Vol. XLIII No. 24 June 16, 2019
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Build a Strong All India Communist Party

Prakash Karat

THE CPI(M) is holding a Plenum on Organisation in Kolkata from December 27 to 31. The Plenum is meant to discuss the important question of how to strengthen the Party organisation to meet the rightwing offensive unfolding in the country. The Political-Tactical Line of the 21st Congress has called for fighting back the rightwing offensive represented by the forces of neo-liberalism, communalism and authoritarianism. The Party organisation has to be geared up to effectively fight these forces. The Political-Tactical Line adopted at the 21st Congress has restored the primacy of building the Left and democratic front. This requires an enormous increase in the independent strength of the Party. This can be accomplished only if the Party organisation is capable of advancing the class and mass struggles. The Plenum is being held at a time when the CPI(M) has suffered electoral setbacks and there is a decline in the mass influence of the Party in the country as a whole. The Plenum, therefore, will be concentrating on how to build a strong all India Communist Party with a mass base. The adoption of a mass line and forging live links with the masses is the key and vital step towards developing and advancing the class struggles and mass movements. Adopting the mass line requires a change in the style of functioning from top to bottom. It requires a style of work that means being with the people, learning from the masses and going back to them. It means giving up stereotyped and routine ways of functioning in the organisation. There have been major changes in the socio-economic conditions due to the neo-liberal policies with their consequent impact on the various classes. Having studied the impact on the working class, peasantry, rural workers and the middle classes, it requires adopting new slogans, tactics and organisational forms of work in order to develop the class and mass movements. The Plenum will discuss these issues. The CPI(M) is the biggest Left party in the country. It has 1 million 48 thousand (10 lakh 48 thousand) members. There are over ninety thousand branches as primary units and 285 district committees; 23 state committees and three state organising committees. The number of wholetime cadres is around 10,350. This is the big organisational asset of the Party. The Plenum will examine the strengths and weaknesses of the organisation and decide on the steps to be taken to streamline the organisation. Particular emphasis will be given to enhancement of the quality of the Party membership and to raise their political-ideological level. It is not only the political-ideological level that needs to be enhanced. The revolutionary quality of the Party can be maintained by promoting cadres from the basic classes, women and from socially oppressed sections into the leading committees. The Plenum will devote special attention to the task of attracting youth to the Party and improving the youthful composition of the Party membership. The CPI(M) is a party based on the Leninist principle of organisation. Therefore, the principle of democratic centralism has a central place. Democratic centralism is a fusion of centralism and democracy and implementing this requires a constant struggle. In the present state of the organisation, what is required is the strengthening of inner-Party democracy to make democratic centralism work properly. The Plenum will examine how this principle is working in the Party organisation and take steps to correct any distortions or violations of democratic centralism. The ideological struggle is an important part of the organisational work of the Party. Based on Marxism-Leninism, the Party has been waging a struggle against the concrete manifestations of the bourgeois and pre-capitalist ideologies extant in our society. The onset of imperialist globalisation and neo-liberalism has posed new challenges. The situation was aggravated by the setbacks suffered by socialism in the 1990s. Neo-liberal values have pervaded society and the corporate media has played a big role in its spread. The Party has to take up the ideological struggle against these forces. For this, the Party must equip its cadres ideologically. The ideological work within the Party requires the upgrading and revamping of the Party educational set-up. The Plenum will also discuss concrete steps to be taken to fight communalism in the ideological, social, educational and cultural spheres. The Party, the trade unions and the mass organisations have to chalk out social and cultural activities which can counter the communal ideology and purvey secular democratic values. An important area for discussion in the Plenum is the way to strengthen the independent and democratic functioning of the class and mass organisations. The political work of the Communists within the mass organisations needs to be reviewed and steps taken to politicalise the people rallying around the mass organisations. The Party is actively taking up social issues and is fighting against caste oppression and discrimination. New initiatives in setting up platforms to work among the adivasis, dalits and minorities have to be taken forward. There has to be fresh initiatives for work in the urban areas particularly among the urban poor. The Communists have a glorious history in the fight against British rule and in pioneering the building of the organisations of the working people. In leading the struggles of the people, they faced brutal repression at various periods of time. However, that has not stopped the CPI(M) from mobilising the people to fight against the neo-liberal policies, communalism and imperialism. At present, the strongest base of the CPI(M) and the Left movement in the country, West Bengal, is facing repression and terror under the Trinamul Congress rule. The CPI(M) is, in the face of these attacks, continuing to be amongst the people and fighting for their cause. The Plenum on Organisation in Kolkata will be a landmark in this resistance and fight for democracy and in defence of the rights of the people. It will give a clear direction for building a strong all-India Communist Party with a powerful mass base throughout the country.