Marx said: the philosophers have only interpreted the world so far, but the task is to change it. After going through the fairly long, 62 page, draft Political Resolution (PR hereafter) to be discussed and finalized in the 20th Congress of CPI (M), to be held in the first week of April,2004, four years after its last Congress, which was released on 28th January by its leadership to the press, the first impression any serious Marxist will get is that the philosophers in AKG Bhavan (the CPI(M) headquarters) have interpreted the present situation in detail, but have not put forward any concrete ideas to change the society they have interpreted. If one goes through the analysis they have presented, for example the following analysis of the present world situation in the first paragraph, there is nothing in it which is basically different from any available Marxist-Leninist view: “The period since the 19th Congress has seen the unfolding of the biggest economic crisis in the capitalist world since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The crisis is a direct outcome of the neo-liberal capitalist trajectory driven by international finance capital. This prolonged crisis points to the unsustainability of finance capital driven globalization”. But what is to be done against it by the working class and the international communist movement [let it be stated in the beginning itself that in the entire document presented to the Congress of the CPI(M) which calls itself a Communist Party (Marxist), the usages like international communist movement(ICM) and proletarian internationalism are conspicuously absent-kn] against this epochal development, when the imperialist system and its international finance capital driven globalization is in such a severe crisis creating extremely favorable condition for the advance of the revolutionary forces at international level? It is summarized in para.1.2 as follows: “Resisting imperialist hegemony and building progressive alternatives to the neo-liberal order comprises the main challenge today before the left and progressive forces worldwide”. By reading this one is reminded of the call of the World Social Forum, the international carnival of the NGOs, in organizing which at Mumbai in 2004 the CPI (M) leaders also were in the forefront, that there are ‘many alternatives to imperialism’. The CPI(M) leaders are not only not calling on their party to get prepared to make revolutionary advances utilizing this favorable objective world situation, they have even minimized the task of the world proletariat to “resisting imperialist hegemony and building progressive alternatives”. This stale and reformist beginning sets the tone for the whole document which is supposed to give the political orientation for the CPI (M) for the coming years.
Analysis of International Situation Omits Proletarian Internationalism.
There were newspaper reports that this time both CPI and CPI (M) are not inviting delegations of parties from outside the country to their Party Congresses. Whether it is a fact or not, the PR of the CPI (M) has conspicuously omitted the usage of proletarian internationalism and international communist movement from it. It is explaining in detail in the 14-page long International section the intensifying crisis of the international finance capital system and its consequences on the one hand, and the resistances to it from the working class and people of the oppressed countries, which it prefers to call developing countries like the imperialist agencies call them. It is dealing with the mass uprisings in North African and West Asian countries and has explained the Occupy Wall Street Movement which spread to most of the US cities and to more than 80 countries all over the world in response to the consequences of the neo-liberal policies in the life of the masses and their devastating effects on the nature. But what is missing in these explanations is a class approach to these developments and the sharpness natural to an analysis made by a revolutionary party about the development of the class struggle at the international level in the present objective situation. As an example, the invitation extended to the major ‘emerging economies’ like India, Brazil and China, as explained in the PR, to G-20 is explained as the G-8 was ‘proved unequal to the task’. While the inclusion of China, which though CPI (M) calls socialist is really a major imperialist country (‘socialism in words and imperialism in action, a social imperialist country’), along with India and Brazil which are ‘junior partners of imperialism’ in the same group is contrary to Marxist- Leninist approach, the glaring fact that this invitation is an imperialist maneuver to overcome its crisis is not explained.
Another word missing in the whole document is ‘neo-colonialism’, the new phase of imperialist plunder after the Second World War. As a result, the PR fails to explain how the imperialist penetration in new forms including the corporatization of the agricultural sector etc is taking place. As the ICM had explained in the past, if the Marxist-Leninist parties categorically analyze one of the major contradictions in the world today as the contradiction between imperialism and the oppressed nations and peoples and that in the present world situation it is the principal contradiction determining the future of world revolution, CPI(M)’s PR explains this contradiction as:”the effort by imperialism to maintain its hegemony and to rely on the ruling classes of the developing countries, which is bound to intensify the contradiction between imperialism and the people of the developing countries”(p-6).
