(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
May 11, 2008
Forging Ahead Needs Rural Poor’s Sustained Struggles, Social Reform Efforts
ON the first day of April, most of the time in both sessions was devoted to a discussion on Part 3 and Part 4 of the Political Organisational Report (Polorg Report) which the Polit Bureau member, S Ramachandran Pillai, had introduced in the evening session on March 31. The discussion spanned over 5 hours and a half, and as many as 37 delegates took part in it on behalf of their respective state delegations or mass organisations.
Replying to the points raised by the discussants on the basis of their respective experiences, S R Pillai said that the discussion reflected a broad agreement among the delegates on the main formulations made in the Polorg Report. During the discussion, the delegates had highlighted their ground level experiences, achievements and shortcomings, identified the tasks ahead and also made certain suggestions with the aim of strengthening and streamlining the party organisation. Pillai informed that as many as 50 amendments and suggestions were received on the draft of the Polorg Report, and several of them would be accepted and their gist incorporated in the final version of the document.
During the discussion, a question that often came up was --- why could not we expand in the weaker states? Pillai recalled that the Central Committee document in 1967, on the new situation and out tasks, had given certain directions to be followed for the purpose; then the Salkia Plenum, held towards the end of 1978, had discussed it threadbare, and all the subsequent party congresses have grappled with it. Yet we have not been able to achieve a breakthrough in this area. Here Pillai admitted that we have not been able to hold a plenum on organisation, which the 13th party congress held in Chennai in January 1992 had directed. However, we would do well to recall that the conclusions drawn from our self-critical analyses in this regard still remain valid.
In this regard, the CPI(M) leader noted that even though there have been some important struggles in the vast Hindi speaking belt, like the one in Rajasthan, on the whole there has been no sustained struggle of the rural poor and of the peasantry in other states in this area. There is no dearth of issues in this belt, and struggles need to be launched on numerous issues ranging from land and wages to caste oppression, gender oppression and other forms of social oppression. We have also to realise that the social reform movement has been weak in these areas and, as a consequence, the grip of the semi-feudal and feudal elements on the life as well as consciousness of the people is still quite strong here. In this connection, we would also do well to realise that the question of class exploitation underlies that of caste oppression.
According to Pillai, what needs to be done in the Hindi areas is that we must identify the immediate and realisable issues, generate awareness about them and launch sustained struggles on those issues. Here he quoted the example of Rajasthan where the leadership identified issues, selected areas for the concentration of efforts, allotted cadre for the purpose and forced the BJP controlled state government to concede the peasantry’s demands that were eminently justified. The party and the Kisan Sabha have since then registered appreciable growth in the concerned districts of the state.
There was a sustained struggle in Andhra Pradesh too, and it too has registered very impressive successes, telling the masses in practice that organisation and struggle is the only way to wrest something from the unwilling hands of the ruling classes and their political representatives. The struggle in Andhra Pradesh had initially been for house sites for the rural poor, but it has also been accompanied by social reform efforts involving all sections of the people.
But the launch and conduct of sustained struggles require that we must have an adequate number of capable and dedicated cadre, else every decision, every resolution would only remain confined to paper. This is something seriously lacking in the Hindi areas. The situation requires of us a full-fledged cadre policy for recruitment of an adequate number of cadre, their proper political education and training, arrangements regarding regular payment of wages, deployment of these cadre at proper places in accordance with a prioritisation of tasks, regular monitoring of the work of these cadre, and promotion of the efficient ones among them. Pillai informed that some of the state committees in Hindi areas are gripped with the problem, their secretariats have held discussions on the issue, and they are also collecting funds to pay the wholetimers’ wages.
The question of political and organisational education assumes much importance here as more than one third, or to be precise 35.31 percent, of the existing members joined the party after 2002, or 67.25 percent joined after 1992. This is a positive sign that more and more new sections are coming towards the party, but we cannot afford to ignore the tasks it devolves upon us. States with higher proportions of new members have to make extra efforts in this regard.
