Published fortnightly from Kolkata
Vol. 50 No. 17 April 15, 2017
In this issue
SUCI (C) condemns the barbaric attack of US imperialism on Syria, calls for anti-imperialist struggle the world over
SUCI(C) condemns the Finance Bill for striking at the root of transparency on political funding
SUCI (C) expresses grave concern at RSS Chief urging to ban cow slaughter in the country
Why must we learn and accept Marxism : SHIBDAS GHOSH
The Great November Revolution : Lesson of the great November Revolution illumines path of emancipation a century down
Latest assembly elections in five states : Ominous consequences people should not overlook
Comrade Sudhir Banerjee, a delegate to the founding convention of the Party, breathed his last
NEWS & VIEWS
SUCI (C) condemns the barbaric attack of US imperialism on Syria, calls for anti-imperialist struggle the world over
Comrade Provash Ghosh, General Secretary, SUCI (Communist), said in a press statement on 7 April 2017 : The heinous and barbaric attack of US imperialism today on Syria is a glaring example of how war- monger imperialism particularly the US imperialism is destroying the sovereignty of nations and are pursuing the anti-human policies against mankind and civilization. The US imperialism has appeared as the greatest enemy to world peace and humanity. I call upon all the genuine peace-loving people to come forward and to stand united to foil this heinous design of US imperialism by organizing anti-imperialist struggle throughtout the world.
SUCI(C) condemns the Finance Bill for striking at the root of transparency on political funding
Strongly condemning the despicable Finance Bill, Comrade Provash Ghosh, General Secretary, SUCI (Communist), issued the following statement on 31 March, 2017 :
The Parliament has passed the Finance Bill which strikes at the root of transparency on political funding in our country. Firstly, the provision of electoral bonds has opened up the avenue of anonymous donation to political parties. Through these bonds a corporate house, or a mafia don, or anybody can donate large sums of money to political parties without revealing the donor’s identity. Secondly, by moving an amendment in the last minute provision of limit to the amount of such anonymous political donation by a corporate house is removed. Thirdly, the law gives the right to the donor not to reveal the name of the beneficiary political party. Thus the donor is anonymous and so is the receiver. The media, civil society, the general public will remain ignorant about the transfer of funds. So long it has been an open secret that all the ruling political parties serve the bourgeoisie are funded by the business houses. This new Bill puts the stamp of legal approval on this practice. During the freedom movement period the political parties used to function by soliciting party subscriptions from the common people. Now the ruling political parties serving the bourgeoisie runs on corporate funds, and naturally the parties remain the paid servants of the corporate houses. This has totally corrupted our political system. The Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist) strongly condemns the despicable provisions of the Bill and demand their withdrawal.
SUCI (C) expresses grave concern at RSS Chief urging to ban cow slaughter in the country
Expressing grave concern over the urging of RSS chief Sri Ram Mohan Bhagwat for countrywide banning of cow slaughter and ensure more effective measures for its compliance, Comrade Provash Ghosh, General Secretary of the SUCI (Communist) in a statement on 10 April, 2017 stated that in a multi-religious multi-lingual country like ours, which was viewed by our freedom fighters as a true secular democratic country, such a move is fraught with grave danger and consequences. It is sure to strike at the very root of unity of all Indian people irrespective of caste, creed, religion and language. He further emphasized that disunity of serious nature will destroy the very social fabric which is so vital for our existence and further rise of our country as a great and noble nation, firmly upholding all human rights, secular democratic values and noble culture. We therefore strongly feel that this extremely destructive idea is given up at once. We also appeal to the right thinking people, all secular democratic parties all over the country to unite and take immediate steps so that this pernicious idea mooted by RSS is given-up forthwith.
Why must we learn and accept Marxism
All of us who are engaged in the struggle for emancipation of the toiling people, in building up step by step the struggle of workers, peasants and other toiling millions to develop ultimately the revolutionary struggle to overthrow capitalism and establish socialism, need and must have a philosophy as the spiritual weapon to guide us along to this goal. The question is: Why must we accept Marxism as that weapon, in spite of the host of philosophies or philosophical schools of our country and abroad? How does it concern us in achieving our goal? Is it our fancy? Is it that we foster a special fascination for the teachings of Karl Marx because he was a great genius? Or is it that as we are the declared adherents to Marx’s philosophy, we cannot but accept his teachings as true? No, not at all.
Whether it is the Sankhya, the Vedanta, or Logical Positivism, Existentialism, or Dialectical Materialism, or any philosophy for that matter—there is no point in studying it for the sake of culling information of what it expounds. Philosophy is needed to guide us in quest of truth, to shed light on the path of our struggle for emancipation. Philosophy is the weapon to reveal truth, to show us the way amidst problems confronting life, society and nature, just as a torch lights the way dispelling darkness.
We want emancipation, we want to change the world and accelerate the course of progress by our conscious action. To play our role of acting consciously, we need to know the intrinsic laws of nature and the real cause of all problems confronting us. We need to search for that philosophy therefore which is capable of guiding us amidst problems of our life, amidst problems facing civilization, social progress and revolution, amidst problems of class struggle and its varied complexities in social mental makeup and thereby lighting up the road leading to the revolutionary overthrow of the present capitalist state and radical transformation of society. If the Vedanta were the philosophy answering the need, we would have accepted it. If it were Feuerbach’s philosophy, or logical Positivism, or Sartre’s Existentialism, we would have accepted the same.