Though the document has mentioned China, Vietnam, North Korea and Cuba as socialist countries, the PR does not dare to project them as a socialist camp as in the past or to explain what these socialist countries are doing to fight back the neo-liberal offensive of the imperialist camp led by US imperialism, as it used to do in the past documents. Similarly, unlike in the past its defense of these countries is comparatively very weak. For example, though the PR states that China has achieved rapid economic growth, it is compelled to state that: “it is accompanied by widening inequalities-in terms of income and wealth distribution, regional and social development, rise in corruption and the resultant tensions”(p-11). While later criticizing the foreign policy followed by the UPA government of India, it is stated that by abstaining on the resolution on Libya in Security Council amounted to giving support to the brazen NATO and Western intervention there, it is concealing that China, which has veto powers, also abstained not only in this case but also when the US -managed resolution on Iraq got approved in the Security Council, leading to brutal attack there. While explaining about Vietnam as a socialist country the only positive factor about it is that ‘it has made progress in reduction of poverty’. DPRK’s only virtue is that it is ‘rebuffing the various efforts by the US and its allies to isolate it’. As far as Cuba is concerned “it has successfully rallied the Latin American countries across the board to counter the US blockade and embargo”. Among these, even if the DPRK and Cuba are given credit for their anti- imperialist stand, China and Vietnam are brazenly pursuing the neo-liberal policies and have made many compromises with the US imperialists. China is not pursuing socialism, but ‘neo-liberalism with Chinese characteristics’, colluding and contending with US for world hegemony. Even the PR of the CPI (M) has nothing to state about the contribution of China towards socialist transformation in its own country or any contributions to fight back the counter revolutionary offensive of US led imperialist forces. During the last decade when the US and its allies were launching repeated aggressions against oppressed countries, especially in West Asia, China was just an onlooker and it did not take a stand against them even once.
The interesting thing is that even after mentioning about the existence of a few socialist countries, the PR could not give any credit to them even for “posing an alternative to the neo-liberal globalization”. On the contrary, it is the left governments in the Latin American countries like Venezuela and Bolivia are upheld by the PR for it. At the same time, in the absence of a Marxist-Leninist approach, the PR exaggerates the developments in the Latin American region and even calls them “a clear break from US hegemony in the region”(p-11). By making such a statement, it is going from one extreme to another.
Though the PR, after pointing out how the 19th Party Congress had pointed out the threat posed by climate change, goes on to explain how it has become more serious and how the US and other imperialist forces are trying to subvert all the moves to overcome it, is contended by stating that: “India needs to rework its climate change position to make equity a central plank in negotiating for a future globally binding arrangement”(p-13). Even after Fukushima meltdown, on nuclear policy what it has to say is “immediate halt to import of nuclear power plants to Jaitapur and other locations. Existing nuclear power plants in India should undergo thorough safety review to be conducted by an independent body. There has to be an independent and autonomous nuclear safety regulatory authority”(p-37). It shows that in spite of the nuclear and ecological catastrophe confronting the humankind, CPI (M) cannot go beyond reformist positions to seek an answer to them.
Compare it with the stand taken by the CPI (ML). The Party Program adopted by the Ninth Congress of the Party held in November, 2011, states: “..during this period, especially after the crisis of the 1970s, with the mad rush for the exploitation of natural and human resources utilizing the unprecedented technological advances under the imperialist perspective of development, ever intensifying ecological devastation has started becoming a major factor both at international and national level. It has given rise to a new, fifth major contradiction at both levels, the contradiction between capital and nature, along with the other four major contradictions”[P-68, Basic Documents of the CPI(ML)]. The CPI(ML) has called for a sustainable, people oriented development policy against imperialist dictated development policy to combat global warming and the devastation caused by it. As a part of it in the context of Fukushima meltdown, it has become part of an international initiative against nuclear power policy with the slogans: stop all new nuclear power plants, close down all existing nuclear power plants, and intensify struggle for universal nuclear disarmament. The CPI (M) lacks any radical perspective to combat the nuclear and ecological catastrophe, and it is reflected in the reformist positions it has put forward in its PR, when even the social democratic parties in Europe are shutting down nuclear power plants accepting the growing demands of people.