As for the concept of priority states, they indeed have registered a degree of improvement though much more needs to be done there. Pillai admitted that the all-India and state centres of the party have been unable to pay adequate attention to the tasks regarding the priority states and priority districts within other states, and the mid-term appraisal document has admitted this failure in so many words. Similarly, we have also failed in activating the fraction committees and subcommittees.
In the course of his reply, the CPI(M) leader referred to certain important aspects to stress the point that the work of the party’s all-India centre has considerably increased since the 18th party congress held in Delhi. In the last 3 years, the party centre had to come up with a pro-people alternative to every neo-liberal proposal made or action taken by the government. This has increased the party’s intervention as well as its prestige among the masses, though by no means it was or is an easy task. Our research department has been doing good work in this regard and we have come up with as many as 23 documents in this period. Discussions have been taking place with the Congress party and the UPA and also with our Left allies, non-Left allies and other parties and organisations on vital issues facing the country and the people.
In his reply also, Pillai referred to the aspects of work being undertaken at various levels to strengthen the party organisation, like the formation of border committees and the need to further improve upon such work. He informed that the general secretary and the Polit Bureau members attended 50 percent of the state committee meetings in Kerala in the 3 year period, in a bid to overcome the organisational problems obtaining there. He referred to the points raised by certain delegates regarding the non-implementation or tardy implementation of the Central Committee documents on women’s front and students front in certain states, stressing that the concerned states have to pay due regard to this problem. This is all the more important in view of the all-India level and partial struggles that we need to launch in the coming days.
Inter-state water disputes have become quite common in the last two decades or so, and pose a grave challenge to our movement as well. Here, the CPI(M) leader informed that the party is seized with this issue, discussions are going on at appropriate levels and we would continue our efforts to evolve amicable solutions to such disputes. Concerned state committees would be duly involved in all such efforts.
Having referred to the issue of party organs and the steps needed to improve their reach, style, impact etc, the reply insisted upon the need of intensifying the agit-prop work manifold. Though it is now no longer taken as a casual job, we need to strengthen the whole agit-prop set-up. This also requires publication of more booklets and pamphlets in Hindi. For the purpose, full time translators need to be recruited and deployed at the party centre. Pushing up our agit-prop work is a must so as to equip our cadre to face the myriad challenges coming up in future and take our viewpoint to the people at large on the developing situation.
Pillai concluded his reply with the assurance that, when finalising the political organisational report, the new leadership would pay due attention to the points made and suggestions advanced by the party congress delegates. The way delegates received the reply with applauses and passed the document unanimously was proof enough that they had positively taken this assurance coming from the leadership.
Those participating in the discussion on the Polorg Report were as follows: Amal Dutta (West Bengal), G Ramakrishnan (Tamilnadu), B L Karad (Maharashtra), V J K Nair (Karnataka), V V Dakshinamurthy (Kerala), Mohan Lal (Delhi), Narayan Kar (Tripura), Sudha Sundararaman (Women’s Front), K G Das (Andaman & Nikobar), G K Bakshi (Jharkhand), Samar Baora (Kisan Front), Dulichand (Rajasthan), Balram Adhikari (Sikkim), Sandhya Shaili (Madhya Pradesh), Swadesh Deveroye (Trade Union Front), Awadhesh Kumar (Bihar), Vishnu Mohanti (Orissa), M K Nandi (Chhattisgarh), Y Venkateshwara Rao (Andhra Pradesh), Surender Singh (Haryana), Shailja (Kerala), Vijay Kumar Mishra (Punjab), Tapas Sinha (Youth Front), Dinanath Singh (Uttar Pradesh), Nalini Jadeja (Gujarat), Sanjay Chauhan (Himachal Pradesh), T Pareira (Goa), Prabir Purkayastha (Science Movement), Kshetrimayum Santa (Manipur), Minati Ghosh (West Bengal), Bachchi Ram (Uttarakhand), Rajendra Sharma (PD/Lok Lahar), Asis Deveroye (Tripura), Bhanulal Saha (Agricultural Workers Front), Shyam Prasad Kesar (Jammu & Kashmir), G Sudhakar (Kerala) and K K Ragesh (Students Front).