INN Kolkata bureau

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Prakash Karat inaugurates Bengal CPI (M) conference

Identifying the tasks at hand for the CPI (M), Prakash Karat, general secretary, noted that the work comprised making appropriate political intervention at the levels of national and regional politics while carrying out the work of ideological rigour, and emphasising on augmentation and growth of the Party organisation.

Covering in broad sweep the political-tactical line of the CPI (M) in the years to come, Prakash commenced his important address with a reference to the international situation and travails the world community of nations underwent in the recent past.

Dwelling on the prolonged global capitalist crisis, that the CPI (M) had had an insight of as early as the Coimbatore Congress, Prakash said that the ruling classes, the banking institutions, and the corporate institutions helped create a cris that was inherent in capitalism, in the particular time period.

The crisis has brought about big protests across the globe with an extensive participation of the people, especially against the cuts imposed on the by the state in the realms of wages, pensions, and welfare schemes. As Prakash spoke, Greece was still making a staggered recovery from a militant national strike over the past 48 hours.

However, it needed to be recalled that the movements and struggles bursting out on the world in every form imaginable in countries far and wide, even the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ one, would not call directly for any political change, a change that the Communists, and the left demand all the time.

Another feature of the crisis emerging globally was how free, relatively free that is, some of the newly-developed capitalist countries like India, Turkey, South Africa et al, remained amidst the chaos running amuck, in the process even managing to increase the growth rate, at least making a semblance of maintaining the pattern of growth, capitalist growth.

The economic crisis has two important fall-outs over and above the expected one of economic decline with all its ramifications.

First, the contradiction between labour and capital has become more potent. Second, with the shift in centres of economic growth, there has also been a sharper contradiction manifest as between imperialism and the people.

Despite all this, the US retains its economic influence and its concomitant military strength across the globe. The world hegemony by the US continues to be reality that cannot be wished away just now. Several examples were cited by the CPI (M) leader of such intransigence.
In Iraq, and then in Libya, the US successfully topples regime taking up the anti-authoritarian tone and tenor of the popular protest movements. Syria is a target, and so is, more importantly, Iran with its vast reserve of oil and natural resources, and its stand of independence form US hegemonistic ploys.

There is twist so US intervention, and expectedly of an imperialist power. The US backed the anti Mubarak protest movements in Egypt and similar anti-government struggles in Tunisia.

The moment the people’s moves appeared to be an embarrassment to US ally Israel the US ruling classes quickly changed tack and in the process completely hijacked the popular movements. The Bahrain uprising was crushed with the help of another US lackey, Saudi Arabia.

Multi-polarity have continued to emerge as an embarrassing reality to the US over the past years and months, the BRICS alliance (of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) proving strong in policy making, the Shanghai consolidation being worked on to strengthen cooperation between Russia and China.

There is need in the days to come to strengthen further the anti-imperialist struggle in the entirety of south Asia with participatory role of more and more people in the movements and struggle that must be led and made to unfold.

On the national situation, complex and layered, Prakash Karat dwelt at some length. Denoting big political changes taking place since the 2008 Party Congress, and these had been major changes. Prakash began by pointing out the circumstances- of Indo-Us strategic alliance and within this the India-US nuclear treaty- that made the CPI (M) and the left withdraw support from the UPA-I government in Delhi.

Prakash also noted the way the central government would renege on the pro-people content whatever there was of it in the Common Minimum Programme, including an independent foreign policy pursuit, and the important fall out of the withdrawal was that the CPI (M) was not able on its part to communicate to the people in proper manner and measure the raison d’etre behind the complex subject on which the issue of withdrawal turned.

An unfortunate political result of the emergence of the neo-liberal regime of the UPA-II government was that the Indian ruling classes and their adjutant did no longer have to depend on the CPI (M) and the Left for survival in the government. The rightist throw of policies became evident quickly enough, and the ‘trend’ continues.

The UPA-II government has its “Achilles’ heel”, or perhaps two such heels, elsewhere. Prakash noted that just as the process of exploitation of the mass of the people and the transfer of resources from the masses to the coffers of the ruling class was being expedited, the now well-publicised swindle of the 2G fraud became publicly known, and the agrarian crisis started to get threatening overtones of instability in the rural areas. The fraud has been the overt and covert handiwork of the neo-liberally-inclined central government, the business houses, and corporate bodies.

The point of departure of the CPI (M) on the Jan Lok Pal instrument is clear. The CPI (M) would like to see the movement come out of the cocoon of the middle class domain and become part of popular struggle for electoral reforms of appreciative proportions, in a way to prevent big money casting its influence on and in the process of election and governance.

