People's Democracy

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


No. 08

February 19, 2012




Militant Struggles against

Neo-Liberal Offensive


N S Arjun


AFTER successfully safeguarding the movement during the period of tough and unfavourable conditions of the past four years, the CPI(M) Andhra unit has decided to embark on strengthening its effort and organisation at the grassroots level. Coming to the conclusion that the conditions are now easing and are favourable for its expansion, the Party has also decided to launch militant struggles against the onslaught of neo-liberal policies of the central and state governments.


This was decided at the three day 23rd state conference of the CPI(M) Andhra Pradesh state committee held at Comrade Harkishan Singh Surjeet Nagar in Khammam during February 2 – 4, 2012. A total of 725 delegates, observers and veterans attended the conference representing all districts of the state. CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat and Polit Bureau members Sitaram Yechury and Brinda Karat sat through the deliberations on behalf of all India centre.




Prakash Karat inaugurated the state conference in an inaugural session that was packed with delegates, observers and scores of prominent citizens and well wishers of the Party in Khammam. He asserted that the CPI(M) will devote all its efforts in the coming period to strengthen itself because the need of the hour is a stronger Left in the country to fight back the onslaught of neo-liberal policies and to prevent communal forces from gaining ground. Towards this end it will take initiative to unite all Left forces and also rally all democratic and secular forces on people's issues.


The proceedings began with the flag hoisting by veteran leader of Party and Telangana armed struggle fighter Parsa Satyanarayana in the presence of delegates. It was followed by paying of homage to martyrs.


Prakash Karat began his inaugural address by paying homage to the martyrs of Telangana armed struggle, many of whom were from Khammam district also. He said unlike non-Communist parties, CPI(M) conducts its affairs most democratically. “In our Party there is no 'high command' sitting in New Delhi issuing diktats. Our conferences up to the lowest levels discuss all issues democratically and chalk out their activity”, he said.


Karat lambasted the UPA government for focussing only on growth and refusing to see the all round deprivation of the masses. He said two decades of neo-liberal policies have increased growth but the benefits of that growth went only to a miniscule section of population. A shameless record of this government has been the consistently high double digit inflation rate for 38 months. People's lives are being attacked in the form of massive price rise and massive corruption. There is increased rural distress which is reflected in growing number of farmer suicides in many states of the country. In Andhra Pradesh alone, in the month of January this year, a total of 160 farmers committed suicide, said Karat and held the central and state governments' anti-peasant policies responsible for this state of affairs. In Bengal also, ever since Trinamool Congress assumed power, the procurement machinery in the state has collapsed and indebtedness increased leading to number of suicides in the state, which was unheard of during the 34 years of Left Front rule.


Karat felt that it was because the CPI(M) and the Left had been consistently fighting against the UPA government's neo-liberal policies and its collaboration with imperialism, it has been targeted in Bengal where over 450 comrades were martyred. 177 of these comrades were murdered by 'Maoists'. He said Trinamool Congress used 'Maoists' to weaken the CPI(M) and once that goal was achieved, it has started targeting them.“The 'Maoists' who keep claiming they were the most revolutionary force have actually played the most anti-revolutionary role in Bengal” charged Karat. He however noted that there is increased resistance in Bengal by farmers and other toiling sections against the anarchy of TMC rule. Karat concluded by saying that in the coming period the resistance against neo-liberal policies and imperialism is going to intensify.


CPI secretary K Narayana in his fraternal address said that only the Left parties had the moral right to fight against corruption because they have never been tainted by it. He said there is enough space for both the Left parties to expand instead of jostling in the same places. He expressed the willingness of his party to carry on a united fight against the anti-people policies of central and state governments.


CPI(M) state secretary and Polit Bureau member B V Raghavulu said that the 23rd state conference of the Party will discuss on how to bring back the issues of people on to the political agenda of the state, which is reeling under political crises. The issue of Telangana is deliberately being kept burning while the Congress bigwigs in Delhi keep watching the drama. He charged the Congress of playing with the future of the state. He felt the main opposition party in the state, the Telugu Desam, has also lost credibility due to its opportunistic stance on this issue. In such a situation it is the responsibility of the Left to bring the people's issues on to the political agenda. He felt that greater unity among Left will help in rallying the democratic forces through struggles. He said the true strength of Left parties must not be weighed in terms of seats or in terms of the coverage they get in media. It must be assessed in terms of the struggles they wage.


