Indian Conditions – Certain Concrete Issues: Draft Ideological Resolution of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)

10.1 In Indian conditions, our task to strengthen our revolutionary advance in this transition period, given the balance of forces shifting in favour of imperialism, requires concerted efforts to work for a change in the correlation of class forces amongst the Indian people to advance our strategic objective. This, in turn, requires the unleashing of powerful mass and popular struggles to sharpen the class struggle in our society in the concrete conditions in which we exist.

10.2 Parliamentary and extra-parliamentary forms: To achieve this task, the updated Programme noted: ‘The Communist Party of India (Marxist) strives to achieve the establishment of people’s democracy and socialist transformation through peaceful means. By developing a powerful mass revolutionary movement, by combining parliamentary and extra parliamentary forms of struggle, the working class and its allies will try their utmost to overcome the resistance of the forces of reaction and to bring about these transformations through peaceful means. However, it needs always to be borne in mind that the ruling classes never relinquish their power voluntarily. They seek to defy the will of the people and seek to reverse it by lawlessness and violence. It is, therefore, necessary for the revolutionary forces to be vigilant and so orient their work that they can face up to all contingencies, to any twist and turn in the political life of the country.’

10.3 Thus achieving, in practice, a proper combination of parliamentary and extra parliamentary activity, in this current situation, is an important task before the Party.Our Party Programme states: ‘Although a form of class rule of the bourgeoisie, India’s present parliamentary system also embodies an advance for the people. It affords certain opportunities for them to defend their interests, intervene in the affairs of the State to a certain extent and mobilise them to carry forward the struggle for democracy and social progress’. (Para 5.22) But the growing power of big capital and the entry of big money into politics and the growing criminalization of politics is distorting and undermining the democratic process.

10.4 As the Political Resolution adopted at the Extended CC meeting at Vijayawada pointed out: ‘Parliamentary democracy itself is getting corroded by neo-liberalism and the impact of global finance capital. The subversion of democracy through money and criminality in politics is accompanied by the growing restrictions on democratic rights. The right to hold demonstrations, public meetings and general strikes are being circumscribed by administrative measures and judicial interventions. The corporate media is used to propagate and justify such restrictions of rights of the people.’ (Para 2.35)

10.5 The fight to protect and expand the democratic system and the democratic rights of citizens is part of the struggle of the working people against the bourgeois-landlord State and to go to a higher form of democracy under People’s Democracy. Our Party Programme states: ‘It is of utmost importance that parliamentary and democratic institutions are defended in the interests of the people against such threats and that such institutions are skillfully utilised in combination with extra parliamentary activities.’ (Para 5.23)

10.6 With this perspective, work in the parliamentary forums is to be utilised to strengthen the mass movements. Parliamentary work should be combined with extra-parliamentary activities and struggles to develop a powerful movement to build an alternative to the existing bourgeois-landlord order.

10.7 However, it is imperative that we must guard against powerful deviations that may occur. Parliamentary democracy by itself creates many illusions amongst the people that seek to mute or weaken class and mass struggles, particularly through State patronage. While combating such illusions and exposing effectively the machinations of the ruling classes in using such illusions to make people submissive to their class rule, it is imperative that we adopt the correct tactics to rouse the exploited masses into revolutionary action.

10.8 Further, illusions of a peaceful transition will also strengthen. This is a matter that we have settled in our updated Programme. The rectification campaigns that we regularly undertake in the Party emphasize the continuous struggle against parliamentary opportunism. The effective combination of parliamentary with extra-parliamentary work requires the guarding against parliamentarism and fostering of parliamentary illusions.

10.9 In the current situation, Maoism as an expression of Left adventurist deviation continues to pose ideological challenges to the advance of the revolutionary class struggles of the Indian people. Despite its understanding being proved wrong, it continues to characterize the Indian ruling classes as comprodor/bureaucratic and continues to adhere to a strategy of immediate armed struggle against the State. It specifically targets the CPI(M). It collaborates with bourgeois reactionary political parties and forces to mount physical and murderous attacks against CPI(M) cadres and sympathisers. It is necessary to strengthen the ideological struggles against such a Left adventurist trend and combat it both politically and organizationally. This is essential to advance the Indian people’s struggle for socialism on scientific and revolutionary foundations.