The point to note is that unless we grasp these problems correctly, we cannot act consciously on them, cannot prevail upon them. Subjective approach does not help us in attaining truth and cannot, therefore, solve any problem. For example, till man understood the true nature of water or electricity, he was given to all sorts of fanciful notions about them. Only after he had been able to grasp the specific laws, property and behaviour of water or electricity, man could prevail upon them, harnessing their powers to meet his needs. The pertinent question, therefore, arises : How to know truth? How to judge which particular philosophy can guide us in quest of truth? A philosophy to be capable of achieving this task must provide a comprehensive and objective scientific knowledge about life, society and nature. The world around us, each and every event and development in it, every phenomenon is bound by causality and law governed. There is a specific law in operation behind every specific event and its development. Science, the different branches of science to be more specific—namely, Physics, Chemistry, Geology, Biological Sciences, etc.— study particular laws of the particular material domains they investigate experimentally. They reveal particular truths and the knowledge they cultivate are thus particular knowledge and therefore partial knowledge in the perspective of total comprehensive knowledge regarding nature, life and society. The branches of science may be compared to the study in detail of the different organs of the human body, as is done in medical science by the ‘specialists’. However, the organs of the body, while they have their own particular functions and characteristics, are mutually interlinked in the organic whole of the body. In a like manner, all the various developments in life, society and nature that are governed by their specific laws of the material universe are not isolated from one another. They are linked together as in a garland or in a necklace.
As different entities, different forms of matter make up the universe; likewise, if the different particular truths uncovered by the different branches of science are coordinated and integrated through the scientific process of generalization, we have at our disposal a comprehensive knowledge about life, society and nature. Dialectical Materialism is the only philosophy and the first in human history, which provides us with comprehensive scientific knowledge. It is the only philosophical concept which has developed through coordination, integration and generalization of the particular knowledge derived from the different branches of science engaged in study of particular material domains dealing with the general principles governing these particular truths. No philosophy except Marxism has developed this way. Every other philosophy has subjective process of thinking divorced from reality. Every other philosophy has sought to interpret the world by knowledge gathered from sheer practical experience and not completely depending on science but by means of individual reasoning or individual faculty. They are nothing but different interpretations of the world based on subjective thinking.
If we want to know truth relying upon subjective thinking or one’s individual reasoning, or Logical Positivism, we are bound to differ from person to person according to individual’s difference in understanding of the phenomenon itself— although the phenomenon as such is one and the same existing independently of human consciousness. This explains why we encounter so many schools of thought in case of idealist philosophy —because they are nothing but different interpretations of the world. But such a thing does never happen in science since it is based on experiment. In science, what is true in Japan, in America or in England is equally true in India. There cannot be anything like Japanese or Indian school interpreting differently say, laws and behaviours of electricity. These are experimented truths and are therefore universal. Application of electrical energy for practical use for the benefit of mankind depends on correct knowledge about its laws and behaviours.
Thus Marxism or Dialectical Materialism is not just another ‘school of thought’ among so many other existing schools of thought to interpret the world —it is also a guide to action —a weapon to change the world.
First propounded by the great genius of Marx, it is basically and distinctly different from all other philosophies. It is not a dogma; it is creative, growing and developing with growth and development of all the branches of science and human knowledge. With deeper penetration by science, with every new revelation of the intrinsic objective laws governing newer phenomenon of the material world, with every new uncovering of particular truths in different particular domains of the world, Dialectical Materialism is striking deeper roots and growing in its ever increasing intricate understanding of the world. It is the science of all sciences to guide us in our struggle to bring about a revolutionary transformation of this old moribund, capitalist social order, struggle to transform ourselves into the new man of higher and nobler ethics, morals and culture, freeing ourselves from the vices of bourgeois decadent culture. Marxism is the instrument in our hand to know truth and throw light on the road to our emancipation. It is the beacon light for entire humanity. It is the philosophy for whole mankind to guide along its onward and upward journey. He who cherishes the progress of civilization, he who cherishes the development of humanity, he who cherishes the unfettered growth of science and knowledge, has his only weapon in Marxism. More so the worker, on whom history enjoins the task of leading mankind to emancipation from all sorts of bondage at this stage of development. The worker must know truth in every detail, must acquire knowledge in every field. Marxism is the glittering weapon in his hand, the invincible weapon, more powerful than the deadly nuclear arms of the ruling class. This is why we, all of us have one and only philosophy as our guide to action—Marxism,
[ Quoted from the discussion by the great leader Comrade Shibdas Ghosh in a School of Politics held in July 1973, at Mahajati Sadan, Kolkata. If any error has crept into the translation and editing, the responsibility lies solely with us: – Proletarian Era ]
The Great November Revolution
Lesson of the great November Revolution illumines path of emancipation a century down
[On the occasion of the centenary of the historic Great November Revolution that led to the foundation of the USSR, the first socialist state in the world, Proletarian Era has decided to publish different write-ups on this epoch-making event in the history of mankind. From15 March 2017 issue, we started a series of articles on the course that led to the foundation of the Bolshevik Party and prepared for the revolution under the leadership of Comrade Lenin, the great leader of the Proletariat. Below is the third part of that series. Ed. Board, P.Era ]
[Contd. from P. Era, Vol. 50, No. 16]
Soviets of workers’ and soldiers’ deputies
In this context the ‘Soviets’ are of great significance. In those fiery days of struggle against Tsardom, the Russian toiling masses took up the initiative to forge a new and powerful instrument of struggle –the Soviets of Workers’ Deputies. These Soviets of Workers’ Deputies – which were assemblies of delegates from all the mills and factories – constituted a type of workers’ own mass organizations never witnessed in the world before. Coming up in 1905 for the first time, the Soviets were a new revolutionary form of the creative initiative of the people. They were set up exclusively by the revolutionary sections of the population in defiance of all laws and prescripts of Tsardom. In fact, these Soviets would become an alternative state power.
From the very first days of the revolution in 1905 the Soviets played their role. On the one hand the Soviets functioned as the armed organs of the uprising, and on the other, they constituted the embryo of a new, revolutionary power. The toiling people of Russia had wholeheartedly accepted the plan to conduct struggle by means of the Soviets, and once the Tsar was overthrown, they embarked on the task of building up countless new Soviets. There was however a difference between the Soviets set up in 1905 and 1917. In 1905 the Soviets were set up solely with workers’ delegates, but in 1917 they were joined by soldiers’ delegates. In the very first daysof the February Revolution the soldiers and workers who participated in the struggle had formed Soviets with workers and soldiers delegates, and it was the role played by these Soviets that was the main factor behind the success of the Revolution.
