People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 50

December 13, 2009

Workers Party of Bangladesh Holds Eighth Congress

Gautam Das


THE Workers Party of Bangladesh (WPB) held its eighth congress at Dhaka, the national capital, from November 14 to 18, with a vow to fight against the imperialist forces, to strengthen the progressive and democratic political forces, to establish a non-communal and democratic Bangladesh, and to work for unity of the Left forces in the country.

The party congress began with a well-attended public rally on November 14 afternoon, in the open ground of Dhaka Mahanagar Natya Manch. Thousands of jute mill, textile and garment workers, agricultural workers and peasants, employees, teachers and intellectuals attended the rally, carrying red flags and banners.




Addressing the open session, WPB president Rashid Khan Menon cautioned the party workers and his countrymen against the evil design of the imperialist forces, particularly US imperialists, who are trying to establish their bases in the subcontinent in order to further facilitate their loot of the wealth of these countries. He also warned that the defeated religious fundamentalists and their allies are out to destabilise the democratic political system and hatching one conspiracy after another. Menon narrated how the previous army-backed caretaker government had, during its two-year rule, tried to control the political parties by imposing some so-called �reforms.� He accused the erstwhile BNP-Jama�at-e-Islami government of making Bangladesh a safe haven for the extremists and terrorists from all neighbouring countries. He asserted that the Workers Party had adopted a correct tactical approach for mobilising the Left, secular and democratic political forces on the widest possible basis, in order to defeat the anti-liberation forces.

Menon said the people had voted the Awami League led alliance to power, with the mandate to implement the 23-point programme of the 14-parties combine. He deplored that the prices of essential commodities are rising again, no steps have been taken for strengthening the public distribution system, and closed mills and factories are yet to be opened. He made it clear that the Workers Party would be rallying the public opinion against such steps of the government as may go against the interests of the working class and other toiling people.

Menon also urged upon the Sheikh Hasina government to expeditiously arrange the trial of war criminals of 1971 as well as in the cases relating to bomb and grenade attacks and the seizure of 10 truckloads of arms and explosives illegally brought for the secessionist organisations of North East India.

At the rally, outgoing general secretary of the party, Bimal Biswas, also said that the party would protest against any step of the government that would go against the national interest. He asked the government to reopen the closed mills and factories immediately. Another demand was that the government must refrain from signing any offshore gas block deals with the multinational companies.

Fraternal delegates from abroad also addressed the open session. Leader of the CPI(M) delegation and the party�s Polit Bureau member, Dr M K Pandhe, briefly talked about the present world capitalist crisis and emphatically said that socialism is the only alternative. He also mentioned how the working class and other working people are developing their struggle in different areas of the world. He expressed the hope that the Left political parties in Bangladesh would stand united and strengthen the movement against imperialism.

Le Hong Lien (leader of the Vietnamese delegation and vice chairman of the Communist Party of Vietnam�s Central Control Commission), Sigh Hol Chol (ambassador of the Democratic People�s Republic of Korea to Bangladesh), Maria Teresa Pantoza (Central Executive Committee member of the Communist Party of Spain), and political attach� of the Chinese embassy in Dhaka also addressed the open session.

Leaders of the Communist Party of Bangladesh, ruling Awami League, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD), Gana Forum, and chairman of the Hill Development Council, were present in the open session, apart from a number of prominent intellectuals.




Bimal Biswas, the outgoing general secretary of the party, introduced the draft political resolution in the delegates session. It dealt with major international and national events since the seventh WPB congress. These included the rise of religious fundamentalists, communal and other extremist forces during the BNP-Jama�at-e-Islami rule, imposition of internal emergency, the struggle for restoration of democracy, national parliamentary elections held last December and the Workers Party�s electoral tactical line. The draft political resolution also talked of the Bangladesh Rifles revolt after installation of the present government, and its ramifications. It emphasised the need to unite the Left, secular and democratic forces in order to combat the extremist forces; otherwise the situation may turn to something resembling the present situation in Pakistan. The draft political resolution also urged upon the government to restore the secular constitution of the country, adopted in 1972. It laid stress upon close relations with the communist parties of South Asian countries in order to unitedly fight against imperialism, communalism, extremism and terrorism.