10.10 Falling prey to one of these deviations has the danger of being trapped in a revisionist deviation of relying only on parliamentary activity, thus, neglecting class struggles through mass mobilizations. On the other hand, falling prey to the other will push us into the trap of the Left adventurist deviation of negating parliamentary democracy itself – an infantile disorder. ‘All tactics and no strategy’ leads to revisionism, ‘all strategy and no tactics’ leads to adventurism. We must resolutely guard against both [35].

10.11 The CPI(M), since its birth, has vigorously and steadfastly combated both these deviations, amongst others, in order to carry forward the Indian revolution on correct scientific lines. This struggle has neither ended with the formation of the CPI(M) nor will it end even after the triumph of the Indian revolution. The experience of the USSR and Eastern Europe has shown the need to exercise the utmost vigilance and guard against becoming victims of all deviations from the revolutionary content of Marxism-Leninism. The failure to do so had consumed socialism in the USSR to the extent that its form and content cannot be replicated in today’s 21st century. [36]

10.12 Worker-Peasant Alliance: The strengthening of the ‘subjective factor’ in Indian conditions crucially depends upon the strengthening of the worker-peasant class alliance to advance our strategic objective. Under the present conditions, there is an urgent need to overcome the weaknesses in achieving this alliance for strengthening the class struggles. The objective situation obtaining in our country is conducive for such an effort. The subjective weaknesses will have to be overcome. An important element in this is to forge the unity of agricultural labour and the poor peasants that represent the most exploited and, hence, the revolutionary sections of our peasantry.

10.13 Working Class Unity: As a Party wedded to achieve the liberation of the Indian people under the leadership of the working class, it is imperative that the class unity and the revolutionary consciousness and strength of the working class must be raised to a level where it can lead the rest of the Indian exploited sections in mounting the class offensive – an assault against the Rule of Capital in India.

10.14 This task, however, under conditions of imperialist globalization becomes more complex. The very logic of neo-liberal reforms leads to and perpetuates the rapid growth of labour force that is increasingly relegated to what is called the unorganized sector. The conversion of regular employment into casual and contractual labour, apart from generating higher profits, is the class attempt of the ruling classes to ensure that the working class unity remains divided and disrupted. Larger and larger numbers are joining the ranks of casual, temporary and self-employed workers. Appropriate tactics need to be worked out to overcome these challenges and strengthen the unity of the working class by drawing the vast mass of the unorganized labour into revolutionary activity.

10.15 Combating economism in trade union activity has always engaged the revolutionary movements. The experiences of the 20th century struggles for socialism, on this score, need to be learnt from and carried forward under the present conditions.

10.16 Identity Politics: Identity has always been used by the ruling classes even before the advent of capitalism. Identities such as ethnicity etc. have been utilized to bolster their class rule and various new constructs of nationalism are also created. For example, the rise of Zionism in the late 19th century leading to, in modern times, the State of Israel is one such. [37] Identity was utilized in the wake of the disintegration of the Soviet Union in various of its former republics by the reactionary forces to consolidate their rule. Former Yugoslavia is today fragmented on this basis. Religious identities were effectively utilized by British imperialism and domestic ruling classes to partition the Indian subcontinent. Even today religious and caste mobilizations continue to disrupt class solidarity amongst the exploited sections. In today’s conditions, the bourgeoisie uses identity politics on the one hand to disrupt class solidarity, and uses NGOs, on the other hand, to promote such identity politics and, in general, to depoliticize the people.

10.17 The anti-Marxist ideological construct, post-modernism, argues that politics can only be ‘micro’ or local, that politics can be based on only ‘differences’ and ‘identity’. Thus it provides a new basis for identity politics in the current situation.

10.18 In identity politics, as practiced by proponents of post-modernism, in today’s conditions, identity based on race, religion, caste or gender increasingly becomes the basis for politics and political mobilisation. Class is considered to be only one fragment of identity. Identity politics thus negates the concept of a working class. By its nature, identity politics excludes and demarcates those of one identity from others. Wherever identity politics takes hold, it divides the people into separate and disparate groups often in conflicting and competing terms.

