The draft political resolution for the 18th Congress of the CPI (M) has been prepared by the Central Committee. It is being released for inner-Party discussions prior to the holding of the Congress in April 2005.
The main points in the draft are as follows:
The draft takes stock of the national political situation. The ouster of the BJP-led government in the Lok Sabha elections in May 2004 is seen as the most significant political development since the last Party Congress in 2002. It notes that the Party’s three main slogans based on the political-tactical line worked out at the 17th Congress of a) defeating the BJP alliance b) formation of a secular government at the Centre and c) strengthening the representation of the Party and the Left in the Lok Sabha have proved successful.
Six Years of BJP Rule
The record of the six years of BJP rule is analysed. After the horrific Gujarat pogroms, the efforts at a cover-up and protecting those guilty; the attempts to undermine the judicial process in the Ayodhya dispute to advance the VHP agenda and the communalization of the educational system and the intimidation and assaults on artists and intellectuals who refused to fall in line with the Hindutva ideology.
The BJP-led government pushed the liberalization and privatization policies with greater vigour. No other government in independent India was so pro-rich and callous to the sufferings of the poor. The agrarian crisis and the rural distress which became the hallmark of BJP rule is spelt out as the problems still continue. Foodgrains production has fallen below the rate of population growth, rural development expenditure as a percentage of GDP sharply fell and unemployment became rampant in the rural areas. Suicides by thousands of farmers blighted the land.
The BJP-led government launched a ferocious onslaught on the public sector. This was accompanied by unreasonable concessions to foreign capital. The fiscal policies were oriented to give a bonanza to big business and the rich while heaping indirect taxes on the common people.
It is this record of communal, pro-rich and pro-imperialist policies which led to the isolation of the BJP and the defeat of its alliance.
UPA Government’s Approach
The UPA government, notwithstanding certain policy measures in the CMP is unwilling to change course, and in essence, pursues the same policies as that of the Vajpayee government. The resolution cites some instances:
“The UPA government is pursuing the same policies of liberalisation and privatisation. Notwithstanding certain policy measures in the Common Minimum Programme, the government is unwilling to change course and, in essence, pursues the same policies as that of the Vajpayee government. Some instances of this are: the UPA government wants to further liberalise the financial sector by facilitating the takeover of Indian private banks by foreign banks by implementing a proposal to allow 74 per cent FDI in Indian private banks announced by the previous government. It desires to privatise the insurance sector further. It is going ahead with the privatisation of the Delhi and Mumbai airports, a step initiated by the BJP-led government. It proposed the raising of the FDI caps in telecom and insurance in the Union budget of 2004–05 which has been halted due to opposition of the Left. It seeks to circumvent the commitment not to privatise profitable PSUs by gradually disinvesting shares in these units to meet its budgetary deficit.” (Para 2.17)
The draft makes the point that the conditions of the people in certain vital aspects such as food availability, employment and living conditions of the working people have deteriorated in the last three years. Agricultural workers, poor and middle peasants, those having no access to the targetted PDS, workers in traditional industries and the unorganized sector and so forth. The draft calls upon the Party to take up their issues and launch struggles for bettering their conditions.
Analysing the features of the current situation,
Danger of Communalism Persists
The draft warns of the latent strength of the BJP-RSS combine. It states:
“The rise of the communal forces in the past one and a half decades and their six-year period in office has enabled the communal ideology and organizations to strike roots in different sections of society. It will be a mistake to underestimate their latent strength. Though the electoral setbacks in the Parliament and Maharashtra assembly elections have put them on the defensive and their tactics to make a revival on the Hindutva platform have not yielded popular support, the potential for their comeback exists.” (Para 2.73)
The draft underlines the retrograde role of caste appeal and caste fragmentation in electoral politics:
“The intensification of the caste appeal in electoral politics and the formulation of the political forces on caste lines is a marked feature of the current situation. Caste based political mobilisation which was a feature of the Hindi states earlier has spread to other states too. This narrow appeal hampers the development of the democratic movement and helps perpetuate patronage politics revolving around caste leaders who switch allegiances without any ideological or political convictions.” (Para 2.79)
As far as the regional parties are concerned, the resolution reviews the experience of the recent past, the draft states:
“The Party’s stand of cooperating with secular regional parties who are prepared to fight the communal forces while opposing those who join hands with the BJP, was proved correct. In the recent period, it has led to the weakening of the BJP-led alliance, the NDA, and some of the regional parties like the DMK have joined the secular forces.”
