CPI(ML) observed the second death anniversary of the legendary Marxist-Leninist thinker and former General Secretary of the Party Com. Vinod Mishra (18 December) as Sankalp Diwas (Day of Pledge) throughout the country and resolved to develop and intensify people’s struggles for democracy, social and economic justice and national self-reliance, against globalisation and communal fascism. Towards this end, the Party has called for building up a broad-based, struggle-oriented unity of all Left and democratic forces including the activists of new social movements.

Apart from observing the centrally decided programmes in Delhi, Patna and Calcutta, seminars and conventions were held in almost all centres of our work. While paying rich tributes to Com. VM and recalling his contribution to the cause of Indian society, participants discussed challenges before the Left and ways and means to meet them.


Need for Left Unity Reasserted

The Second Vinod Mishra Memorial Day was observed in West Bengal on December 18, 2000, through a seminar entitled “The challenges before the Left today”, organised jointly by Liberation and Ajker Deshabrati, the Organ of the West Bengal State unit of the party, at the Calcutta University Centenary Hall. The seminar was attended by a packed audience of more than 1500 and the panel of speakers comprised representatives from all the major left parties of the state except the RSP, whose nominated representative Comrade Debabrata Banerjee, the State Party Secretary could not ultimately make it because of unavoidable reasons. Comrade Arindam Sen, member of the Editorial Board of Liberation conducted the Seminar. Paying homage to Com. VM all the speakers expressed that his second memorial day could not have been better observed.

Initiating the discussions, Com. B Sivaraman, on behalf of Liberation, said that today the situation is conducive for the Left to go for an offensive. Rejecting the tailist tactics, he called for an independent assertion of the Left through a broad forum of the Left and genuine democratic forces engaged in mass protests against globalisation and communal fascism. (See text of the speech)

Speaking on the subject, Com. Anil Biswas, Polit Bureau member and State Secretary of the CPI(M), placed an outline of his party’s evaluation of the present situation characterised by phenomenal rise of the communal fascist offensive of the BJP. He pointed out that the most crucial question at the moment was whether fascism would prevail or democracy. So, according to him, the primary task before the Left was to defeat fascism and protect democracy, and to defeat fascism, the Left should join hands with any democratic party. He clarified that the immediate target before the Left was the BJP-led government at the Centre. Drawing a historical parallel he said that the Left had to unite with JP and others in 1974 to defeat authoritarian Indira and the Spanish communists had to unite with the Liberal democratic Party to defeat Franco. He questioned: can the Left alone constitute the third front? Allies, according to him, depended on the target, and historically, the Left must unite with all the possible political forces that opposed the fascist BJP.

Commenting on the situation in West Bengal, he observed that land reforms in the state were successfully over, which put forth the need for industrialisation in order to save and further develop the productive forces. He pointed out that the present policies of the ruling classes were directed at destroying the industrial proletariat and giving birth to lumpen proletariat. If this were to be the situation, the communist party would lose its relevance. Hence the working class party also did have a class stake in coining the slogan of industrialisation.

Quoting Mao, he said that the tactical line was to be framed on the basis of the given situation and the correlation of class forces was decided by the forces in power. He observed that his party had earlier given a call for class-based front and was proved wrong, and hence subsequently, they shifted to the tactic of broad-based front.

Continuing the debate and discussion, Com. Kartick Pal, Polit Bureau Member and WB State Secretary of the CPI(ML), commented that biggest question before the Left today was that of independent left assertion. He said that the workers and the democratic people had great potential and the Left should place more confidence on them. He pointed out that the allies of the Left of yesteryear had become allies of the fascist forces today. The situation, according to him, demanded of the Left to be at the helm of every people’s movement.

On the question of Left Front rule in West Bengal, he observed that 24 years of Left rule, instead of strengthening the left forces, had paved the way for the rise of the rightist forces. As regards industrialisation in West Bengal, he was of the view that the call given by the Left Front government is suitable for a socialist country only and not for a country like ours, and if the Left stood for such a slogan, it would belittle the significance of the red flag. Commenting on the success of land reforms in the state he asked as to how the jotedars had again raised their ugly head even after implementing such reforms, as was claimed by the Left in power. He called upon the Left to seriously ponder over why the workers and the youth were flocking towards the rightist camp among the Left Front rule, and urged the Left to come forward to lead the forces of resistance independently.

The other speakers on the occation included Com. Jayanta Roy from the Forward Bloc, Com Debasish Dutta from the CPI and Com. Prabhash Ghosh from the SUCI. All of them placed their respective visions on the topic and emphasised the need for left unity according to their own model. Comrade Debasish Dutta called for an extension of the present Left Front to include other left forces while Com. Prabhash Ghosh called for principled unity on the basis of class struggle and not on the basis of narrow interests of electoral power politics or shallow anti-BJPism in the name of secularism.

