flourishing example of ‘crony capitalism’ emanating from corporate-politician-bureaucrat nexus in the policy decision-making process such that, as pointed out by various international studies, during the last two year period, even surpassing Pakistan, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, India has become the most corrupt country in Asia.
2.xi Islamofobia is systematically built up; Muslim Youth are targeted as antinational and terrorist and are often charged under UAPA and anti-Sedition laws. Muslims are frequently attacked and lynched by Hindutva goons masked as cow vigilantes or Gau Rakshaks, with the connivance of the BJP government. The rightwing communal offensive has created a climate of fear and insecurity amongst the Muslim minorities. The lynching of innocent Muslim men and boys and the palpable bias of the state administration in dealing with such incidents in BJP-ruled states has heightened their insecurity. Security and livelihood of minorities are in peril in BJP ruled states like Uttar Pradesh. Even the Central Government has exposed its Islamophobia when dealing with the Rohingya refugees.All these also prepare the ground fertile for the growth of extremist Muslim outfits adding further justification for fascistization and intensified repression on minorities.
2.xii All environmental regulations including mandatory EIA studies for infrastructure projects are being taken away. In the name of development, corporate financiers are given unfettered freedom for natural resource explorations 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, tribals, fishers and so on.
2.xiii Meanwhile, prices of all items of mass consumption and essential services like healthcare and education fuelled especially by soaring petroleum prices are galloping. PDS is systematically dismantled even as large sections of poor people are deprived of all kinds of subsidized services through Aadhar that has become a data base available for online monopolies. Corporatization and commercialization of healthcare and education have become the general trend.
2.xiv Concerted efforts are in full swing to bring the entire cultural and educational spheres of the country under saffron tutelage. Obscurantism and religious bigotry are superimposed on science and historical studies. Dissenters are branded as anti-national and ‘anti-Hindu’ and are subjected to fascist attacks.Intellectuals and activists like Pansare, Dabholkar, Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh are killed and many more are intimidated. Democratic rights activists are branded as ‘terrorists’ and ‘Maoists’ and targeted. The charging of UPA against the leaders of the Bhima-Koregaon struggle is the latest example. People are denied their choice of food and are accused as cow-slaughterers and beef eaters and are brutally beaten up and killed by freewheeling saffron gangs under the umbrella of the central regime. People are being browbeaten by the Hindutva gangs even for putting their honest views on social media.
2.xv In India, Modi government’s sinister effort to manipulate the judiciary has compelled even the senior judges of the apex court to come out openly, exposing the crisis confronting the judicial system. Loya case has unfolded as a typical instance of the dangerous situation in which even the security of judges hearing ‘sensitive’ cases is in jeopardy. On the one hand, while Modi government is interfering in the appointment of judges to the highest court violating all precedents, on the other, it is resorting to illegal means to keep out judgments against BJP and Saffron leaders. The recent statement of Amit Shah that the Supreme Court must only give such judgements which can be implemented is a clear challenge to the judiciary.
2.xvi Manipulation of judiciary is part of the broader theme of communalization of all constitutional offices, civil and military services so as to toe the saffron line. All key policy-making and implementation bodies, councils, and committees of the central government are packed with RSS-affiliated NGO leaders, voluntary activists, academics, intellectuals, spiritual leaders and even Hindu godmen. The extra-ordinary move to nominate corporate-sanghis to government administration as senior bureaucrats superseding the Indian Civil Service is the latest in this series. Right from the post of the President to governors of states and vice-chancellors of universities are filled with RSS leaders or hard-core Hindutva adherents. Those who question the impropriety of such moves are branded as anti-nationals.
- xvii Even as major sections of the media have fallen in line with the corporate-saffron agenda, media persons and journalists taking independent positions are eliminated and intimidated often through false charges. To avoid reports and news which expose the true colour of the regime, reporters and editors are threatened and even removed from their posts using pliable managements.
- xviii Modi regime’s insistence on digitization of citizen’s identity through such means as Aadhar or Unique Identification Number(UID) disregarding larger privacy concerns associated with the collection of biometric data and personal information has become a serious threat to people. India still not having specific laws to guarantee privacy, the government forcing citizens to share their biometric details under threat of denying essential services is a breach of the fundamental right to privacy. In view of renewed efforts by Europe and other countries to make their privacy laws more stringent in the context of the information of the kind of data scraping resorted by Cambridge Analytica, concerted efforts are required here to ensure people’s freedom from both state and corporate surveillance and guarantee of fundamental democratic rights.
