Press Release

The Central Committee of the CPI(M) has finalised the draft of the updated Party Programme. The Party Programme is the basic document, which sets out the strategic perspective of the Party. The CPI(M) Party Programme was first adopted in 1964 when the Party was formed. Thirty-six years have passed since then. In 1992, the 14th Congress of the Party had called for updating the Party Programme. This was necessary in view of the major changes, which have taken place in the international situation and the developments nationally.

The Party programme has been updated and not revised. This means that the essence of the programmatic understanding set out in 1964 regarding the stage of the revolution, class character of the Indian state and the class alliance to achieve the people’s democratic revolution as formulated in 1964 remains valid.

The Features of the Updated Programme

There is a new introductory chapter in the programme. It gives an overview of the historical role of the Party in the struggle against British imperialism and in developing the working class and peasant movements in the country. Various streams of revolutionaries fighting for national independence joined the communist party. Braving severe repression and leading mass struggles, the communist movement carved out an important space for itself in the national scene.

The second chapter "Socialism in the Contemporary World" provides an analysis of the international situation, which was not there in the 1964 programme. It looks at the major developments in the twentieth century including the rise of socialism, the defeat of fascism, the success of the national liberation struggles and the setbacks to socialism with the dismantling of the Soviet Union towards the end of the century.

The chapter analyses the working of contemporary world capitalism and the way imperialism has intensified its exploitation through the offensive of globalisation. The growing divide between the rich and the poor countries, the exploitative mechanism imposed by imperialism through the IMF-World Bank and the WTO and the manner in which the scientific and technological revolution is used by capitalism to establish its unjust order are dealt out in this chapter.

This section also highlights the achievements of socialism in showing an alternative to capitalism and for emancipating the lives of the people. It also deals with the distortions and errors, which crept into the building of socialism and the necessity to rectify these mistakes on the basis of concretely applying Marxism.

The third chapter is an exposition of the nature of capitalist development in India since independence. It deals with the early phase of capitalist development in which state capitalism was used as the way to develop industry and the infrastructure through planning and the public sector. The growth of monopolies and accumulation of capital in a few hands is traced. The later period of liberalisation and opening up to foreign capital and its consequences for national sovereignty and developing self-reliance are also spelt out. This chapter deals with the changes in the agrarian situation under the impact of capitalism. It highlights the absence of basic land reforms which has led to the continuation of the concentration of land. With liberalisation agriculture is coming under the direct assault of imperialist capital. The WTO regime, the entry of agro-business MNCs and cuts in public investment are all bringing about major and adverse consequences for the Indian peasantry.

The fourth chapter on foreign policy updates the developments in the external relations, particularly in the last one decade. The shift from non-alignment to a pro-US policy, which has been heightened with the BJP coming to power has been dealt with.

In the fifth chapter, the charactersation of the Indian State as an instrument of the bourgeois-landlord classes led by the big bourgeoisie is retained. The chapter explains how this class character restricts democracy for different sections particularly adivasis, women, minorities, the working class and other sections of the working people. The class character of the Indian State has also imposed limitations on the federal character and led to over centralisation with limited powers for the states. The problems of national unity with particular reference to the North-Eastern region and Kashmir are also dealt with. This section deals with the degeneration in the institutions of the State with the growth of corruption, expansion of black money, electoral malpractices and communalisation of politics.

There will be a multi-party system with the principle of proportional representation in elections being incorporated.

The sixth Chapter sets out the programme of People’s Democracy for which the Party and all Left and democratic forces should strive for. This programme sets out the steps to be taken to expand democracy in the State structure to fashion out a more federal system and strengthen the secular edifice. It spells out a language policy whose basis is the equality of all Indian languages. In the field of agriculture, the implementation of radical land reforms, to abolish landlordism; and improving the plight of the farmers by helping them to raise productivity by providing adequate irrigation and power and protecting them from market fluctuations. The updated programme talks of having a multi-structural economy with different forms of ownership in which public ownership will predominate; the curbing and breaking up of monopolies and using foreign investment for acquiring advanced technology. Steps for gender equality, emancipation of dalits and environmental protection are listed.

Chapter VII deals with the People’s Democratic Front, which has to be formed to achieve People’s Democracy. The classes who will play a role in this front remain the same as in the 1964 programme, the working class, different sections of the peasantry, the middle classes and the non-big sections of the bourgeoisie. The last chapter concludes with the call for building a strong Communist Party which can provide leadership for a democratic revolution.

After three months inner-party discussion at all levels, the Programme will be adopted at a Special Conference to be held in October, 2000.