People's Democracy

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


No. 15

April 15, 2012




A Sea of Red

N S Arjun

THE delegate comrade from West Bengal, marching the short distance from the Congress venue to the public meeting venue on the beach on April 9, was overwhelmed with emotion as eager hands stretched out to him after knowing he is from Bengal and shouted in broken English: Super fight comrade, we support you.


Language was indeed no barrier to understand the message of the full-throated, vigorous sloganeering of the thousands of working people lined up on either side of the streets of Kozhikode through which the delegates were marching. We Shall Overcome and March Ahead seemed to be the determined cry of the thousands massed on the route, leaving not even an inch of space vacant. The hot sun seemed to be not even a minor irritant. The faces of little children who sat on the shoulders of their parent also lit up with joy as the delegates greeted them by shaking hands or waving. People stood on the compound walls, some climbed on to the trees to catch a better glimpse of the leaders. There was so much of josh in the crowds all around, in the sloganeering, in the Red salutes, in the waving to leaders, soon it was matched by the delegates also. Equally, there was discipline. Not a person from the crowd barged into the narrow path of delegates and observers marching to the venue.


But this is a glimpse of only one small part of the massive sea of Red that Kozhikode turned into on April 9. Twenty five thousand Red uniformed volunteers, belonging to the 15 local area committees of the Party in the district, divided themselves into three contingents and conducted marches from three parts of the city at 3 p.m. to M K Pandhe Nagar at Kozhikode Beach where the public meeting was being held.  Each contingent of the rally was divided into 15 sections and each section was headed by a captain. A large part of these volunteers were women who were dressed in red kameez and white salwar while the men wore red shirt and khaki pants. At the lead of each contingent was a big band playing revolutionary tunes. The amount of hard work they put in during the training showed off as the newly elected general secretary of CPI(M), Prakash Karat, took the salute from the dais. It was perfect, military style performance!


Even as these huge Red uniformed volunteers marches were happening, the city was bursting at the seams with hundreds of thousands of people descending from all over Kozhikode district. The Party state committee had decided to limit the mobilisation for the public meeting to only this district and yet it was over 5 lakh people who were at the beach to hear the leaders!


It was a festive atmosphere at the beach. There were red kites flying in the sky, boats adorned with red flags and festoons were floating around near the venue. People were perched on tree tops on the road adjoining the beach to catch a glimpse of the proceedings. The composition of the crowd showcased the strength of the CPI(M) in this historic district which was the birthplace of the Communist Party in Kerala. The workers were out in large numbers, so also the peasants, youth, women and other sections. The dais itself was a huge one modelled on heritage buildings with pillars and statues spread around. The dais, which was 120 feet in length and 40 feet in width could easily accommodate over 100 persons! As a measure of honour statues of nine founding Polit Bureau members were showcased at the venue. The newly elected Polit Bureau and central committee members were all seated on the dais. Huge television screens were also put up to enable people at far to see the proceedings clearly. It is estimated the crowd extended up to 3 km from the dais.


T P Ramakrishnan, Kozhikode district secretary of the Party, welcomed the leaders and gathering. CPI(M) Polit Bureau member and secretary of Kerala state committee, Pinarayi Vijayan presided over the public meeting.


Prakash Karat began his speech with few sentences in Malayalam that drew a huge applause from the crowd. He greeted the Red uniformed volunteers for their excellent display and felt it was not surprising because Kozhikode was home to first revolutionary activity when Comrades P Krishna Pillai, EMS, Damodaran and N C Shekar formed the first Communist unit in the state. The strength of the Party in this district can be gauged from the fact that over 12 lakh people out of the total 30 lakh population are organised under various class and mass organisations of the Party.


The pursuit of neo-liberal policies by Manmohan Singh government had resulted in unprecedented price rise, suicides of farmers, massive corruption in all spheres etc. Karat asserted that in the coming days, CPI(M) will do everything in its power to mobilise people and launch powerful united movements to fight against these neo-liberal policies and its adverse impact. He saw no difference between Congress and BJP as far as pursuing economic policies and indulging in corruption are concerned. Therefore in order to provide a Left and democratic alternative to these bourgeois parties, the CPI(M) has to be strengthened and the organisational measures needed to do so have been taken in the Party Congress.


The glorious legacy of anti-imperialist fighters such as Kunhali Marakkar who fought against the Portuguese was underlined by Karat who said the CPI(M) would carry forward the legacy by fighting against UPA governments strategic alliance with US imperialists. He recalled how the massive protests in Kerala last year against India-US joint naval exercises, Operation Malabar, forced the Indian government to shift the exercise to Bay of Bengal this year.


