Defeat Fascism! Fight for a People’s India!
The 10th Congress of the CPI(ML) was held at Mansa, Punjab, beginning with a rally on 23 March 2018, the martyrdom anniversary of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, and Rajguru, and concluding on 28 March 2018. The theme of the Congress was people’s resistance to fascist forces in India, and the ongoing struggles striving for a people’s India. A report.
The 10th Congress of CPI(ML) began with the inauguration of a statue of Bhagat Sigh, Sukhdev and Rajguru, and an Inquilab Rally (Rally For Revolution) on 23 March, the martyrdom anniversary of the three revolutionary martyrs (see detailed report elsewhere in this issue).
On 24 March 2018, the delegates and guests gathered at the martyrs’ memorial constructed at the 10th Congress venue, where veteran CPI(ML) leader Comrade Nakshatra Singh Khiba hoisted the party’s flag. CPI(ML) General Secretary, secretaries of all the State party units, international guests and guests from other Left parties paid tributes at the martyrs’ memorial.
The Congress hall was named after comrades Swapan Mukherjee and Ganeshan (PV Srinivas), the dais was named after comrades Srilata Swaminathan and Jeeta Kaur, while Mansa town was renamed as Baba Bujha Singh Nagar after great revolutionary and martyr who had organised the Ghadar movement in Argentina and was later became one of the founders of Naxalbari movement in Punjab. He was murdered in a fake police encounter on 28 July 1970 near Phillaur.
The inaugural session of the Congress was held on 24 March, which was attended and addressed by leaders of Left parties. Preceding this, The inaugural session was conducted by CPI(ML)’s Punjab Secretary Comrade Gurmeet Singh Bakhtpura. Comrades Swadesh Bhattacharya, Kumaraswamy, Meena Tiwari, Ramji Rai and Kavita Krishnan from CPI(ML) were on the dais.
The session began with a rendering of a song in memory of the martyrs, rendered by Jan Sanskriti Manch activists from various states. After this, Comrade Abhijit Mazumdar read out the Condolence Resolution honouring martyrs and departed leaders and progressive personalities, after which the house observed two minutes silence as a tribute. Comrade Rajaram Singh read out a resolution on the country’s diverse socio-cultural heritage and the need to defend it from fascist falsification.
The leaders of various Left parties were felicitated by Central Committee members of the CPI(ML), with mementos and gifts marking the 10th Congress of the party.
The inaugural address was delivered by Comrade Dipankar, General Secretary of the CPI(ML) (full text of his address is published in the next few pages). Comrade Dipankar said the 10th Congress was being held in the backdrop of “the unmistakable rise of fascism in India.” He identified the main features of this fascism, and also the manner in which the bankruptcy, betrayals, and capitulation of the Congress and other so-called secular parties had helped fascism grow roots in India. “”For a decisive defeat of fascism, we need to change the political agenda and climate of the country, and a spirited resurgence of the Left holds the key to such a political shift”, he said.
Addressing the inaugural session, Comrade Binoy Viswam of the CPI said that the Modi Government is controlled by the fascist ideology of the RSS, and the vitals of the national fabric and the Indian Constitution are being questioned in tune with ‘Hindutva’ which is nothing but the Indian version of Hitlerite ideology. He said that this represented the greatest danger the country faces today and called for it to be resisted by all possible forces in a broad secular, democratic, Left platform.
Comrade Mohd. Salim of the CPIM said that the entire world was witnessing a right-wing upsurge, but Left forces were neither intimidated by the right wing nor demoralised by electoral defeats. With the fascist forces of the RSS in power, he said, the Left and the Right were confronting each other face to face in India. He cited the popular slogan ‘Jo Hitler ki chaal chalega, vo Hitler ki maut marega’ (He who walks Hitler’s path will die Hitler’s death) and said that, however, Hitlers do not die easily – it would take the determined and united resistance of Indian people to defeat them. He saluted the many efforts at forging united struggles of Left parties and all kinds of people’s movements.
Comrade Devarajan of the Forward Bloc said that Left forces must unite to fight the fascist forces. He said the RSS was bent on destroying the country’s culture, civilisation and Constitution. He said the Modi Government’s character is marked by communalism in thought, liberalisation in practice, fascism in vision, intolerance in action, and autocracy in administration.