Formation of Provisional Government
At the time of the February Revolution when the Bolsheviks were directly leading the struggles of the masses in the streets, the compromising Mensheviks and Socialist Revolutionaries were busy seizing seats in the Soviets, and establishing a majority there. The fact that the majority of Bolshevik leaders were in prison or exile facilitated this feat. As a result the leadership of the Soviets in Petrograd, Moscow and a number of cities went into the hands of the Mensheviks and other compro-mising parties. Only at a few places could the Bolsheviks retain their leadership in the Soviets.
The revolutionary section of workers and soldiers believed that the Soviets would carry out the demands of the revolutionaries, and first of all, see to it that peace would be concluded. But the Mensheviks and the Socialist-Revolutionaries had not the least intention to end the war and establish peace.They wanted to seize this opportunity provided by the revolution to hand over power to the bourgeois class. And in line with it, on 27 February (March 12, in the new calendar) in a secret agreement between the liberal members of the Fourth State Duma and the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries a Provisional Committee of the State Duma was set up. A few days later, this Committee and the Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevik leaders of the Executive Committee of the Soviet entered into an agreement to form a Provisional Government together. The entire plan had been kept secret from the Bolsheviks. Among those who joined this Provisional Government were quite a few prominent representatives of the capitalist class as well as the representative of ‘democracy’, the Socialist-Revolutionary Kerensky.
Through the formation of this Provisional Government the compromising leaders of the Executive Committee of the Soviets actually handed over the state power to the bourgeoisie. In this way arose a new state power in Russia, consisting, in Lenin’s words of the “bourgeoisie and landlords who had become bourgeois.”
Existence of dual power of Provisional Government and Soviets
Alongside the Provisional Government another power went on to exist in its own glory after the February Revolution, in 1917. That was the power of the Soviets – the people’s committees built up with delegates of workers and soldiers. Most of the soldiers’ delegates in the Soviets had been peasants before the war and forced to take up arms at the Tsars’ orders. The then Soviets in Russia with delegates from the workers, peasants and soldiers from among the peasants who had joined the war, arose as organizations of the dictatorship of the proletariat to fight against the rule of the Tsar.
Hence, in the then Russia a dual dictatorship was found to exist side by side. On the one side there was the Provisional Government, on the other side there was the dictatorship of the workers and peasants. Explaining this dual power Lenin wrote: Alongside the Provisional Government there exists, beyond doubt, the Government of the Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies, though weak and in its incipient stage. (Collected Works Vol. 14)
It has already been mentioned that before the 1917 February Revolution, when the Bolsheviks were actively guiding the struggle of the people in the streets, the compromising parties like the Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks seized the seats in the Soviets in Petrograd, Moscow and numerous other places. So when the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries through a secret understanding with the capitalist formed a Provisional Government and handed over power to the Russian bourgeoisie, then despite the protests from the Bolsheviks, most of the Soviets supported that move. Explaining this fact, Lenin pointed out that while millions of people inexperienced in politics had joined political activities, workers, peasants and small owners were infected and imbued with petty bourgeois mentality under the impact of the petty bourgeois wave that had swept Europe and particularly Russia. Moreover, pointing to the change in composition of the workers, he explained that about 40% of regular workers had been drafted for the war while many small owners, artisans, shopkeepers, to whom proletarian psychology was alien, had gone to factories to evade mobilization, and that this section of workers provided the soil which nourished the petty-bourgeois politicians like the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries. He showed that, intoxicated with the first successes of the revolution in its early months, a large number of people were swayed by the influence of the compromising parties and consented to the surrender of state power to the bourgeois class in the naïve belief that the bourgeoisie would not hinder the Soviets in their work.
In this situation, the Bolsheviks were faced with the task of explaining and exposing before the people the imperialist character of the Provisional Government and the betrayal of the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries. With utmost patience they began to explain to the people, at the same time, that as long as the Provisional Government was not overthrown and state power did not come to be vested in the Soviets, peace would not return to the country nor would their demands for bread and land ever be met.
Having plunged with all its strength into the arduous task of bringing home the truth to people, the Bolshevik Party resumed the publication of the Bolshevik newspaper Pravda a mere 5 days after the February Revolution. And a few days later the Social-Demokrat also came out again. Gradually the people began to lose faith in the liberal bourgeoisie, the Socialist-Revolutionaries and the Mensheviks, while the leadership of the Bolshevik party gained entry into people’s heart. The party cadres explained to the peasants and soldiers the need of acting unitedly with the workers, and that the people would secure neither peace nor land or bread until, through the advancement of revolution, the Provisional Government was overthrown and a government of Soviets formed.
The conduct and actions of the Provisional Government provided daily new proof of the correctness of the Bolshevik Party’s line. It became gradually clear that the Provisional Government did not work in the interest of the people, neither in the interest of establishing peace; that it stood against people’s interest, that it stood for war, and that this government would never take any steps to ensure bread, land and peace for the people. Where as the workers and soldiers, by shedding their blood, had advanced to uproot Tsardom through the Revolution, the Provisional Government wanted to definitely preserve the monarchy. Consisting of representatives of Russian capitalists and landlords, the Provisional Government was unwilling to return land to the peasants. And they couldn’t even dream of providing bread to the common people. For, in order to do so it would be necessary to impinge on the interests of the big grain dealers, landlords and Kulaks (big, i.e. rich peasants). Since this Provisional Government was in reality the guardian of the interests of the Russian wealthy class, it could by no means take such a step. Again, bound up as it was with the British and French imperialists, the Provisional Government had no intention of ending the war; rather it wanted to implement the design of Russian imperialism through this war.
