People's Democracy

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


No. 34

August 22, 2010

Vijayawada Meeting Shows the Way Ahead


Prakash Karat


THE extended meeting of the Central Committee of the CPI(M) was held in Vijayawada from August 7 to 10, 2010. It may be asked as to why an extended meeting of this nature had to be held at this juncture. The Central Committee had earlier in February decided to postpone the holding of the 20th Party Congress which was scheduled to be held in the first quarter of 2011. This was decided because the assembly elections in West Bengal and Kerala are to be held in May 2011. Given the priority of fighting these elections, it would not be possible to conduct the conferences and organisational preparations for the Party Congress before the elections. Hence, the Party Congress is now scheduled to be held in the beginning of 2012.


However, given the major changes that have occurred in the political situation since the last Congress in April 2008, it is necessary to formulate a political-tactical line to meet the current situation. Among the major changes that took place after the Coimbatore Congress were the withdrawal of support to the UPA government in July 2008, the Lok Sabha elections which resulted in the return of the UPA for a second stint in government and the electoral reverses suffered by the CPI(M) and the Left. There is a severe attack on the Party in West Bengal with a view to weaken the CPI(M) as a whole.


The adoption of a political line to meet the present situation could not be delayed till the next Party Congress. The Central Committee decided to convene an extended meeting of the Central Committee as provided for in the Party Constitution. It was felt that to unify the entire Party it would be better to adopt the political-tactical line at an extended meeting which would involve the wider participation drawn from all the state committees. Altogether 352 delegates attended.


The Central Committee finalized a draft document which contained a Review Report on the implementation of the political-tactical line adopted at the 19th Congress and a Draft Political Resolution. This was presented before the extended meeting of the CC for discussion. After deliberations in which 45 comrades participated, the review report and the political resolution were adopted with some minor amendments.




The Political Resolution spells out the contours of the present economic, social and political situation in the country. The record of the one and a quarter year of the UPA-II government shows that it is intensifying its push for neo-liberal economic policies. More and more sectors are being opened up for greater FDI; there is an aggressive disinvestment drive in the public sector and push for privatisation in all spheres. The economic and fiscal policies of the government are designed to sustain the high levels of profit for big business.


These policies are adding to the burdens of the people. The relentless price rise of food items and essential commodities, the curtailment of the public distribution system, the acute problems faced by the farmers due to the agrarian crisis and the pushing out of more and more people into the informal sector where they have no jobs or income security are some of the adverse results of the policies being pursued.


The impact of the neo-liberal policies on the various classes have also been analysed in the resolution. The resolution provides the direction to the Party to mobilise and organise those classes and sections who are the worst victims of these policies -- the rural poor, the poor peasants, the agricultural labour, the urban poor and the working class particularly those vast sections who are in the unorganised and informal sectors.




Though the BJP suffered an electoral setback in the Lok Sabha polls, there has been no decline in the efforts and activities of the communal outfits. In the BJP ruled states, minorities continue to be targeted and attacked. States like Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh are following the Gujarat pattern. A new dimension that emerged is that of Hindu extremist elements resorting to terrorist violence as revealed in the investigations starting from the Malegaon blast and now uncovered in the Ajmer Sharief and Mecca Masjid blasts. Muslim extremist groups are also continuing to resort to terrorist methods. The resolution directs the Party to campaign against communalism and terrorism and to expose the interconnection between the two.


The foreign policy and strategic ties being pursued by the UPA government are a continuation of its efforts in the previous term. Close strategic ties with the United States particularly in the military sphere are further unfolding. More and more the strategic alliance with the United States is influencing the domestic policy agenda.


The impact of the neo-liberal policies are not confined to the economic sphere alone but has invaded politics in a big way. The nexus between big business and politics and the flood of big money is corroding parliamentary democracy. More and more the bourgeois parties are making businessmen their elected representatives. Many are in the governments both in the states and at the central level. Crony capitalism and corruption is flourishing under the present dispensation. The Left and democratic forces have to wage a determined struggle against such perversion of democracy and the corruption affecting all levels of public life.




It is the consistent fight put up by the CPI(M) and the Left against the neo-liberal policies and the strategic alliance with the United States that led to the attack on the Party in West Bengal and the Left Front. This began two years ago and has now become a full-fledged offensive. Since the last Lok Sabha elections in May 2009, in the past fifteen months over 250 members and supporters of the CPI(M) have been killed by the TMC combine and the Maoists. In various places attacks on the CPI(M) cadres and their supporters are taking place with the aim of driving them out. The Maoists, in collusion with the TMC, are targeting the Party in the three districts adjoining Jharkhand. The Maoists are killing not only the CPI(M) workers but also school teachers and all those who refuse to cooperate with them. The attack on the CPI(M) and the Left is part of the overall effort to consolidate the neo-liberal project and to ensure that there is no opposition to the pro-big business-imperialist policies.




The resolution has noted that the Party in West Bengal is taking the requisite steps at the political and organisational level to overcome the shortcomings and to reforge the links with the people who have moved away from us. The political resolution has directed the entire Party to conduct a countrywide campaign in solidarity with the CPI(M) and the Left Front in West Bengal.




The Maoists represent a degenerated Left adventurist trend. Their pseudo-revolutionary phrase mongering and their  anarchist and disruptive violence should be exposed. The resolution has called for a sustained political and ideological battle against the Maoists and to expose their disruptive role which helps the ruling classes and the reactionary forces.