The communal forces of the Hindu right, the RSS-BJP combine had economic outlook no different from that of the Congress. Behind the fa├žade of the Hindutva agenda stood such instances like Karnataka where the mining mafiosi has had a considerable influence in running the state government for the BJP with the chief minister falling not-unexpected victim of the due process of the law of the land, facing punishment for the crimes committed in terns of economic malfeasance.

Prakash spoke of the dangers of communalism of both kinds. The latest instance has been the confession of an RSS activist of having planted a bomb on the Samjhauta Express between Indian and Pakistan, which had killed nearly 70 people, and has hitherto been thought to have bee the handiwork of an Islamic terror outfit.

The political situation has undergone big changes also in the wake of the debacle of the CPI (M) and the left in the elections, in Bengal and Kerala. In Bengal, the slide had started by 2009 in full flow, and the outcome has been the unseating of a Left Front government that had been in office for 34 years, a rare event in the history of the world for reasons more than one.

Prakash at this stage stressed on the political tactical line that must emerge as a reality for the CPI (M). The line comprised independent political intervention, ideological work, and organisational augmentation.

Elaborating the CPI (M) leader said that the issue of agrarian crisis was assuming more and more importance as the weeks rolled by. The rural rich are not affected. The rural poor are ruined. The CPI (M) must take up the issues affecting the agrarian scene, spearhead, and organise wide movements comprising every section o the rural masses and the rural working class.

At the same time, the identity issues must be taken up properly. These issues touched the lives and livelihoods of such groups as tribals, members of the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, minority communities, and women. Secular regional parties must be cooperated with in and out of Parliament, not as electoral alliances alone but as weapons of struggles and movements.

It is difficult to say the least to develop common platform with these parties with the issue of class in play. The parties must be rallied on certain issues and the idea of a third front cannot be seen as a tenable one in the present scenario, joint movements are the way to the future. More important is the carving out of an independent striking force for the CPI (M) and the left while participating all the while with secular bourgeois parties at every functioning level.

Noting that the Bengal CPI (M) met in conference after more-than-three decades when there was n o Left Front government in office. Nothing, noted the CPI (M) general secretary, echoing the state pol-org report, would and must detract from the considerable pro-people and pro-poor achievement of the Left Front governance, but the evaluation must be a balanced one.

The matter of land acquisition needed for industrialisation has been an awkward issue. The policy has been utilised by outfits such as the Trinamul Congress to drive a wedge between the Left Front government and the people. The root of the entire imbroglio lay elsewhere.

Under neo-liberalisation regime there has been a loot of rural resources all over the country where the left had not been in governance. The rural poor, however, started to look to land and agriculture as resources that they would cling to and would not look at any compensation packages. This was true if Bengal.

Identity-based politics weakened class based politics. The CPI (M) must pay attention to the various identity groups that would not fit nicely into the class frame. There should be no hijacking of politics at any level. However, it should be recalled at all times that the amorphous sea of identity politics could suck in the CPI (M) into a fatal morass.

The way out is to stress on class-based struggles, while organising the identity-based movements in a manner so as to make them be made to merge in the class–based movements and struggles. Serving a note of caution Prakash mentioned in this connection that the present discomfiture of the people against the Trinamul-run state government would not translate into support for the CPI (M) at the present juncture.

In concluding the CPI (M) general secretary said that the entire Party stood solidly behind the Bengal unit of the CPI (M) and the virulent attack on Party comrades – 55 comrades have been martyred from the time the Assembly elections took place in may of last year- and the attack on the democratic rights of the people were continue to grow in a menacing way.

The CPI (M) expressed the hope that the Bengal unit shall continue in the race of adversity to build up movements and struggle and take up the cause of suffering people in a big and emphatic way on the days to come.

Earlier, the central and state leadership of the CPI (M) laid wreaths and bouquets of flowers at the Martyrs’ Column Among the CPI (M) Polit Bureau members present at the conference are Prakash Karat, Sitaram Yechury, Biman Basu, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, Brinda Karat, Nirupam Sen, and K Varadarajan.

The conference elected a presidium that comprised Benoy Konar, Banani Biswas, Dinesh Dakua, Rupchand Murmu, and Mohd Selim. The state secretariat would acts as the steering committee. Benoy Konar raised the condolence resolution that made especial mention of the passing away of such stalwarts as Jyoti Basu, Harkishan Singh Surjeet, and M K Pandhe, among others.

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