Comrade Uday Bhat of Lal Nishan Party (Leninist) said that his party enjoyed a long and especially close relationship with the CPI(ML), sharing membership and leadership of many mass organisations including AICCTU and AISA, as well as participation in the AIPF. He stressed the need to intensify struggles for people’s rights as well as against every act of communalism and violence by fascist forces.
Comrade Mangat Ram Pasla of Revolutionary Marxist Party of India spoke of the united struggles of various Left parties in Punjab, the threat represented by the communal fascist forces that now rule the country, and the need for people’s resistance to defeat them. Comrade Satyavan of SUCI (C) called for Left unity and unity of all progressive forces to oust the right-wing forces from power. Comrade RB Rai of Communist Party of Revolutionary Marxists spoke of the repression unleashed on people’s movements including the Gorkhaland movement in Darjeeling, and called for unity of Left parties and all movements.
At the inaugural session, three books –’The Resistible Rise of Adolf Hitler –A View from Modi’s India’ by Arindam Sen; ‘Che Guevara: The 21st Century Man’ compiled and edited by comrade Ganeshan; and Collected writings of Gorakh Pande (in Hindi) edited by Gopal Pradhan – were also released.
Later, Comrades Kiranjit Singh Sekhon of MCPI(U) and Independent Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani, who could not make it to the inaugural session, also attended the Congress. Comrade Jignesh Mevani, addressing the 10th Congress on 28 March, called to harness the spirit of Bhagat Singh and his comrades in the struggle against the corporate and communal fascist forces. He called for unity between the Left and Ambedkarite movements, saying that this unity was already visible in action in the real concrete struggles in the country. He said he cherished the organic relationship between the working class struggles his organisation was helping to organise in Gujarat, and those of the CPI(ML) Liberation.
Along with Comrade Jignesh, Comrade Ranjit Kaur, herself a CPI(ML) activist and sister of Comrade Hakim Singh Samaon, the founder of the Naxalbari movement in Punjab and Mansa, an artist Indrajeet Painter were also felicitated, and Naxalbari veterans Comrades Khemu Singh, Nemu Singh, Bibhas Biswakarmakar (son of Naxalbari veteran Babulal Biswakarmakar), Kandra Murmu and Siril Ekka (son of Budhua Oraon – Pitaji). Comrade Khemu Singh addressed the house on behalf of the Naxalbari veterans.
The 10th Congress deliberated upon and passed resolutions on the international situation; the national political situation; on the Party organisation; on Culture and Media; and on Climate Change. The main focus of the resolution on national political situation is on the challenges of resisting the rise of fascism in India. It includes a section on the key features of Indian fascism, and reflects on the various aspects of anti-fascist resistance.
Key sections of the resolution on the national situation read:
“The Constitution and the vote clearly remain two potent weapons in the hands of the people to resist and defeat the fascist forces. We can therefore see the desperate ongoing attempts to subvert these two weapons. …Revolutionary communists must devise a strategy of effective intervention in the electoral arena to challenge and defeat the fascist forces wherever possible. Beyond the scope of where the Left forces can and must contest directly, the Left should make a distinction between the fascists and non-fascist forces within the non-Left camp and work for the defeat of the fascist forces….The challenge of defeating fascism cannot and must not however be reduced to an electoral challenge, and within the electoral arena, it must not be reduced to the task of joining or supporting any so-called grand alliance to keep the BJP out. The experience of Bihar shows the inherent fragility and hollowness of one such grand alliance which had manged to hand over a decisive defeat to the BJP only to subsequently crumble and let the BJP in through the backdoor. In Gujarat, a weak Congress came so close to defeating the BJP by attracting broader social and political support from various movements, but we already see
the Congress trying to compete with the BJP on religio-cultural terms dictated by the latter. Recent history in India is replete with instances where the Congress attempt to take the wind out of the BJP’s Hindutva sail through competitive invocation of the BJP’s slogans
and icons has only played into the BJP’s hand, strengthening and legitimising its aggressive majoritarianism. Even while having to extend critical support to available electoral options against the fascists, we must never lose sight of the real task of building a powerful ideological-political counterpoint against fascism.”