In a separate resolution, the extended meeting has spelt out the Party’s approach to the forthcoming assembly elections in West Bengal and Kerala. The defence of these two advanced outposts of the Left and democratic movement is the foremost task. These two Left-led governments are the products of prolonged class and mass battles. The Left Front government have carried out land reforms, enhanced the welfare of the working people and fully defended secularism. All democratic forces should be mobilised around the two Left formations in the two states to face the elections and to win the support of the widest sections of the people.




In the present situation where the CPI(M) has suffered reverses and is facing an adverse situation, the main emphasis has to be on the independent role and activities of the Party. Through work in the political, ideological and organisational spheres, the Party has to exert its utmost to expand its influence and base. The political resolution underlines the fact that the strong bases of the Party cannot be defended unless the Party grows elsewhere. For this, the tactical line stressed on the need for the Party to conduct struggles of the people who have suffered under the impact of the neo-liberal policies in various ways. This requires taking up the local issues and conducting sustained struggles leading to achievement of some of the demands.


In the coming days, the Party should conduct more political campaigns to expose the policies of the ruling class parties. It should become more struggle-oriented and launch wider and sustained movements for land, fair wages, employment, PDS and food security and access to education and health care.

The Party should strengthen the unity of the Left parties and work to draw other Left-minded groups and elements into the joint platforms.


The CPI(M) will seek the cooperation of the non-Congress secular parties in parliament who can work together against the UPA government’s wrong policies. Outside parliament on people’s issues we shall make efforts to draw in those parties on commonly agreed issues for wider movements. A third alternative can emerge through a process of common struggles and evolving a common programme. Till then, in elections in the various states if required the Party may enter into electoral adjustments with those parties who are not with the Congress or the BJP.


To fight neo-liberal economic policies and communalism, the Party will oppose the Congress and the BJP. Both these parties are for tying up with the United States on the strategic plane. At the time of the Coimbatore Party Congress, the Left was still supporting the UPA government. That situation has changed. The CPI(M) will oppose the Congress party as the prime mover of the neo-liberal policies which are anti-people and which seeks to yoke India into a strategic alliance with the United States.


As part of the independent activities, the Party will, take up social issues -- the fight of the dalits against untouchability and caste discrimination, the struggle of the adivasis against the brutal exploitation and the dispossession from their lands, the rights of the Muslim minorities for reservation in education and jobs and the issues of gender oppression.




The Review Report on the implementation of the previous political-tactical line focused on the (i) withdrawal of support to the UPA government in July 2008, (ii) review of the implementation of the electoral tactical line adopted for the Lok Sabha elections (iii) the issue of land acquisition and SEZs and (iv) consolidation of movements and struggles.


The review report adopted by the meeting has reiterated that it was correct and necessary to withdraw support to the UPA government when it decided to go ahead with the nuclear deal. Subsequent developments have further vindicated the correctness of this decision. However, the report self-critically concludes that it was wrong to have allowed the UPA government to go to the IAEA on the safeguards agreement. In the political resolution of the 19th Congress it was assessed that the government will not proceed further given the opposition of the Left parties. This was a mistaken assessment. The reason for this was an underestimation of the capacity and determination of the Congress party and the ruling classes to implement the nuclear deal and to forge an alliance with the United States. Unlike what was speculated widely in the media, the issue discussed was not whether it was correct or wrong to withdraw support to the government but the assessment when to withdraw support was correct or not.


In the implementation of the electoral tactical line, the review asserted that it was necessary to rally other non-Congress secular parties with the Left to fight against the Congress and the BJP. But the electoral understanding arrived at in some of the states could not be the basis for an effective all India alternative. Given such a situation, it was not proper to give a call for an alternative secular government. We should have confined ourselves to calling for strengthening the non-Congress, non-BJP alternative.


The Party has opposed the concept of SEZs introduced by the central government. The Party is opposed to the taking away of the lands of the farmers without their consent by corporates with government connivance. After the Nandigram episode in West Bengal where no land was acquired, a big campaign was launched against the Party and the Left Front government all over the country that sought to damage the image of the Party. The review has asserted that the Party will take up the land issue, it will stand by the peasantry and the tribal people who are opposing their lands being taken away.


After reviewing the movements and struggles by the working class and other sections of the people that have taken place in the two years since the 19th Congress, the review underlined that in most places we have failed to consolidate the struggles through developing mass organisations and the Party doing the political work necessary to build up the influence of the Party. Alongwith the struggles, the mass organisations should be built up and the Party’s work should follow to ensure consolidation of the influence.


The discussion on the document showed wide agreement on the tactical line to be pursued by the Party. The adoption of the political resolution by the extended meeting of the Central Committee has given a clear signal that the Party is unified and confident on pursuing the political-tactical line to meet the current challenges.


In the weeks prior to the Vijayawada meeting there was a concerted campaign in the corporate media. This media disinformation campaign was concocted to show that the leadership was divided, that there were serious differences on how to tackle the political situation. In an earlier period, the favourite theme used to be the Kerala line versus the West Bengal line. This time it was posed as the West Bengal line versus the Centre line. All this was being done with a view to confuse and demoralise the Party ranks especially in West Bengal who are heroically facing the difficult situation. The extended meeting has not only refuted this lying campaign but also shown positively how the CPI(M) as a Communist Party fights back unitedly to overcome an adverse situation.


The rally held at the conclusion of the extended meeting in Vijayawada city was remarkable for its large turnout. The huge gathering sat through the meeting in a disciplined way in the hot sun to hear the speeches of the leaders. It was a fitting conclusion to a successful meeting.