- xix Urgent attention is called for a major restructuring of the entire election process in the country. The BJP which till 2014 had been vociferously condemning the EVM on account of its vulnerability to fraud and tampering has now become its ardent champion as it can effectively utilize the same in its favour. The possibility of insertion of malicious software in to EVMs and manipulation of voting preferences being already proved, several countries of the world have abandoned EVMs and are pursuing the ballots. While raising this issue together with all like-minded forces, a concerted campaign is also required for replacing the ‘first pass the post system’ with proportional representation in elections and introduction of people’s right to recall the elected representatives. Similarly, provisions should be incorporated for totally keeping communal forces away from interfering in election in any manner. In brief, our Party should unite in campaign with all democratic and progressive forces for a thorough democratization of the election process.
2.xx In accordance with its saffron agenda, the BJP government has made the J&K question at its worst. Totally rejecting the need of an independent referendum which is the feasible political solution for Kashmir question, Modi regime’s militarization of the entire region by unleashing armed forces and state police has completely alienated Kashmiri people. RSS elements are constantly communalizing the situation thereby repeatedly demanding repeal of Article 370 and Article 35A. The Kathuva-like incidents have aggravated it further.
- xxi The entire north-east is militarized and the situation in Manipur, Nagaland, Mizoram and Assam has further aggravated due to the wanton use of black laws such as AFSPA along with state’s own militarization with the backing of open communalization led by RSS. The attend to amend the Citizenship Act in favour of mainly Hindu immigrants and wholly targeted against Muslims and the efforts to tinker with the National Register of Citizens in Assam in conformity with this have created a communally surcharged and polarized situation there. The state of the Gurkha people’s ethnic question has further worsened due to the manner it is handled by the TMC government along with interference by the BJP. As a whole, the federal structure of the country is facing the biggest threat under Modi regime.
2.xxii Together with these political moves, the superimposition of GST depriving the states of their constitutional rights to have own sources of resource mobilization has undermined the federal structure of India. As a whole, various administrative steps such as abolition of the Planning Commission, alteration in the terms of reference of Finance Commission, changes in the priorities of central fund devolution to the states, etc., arbitrarily imposed by the Modi government has done immense damage to the federal structure of the nation and the state and in strangling the democratic aspirations of various nationalities in the country.
2.xxiia Today around 7 million Indian expatriates are working in Gulf countries. They play a major role in sustaining India’s foreign exchange basket. However, during the past few years, due to world economic crisis and consequent fluctuations in the price of oil, large number of them has been forced to return to India resulting in their rehabilitation becoming an urgent issue in states like Kerala.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 central and state governments.
2.xxiii Relations with all neighbouring countries have worsened. SAARC has become defunct, mainly on account of the pursuit of totally antagonistic policies and cutting down all channels for bilateral talks with Pakistan. In the protracted Doklam stalemate from which India had to ignominiously retreat, Bhutan refused to come out in support of Indian military deployment. On the contrary, it has started leaning more to China. The Indian regime led by Modi had tried its level best to thwart the advent of a secular government in Nepal. However, the political unification in Nepal between CPN (UML) and CPN (Maoist) in to a single party following government formation and its move for closer ties with China have been a slap on the face of the Modi government. Modi’s communal handling of the Rohingya refugees has even alienated Bangladesh also giving scope for anti-India campaign there.
2.xxiv Similar is the case with Sri Lanka and Maldives. Even after the civil war, the Buddhist fundamentalists in Sri Lanka continue their antagonism towards Tamil people and Muslims without any let up and the promise of autonomy to Tamil majority area has become an eye-wash. Modi government’s US-backed ‘expansionist’ designs have prompted the Sri Lankan regime to move closer to China. Similarly, in the recent political crisis in the Maldives, a SAARC member, arising from contradiction between judiciary and executive, the latter has openly displayed its distrust of the Indian regime. Thus the big-brother bullying attitude of Modi regime has unprecedentedly worsened the relations with all neighbours. On the other hand, it is satisfied with its strategic alliance with US imperialism and being used as a launching pad for the latter’s anti-China machinations.
