The Draft Political Resolution for the 22nd Congress of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) which was adopted at the Central Committee meeting held in Kolkata from January 19 to 21 is being released for discussions within the Party at all levels.
The Draft Resolution deals comprehensively with the prevailing international and national situation and sets out the political and tactical line and the tasks to be adopted by the Party. Some of the highlights of the Draft Resolution are as follows:
The main features of the international situation since the 21st Congress are the following:
(i) Though there are forecasts of a modest global economic recovery, the systemic crisis of global capitalism that manifested itself in the financial meltdown in 2008 continues.
(ii) This is leading to further intensification of economic exploitation of the vast majority of the people and attacks on their democratic rights in all capitalist countries. Protest actions and struggles against these attacks continue to grow in various countries of the world.
(iii) This continued economic crisis of global capitalism has resulted in further widening the economic inequalities both globally and in individual countries.
(iv) In its efforts to consolidate its global hegemony and to overcome the negative impact of the economic crisis, US imperialism is displaying greater all-round aggressiveness, particularly through political and military interventions.
(v) In Latin America, a serious confrontation with US political and military interventions is taking place in various countries. USA is using its entire arsenal to destabilise the Left-led governments in the continent and to reverse the popular anti-imperialist tide among the people.
(vi) The period has seen a further political rightward shift in many countries in the world with the rise of extreme rightwing and neo-fascist forces in Europe. The ascendancy of Donald Trump as the President of USA, representing the most reactionary sections of the US ruling class, further strengthened this trend.
(vii) During this period the cohesion of the imperialist camp and the muting of the inter-imperialist contradictions that we had noted in the 21st Congress, under the impact of this prolonged crisis of neo-liberalism, is getting unstuck, with new conflict points and contradictions emerging between imperialist centres.
(viii) Efforts towards establishing multipolarity in the international political-economic order face new problems with a pronounced pro-US shift in some countries like ours.
(ix) The future of international treaties like those on climate change and the WTO have entered a stage of uncertainty with the USA unilaterally withdrawing from some, and preferring to seek bilateral arrangements with independent countries as against multilateral arrangements.
(x) In all countries that constitute our neighbourhood very important developments are taking place which have a direct bearing for our stability and good neighbourly relations.
(xi) Socialist Countries: During this period, China’s strength and global influence has grown. Vietnam and Cuba have achieved a reasonable and sustainable growth of their economies. The main issue concerning DPRK is centred around its nuclear programme and missile deployment.
(xii) The observations of the centenary of the October Revolution along with annual international meetings of the Communist and Workers Parties continue to articulate international communist solidarity.
Strengthen Anti-Imperialist Solidarity
The CPI(M) will vigorously conduct a campaign amongst the Indian people against the abject surrender of the BJP government to US imperialism and reducing India to the status of becoming a subordinate strategic ally of US imperialism. The CPI(M) will oppose the manifestations of this subordinate status in all spheres – economic, strategic, defence and foreign policy.
The CPI(M) continues to extend its full support to the Palestinian struggle against Israeli occupation and for realising to the Palestinian people their long denied right to a homeland.
The CPI(M) will vehemently oppose the growing US-Israel-India nexus being advanced by the present BJP government.
The CPI(M) continues to firmly oppose all forms and varieties of terrorism sponsored by individual groups or State-sponsored terrorism.
The CPI(M) expresses its solidarity with the socialist countries of China, Vietnam, DPRK, Cuba and Laos and fully supports the efforts to strengthen socialism in their respective countries.
The CPI(M) expresses its solidarity with all forces fighting against fundamentalism, religious fanaticism, obscurantism and reactionary forces.
The CPI(M) will further strengthen its links with the Left revolutionary movements all over the world, particularly in South Asia and Latin America.
The CPI(M) extends its complete solidarity with the socialist countries targeted by imperialism in various ways.
The nearly four years of the Modi Government has led to the onset of a right-wing authoritarian-communal regime. This regime is characterised by an intensified pursuit of neo-liberal policies, resulting in all round attacks on the working people; the concerted effort to implement the RSS’s Hindutva agenda which threatens the secular democratic framework of the State, accompanied by attacks on the minorities and dalits; a reinforcement of the strategic alliance with the United States and playing the role of a subordinate ally; and building the architecture of authoritarianism by curbing parliamentary democracy, subverting constitutional institutions and democratic rights.
