Central Committee Resolution on National Political Situation

(Excerpts from the resolution passed at the Central Committee meeting held at Ranchi on 12-14 January, 2001)

National and International Situation

After a decade of neo-liberal economic reforms, contradictions at various levels of society are sharpening beyond normally manageable levels. As sheer survival becomes a pressing concern for ever more sections of the Indian society, various classes and strata of people going up to sections of the rich peasantry and small industrialists have begun to take to the streets. Faced with intensifying socio-economic crisis and growing political challenges of governance, the BJP and other outfits of the Sangh Parivar are once again trying to rake up the Ayodhya issue and switch over to a pitch of stridency and aggression comparable to the first round of Ayodhya mobilisation in the late 1980s and early 1990s. With Assembly elections round the corner in several states, new patterns of alignment are also becoming discernible in both ruling and opposition political camps.

This turn in the situation had been in the offing for quite some time and the “Strengthen the Party Campaign” conducted throughout the Party from April to October 2000 was aimed precisely at preparing and equipping the Party in every respect for facing this new situation. Every bit of strength and confidence the Party has achieved through the campaign has to be applied fully in rising to the occasion. A new high tide of people’s movement calls for a bold, energetic and wholehearted response from the party of the proletariat.

Internationally, the economics and politics of globalisation have entered a new phase of uncertainties. While the wave of global protests that began at Seattle in 1999 continues unabated, the most stunning statement of this uncertainty could be seen in the US Presidential election. It reflected not only in the prolonged deadlock between the Republican and Democrat candidates and its controversial resolution by the US Supreme Court but more importantly in a reversal of America’s much-celebrated economic boom. It is now widely reported that the American economy -- not only the so-called new economy but also the old economy of industrial manufacturing -- has begun to slow down.

Nearer home, India’s relations with Pakistan continue to be tense. The ceasefire announced by the NDA government during the month of Ramzan has not succeeded in generating any real hope of a political breakthrough in Kashmir. Moreover, the impact of the ceasefire announcement has been more or less neutralised by the resurrection of Ayodhya. Devoid of any significant attempt to resume dialogue with Pakistan or, for that matter, any major confidence-building measure in the Valley like amnesty to political prisoners, cessation of fake encounters and credible investigation into cases of custodial killings and rapes, the whole move has been perceived more as a tactical ploy to divide the Kashmiri organisations than a real attempt to restore normalcy and find a political solution to the Kashmir question. Indian Govt.’s move at best can be termed as half-hearted and we demand that the government must openly put forth its proposals for having a dialogue with Kashmiri militants and resolving the Kashmir question.

Meanwhile, Indo-Nepal relations have touched a new low. The violent protests in Nepal over alleged anti-Nepal remarks made by a Bollywood megastar have once again revealed the depth of apprehensions in the average Nepalese mind regarding India’s role and intentions vis--vis Nepal. The continuing anti-Nepal tirade by the Indian foreign policy establishment in the name of growing ISI penetration of Nepal is only deepening India’s isolation from Nepal. The situation has been further vitiated by blatantly expansionist remarks made by Sangh Parivar ideologues. Democratic opinion in India must reject any streak of expansionism and regional hegemony in the Indian foreign policy response to Nepal and reassure the people of Nepal of Indian people’s respect for Nepal’s sovereignty, national identity and aspiration for development.

The BJP has revived the strategic Ayodhya issue in a most calculated manner. More than a mere reiteration of basics intended to reassure the core support base and galvanise the saffron cadre, Vajpayee’s Ayodhya pronouncements indicate the Sangh Parivar’s plans for what it hopes would be its next round of advance. This is designed to counterbalance the pressures of the allies within the NDA as well as to divert the nation’s attention from the pressing economic issues and derail and divide the growing people’s resistance. But so far there does not seem to be any major response to the BJP’s Ayodhya move. Beyond the showdown in the two houses of Parliament, the opposition has also tended to softpedal the whole issue. On the other hand, after legitimising the demolition, BJP is now trying to gain legitimacy for Ram Mandir construction. Party reiterates its clear-cut stand that Ram Mandir can never be allowed to be constructed on the ruins of Babri Masjid. Secular forces should press for an immediate reimposition of the ban on VHP to prevent it from further vitiating the atmosphere with its mischievous communal campaign. Apart from rebuilding the Babri Masjid, the only other idea that the country can consider regarding Ayodhya is that of building a national memorial in honour of the memory of the martyrs of India’s first war of independence in 1857. Ayodhya was an epicentre of the glorious war of 1857 which gave us a rich legacy of communal harmony and shared struggles and sacrifices against imperialism.