- xxv Against this corporate-saffron offensive unleashed by the Modi regime, different sections of the toiling and oppressed are steadily coming up all over India. Militant struggles of the peasants who form one of the major chunks of the most devastated, have risen up especially from BJP-NDA ruled states such as Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Rajasthan,Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh resulting in the electoral defeat of the BJP in the recent Assembly elections to the last three states. The Maruti workers struggle has got widespread attention. The heroic resistance of the people of Tamil Nadu that led to the massacre of 13 people in police firing has forced the government to cancel Vedanta’s Sterlite Copper Smelter Plant project in Tutucorin. During this period, the capital city of Delhi itself has witnessed many prolonged struggles by workers, peasants, students and cultural activists. Against the atrocities including subtle forms of untouchability and caste-discrimination being practiced in campuses, and against the increasing Hindutva academic and ideological offensive in higher education, student resistances have emerged in the renowned central universities and research institutes of India. Rallies and protests by dalits, tribals and minorities uniting with struggling democratic forces against the saffron fascistic onslaughts have become regular all over India. Even leading writers, intellectuals and artists have come out in the streets protesting against the killings of Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh after returning their prestigious awards.
Immediate Task of Resisting BJP’s Corporate Saffron Fascistization
3.i The disastrous situation brought out by BJP regime and the mounting all round social contradictions have brought India to a critical situation. In this context, the immediate task today is to resist and resolutely defeat the intensifying trend towards corporate saffron fascistization, the concrete manifestations of which are self-evident before the people. The situation today is a quatitatively distinct one with a well-defined ultra-rightwing shift in policies coupled with the BJP call towards an ‘opposition-free’ saffron fascist sate.
3.ii While drawing out the basic contours of the essential task of isolating and defeating corporate saffron forces, a clear perception regarding the positions of the political parties and formations in the country is also important. Obviously, it was by effectively utilizing the people’s resentment against the neoliberal policies of the Congress-led UPA rule on the one hand, and cleverly appropriating the soft-Hindutva pursued by it on the other, that the RSS led BJP ascended to power in 2014. Today, while the BJP has grown as the leading Indian ruling class party merging itself with corporate-big bourgeois and landlordinterests, the class character of the Congress though in opposition continues to be the same. Similar is the case with most of the regional and state-level parties, many of whom having communal and caste orientation and eager to seek opportunist alliances with both Congress and BJP. And like the BJP and Congress, these parties are also adherents of neoliberal policies.
3.iii It is a fact that the documents of the Left Front led by the CPI (M) including other left parties speak at length against the neoliberal policies and saffronisation inflicted by BJP on the one hand, and expose the class character of the Congress on the other. However, its appeal for left assertion is confusing. Its approach towards an anti-BJP alliance lacks clarity as it implies an understanding with the reactionary Congress. In practice, its anti-communal stance against fascistization is separated from its link with neoliberalism such that wherever the Left Front comes to power it also faithfully implements the very same pro-corporate neo-liberal policies. For instance, the CPI (M) led Kerala government was among the first that came forward wholeheartedly supporting the Modi government’s anti-federal and pro-corporate GST. And, the left sectarian sections at the other end of the political spectrum are reluctant to concretely approach the national and international realities. They also have no alternative to the grave danger the country is confronting today.
3 iv It is in this context that the urgency of concretely putting forward the idea of independent left assertion with that of building up a people’s alternative as two inseparable components becomes imperative. At the realm of parliamentary politics, defeating the BJP in the forthcoming general election has become the central question today. While acknowledging that task, as revolutionary left, the task of overthrowing the saffron fascist challenge should not in any way dilute our perspective of an alternative people’s development paradigm against neoliberal policies initiated and strengthened by the ten-year successive UPA rule which is now speeded up by the BJP regime. That is, while welcoming the defeat of Modi regime, our stand is not for an acknowledgement of the pro-corporate policies led by another combination of ruling class parties. Therefore, under the banner of a grand alliance against BJP, the indispensable political struggle against neoliberalism and all its manifestations should not be obliterated. At a time when world imperialism and ruling classes everywhere are engaged in their anti-communist offensive in diverse forms and are denigrating all socialist ideals, the perspective of a people’s alternative with all-round democratization for paving the way towards socialism assumes paramount importance in our political struggle.
