Summary of the Draft Political Resolution for the 17th Congress of the CPI(M)
The 17th Congress of the CPI(M) is to be held at Hyderabad from March 19 to 24, 2002. In keeping with the Party Constitution, the Draft has to be released for discussion within the Party at all levels two months before the Congress.
The main points of the Draft resolution are:
The Draft resolution highlights the changed international situation after the September 11 terrorist attacks in the USA. These attacks are being used as the pretext for a "global war against terrorism" which is actually meant to extend US global domination. The United States has made it clear that it will not stop with the war in Afghanistan but extend its operations to other countries. US imperialism is seeking to create a divide in the world between those countries who support its self-styled war against terrorism and all others. It links all aspects of globalisation with the fight against terrorism.
The US seeks to keep Afghanistan under its influence after the removal of the Taliban with the objective of extending its influence over the Central Asian region with its rich oil and natural gas reserves.
The United States has embarked on a more aggressive and unilateralist policy after George Bush took over as the US President. The adoption of a National Missile Defence system, the withdrawal from the 1972 ABM Treaty, the refusal to sign the Kyoto Protocol on environmental protection and now the new offensive in the name of fighting global terrorism are all indications of the renewed thrust for global dominance.
The resolution points out that the resistance to imperialist offensive has been growing in the last three years and the counter-offensive launched after September 11 seeks to nullify such resistance and strengthen the hegemony of US imperialism. The Draft declares the CPI(M)'s firm opposition to the fresh efforts by the United States to extend its global hegemony.
Another important feature of the international situation is the onset of global recession. The United States has been in recession for the past one year. The worldwide economic recession is marked by recession in all major capitalist centres, the United States, Japan and Germany. The impact of this recession will be felt most severely in the developing countries including India. The advanced capitalist countries will seek to transfer more burdens on the third world countries as was seen in the WTO meeting at Doha.
The deteriorating conditions of the third world countries and the people are a stark indictment of the IMF-World Bank-WTO policies which are being pursued. The current crisis in Argentina which has seen the collapse of the economy is a glaring example of what is in store for those who accept the dictates of international finance capital.
The resolution notes the steady advance made by the socialist countries like China and Vietnam. It highlights the resistance put up by the Cuban government and people against US provocations. In the former socialist countries of Eastern Europe, the impact of capitalist restoration has led to growing discontent which is reflected in the election results.
The resolution condemns the brutal repression of the Palestinian people by the Israel State and the United States backing all the aggressive acts of Israel which have been stepped up utilising the post-September 11 situation.
The resolution condemns religious fundamentalism and terrorist activities which disrupts the unity of the people and helps reactionary ruling classes to strengthen repressive regimes. The resolution commits the CPI(M) to mobilise the Indian people in the struggle against imperialism and contribute to the development of a secular and democratic global resistance which alone can rally the most oppressive and exploited peoples around the world.
The Draft resolution analyses the record of the BJP-led government at the Centre and concludes that it has seen:
1. A continuous assault on the secular principle of the State, the penetration of the RSS into the State apparatus and vicious attacks on minorities.
2. An accelerated pursuit of the economic policies of liberalisation and privatisation, which has increased the exploitation of the people and social inequalities.
3. A foreign policy directed at making India a junior partner of the USA by a government which is the most pro-imperialist government in independent India.
4. A systematic plan for communalising society through eroding the secular content of the educational system and assaults on composite cultural values.
5. Growing authoritarian threats to democracy and widespread corruption in governance.
The resolution describes how the long-term project of Hindutva is being implemented by utilising the BJP's being in central government. The RSS penetration of the State apparatus, the continuous preparations for building the temple at the disputed site at Ayodhya and the systematic attacks on the minorities are part of this plan.
Problems of National Unity
The resolution makes a scathing attack on the BJP-led government's policy on Jammu & Kashmir; its refusal to consider granting maximum autonomy and the RSS support for trifurcation of the state on communal lines -- a plan advocated by the US.
The resolution condemns the violent activities of extremist groups based in Jammu & Kashmir and backed by fundamentalist groups in Pakistan which have led to the deaths of hundreds of people of all communities. However, the resolution opposes talk of military retaliation against Pakistan and war hysteria sought to be whipped up in the aftermath of the December 13 attack.
The resolution highlights the failure of the BJP-led government to deal with the issues of national unity in the sensitive region of the North-East and the continuing neglect and discrimination of the region.
Ruinous Economic Policies
The ruinous economic policies of the Vajpayee government has led to a slowdown in the economy in all fronts, in industry, agriculture and trade. The BJP has outdone the Congress party in its blind pursuit of liberalisation and privatisation. Given its ideological hostility to the public sector, it has declared war on it and has set out to dismantle the basis for a self-reliant growth.
The Vajpayee government's indiscriminate policy towards foreign capital is best exemplified by the fiasco of the Enron project at Dabhol.
The imposition of the WTO regime and the removal of all quantitative restrictions have led to largescale closure of small scale and medium industrial units and deep crisis in the agrarian sector. Tens of thousands of farmers have been ruined and suicides by peasants in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Punjab and Kerala have become widespread.
The pro-rich policies are reflected in India having one of the lowest GDP-tax ratios in the world. Obsession of curtailing the fiscal deficit through expenditure cuts and the refusal to raise revenue through taxation of the affluent to finance increased public investment have led to accentuating the recession in the economy.
