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Mainstream, VOL LVI No 21 New Delhi May 12, 2018

The Congress of Hope and Unity

Sunday 13 May 2018

by Binoy Viswam

Members, sympathisers and friends of the CPI would consider the 23rd Congress of the party as a milestone in its history. But, the relevance of the Congress does not end there. It crosses the party barriers and would become something significant for the whole of Indian Left. The Congress held at Kollam, Kerala would be marked as a political catalyst that paved the path for building the broad platform of secular, democratic and Left forces to fight the menace of fascism. The threat is real. The danger of fascism is looming large over the future of the nation, like the sword of Damocles. This sword is hung on a single horse-hair of the RSS ideology. That ideology has sowed poisonous seeds of communal hatred in society. It is indebted to the unending greed of finance capital. The Narendra Modi Government during the last four years has acted as the stage-manager of the dangerous ‘bunch of thoughts’. It was implementing the agenda of ‘Hindutva’, which is nothing but the Indianised version of Hitlerite fascism. The wounds it caused to the secular foundation of the country are so deep. The minorities, the Dalits, the women, the children—all are living in an atmosphere of fear.

Its promise of ‘achche din’ is torn into pieces and thrown to the winds. Workers’ rights are snatched away, farmers are shot down, women are raped, violence against children is ever growing, universities and other centres of higher learning have become laboratories of Hindutva offensive; unemployment has crossed all limits, prices are sky-rocketing. Income divide has reached alarming proportions, where 73 per cent of the nation’s wealth has reached the hands of one per cent of the population. The Communist Party is emphatically clear that such a situation should not be allowed to continue. The country needs a change, its people are looking for it.

The cardinal task before the party Congress was to work out a realistic strategy which could combat the threat posed by the RSS-BJP. The line emphasised in the political resolution adopted by the party Congress is devoted to meet the challenge. The slogan of a ‘secular-democratic-Left platform’ provides the direction of future struggles. That slogan is the outcome of the attempt made by the CPI to apply the principles of Marxism visa-a-vis India’s complex situation. When this idea was first mooted, many people failed to understand its relevance. Some even went to the extent of attributing baseless intentions on the CPI. It was not by mistake that the CPI proposed a broad platform; not a united front. In the present situation there is no ground for building a united front with various political forces based on a common minimum programme. As the fight against the fascist forces is an urgent necessity there is no meaning in sparing time only for unending polemics. At this juncture a broad platform is the only viable proposal that a serious Left party committed to the Marxist ideology could put forth. As a political party with immense experience of struggles and sacrifices the CPI is proud to see that the idea of a broad platform has become the focal point of all political discourses.

It is the objective analysis of the objective situation that makes Marxism the science of Revolution. During the course of history while applying the principles of Marxism, the Communist Party in all countries had come across a crucial question. It is regarding the main contradiction in society. Analysing the concrete situation the CPI came to the conclusion that the main contradiction today is the struggle between communal fascism led by the RSS and the secular democratic forces. Thus the party was clear about the main enemy and the urgent need to fight it. It is from that conviction the idea of a broad platform of secular-democratic and Left forces emerged. Categorising it as a platform instead of a united front, the CPI was expressing its vibrant dialectics in under-standing the political reality through the prism of Marxism.

There are people who approach the issue only as a matter of relationship with the Congress. That would lead to narrowing down the scope and goal of the struggle against the RSS. It should be noted here that in the chapter dealing with the broad platform the CPI did not even mention the name of Congress. It doesn’t mean that the struggle against fascism should keep at a distance away from the Congress. The Congress, which is a secular party, has a role to play in the struggle. But as long as it remains committed to providing corporate neo-liberal policies, the united front with them does not arise. The question of electoral understanding with various anti-BJP forces including Congress would be discussed and decided according to State-specific situations, as and when elections come.

The pressing need of the time is to evoke confidence among the masses that Narendra Modi could be prevented from coming to power again in 2019. That a vast majority, 69 per cent of masses who voted against BJP in 2014 are still there. Even those 31 per cent who voted for him in 2014 are now disillusioned. Mobilising them on a viable platform, broad and flexible, is the strategy to unseat the present most hated ruling class from power. All those who believe that secularism is the cornerstone of Indian democracy and progress do share this view. They include varied segments in the society who may not be associated with any particular party. The tactical line adopted by the 23rd Congress provides the platform for rallying such millions in the historic battle to oust the fascists from power.

The outcome of the 22nd Congress of the CPI-M needs to be mentioned here. After prolonged discussions the CPI-M also has come to a political position more or less on the same line with that of the CPI. This will strengthen the process of Left unity and communist unity in the country. The united Left strategy to fight the forces of fascism together with all possible secular, democratic forces will give a new impetus to the struggle. Naturally, the CPI is proud that it has also contributed in the process of dialogue in this direction. Hence the 23rd Congress marked a new stage in India’s patriotic struggle to defend secularism, democracy, national sovereignty and socialist goals. It could be rightly called as the Congress of hope and unity.

The author, who has been elected to the National Council of the CPI at its latest Congress in Kollam, Kerala, is a former Minister of Forests and Housing in the erstwhile LDF Government in Kerala.

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