Implementation of the CC’s July 28 Call


Initial Reports from Bhojpur

 28 July call of the CC has evoked quite enthusiastic response among the Party rank and file in most of our areas of work and vigorous efforts have begun to achieve a new breakthrough in the field of mass struggles.
In order to transmit the real message of the Call in letter and spirit down to every branch and lower-level structure, leading Party cadres will have to unleash their fullest initiative and lead from the front. This calls for a determined struggle against the deeply entrenched and highly infectious superficial and managerial style of work.
Reports from Bhojpur indicate the beginning of serious efforts in this direction and preliminary results can be seen in terms of increased mass mobilisation and participation in day-to-day activities and struggles on burning issues of the people.
Following the July 28 State-level cadre convention in Patna, the district committee discussed the Call in an open and thoroughgoing manner. All appreciated it in general, and yet, certain comrades expressed their scepticism (‘this is nothing new, we have discussed such problems time and again, but things have not changed’), some found it ‘applicable only for panchayats where we have elected representatives,’ and some saw it as an opportunity to teach a lesson to erring mukhias and leaders. 
The District Committee discarded such erroneous approaches and partial understanding and emphasised the central theme of the Call as a campaign for rectification and ideological-political consolidation of the Party, restoration of its conscious leading role and enhancement and full utilisation of its capacity to solve various problems, fulfil all kinds of tasks and counter the “reform offensive” of the ruling class.
The Committee also underlined the importance of uniting the entire district Party organisation, from the District Committee down to every party branch, with a common realisation of the spirit of the Call and concerted efforts to implement it in its proper perspective.
To begin with, every DCM was assigned a specific area of operation (a panchayat/municipal ward or a specific pocket) for direct practice and concentrated work. Primary mode of concentration was also outlined, viz:
(i)      Hold regular and extensive village -level meetings of the masses; identify and nurture vanguard elements;
(ii)     Conduct investigation and study, especially regarding availability of land for redistribution, NREGA work and wages, BPL, housing, PDS and other ‘reforms’ and schemes; role of  other parties; conditions of class antagonism and struggle;
(iii)    Conduct propaganda and agitation to ensure greater political mobilisation in protests/movements/resistance;
(iv)    Direct the movement against local class enemy and the State; and unmask the real role of the ruling class parties;
(v)     Fully involve the local/panchayat committee and the party branch in this process.
On the basis of such direct experience, DCMs must (a) motivate and guide concerned Area/Block committee to carry out planned and concentrated work in specific panchayat/pocket; (b) use concrete facts/examples/events to intensify local struggles of the masses and guide them towards broader political campaign and awareness; (c) carry out sufficient homework involving advanced elements and local branches to motivate the masses towards spirited mass-based implementation of calls and programmes set from above.
After one month a full-fledged review meeting was organised. A clear indication of things moving in a positive direction was in sight. The District Committee appeared relatively consolidated. Barring two or three who stick to their old ‘advisory’ mode, like Mao’s ‘old wise man’, the majority of the District Committee members are engaged in serious efforts. Though Area/Block Committees are yet to be fully streamlined and continued efforts are needed to set the branches in independent motion, village level mass meetings conducted by the leaders have begun to yield a visible impact. A new phase of mass protests/agitations has begun in almost all Blocks.
Mass protests have been held against the conspiratorial move of the Nitish Kumar Government, branding veteran Party leader Comrade Ram Naresh Ram and others as ‘terrorists/extremists’, culminating in road blockades and successful Bhojpur-Shahabad bandh. Amidst sustained campaigning against price hike and drought, the kisan sabha has submitted a list of small tenant cultivators who lease in land forcing the district administration to recognise them and extend them necessary facilities as enjoyed by owner-cultivators. In another instance of a popular action, the rural poor assembled outside the DM office in large numbers and made a bonfire of ‘ration cards’ that never yielded a single grain of food even in these hard days of price rise and drought, even as labourers from different panchayats challenged the administration with their documented evidences of non-payment of NREGA wages for months.
This new beginning has to be carried forward and the message of the Call has to be carried deeper and wider. During the course of review, the District Committee also identified various gaps and weaknesses that emphasised the urgent need for–
a)      Greater clarity regarding our tactical line in the arena of grassroot politics and about the essential meaning and content of concentrated work;
b)      Closer political integration with the basic masses;
c)       Improvement in style of work so as to motivate and activate lower-level party structures down to every Party Branch and general Party members;
d)      Development of new cadres from among agricultural labour, students and women.
The Call provides specific guidelines in these respects:

