CC Call for Pledge Day 2015: Seize the Moment, Expand the Party and Strengthen the Communist Movement

(Seventeen years ago, on December 18, 1998, we had lost Comrade VM right in the midst of a meeting of the Party Central Committee in Lucknow. Every year since then the Party has been observing this day as the annual Pledge Day, launching the annual membership renewal campaign and renewing the pledge to accomplish the revolutionary mission of the party.)

Seventeen years ago when we had lost Comrade VM, the country had just begun to grapple with the first NDA government and the ideological-political implications of having a BJP-led government at the Centre. Under Com. VM’s leadership, the whole Party had launched a determined ideological counter-offensive against the BJP’s saffronisation agenda and a powerful “Oust Saffron, Save the Nation” mass campaign. The first NDA government did not last long, but it did return to power with a bigger coalition in 1999. However, in the first opportunity after the Gujarat genocide of 2002, the country managed to get rid of the disastrous NDA regime.

Today, seventeen years later, we can see the contours of a full-scale corporate-communal offensive unleashed by yet another BJP-led government, this time back in power with a bigger majority. But we can also say that we are witnessing the potential of Comrade VM’s vision of a powerful revolutionary-democratic resistance. If 2014 was a year of major setback for the Indian people, when Narendra Modi rode a wave of demagogy to central power to systematically unleash the entire gamut of the disastrous saffron agenda, 2015 has indeed been a year of the Indian people striking back.

And between the February washout of the BJP in Delhi to the November drubbing in Bihar, it has indeed been a great fightback on every front. Opposition by peasant organisations and the common people compelled the Modi government to go back on the land acquisition ordinance even after repeated promulgations. The massive September 2 strike by trade unions including large sections of unorganised and contract workers signalled a determination to fight hard to defeat the Modi government’s attempts to subvert labour laws and abolish industrial/workplace democracy.

The successful battle for the restoration of the Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle in Chennai IIT, the FTII strike and now the Occupy UGC campaign have exposed the myth of a Modi wave among the educated urban youth. And the campaign initiated by the country’s eminent writers, film-makers, scientists to return awards and reign from posts marked a new high of collective assertion by intellectuals, playing truly the role of public intellectuals representing the pluralist ethos and democratic conscience of India.

The Bihar elections were a key battle for the CPI(ML) and other Left forces in Bihar. The consistent role of the CPI(ML) as the leading centre of people’s struggle and the pivot of Left politics helped in bringing together the Left to fight this crucial battle as a united and independent bloc. It is a battle that we had to fight against all odds. After twenty years of uninterrupted presence in the Assembly, in 2010, the Party had failed to win a single seat. The media and the outside political world had written us off. But the Party in Bihar successfully summoned all its strength and led the 2015 battle.

After the 2010 setback, the Party paid renewed attention to strengthening its ties with the people and overhauling the Party organisation. The Party’s poll performance in Bihar could not however improve in the 2014 LS election and for the first time we could not poll one lakh votes in any of Bihar’s Lok Sabha seats. The Party organisation took up the challenge, launched a massive socio-economic survey, unleashed a whole series of local struggles and put in serious efforts to expand and streamline the Party network on the ground.

The result is now before all of us. In the extremely bipolar elections of Bihar, the Party has successfully stood its ground, improving its performance in almost all major seats and winning three seats amidst highly keen contests. The Party has managed to secure more than 10,000 votes in sixteen seats, crossing the one-lakh mark again in Bhojpur and Siwan.

The Bihar elections have re-established the Party as the leading Left force in Bihar and coupled with our base in Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh, this can surely help us strengthen our role as a growing centre of people’s struggles and Left politics in the entire Hindi belt and intervene in the whole range of ongoing protests and struggles against the corporate and communal fascist offensive of the Modi raj.

The unleashing of the entire gamut of the RSS agenda in tandem with the most brazen appeasement of foreign capital and corporate power and strategic subservience of Western imperialist powers has made the spectre of fascism a growing real threat. But we must not rush into making any alarmist reading of the situation and must not fall prey to defeatist ideas and strategy. The massive and wide-ranging protests have made it clear that the people are alive to the threat and will not allow the BJP to hijack and destroy the country. We must make use of every democratic avenue to raise our voice and strengthen the resistance and unite and cooperate with every positive initiative and struggle to combat the fascist danger.

If the BJP is taking the fullest advantage of the decline of the Congress, if a completely new force like AAP is now ruling in Delhi and making its presence felt in Punjab, the challenge before the communists is, first and foremost, to shape a powerful communist resurgence on every major plane of class struggle – ideological, political and organisational. And to do this we must combat the defeatist liberal idea that fails to address this key question and seeks to reduce the battle against the fascist danger to a bankrupt defence of the status quo.

At the same time we must concretely grasp the challenge of expanding the Party organisation and strengthening its role at the present juncture. The Ranchi Congress and the Lucknow Workshop have delineated the appropriate policy framework and key organisational tasks and targets. The entire Party must now rise to the occasion with powerful advances on every front. On the seventeenth anniversary of the demise of our beloved visionary leader, let us rededicate ourselves to Comrade VM’s dream of making CPI(ML) the biggest communist party of India and making the communist movement a powerful national political force.

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