As this PR is the most important political document to be adopted by the 20th Congress, it is supposed to give the strategic orientation and tactical approach to the Party for the coming years, including its perspective about the future of the ICM and unity of the communist forces at international level to advance along the path of throwing out the imperialist system. Though the PR tries to make a descriptive analysis of the imperialist threats, it is silent about overthrowing the imperialist system and achieving socialism as its alternative. It has no perspective of world proletarian socialist revolution, as the PR reflects. It does not uphold the call of Marx and Engels, Workers of the world, Unite, and it is totally silent about achieving it. Was the formation of First, Second and Third (Communist) Internationals were correct or wrong? If it was correct, how to analyze the dissolution of Comintern in 1943, and how to reorganize it. These are cardinal problems before the ICM. The PR is deafeningly silent on these questions. In this way it is reducing itself to a nationalist party, or national chauvinist party bereft of proletarian internationalist concept.
We are quoting the following paragraphs from the PR adopted by the Ninth Congress of the CPI(ML) to show the paramount importance of initiating the reorganization of the Communist International according to present conditions, and to show the qualitative difference between the international perspective of CPI(M) and the CPI(ML): “From the time the capitalist system emerged and it started recreating the world under its own image, the contradiction between capital and nature had taken antagonistic forms, though it remained subdued for a long time. But this situation is fast changing with global warming and nuclear catastrophe like factors coming to the forefront. Today this contradiction has emerged as one of the major contradictions determining the future of humankind. It has made the necessity for overthrowing the rule of capital to save the humanity more urgent.
“All these have led to the contradiction between the imperialist system and socialist forces becoming more intensified than ever. Imperialist barbarism or socialism is the challenge before the humankind today.
“It is in this context the great significance of the founding of the International Coordination of the Revolutionary Parties and Organizations (ICOR) should be evaluated. Its Founding Document stated: “The founding of the ICOR follows from the understanding: The time is ripe to counter highly organized, globally linked international finance capital and its imperialist world system with something new - the organized power of the international revolutionary and working-class movement and of the broad masses in a new stage of the cross-border cooperation and coordination of the practical activity.
“Imperialism with its system of neo-colonialism can further exist only in a developing proneness to crisis which dramatically calls into question the existence of humankind. It is expressed in the world economic and financial crisis 2008, the structural crises of the capitalist system of production and reproduction, the debt crises, the global environmental crisis, the growing absence of family of the proletariat and the broad masses, the political crises, but also in the growing international threat of war, the increasing imperialist aggressions, and in the general tendency of imperialism to reaction and fascism.
“Capitalism has no future to offer to the working class and the broad masses of people in the world. Therefore, the ICOR calls upon all revolutionaries of the world to join together in the spirit of the words of Lenin: “Disunited, the workers are nothing. United, they are everything.” (Lenin, 1913, “Working-Class Unity”)
“The ICOR takes up the achievements of the internationally organized revolutionary and working-class movement. That includes the great revolutionary action of the Paris Commune in 1871, the victorious Russian October Revolution in 1917, the Chinese revolution 1945 to 1949, the revolutionary struggle of liberation for the destruction of the old colonial system and the emergence of the socialist camp after the Second World War.
