People's Democracy

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


No. 09

February 26, 2012


The Conference That Created A New Saga


Pinarayi Vijayan


THE Kerala state conference of the CPI(M), held during the run-up to the 20th party congress, started at Thiruvananthapuram on February 7 and successfully culminated on February 10. The conference, which effectively chalked out the future tasks, assumed extreme significance because of its sharp focus on massive participation in numerous programmes. The state conference also assumed significance in view of the fact that the coming party congress, scheduled to take place at Kozhikkode, is prepared to discuss the draft ideological resolution of the party.


Unlike in the earlier decade, the working class movement has of late got momentum worldwide. Also, an alternative perspective to the US sponsored neo-liberalism has attained an impetus, especially in the Latin American countries. In our country too, the working class in the midst of preparations for a joint general strike against the neo-liberal policies. In Kerala, fierce resentment is mounting against the UDF government’s policies in all fields. The people of Kerala look at the CPI(M) with greater expectation at this juncture, and the immense and excited involvement of the general public in all the programmes related with the conference substantiated this fact. The massive participation, right from the formation of the reception committee, got further augmented in all the subsequent programmes.


Every nook and corner of Thiruvananthapuram was decorated with gates and memorials in the name of the comrades and leaders who had devoted their whole life for the communist movement.


The red flag hoisted at the public meeting’s venue in Chandrasekharan Nair Stadium was brought from the Martyrs Column at Kayyur in Kasaragod district, where heroic communist fighters laid down their life in the struggle against feudalism and British imperialism. The jatha which brought this flag was led by the party’s Central Committee member E P Jayarajan and inaugurated by Kodiyeri Balakrishnan. Tens of thousands of people rallied all through the way to salute the Flag Jatha. The jatha which began on January 30 passed through various centres in Malabar and Central Kerala before it reached Thiruvananthapuram on February 6.


Similarly, the flagpole was brought from the Martyrs Column in Vayalar, the land of heroic struggles against ruthless exploitation and dictatorship of the Diwan’s rule. The flagpole jatha was led by CPI(M) Central Committee member M A Baby. It was inaugurated by V S Achudanandan who himself was a part of the Punnapra Vayalar struggle. The flagpole march which begun from the historical land of Alappuzha also received heartfelt greetings at various centres. The conference torch was brought from the memorial of the late Kattayikkonam V Sreedhar, who made a significant contribution to building the party in Thiruvananthapuram. The conference torch procession was inaugurated by Anathalavattam Anandan and was led by Anavur Nagappan. Numerous other adjoining torchlight processions also began from other martyr columns in the district and culminated on February 6 at the conference venue. Subsequently the organising committee chairman M Vijayakumar hoisted the red flag at E Balanandan Nagar, the public meeting’s venue in the Chandrasekharan Nair Stadium. The huge crowds which assembled at various centres to salute these jathas manifested how the people at large felt about the party’s state conference.


As part of the conference, numerous programmes were also organised before its commencement and were also widely appreciated by the general public. The history exhibition titled “Marx is Right” at the Putharikkandam Grounds in Thiruvananthapuram attracted lakhs of people. The exhibition, which depicted the evolution of the society, included a wide range of pictures, paintings, clippings and copies of historical documents illuminating the history of struggles for social and political liberation through the centuries. These included the portraits and images of heroic martyrs who laid down their lives for the cause of the people. Images of the heroic martyrs right from Jesus Christ onward, in chronological order, were displayed in the exhibition that aimed at looking at human history in its totality. The images included those of great leaders like Karl Marx, Lenin and Che Guevara, depicting the way the communist movement emerged and advanced worldwide. It told about numerous junctures of the people’s heroic resistance, the social actions that led to the emergence of the present day society in Kerala, and the struggles in West Bengal over centuries, photo exhibition, among other things. All this became an effective means of mass education.


Various other programmes including folklore shows were organised to acquaint the new generation with the traditions of the people’s art and culture.


Many movies on progress of the people’s movement were also shown. These included the movies that presented the life sketches of A K Gopalan, E M S Namboodiripad, Bhagat Singh, Che Guevara and the movies on struggles in the Latin America, China etc, and were all appreciated by the people passionately.


The book fair organised with numerous books from more than 70 Malayalam and 50 English publishers was a grand feast for knowledge seekers.


The local food festival too became a distinctive programme and made the people to feel the local food habits, including those of the tribes.


Due significance was given to various art forms which helped in mass education and the advancement of progressive movements in the past, as part of the additional programmes on the occasion of the conference. The massive participation in such programmes proved that drama and Kathaprasangam (musical story telling) can capture the hearts of the people even today. Such programmes told us how various art forms can be used for social advancement and also made the public recall how such art forms were used effectively to rouse the people’s consciousness. Numerous such art forms were organised in different parts of the district.


Numerous seminars on contemporary topics were effectively organised throughout the district and they successfully told the saga of resistance worldwide today as well as the continuing relevance of Marxism. These seminars were a model for mass political education and brought out the lessons of people’s politics.


There was a long queue of the people waiting for their turn to see the street-side art exhibition, thus showing the possibility of using this means for forging resistance. In our culture, dances too have their own significance as various forms of people’s expression. As part of the conference propaganda, such art forms were also used. Programmes based on poetry were also designed as part of the conference. The Thayambaka performance of students (a type of solo chenda performance) and cultural performances by university talents, organised on the sidelines of the conference, signified the creative potentials of the future generation.


All these diverse programmes, organised as part of the state conference, upheld the scientific worldview of Marxism and interlinked all the realms of human life including art, literature and culture. The Marxist ideologues were clear about how revolution becomes a people’s festival. Lenin described revolution as “a festival of the oppressed and exploited. At no other time are the masses of people in a position to come forward so actively, as creators of a new social order as at a time of revolution. At such times the people are capable of performing miracles, if judged by the narrow, philistine scale of gradual progress.” In a like manner, the CPI(M) state conference at Thiruvananthapuram turned out to be a people’s festival. Many were astonished as this conference advancing towards great heights. It made some sections think that no other movement can organise such an amazing conference and hence it made them try to mire the conference itself in controversies rather than appreciating this astounding event created by the strength and creativity of the people.


It is an irrefutable fact that this achievement was made possible by the single-minded effort of 29,962 party members and lakhs of sympathisers of the party who rallied behind the Marxist ideology.