Over the course of the last three years and nine months, the Modi Government has brought the Indian economy to the brink of a crisis. Although the government tried its best to conceal the economic slowdown by fudging the statistics, the truth is out. While the GDP series was revised to make it look better, even by the revised GDP series, growth has steadily declined from 8 per cent in 2015-16 to the estimated 6.5 per cent for 2017-18. This is the lowest rate of growth in four years. Statistics from the Labour Bureau show that, for the first time in Independent India, the absolute level of employment shrank between 2013-14 and 2016-17.
While there are several sector-specific factors that have contributed to the economic slowdown, demonetisation and implementation of the GST regime stand out as policy initiatives that have disastrously affected all the major sectors.
Demonetisation has adversely affected small retail traders and also resulted in the closure of many small and medium enterprises (SMEs) leading to massive job losses. Livelihood of unorganised workers was severely affected. Peasants were unable to market their produce, nor purchase seeds and fertilizers for the next sowing season.
The introduction of GST is a pro-corporate measure which has increased the burdens on the people and is a part of the neo-liberal offensive of the government. The GST regime has undqermined the federal structure which adversely affects the rights of the states and has increased the scale of indirect taxation. GST has put new burdens on the common people, small and tiny enterprises, traders and unorganised sector occupations. Various sectors of industries and services have been badly affected.
As part of the aggressive pursuit of neo-liberal policies, the Modi Government has launched a large-scale privatisation drive. This has three aspects: (a) privatizing State-owned sectors like defence production, railways, banking, and so on; (b) opening the State sector to 100 per cent FDI; and (c) privatisation of basic services like electricity distribution, water supply and transport. Thus, the Modi Government is providing a bonanza for big capital, both Indian and foreign.
Every sphere of the working people’s lives and economic activity in rural India – with respect, for example, to land acquisition and land reform policy, costs of cultivation and prices of output, credit and insurance coverage accessible to the poor, food security, animal resources (especially cattle resources) and international trade – has been set back severely by the policies of the Modi Government. Demonetisation had a deeply damaging and contractionary impact on day-to-day rural economic life as cash transactions predominate in the agricultural economy. The ban on all forms of cattle slaughter in BJP-ruled states and restrictions on cattle trade have adversely affected the farmers.
The biggest failure of the Modi Government has been on employment. According to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) data, about 1.5 million (15 lakh) jobs were lost during January-April 2017 as compared to the previous four months of September to December 2016. Every month around 10 lakh people are entering the labour force, with many unable to find jobs and remaining unemployed.
The last nearly four years have seen the unfolding of the blueprint of the RSS utilising State power to infiltrate RSS personnel in key positions in various institutions of the State. Most of the Governors of states appointed are BJP-RSS men, some of whom utilise their positions to advocate the communal agenda. Constitutional bodies are being subverted from within. BJP and RSS leaders openly express their desire to change the Constitution.
While the Hindutva agenda is imposed from above by the central government, at the ground level, the RSS-led Hindutva outfits have a free run. With a view to target the Muslims, gau rakshak gangs set upon cattle traders or farmers and conduct lynch-mob attacks. There have been over thirty killings on the issue of cow slaughter or beef in the past three years in these fascistic-type attacks. The BJP-RSS state governments openly patronise and back cow vigilantes. Targetting Muslims for ‘love jihad’ and branding them as ‘anti-national’ are other instruments used by the Hindutva brigade to create communal polarisation.
Growing Resistance, Widening struggles
The period has been marked by the growing resistance against the Modi Government’s economic policies, the communal agenda and authoritarian onslaughts.
(i) There have been united struggles of the peasantry, chief among them being the eleven-day strike by farmers in Maharashtra and the follow up protests; the spontaneous struggles of farmers in Mandsaur (Madhya Pradesh) and neighbouring districts; the struggle against the amendments to the Santhal Pargannas and Chhotanagpur Tenancy Acts in Jharkhand; and the sustained and widespread movement of farmers with the support of all sections of the rural population in Sikar and five other districts in Rajasthan. These struggles succeeded in wresting some of the demands from the state governments. The Kisan Parliament on November 20-21 organised by a united platform of 187 organisations saw a big mobilisation of kisans from all over the country. This was the most significant united kisan action in recent times. In all these struggles, the All India Kisan Sabha played a vital role.
