Com. Sitaram Yechury's Speech at the 22nd Party Congress

Date: 
April 18, 2018

Chairman of the Reception Committee Com. B. V. Raghavulu,
Com. Sudhakar Reddy, General Secretary, CPI,
Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya, General Secretary, CPI(ML)-Liberation,
Com. G R Shivashankar, Secretary, Central Committee, AIFB,
Com. Manoj Bhattacharya, member, Central Secretariat of National Committee, RSP,
Com. Asit Bhattacharyya, member, Polit Bureau, SUCI(C),
Delegates, observers and guests,
Dear Comrades and friends,
I thank all of you for accepting our invitation and joining us at this inaugural session of the 22nd Congress of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). I am pleased to see the presence of eminent public figures, veteran leaders of the people’s movements and leaders of different contingents of the people’s struggles here.
I wish to thank the leaders of the Left parties who are here at our invitation to participate in this inaugural session. Their presence here reflects the mutual desire of the Left parties to work towards strengthening Left unity which is a vital imperative in meeting the challenges before the people and the secular democratic Republican Constitutional values of our country.
Comrades and friends,
We are meeting in this historic city of Hyderabad, the home to the Asaf Jah dynasty of Nizams’ whose hallmark was a ruthlessly oppressive rule. At one point of time before India’s independence the Nizam of Hyderabad was declared as the richest person in the world.  This accumulation of riches was directly proportional to the misery of inhuman exploitation of the people they ruled over. It was these conditions that led to the outburst of the heroic struggle of the Telangana peasantry culminating in the glorious Telangana armed revolt. This struggle liberated vast tracts of areas from this oppressive exploitation. This struggle, along with the struggles of the peasantry elsewhere in the country, was the centerpiece of people’s revolt that set the agenda of the freedom movement and the post independent legislations like the abolition of zamindari. The post-independent ruling Indian bourgeoisie being in alliance with the landlords ensured that the legislation itself was limited. Its implementation was halting and violated  with impunity. The struggles, hence, continue.
I am happy to note that some of those who participated in this historical armed struggle are still with us here in this inaugural session. We salute them.
In post independent India,  for my generation growing up here in 1950s and 60s, Hyderabad was a city that symbolized a syncretic culture and emerged also as the cultural capital. Cultural, literary and intellectual stalwarts like Makdoom Mohiuddin, Shaukat Azmi, Shri Dasarathy Krishnacharya who was imprisoned during the Telangana struggle, Arudra, C. Narayana Reddy, to name a few, amongst others, enriched people’s socio-political consciousness. Such a cultural synthesis however is coming under a severe strain not only in this city but all over India under the present BJP central government.
Dear Comrades & Friends,
The 22nd Congress of the CPI(M) is convening in a period when multifold challenges face both the people and our secular democratic republic. The current BJP central government whose reins are controlled by the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh is pursuing policies that have imposed unprecedented miseries on the people and, at the same time, grievously threatening the unity and integrity of our social fabric.  The dehumanisation of our society is seen in the chilling incidents of rape in Kathua and Unnao recently. It is shameful to see rape being used as weapon for communal polarization. This must be resisted and defeated.
Amongst these various challenges there are four that need to be confronted with urgency and reversed in the interests of people’s livelihood and for safeguarding and strengthening the Indian republic. The assault of neo-liberal economic policies has assumed unprecedented dimensions. The sharpening of communal polarization is tearing asunder the unity of our social fabric as never before. The assaults on institutions of parliamentary democracy and constitutional authorities has unleashed an anti-democratic onslaught and India has been reduced to the status of a junior partner and a subordinate ally of US imperialism. India’s independent foreign policy has been discarded and a US-Israel-India nexus is emerging in global affairs.
This neo-liberal offensive has resulted in sharpening extreme inequalities – in 2017, one percent of the richest Indians cornered 73 per cent of the additional wealth generated in our country. The impoverishment of the vast majority of our people is giving rise to a series of protests. The deepening agrarian distress is being resisted by our peasantry in a militant manner all across the country, the highlight of which has been the recent long march of peasants from Nasik to Mumbai. The BJP central government is clearly betraying its own promise of assuring a minimum support price to farmers which is one and a half times the production cost and a one time loan waiver to halt the growing distress suicides due to unbearable debt burden.
The promise to our youth of creating two crore jobs every year has been reneged. On the contrary even in the organized sector today there is growing unemployment. The twin assaults of demonetization and GST have economically uprooted crores of our people dependent on cash economy and decimated the small scale industry which provides the largest employment opportunities outside of agriculture.
There is no sector that has not been opened up for foreign direct investment. There is no public sector that is not being privatized. People’s assets are thus being placed at the altar of profit maximization for both foreign and big domestic capital.
The working class, during the last three years, has risen, through two all India industrial strike actions and a massive mahapadav, in protest against such assaults and the moves to undermine even the existing labour laws.