10.19 Identity politics is ideally suited for the bourgeois ruling class. Fragmentation of identity is harnessed by the market. In fact in advanced capitalist societies, various lifestyles are celebrated and fashions and goods are designed to cater to them as part of the consumerist society. In the case of the less developed capitalist countries, identity politics facilitates the penetration of global finance capital and their capture and control of a market. The ‘difference’ between identity groups does not affect the homogeneity of the market and its practices. Identity politics intervenes to negate class unity and act as a barrier to building united movements of the people. Identity politics is typically carried out through NGOs, voluntary organizations, and what is called civil society. Such NGOs and voluntary organisations which themselves operate as separate and fragmented units are ideal vehicles to carry the idea of separate identity.

10.20 Caste Based Mobilisations: Identity politics based on political mobilisation of caste poses a serious challenge for those seeking to build the unity of all exploited and oppressed sections of society. The Party of the working class has to concretely take up the issues of land, wages and livelihood of the dalits and backward castes while at the same time it should launch movements against social oppression and caste discrimination. It is by taking up a combination of class issues and social questions that the pernicious effects of identity politics and caste fragmentation can be countered. This is based on the Marxist outlook of how class exploitation and social oppression are interrelated. [38]

10.21 The CPI(M) stand is based on the recognition that there is both class exploitation and social oppression in society. Given the socio-economic formation in our country, class exploitation both capitalist and semi-feudal exists along with various forms of social oppression based on caste, race and gender. The ruling classes extract surplus through class exploitation and for the maintenance of their hegemony they utilise the various forms of social oppression. Hence the struggle against both forms of exploitation and oppression should be conducted simultaneously.

10.22 Gender Issue : The perpetuation of feudal influences with the social oppression of the caste system has fostered powerful patriarchal ideological values. The neo-liberal framework has further buttressed this. Gender based discrimination is not only a feudal relic but systemic in class based societies. The unequal division of labour and the disproportionate burdens being borne by women in the family economy have been intensified by neo-liberal policies and the increasing abdication of the State from meeting social obligations. The struggle against gender inequality and oppression in all its manifestations must be strengthened. As a Party of the working class, we must work effortlessly to develop the required social consciousness amongst the Indian people against gender oppression as an integral part of strengthening the class struggles.

10.23 Communalism: It is in this context that the struggle against communalism and all other expressions of religious fundamentalism will have to be seen. Apart from disrupting and weakening the secular democratic foundations of modern India (like the RSS vision of a rabidly intolerant fascistic ‘Hindu Rashtra’), the foundations that largely facilitate the exercise of democratic rights which is an important pre-condition for the advance of our class mobilization, these forces directly disrupt the unity of the working class and the exploited sections by rousing communal passions exploiting the religious appeal amongst our people. Hence, without a firm struggle to defeat communalism, the revolutionary advance in our country will not be possible.

10.24 Nationalism : Modern nationalism is associated with the rise of the bourgeois class and its use of the national consciousness against feudalism. In the twentieth century, nationalism arose in the colonial and semi-colonial countries to fight the colonial and imperialist rule. The anti-imperialist content of nationalism got diluted with the ruling classes taking over in these ex-colonies. Under imperialist globalisation, there is a concerted assault on national sovereignty. Imperialist finance capital demands that all nation-states concede their natural sovereignty to its dictates.

10.25 New challenges are also being mounted through mobilizations based on numerous regional and ethnic identities. The movements for separate states like in Telangana, Darjeeling and innumerable other parts of the country today not only disrupt the foundations of a linguistic organisation of the Indian State but are disrupting the very unity of the exploited classes. [39]

10.26 International finance capital promotes ethnic nationalism and separatism to weaken the sovereignty and integrity of nation states. Such reactionary ethnic nationalism which divides people on narrow sectarian lines should be opposed while we must champion the struggles against genuine oppression and discrimination against them. At the same time, the defence of national sovereignty and anti-imperialist nationalism is an important aspect to rally solidarity of the exploited classes and strengthen class unity in the struggle against imperialist globalisation.

10.27 In a multinational country like India, with globally unmatched socio-cultural diversity, the proclivities for such tendencies continue to remain innumerable. They disrupt the unity of the exploited classes and to that extent weaken our advance towards our strategic objective. This can only be countered by strengthening of the class unity of the exploited sections through the building of powerful popular struggles on class issues. It is on the basis of such an understanding that we worked out our tactical approach against the reordering of the existing Indian States by disrupting the principle of a linguistic reorganization.

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