(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
March 04, 2012
KERALA STATE CONFERENCE
Asserting the Vigour of the Party
AT the time the 19th Kerala state conference of the party was held at Kottayam, the party membership here was 3,36,644. As it had reached 3,70,818 at the time of the 20th congress, there has been a significant growth of 34,174 members in the state. As growth in party membership is a measure of the party’s organisational expansion, a growth of 34,174 membership the Kerala means the party’s state unit has made a momentous organisational advance, of more than 10 per cent, subsequent to the 19th conference.
The 20th state conference of the party Thiruvananthapuram commenced on February 7, with V S Achudanandan hoisting the red flag. Kodiyeri Balakrishnan placed the resolution on martyrs and M A Baby moved the condolence resolution. Party general secretary Prakash Karat inaugurated the conference.
The work report, placed subsequently, reviewed the future tasks set by the last (Kottayam) conference and assessed how far the state unit of the party could accomplish the responsibilities entrusted by the 19th party congress. While analysing the international, national and Kerala situation, the report took note of the continuing protest and movements; the effects of alternative policies and the initiatives to fight globalisation worldwide; impact of the neo-liberal policies in our country and its present disarray; and significance of building a movement against the neo-liberal policies at the present juncture.
Taking note of the increase in the number of party units in the state, the report described it as a parameter of organisational expansion. During the period since the last state conference, the number of party’s branches have increased by 2370; at present 28,825 party branches are functioning in the state. Currently the number of local committees stands at 1978, including the newly formed 151committees. The number of area committees has increased to 202, thus registering an increase of 20 committees.
After the last party conference, the report pointed out, very significant progress was recorded insofar as the unity and overall strength of the party is concerned. Certain flaws still exist in this regard, however, and the report underscored how this weakness weakens the party, its prospects and progress, and therefore emphasised the importance of ensuring unity in the party. The mass base of the party can be expanded only by ensuring the expansion of class and mass organisations. Subsequent to the last conference, membership of the class and mass organisations too has grown significantly; taken together their membership registered an increase of 32,83,323, thus arriving at 1,82,39,769 members in total. Activities of the class and mass organisations have expanded to newer areas. New organisations have also been formed, including the organisations of NREG workers, differently abled persons, teachers in the self-financing sector and IT sector.
The report made a close examination of the agitations and movements forged by various class and mass organisations, setback in the parliament and local bodies elections, political and organisational factors that led to an improvement in the assembly polls etc. Activities and agitations of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) were also reviewed in the report.
Further, the conference report assessed the performance of various party publications also. The forces of capitalism are use the most modern technology to propagate their ideas to impose class hegemony. The social network sites, that have emerged recently, are being used by the these forces to consciously propagate reactionary ideas including apolitical ideas, communalism and the values of capitalism. The report explains the efforts to ensure the Left presence effectively in the world of cyber communication.
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The report evaluated the vigour and inadequacy of Kerala’s development with statistical facts and figures. The rate of GDP in the state has grown during 1997-98 to 2008-2009 from 6.7 per cent to 7.68 per cent compared to the last decade. However, this increase in the growth rate was mainly from the service sector. For instance, the construction sector registered a growth rate of 8.5 per cent from 1987-88 to 1996-97, and it increased to 22.5 per cent between 1997-98 and 2008-2009. Transport and banking sectors also registered significant growths and crossed the two digit mark. It is the income from foreign countries, especially the Gulf money, which has resulted in this growth of the service sector. Under the backdrop of the shrinking job opportunities in the Gulf countries in the recent period, however, a negative impact on our economy is possible in the near future.
The report underlined the fact that only a growth in the productive sectors together with the service sector can bring about sustainable development. The continuing stagnation in the agrarian sector is the major basis for the present distressing state of affairs. The share of agriculture in the gross revenue of the state during 1987-88 was 5.21 per cent but by now it has alarmingly come down to 1.53 per cent. At the same time, the number of people depending on agriculture has not declined.
The report further elucidated the challenges facing the industrial sector. In Kerala emphasis was laid on traditional industries and chemical based industries. As numerous workers are dependent on these sectors for their livelihood, it is important to protect them. While giving due importance to protecting the traditional industries, it is significant to intervene here while keeping in mind that these industries cannot survive in the present conditions. Today it is extremely difficult to depend on chemical based industries for ensuring industrial growth. Rather, the report envisioned, it is vital to lay more emphasis on knowledge based industries such as the IT sector and on service sectors including tourism, value added agro-industries and other sectors like light engineering.
The main weakness of our economic growth is that it cannot ensure more job opportunities. In Kerala, amid the growing unemployment, the educated youth are is reluctant to work in unskilled and traditional jobs which require physical strain. At the same time, these sectors are at present filled up with workers from other states. Women are main victims of unemployment. While male unemployment in Kerala is 6.1 per cent, female unemployment is 25 per cent. Wages for female workers are lower.
In Kerala too, economic disparities are growing. Income of the high income groups has increased significantly while the income of low income groups has declined. The report made it clear that the strategies for development must be framed while taking these facts into account.
The report also underscored the menace of growing superstitions and social atrocities in Kerala society and the attempts of the caste and communal organisations to expand their influence. Any attempt to spread reactionary ideas in society and any growth of such forces would result in a weakening of the progressive forces. Therefore the report stressed on building resistance to these forces in order to safeguard the values of our renaissance. The party and the class and mass organisations have to intervene at the grassroots level to spread progressive ideas among the masses and to rejuvenate the values of the renaissance.
The report effectively analysed various facets of the people’s life and livelihood, and suggested various modes of political-organisational intervention in the given socio-political situation to strengthen the party and to expand its mass base. The report also examined the impediments before the party that hamper its expansion and identified the means to overcome them.
The discussion and deliberations made in the conference established the fact that the cock and bull stories manufactured by the media organisations lacked ground. The interventions made by delegates during the discussion focussed on various social, political and organisational issues, and made many proposals for the advancement of the party and mass organisations. This kind of criticism and self-criticism would certainly help in the development of the communist movement and lead it on path of progress.