(ii) The united platform of trade unions conducted a general strike on September 2, 2016 which widened the participation of workers and employees. There have been important sector-wise strike struggles against privatisation by bank employees, steel workers and BSNL employees. Notable among them was the anganwadi workers sit-in struggle in Bengaluru. The three-day joint mahapadav of workers from November 9 to 11, 2017, outside Parliament in Delhi saw more than a lakh workers participating in a unique protest action. In all these struggles, the Centre of Indian Trade Unions played a vital role.
(iii) Against the communal authoritarian onslaughts there have been struggles of the students in central universities like JNU, HCU, FTII, etc. There have been mass protests and rallies against the fascistic type of attacks on minorities by cow vigilantes and killing of writers and journalists. A large number of prominent writers and artists returned their awards after Kalburgi’s killing. There were countrywide protests after Gauri Lankesh’s killing.
(iv) There were countrywide protest actions on the death of Rohit Vemula and the Una atrocity on dalits and united campaigns by Left and dalit organisations. The Dalit Swabhiman Sangharsh Manch emerged as a platform of Left parties and dalit organisations which conducted rallies in various centers.
(v) A platform of mass, class organisations and social movements has been set up, the Jan Ekta, Jan Adhikar Aandolan in September 2017. It has set out a charter of demands around which united campaigns and struggles will be launched.
To sum up the situation:
The BJP has consolidated its political position. Under the Modi Government, there has been an intensification of the neo-liberal capitalist exploitation of the people; the secular-democratic framework of the Constitution is being eroded with the pursuit of the Hindutva agenda; and the BJP-led government has bound India closer to the imperialist strategy of the United States. All this marks the onset of an authoritarian-communal regime.
At the same time, there are signs of growing popular discontent against the Modi Government’s policies, which are also manifested in the growing resistance and struggles of different sections of the people. The contradictions between the ruling classes on the one hand, and the working class and peasantry on the other, have grown. We must intervene in the situation to take forward the various struggles of the working people.
The Party should step up its intervention to advance the struggles of various sections of the working people against the economic burdens being imposed upon them. Combining these struggles against the impact of the neo-liberal policies with the struggles against the communal agenda is the way to advance the struggle against the BJP-RSS combine. The struggles against the neo-liberal policies, Hindutva communalism and authoritarianism, are all inextricably interlinked.
Position of Political Parties
The BJP, as the Party Programme points out, is “a reactionary party with a divisive and communal platform, the reactionary content of which is based on hatred against other religions, intolerance and ultra-nationalist chauvinism. The BJP is no ordinary bourgeois party as the fascistic Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh guides and dominates it. When the BJP is in power, the RSS gets access to the instruments of State power and the State machinery.” The BJP is run and controlled by the fascistic RSS.
At present, the BJP is in government solely or in coalition in 19 out of 29 states. It has a majority in the Lok Sabha and has emerged as the single largest party in the Rajya Sabha. For the first time the President and Vice President both belong to the BJP-RSS stock.
The Congress party has the same class character as that of the BJP. It represents the interests of the big bourgeois-landlord classes. Its political influence and organisation has been declining and it has conceded the space as the premier ruling class party to the BJP. The Congress professes to be secular but it has proved to be incapable of consistently fighting the communal forces. The Congress had pioneered the neo-liberal agenda and forged the strategic alliance with the United States when it was in power. As the main opposition party, it continues to advocate these policies.
The political representatives of the big bourgeoisie at present in our country are the BJP and the Congress. Based on our programmatic understanding, the Congress represents the interests of the big bourgeoisie and landlords and adopts pro-imperialist policies. Therefore, we cannot have a tactical line which treats them as allies or partners in a united front.
But it is the BJP which is in power today and given its basic link to the RSS, it is the main threat. So, there cannot be a line of treating both the BJP and the Congress as equal dangers.
Our approach should be to cooperate with the Congress and other secular opposition parties in parliament on agreed issues. Outside parliament, we should cooperate with all secular opposition forces for a broad mobilisation of people against the communal threat. We should foster joint actions of class and mass organisations, in such a manner that can draw in the masses following the Congress and other bourgeois parties.
There are regional parties which have not joined hands with the BJP. We should try and develop united actions on people’s issues, against communalism and authoritarian attacks with these parties wherever possible.
The role and politics of specific regional parties in a state must be taken into account while working out our tactical approach to them. Such an approach must keep in mind advancing the Party’s interest and for rallying the Left and democratic forces. However, there is no scope for a national level alliance with the regional parties.