It became gradually clear that thedual power that arose after February Revolution could not go on for long. Power would either have to become concentrated in the hands of the Soviets or the Provisional Government.
Russian situation after February Revolution
Despite all this a large section of the people supportedthe policies of such compromising parties like Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks. They still believed that the Constituent Assembly would shortly bring about a solution to all problems in a peaceful way. Meanwhile the Provisional Government had started to embark on various clandestine schemes against the revolutionary movement. Not only that, on the plea of maintaining law and order, or ‘discipline’ it even tried to curtail some democratic activities of the people. But in vain; the Russian workers and soldiers made full use of democratic rights such as freedom of expression, of press, freedom of forming associations, of assembly and demonstrations, so that they could take active part in the political life of the country, and exercise their intelligence to assess the situation and decide what was to be done next.
During the time of the Czar regime, the Bolshevik party had been forced to work secretly under the most difficult conditions. After the February revolution they started to openly build up organization and take up political work. The organizational strength of the Bolshevik party did not exceed 40,000 or 45,000, but though few in number, these party members were all steeled in the fire of revolution and unwavering in their loyalty to revolution.
(To be continued)
Latest assembly elections in five states : Ominous consequences people should not overlook
Only recently five states of India, viz., UP, Uttarakhand and Punjab in the northern part ; Goa in the west and Manipur in the east, had held elections to their state assemblies and new governments formed thereupon. The parliamentary parties and a large section of the monopoly-sponsored media kept themselves busy with beating the drums on these elections spread over the country, before and after the elections. After its win in four states, barring Punjab, the BJP, seated in power in the Union government, along with the RSS and all its other wings are harping upon a jingoism, a show of strength, as if to establish that they have come to win over the entire country or that the people of the whole country have turned over to their side. Whatever be the substance in the assertion, not only common people, wailing and whimpering under the yoke of price rise, unemployment, insecurity of life and livelihood, but also those who have the minimum democratic senses and values have been gripped by a deep sense of concern and anxiety. They feel it an urgent necessity to assess and reassess independently what people have seen, what they have done and what they may need to do in future.
BJP wins in four states, and how
For instance, soon after the election people found that the BJP, the party in power in the Union government, also formed the state governments in four among five states referred. How? Media did report on ‘how’. But soon those were in the back stage. The media started a hype (for readers’ reference, media comments are left within single quotes) with headings like ‘Road to 2019’ , ‘Modi Wave on an Upswing’ or such others. And what was the reality? Let us first see, how was the wave behaving in Goa and Manipur. There was a hung assembly in each case; no party had the clear majority, though in both the states the Congress was the largest party. And in such cases, normally the Governor is expected to ask the largest party, that is, the one winning the largest number of seats, to prove its ability, that is, the majority to form a government. But this time it was different. In both the states, as media reported, the BJP ‘deftly outmanoeuvred’ the Congress. For instance, admitting that ‘no one has got a clear mandate’ in Goa , the BJP trailing behind the Congress by a margin of 4 seats, underlined a different criterion that they had ‘won the largest voteshare (32.5%)’ which is no point of consideration in this case. But there was something more. It has been explicitly clear in print and electronic media that just as in so many earlier cases, this time too there has been rampant horse-trading, with hundreds of thousands of rupees changing hands and many of those thus purchased made honourable ministers with plump portfolios. Anyway, so much for the ‘wave’ and democracy in Goa and Manipur!
Election results in UP, Uttarakhand and Punjab were different requiring no such measures to adopt. In Punjab, the BJP along with the SAD, its major partner in the last government, lost face. To whom? To the Congress which had run the government in the state for over a decade before the SAD replaced it banking heavily on the grievous charges of corruption, nepotism and what not against the Congress ministry. And that same Congress is back again in Punjab with a mere 38% mandate from the voters. Should the people of Punjab expect things to change? In a just reverse scene, in the hilly state of Uttarakhand, the Congress has been routed and the BJP managed to secure 57 seats out of 70. Naturally, the CM from Congress while submitting his resignation could by no means admit heavy charges of corruption against his government. Instead he saluted ‘Modi kranti (revolution) and the EVM chamatkar (magic)’. Here again people of the state will have to wait to see how and what wind of change blows through the hills.
Definitely UP was at the centre stage, being the largest of the five states in question with a 403-seated assembly and being politically important with its chequered past in which casteism, communalism monitored many equations of parliamentary parties. Here, the BJP, led by Narendra Modi, the PM of the country, could manage to get a ‘record landslide victory’ with 321 winning members Obviously, the BJP formed the government and as its chief minister, the party selected Yogi Adityanath, a ‘Hindutva hardliner’, and a BJP leader widely known for his frequent arrogant and aggressive Hindutvawadi, and often directly anti-Muslim pronounce-ments that tended even to be invectives. Incidentally, the saffron-clad Yogi is also a multimillionaire, as he has declared to the EC. To assist him, the BJP chose two deputy chief ministers keeping the caste equation of the state in mind. So there was everything: Hindutvawadi grip of the RSS-BJP and caste corrections.
Notwithstanding media hype, landslide victory did not mean landslide support
However, as mentioned, the powerful section of media, from print to electronic, fuelled and backed in full by the monopolists, decided to harp continually on the singular theme of how perfect were the elections and how significant had been the results. They seem to have discovered the ‘tallest prime minister’ in the history of the country. Only they refrained from recounting how, notwithstanding so many verbose restrictions and rules made by the Election Commission, money from the monopolists and their corporate world flowed endlessly. This money created propaganda machinery; purchased opponents, employed musclemen to terrorize people; it created paid news including opinion polls; it mesmerized the abjectly impoverished people living virtually at the bottom of human subsistence so that they fall easy prey to any offer, to any pittance giving them even some relief for a flash. That is why, though demonetization devastated small and medium industries and businesses as well as life of middle class and poor people in cities and towns and villages all over the country, though relentless attacks on minority communities and dalits continue unabated before , during and after the elections, though every day every moment of people’s life is plagued with the problems of sky-high prices, ever-rising unemployment, mindless violence and atrocities upon people, more so women and children, liberal offer for money or freebies may particularly allure the wretchedly poor as the last straw, be it as briefest transient relief in their life-long drudgery of servitude and hopelessness, as peoples’ moral backbone has already been shattered by the rulers.