On grass root politics and central focus

(i)      The central focus of the Party’s work at the grassroots is to intensify mass struggle on basic issues of land, wages, dignity, development and democracy.
(ii)     The orientation of our tactical line with regard to panchayats is reflected in our central slogan: “Turn the panchayats into platforms of mass struggles and people’s assertion” – assertion against the State and dominant class forces, i.e feudal and kulak elements as well as the nexus of corrupt contractors, dealers and officials amd functionaries that harasses and deprives the masses;
(iii)    Draw lines of demarcation with contending classes and political forces;
(iv)    Cast away any dependence on Block/BDO/Mukhia/dealer/contractor etc. and ensure complete reliance on the masses,
(v)     Ensure a functional and vibrant mechanism of popular participation and mass supervision of Panchayat affairs, saving party committee/cadre from getting bogged down in petty contracts/dealership/self-styled ‘supervision’ of development work, etc.
(vi)    In some areas there are cultivable land plots and natural resources under party’s command. Initially these were managed by the Party Committees, but in many cases, such resources are eventually controlled by individual leaders/cadres with a host of resultant distortions in the relationship between the Party organisation and concerned masses and individual comrades. These patterns will also have to be changed and replaced by suitable collective mechanism with sufficient accountability and transparency.
(vii)   As in our parliamentary practice, so in Panchayat//Municipal/local bodies our members are in the first place leaders of the people’s movement playing the role of revolutionary opposition on behalf of the working people.
Thus, the Call reiterates the essential thread of Party’s tactical line and the District Committee and its leaders must guide and help the lower committees to grasp it. In this context, it is important to once again study relevant sections of the Party’s 8th Congress documents.

On deepening and widening political integration with basic masses

i.        “focus on building struggles and political ties with the masses”; “lead the people in their struggles for securing their due benefits”;
ii.       “elected representatives to periodically face the people and submit the balance-sheet of funds received and work done and pending”;
iii.      Intensify local struggles on basic issues like land, wages (including cases of non-payment/delayed/partial payment under NREGA), social dignity, development (fulfilment of people’s basic development needs and aspirations);
iv.      Make a habit of holding regular meetings with the basic masses, “pay due attention to redress the grievances of the masses and unify them in struggles”; develop cadres from among the advanced elements, especially youth and women; arouse the class consciousness in a systematic way. 
Echoing the ‘Call’ of the Central Committee, the District Committee, at the end of its review meeting, called upon the leaders and members to reassert the basic qualities of a revolutionary cadre (bold initiative and hard work; modesty and readiness to learn), come forward to combat all non-revolutionary ideas and practices and firmly uphold the revolutionary spirit and legacy of the CPI(ML), and unleash a high tide of militant struggles on the basic demands of the people.

Recent struggles in Bhojpur

Thousands attended a dharna on 11 August at district headquarters and another 3-day dharna at Ara rural Block office for drought relief, lland reform, and against massive irregularities in NREGA and a large scale scam in the BPL. 
The agricultural workers of Agiaon and Lahthan panchayats burnt their Antyodaya cards in front of Piro block office on 10 August against corruption in BPL. Their militant protest forced the BDO to pay unpaid NREGA wages to the workers of Lahthan panchayat.
The Kisan Sabha organized a dharna on 18 August in all blocks on the question of rights to the sharecroppers, subsidy for the small peasants, and waiver of malgujari in view of the drought. Later a dharna was held at district headquarters on 25 August where a list of sharecroppers was submitted to the DM who sent it to the Agriculture Minister. A Kisan March was organized on 4 September in Jagdishpur, Charpokhari, Sandesh, and Tarari blocks.
The AIALA held protests in all the block headquarters with the demand of ‘Jobs for all, Bread for all’ on 1 September. Poor people burnt their BPL cards in Terari to protest the rampant corruption. At Panwari panchayat in this block the mukhiya, who is from our party, led the distribution of foodgrains and kerosene after burning the BPL and APL cards. The protest against corruption in PDS was also held before the sub-divisional office.
 AIPWA organized block level dharnas on 2 August with the demands of prohibition of liquor, against dowry deaths, and for Women’s Reservation Bill.
The Ara town committee of party held a protest for a comprehensive survey of families, old age pension and corruption in PDS.
Party organized a Shaheed Mela at the memorial of 12 freedom fighter martyrs of Lasarhi on 15 September. The martyrdom day of Comrade Ramashray Ram, who was killed by the feudal goons in 1986, was observed in Terari block on 16 September.
A people’s court was organized against the mukhiya of Ahpura panchayat in Sandesh block. People forced the mukhiya to come to the court and face the questions related with misappropriation of funds of the panchayat. 
A three day hunger strike was observed at Charpokhari by AIALA leaders Jhunjhun Ram, Naheshwar Ram and Shrinath Ram and the block office remained under people’s siege during the three-day protest while the BDO absconded. Ex-MLA Chandradip Singh participated in the conclusion of the hunger fast. A people’s court against the mukhiya was also held in Sonbarsa panchayat.

Dalits from Mushahar tola in Basauri of Terari block also burnt their red-cards and demanded Antyodaya cards. They also demanded free rations and a survey of Maha-dalit families.