The All India Left Co-ordination (AILC) held at all India Left Convention on 10-11 October, 2011 at the historic Desh Bhakt Yadgar memorial for the martyrs of the Gadar movement at Jalandhar.
Delegates from the four constituent parties of AILC – CPI(ML) Liberation, Lal Nishan Party (Leninist), Left Coordination Committee Kerala and CPM Punjab – had gathered from all over the country to attend the Convention.
The Convention began on the morning of the 10th October with the hoisting of the red flag and floral tributes in memory of the martyrs. The delegates’ session began with the constitution of a Presidium comprising Comrade Harkanwal Singh of CPM Punjab, Comrade Krishna Adhikari of CPI(ML) Liberation, Comrade Uddhav Shinde of LNP(L), and Comrade Chandrashekhar of LCC Kerala. The Presidium welcomed the leaders of the four AILC constituents – Comrades Mangal Ram Pasla, Secretary of CPM Punjab, Bhim Rao Bansod, General Secretary LNP(L), K S Hariharan, Secretary, LCC Kerala, and Dipankar Bhattacharya, General Secretary, CPI(ML) Liberation – on stage, along with Comrade Taramani Rai, General Secretary of Communist Party of Revolutionary Marxists (CPRM) of Darjeeling, Comrade Jayanta Gupta Bhaya, General Secretary of Marxbadi Mancha, and Comrade Balvinder Singh Thind, Secretary, CPM Haryana.
A six-member delegation from LCC Kerala attended the Convention, as well as several comrades from CPRM. Among other leaders who participated in the Convention were CPI(ML) PB member Kartick Pal and CPI(ML) CCMs Sanjay Sharma, Prabhat Kumar, Sudhakar Yadav, Rajaram Singh, Bahadur Oraon, and Kavita Krishnan, as well as leaders of All India Kisan Mahasabha, AISA and other mass organizations.
At the very beginning of the session, the house adopted a resolution paying tribute to the recently deceased revolutionary cultural activist Comrade Gursharan Singh. Comrade Mangat Ram Pasla then delivered a welcome address, reflecting on the past year’s experience since the formation of the AILC, and the need to take the experience further. He said that apart from the parties participating in the Convention, some other parties – such as the DCPIM of West Bengal and Godavari Parulekar Manch of Maharashtra – had been unable to participate but had expressed support and good will for the Convention.
Next, Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya outlined the perspective of the draft resolution which had been placed before the house for discussion. He began by saying that the AILC Convention was being held a year after the launching of the Coordination at the national capital, in the backdrop of the shared urge for a powerful, united intervention of the Left forces in the burning issues facing the country. He spoke of the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement which was targeting the very citadel of global capitalism and imperialism. In India, too, people have been on the streets against corruption, rising prices, unemployment, and the UPA Government has certainly emerged as the main target for people’s resentment. He said that at such a time when the popular mood all over the world and in India is one of anger and resistance against the corruption and greed of the ruling classes and capitalists, there is a felt need for a powerful assertion of the fighting Left forces, which should be visible on the streets on the issues and challenges faced by common people today – be it corruption, price rise, land grab, hunger, unemployment, and assaults on democracy. It is in this backdrop that the all India Convention was being held at Jalandhar, to shape an effective response by the AILC to the political challenge of the day.
Comrade Dipankar said that the AILC did not view corruption as an issue of bribery alone; rather corruption today is unquestionably linked with the question of corporate loot of land, minerals and other natural resources and the assaults on people’s movements challenging this loot. Therefore while struggling for an effective Lokpal, the central slogan in these times for Left and progressive forces, is for ‘People’s Rights Over People’s Resources.’ Comrade Dipankar said that the ruling class has tried to silence people’s movements against corruption by trying to pit parliament against people. At the same time, there has also been an attempt by some forces to claim that political parties and political movements are irrelevant and only NGOs are legitimate. The fighting Left forces reject both these arguments firmly, and have called for the urgent need for ‘Left Resurgence Through People’s Resistance.’
Next, Comrade Bhimrao Bansod of LNP(L) addressed the Convention. He stressed that all around, people’s movements were on the rise and the scope for the Left was widening. This was the time for the AILC to reach out to other forces of struggle. Comrade Kumarankutty of LCC Kerala said that the CPI(M)’s bankruptcy and betrayal had led to the loss of its government in two states including its bastion of West Bengal. Unfortunately the entire Left movement was being discredited in the name of the CPI(M). At the same time, the rising tide of people’s struggles has also created a felt need for a consistent, revolutionary Left force. The AILC is an attempt to meet this need, and we will certainly march ahead in this effort, he said.
Comrade Taramani Rai, General Secretary of CPRM, Comrade Jayanta Gupta Bhaya, General Secretary of Marxbadi Mancha, and Comrade Balvinder Singh Thind, Secretary, CPM Haryana also addressed the Convention.
The discussion on the draft resolution followed, with many comrades from various states sharing experiences and lessons of diverse struggles. The draft resolution was then adopted after incorporating various suggestions at the end of the discussion.
On the concluding day (11 October), the delegate session was resumed. Comrade Rajaram Singh, General Secretary of the All India Kisan Mahasabha addressed the gathering. Several resolutions were then placed and adopted. (All resolutions are given in full below.)
The delegate session concluded with summing up by the main leaders of the four AILC constituents. Comrade Hariharan of LCC Kerala said that there was an objective basis for Left assertion today, and the AILC represented an attempt by genuine forces of struggle to put aside their differences and unite in the field of struggle. Comrade Bansod said that in the past year, various progressive left forces were reaching out to the AILC, and the relevance of the AILC as a platform of struggle was even more than before. Comrade Pasla said that the Jalandhar convention had been an opportunity for the AILC constituents and other friendly groups to understand each other better. He stressed the need for AILC to reach out to masses affected by the issues outlined in the resolution and draw them out on the streets and in the Left movement. Comrade Dipankar said that the AILC provided an alternate model of Left unity. The CPI(M)’s Left Front model was mainly a model of running governments, whereas the AILC was a fighting model of unity. He said that the challenge was for this unity to reflect the diverse democratic struggles in our country. Breaking the bounds of our specific geographical location and historical evolution, the AILC constituents had come together to meet the need of history. He stressed the need to learn from the CPI(M)’s defeat. The CPI(M)’s victory in 1977 came in the wake of the issues of land, democracy and resistance to state repression. Even the Naxalbari movement had brought these issues to the fore, and the CPI(M) had reaped the benefit in the elections of 1977. But three decades later, the CPI(M) faced crushing defeat precisely because it betrayed the issues of peasants, land, democracy. We need to remind ourselves that the Left, if it is to advance, must respond to democratic issues and struggles. There is no wall dividing class struggle from the left’s responsibility to champion the democratic aspirations of women, dalits, minorities, and youth. Democracy and land are, for us, not mere ‘issues’ but are the life-spirit of our revolutionary politics. Left politics is at a turning point in India. Some are seeking to write the obituary of the Left and advice the Left to turn social democratic; others are taking it in an anarchist direction, cut off from mass movements. At such a juncture the AILC has taken the challenge of deepening unity and assertion of Left forces of struggle. In this journey, we are certainly moving forward.
The delegate session concluded with rousing slogans. In the afternoon, an open session was held in the shape of a public meeting in the Comrade Jwala Singh memorial hall. The meeting in the packed hall was addressed by Comrades Dipankar Bhattacharya, Bhimrao Bansod, Kumarankutty, and Mangat Ram Pasla as well as Comrade Krishna Adhikari.