The document on the national situation, adopted unanimously, concluded: “The vacuum that has enabled the fascist forces to present themselves as the ‘saviour’ in a chaotic and crisis-ridden present needs to be filled with the vision and struggle for a better tomorrow, a vision of a prosperous, pluralist and egalitarian India that can guarantee a better life and broader rights to the Indian people. If the momentum generated during the freedom movement and the formative years of post-Independence nation-building has worn itself out, we need the energy of a second freedom movement that can bolster our political independence by guaranteeing full social and economic
freedom to the people. If growing social and economic inequality is making a mockery of the notion of political equality of ‘one person one vote’ then we need a social transformation to overcome the structures of inequality. If the undemocratic Indian soil is constantly undermining the top dressing of democracy and fascism is threatening to completely subordinate our constitutional democracy to the undemocratic soil, we need to democratise that soil to achieve real power in the hands of the people. Fascism shall not be allowed to pass and crush the people. The people united will overcome the fascist offensive and secure a stronger and deeper democracy for themselves.”
On 25 March, the Congress saluted the memory of Com. Gangaram Kol, tea garden worker organiser killed in Assam on 25 March 2013.
Throughout the Congress, the discussions were interspersed with a wide variety of revolutionary songs performed by many groups from across the country.
These included performances by Prerna of Jharkhand; Hirawal of Bihar; Comrade Krishna Kumar Nirmohi; West Bengal Jan Sanskritik Samiti; Comrade Cyril Ekka of Siliguri and groups of comrades from Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh. Comrade
Balindra Saikia held everyone rapt with the rendering of a Assamese song about tea garden workers – reminding everyone that the colour of tea is red because of the blood of the oppressed workers. Comrade Chintu, AISA activist, rendered the Faiz song made famous by Iqbal Bano – Hum Dekhenge. Student activist Comrade Atoshi of Odisha also held everyone spellbound with a beautiful Odiya revolutionary song. The Chorus group of Bihar organised all the children attending the Congress with their parents, to sing several songs. Delhi group Sangwari’s songs were also enthusiastically received.
The grounds of the entire venue were decorated with colourful painted and printed banners celebrating anti-fascist resistance. There were banners paying tribute to Gauri Lankesh, Rohith Vemula, Zafar Khan and others killed by the fascists; poster exhibitions telling the story of Periyar’s ideas;
of 100 years of November Revolution; of 50 years of Naxalbari and 150 years of Capital. The Deshbhakt Yadgar Hall of Jalandhar had lent its collection of rare photographs of martyrs and fighters of an entire range of lesser-known figures of India’s freedom struggle, who had spent years in jails or been killed by the British – including the Gadar, Namdhari and Pagdi Sambhal Jatta movements, Kirti Party, Naujawan Bharat Sabha, Communist party, Khilafat Movement, Babbar Akali Jatha, and the Indian National Army (INA) headed by Subhas Bose. There were also posters calling for the release of comrades incarcerated in jails – including CPI(ML) comrades BN Singh in Jharkhand, the TADA prisoners in Bihar, the Pricol workers of Coimbatore, as well as other activists including GN Sai Baba, Kobad Ghandy and Chandrashekhar Azad Raavan. There were also
photographs of important figures of the CPI(ML) movement in Punjab – martyrs Baba Bujha Singh and Amar Sigh Acharwal, Comrade Hakim Singh Samaon, as well as Comrades Manoj Kumar Bhikhi and Balwinder Singh Samaon.
The volunteers of Mansa and Punjab outdid themselves in their tireless service to make the 10th Congress a great success.
Several international delegations also attended the Congress.
Comrade Saiful Haq, General Secretary of the Revolutionary Workers’ Party Bangladesh, in his address, dwelt on the political crisis in Bangladesh, where the Awami League party had grabbed power through a farcical election in which 154 out of 300 parliament members had been elected uncontested, while in the remaining seats only 10-15% voters could cast their votes. Extrajudicial killing, disappearances, tortures and custodial killings, mass arrests, false cases, attacks on even peaceful meetings and protest demonstrations have become the common features of the present regime in Bangladesh. He said it was a pity that the Indian Government is extending support to the Bangladesh ruling clique. He spoke of the efforts in Bangladesh to forge a unity of left and democratic parties to challenge the anti-democratic forces.
