October 23, 2022
WB: CPI(M) Holds Symposium on 'India Today, Our Tasks'

Subinoy Moulik

THE reinvigoration of the Left in Bengal shall enthuse people’s movement across the country, and augment the struggle to oust BJP from the centre which is our primary task, said Sitaram Yechury, general secretary of CPI (M) while addressing a packed auditorium, at Pramod  Dasgupta Bhawan in Kolkata on the occasion of the 102nd anniversary of the formation of the Communist Party of India as an émigré unit in Tashkent in 1920. The meeting was presided over by CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Suryakanta Mishra. CPI(M) state secretary Md Salim also addressed the meeting. They spoke at a symposium on 'India Today, Our Tasks'. It was attended by senior CPI(M) leader Biman Basu and state leaders of the Party along with a huge number of Party members, supporters, and sympathisers.  Sitaram Yechury also launched the website of Marxbadi Path (www.marxbadipath.org) which is the quarterly Marxist theoretical periodical of the CPI(M), West Bengal state committee.

Recalling the invaluable contribution of communists in the freedom struggle and the role of communists in advancing secular democracy as enshrined in the constitution of post-independence India, Yechury said the four foundational pillars of the constitution — secular democracy; social justice; federalism; and economic sovereignty — are being systematically destroyed during the past eight years.   The government is putting up the best assets of the public sector for sale.    This is actually blatant looting of our national assets and resources. The corporate-communal nexus is accompanied by legalisation of political corruption. Electoral bonds are being used to legitimise this corruption. Misusing the money accumulated from corporate electoral bonds, BJP is now forming governments in various states in spite of losing the elections. This has happened in Goa, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and some north eastern States. In this way the whole process of electoral democracy is getting distorted. 

Furthermore, while the Narendra Modi headed 'no data government' is not ready to accept any international figures the fact is that the country is declining at every level.   Youth unemployment is at an astoundingly high level of more than 40 per cent. With growing unemployment, there is an unabated galloping price rise with the resulting impacts on increased poverty and hunger among the poor. The Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2022 report has shown India in the 107th position out of 121 countries. But our finance minister says that the government does not accept the data as it suffers from "serious methodological issues". When a media person asked her in this context why the value of rupee was falling, she said that the rupee has not weakened but it is the dollar that has strengthened! 

Resistance Intensifying 

The impoverishment of the vast majority of our people is giving rise to a series of protests. And some of them have achieved major success.  The historic victory of the kisan struggle bears witness to this fact.   Ultimately the Modi government had to bow down and repeal the farm laws. The trade unions have succeeded in somewhat deterring the government’s rampant privatisation drive. The second round of the stake sale of LIC has been stalled. 

Our students have taken out country-wide ‘jathas’ (foot marches) — called ‘march for education’ — to protest the National Education Policy and demand its withdrawal. The youth have come up with “where is my job?” campaign against the fake promises of employment made by the Modi government. People from all sections including women are rising in protest. 

However, despite big mass struggles the BJP continues to enlist electoral support. By misusing election funds, by misusing the central agencies they keep on maintaining their electoral success.   Freedom of expression is under severe attack under the Modi regime. Even when the court releases a protester, he is picked up again on the pretext of another case. This has happened to Kerala-based journalist Siddique Kappan. Holding a special hearing, the Supreme Court suspended Mumbai HC order acquitting former DU professor GN Saibaba and others. The onslaught against the people in the economic sphere is being accompanied by curtailment of democratic rights. Anyone who raises their voice is being branded as “anti-national” and being charged under UAPA or the sedition law. This is the fascist offensive. 

Efforts are being made to change the composite fabric of the secular democratic Indian republic. The standard process that was adopted in Nazi Germany for targeting an external enemy within, the outsider, the ‘other’ in one’s midst (the Jews), is being replicated here --targeting the Muslims to consolidate Hindutva communalism. Gau rakshak samitis, Romeo squad, love jihad, endorsing private armed vigilantes and lately bulldozer politics are all issues following the same pattern.   Every single institution and pillar of the constitution beginning with parliament is under attack.  The judiciary, the Election Commission, CBI, ED-- the independence of each one of these institutions is being compromised in a determined attempt to aggressively carry forward the agenda of the ruling party. Side by side the country is being turned into a “surveillance state”.

