Strengthen the CPI(M) Revolutionary Party with a Mass Line
by Sitaram Yechury
THE strengthening of the CPI(M)’s organisational capabilities is of vital importance in today’s conjuncture to create a better India and significantly improve the livelihood status of our people. This can only be achieved through the power of people’s struggles. The tasks at the forthcoming CPI(M) Plenum on Organisation is to build our Party organisation in such a manner that it shall speedily move towards achieving this objective.
The foundations of the organisation of a Communist Party at all points of time, necessarily, remain the revolutionary principles of Marxism-Leninism.
These include the adherence to principles of democratic centralism; criticism and self-criticism; collective functioning with individual responsibility etc. However, the Party organisation is a dynamic organism.
It cannot exist in a vacuum. Hence, the Communist formulation of ‘political-organisational’ tasks.
Therefore, the structure and character of the Party organisation at any specific point of time, while based on its revolutionary tenets, has to be in tune with the objectives laid out by the Party’s current politicaltactical line.
The CPI(M) has to accomplish this task today in an international correlation of political forces that has shifted in favour of imperialism since the disintegration of the former USSR. We had analysed these developments in detail in our 14th Congress and adopted our understanding as to how such developments took place and its consequences for the Communist movement, both at the international level and for us in India. We had then, protected our rank and file, by and large, and certain sections of our sympathetic followers from these tumultuous developments. However, we had then noted that these will surely have an impact on the future potential of people’s attraction towards Marxism-Leninism and socialism.
Two decades later this impact is clearly visible. The disintegration of 20th century socialism converged with global capitalism’s gigantic accumulation of capital and the emergence of the international finance capital leading the global neo-liberal offensive. The consequent neo-liberal, ideological and material offensive, that continues to intensify, negatively influenced the Indian youth, apart from, bringing about important structural changes.
Imperialist cultural offensive and capitalist consumerism are designed to depoliticise the youth and large sections of the society.
RIGHTWARD SHIFT IN INDIAN POLITICS
Domestically, the Indian ruling classes, particularly its leadership, the big bourgeoisie, embraced neoliberalisation in a world where the bargaining potential for advancing the development of capitalism in India, between the cold war camps of imperialism and socialism simply vanished. Indian ruling classes have, hence, virtually abandoned India’s traditional foreign policy of non-alignment. With the ruling classes playing second fiddle to imperialism and neo-liberal policies, the anti-imperialist consciousness of our people eroded considerably, distancing them from progressive ideologies and thinking.
This rightward shift of the Indian ruling classes prepared the fertile ground for the rise of the RSS/BJP with its communal and fascistic agenda pursuing its objective of converting a secular democratic India into a Hindu Rashtra. This rise of communal forces and their capture of the central government has emboldened a wide range of anti-Communist reactionary forces in the country.
Combating this communal ideology and offensive hence, becomes essential for the CPI(M) to consolidate its independent strength and move towards a progressive shift in the correlation of class forces amongst the Indian people. This is a task that needs to be undertaken at all levels – political, ideological and organisational. The Party organisation should be so equipped as to meet the challenges posed by various organisational fronts of Hindutva right wing forces to achieve the objectives we laid down for ourselves in our 21st Congress political-tactical line.
STRENGTHENING PARTY ORGANISATION
Our Party organisation’s capabilities must rise to the levels of meeting and overcoming these challenges and successfully uniting the people in struggles against this combined offensive of communalism and neoliberalism.
Strengthening the Party organisation also becomes all the more important given the concerted attack by the gang up of rightwing reactionary elements against CPI(M) particularly in our stronghold of West Bengal through the politics of terror and intimidation. The CPI(M) as a whole, our Party units all across the country, must focus on the defence of our strong Left bastions and outposts of the Indian revolutionary forces.
We are meeting in this Plenum to strengthen our Party organisation in the background of having noted in our Party Congress our persistent weaknesses in terms of stagnation if not decline in the strength of our Party and mass organisation membership, its uneven composition and a sharp decline in our Party’s electoral strength.
The CPI(M)’s last Plenum on Organisation was the Salkia plenum held soon after the 10th Party Congress in December 1978. That was a period when the Party was in its ascendancy and emerged as the strongest Left communist force in the country. That was also the period when the socialist camp led by the former USSR was challenging with equal might global imperialism.
Today, in comparison, we are meeting at this organisation plenum in Kolkata when the socialist countervailing challenge to imperialism has disintegrated at the global level. We are meeting at a time when the Indian ruling classes are mounting a combined onslaught of the communal and the neoliberalism offensive. This converges with the stagnation or decline in our Party’s strength and influence both inside and outside the parliament.
FORGING THE LDF
Along with the efforts for increasing its independent strength, the Party needs to make efforts to enlarge and strengthen the unity of the Left parties and forces in the country. The consequent Left unity will be the fulcrum to forge the unity of the Left and democratic forces.