“The ICOR is based on the rich experiences of historical examples of international forms of organization like the First, Second and Third International. It takes into account today’s circumstances, necessities and possibilities for such a union. It puts into practice the great revolutionary slogan of Karl Marx, “Workers of all countries, unite!” as well as the one of Lenin, “Workers of all countries and oppressed peoples, unite!” The founding of ICOR is the result of more than three decades of struggle by the Marxist-Leninist forces against the erroneous tendencies which were obstructing the reorganization of the Communist International, which were weakening the spirit of proletarian internationalism. It is a first step towards deepening the ideological struggle in the ICM in order to develop a General Line For The World Proletarian Socialist Revolution according to the concrete condition today, in continuation to the general line put forward by the Communist International under Lenin’s leadership and the Proposal Concerning the General Line of the ICM put forward by the CPC during the Great Debate under the leadership of Mao Tsetung. It has created favorable atmosphere for developing solidarity actions at international level and to advance towards reorganization of the Communist International. Our Party should be prepared to take initiative at all times to carry forward the tasks of the ICOR to the best off our abilities always.”What is absent in the PR of CPI(M) is such an approach put forward by the CPI(ML) in its Political Resolution.
Analysis of Indian situation and approach to People’s Democratic revolution.
The CPI(M) is holding the 20th Congress after four years. That is, when it held its 19th Congress in March-April, 2008, the LF led by it had more than 50 MPs in the Lok Sabha and it was wielding immense importance as a significant force keeping the UPA government in power. Also it was leading the LF and LDF governments in Bengal and Kerala. In 2009 elections its strength got reduced to its lowest position in the Lok Sabha, and in 2011 elections it was defeated in both Bengal, where it was continuously in power for 34 years and in Kerala. Besides, its influence in the Hindi region and in many other states got reduced during this period. The PR do not give any serious analysis of the reasons for these set backs. Besides the PR do not make any evaluation of the efforts, if any, it had made during the last four years to carry forward the tasks of the People’s Democratic Revolution (PDR). Similarly, it does not mention even once what are the tasks to be taken up in the coming years in this direction. The PDR word itself is conspicuous by its absence in the whole document.
The PR states that the 19th Congress had concluded that the UPA government in the main was pursuing policies for the benefit of big business and foreign capital. Still, it decided to continue extending support to the government, while adopting an independent position! Later it states: “The UPA-II government has been pursuing the same economic policies that it pursued in the first term, but more aggressively. The three year period of the UPA-II government has been marked by: (1) relentless price rise of essential commodities, (2) massive high level corruption which began in the UPA-I term, (3) continuance of the pro-US policy and strategic alliance with US, (4) the working class, peasantry and other sections of the working people continue to suffer from intense exploitation and deprivation”. Anyone, expect the most slavish supporters of the leadership, would like to ask for an explanation for supporting an arch-reactionary government of US agents like Manmohan, Ahluvalia, Sharma, Pranab Mukherjee and company for five long years and providing them opportunity to come to power once again! Similarly, anyone would like to ask why the neo-liberal policies, which you are now explaining as the basic cause of all the miseries suffered by the people all over the country, were pursued by the governments led by CPI (M) in the main in states like Bengal and Kerala? When you denounce the displacement of the people for SEZs and MNCs- Corporate projects in the PR, what explanations the leadership has for the Bengal and Kerala governments following the same policies under various pseudo explanations?
The interesting thing is that after writing dozens of pages against the neo-liberal policies pursued by the central and state governments which are pauperizing the masses and devastating the nature, the PR does not site a single example of fighting against these policies anywhere in the country. Even after facing defeat in 2009 Lok Sabha and 2011 assembly elections, there are no examples of it leading any struggles anywhere against these policies beyond what is done by the ruling class parties who are in opposition. Even the joint movements it is explaining are the joint trade union struggles led by the trade union centres including those led by Congress and BJP like INTUC, BMS etc. None of these joint struggles call for a reversal of the neo-liberal policies which should be targeted primarily if the people’s interests have to be saved.
Left and democratic platform as alternative.
