People's Democracy

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


No. 15

April 15, 2012




CPI(M) 20th Congress Redoubles 

Resolve to Meet Challenges


FOR six days, 727 elected delegates and 74 observers discussed and adopted three major documents – Draft Political Resolution, Draft Resolution on Some Ideological Issues and Draft Political-Organisational Report – at the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) held at Kozhikode, Kerala from April 4-9, 2012.  This issue of People’s Democracy mainly covers various aspects of the deliberations of this significant Congress. 


In accordance with the practice of inner-Party democracy followed by the CPI(M), rarely seen in any other political party in India, the first two drafts were released to the Party rank and file and put in the public domain for full two months before the Congress.  Consequently, 3,713 pre-Congress amendments were considered and 163 were accepted in the Political Resolution. Likewise 1,014 pre-Congress amendments were considered for the Ideological Resolution of whom 38 were accepted. Additionally, delegates to the Congress moved 349 amendments in the Congress to the Political Resolution and 235 for the Ideological Resolution. The Congress considered each one of these meticulously and accepted some.  The adopted  Resolutions are the outcome of such intense discussions which laid down the political-tactical line of the CPI(M) which shall be followed for the coming three years. 


This 20th Congress was held in the background of the continuing global crisis of capitalism  which is the worst since the great depression of the 1930s.  This has resoundingly vindicated the CPI(M)’s Marxist-Leninist understanding  that capitalism can never be a system free from either human exploitation and crises. For the first time in the last two decades since the  dismantling of socialism in the former USSR and East Europe, the worldwide growing public protests against  this crisis and the unprecedented hardships and miseries that it is heaping on the majority of the world’s people, have started questioning capitalism as a system itself and highlighting the need for an alternative.  Likewise in India, this is expressing itself in the protests and struggles rising against the hardships being imposed by the neo-liberal economic policies pursued by the Indian ruling classes.  These self-learnt experiences of the people once again resoundingly vindicate the Marxist-Leninist understanding that socialism alone can be the alternative system where human exploitation is put to an end and the advances made by human civilization benefit everybody rather than a few.  The need for this alternative to capitalism is fast growing across the globe. 


The moot point, however, as Marx had famously said is to change this world not merely to understand it.  This was the main issue discussed in this 20th Congress: how to strengthen the political alternative to capitalism in Indian concrete conditions.


The strengthening of such an alternative can only happen through the strengthening of the Left and democratic forces in India.  The task of achieving this objective is what the Political Resolution focused upon. The main thrust of the political-tactical line that the CPI(M) will pursue  for the next three years till its next Congress is aimed at strengthening the Left and democratic forces through mighty people’s struggles  against the growing miseries being heaped by the ruling classes’ trajectory of socio-economic policies.  While the objective situation is sharply pointing towards the need to strengthen a political alternative to capitalism, the subjective factor, i.e., the unity in struggles of all the exploited sections of the people led by the working class needs to  be strengthened to establish such a political alternative. 


In order to achieve this objective of strengthening the subjective factor and thereby establishing the political alternative through the strengthening of the Left and democratic forces, the Party Congress highlighted eight  areas which need to be  seriously addressed and the challenges thrown up be squarely met.


Firstly, there is an urgent need to meet and defeat the ideological challenges that imperialism and reactionary forces mount against Marxism and socialism. For two decades, they propagated the ‘eternality’ of capitalism  and pronounced the death of Marxism and socialism.  Today in the face of this severe global capitalist crisis, such ideological offensives are being severely mounted through new theoretical  constructs  like post-modernism.  The essential point of all these ideological attacks is to deny the very existence of class exploitation and class struggle and seeking to portray human society and civilization as the summation of a multitude of  micro or local phenomena. These ideological challenges, thus, seek to obfuscate the truth of intensified human exploitation and the degradation of nature under capitalism. 


Secondly, the strengthening of the Left and democratic forces can only happen through the strengthening of popular militant struggles of the vast exploited masses in India.  It is these extra parliamentary struggles that need to be strengthened. Further, it is only the strength of these struggles that will be reflected in the increased representation of the CPI(M) and the Left in parliament, state assemblies and other democratic local bodies.  The latter cannot be achieved through political manoeuvring and parliamentary opportunism.  It can only happen through the strength of the Left that is built on the basis of such popular people’s struggles.  Thus, the effective combination of extra parliamentary and parliamentary means of struggle must be strengthened to achieve this objective.


Thirdly, such strengthening of militant popular struggles can only materialise  when a unity in struggles is built  between the working class and the poor peasants and agricultural labour. This worker-peasant alliance will be the bedrock of strengthened popular struggles.


Fourthly, this objective of strengthening the worker-peasant alliance can be achieved only  when the unity of the working class itself is strengthened. The very logic of neo-liberal reforms leads to and perpetuates  the rapid growth of the labour force that is increasingly relegated into unorganised categories. The conversion of regular employment into casual and contract labour, apart from generating higher profits, is the effort of the ruling classes to ensure that working class unity remains divided and disrupted.   This challenge has to be overcome by drawing the vast growing mass of unorganised labour into the organised working class movement. 


Fifthly, given the ideological sustenance provided by anti-Marxist, anti-Communist ideological constructs like  post-modernism, there is an increasing rise of identity politics that again seeks to disrupt the class unity of the exploited sections.  The CPI(M) has all along maintained that the class struggle in India can be intensified only by simultaneously taking up issues of economic exploitation and social oppression. Unless the issues of social oppression based on caste, ethnicity and gender are championed by the CPI(M) and the Left forces, these sections  can fall victim  in such identity politics and disrupt that very class unity  that we seek to strengthen. Hence, there is a need to strengthen the struggles against both economic exploitation and social oppression simultaneously. 


Sixthly, the challenge of communalism – of majority Hindu communalism and minority religious fundamentalism of all hues – needs to be combated.  These seek to divide the unity of the exploited sections on the basis of religious divides and, thus, exploit the religious beliefs of the Indian people for their  sectarian and disruptive political objectives.  Apart from weakening the foundations of a modern secular democratic India, communalism grievously disrupts that very unity of the exploited sections which needs to be strengthened in order to strengthen the Left and democratic forces. 


Seventhly, in a multinational country like India, with globally unmatched socio-cultural-religious diversity, the proclivities for the growth of reactionary ethnic nationalism which divides people on narrow sectarian lines are immense.  While championing the struggles against genuine oppression and discrimination of these sections, these challenges that seek to further divide the unity of the exploited sections must be squarely met and defeated.


Eighthly, the struggles of the people of the economically backward regions of our country will have to be strongly championed by the CPI(M) and the Left.  The tendencies of using economic backwardness for the reordering of existing Indian States by disrupting the principle of linguistic reorganisation also seek to divide the class unity of the exploited sections. 


In order to achieve the objective of strengthening the Left and democratic alternative by meeting and overcoming such challenges, it is absolutely imperative that the CPI(M) strengthens itself organisationally. None of these objectives can be achieved without organisationally strengthening the CPI(M) and on its basis building the unity of the exploited sections in our country.  These tasks were addressed by the Political-Organisational report.  


The 20th Congress of the CPI(M) has, thus, redoubled its resolve  to meet the current challenges – ideological, political and organisational – and strengthen the political alternative to the current path of neo-liberal capitalist developments pursued by the ruling classes.  The CPI(M), thus, shall discharge its revolutionary responsibilities by mobilising all exploited sections of the Indian people in order to change the current correlation of class forces among our people and mount the revolutionary offensive for the establishment of people’s democracy and, on its foundation, socialism – the only basis of human liberation and emancipation. 

(April 11, 2012)