The delegates debated the draft political resolution for two days. Most of the delegates dwelt on the electoral tactical line adopted during the last parliamentary elections, with a majority of them opining that the two WPB members elected to the Jatiya Samsad (national parliament) were successfully intervening in the parliament on all important issues concerning the national interests, the working class and other sections of the people. Now it is the duty of the party to raise such important issues outside the parliament also. A combination of the struggle inside the parliament and outside will help the party to enlarge its political base, they asserted.

The political resolution was adopted unanimously with some amendments.

The party congress also debated for two days the political-organisational report of the Central Committee. Out of 64 districts in the country, the party has its organisational set-up in 56 districts and conferences were held in 52 districts. The political-organisational report underlined the successes and failures of the party, and urged upon the party cadres to build up strong party organisation by uniting the party politically, ideologically and organisationally. This is necessary to successfully conduct mass and class struggles so that the party may gain popular support from the working class and other sections of the people.

The party congress adopted a resolution on international solidarity, introduced by Mozammel Haque Tara, a member of the Central Committee.

CPI(M) Polit Bureau member M K Pandhe, Vietnamese delegation leader Le Hong Lien, the Communist Party of Nepal (UML)�s Polit Bureau member Urmila, All India Forward Bloc�s Central Secretariat member and West Bengal minister Naren Dey, and Maria Pentoza from the Communist Party of Spain spoke in support of the resolution. M K Pandhe congratulated the eighth congress of the Workers Party of Bangladesh and expressed the hope that the CPI(M) and the Workers Party would more closely work in the years to come.




On the sideline of the party congress, an international seminar was held on November 15 on the theme of �The World Recession and the Working Class,� in the National Press Club auditorium. CPI(M) Polit Bureau Member and CITU president Dr M K Pandhe was the main speaker.

Addressing the seminar, Dr Pandhe said in the bourgeois system, capitalists produce commodities but the people cannot buy them as they have little purchasing power. This creates recession and a crisis in the capitalist system. In the last 15 years or so, speculative finance capital has created havoc. So far, the capitalists had been demanding a dismantling of all the public sector undertakings. But the USA and some of the countries in Europe could save some of their private financial institutions, including the AIG, only with massive financial support from the government. Dr Pandhe mentioned how the Indian government stepped into the trap laid by the IMF and World Bank, and how it led to a foreign exchange crisis in India in 1990-91. The Indian government had to airlift 93 tonnes of gold to the Swiss Bank to save the economy. Dr Pandhe said the present world recession has created severe hardships for the life of the working class and other poorer sections. In Europe, attempts are being made to destroy the organised working class movement. He said all the central trade union organisations in India, including those belonging to the ruling class parties, are participating in united actions of the working class against the severe price rise, joblessness and on other demands of the working class. Dr Pandhe put forward an action plan regarding how the trade unions of all the SAARC countries could unitedly conduct struggles against the recession, price rises, job-cuts etc.

Veteran trade union leader and Bangladesh Shramik Federation president Abul Bashar presided over the seminar. Many trade union leaders of Bangladesh participated in the discussion and supported the proposals put forward by Dr Pandhe.

The eighth congress of the Workers Party of Bangladesh concluded after electing a 66-member new Central Committee and a new Polit Bureau. Rashid Khan Menon was re-elected president of the party. On personal grounds, Bimal Biswas requested the new Central Committee to relieve him from the general secretary�s responsibilities. Anisur Rahaman Mallik was then elected the new general secretary.

M K Pandhey, Central Committee member Mridul De and Tripura state secretariat member Gautam Das represented the CPI(M) in the Workers Party Congress.