Strengthen Party & Left and Democratic Alternative
The key to the advance of the Party and building the Left and Democratic Front is increasing the independent strength of the Party. This has become all the more important given the setbacks in West Bengal and the lack of advance in other states apart from Kerala and Tripura. It is only by expanding the base and influence of the Party that we can go towards the Left and democratic alternative. This requires an all-sided and concerted effort to forge live links with the people and to develop class and mass struggles and consolidate these into political influence.
Efforts to bring together the Left, democratic forces including parties, mass organizations, democratic organizations, social movements and intellectuals around a programme relevant to the state must be made in all the states. At the same time, the Left and democratic alternative should be projected at the national level through united Left platforms.
The draft sets out the main points of the Left and democratic programme which represents alternative policies. They include basic demands of the working class, peasantry, rural labour and other sections of the working people. It is around these issues and demands that the Left and democratic forces can be rallied to build class struggles and mass movements.
(i) Given the experience of the nearly four years rule of the Modi Government it is imperative to defeat the BJP government in order to isolate the Hindutva communal forces and reverse the anti-people economic policies.
(ii) Thus, the main task is to defeat the BJP and its allies by rallying all the secular and democratic forces. However, this has to be done without having an understanding or electoral alliance with the Congress party.
(iii) The Party will fight against the neo-liberal policies being pursued by the BJP government at the Centre and by the various state governments including those run by the regional parties. The Party will strive to develop united actions on the issues of people’s livelihood and against the onslaught of the economic policies.
(iv) Joint platforms for mass movements and united struggles at all levels must be built up. Resistance to the anti-people policies should be intensified. The united actions of the class and mass organisations must seek to draw in the masses following the bourgeois parties.
(v) Given the serious challenge posed by the Hindutva forces both inside and outside the government it is essential to build platforms for the widest mobilisation of all secular and democratic forces. The emphasis should be on building unity of people to fight the communal forces at the grassroots. These are not to be seen as political or electoral alliances. Similarly, broad unity to fight against the authoritarian attacks on democratic rights should be forged.
(vi) The Party will give priority to developing and building the independent strength of the Party. It will work to broaden and strengthen Left unity.
(vii) All Left and democratic forces should be brought together on a concrete programme to conduct united struggles and joint movements through which the Left and democratic front can emerge. In states, the various Left and democratic forces should be rallied to form a platform around a concrete programme. At the national level, the Left and democratic alternative should be projected in our political campaigns and to rally all those forces who can find a place in the Left and democratic front.
(viii) Appropriate electoral tactics to maximize the pooling of the anti-BJP votes should be adopted based on the above political line of the Party.
Tasks in the Present Situation
(1) The struggle against the Modi Government’s economic policies must be intensified. All sections of the working people subjected to the exploitation and attacks of the neo-liberal policies must be mobilised and organised to fight for jobs, land, food, wages and livelihood. The Party should intervene in all the spontaneous struggles which develop and take them forward.
(2) The Party and mass organisations have to be in the forefront of the fight against Hindutva communalism. This struggle has to be conducted in the social, cultural, political and ideological spheres. There should be a broad platform forged of the secular democratic forces to counter the activities of the communal forces.
(3) The Party should step up its efforts to advance the interests of the socially oppressed sections. The Party has to consistently champion the rights of women and counter the growing violence against women. The Left and dalit united platforms should be carried forward. The Party has to defend the rights of adivasis in all spheres. Broad unity to protect the rights of minorities should be forged.
(4) The Party has to expand its campaigns to mobilise people in defence of national sovereignty and against the growing imperialist influence in the country facilitated by the strategic alliance with the United States. It should expose the ultra-nationalist posture of the BJP which is used to cover the subservience to US imperialism.
(5) The Party has to mobilise the widest forces to counter the growing authoritarianism. There should be a broad mobilisation against the attacks on democracy, artistic freedom and academic autonomy.
(6) The Party must give priority to strengthening its independent role and expanding its influence and mass base by building up class and mass struggles. The Party has to pay special attention to the struggle against the attacks on democracy and violence against the Party and the Left Front in West Bengal. The defence of the Left-led governments in Tripura and Kerala is an important task.
(7) Left unity should be strengthened overcoming the existing shortcomings by focusing on joint actions and campaigns based on a Left platform. This should be the basis for drawing in other democratic organisations and forces around a Left and democratic programme. It is through the movements and struggles around such a programme that a real alternative – the Left and democratic alternative will emerge.
The PDF version of the Draft Political Resolution available at http://cpim.org/documents/xxii-congress-draft-pol-resolution