Concluding the discussions, Com. Arindam Sen summarised that there were wide differences among the Left Parties, but at the same time there was genuine urge for unity, which, if translated into reality, could give rise to broader Left unity—a dream so fondly cherished by Com. VM.

Sukanta Mondal


Seminar on Challenging Globalisation

Observing “Sankalp Diwas”, Party’s Delhi State Committee held a seminar on “Fresh Upsurge of People’s Movement: Challenging the Globalisation offensive” at Constitutional Club, New Delhi. Addressing a packed hall, Mr. SP Shukla, veteran economist and former member of Planning Commission said that people will not take the onslaught of globalisation lying down, now that they have come to be affected directly. He said that the ruling elite has become totally alienated and that it is more committed to economic reforms than to the interest of people. As the new economic policy is not expected to succeed in the long run, the ruling class needs a political formation which can bulldoze people’s dissent, and thus communal fascists become their choice. All talk of strong centre, stability and effective government and their national chauvinism is essentially to crush democracy in favour of globalisation. The current situation of popular upsurge calls upon those concerned to come together in some formation of united struggle against globalisation, he said. Prof. Arun Kumar, veteran economist, from JNU, laid bare the discriminatory character of globalisation and subservient role of Indian ruling class, and highlighted the potentials of India’s cherished self-sufficiency, saying that we have to tell people that India does not lack the resources, rather it is the parallel economy which opeerates through corruption and black money that is siphoning off our wealth. He said that we have to convince people that an alternative does exist and globalisation is not the only answer. Mr. Dunu Roy of Hazards Centre castigated the elite class and its institutions, centering the Delhi Master Plan. He said that the 1982 Master Plan had promised 16 lakh pucca houses and 15 industrial areas but even a tenth of this was not achieved. He emphasised the need for building the broadest possible unity against the main enemy. Yogendra Yadav, social scientist, exposed the leaning of the so-called liberal representatives of the “centrist” stream towards globalisation and insisted on drawing a clear dividing line between those who merely criticised and those who opposed globalisation. He also emphasised on broadbased unity among forces of radical democracy to challenge globalisation. Com. Kumudini Pati, CCM, explained the party’s vision of unity on the plank of consistent democracy. She emphasised that in opposing globalisation, despite ideological differences, it was possible to have unity in action between forces of radical democracy, as VM had envisaged. Communists of various hues, socialists and new social movements which were pro-left, as well as their umbrella organisations and fora could build networks of solidarity, she said. The seminar was presided over by Com. BB Pandey and a vote of thanks was given by Com. Rajendra Pratholi, Secy. of Delhi State Committee.


Mazdoor Kisan Vikas Sammelan

Around ten thousand people gathered at Miller School Ground in Patna to participate in the Mazdoor Kisan Vikas Sammelan (Workers’ and Peasants’ Convention on Development) held on 18 December, on the occasion of the second death anniversary of our leader Com. Vinod Mishra. Incidentally, the venue was the very same place where Com. VM’s mortal remains were finally kept for public view before cremation. Addressing the gathering Party General Secretary Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya scathingly attacked the Prime Minister’s statement justifying the destruction of Babri Masjid as a manifestation of national sentiment. He said that the statement is a slur on the nation, by which Vajpayee is trying to misdirect the anger of the workers, peasants and toiling masses crystallizing all around the country. Our response to Sangh Parivar’s threat to build temple at the site of demolished Babri Masjid will be: “We will bury the Sangh Parivar at Ayodhya itself”, he asserted.

Exposing the pro-US and anti-peasantry nature of the agricultural policy of the central government, Com. Dipankar said that such policy could no longer be tolerated. The government is bent on dismantling the public distribution system as well as the system of procurement of grains from the peasants. This must be opposed. On the one hand, PDS must be strengthened in view of the needs of the poor, and on the other, sufficient number of procurement centres should be opened. But the problem is that the FCI godowns have stored more than capacity, the grain there is being eaten by mice. Yet, in some corners of our country people are facing famine and starvation deaths. Therefore, the government must send the grain to the needy people and empty godowns. For this, schemes like ‘food for work’ must be introduced and pursued vigorously, and moreover, there must be provision of employment to agrarian labourers round the year. If the govt. does not fulfill these demands, he proclaimed amidst thunderous applause, that millions of poor people would exercise their right to seize the godowns and empty them, as employment is the birth right of the poor.