On Agrarian Front

The agrarian unrest in the country has once again begun to assume explosive proportions. The collapse of the procurement system, repeated crop failures and damages compounded by an acute infrastructural crisis and unequal competition from heavily subsidised cheaper imports have emerged as the three most pressing concerns even for sections of the upper-middle and rich peasantry who had earlier been lured with the hope of a bigger and more remunerative market with the liberalisation and globalisation of Indian agriculture. While neo-liberal economic reforms have eroded the very basis of public investment in agriculture, WTO-dictated globalisation has exposed the Indian farmer to the clutches of giant agribusiness firms and highly subsidised cheap imports, thereby further exacerbating the inherent crisis of the landlord path of capitalist development of Indian agriculture.

We must intervene in this crisis on behalf of the agricultural proletariat and the rural poor from the standpoint of the revolutionary peasant path of capitalist development. The farmers’ organisations remain preoccupied with the issue of procurement and support price and the ruling class parties are trying to reduce it to a question of centre vs state or inter-state transfer. We must link the question of procurement to the broader issue of public distribution because the new policy essentially seeks to dismantle the public distribution system and replace the earlier procurement-cum-distribution arrangement by completely privatised foodgrains trade. Any immediate solution to the present agrarian crisis can only be based on a three-pronged approach of revamping the public distribution system, extensive introduction of food-for-work programme and reimposition of quantitative and other restrictions on all agricultural imports.

Agricultural labourers constitute an all India class and we shall develop its all-India organisation in due course after formation of state-level organisation of agricultural labourers in a few major states. Meanwhile, we should develop national level coordination among our peasant associations and promote interaction with various other peasants’ and farmers’ organisations that are playing an active role against the disastrous impact and implications of the ongoing extension of neo-liberal reforms to the agricultural arena. To this end, a conference of peasant leaders and activists will be held at Faizabad in UP on 2-3 March, 2001. The agrarian crisis has begun to define the immediate political agenda and we must develop ways of more effective and vigorous intervention in this crisis.

On Working Class Front

The working class movement in the country has also entered a new phase of sustained activism. If the historic power workers’ strike in UP and countrywide strikes of port and dock workers, telecom employees, bank and insurance employees and postal employees were some of the high points of organised working class action, Delhi witnessed the might of small-sector workers when life in large parts of the capital was brought to a standstill for three days by spontaneous workers’ protest against the Supreme Court’s closure order.

Most of these struggles and strike actions do not conform to the conventional patterns and parameters of trade union movement. More than trade-related economic demands, these struggles are addressing questions linked to government policies and the very survival of the working class. The old lines of demarcation between trade union struggles and political movements are getting blurred. Even ruling class parties like the BJP and Congress which are otherwise not directly interested in working class issues lost no time to cash in on the workers’ discontent in Delhi.

If the working class itself is showing a greater dynamism, it goes without saying that the party of the proletariat must have an organic integration with this motion of the class. The trade unions may look at their struggles through the prism of trade unionism, but a revolutionary communist party must try to impart a conscious political thrust and direction to the trade union struggles and other spontaneous actions of the working class. The idea of solidarity forum or a working class journal needs to be grasped from this political imperative.

Election-Bound States and Third Front

With Assembly elections approaching in five states, the focus has shifted to the forthcoming electoral battle. Political realignments are however underway in large parts of the country which are likely to gather greater momentum after the elections. In UP, compared to the panchayat elections, results of municipal elections in UP indicated a better prospect of Congress revival. By abstaining on the Ayodhya issue in Parliament, the BSP has indicated its readiness to renegotiate a possible adjustment with the BJP. In Bihar, the JD(U) and Samata camps have already suffered splits and the RJD seems to be waiting for its turn. In West Bengal, there are signs of a revival of the idea of a TMC-Congress alliance. In Assam, while the AGP’s understanding with the BJP has been all but formalised, the Congress is trying to trap the CPI and CPI(M) in a parallel move. Any maturing of these trends is bound to have far-reaching consequences on national politics. While keeping a close watch on all these developing trends and looking for possible cooperation with likeminded forces, we shall lay our greatest emphasis everywhere on our independent accumulation and assertion of strength.

With regard to the ongoing discourse on third front, our basic position can be formulated in the following terms: (i) Clear and categorical opposition to both BJP and the Congress, (ii) a minimum democratic programme with due emphasis on economic issues, and (iii) isolation of corrupt and discredited regional forces and primacy of movemental forces with clean and credible records.

Among the organisational decisions of the Central Committee was the expansion of the Polit Bureau with the induction of Comrades Rubul Sharma and Akhilendra Pratap Singh.