Source : Editorial of
Liberation, April 1995
HTML Markup : Salil Sen for MIA, November 2007
Public Domain : Marxists Internet Archive (2005). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit "Marxists Internet Archive" as your source.
This 22nd April, Party will be celebrating its 26th anniversary. It is surely an occasion to reiterate our commitment to the basic principles and the general orientation of the Party. But if we merely confine ourselves to this 'reiteration', commemoration of the anniversary will be reduced to a ritualistic affair. In my opinion, emphasis should better be placed on deeply and critically probing the reason behind our slow, uneven, and at times, distorted growth.
We must not behave like dogmatists who refuse to constantly review their practice and cling to outdated and worn-out formulations almost as blind religious faith. We have vowed to develop the Party line as the living embodiment of Marxism-Leninism's integration with concrete Indian conditions. This demands a strict scientific approach where theoretical premises are tested in practical observation and accordingly modified. Mao Tse-tung has repeatedly said that practice is the sole criterion of truth and this statement can't be overemphasised.
Moreover, the strength of communists lies in realistic assessment of the objective situation, in being bold in making self-criticisms and daring to face the worst situation and change them. And for this they hardly need any intoxication. They derive their energy from their dedication to the supreme cause of communism and from their conviction of the progressive movement of human society. I find a certain comrade associated with one of our Party organs always projecting our achievements in the superlative degree. He found the echo of French revolution in one of our modest Party rallies! I have several times pointed it out to him but he seems to believe that such high doses are imperative to keep up the morale of Party ranks.
Every time when elections are round the corner some people start cherishing wild dreams. During the recent Bihar elections, one comrade told me about his grand plans to secure victory in his constituency. I reminded him that the Party never asked him to manipulate victory there. Isn't it enough if you poll countable number of votes? He did not like my pouring cold water over his wild aspirations. Results, however, show that the comrade has failed even to secure a countable number of votes.
Looking at the current round of assembly elections from Andhra to Bihar it can definitely be said that the tactics of election boycott (even raised to the level of strategy by certain groups) was a total flop. In their desperation to embrace it against the wishes of the masses they first resorted to adventurism, and later on, succumbed to the worst kind of political opportunism. In contrast, our Party organised a vigorous election campaign and at least succeeded in sending a powerful communist group to the Bihar assembly. So much for our success.
But in many parts of Bihar as well as in Andhra and Orissa we fared badly. The number of votes polled in many constituencies reflects a longterm stagnation in our work and in some areas even an erosion of our social base. This is a matter of serious concern and raises many a question about the state of affairs in the Party organisations of the concerned areas. In some areas the Party organisation was found to be engaged in factional feuds while in general Party's vibrant mass line was replaced by an uninspired routine style of work. Alienation from the masses, detachment from their day to day struggles, and in certain areas, arrogant cadres riding roughshod over the masses etc. paved the way for the intrusion of other political parties in the very core of our mass base. No high-sounding propaganda and opportunistic compromises can ever substitute hard mass work and that was reflected in our poor showing at the hustings in those areas.
Elections are a good indicator for measuring the extent of your mass support and at the same time the degree of opportunism hidden within you.
Analysis of election results has helped in bringing us back to our senses and in identifying our weak spots. It is high time we take corrective measures to revamp the whole Party organisation, inject afresh spirit in the body of the organisation and pursue a lively mass line. It is in this context our proposed organisational conference assumes importance where we expect to effectively deal with such organisational problems. Yet, the question of organisational disorder and alienation with the masses also has a political-tactical aspect to it which is, perhaps, crucial. The growing pattern of progressive political discourse in the country concerns itself with the assertion of dalits, backwards and religious and national minorities. The Party is yet to formuate an active communist response to the same.
As regards United Front practice, if the IPF had reached a saturation point, our efforts to develop a political dialogue with a wide range of grassroots movements has not yielded any concrete results either. The Political relations that we developed with HMKP, Samata Party, SUCI and similar left groups don't seem to have any bright prospects. The Platform of Mass Organisation could not be raised to the level of political cooperation and has become defunct. Our relations with CPI-CPI(M) have furher become tense owing to their following the new economic policy in Bengal and subservience to JD govt. in Bihar.
Thus, our Party is confronted with the twin tasks of consolidating its own class base and, at the same time, expanding its support base to various cross-sections of people. This necessitates formulating an active response to the social ferment proceeding before our very eyes and to seek political cooperation with the mass allies from the left and democratic camp.
The national scene unfolding before us promises a grand battle between Congress(I) and BJP for wresting the central power in the impending parliamentary elections. A third front having the potential to overturn the applecart of both the leading contenders is yet to take shape. We can neither align with BJP against Congress(I) nor support Congress(I) against BJP. We shall, of course, lend our all-out support to any emerging third front at the national level. It is very difficult to define the exact form of our relationship with such a front at this stage, and with CPI(M) bent upon preventing our emergence on the national political scene, the task is still more complex.
While we go on discussing ways and means to play an effective role in national politics, the entire Party must concentrate on rebuilding itself and its relation with the masses.
Let this 22nd April be dedicated to serious introspection and rejuvenation of the Party organisation.