Comrade Khalequzzaman, General Secretay, Socialist Party of Bangladesh who attended the Congress along with Central Committee member Comrade Bazlur Rashid Firoz, called for the unity of Left and progressive forces in the South Asian region.
Susan Price of the Socialist Alliance and Tony Iltis of Green Left Weekly paper of Australia, spoke about the struggles of working class people in Australia, including struggles against racism, xenophobic treatment of refugees, anti-war protests, and the struggles against the coal mining project
of Indian capitalist Adani which threatens to devastate a precious coral reef. Comrade Susan also met separately with women delegates to share experiences of the women’s movement in Australia and India.
A large delegation from the South Asia Solidarity Grout, Britain, attended and addressed the Congress. Amrit Wilson spoke about SASG’s work in the UK, and its long-standing relationship with the CPI(ML). Kalpana Wilson spoke about the current juncture, and the resurgence of Left forces in the UK. Nirmala Rajasingham spoke about the political situation in Sri Lanka, especially the plight of the Tamil
people of Sri Lanka. She spoke about sharpening communal tensions and violence in Sri Lanka. Sarbjit Johal spoke about the struggles in Britain against privatisation of health and education and against state brutality on Black and minority populations; and the struggles of sanitation workers (cleaners) in SOAS University. Speaking during the discussion of student and youth movements, Ananya Wilson Bhattacharya spoke about ongoing student struggles in Britain, the enthusiastic role of students and young people in the Left-wing shift in politics there, and the potential of solidarity between ongoing struggles of students on Indian and British campuses, against privatisation, and against sexual harassment.
Comrades Farooq Tariq of the Awami Workers’ Party Bangladesh and Comrade Taimur Rahman of the Mazdoor Kisan Party (MKP), Pakistan were denied visas to India but sent video messages of solidarity. The Socialist Party of Malaysia, the Embassy of Cuba, the Communist Party of Switzerland, and Vanguard Youth, the youth wing of the Patriotic Party of Turkey, also sent messages of good will and solidarity. Excerpts from these solidarity messages are given below.
Comrade Taimur Rahman,
General Secretary of Mazdoor Kisan Party, Pakistan and spokesperson, Lal Band
Comrade Farooq Tariq,
Awami Workers’ Party, Pakistan
All the best!
Oscar Martinez Cordoves,
Ambassador of the Republic of Cuba to India
Cuba today, is in a historical stage of the socialist construction that signifies a complex and prolonged process of profound transformations, based on the concept that the socialism which is a society of equality, and of opportunities for all with social justice. Our objective is to construct a socialist, prosperous and sustainable society.
Just a few weeks ago, more than 85% of the Cubans voted to elect their Representatives of the Parliament, at distinct levels, which equally demonstrated our will to continue to perfect our political system, precisely in the moments that we prepare ourselves to celebrate together, along with our friends from all over the world, among which are the Communists of India, the 60th Anniversary of the Triumph of the Cuban Revolution – on the 1st of January 2019.
In these moments, we wish to extend our gratitude for the demonstration of solidarity that has been extended to us all through these years, in the fight against the unjust economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the Government of the United States of America, which still persists, and against the hostilities against Cuba. We recognize the inspiration extended to our peoples on the physical passing of the Historical Leader of the Cuban Revolution, Comrade Fidel Castro Ruz.
Once again we reiterate our solidarity to the struggles of the Communists of the Communist Party of India (Marxist – Leninist) Liberation in these so difficult times.
Long Live the Solidarity!!!
Socialist Party of Malaysia
Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) expresses our solidarity with all the delegates who are participating in the 10th Congress of CPI(Ml)-Liberation.
We understand that your Congress is important to discuss and develop strategies for the advancement of socialist movement in India as well as the region. Capitalist onslaught in the era of global crisis is getting severe, and it is utmost importance and urgent for us to strengthen the social movements with the perspectives from the left. Fighting against the widening income gap, against inequality in wealth distribution, against job insecurity, against racism and all forms of discrimination, against patriarchy, are among the tasks of revolutionary left to build a genuine alternative for the self-emancipation of working class and the downtrodden.
We wish your Congress to have a fruitful discussion, and your party to continue the effort in fighting for Socialism.
We are keen to continue to strengthen the relationship between both parties in the spirit of socialist internationalism.
