Communist Party of India (Marxist)
by Chittabrata Majumdar
On behalf of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), I
convey warm fraternal greetings to all the Communist and
Workers parties present at this international meeting. I
sincerely thank the Communist Party of Greece for
organising this international meeting on this important
subject and for providing us the opportunity to be here.
Comrades, We are going through a period marked by
On the one hand, the trade union (TU) movement the world
over has become stronger. Nationally, the role of the TU's
in resisting the encroachments made on the hard-earned
rights of the working class are making the capitalist
classes to run into increasingly wider forms of resistance
as the TU movements go forward.
Internationally, the working class solidarity is clearly
seen in the manner in which TU's across continents have
joined hands. And they have been engaged in thwarting the
designs of International corporate capital and its adjuncts
by setting warning bells ringing for the ruling classes on
such landmark occasions as those witnessed in Seattle,
Ottawa, Washington, and Davos.
On the other hand, the unpleasant truth elsewhere must be
faced. Resistance notwithstanding, the corporate capital
has gone on impoverishing the working people and have been
amassing wealth by forcing the dictates of the worst
features of the so-called �market economy� on the people of
the world in general, and of the developing
nations in particular.
The capitalist intervention has produced jobless growth.
Poverty has increased manifold. Imbalance in economic
growth is seen even amongst the developed nations.
More alarming, the TNC's have started to take on the cloak
of political control by taking full advantage of the
weakening of the economic and financial base of such
countries as the United States where economic recession is
proving a huge embarrassment for the ruling classes.
In this complex scenario, the role of the Communist party
becomes extremely important as far as the functioning of
the TU's are concerned.
We believe that the Communist Party has a well-defined role
to play in the struggle of the working class. The foremost
task here comprises the raising of the level of political
consciousness of the working class and to go onward to the
more critical task of inculcating revolutionary socialist
The TU's function as organs of daily struggle for an
effective defence of the economic interests of the working
class under specific conditions.
While defending the daily interest, the Communist Party
aims at providing the correct leadership in drawing the
TU's inside the larger realm so that they can play the
historic political role in the revolutionary struggle.
The Communist Party attaches vital importance to the
defence of the daily economic interests of the working
people. It also firmly believes in the building up of TU's
as mass organisations.
But most of all, the Communist Party must measure its own
success and the success of the working class movement by
First, the level of revolutionary consciousness created
during the course of the daily struggles of the TU's;
Second, the advancement of the Marxist-Leninist Party among
Third, ability of the Party to provide the TU leadership
with correct directions as far as the development of the TU
movement as such is concerned.
We recall, in this connection, V I Lenin's dictum about the
TU's becoming the �schools of communism.� and �builders of
the socialist state� (Lenin, Collected Works, vol. 10, p.
256 [Moscow 1973])
A worker can be said to have developed class-consciousness
when he believes that his struggle is a struggle of
emancipation not just against a particular employer. It is
a part of the larger struggle against the capitalist system
that must be overthrown through launching of consistent
political struggle as well.
It is this class-consciousness that the Communist Party has
to inculcate in the activists working on the TU front
through the course of the struggles.
The task of the Communist party in the trade unions is to
lead the workers from the elementary trade union
consciousness to this higher consciousness. The Communists
achieve this goal by forming the vital, living link between
the economic and the political struggles.
In India, the dysfunctional economic scenario has become
more and more depressing as the BJP-led union government
bows to the dictates of not merely the World Bank, IMF and
the WTO but also to the encroachments organised by the
TNC's in the core sector of the national economy. The
Indian ruling classes, led by Indian monopoly capital and
the big bourgeoisie, actively collaborates with
imperialist-dominated globalisation process. The economy
is opened up in the widest form imaginable to the powerful
forces of corporate capital. The state-run sector is
allowed to be taken over by the private sector. Attempts
are made to launch wide-ranging attacks on the hard-earned
rights of the working class.
In this gloomy backdrop, the provinces where the Left Front
is in office, i.e., Tripura, and Bengal and till recently
in Kerala, the TU movement with the correct guidance from
the Communists has been by and large successful in at least
partly frustrating the anti-worker designs of the corporate
The electoral triumph of the Left Front government for the
sixth straight time in West Bengal has been backed by the
manner in which the bulk of the working class has decided
to exercise their franchise in favour of a pro-people,
especially pro-poor Left Front.
Another important example nationwide has been the united
struggle of TU's against the attempt at privatizing the
Bharat Aluminum Company (BALCO) by the BJP-led union
government. Among the TU's active in the BALCO struggles
are those that own political loyalty to not only the BJP
but also to some of the partners of the BJP in the union
The one-day strike in the western Indian province of
Maharastra has witnessed a similar massing of TU's cutting
across political affiliations to protest against the
economic, financial and industrial policy of the BJP-run
However, there is little room for self-satisfaction. As
the developing scenario gets more and more complex, and
deviations raise their ugly heads, although marginally,
even in the TU movement, we have to exercise more caution,
and to sharpen both the ideological and material contents
of the struggles ahead.
Unevenness of the levels of political consciousness among
the working class itself can and has caused embarrassments
to the coordinated progress of the TU movements. The
Communists have a crucial role to emote here.
Then again, nationally as well as Internationally, the
enthusiasm with which the TU's have been engaged in
organizing movements piecemeal against what are the effects
or fall-outs of the capitalist system, has not been matched
so far by a concomitant and sustained campaign against the
cause, i.e., against the capitalist system itself, which
has to be overthrown to clear the way towards the greater
The danger of separatism and religious fundamentalism
interferes seriously with the unity of the working class.
In countries like Spain, Belgium and Greece, the emergence
of ethnicity as a counter-productive thrust has certainly
harmed the unity of the TU movement. The Balkanisation of
what had been Yugoslavia along lines of religion, ethnicity
and geography has caused harm to the working class
solidarity to the extent that direct military intervention
by the US imperialism and its lackeys was not able to
produce any form of unity among the workers of the
south-east and north-central Europe.
In our country, the advent of the Bharatiya Janata Party
(BJP) has gone on fomenting religious communal sentiments
across the country. With the so called ideological backing
of such fanatic organisations of religious majoritarianism
as the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh (RSS), the BJP-led
union government has been indulging in covert and overt
operations to bring the worst faces of Hindu fundamentalism
in the country.
Here, too, the role of the Communists is of considerable
significance. We are proud that under the guidance of the
Communist Party of India (Marxist), the TU movement in
India has partly negated the attempt made by BJP, RSS et al
to disunify the working class struggles. We are glad to
announce that even the TU owing political loyalty to the
BJP has chosen to describe the liberalised economic policy
of the BJP- run union government as the �handiwork of
There is another aspect, too, to which one should draw the
attention of this assemblage.
The street level actions against the forays of corporate
capital have been partly dominated, at least numerically,
by the myriad of Non-governmental Organisations (NGO's) the
The NGO's that are engaged in such laudable activities as
protection of the environment and the upholding of the
rights of men and women need all the praise and help they
There are increasingly, another group of NGO's that seek
to usurp the rights of the TU's by making strenuous efforts
to appear �on behalf of the TU's� in organising street
This is a situation loaded against the rights of the TU's.
First by seeking to push the movements and struggles right
onto the lap of provocative actions, the NGO's offer the
ruling classes the weapon with which to crush those same
movements, resorting to wanton violence.
The lethal plastic bullets and the liberal use of a
virulent variety of �tear gas� in Vancouver and Quebec,
that in total claimed the lives of 16 TU activities is an
important pointer in this direction. In India too,
struggles against neo-liberal economic policies are being
met with increased repression. In the southern state of
Andhra Pradesh, three people were killed in police firing
on protesters against WB-sponsored hike in power tariff.
Here the role of the Communists assumes important
dimensions. In correctly guiding the TU movements against
the big danger being posed by the international corporate
capital, the Communists can and should shape the struggles
so as to emphasise the overall strength of the movement
rather than the occasional adventurist foray that may win
the accolades of an irresponsible media but shall also send
the wrong slogans to the working class.
This has to be borne in mind when we discuss the role of
the Communists and the TU's in the context of the defense
of the TU rights, in particular.
To conclude, we reiterate that the Communist party has a
positive role to play in the functioning of the TU's. By
linking the daily struggles with the major political issues
looming before us, the Communist party has a historic role
to play in helping the TU movement come out of the confines
of economism and reformism, and lead them to play the
historic role in the days ahead towards bringing about
changes in the existing capitalist system and eventually
for its overthrow.