Attitude to UPA Government
The draft spells out the Party’s attitude to the UPA government as follows:
“The Party extends support to the UPA government so that the levers of State power are not with the combination headed by the BJP. It is up to the UPA to ensure that its government has a stable tenure by implementing the pro-people measures in the CMP and by maintaining its political cohesion. The Party and the Left should continue to press the UPA government to see that the positive features in the CMP are implemented and carried forward. This can be accomplished only by bringing into play the pressure of mass movements and struggles. (Para 2.88)
“The Party has no illusions about the basic approach and policies of the Congress-led coalition government. It should act as the sentinel of the people’s interests and take appropriate measures in this regard when required.” (Para 2.89)
The resolution stresses the independent role to be played by the CPI(M):
“In the present situation the Party has to play an independent role. That role implies criticizing and opposing such steps of the government which are against the people’s interests, or are a departure from the CMP and which are a continuation of the same type of policies as the previous government’s. The people should understand that the Party and the Left are not supporting the government for continuing with the same discredited policies of the previous communal and right wing government.
“This independent role entails that the Party and the Left conduct political campaigns to project the independent positions of the Left and popular mobilisations and struggles to defend the rights and livelihood of the people. The mass organisations have to play an active role in forging the widest movements both for pressurising the government to implement pro-people measures included in the CMP and to fight against the ill-effects of the continuing policies of liberalisation and the effects of imperialist-driven globalisation.
“The independent role of the Party does not mean confining to, or dealing only with the CMP and government related issues. It means taking up the demands of the Left and democratic programme set out in the 17th Congress of the Party. The issues of land, wages, democratic rights of the working people have to be taken up and struggles conducted. The issues of the basic classes have to be championed and fought for.”
(Para 2.69, 2.70 and 2.71)
The draft defines the present tasks before the Party as follows:
“Given the present situation the task is not only to carry forward the struggle against the communal forces but also to intensify the struggle against the policies of liberalization and the dictates of international finance capital. The CPI(M) and the Left therefore must wage a struggle on both fronts – against communalism and against the renewed push for liberalization. The struggle against communalism and the economic policies are in fact connected to the anti-imperialist task, as both the Hindutva forces and the liberalisers are distinguished by their pro-imperialism.” (Para 2.97)
On Third Alternative
The Party reaffirms its goal of forging a third alternative. But it says that it is not an immediate possibility. The Party should strive for such an alternative by strengthening the Party and the Left and rallying other secular non-Congress and non-BJP forces on a common policy platform and by having joint campaigns and movements. The Third alternative cannot be equated to the temporary electoral understanding and alliances which are forged to meet immediate electoral aims.
The Party has reiterated that a real alternative to the bourgeois-landlord policies can be a Left and democratic alternative. For advancing toward such a Left and democratic front, the Party should:
i. Strengthen the existing Left unity of the four Left parties and by bringing onto the Left platform all groups and individuals who are Left minded.
ii. Strengthen the political support for the Left Front governments of West Bengal and Tripura and continue the fight for alternative policies in the difficult situation where the Centre pursues neo-liberal policies.
iii. Work to mobilise all sections of the working people to fight for a Left and democratic platform as an alternative set of policies.
The draft resolution set out the Left and democratic platform with alternative policies for strengthening secularism and national unity, federalism, for democratization of agrarian relations, for an economy sovereign and based on peoples needs, protecting the rights of the working people, social justice and for an independent foreign policy.
The draft resolution highlights the aggressive moves of the USA under the Bush administration in the past three years. The invasion and occupation of Iraq, the threats to the DPRK, Iran and Syria. The tightening of illegal sanctions and blockade of Cuba and so on.
The occupation of Iraq has led to fierce resistance and this fight for freedom from imperialist subjugation is at the centre of the world-wide resistance against the hegemonic ambitions of the United States. Resistance to imperialist globalisation has developed in different parts of the world, particularly in South America.
In the recent period, the exploitation of the developing countries has intensified further using the instruments of the WTO, IMF and World Bank and the coordinated efforts of the G-8 countries to break down barriers to financial capital flows and capturing markets.
The resolution expresses concern at the heightened influence of the US in the South Asian countries and the new military and security pacts made with India’s neighbouring countries. It expresses concern at the situation within Bangladesh where fundamentalist forces have gained ground. It commits the CPI(M) to strengthen ties with the Left and progressive forces in the South Asian countries.
Intensify Struggle Against Imperialism
The resolution calls for a powerful anti-imperialist mobilisation within the country and pledges support to all the movements against imperialist-globalisation, for national liberation and against imperialist aggression and blockades.
The draft concludes with a call to build and strengthen the Party all over the country so that the struggle against imperialism, defence of people’s economic interests and fight against communal and divisive forces can advance.