3.v Therefore, the uncompromising struggle against saffron fascist forces needs to be carried forward uniting with all the genuine secular, democratic and left forces having a principled stand against neoliberal policies. As opposed to the opportunist ruling class alliances, this alternative capable of bringing about a political and class polarization led by working class, peasantry and all the oppressed will strengthen itself and can more effectively and vigorously lead the struggle against corporate saffron fascistization. Raising high the banner of this principled and class-oriented political initiative is thus the need of the hour. If such an initiative is not forthcoming at this juncture, when the communist revolutionary forces are not strong enough to lead a nation-wide struggle against neoliberalism and saffron fascist onslaught, as hitherto experience has time and again proved, it will only marginalize and further weaken the Left both politically and organizationally. As such, this line of independent self assertion with clear-cut revolutionary political orientation is indispensable for enthusing the broad masses of struggling people in the country and for overcoming the depoliticizing situation propped up by the ruling system.
3.vi In resisting and defeating corporate saffron offensive, the effectiveness of our electoral interventions as communists is inevitably rooted in the ideological and political basis developed through Left’s independent self-assertion. This is to be achieved through sustained people’s resistance struggles and movements for an alternative people’s development paradigm against the neoliberal pro-corporate policies espoused by the ruling classes and their apologists. In building up such a broad movement, the working class, peasantry, women, dalits, adivasis, minorities and all oppressed and toiling sections should be rallied against corporate onslaughts, displacement, caste and communal oppression, violation of democratic rights, environmental degradation, etc. We should be able to coordinate all struggles of different sections fighting fascism albeit for different reasons. Unity in such struggles shall also provide the context for a healthy ideological-political debate among the revolutionary-progressive sections for building up a left-democratic people’s alternative to defeat corporate saffron fascism and neoliberalism.
3.vii In this political task of welding together both parliamentary and non-parliamentary forms of struggles, the Bhangar resistance movement in West Bengal developing under the political initiative of CPI(ML) Red Star and supported by other likeminded forces offers valuable insights.Support also came from all political parties except TMC and BJP. This movement against power grid has yielded a political atmosphere there enabling all forces fighting the anti-people and repressive policies of both the central and state governments to join together. Backed by this people’s movement, the Committee that stood for the local body election could make an impressive victory in those seats where it could contest. Together with this, the movement has also become a model of resisting the reign of terror unleashed over the people by Mamta regime and its fascist goons. The Bhangar people’s resistance movement unfolds itself the correctness of the political orientation as elucidated in the Program and Path of Revolution of CPI (ML) Red Star.
3.viii The Bhangar experience pinpoints towards the possibility of building up people’s movements through appropriate revolutionary intervention according to the concrete conditions of different states in the country. It is a political line combining both electoral and non-parliamentary struggles that we should boldly uphold before the left, democratic and struggling forces in our country. People organized and politicized through various resistance movements against all forms of corporatization and fascistization can be brought together and linked with the concept of the Mass Political Platform having a common manifesto at appropriate levels. Interactions with all revolutionary, left, democratic and struggling forces are to be carried forward and developed further for evolving a national coordination based on a common manifesto to resist the corporate saffron fascistization at the all India level.
3.ix With this comprehensive understanding, as outlined in Part 3 of the Political Resolution adopted by the 10th Congress of CPI (ML) Red Star, we have to urgently engage in building up Party, strengthening class/mass organizations and peoples movements and developing class struggle. Together with this, using all available means we should go for a resolute ideological-political campaign against imperialism and the ruling system, against corporate-saffron fascism, on the ideological-political questions facing the communist movement today and on the need of developing Marxism-Leninism according to the concrete conditions of our country. In this background, our Party should actively strive for discussions with all revolutionary, left and democratic forces along with other struggling forces for a national coordination seeking the possibility of drafting a common manifesto to resist and defeat the corporate-communal fascist threat. To facilitate this, all state committees of the Party should take up the task of building up struggle-based Mass Political Platforms as per the objective situation prevailing at the state level and inspire and enthuse the struggling masses so that these efforts can develop to a Political Alternative at the national level by the time of the 2019 General Election.
3.x In the coming days, this political line of our Party resisting corporate saffron fascist forces from the perspective independent left assertion based on a people’s alternative will strengthen Marxist-Leninist forces on the one hand and, shall impart a powerful boost for all the anti-fascist progressive, democratic and secular forces engaged in the challenging task of defeating the Modi regime on the other.
* Defeat Corporate- Saffron Fascist Forces!
* Build up People’ Alternative Based on Independent Left Assertion!
*March towards People’s Democracy and Socialism!
*Long Live CPI (ML) Red Star!