All India Left Convention Held at New Delhi
A day-long All India Left Convention was held on 11 August 2010 at Speaker’s Hall, Constitution Club, New Delhi, jointly sponsored by CPI(ML)(Liberation), CPM(Punjab), Lal Nishan Party (Leninist) of Maharashtra and Left Coordination Committee (Kerala). With more than three hundred activists from across the country attending the Convention, the Speaker’s Hall was packed to capacity.
The convention was chaired by a four-member presidium comprising Comrades Ramji Rai, Bodh Singh Ghuman, K S Hariharan, and Bhalchandra Kerkar. The secretaries of the four parties - Comrade Mangat Ram Pasla, Secretary, CPM Punjab, Comrade Bhimrao Bansode, Secretary, Lal Nishan Party (Leninist) Maharashtra and Comrade M R Murali, Secretary, Left Coordination Committee Kerala, and CPI(ML) General Secretary Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya – were also present on the dais.
Inaugurating the Convention on behalf of the four parties, CPI(ML) General Secretary Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya welcomed the gathered activists and leaders, and also briefly introduced each of the four parties. Outlining the ruling class assaults on people’s rights and democracy, and the range of people’s resistance movements, he said that real forces of the Left were naturally committed to championing these movements. The Convention aimed at addressing these issues and advancing these struggles by launching an All India Left Coordination to forge a closer unity and coordination among these movemental left forces. As a broad guideline for this coordination and unity, he said, the four parties had prepared a ‘Delhi Declaration’ to be discussed and adopted by the Convention.
Following the inaugural address, the ‘Delhi Declaration’ was read out – in English by Comrade Harkanwal Singh of the CPM Punjab and in Hindi by Comrade Ramji Rai of CPI(ML) Liberation. More than a dozen leaders and activists placed their views on the various issues, challenges and perspective outlined by the Declaration.
Addressing the Convention, AISA General Secretary Ravi Rai said that if peasants’ land was being grabbed for corporate loot, similarly students’ education too was a victim of corporate loot, and the students’ movement would resist the assaults on democratic rights – not just in campuses but in the whole of society. Comrade Kumarankutty of the LCC Kerala drew a shocking portrait of the Kerala CPI(M)'s growing forays into business and the blurring of the line of demarcation between communist politics and bourgeois commerce.
CPM Punjab leader Comrade Harkanwal Singh highlighted the need for an assertion of the revolutionary Left agenda at a time when the official Left had jettisoned that agenda. LNP(L) leader Comrade Uday Bhat spoke of the working class movement in Mumbai and Maharashtra, especially the revival of textile workers’ struggles against the corporate grab of mill land. Comrade V Shankar of the CPI(ML) expressed the hope that the emerging unity of fighting Left forces would facilitate the independent assertion of the revolutionary Left over the capitulationist politics of parliamentary opportunists.
CPM Punjab leader Comrade Raghvir Singh spoke about farmers’ resistance to imperialist agricultural policies imposed in the name of WTO. Comrade Uddhav Shinde of the LNP(L) and Comrade Bauke spoke of the acute agrarian crisis in Maharashtra and other parts of the country where farmers were committing suicide. Comrade Inderjeet Singh Grewal (leader of the CPM Punjab’s trade union organisation, the CTU) spoke of the struggles against power privatisation in Punjab, and called for struggles to be intensified against the repressive anti-people and pro-imperialist policies of the Governments at Centre and States.
Comrade Kavita Krishnan, National Secretary of AIPWA, spoke about the assaults on women’s rights and freedoms in the name of ‘honour’, and also of how women were bearing the brunt of state repression in the ‘Operation Green Hunt’ areas. Comrade Malleswar Rao of the CPI(ML) spoke about the recent police firing in Sompeta, Andhra Pradesh, and the struggles against land grab and loot of mineral resources in Orissa and Andhra Pradesh.
After the detailed discussion, the Convention adopted the Delhi Declaration enthusiastically. Comrade Swapan Mukherjee of the CPI(ML) presented a series of resolutions which were also adopted by the house. The Convention adopted a resolution condemning the brutal repression and bloodshed of civilians in Kashmir, demanding a democratic political solution to the Kashmir issue and calling for a ‘National Day of Solidarity with the Kashmiri People’ to be observed all over the country on August 20, 2010. Other resolutions included one against the UPA Government's utter failure and callous attitude towards price rise, a demand for a probe into the corruption at the Commonwealth Games, and another demanding scrapping of the Nuclear Liability Bill. Another resolution adopted extended full support to the Central Trade Unions’ call for a General Strike on 7 September 2010. Comrade Swapan Mukherjee also outlined the plans for the AILC to hold Conventions at several state capitals and other centres, and also to send solidarity/fact-finding teams to various centres of people’s resistance.
The Convention culminated with the address by top leaders of the four parties. Comrade Mangat Ram Pasla, General Secretary, CPM Punjab said that the Left Coordination marked a small beginning, but one that was destined to grow big in the coming days. He said the four organisations were aware of their mutual differences but were determined to unite on the basis of the essential points of agreement. He called upon comrades to implement the Delhi Declaration with the commitment and courage that Bhagat Singh epitomised. LNP(L) Secretary Comrade Bhimrao Bansode gave a brief account of the historical evolution of the LNP(L) and said it had been overly preoccupied with trade union struggles but was determined to play a more active political role. Comrade Unnithan, leader of the LCC Kerala, presented a speech on behalf of his party, observing the degeneration of the official Left, and calling upon the Left Coordination to take up the banner of the heroic struggles of Punnapra Vayalar and Kayyur and the sacrifice of hundreds of communists – a banner that was being abandoned by the revisionist leadership of the CPI(M) today.
The concluding speaker at the Convention, Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya, said that the Convention and the Coordination just launched represented a ray of hope for unity of the Indian Left movement. “Just as communists part ways at some turning points,” he said, “they can also unite at other junctures.” He said “Naxalbari was very much a product of the revolutionary tradition of the Indian communist movement - it was an attempt to resurrect Telangana when the ruling classes faced their gravest crisis after 1947 and Charu Mazumdar always described the CPI(ML) as the same Communist Party that produced the heroic martyrs of Kayuur and Telangana, Tebhaga and Punnapra-Vayalar. Today as circumstances around us are changing radically, we need to take a bold and forward-looking step towards realignment of all sincere, struggle-oriented and mass-based Left forces and rejuvenation of the Left movement to meet the challenges of the day.”