Defeat Fascism, Win the Battle of Democracy!
April 22, 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist). We are observing this day in the midst of the 17th General Elections in the country, undoubtedly the most decisive electoral battle India has faced since the adoption of the Constitution and the system of parliamentary democracy. The very framework of constitutional republic and parliamentary democracy is today facing a serious threat as the Modi model of Indian fascism seeks to prolong its rule, consolidate its power and tighten its grip on the state. A BJP MP from UP has even gone on record saying there will be no further elections in 2024; 2019 may well be the last. India therefore goes to the 2019 polls with the urgent imperative of voting out the Modi government and defeating the fascist threat. CPI(ML) has been boldly resisting this fascist danger ever since the alarming rise of the communal fascist forces three decades ago and today we have to intervene vigorously in the present electoral battle to give a crushing defeat to the fascist regime.
The journey of the last fifty years has steeled the CPI(ML)’s revolutionary resolve, expanded the canvas of the struggles and initiatives led by the Party and its allied network of mass organisations and enriched the vision of a people’s India dreamt by countless martyrs who sacrificed their all for freedom and democracy. Born in the fire of the historic Naxalbari peasant uprising, the CPI(ML) blazed a glorious trail right since its inception as waves of revolutionary struggles swept through large parts of rural India. In the face of a brutal military crackdown of the repressive state, the CPI(ML) ignited the dream of liberation of the people from all fetters of social oppression and scripted a heroic saga of resistance that unleashed unprecedented energy and initiative of the oppressed rural poor and revolutionary youth and workers. There are very few parallels in the history of the international communist movement and anti-colonial and imperialist struggles of a party facing so much repression right after its birth, losing its first two General Secretaries and dozens of central leaders and thousands of activists and yet rising from the ashes as the CPI(ML) has done.
Over these fifty years of revolutionary journey, the CPI(ML) has learnt a few basic lessons that have sustained the party through the most difficult of challenges and prepared it for today’s critical phase of resisting the fascist offensive. When we say that India’s march towards socialism will proceed through a people’s democratic revolution, it is not just a principle learnt from Marxist theory and international history. We have never had the luxury of taking democracy for granted. Even when the constitution and electoral democracy did not face the kind of fascist attack that the whole country is facing today, we had to fight for democracy at every step. In many parts of the country, our comrades from Dalit and other oppressed background have even had to win the right to vote through fierce struggles against dominant social forces and the state. Our comrades have continued to face false cases, unjust court sentences, extra-judicial killings and even massacres perpetrated by feudal forces and criminal gangs backed by ruling parties and the state even in periods when the fascist BJP has not been in power. We therefore know it from our everyday experience that democracy cannot be taken for granted as a gift promised by the Constitution and that democratic rights must be defended and deepened through relentless mobilisation and assertion of the people. The battle for democracy has thus been the lifeblood of the CPI(ML) which propels us forward in today’s decisive fight against fascism.
From its very inception the CPI(ML) has been rooted among the most oppressed and marginalised sections of the Indian society. The party was born with the clear understanding that agrarian revolution, with the landless labourers and poor peasantry at its helm, constituted the axis of people’s democratic revolution in India. The party’s close integration with Dalits and Adivasis and their quest for freedom from social oppression has thus been a congenital defining feature and this has been a source of immense strength and resilience to face every adversity. This has also enabled us to grasp the key questions of caste, class and gender in all their interconnections and develop a paradigm of class struggle that is never mechanical and compartmentalised but always alive to the quest for comprehensive social transformation and human emancipation. The twin goals of annihilation of caste and demolition of patriarchy are inscribed prominently on the CPI(ML)’s red banner of revolutionary social awakening.
By the time the CPI(ML) was born in 1969, the communist movement in India had already branched into two parties – CPI and CPI(M) – on the basis of a programmatic and tactical debate. The CPI(ML) sharpened this debate and has gone on to firmly establish itself as the inheritor of the glorious legacy of the communist movement and courageous torchbearer of the revolutionary spirit and vision against the backdrop of continuing economic changes and social, political and cultural churning in the country. Immediate slogans and forms of struggle have kept evolving and the party today is playing its role in a much wider arena including the state legislatures in Bihar and Jharkhand, boldly articulating the communist viewpoint and asserting the class independence of the communist movement in constant contention with the ruling classes. It is this firm adherence to communist principles and independent assertion of communist positions which distinguishes the CPI(ML) amidst the whole range of Left parties. Exclusive reliance on armed struggle has pushed a section of the Indian communist movement closer to anarchist formulations and practice and the CPI(ML) has also demarcated itself from this sectarian isolation.
Two lines from the last article of Comrade Charu Mazumdar helped the CPI(ML) recover from the setback of the early 1970s and revive and reorganise the movement under the inspiring leadership of CM’s successors as General Secretary, Comrades Jauhar and Vinod Mishra. “The interests of the people are the interests of the Party”, this crisp and concise formulation of Comrade CM in his last write-up has become a guideline for the CPI(ML) in its political analysis and conduct. This has helped the party to fight against the perils of parliamentary cretinism and inspired it to boldly uphold and serve the interests of the people in the face of all challenges. Comrade Charu Mazumdar had also drawn the attention of his comrades to face the repression campaign of the state by forging broad unity of the Left and other fighting forces and prepare in all earnest for the next upsurge of people’s struggle. This remarkable ability to identify and grasp the positive signs in the face of a major setback and rely on the people’s indomitable courage and strength to surge ahead has been the key to the party’s revival and expansion in the face of the Emergency and the subsequent assaults of private armies and criminal gangs in many of our areas of struggle. Till his unfortunate demise in December 1998, Comrade VM led this process of Party’s development and expansion in the face of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the aggressive rise of the communal fascist forces of the Sangh brigade.
2019 is the fiftieth year of the CPI(ML)’s foundation. This is also the centenary of Comrade Charu Mazumdar’s birth. The only way we can really pay our tribute to Comrade Charu Mazumdar and countless other martyrs from the founding period and all our leaders and comrades we have lost in subsequent years is by dedicating ourselves fully to their revolutionary mission and waging the ongoing battle for victory of democracy over fascism with all our strength.
Long live the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist)!
Long live revolution!
Victory to the people!
- Central Committee
Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist)