The Call of April 22, 2007:
Develop the CPI(ML) as the Rallying Centre for all Sincere Communists and Progressive Democratic People
This April 22 we are observing the thirty-eighth anniversary of our Party’s foundation. A month later, May 23-25 will mark 40 years of the glorious Naxalbari uprising, the uprising that had inspired revolutionary communists in every corner of the country to rebel against the CPI(M) leadership’s betrayal and form the CPI(ML) as the true inheritor of the revolutionary trend of the Indian communist movement. While the CPI(M) denounced Naxalbari as Left adventurism, and did everything it could to suppress the uprising and its aftermath, revolutionary communists rightly saw Naxalbari as the continuation and development of the glorious legacy of peasant resistance of the Tebhaga-Telengana period.
Naxalbari did not happen spontaneously – behind it lay years of conscious revolutionary practice. The transition from Naxalbari to the foundation of CPI(ML) was also not automatic – the new party could take shape only through serious debates and a fresh polarisation between comrades who could sense the urgent need for a revolutionary communist party and those pedantic and puritan ‘Marxist-Leninists’ and ‘Maoists’ for whom the formation of a revolutionary communist party could wait endlessly for ideal conditions to mature.
The history of the foundation of our Party shows us the close relation between the rise of militant mass movement and the development of the revolutionary Party. Without a revolutionary party, a militant movement of the people cannot be sustained for long or cannot be advanced further. The party on the other hand draws its life-force and vital energy from the movement. The history of our Party also tells us about the great importance of ideological struggle within the communist movement – the revolutionary wing can grow and assert only by waging a decisive struggle against the opportunist trend.
Of course, we must never forget the objective aspect – the social conditions and the political situation. A revolutionary communist party grows by making the best use of a favourable situation, and it also knows how to preserve itself in adverse conditions. The history of our Party is also replete with many such important lessons and experiences. The kind of repression and setback that the CPI(ML) had to face soon after its formation has few parallels in world history; equally unparalleled has been the CPI(ML)’s record of bouncing back. Over the last three decades the Party has not only revived the movement and the organisation in almost all old pockets but also expanded the frontiers of practice to newer areas and fronts.
Today, we are once again faced with a situation when the people everywhere are rising in big struggles. It is true for the world as a whole where we see a growing popular opposition and resistance to US imperialism. It is specifically true for the Indian countryside where peasants are boldly resisting the ruling classes’ attempt to divide the country into corporate enclaves in the name of setting up special economic zones. Agricultural labourers are also up in arms – militant struggles are erupting everywhere over issues like exclusion of the poor from BPL lists and schemes and non-implementation of NREGA. New signs of fighting spirit and initiative can also be seen on the working class front. This growing assertion of the peasantry, rural poor and the working class is clearly providing a great fillip to all progressive democratic forces and we can see reassuring expressions of solidarity with the working people’s movement on the part of the student community and the intelligentsia including prominent academics and cultural personalities.
The ruling classes and their parties are finding it increasingly difficult to ‘manage’ this situation by repeating their old slogans and promises regarding ‘development’ and ‘economic growth’ or ‘reservation’ and ‘employment guarantee’. Parties in power are finding it nearly impossible to stay in power for long. Governments that have come to power by replacing discredited regimes find themselves facing the people’s anger within a short period, whether it is the UPA at the Centre, Nitish Kumar in Bihar or DMK in Tamil Nadu. Even the CPI(M)-led Left Front government which has been in power for thirty years and which enjoys almost 80% majority in the State Assembly is now faced with overwhelming mass opposition.
The people are not bothered about the consensus on economic policies among ruling and opposition parties. Nor are they retreating in the face of heavy repression and state terror. All parties voted in favour of the SEZ Act in Parliament, and state governments are vying among themselves to attract more SEZs in their respective states, but in spite of such a grand consensus and convergence among governments of all hues the people are steadfast in their opposition. On the question of SEZs, governments are now being forced to retreat in varying degrees in the face of stiff popular resistance.
We must respond boldly and wholeheartedly to this developing situation. As the revolutionary core of the Indian people, the CPI(ML) must rise to the occasion and unleash its all-out initiative. While intensifying the movement in our own areas of work we must also try to forge ties with similar struggles in other parts of the country. When the confrontation between the people and state power is sharpening so widely, we must stand by the people and do all we can to broaden and strengthen the developing popular resistance and thwart the state-led onslaught on life, livelihood and liberty of the people. When the ruling classes are busy consolidating their strategic partnership with the number one enemy of the world people, we must hold high the banner against US imperialism and direct the Indian people’s anti-imperialist spearhead against this strategic partnership.
The present juncture also makes it imperative to sharpen ideological struggle against the opportunist leadership of the CPI(M) and the ‘Bengal model’ of Left Front rule that is today known by Operation Nandigram and the Singur sell-out to the Tatas. Today when we are observing the 40th anniversary of Naxalbari, the CPI(M) celebrates fifty years of the formation of the first Communist government and thirty years of its uninterrupted rule in West Bengal. The EMS Namboodiripad government in Kerala was toppled by Nehru, today Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee meets Sonia Gandhi after Nandigram and the two parties agree not to embarrass each other! The CPI(M) has clearly lost its claim to even whatever democratic reforms were accomplished during the EMS period in Kerala or the early years of Left Front rule in West Bengal.
From Tebhaga and Telengana, and Operation Barga and “land to the tiller”, the CPI(M) has today reached Singur and Nandigram. In sharp contrast to the CPI(M)’s growing degeneration and rightward journey, the CPI(ML) is today widely recognised as the rightful inheritor and firm defender of the entire revolutionary legacy of the Indian communist movement. The March 23 Inquilab Rally in Delhi has reaffirmed this legacy at a time when by perpetrating and defending the Nandigram carnage, the CPI(M) has tarnished the glorious communist tradition of peasant struggle, and emboldened the forces of right reaction to question the impeccable progressive democratic credentials of communists and cash in on the growing public outrage. We must spread the message of the Inquilab Rally far and wide, and rally all sincere communists around the CPI(ML) to face the challenges from the right.
The present juncture has opened up a lot of possibilities before us and the tasks are quite clearly cut out for us. The Bardhaman Convention (September 2006) had anticipated these possibilities and stressed the all-important task of strengthening and expanding the Party organisation so as to enable us to meet the challenges of the unfolding situation. While intensifying the movement and sharpening the ideological struggle, we must also step up our efforts to implement the directives of the Bardhaman Convention and fulfil our targets of expansion. Towards the end of this year, we have to organise the Eighth Congress of the Party. All Party members must work harder and faster to attain the targets set for the Eighth Congress and make it a Congress of great success and new advance.
A bigger and more consolidated Party organisation equipped with a stronger and wider network of propaganda and agitation is the need of the hour. Let us make concerted efforts to develop the CPI(ML) as the rallying centre of the Indian communist movement in today’s critical juncture.
Red Salute to all our martyrs and departed leaders!
Victory to the People’s March for a Better Tomorrow and a New India!
Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist)