With the slogan of ‘Defeat Fascism, Save Democracy! Build the India of Our Martyrs’ Dreams!’ the 11th CPIML Party Congress was held successfully in Vinod Mishra Nagar (Patna, Bihar) between February 15 and 20.
The party congress commenced with the ‘Save Democracy, Save India’ rally, a massive rally organised on February 15th at Gandhi Maidan, where lakhs of people, including rural poor, peasants and farmers, women, students, youth and members of the working class participated. The rally was addressed by CPIML General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya who said that it was pertinent to build oppositional unity to defeat fascism in the country. “The poorest of the poor need democracy the most. People build democracy on all fronts through struggles and mass movements. We will be able to fight only if there is democracy and democracy for everyone,” he said. The rally was also addressed by CPIML MLAs Vinod Singh, Mahboob Alam, Sandeep Saurav and others.
The inaugural session of the party congress was held in the context of the need for a concerted political-ideological challenge to the BJP-RSS, especially given the significance of the Mahagathbandhan in Bihar and to frame the oppositional agenda. Comrade Dipankar said that powerful movements like the anti-CAA protests, farmers’ movement, etc., need to be carried forward to build multiple powerful struggles against dispossession and privatisation, and communal, caste and patriarchal violence. In the session, Comrade Ishwar Pokhrel, senior vice-president of CPN(UML) of Nepal said that it is our responsibility to defeat reactionary forces that continue to assault the working class. Comrade Md. Salim, politburo member of CPI(M), said that the left alternative is the real alternative to the BJP Hindutva regime.
Comrade Pallab Sengupta, secretary of national council, CPI, Comrade Arup Chatterjee, acting president of Marxist Coordination Committee, Manoj Bhattacharya, General Secretary of RSP, G. Devarajan, secretary of AIFB, Bhim Rao Bansod, of Lal Nishan Party, Mangat Ram Pasla, General Secretary of RMPI, and other guests were invited to be part of the inaugural session, who addressed the gathering.
Arundhathi Roy, renowned writer, expressed solidarity to anti-fascist struggles and the CPIML’s party congress. She said that anti-caste and anti-capitalist struggles have to come together to resist fascism. She welcomed the coming together of various political groups to form anti-fascist opposition. Other guests included Urmilesh, an independent journalist, Kaustav Banerjee, assistant professor at Ambedkar University Delhi, Bhasha Singh, journalist and writer, Anil Chamadia, Aditya Nigam, and others.
In the international solidarity session, various fraternal organisations from Venezuela, Nepal, Ukraine, Australia, Palestine and Bangladesh expressed their solidarity with the on-going people’s struggles in India and extended their cooperation and support in building a world that is just, democratic and plural.
The member of the Ukrainian international solidarity, Sotsialnyi Rukh, mentioned that they are resisting the ‘Great Russian Chauvinism’ led by Putin which is in stark opposition to Lenin’s position of extending sovereignty to Ukraine. He said that anti-capitalist struggles are as crucial for a better world and Ukraine, which is free from exploitation. He thanked CPIML for standing with the people of Ukraine. Jhala Nath Khanal of CPN(Unified Socialist), and former Prime Minister of Nepal, said that Nepal is passing through changes, where even though the communist parties have been able to consolidate and win elections, the right-wing elements are penetrating society and trying to bring back monarchy.
Ramon Augusto Lobo of Unified Socialist Party of Venezuela, Sam Wainwright of Socialist Alliance Australia, Apoorva Gautam of BDS Movement Palestine and others spoke at the sessions, whereas solidarity messages from Bangladesh, UK, Germany, Swaziland, Ecuador, Philippines, Cyprus, and Laos were read out, whereas Afghanistan, Iran, Argentina and Namibia extended their congratulations to the Party. Video messages were sent by comrades from Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Catalonia and Pakistan.
The CPIML party congress deliberated on several draft documents, including the anti-fascist resolution, national situation, international situation, climate change, on party organisation and others, and successfully adopted the same. The anti-fascist resolutions recognise fascism as the main threat to people and democracy in the current juncture of Indian history. Indian democracy is threatened by fascism’s manifestation as a corporate-communal nexus. On the international situation, the CPI(ML) unequivocally condemned the fascistic Putin regime in Russia for its aggression towards Ukraine and called for an end to the war. The party recognized NATO as a vehicle of US imperialism and called for its dismantlement. The party also held that the Chinese claim of building socialism with Chinese characteristics is increasingly becoming a euphemism for what should be described as capitalism with Chinese characteristics. It has reduced socialism to basic welfare-ism, where capitalism is kept under control, but there is an acute lack of political freedom. Chinese capitalism’s role in Africa, Pakistan and other countries needs to be seen through a critical lens.
On the last day of the 11th CPIML Party Congress, elections to the central committee and the central control commission took place, where Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya was re-elected as the General Secretary of CPI(ML). A 77-member central committee was elected on the day, as was the five-member Central Control Commission, with Comrade Raja Bahuguna as the chairperson.
The other central committee members include Comrade Swadesh Bhattacharya, Comrade Kunal, Bihar State Secretary, Comrade Abhijit Mazumdar, West Bengal state secretary, Comrade V. Shankar, AICCTU National President, Comrade Shashi Yadav, leader of Scheme Workers’ Federation, Comrade Asaithambi, Tamil Nadu state secretary, Comrade S. Balasubramaniam, Puducherry state secretary, Comrade N. Murthy, Andhra Pradesh state secretary, Comrade Mahboob Alam, leader of CPIML legislative group and sitting MLA, Comrade Bibek Das, Assam State Secretary, Comrade Sucheta De, former JNUSU President and former AISA National President, Comrade Radhakant Sethi of Odisha, Comrade Clifton D’ Rozario, state secretary of Karnataka, among others.
Comrade Maitreyi Krishnan of Karnataka, Comrade Kailash Pandey of Uttarakhand, Comrade Indresh Maikhuri of Uttarakhand, Comrade Sweta Raj, former student leader and present ASHA Workers’ Union leader, Comrade Niraj Kumar, secretary of Revolutionary Youth Association, Comrade Farhat Bano of Rajasthan, Comrade Indrani Dutta, AIPWA leader, Comrade Manju Prakash, Comrade Kumar Parvez, Comrade Naveen Kumar, Comrade Prakash Kumar, Comrade Satyadev Ram (sitting CPIML MLA) of Bihar, and AISA General Secretary & sitting CPIML MLA Sandeep Saurav were also elected to the central committee.
For this Party Congress, Patna was renamed as Vinod Mishra Nagar and the auditorium as Ramnaresh Ram Hall to pay tribute to two of our great leaders. The stage is dedicated to the memory of Comrades DP Bakshi, BB Pandey and NK Natarajan, the three beloved CCMs we lost since our 10th Party Congress held at Mansa, Punjab, in March 2018.