Yet the situation has reached such a pass, people’s resentment has become so intense, though dormant, that even freebies or offers, pledges in speeches and pamphlets from any party could not help the contending parties attain their goal smoothly. Nowhere and none of the victors could earn more than 46% of votes polled. Even an ocean of liquid cash could not bring about more than this. Thus even in UP, the state of ‘record landslide victory’, officially the turnout of voters could reach hardly 60% , a figure that remains close to the figures of 2002, and 2012 elections. It also confirms that nearly half of the eligible voters or adult population did not care to vote. Then again of those who voted, only 39.7% were in favour of the winning party, the BJP. It means only 23.82 % of voters or adult population supported the BJP. For SP, BSP and Congress, the three other major parties, the figures ran as 13.08%, 13.32% and 3.72% respectively. So ‘landslide’ victory did not mean ‘landslide’ support of people. Even in Punjab the Congress had only a 38% mandate. In Goa, as mentioned the BJP earned only 32.5% of votes polled. In Uttarakhand, it got 46.5% in a 65.64% turnout (30.52%). In Manipur, the BJP got 36.3%, the Congress 35.1%. In UP, based mainly on caste or communal equation, the different parties cashed in on their vote-banks. Their mutual split merely favoured the more organized BJP to push through the crowd and emerge victorious with only 23.82 % votes. Even such huge gush of money, so crafty vote-bank equations and not even the weird EVM could pull the figures beyond where it got to. And here it requires dealing another important point.
Weird EVM stands exposed and must be shunned
It has become a trend of late that during any major election campaign, the powerful section of media project only the parties favoured by and serving this or that section of the ruling monopolists, the ruling capitalist class. The media carefully leave out the parties or forces that stand really for people in their stead, that launch movements on the burning problems of their life and livelihood, and that take election battles as part of their sustained united struggle of toiling people. Even such sections of media could not hold it back, that there have been serious allegations on the performance and efficacy of the EVM. These allegations are of such a kind that cannot be proved easily; they are not done on the streets, booths or counting centres. It involves only a secretive handful nexus of highest level of monopoly houses- administrative personnel- policy making leading politicians- top notch technical experts who take any bait for any assignment to give effect to any desired programming. Unfortunately for them, the allegation has not remained in words only, this time it has come out in the open in presence of high level election officers (MP state chief electoral officer), the district collector and returning officer. In a demonstration on the functioning and efficiency of and EVM- VVPAT ( voter verifiable paper audit trail) in Madhya Pradesh’s Bhind ahead of the 9 April Assembly bypoll, the machines had recorded voting and dispensed slips only in favour of the BJP, notwithstanding whichever button was pressed. This is what the defeated CM of Uttarakhand might have referred to as ‘EVM chamatkar’ or some leaders alleged immediately after the UP results had come out. As the major bourgeois parties of the state, national or regional, like the SP, BSP, Congress and others were affected, the issue was raised in the parliament and representative of 16 parties met the President on the issue. The same allegations were also raised in the past by people whose opinions cannot be just discarded or ignored. Hence it appears that it is high time to raise the demand of doing away completely with the EVM business and go back to paper ballots, as it has been done even in countries like France, Germany or partially also in the USA.
Anyway, record breaking victory was not accompanied with record breaking turnouts. Rather results were eye-brow raising, as no pre-poll, or exit-poll analyses, or post-poll apathetic mood in common people all around the country did match with the record victory of a party, which people are supposed to have stood in favour of. Such was the scene behind all these elections eulogized by media hype.
Mismatch between hype for election and its results and people’s experience
And what was the background in which these elections took place? Leave aside the effects of the recent demonetization drive, common poor and middle class people of the entire country are plagued with limitless problems in their life and livelihood. The Indian capitalist state has simply brought them unending spate of back-breaking measures. Price of every essential commodity is continually rising exorbitantly; frequent spurt in the price of fuel itself acts as the fuel to this price rise. People, more so the youth, face gaping industrial recession, consequent terrible rise in unemployment, under-employment contractualization and extreme scarcity of permanent really gainful employment. The tax burden is already back-bending for people, cunningly imposed as indirect taxes. Contrarily, monopolists and their corporate are liberally provided with tax and other reliefs. Poor peasants suffer from non-remunerative price of their products, ever-increasing loan, helplessness in face of natural calamities and hazards. Without respite, they chose to tread an endless series of suicides. Insatiable greed of private investors for profit, shameless commercialization act as stranglehold on essential welfare services like education, healthcare, sanitation, civic amenities. Horrid human-trafficking and atrocities, particularly upon women and children, have wiped out even the minimum security of life. And all these thrive under the direct supervision of an unholy, ignominiously corrupt nexus of administration-bureaucracy- political leaders – big businessmen – musclemen in the payroll of people in power. Over and above these the ruling capitalist class fan up all kinds of divisive traits of racial hatred, ethnic enmity, casteist discrimination, and religious fundamentalism gradually gaining strength in the majority community. Added to these, during their three-year long present rule in the Union government, the different wings of the ruling RSS-BJP combine have already created an ambience of terror within the country through series of incidents, like love jihad, attempts to conversion in the name of ghar wapsi, individual killing of radical minded personalities, lynching on the plea of beef-eating or cow-slaughtering, vicious attack on students, even teachers standing in support of free thinking or in opposition to the student wing of the ruling party and so on. Though the account is the briefest, it shows the background of social-cultural-political-economic scenes upon which the recent elections to the five state assemblies took place.