After explaining the Indian situation the PR states that “only a left and democratic platform can be the alternative to the bourgeois-landlord rule”. Immediately afterwards it states that “ it may be necessary to rally those non-Congress, non-BJP forces which can play a role in defense of democracy, national sovereignty, secularism etc”! Which are these forces? Starting from the south, a few disgruntled elements of the ruling class parties as in Kerala, AIADMK in TN, JD(S) in Karnataka, TDP in AP, BJD in Odisha etc. Are any of these parties fit in to the above mentioned qualities? It means that though many things are explained to hoodwink the masses in the PR, what is put forward in this is nothing but the old, stale wine in a new bottle.
The PR as a whole shows that like proletarian internationalism and carrying forward the tasks of World Proletarian Socialist Revolution are bid goodbye to at international level, question of developing class struggle utilizing all forms of struggle including parliamentary struggles in order to advance towards revolutionary capture of political power , completing the tasks of PDR and advancing to socialist revolution, which should be the programmatic approach of a communist party at national level are bid goodbye to irrevocably in the PR. Or, according to this PR, the CPI(M) is going to take a leave from revolutionary tasks, as it was enjoying this leave so far from the time of its formation in 1964, till the next Party Congress.
At the same time, as it is stated in the PR that “the task ahead is to fight against the whole gamut of neo-liberal policies by building a left and democratic platform”, one would like to ask for the information of those of its followers who still think that it is a communist party, and that it will lead them to people’s democracy and socialism, whether the CPI(M) leadership is prepared for uniting all the genuine left and democratic forces in the country based on the following program, an approach derived from what is repeatedly explained by it in the PR:
1. Oppose the whole gamut of neo-liberal policies and imperialist globalization-liberalization-privatization, throw out IMF-World Bank-WTO- MNCs and all other imperialist agencies from the country. Oppose SEZs, Build-Operate-Transfer projects under public-private-partnership.
2. Fight all displacements for neo-liberal projects, confiscate all land under custody of land mafias, big landlords, corporate houses. Implement land reforms based on land to the tiller. Initiate countrywide movement for land capture and distribution to landless and poor peasants. Develop agriculture and irrigation and ensure food security.
3. Fight against FDI, MNCs and corporate houses entering retail trade. Bring the procurement of food grains, storing and whole sale trade under government agencies. Implement universal public distribution system(PDS) of food and essential items. Fight price rise. Throw out MNCs and Corporate houses from core sectors and nationalize them.
4. Ensure food, housing, healthcare, education and employment for all. Stop commercialization and trade in education and other service sectors.
5. Confiscate all black money from foreign banks and other places where they are invested. Stop corruption in all fields. Institute necessary institutions like Lokpals and Lokayuktas with full powers for this.
6. Struggle for need based wages, job security, and democratic-trade union rights to all workers. Stop contract and casual labor system.
7. Scrap all unequal treaties signed with imperialist countries. Pursue an independent and anti-imperialist foreign policy. Ensure friendly relations with all neighbouring countries.
8. Strive for building an anti-caste movement for annihilation of caste system. Ensure secularism, separating religion from all public fields. Implement adivasis’ land protection act and autonomous councils. Stop communalization and ensure protection of minorities.
9. Fight all forms of gender discrimination. Ensure women’s equality in all fields. Ensure protection of children.
10. Withdraw military and AFSPA like black laws from Jammu& Kashmir and Northeast. Scrap all black laws. Implement election reforms including proportional representation, right to reject all candidates and democratization of the electoral rules and procedures putting an end to cast-communal vote banks and money-muzzle power.
11. Fight imperialist promoted development policies and work for a people oriented sustainable development policy which ensure right of people and protection of environment.
A communist party convenes its highest democratic body, the Party Congress, to make periodic check the progress in the implementation of its Programmatic approach for establishing proletarian political power, to make necessary development in the program according to the changes taking place in the society and put forward the tactical line to achieve the strategic goals of revolution. The PR and all other draft documents put forward by the CPI (M) leadership should be examined with this outlook. Then it will become clear to all of its members and supporters who consider it still as a communist party that it has degenerated to social democratic positions outrightly. Otherwise, instead of continuing the present party building and united front policies its leadership should be compelled to go for them based on revolutionary agenda, not on reformist and opportunist gimmicks as it was doing so far.