THE 19th edition of EMS Smrithi was organised in Thrissur by COSTFORD on June 13-14. More than 1000 people participated as delegates in a total of eight sessions themed around “Relevance of the October Revolution and its Contemporary Reading”. The programme is being organised since last 19 years to remember Comrade EMS Namboodiripad, chief minister of the first communist government in Kerala, on his birth anniversary.
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, while speaking in the inaugural session said, “the significance of the October revolution lies precisely in this: the realisability of a non-exploitative social order which, at the same time, releases human creativity in hitherto unknown dimensions. The rapid strides made by socialism, the transformation of a once backward economy into a mighty economic and military bulwark confronting imperialism, has confirmed the superiority of the socialist system. The building of socialism in the Soviet Union is an epic saga of human endeavour”.
He spoke on major shortcomings in the socialist construction, fall of Soviet Union and meaning of Socialism in Indian conditions. “Socialism in Indian conditions means food security to all, full employment, universal access to education, improving conditions of the working class, end of the caste oppression and economic construction on socialised means of production”, he said.
The two day event was also addressed by Prakash Karat, Subhashini Ali, S Ramachandran Pillai, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, Thomas Isaac, Baby John, P Rajeev, PK Biju and academicians like Prof Prabhat Patnaik, Sonya Gupta and C Raveendranath. A LeftWord book, ‘Red October: the Russian Revolution and the Communist Horizon’ which contains essays by BT Ranadive, Prakash Karat, Sitaram Yechury and Irfan Habib was also released on the occasion.
Prakash Karat while speaking on ‘Path to Socialism in Indian Subcontinent’ said, “The building of a socialist State and society in India will be a huge and exciting challenge. Building socialism is a political project which requires a revolutionary party – a party and a revolutionary alliance of forces which can constantly work among the people and raise the socialist consciousness. Socialism with Indian characteristics that will emerge will be a product of this ideological and political struggle”.
A session on experiences from Latin America was addressed by Prof Sonya Gupta and C Raveendranath who spoke in detail about the 21st Century Socialism and vision envisaged by Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez. Prof Gupta spoke in detail about the current crisis in Venezuela and how the Maduro government is fighting a battle against imperialist forces.
Thomas Isaac, finance minister of Kerala threw light on 60 years of the first communist government and the Left alternative. He pointed out various polices and approaches taken up by the LDF government to ensure inclusive development and present an alternative model. Subhashiini Ali, the key speaker in a session on 25 years of new-liberalism spoke on the need to unite all like-minded people to defeat the communal forces which is being backed by finance capital. She specifically dealt with the issue of caste oppression and the need to bring Left and Ambedkarite forces together.
The concluding session was addressed by Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, state secretary of the CPI(M) Kerala. He spoke on the achievements of the LDF government and the vision ahead. The EMS Smrithi 2017 ended on a note that socialism is the only alternative to this communal, neo-liberal assault we are facing today.