Hypes on election by the major media aided and abetted by their sponsor ruling monopolists, bourgeois parties, even the social democrats do not however, mention that throughout the election campaign in all the states concerned there had not been any serious meaningful political campaign concerning any of the problems referred above. Even the glaringly disastrous effects of demonetization or mindless killing of people on this or that pretext were glossed over. The media were replete with sensational narration of mutual bickering among the major parties in fray, their shameless manipulations and manoeuvring to form electoral combinations harping on caste- creed- communal issues, throwing aside all principles and norms, even taking resort to falsehood or cooked up data. A glaring case in point was India’s growth figure. The BJP led by Modi now and then spoke of development they were ushering in. But on that issue too, the claim of 7% growth reported by CSO (Central Statistical Organization) had presupposed a remarkable rise in consumer spending in a period when the country was reeling with the effect of cash drought from demonetization. Besides, it was and is a time when business houses did not and are not taking loans from banks. Even the data (on 31 March 2017) from commerce and industry of the Union government, showed that the growth rate of eight infrastructure sectors ( contributing 38% to total industrial production) ‘slipped to over one-year low of one % in February 2017’. For all these and still other reasons, the celebrated growth figure is being considered as a result of manipulation through a change in the very method of calculating GDP. The most important and decisive point is that people’s daily experience did not match with this claim of optimistic growth to take it with any seriousness. Sensing that the BJP leadership promptly switched back to their one-point agenda, and that was directed at bringing about a total polarization on the basis of religious faith, the agenda of Hindutva that they have kept always up their sleeve. No party in the fray came out and dared to condemn this approach of the BJP.
People of India have long ago been acquainted with coinages like the BJP practising hard Hindutva and others like the Congress relying on soft Hindutva. But that stage appears to be over. Courtesy the two century long rule of the British imperialists, the country has not only been divided into two on religion, into both India and Pakistan, but the miserable life of impoverished illiterate, hopeless common people have been interspersed with terrible communal riots. In independent India, the ruling capitalist class have always tried to breed disunity among people so that they may not stand united against the exploitative capitalist system. The bourgeois parliamentary parties, not excluding even the social democrats going as Marxists, have , for all practical purposes, been playing now and then politics based on petty interests of different creeds-castes-communities thus trying to allure this or that section of people as their assured vote-bank. They are acting as branded subservient forces of the ruling class having nothing to add positively to people’s interests. Rather, the more the capitalist system has sunk into decadence, the elections and these parties involved in the process are becoming totally bereft of any ideology-principles and democratic norms. The ideological-political debates that were usual once even in bourgeois elections are totally abandoned with the parliamentary parties taking to mutual bickering without politics or even minimum sense of humanity and values ; always being pitted against each other for the sake of power and pelf and in the last resort, acting prone to be purchased with fat purses and perks. But now the situation is tending to reach its nadir, the bottom-most bottom. It appears that, whatever extent of democratic secular ambience was existing in the country, is being attacked. The Indians took pride in their bid to have developed unity in diversity; that also is being slighted at. Rather the united country is being pushed towards a calamity in which its varied religious, linguistic, ethnic, racial communities are being pitted against one another. And over and above all these, with the BJP in the Union government and managing to earn the power of ruling four more states, including UP, the largest state, the situation tends to become worse.
Indulgence in out-and-out obsolete ideas and incitement of aggressive religious fanaticism
The BJP has formed the governments in four states. And with that, have the party along with the RSS, its ideological-organizational mainstay and other wings and organizations, started to take themselves as the all-powerful monarchs of the country? Already they had created an ambience of terror, referred above. Now after these elections they are trying to give shape to ideas and concepts that have long been accepted as obsolete in the country. And in what way? Are they not asserting their views like some fatwas , which act they would themselves repudiate? Are they not declaring their agenda at such a pitch and ferocity as to create terror in people to make them shrink back from staging any opposition? What good to people back-broken with poverty, price burden, unemployment would be brought by the way the new-born UP government came down against slaughter houses banning those in course? Does not their so-called anti-Romeo squads on the streets of cities ‘valourise celibacy and demonise love and romance’ ? Will it not thwart the course of healthy, natural, ethical form of love, passion and sex, instead fanning up obnoxious perversions and immoral acts thereby destroying even the vestiges of moral-ethical strength, youth of the day still bear? Whom will it help, other than the exploiter, oppressor and tormentor who always desire youth to become bereft of ethical-moral backbone to be turned into dehumanized robots? Is it not with the same ulterior goal that the ruling forces have started revamping the issue of Rammandir at Ayodhya forcefully or are fomenting religious fanaticism, whose essence is clearly anti-Muslim bias? Are they taking it for granted that power has placed them above laws? And does that idea make them hell bent upon consolidating a polarization on communal ground further with an eye towards future elections? Is this the way democracy works? Does not democracy demand that there must be broadest possible representation of different sections of people in representative legislative bodies?
Since independence India has grown into a bourgeois democratic country with thousand and one limitations and with a parliamentary system still determining the course of governance. And there cannot be any doubt that in such a set-up, a parliament needs be treated as a secular functionary with people irrespective of their religion, caste, creed, language etc., enjoying the right to be represented there. But the BJP craze for polarization has gone to such an extent that they did not care to field one single candidate from the minority community in UP. Even if there are one or two candidates here and there, do they justify the basic one-sided approach? Does not this attitude recall that it is marked with the same mindset that Hitler had once borne?
At this point we feel we should raise another vital issue. We have narrated above, how the elections were won and governments formed; and how thereafter the victors are posing all powerful. And then whom have they chosen as the head of the government in a state like UP? Is it very difficult to get at the real reason lying behind this choice? Can people erase from their memories what he had said, how he had talked, with what vengeance he had attacked those who do not bear the same faith as his? It cannot be denied that in course of history, the personal conduct, pronouncements, language, even dresses do matter a lot for the characters who rise to represent and govern people. This is particularly important and true for a vast country like ours where people have so many cultural traits, speak in such different languages, wear such different dresses and so on?