Karat warned those who were thinking they can wipe CPI(M) off with violence in Bengal to note the history of Communist movement in the state. The CPI(M) faced semi-fascist terror and emerged stronger. Similarly this time also, despite the large scale killings of CPI(M) cadre and leaders, the Party will confidently go ahead and advance in Bengal. In Kerala also the CPI(M) and LDF will in the coming days make tremendous advance by fighting on peoples issues. 


Polit Bureau member S Ramachandran Pillai in his speech said that the corporate medias false campaigning that the CPI(M) has lost its significance and relevance with the setbacks the Party suffered in the Lok Sabha polls and assembly polls was proved wrong.  The relevance of the Party as well as the Left forces was increasing in the given political situation.  The CPI(M) is not dependent on its electoral strength or gains in the polls. Instead, the Party is going ahead with its strength of mass organisations.  The general strike orgnaised on February 28 against neo-liberal policies was historic and it will have its impact on the countrys economic-political-social fronts, he said. SRP said that only the CPI(M) and the Left would be able to defeat communalism and attempts to divide people on caste lines.  While the Congress-led UPA government is aggressively pursuing neo-liberal policies at the behest of US imperialism, the BJP is extending all its support to the policies.  Only the Left forces are opposing these anti-people policies and raising issues of common people, he said. 


Polit Bureau member and secretary of Bengal state committee Biman Basu in his brief address said that Bengal communists and democratic sections of people were passing through a difficult time with increasing attacks by ruling Trinamool Congress goons. The democratic rights are being trampled upon openly. He said the Party state committee during its recent state conference decided to rectify and overcome the mistakes and organise the working class to face the onslaught of TMC. He expressed his gratitude to the democratic people of Kerala who responded magnificently to the Bengal Solidarity Fund call given by the central committee. Around Rs 3.75 crore were collected from Kerala and Kozhikode district alone contributed Rs 37 lakh. 


Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury in his speech lambasted the Indian ruling classes for being under a false impression that they can have a field day to do what they want because the Left has lost in the recent elections. The worker-peasant alliance led by the CPI(M) would surely fight back the ruinous policies of the ruling classes. He said the Left-led governments in Kerala, Bengal and Tripura have shown that alternative policies can be implemented to provide relief to the people. He contrasted this with the governments that have replaced Left-led ones in Kerala and Bengal that were once again witnessing the suicides of farmers. He asserted that a Left and Democratic alternative will be evolved on the basis of mass struggles and strengthening of the CPI(M). He gave a Red salute to the people of Kozhikode who turned out in such huge numbers for the public meeting.


Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat in her address noted the love of the people of Kerala for the CPI(M) that was so much in evidence during the successful conduct of the Party Congress. She said the ruling classes were targeting the Red flag because their anti-people policies are being challenged by it. It is the Red flag that stood by the poor dalits, tribals and women and made them join the struggle against these policies. She charged the UPA government of pursuing policies that were strengthening the communal forces. The Left is against terrorism of all hues and will fight against communalism of all sorts.


Polit Bureau member and state secretary of the CPI(M) Pinarayi Vijayan said that the ruling UDF in Kerala was functioning as per the diktats of religious and caste organisations. The ongoing crisis in the ruling coalition was the result of its yielding to the pressures of such communal and caste forces. In a coalition set up, the parties would have to function jointly.  However, each partner in the UDF was taking decisions on its own.  The government was not functioning on the basis of collective responsibility.  The chief minister and the Congress party were succumbing to the pressures of the Muslim League.  Practically, the Muslim League was controlling the Home portfolio, he charged.


The UDF was trying to save the government from collapse by using money power and resorting to horse trading of legislators.  Vijayan said that the CPI(M) would intensify its agitation against the anti-people measures of the UDF government.


Polit Bureau member Kodiyeri Balakrishanan said that the administration in Kerala has come to a standstill because of the tussle between the coalition partners in the ruling UDF.  The government has miserably failed to solve peoples issues. Even the assembly speaker is brought to the scene of internal fight, he said pointing out the controversy over fifth ministerial berth to the Muslim League. Noting that it is only the CPI(M) that would organise such a huge conference with discipline, Kodiyeri said the massive rally and the volunteer march held as a culmination of the Party Congress would be a model to all political parties. 


The newly elected Polit Bureau member M A Baby said that the attempts of anti-communist forces to portray the CPI(M) as a force that opposes religious beliefs would not succeed.  Such propaganda against Communist Party and its leaders was not new.  The CPI(M) always respected religions and their beliefs. In fact, it was the communists who fought for  freedom of worship and freedom of religious beliefs in Kerala.  When the nuns and priests were attacked in Odisha by the Sangh Parivar forces, it was the CPI(M) which provided them shelters and protection, said Baby.


The rally concluded with the vote of thanks by district secretariat member of the Party, P Mohan.