Earlier, Thammineni Veerabhadram, chairman of the Reception Committee, in his welcome address expressed happiness that the state conference is being held in this land of struggles after 43 years.


CPI(M) Polit Bureau members Brinda Karat and Sitaram Yechury, central secretariat member V Srinivasa Rao, central committee members Thammineni Veerabhadram, Mallu Swarajyam, P Madhu, M A Gafoor, S Punyavati and K Hemalatha were present on the dais along with veteran leader and former MP Dr Y Radhakrishna Murthy and Reception Committee secretary Sudarshan.


CPI(M) state secretariat member Y Venkateshwara Rao moved a condolence resolution paying homage to veterans of the movement who have passed away during this period. Among them included Comrades Harkishan Singh Surjeet, Jyoti Basu, M K Pandhe, E Balanandan, Baidyanath Mazumdar and others. The resolution also paid homage to hundreds of martyrs who laid down their lives in Bengal and other parts of the country. A two minute silence was observed as a mark of respect.




Raghavulu placed the political-organisational report in the delegates session that began the same afternoon. The report takes stock of the Party’s work in the concrete conditions prevailing since the last state conference held in Ranga Reddy district in 2008. It notes the severe unfavourable conditions that had begun at the time of last conference and prevailed ever since. The Congress government under the leadership of late Y S Rajashekar Reddy had particularly targeted the CPI(M) with a vengeance in order to weaken the opposition to its policies. Under the scheme of Operation Aakarsh, it had used all methods to lure defections from other political parties and a few from CPI(M) too fell prey to it. After the death of YSR in a helicopter crash and the consequent bickering within Congress, the separate Telangana movement gained strength, which created another kind of unfavourable situation for the Party. In such tough conditions, the CPI(M) state committee formulated the following four tactics to overcome the unfavourable situation: (i) no confrontationist approach towards the separate Telangana movement; (ii) stay away from the opportunist movements launched in favour of keeping the state united; (iii) concentrate on local issues and work on them; (iv) strengthen the ideological study of the cadre through intensive study circles. Almost all the delegates who participated in the discussion stated that these four tactics were very effective in dealing with the difficult situation. The stress on ideological equipping of the cadre helped in tackling the onslaught of separatist propaganda.


The experience of few districts in Telangana where local issues were taken up in a consistent manner has been very positive. For example in Warangal district, where Telangana movement is intensive, the Party unit regularly conducted struggles for house sites. This not only prevented it from being isolated politically, it actually resulted in expansion of the Party into newer areas and increase in membership. Similar has been the experience of other North Telangana districts where our movement is relatively weaker. The taking up of issues relating to dalits and tribals also helped the Party in going among the masses in the difficult situation. The SC, ST sub plans issue, the cycle yatras demanding funds for improvement of dwelling places of dalits and tribals, the TU effort on issues of unorganised workers particularly the struggle of contract workers, the struggle on hostel students’ issues etc were cited by the delegates. Some felt that the four tactics we adopted has actually resulted in the increase of Party prestige among people across regions. The struggle on tenant farmers and the work on MNREGA implementation also created a positive impact.


The report reviews the experience of the Party in having electoral adjustments with bourgeois parties in the state since 1984 and comes to the conclusion that these continuous adjustments have acted as a hurdle in consolidating our struggles. The wrongful practices of bourgeois parties have had negative impact on our Party, it notes. Overall it was felt that these adjustments have not been useful to the Party. Most delegates participating in the discussion also stressed on increasing the independent strength of the Party. At the same time Raghavulu clarified in his reply to the discussion that the state political tactical line will have to dovetail to the all India tactical line that will be formulated in the coming Party Congress.


Raghavulu stated that the Party is proud of the work done by comrades in such a difficult situation. Safeguarding the movement and expanding in few places in Telangana region, for example in Nalgonda district, in such a tough situation has been credible, he stressed. Referring to discussion in the media about CPI(M) not being active in the last four years, he said this period saw maximum number of strikes, cycle yatras, struggles on social issues etc. Yet the media has underplayed all of them and focussed only on Telangana issue. He called upon the cadre not to have any illusions about media coverage. He noted that the movement has expanded during this period but there has been no corresponding increase in mass base. Many delegates from districts also made this point in their presentations. Two new proposals were made in the report: (i) lower committees must function independently in a decentralised manner and (ii) explore informal organisational forms to tap wider sections of people. One cautionary advice was that while decentralising it is imperative to have proper cadre allotted for the work at lower levels. The delegates responded positively to the proposals and assured to implement them in the coming period.


