DECEMBER 18 -- Comrade Vinod Mishra Memorial Meeting

On Combating Communal Fascism

THE THIRD Vinod Mishra Memorial meeting was held on 18th December by the Delhi State committee of CPI-ML. Addressing the audience were Justice Rajinder Sachar, eminent journalists Praful Bidwai, Prabhas Joshi, Political Scientist Yogendra Yadav and CPI-ML General Secretary Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya and Poilt-Bureau member Comrade Swadesh Bhattacharya.

Justice Sachar equated the struggle against WTO with that against POTO and said that POTO was anyway being brought in even before the attack on the Parliament and the BJP was using December 13 for paving the way for furthering its agenda. He cautioned that in the communal frenzy that was being generated, it was possible for ideologically weaker forces to tilt in support of government’s policies.

Bidwai said that the communal fascist nature of the government was coming to the fore in three ways. The forced entry into the disputed site at Ayodhya and the Sangh outfits’ threat of keeping the 12 March deadline, the forcible imposition of POTO and now the threat of war by the government.

Bidwai said that India was trying to get into the league of Israel and the US and was trying to call for a war, which he warned would have dangerous implications. He said there was no evidence yet, of the basis on which the war call was being drummed up and said that the so-called terrorist camps, which would be targeted, were nothing but firing ranges and drill grounds. Any attack on them would mean a full-fledged war, as it would violate the territorial integrity of Pakistan. Both countries were armed with nuclear weapons and their use would mean generations of people in the sub continent being affected.

Yogendra Yadav said that a Home Minister, who had no time to address the distraught Manipuri people when their Assembly was being burnt down, was on television day and night declaring the danger from Islam and a Prime Minister who did not shed a tear for the thousands dying of starvation wept for the September 11 attack in the US. Prabhas Joshi paid tributes to VM and compared communal fascism with Ravana whose life force could be taken away by a youthful radical force like that of CPI-ML.

Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya said that VM recognized the threat of communal fascism 15 years ago even as people thought that India was safe because of constitutional amendments declaring it a secular republic. He said that VM began to feel during the Ayodhya movement that to talk of secularism alone was inadequate.

Comrade Dipankar traced three sources of communalism. He said that communalism had gained in strength by winning recognition as nationalism even as the other definition of nationalism as represented during the freedom struggle and by the legacy of Bhagat Singh could not assert itself in the post-independence period. He said that the BJP could consolidate itself early on as everyone accepted Indira Gandhi’s rhetoric of India’s unity being threatened while the BJP used religion to do the ‘uniting’ act. The anti-imperialist struggle fumbled in this period and this brand of false nationalism under the garb of cultural nationalism began to establish itself.

Com. Dipankar said the economic changes in the last 15 years proved to be the other source of communal fascism and the new economic policy helped in setting BJP’s agenda. Advani himself is said to have claimed that Congress was following the BJP’s economic programme.

Com Dipankar said that the combination of colonialism with communalism resulted in the partition of 1947, and during the phase of globalization communalism was emerging as fascism within the country. It has been manifesting itself in the rewriting of history , POTO, temple construction at Ayodhya, and the Kashmir Question. He said all this was in line with their principal agenda of reconstructing the nation as a Hindu Rashtra, and hence, had to be countered with an equally determined democratic agenda. Elaborating on the democratic agenda he said that it needed to be broad based but at the core of it should be the firmness associated with the struggles of workers and peasants. Any lapse on this count would only weaken the democratic movement.

Com. Dipankar drew a parallel between the attack on the Parliament and the fire in Reichstag in February 1933 which Hitler had utilized to the hilt in furthering his agenda. He said the war cries, POTO etc. are to be seen as attempts to transform what Advani feels is a ‘soft society’ by bringing in his idea of an ‘effective state’. In the past some believed that the North-South divide would prevent the fascist growth but the compromises made by the regional parties of South India with the BJP makes it clear that this theory has failed. Similarly those who thought that the OBC and Dalit parties would prevent the growth of fascism got a sense of their theoretical lapse when the BSP tied up with the BJP.

Polit-Bureau member Comrade Swadesh Bhattacharya, who chaired the meeting, reiterated the resolve to strengthen the worker-peasant alliance in the fight against communal fascism. Delhi State Secretary Rajendra Pratholi thanked the party activists, members, sympathizers and friends who had come for the memorial meeting.

– Radhika Menon