In the seven-decade long history of parliamentary democracy in India, the governments run by different parties, despite their failings and clearly from the standpoint of the ruling class, had to stand for and preach the idea of a peaceful world. It is true that for some time in the past, one could note a distinct change in this attitude, which seems to reaching its height with the present BJP government. The eagerness with which the government steps out to develop relations with the war-monger US imperialist government, presently headed by a leader like Trump, as also with Zionist Israel, the closest ally of the US imperialists, amply demonstrates that the BJP government prefers to tread path of maintaining closeness with forces of war rather than those of peace. The haste and vigour with which the military-industry complex of Indian economy is being reinforced only suggest that the ruling clique of monopolists-military-bureaucracy expect their subservient political manager, the government, to take the road towards a war-industry. The crisis-ridden capitalist economy will then thrive on producing war materials and the government purchasing them or selling them out even to the world market. It may fit with the expansionist attitude of the ruling Indian monopolists which have already attained imperialist character with aspirations to rise to the status of at least a regional superpower. But such an attitude will not speak favourably with the peace-loving people and countries of the world.
Parties professing democracy face unavoidable task of developing powerful united movement for democracy itself
The other political parties that adorn the Indian parliament, have proved by this time beyond doubt that they too are keen at playing subservient to the ruling class for pelf and power. Right now, they have lost their grip on the situation. But is it not high time for those parties to note how administrative fascism is striking its roots into the ground of the country from behind the garb of fanatic Hindutva which declares to give effect to their agenda even by force, even going beyond the laws of the land? Once successful it will turn into the greatest menace mankind and humanity know of and would not spare any force against it. So it requires to be thwarted at the earliest and for that it requires unity of parties and forces that truly profess to stand for democracy. Such unity can not be effected without the leftist parties asserting adequately to act as the core of such an effort and to stand as the binding force. It must be taken note of that people are in search of powerful alternative to stand by them to solve the burning problems of their life. In fact besides SUCI (C) no other party seems keen to undertake the task. This leads people to step into the trap of the self-defeating paths of election and choosing from amongst the parties in the fray, though clearly a vast majority of common people might not opt for the force whom the election result declares as the winner. The tasks before the political parties entail that people are provided with courage, leadership and direction based on correct ideological orientation. With unambiguous concrete ideological and cultural leadership for developing struggle to free people from oppression and terror and religious fanaticism tending to be fascistic, the parties must forge a real alternative of united force. It is a matter of real concern that these vital tasks are finding the least attention.
The recent assembly elections in the five states and their results need to be judged on the basis of above analysis. In the background lies the world capitalism in its most decadent stage. For its survival it is treading the path towards fascism from behind the façade of parliamentary democracy. One must note that fascism does not necessarily mean military dictatorship. It creeps and crawls, chanting slogans of democracy, election and parliament and so on to hoodwink people and tag them behind its counter-revolutionary move. The situation thus demands that people irrespective of caste-creed-religion-language and race etc., develop under the correct revolutionary leadership powerful mass movements one after another on the different burning problems of their life, always keeping before the struggles the ultimate goal of overthrowing capitalism at the stroke of revolution. The situation further demands that people realize the concrete situation they are placed in, which today calls for the widest possible unity of people. A united vigourous mass movement is the only choice that remains before people.
Comrade Sudhir Banerjee, a delegate to the founding convention of the Party, breathed his last
Comrade Sudhir Banerjee, who, inspired by the teachings of the great Marxist Thinker, Comrade Shibdas Ghosh in his early teens, proved his deep attraction towards Marxism, socialism and revolution, earning him the privilege of being elected a delegate to the Founding Convention of the SUCI (Communist) on 24 April 1948, and who became the first District Secretary of the Party of South 24 Parganas, breathed his last on 15 March at the Joynagar Dakshinanchal Swasthya Sadan at 91 years of age. He had been one among the handful of cadres and supporters when Comrade Sachin Banerjee, ably aided and assisted by Comrade Subodh Banerjee – both were to become members of the first Polit Bureau of the Party — had been engaged in building up freedom movement in the Joynagar area along the uncompromising revolutionary line. For that purpose, with a view to training up youth of the region into revolutionary characters, they had established a club Shanti Sangha and a Paritosh Public Library under it. Comrade Sudhir Banerjee played a significant role in the multifarious activities that the club and the library undertook. He also participated actively in making successful every programme of discussion forum, political study camp and such others, the Party after its formation adopted, with the founder General Secretary of the Party Comrade Shibdas Ghosh conducting them. During those early days of the Party with meagre resources and few supporters, it was a difficult task to make arrangements for the stay of Comrade Shibdas Ghosh as well as other leaders like the then Central Committee members Comrades Nihar Mukherjee, Pritish Chanda, Tapas Datta. With all emotions and great care, Comrade Sudhir Banerjee along with a few other comrades performed this task ably, putting up the leaders with the supporting families during their stay in the region. At the same time, led by the central leaders, they spared no effort to develop the famous Tebhaga peasant movements in the face of vicious attacks of the jotedars.
Comrade Sudhir Banerjee never hesitated to accept the leadership of even his younger comrades, rather encouraging them all the way, nor did he fail to maintain friendly, compassionate relations with workers and supporters of other parties or people at large. This earned him great respect from leaders like former District Secretary, depaarted Comrade Yakub Pailan and present District Secretary Comrade Debaprasad Sarkar, both to becme Central Committee members later and Comrade Amir Ali Haldar, martyred mass leader and others, as well as wide popularity among the masses. He was a councilor of the Joynagar-Majilpur Municipality for some time and President of the Trustee Body of Swasthya Sadan.