Another area that was flagged was the membership of mass organisations. Although there is high growth in membership, it is not being reflected in terms of activity or strength. The membership is increasing based on the efforts of the cadre, not on the strength of the movement. Raghavulu suggested whether the trade union model of forming committees prior to undertaking membership can be adopted by all other mass organisations in order to rectify this situation. Many delegates felt this point needs further discussion. Concern was expressed about parliamentarianism in the Party. The work in priority areas has been reduced to only fighting elections, accepted many delegates. Raghavulu said that parliamentarianism is marked not just by desire for posts but also by neglect of mass organisations activity, believing that lobbying would get problems solved etc. He concluded by saying that the coming period is going to be favourable for struggles as both the governments are going ahead with policies that further burden the masses. The Party should strengthen its effort and organisation at the grassroots level and take a step forward.


A total of 77 delegates participated in the discussion district wise and mass organisations wise spread over two days. Over 40 resolutions were passed by the state conference on various issues concerning the people of the state. Earlier a five-member presidium comprising Paturi Ramaiah, S Malla Reddy, P Anantharama Sharma, K Iliah and T Nirmala was elected to conduct the proceedings of the conference.




Prakash Karat made an intervention on the second day of the conference and explained the salient points in the draft political resolution for the 20 th Party Congress released recently. He said the focus of the Party in the coming period would be to increase its independent strength. Movements of basic classes who have been impacted by the pursuit of neo-liberal policies is most necessary for this. Taking up social oppression issues of dalits, tribals, minorities, women etc also assumes priority. “We need to step up our organisational, political and ideological work to strengthen the Party. The tasks set up before us in the Draft Political Resolution – fighting against neo-liberal policies; isolating communal forces and resisting imperialist penetration – requires that Left is strengthened.  Experience shows that the only alternative to bourgeois landlord ruling alliance is the Left and democratic alternative. For this to take shape, it requires the strengthening and widening of Left unity by bringing together all Left minded forces. Also a third alternative that is built on policy based platform would have to be strived for in order to prevent bipolar fronts in the country, he said. Karat concluded with the call to focus mainly on developing independent strength of the Party, strengthening Left unity, rally all secular and democratic forces and defend, protect and expand our bases in West Bengal and Tripura.


Sitaram Yechury in his concluding speech in the conference, just after the election of the new leadership, expressed satisfaction at the deliberations that were marked by greater unity and a sense of revitalisation. He said the Andhra unit has a key role to play in increasing Party's independent strength. Any revolutionary tactic must have two elements in it: (i) how to change the correlation of forces in favour of people and (ii) how to increase the splits among class enemies. Keeping this in mind we have to orient our work towards increasing the independent strength of Party, he underlined. He also wanted the new state committee to take effective steps to consolidate the new contacts from various struggles. Apprehending increased attacks on Party's strongest bases like Bengal, Yechury said that these can be resisted effectively if we increase our independent strength.




Of the 725 attending the state conference, there were 559 delegates, 144 observers and 22 veterans. As per the credentials report submitted to the conference by Dr M Babu Rao, over half of those attending were aged below 50 years. Women attendees were 98. Wholetimers were 521. Those below 30 years were 41 in number; between 31-40 were 186; between 41-50 were 237; between 51-60 were 159; between 61-70 were 57 and over 71 years were 24 persons.


As for class background, 59 came from working class, 117 from agricultural labour, 136 from poor peasants, 176 from middle peasants, 35 from rich farmer background, 53 from artisans, 72 from urban middle class, 14 from petty traders, and 7 from landlord background.


As for social composition, there were 117 from SCs, 32 from STs, 244 from BCs, 26 from minorities and 262 from upper castes. 410 had studied upto graduation and above. Bulk of those attending had joined the Party after 1976. Those who had joined between 1976-91 were 346 while 282 had joined the Party between 1992-2000. Those who joined after 2000 were 84 in number.


Among the attendees 19 persons underwent jail terms of more than a year while 96 for less than a year.  221 underwent detention for some days. Those who were underground for more than a year were 19 while for less than a year the figure was 38.


The Reception Committee conducted a variety of programmes on the sidelines of the conference that evoked good response from the people of Khammam. A four day street theatre festival, a week long book exhibition, a science exhibition organised by students of few schools and colleges etc were thronged by people in large numbers.