The biggest scandal concerns the mounting food stocks of over 60 million tonnes while hunger and starvation stalk the poor particularly in the tribal areas. The PDS has been destroyed and the BPL category is a scandalous farce perpetrated on the poor. Employment generation has suffered a serious setback. Only one in twenty-four young job seekers got a job in the organised sector during the past three years.
Adverse Impact on Social Sector
The resolution condemns the efforts to erode the secular content in education and the efforts to rewrite history on communal lines. The Vajpayee government is moving towards outright commercialisation of the educational system and the withdrawal of the State from its basic responsibility to provide education for all.
The public health system has become a major casualty of the decade of liberalisation. The Union budgetary allocations have come down from a low of 1.3% in 1990 to an abysmal 0.9 per cent in 1999.
The resolution strongly opposes the entry of foreign media organisations into the print media.
The resolution characterises the Vajpayee government as the most pro-imperialist government seen in independent India. It seeks to convert India into a junior partner of the US by the reversal of India's non-aligned and independent foreign policy.
The resolution condemns India's close ties with Israel sacrificing the interests of the Palestinian people. It condemned the pathetic eagerness of the government to offer military logistical facilities to the Americans for their attack on Afghanistan.
The resolution calls for scrapping of Indo-US military cooperation pact. The resolution reiterates the CPI(M)'s opposition to nuclear weaponisation and the deployment of such weapons of mass destruction.
Attacks on Federalism
The resolution condemns the attacks on the federal structure. It opposes the BJP government's intentions to break up linguistic states and form small states which will be incapable of resisting central encroachment. It condemned the use of Article 356 by the Vajpayee government repeatedly in the case of Bihar. It calls for devolution of financial resources from the Centre and the rights of the states in a federal system.
The resolution calls for strengthening democracy by according equal rights to women in all spheres including one-third reservation in parliament. It condemns the efforts to impose obscurantist values and restrictions on women by the RSS and fundamentalists in the minority community who seek to shackle women.
The resolution highlights the plight of the eight crore adivasi people who are subjected to vicious social and economic exploitation. They are alienated from their land and denied access to forests. Under the onslaught of liberalisation, mining and mineral exploration have been thrown open to the private sector leading to further uprootment of adivasis from their lands.
The resolution deals with the struggle for emancipation of the dalits. The fight against the oppressive caste system has to be harnessed to the struggle to end the economic exploitation of the dalit working masses. It calls for struggle to end all heinous and inhuman caste practices.
The resolution calls upon the CPI(M) to take up issues of social reform and fight against degrading caste practices, social oppression of women, evil of dowry and pernicious social and religious customs which are obstacles to the creation of a genuinely democratic society.
BJP & NDA: The resolution notes the steady erosion of the support of the BJP and the NDA. Of the 18 state assembly and one union territory elections held since the 1998 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP and its allies lost in all except four. The NDA is an opportunist combination between the BJP and some of the regional parties and splinter groups with the sole purpose of remaining in power.
Congress: The Congress party stands for the same economic policies that it initiated in 1991. All its state governments are implementing the same policies. There is no difference with the BJP on basic economic policies. Given its class character, the CPI(M) cannot have an alliance or united front with the Congress. In the present situation where the BJP and its allies are the main target, the Party should adopt tactics which will enable all the secular and democratic forces to thwart the gameplan of the BJP-RSS combine.
The regional parties are shifting their positions politically, according to their narrow interests at the states-level. The CPI(M), taking into account the changing role of the regional parties, will adopt a differentiated attitude to them. It will firmly oppose those parties who have opportunistically joined hands with the BJP. The Party will cooperate with those secular regional parties who are prepared to fight the communal forces. The Party will join united struggles and enter into electoral understanding from time to time with those regional parties which adopt anti-communal and pro-people positions.
The resolution calls for the unity of the Left forces to mobilise the people to defend their interests and to fight the BJP and the rightwing forces.
The resolution underlines the need to reforge the third alternative to meet the immediate situation wherein both the BJP and the Congress are trying to gather forces around them and see that only two combinations emerge.
Strengthen Independent Role of Party & Left
The resolution stresses the importance of strengthening the independent role and influence of the Party. Without the CPI(M) and the Left parties advancing and increasing their all-India strength, it will not be possible to advance towards building the Left and democratic alternative which alone can become the real alternative to the bourgeois-landlord policies.
Left & Democratic Programme
The resolution spells out the programme of the Left and democratic forces around which the CPI(M) will seek to mobilise all sections of the working people so that a distinct alternative to the present policies of the ruling classes emerge.
The programme set out calls for separation of religion and politics, removing RSS-infiltration in the State apparatus, radical land reforms, more public investment in agriculture, minimum wages for agricultural workers, streamlining and strengthening the public sector in core and strategic areas, raising resources through increase in direct taxation and recovery of tax dues, expanding public distribution system, more public expenditure in education and health, equal rights for women in all spheres, protection of rights of scheduled castes and tribes and developing a public broadcasting service under an autonomous Prasar Bharati.
Call of the CPI(M)
The resolution sums up the main tasks of the Party in the present situation as:
The CPI(M) will resolutely fight the growing US imperialist influence by mobilising all patriotic and anti-imperialist sections of the people. The Party will struggle with redoubled vigour against the policies of liberalisation and privatisation and for alternative economic policies. The CPI(M) will continue the fight to isolate the communal forces on the political and ideological plane.
It concludes with the call to defeat the BJP-led government which has proved to be the most reactionary government in independent India. This struggle must be conducted in such a manner as to pave the way for the advance of the Left and democratic forces.