Choo Chon Kai
On behalf of Central Committee of PSM
Communist Party (Switzerland)
On the occasion of the 10th Congress of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation we send to all the delegates our greetings. We hope that your Congress will be useful for the struggle for national independence and socialism. As a BRICS country, it is important that left-wing and communists could have more and more force in India, to hinder Atlantic imperialism and to achieve a multipolar world. In this sense the Swiss communists try to promote cooperation between Switzerland and emerging countries, to strengthen the revolutionary parties that act in the wake of Marxism-Leninism.
Patriotic Party, Turkey
Election of New Leadership
The 10th Congress concluded on 28 March 2018 with the election of a 77-member Central Committee. Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya was re-elected General Secretary of the party.
The new Central Committee members include Comrade Sucheta De (former JNUSU President and current AISA National President) from Delhi; Comrades Manoj Manzil and Raju Yadav (youth leaders from Bhojpur), Abhyuday, Jawahar Lal Singh, Virendra Gupta, Naimuddin Ansari, Arun Singh, Santosh Sahar, and Gopal Ravidas from Bihar; Comrade Balindra Saikia from Assam; Comrade Geeta Mandal from Jharkhand; Comrade Manish Sharma from UP; Comrade Jayatu Deshmukh from West Bengal; Comrades Sudha Chaudhury and Phoolchand Dheva from Rajasthan; Comrade Bhagwant Singh Samaon and Sukhdarshan Natt from Punjab; Comrade Clifton D’Rozario from Karnataka; Comrade R Nagamani from Andhra Pradesh; Comrades Radhakanta Sethi and Tirupati Gomango from Odisha; Comrade Vidyasagar from Tamil Nadu and Comrade Purushottam Sharma from Uttarakhand.
The 10th Congress also elected a 7-member Central Control Commission with Comrade Brij Behari Pandey as its Chairperson, and Comrades Lakshmi Krishnan, Arvind Kumar Singh, Dhiraj Das, Uma Gupta, Susheela Tigga, and Madhu as members.
The Central Control Commission also includes a Gender Sensitisation and Justice Cell comprising Comrades Lakshmi Krishnan, Uma Gupta, Susheela Tigga and Madhu, with Comrade Lakshmi Krishnan as its Chairperson.
The Congress also passed resolutions condemning the communalization of festivals and the communal violence unleashed in West Bengal and Bihar by the Sangh Parivar in the name of Ram Navami; expressing solidarity with University students and teachers protesting privatization in the name of ‘autonomy’ and protesting sexual harassment of students by a teacher in JNU; in solidarity with youth and students protesting unemployment and corruption in SSC and CBSE exams; calling for a National Protest Day on 2 April 2018 in support of the Bharat Bandh called by Dalit groups against the dilution of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act via a Supreme Court order; calling for Ambedkar Jayanti (14 April 2018) to be observed countrywide as ‘Save Constitution Day’; calling for countrywide padyatras from 22 April to 1 May demanding the rights to land and food, peasants’ and workers’ rights, and against communal frenzy and violence against minorities and Dalits; in support of the protests in Tamil Nadu’s Thoothukudi district demanding closure of the notorious MNC Vedanta’s Sterlite Copper Smelter Plant; calling for “back to ballot” or mandatory counting of VVPATs to verify EVM counts, in light of the doubts raised about EVMs; and demanding the release of political prisoners arrested or convicted on false charges using draconian laws, including Comrade Nilanjan Bhattacharya, State Committee member of the CPI(ML) in Odisha and in-charge of the Kalahandi district; the two Pricol workers Comrades Manivannan and Ramamoorthy; Comrade BN Singh of the CPI(ML); as well as Chandrashekhar Azad Raavan of the Bhim Army; rights activist GN Sai Baba; and Comrade Kobad Ghandy.
The 10th Congress also resolved to observe 2019 as the centenary year of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, holding events commemorating anti-imperialist nationalism. The party will also commemorate 2019 as the birth centenary year of Comrade Charu Mazumdar, fou¬nder General Secretary of the party. The 10th Congress also called to observe the 200th Birth Anniversary of Karl Marx on 5 May 2018 by holding marches and other events celebrating Marx’s legacy in villages all over the country.
Protest is our right!