Intensification of communal polarisation, targeting of minorities, large-scale attacks on democratic rights and civil liberties of our people, mounting brutal attacks on women, dalits, adivasis and other marginalised sections, and looting of national assets are all hallmarks of the fascistic game plan that we need to thwart. On the whole, this policy is an assault on reason, replacing rationality with irrationality, scientific temper with mythology & obscurantism.

So, if we want to save this country and its constitutional set-up, we have to remove the BJP from the seat of power. The communist movement and the Leftists need to mobilise the masses in this direction.   This requires the growth of the independent strength of the CPI(M) and the Left forces. Political parties plus social movements, people’s movements, movements regarding environment issues and climate change and movements of marginalised sections will have to be fused together, thus strengthening Left and democratic forces.  The broadest mobilisation of secular forces is needed to combat Hindutva communalism.   

Some regional parties are consistently fighting against communal forces.  They need to be brought together. Rather than sticking on to an all-India paradigm, the broadest unity of secular forces would be forged on a state-to-state basis. We have seen it in Tamil Nadu. Everyone knows the poor state of BJP and its ally AIADMK there. And now we see it happening in Bihar with the “broader Mahagatbandhan'' being formed after the comeback of Nitish Kumar. There is huge potential for secular forces in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, but the impediment lies in Trinamool Congress-ruled West Bengal. In Bengal our fight is to maximise anti-BJP and anti-Trinamool votes to ensure a secular, democratic government at the centre.   

Left in Bengal-Emerging Trends

CPI(M),WB state secretary  Md Salim started his speech by    mentioning that the resurgence of the Left in Bengal is not only limited to the social media but has its deep roots at the ground level.

Drawing references from his previous speakers Suryakanta Mishra and Sitaram Yechury,   Salim insisted that today’s communists must not limit themselves as only  partisans but each partisan must become an active artisan; believing in Marxist theories every worker must be  an architect of struggle and resistance.

While talking about the present zero ideology-based parties like Trinamul Congress and fascist BJP and the continuous defections of their workers/leaders, Salim drew historical reference to the formation of the first Communist Party in Tashkent with only seven members and how it was decided that no worker can be a direct Party member without three years of probationary period – this orientation is still in implementation and respected by every Communist party of the world.

Salim added that the communists in India had a significant role in India’s freedom movement; many communist workers have served sentences in prison. The Party got banned, its manifesto got banned.  Even in such a situation when sending letters   was also impossible under the strict surveillance of the State, working class people from faraway cities like Mumbai, Chennai and others got together with the dream and hoped to create a classless society.

The state secretary further explained that presently the country is under the worst socio-political and economic crisis since independence.   The role of the communists is essential here and people have huge expectations of us. Salim added that a bigger Left coalition is crucial here and called for the Left groups  to come together and join the resistance movement against both the state and the central governments. In a curt comment he underscored that the Left movement cannot be strengthened by weakening the CPI (M). He asserted that the Party will reach every village of the state during the month of November-December.

Criticising the central and the state governments, Salim further elaborated that though many promises were made, no new infrastructure was created in the last ten years. Rather these governments are keen on selling national assets to the private sector. To cite examples, he mentioned the manipulation of the present Bengal government to sell Haldia and Kolkata ports to the Adani group and how the central government tricked the law to sell the Thiruvananthapuram Airport in Kerala to the Adani group in spite of a strong resistance from the Kerala LDF government. In Bengal the government is planning for a deep-sea port in Tajpur which shall be nothing more than a landing station for the fishing community. He added the dire necessity of a second airport in Bengal for which the discussion was on during Left Front rule but neither the state nor the central government has an iota of interest in continuing the initiative. The state secretary was extremely critical about the Modi government’s foreign policy and added that the regular meetings and discussions with the SAARC have stopped since the BJP came to power. Salim in his concluding remarks added that though there have been   attempts to ostracise the communists, they were never successful. Communists cannot be gagged. Fascists and autocratic rulers can never destroy the vibrancy of free thinking and reasoning.

Suryakanta Mishra in his presidential speech, explained the interrelation between rise of neo-fascism and neo-liberalism across the globe and in India. He recalled the historic connection between the early leaders of RSS   and Mussolini. Referring to Julius Evola and Hitler, he further elaborated on the point. He mentioned former Trump adviser Steve Bannon and his relentless effort to unite the fascists of the world across Europe and Latin American countries. He explained that fascism in India is not happening in isolation but is a part of the current rightist shift taking place globally.  Mishra also mentioned about the resistance movements against neo-fascism especially in the context of the Latin American countries. He further explained that to resist we need to understand the fascist strategies and design resistance strategies accordingly.