The successful forging of the Left and Democratic Front will be the pre-requisite for forging the People’s Democratic Front under the leadership of the working class. This class front will be the force that will successfully carry out the People’s Democratic Revolution in the country.
The successful attainment of these objectives must begin with the forging of a strong and effective Left and Democratic Front. The LDF was first spelt out by the CPI(M) in its 10th Congress as the endeavour to bring about a change in the correlation of class forces, to end a situation in which the people are forced to choose only between two bourgeois-landlord parties/combinations, and get imprisoned within the framework of the present system.
The Left and Democratic Front is not to be understood as only an electoral front, but as a fighting alliance of the forces for an economic and political change by isolating the reactionary ruling classes. The forging of such a Left and Democratic unity, demands an unprecedented growth in the organisational strength and struggles of all sections of the working people.
This in turn requires an enormous growth of the strength of the Party. This can materialise when our Party’s links with our people deepen ie, by the Party implementing the mass line – Communists take to people like fish takes to water.
On the basis of such growth of our independent strength, the 21st Congress P-TL (political-tactical line) underlined the importance of united front tactics in the process of forging the LDF. The revolutionary tactics of the United Front have always emphasised the need to combine the principles of unity and struggle ie, using conflicts within sections of the ruling class parties while uniting with some of them to achieve our immediate objectives and simultaneously strengthen struggles against the anti-people, antiworking class policies pursued by these very parties. The underlying aim of united front tactics is always to advance the class struggles by drawing into our fold the masses who currently may be under the influence of the bourgeois parties. The intensification of independent class and mass struggles while utilising the conflicts within the bourgeois parties are two aspects of the successful implementation of united front tactics.
At the same time, the 21st Congress P-TL also underlined the fact that the CPI(M) must adopt flexible tactics to meet swift changes in the political situation. Further, that electoral tactics should be dovetailed to the primacy of building the Left and Democratic Front. The Party organisation must be capable of discharging these tasks.
Further, the CPI(M) has, particularly since our 14th Congress, constantly emphasised the Leninist principle of “concrete analysis of concrete conditions being the living essence of dialectics.” In today’s Indian conditions, it is incumbent upon us to note such concrete changes which have occurred in these two decades since our 14th Congress. In pursuance of this, the Central Committee had constituted three study groups to study the impact of neo-liberal policies and the changes that were brought about in the working class, in Indian agriculture and the middle classes. On the basis of the findings of these studies, our slogans, the style of work and the required organisational steps were discussed in our 21st Congress and the CC and some decisions were taken. The required new organisational steps that need to be undertaken on this basis have to be taken at this Plenum.
DEFEAT THE COMMUNAL CHALLENGE
The current communal offensive has to be met in all its dimensions – the political, ideological, social, cultural and educational spheres. This requires an immense growth in our organisational capacities to meet these challenges. Ideological and political propaganda material in popular style will have to be prepared and disseminated on a large scale. A wide range of intellectuals, historians, educationists and cultural personalities should be mobilised to bolster this ideological fight against the communal forces.
Meeting these tasks and challenges requires of us to strengthen the Party organisation both ideologically and politically.
CPI(M)’S ALTERNATIVE VISION
The CPI(M)’s vision envisages that the resources of our country, both in terms of material wealth and human capital must be used through an alternative set of policies for building a better India and providing better livelihood conditions for the people. At the moment the Indian ruling classes utilise these resources to further enrich themselves, widening the hiatus between the rich and the poor further and to provide greater opportunities for international finance capital to maximise its profits. The materialisation of such a vision however requires that we strengthen our organisational capabilities enormously.
This monumental task can only be undertaken by the CPI(M), which must emerge with a renewed vigour streamlining its Party organisation and strengthening it. This is all the more important in today’s concrete conditions when both these aspects of neo-liberal reforms and rabid communalisation of our society merge together as the policy direction of the Indian ruling classes, subserving the interests of imperialism and international finance capital, under this current BJP-led central government.
In this context, it is necessary to remind ourselves again, of the CPI(M)’s legacy during the course of the Indian people’s struggle for independence and subsequent movements. The glorious sacrifices of our comrades, the long list of our heroic martyrs, are part of our legacy of combating all ideological and organisational deviations in emerging as the strongest Communist force in India. No social transformation is possible, in fact, cannot be conceived, without the vast mass of people belonging to all exploited classes rising in revolt against the exploiting ruling classes. In the final analysis, it is the people who make history. Revolutionary history is no exception. A revolutionary party, the CPI(M), is the vanguard of this people’s upsurge. This is our historical responsibility. Let us redouble our resolve to discharge this responsibility at this Kolkata Plenum.