Intellectuals and well meaning people across the country have risen in protest against growing intolerance against the cold blooded murders of Dabolkar, Pansare, Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh.
In the name of cow protection, Muslims and dalits are being targeted for murderous assaults. In the name of moral policing our youth are being told what to wear, what to eat, whom to befriend. Those not following such ‘instructions’ are assaulted. These `private armies’ are seeking to control our social order, under the patronage of RSS/BJP.
The situation in the state of Jammu & Kashmir has deteriorated to the extent that the degree of alienation of the people in the Kashmir valley from the Indian State was never seen before. In the realm of intellectual thought there is an unprecedented attack of irrationality over rationality; distorting Indian history and reducing it to Hindu mythology; disfiguring Indian philosophy to replace it by Hindu theology.  These represent attacks on all progressive thought.
Comrades & Friends,
During the last three years there have been new areas of people’s struggles that have emerged. There is a stronger assertion of protests and revolt from the socially oppressed communities especially the SCs, STs and OBCs. New links have been forged for joint struggles between the Left and such movements.
I greet the Telangana unit of the CPI(M) and the people for forging a broad front for struggles against social oppression in this context.
Comrades & Friends,
It is precisely because it is the Left that champions the interests of the people and sharpens such struggles that it is the principal target of the communal forces. It is the Left alone that can give a policy alternative while at the same time strengthening the unity of our country’s vast plurality and forging the bonds of struggle amongst the Indian people, against this BJP government’s policies against our people. The Left has been a target of the reactionary forces and the communal combine in West Bengal. Hundreds of our comrades have been martyred in the struggles against such attacks there. In the recently held elections to the Tripura assembly, the CPI(M) and the Left have suffered a major setback. The RSS/BJP entered into a unprincipled alliance with extremist tribal organisations and united all anti-Left forces on a single platform to achieve this objective. They have unleashed a campaign of terror and violence attacking Left activists, their offices with the intent of paralyzing the Left in the state of Tripura. This shall not be allowed. This shall be defeated. We salute the heroic fighters of the Left for resisting such attacks both in West Bengal and Tripura.
In Kerala, the RSS-BJP is targeting the LDF government and the Left cadres with murderous assaults, while mounting a nationwide disinformation campaign against the CPI(M) as the perpetrator of violence. The truth is the other way round. This is being resisted and will be defeated.
Comrades & Friends,
The challenges that we face in India are related to the international developments. The prolonged crisis of global capitalism, apart from imposing unprecedented attacks on the working people in the developing countries, is also intensifying the pressures on developing countries like ours to further open our markets and resources for the profit maximization of international finance capital. Instead of resisting such pressures, the current BJP government is willingly succumbing to them.
This global capitalist crisis has led to a crisis of neo-liberalism itself in response to which there is a rightward political shift globally. This, of course, is being resisted in many a country particularly in Latin America, developed capitalist countries in Europe and elsewhere. The Presidency of Donald Trump, representing the most reactionary ruling circles in the USA, is symptomatic of this global rightward shift.
This political rightward shift is leading to more aggressive imperialist interventions across the globe particularly in the progressive countries of Latin America. This offensive continues in the Middle East and the US-Israel nexus intensifies its efforts to destabilise the region and control its oil riches. Israel continues with its illegal occupation of Palestinian lands and inhuman oppression of people.  As we meet here today, heroic battles of resistance are taking place in the Gaza strip.  The CPI(M) expresses its solidarity with the long Palestinian struggle for a homeland and with the peoples struggling against imperialist interventions elsewhere in the Middle East.
Our neighbor, Nepal, has witnessed a historic election that cemented the transition of this once Hindu kingdom of Nepal into a Republic. The major victory by the joint front of Communist Party of Nepal (UML) and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) has established a stable government. It is heartening to note that both these communist parties have decided to announce their merger on the day our 22nd Party concludes, the birthday of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. We congratulate our comrades in Nepal for this historic success.
Comrades & Friends,
I am confident that this 22nd Congress of the CPI(M) will give a new direction to our Party for strengthening the independent activities of our Party for intensifying people’s struggles and political intervention; for strengthening the unity of the Left forces and for strengthening the forging of the unity of the Left and democratic forces. In the final analysis the answer to these challenges is the policy alternative that can only be provided by the Left and democratic forces.
This 22nd Congress of the CPI(M) will provide the direction for mobilizing secular democratic forces to defeat this BJP government.  This is imperative to further strengthen people’s struggles for the realization of an alternative policy direction for our country and the people.
Further strengthen the CPI(M)
Further consolidate Left unity
Oust this RSS/BJP government
Strengthen people’s struggles for a policy alternative by forging the unity of Left and democratic forces.
 

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