Contrary to wild and ill-informed speculation in mainstream media, the 22nd Party Congress of the CPI(M) has arrived at a unified understanding on the key issue of fighting the BJP/Sangh Parivar. It has also backed a historic and unprecedented call by workers and peasant organisations to hold a massive protest at Delhi on 5 September to be preceded by months of extensive mobilization and campaign across the country.
For the mainstream media, the main issue seemed to be the so called battle between two factions within the CPI(M). Despite repeatedly clarifying that all issues are allowed to be freely debated within the party, and especially in the delegate session of the Party Congress, the mainstream media’s blinkered and prejudiced vision prevented it from understanding this. Hence all the screaming headlines about “split wide open”, “factions”, “divisions” and so on.
As it turned out, the issue of the nature of alignments in the fight against the BJP was settled after both views were placed before the party meet. One view held that in view of the great danger posed by BJP/RSS, the CPI(M) needs to include the Congress Party in electoral alliances or understandings while the other held that Congress being one of the major representatives of the Indian ruling class could not be included in such a relationship. After considerable debate, the Party Congress decided that there would not be any “political alliance with the Congress Party”. It was also decided that “there can be an understanding with all secular opposition parties including the Congress in Parliament on agreed issues”. The meet also decided that “outside parliament, we should cooperate with all secular opposition forces for a broad mobilization of people against communalism. We should foster joint actions of class and mass organisations, in such a manner that can draw in the masses following the Congress and other bourgeois parties.”
Following this, the delegates approved the political resolution thereby setting the party on course to launch a broad struggle not only against the ruling BJP but also the wider influence of communal bigotry as represented by the RSS and its affliates. One key element that informs the CPI(M)’s understanding is that the struggle against RSS spawned communal poison and bigotry is intertwined with the struggle against neoliberal policies because such policies provide fertile ground for the spread of communalism. The mainstream media, of course, couldn’t even begin to understand this.
However, the mainstream media’s biggest omission – in all probability deliberate – was the key resolution “In support of 5th September 2018 Mazdoor Kisan Sangharsh Rally” passed by the Party Congress. It noted the series of strike actions and protests by trade unions and farmers’ organisations in the past few years against a calculated onslaught by the Modi govt. It extended full support for a massive mobilization of workers and peasants on 5 September at Delhi in what it called the ‘Mazdoor Kisan Sangharsh Rally” (worker peasant struggle rally). This show of strength will not only tie up protests by farmers and workers organisations that have been going on independently for the past three years but also blow the bugle for the forthcoming electoral battles in several states, as also the 2019 general elections.
Seen in the context of the political tenor of the discussions at the Party Congress, this shows that the CPI(M) is throwing all its resources into a fight against the Modi govt. This is also in tune with the growing discontent across the country and the disenchantment with Modi and his ‘Achche Din’
This call reflected the essence of the views expressed in the Party Congress – that there is need for a Left led broad based struggle against the neo-liberal policies of the Modi govt. as a precondition to its electoral defeat.
The Party Congress has also adopted a resolution condemning the Modi govt.’s introduction of ‘fixed term employment’ across all industrial sectors. The resolution said that the move was “an integral part of the neoliberal agenda of labour law “reforms” that are meant to impose conditions of virtual slavery on the working class.” The BJP government has already amended the Apprenticeship Act and is in the process of amending the Factories Act, Contract Labour Act, and merging 44 labour laws into four Labour Codes to deprive workers of the little protection they provide, it said.
Among other issues, the BJP’s terror campaign in Tripura, the onerous terms of the new Finance Commission, the Supreme Court’s order in the Judge Loya case, atrocities on dalits, the dire unemployment situation in the country etc. were also discussed.
In the final two days, the Party Congress will be discussing an organizational report followed by election of a fresh Central Committee and Polit Buro, the two smaller bodies that take decisions between two Party Congresses. Under the CPI(M)’s constitution, the Party Congress is the highest decision making body.