Coming to the question of Bihar’s development, he stressed that the movement would have to fight against anti-development forces outside as well as within Bihar. It is a half-truth that Bihar is a backward state, the complete truth being that Bihar has been kept a backward state. He emphasised the need of convergence of all the Left forces, true socialists and the offshoots of 1974 movement committed to the values and the path of struggle. The convention was also addressed by State Secretaries, Com. Jalaluddin Ansari of CPI, Com. Amriteshwar Chakravarty of SUCI, Com. Tarakant Prakash of RSP, Com. Nripendra Krishna Mahato of Forward Bloc and Com. Ramjatan Sharma of CPI(ML), CC members Com. KD Yadav, Saroj Chaubey, Party Incharge of Mithilanchal area Com. Dhirendra Jha, ex-MLA and peasant leader Com. Amar Yadav, RYA president Com. Rajaram Singh and Com. Mahboob Alam, MLA. The convention was presided over by Com. Rameshwar Prasad, state convenor of Khet Mazdoor Sabha and conducted by Com. Prabhat K Chaudhry, Incharge of the State HQ.


People’s Movement Against Globalisation and Challenges Before the Left in Punjab

Around 400 party activists and sympathisers of various left forces gathered in a seminar on “People’s Movement against Globalisation and WTO and Challenges before Left and Revolutionary forces” on 17 December at Khalsa High School premises in Mansa, Punjab to observe second death anniversary of Com. Vinod Mishra. Addressing the gathering, Com. BB Pandey, Party CC member said that the situation had changed in the last ten years and now in the context of rising people’s struggles the Left needs an offensive strategy to defeat communal fasicsts forces who are the main agents of imperialist globalisation in India. Other speakers included Com. Mangat Ram Pasla, CC member of CPI(M), Dr. MS Randhawa, Convenor of Janwadi Chetna Manch, Chandigarh and Ruldu Singh, Senior Vice President of BKU(Ekta). Introductory remarks were made by Com. Rajvinder Rana, secretary of Party’s Punjab unit and the seminar was presided over by Prof. Ajmer Singh Aulakh, a left intellectual.


Homage Paid to Com. VM in Rajasthan

A Pledge-taking meeting was organised at the Party headquaters in Jaipur on 18 December, presided over by PUCL State President Prem Krishna Sharma. Com. Srilata Swaminathan, CC Member called for a powerful and unified movement against globalisation. Other speakers included Than Singh, ex-M.P., Sarvodayite leaders Sawai Singh and Rajendra Kumbaj, Kavita Srivastava and Arun Khetan of PUCL and Party Distt. Secy. Com. Harkesh Bugalia.

In Jhunjhunu, 500 activists assembled at district headquarters in a meet against the ill effects of globalisation on the peasantry. Party State Secy. Com. Mahendra Chaudhary and Distt. Secy Com. Phulchand Dhewa addressed the gathering.


Comrade Vinod Mishra Remembered in Haryana

More than 200 people including 50 women participated in a convention called to remember the former General Secretary of Party Com. VM on his 2nd death anniversary at Ramlila Bhawan, Railway Road, Karnal, in Haryana. Com. Prem Singh Gahlawat, State Party Incharge of Haryana referred to the great contribution of Com. VM for Indian revolution and party building. Referring to the onslaught of globalisation on the peasantry, he highlighted the need to forge united struggle against globalisation. Other speakers included State Secretary of the CPI(M) Com. Inder Jeet, State Secretary of CPI Com. Raghubir Singh, Karnal Distt. Secy. of CPI(M), Com. Sube Singh, Com. Mahinder Chopra, Ram Kishan and Ram Singh of CPI(ML). The convention was presided over by Com. Prem Singh Kashyap.


About 150 people participated in a meeting held in memory of Comrade Vinod Mishra. CPI(ML) CCMs Comrades N. Murthy and Bugatha Bangar Rao addressed the meeting. The speakers recalled how Comrade VM’s call for a broad unity of the entire spectrum of the Left for a powerful mass movement in Andhra Pradesh is becoming a reality today.


About 250 people, mostly industrial workers, met at Ambattur to recall the contributions of Comrade Vinod Mishra to the revolutionary communist movement in India. Adressing the gathering Comrade Kumaraswamy, CPI(ML) CCM, dealt at length on the prophetic vision of Comrade VM.


On 18 December a seminar was held in Bhilai on the issue of “Movement against Privatisation and vote of left force.” President of Madhya Pradesh Bank Employees Association Com. Rajan Tumare, Prof. Som Goswami from Raipur, Loktrantic Samajwadi Party district president Shyam Manohar Singh and Jagnarayan Chaudhry from AICCTU addressed the seminar. All the speakers paid tributes to the memory of Comrade Vinod Mishra. Com. Rajaram formally released the Organ of Chhatisgarh CPI(ML), Chhatihgarh Maley Samachar.