At the news of his demise the Red Flag was kept half-mast at the district Party office. Comrades wore black badges. At the Swasthya Sadan nursing home and the municipality office respectively, the entire staff and the councilors of different parties paid floral tributes. Floral tributes were also paid to the departed comrade at his residence and Shanti Sangha and finally at the District Party Office. There Comrade Chandidas Bhattacharyya placed floral tribute on behalf of the General Secretary of the Party, Comrade Provash Ghosh ; Comrade Santu Gupta for the WB State Secretary, Comrade Soumen Basu; Comrade Nanda Kundu for District Secretary, Comrade Debaprasad Sarkar; Comrade Madar Naskar for Comrade Tapan Roychoudhury of State Secretariat, Comrades Probodh Purkait and Joykrishna Haldar, as State Committee members. After the local secretaries, leaders of different mass organizations and fronts of the Party as well as representatives of CPI(M), Congress, Trinamool Congress had paid their tributes, the last journey began. The memorial meeting, convened by the District Committee on 2 April, was addressed by the veteran Polit Bureau member Comrade Ranjit Dhar as the main speaker and was presided over by the District Secretary Comrade Debaprasad Sarkar.
Red Salute Comrade Sudhir Banerjee
NEWS & VIEWS
People of Pakistan pay tribute to Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh- Sukhdev- Rajguru
Despite religious fundamentalists issuing threats against observing Martyrs’ Day on 23 March and despite the government and administration maintaining meaningful silence at the request for assuring safety and security of the organizers and participants, people of Pakistan including a significant section of activists of the civil society movement and educationists of that country, the latter under the banner of Bhagat Singh Memorial Foundation respectfully remembered, as on earlier occasions, the Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh and Sukhdev and Rajguru on their 86th Martyrs’ Day. Particularly since 2008, Bhagat Singh’s birth centenary, people are paying their tribute in increasingly larger numbers to this great revolutionary at his birth place, Banga village under Jarnwalla Subdivision of Layalpur district in Punjab of Pakistan. The Memorial Foundation organized the programme at Shadman Chowk, a stone’s throw from the walls of Lahore Jail where the ‘revolutionary trio’ were hanged. Their demand to name the area Bhagat Singh Chawk has not yet been approved by the administration as a case has been clamped by a fundamentalist organization to rename it after a Muslim leader. From the massive assembly this year the Memorial Foundation raised the demand that the queen of England should come to the place to render apology to the families of the great martyrs for killing them in most unjust way.
Martyrs’ Day observed across India and
across its border in Pakistan as well
Shaheed-e- Azam Bhagat Singh and his comrades Sukdev and Rajguru were hanged by the British imperialist rulers on 23 March of 1931. True to the heritage of his predecesssors in the Indian freedom struggle, Bhagat Singh raised the uncompromising revolutionary trend of Indian independence movement to a new height. At the same time, in 1917 there had been the November Revolution accomplished under the leadership of the great leader Lenin to establish the first socialist state in the world. It was an event that created a stir in and brought a new life to national freedom struggles and working class movements in different countries. Imbued with this event , with the leadership of Lenin and with Marxism- Leninism itself, Bhagat Singh had already stepped out to tread the new path with a break with the older nationalist freedom struggle. It was concretely reflected as Bhagat Singh changed the name of their organization from Hindustan Republican Association to Hindustan Socialist Republican Association and declared establishing socialism as the goal and purpose of the Party . This year when along with the whole world, SUCI(C ) is befittingly observing the centenary of the November Revolution, the Party as well as its fronts and mass organizations have observed the Martyrs’ Day with people young to old,wherever possible in the country. We have already reported observance at Layalpur of Punjab in Pakistan, the birthplace of Bhagat Singh. Here we include observance at Hussainiwallah in Punjab in India, a report from Lahore itself (page 5) and a few others from across the country. .
Movements across the country
Below we present a few reports of different movements taking place across the country under the leadership of the Party or its different mass organizations or other fronts.
Rallying for cause of Tamilnadu peasants in Delhi and people of Chennai:: On 31 March 2017 Comrade Satyawan, All India President of AIKKMS, addressing in support of a two- week long dharna (squatting) of peasants of Tamilnadu at Jantar-Mantar in Delhi, demanded effective steps to stave off drought , remission of loans and proper solution of distribution of Kaveri water. There was also a demonstration by the Party SUCI (C) at Chennai on 3 April 2017 on demands for effective drought relief measures, and solution of problems of water scarcity and PDS shortages among others.
Save Education programme in West Bengal and Bihar: In a convention held by All Bengal Save Education Committee on 19 March at Dharbhanga Hall of Calcutta University eminent intellectuals like former Advocate General of the state Bimal Chattopadhyay, Prof Pabitra Gupta, presiding over the convention, Prof Miratun Nahar, Prof Dhrubajyoti Mukhopadhyay, Tapan Roy Choudhury, well known leader in the education movement, Prof NR Pradhan, Prof AK Ray, General Secretary All India Save Education Committee, Kartick Saha, Secretary, ABSEC strongly criticized the utterly undemocratic Higher Education Bill recently passed in the state assembly, demanded reintroduction of Pass- Fail system from class I among others. The convention laid down a plan for greater movements in the period from April to June. The Darbhanga Chapter of AISEC also held a meeting at Lalit Narayan Mithila University of Darbhanga, Bihar on 7 April 2017.
On solidarity with Maharashtra doctors movement: Expressing solidarity with the movement of Junior doctors of Maharashtra to protest repeated attacks on and demanding security of resident doctors, in West Bengal Medical Service Centre jointly with Service Doctors’ Forum of Government Hospitals and All Bengal Committee of Junior Doctors Unity issued statements condemning the role of Minister for Medical Education and Administration in Maharashtra in threatening doctors of that state involved in their movement for security, as well as criticizing the Union and different state goverments for acting as servitors of corporate capital, among other reasons and creating an ambience of distrust among doctors and the relatives of patients, at the hospitals all over the country.