Contribution of CP of India [Marxist] [En]
On behalf of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) we congratulate the Communist Party of Vietnam for making excellent arrangements for hosting the 18th International Meeting of the Communist and Workers' Parties, being held for the first time in a socialist country. The victorious anti-colonial struggle of the Vietnamese led by Comrade Ho Chi Minh and the Communist Party of Vietnam is one of the most defining moments in the last century. The Vietnamese struggle had inspired millions to join the anti-imperialist struggle and turn to communism. Ho Chi Minh wrote in the early twenties: “Only in socialism and communism can we find our liberation”.
Inspired by Lenin's Colonial Thesis and armed with a thorough understanding of Marxism-Leninism, Comrade Ho correctly formulated the strategy and tactics of the anti-colonial struggle. Lenin, in his Colonial Thesis stated, “In conformity with its fundamental task of combating bourgeois democracy and exposing its falseness and hypocrisy, the Communist Party, as the avowed champion of the proletarian struggle to overthrow the bourgeois yoke, must base its policy, in the national question too, not on abstract and formal principles but, first, on a precise appraisal of the specific historical situation and, primarily, of economic conditions; second, on a clear distinction between the interests of the oppressed classes, of working and exploited people, and the general concept of national interests as a whole, which implies the interests of the ruling class; third, on an equally clear distinction between the oppressed, dependent and subject nations and the oppressing, exploiting and sovereign nations, in order to counter the bourgeois-democratic lies that play down this colonial and financial enslavement of the vast majority of the world’s population by an insignificant minority of the richest and advanced capitalist countries, a feature characteristic of the era of finance capital and imperialism”. It is this Marxist-Leninist underestanding that should guide us in our analysis of our contemporary world situation and help us in formulating our strategies.
As we had been discussing for the past few years, the global capitalist system continues to remain in crisis. The World Bank in its Global Economic Prospects Report (June 2016) states that the world's economy is still struggling to regain momentum. It has downgraded its growth projection of January 2016 by 0.5 points i.e., from 2.9 to 2.4 in July 2016, stating that the global 'headwinds' had been consistently underestimated in the recent years. The exuberance displayed by many world powers in declaring that the world is out of recession is also a reflection of this underestimation. In this background, it warns that the balance of risks for the global economy are increasingly tilted towards the downside.
On the other hand, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has raised concerns over ballooning global debt that has reached 225 percent of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP), and warned that it could lead to yet another financial crises. Two-thirds of it consists of liabilities of the private sector which carry great risks and as the IMF itself states, 'excessive private debt is a major headwind against the global recovery and a risk to financial stability'. The IMF warns that Deutsche Bank poses the greatest risk to global financial stability as it has a capital level of less than 3 percent, while its risky asset base that boasts notional derivatives exposure of more than $70 trillion, roughly the size of world GDP. Italian banks are sitting on over 360 billion euros in bad loans. Similar is the situation in Greece and in many other countries. All these show that the global economy, under capitalist system is still under turmoil.
What had happened during these years of crisis is that while profits are soaring, peoples' incomes are falling. The Mckinsey Global Institute has estimated that during the course of the 8 years of present crisis, 81 per cent of the US population are in net income brackets that continued to remain flat or declined. Similar figures for Italy were 97 per cent, for Britain 70 per cent, France 63 per cent and so on.
The 80 wealthiest people in the world, all together own $1.9 trillion, nearly the same amount shared by 3.5 billion people who occupy the bottom half of the world’s income scale. This clearly shows how the wealth is getting concentrated in few hands. The richest 1 per cent of population controls nearly half of the world’s total wealth, a share that is also increasing. In almost all countries, the mean wealth of the wealthiest 10 per cent of the population is more than 10 times of the median wealth; for the top one percent, it exceeds 100 times the median wealth in many countries; in the most unequal nations, it can approach 1000 times the median.
Another alarming feature is the increasing power of multinational corporations, which has reached a level ‘never before seen in human history’. According to a recent Report: “Today, of the 100 wealthiest economic entities in the world, 69 are corporations and only 31 countries. This is up from 63 to 37 a year ago. At this rate, within a generation we will be living in a world entirely dominated by giant corporations”. Further, the Report states that MNCs like Shell, Apple, and Walmart earn more revenue than the world's 180 'poorest' countries, a list that includes Ireland, Greece, Israel, South Africa and Colombia – combined.
Some of the trade agreements that the US wants to push through – the Trans Pacific Partnership pact (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) – also showcase finance capital's preferential treatment to corporates over people.
Finance capital, which is enforcing a cut on social welfare in the name of 'austerity' is on the contrary encouraging an increase in the spending on military and defence. Except for the three years between 2011 and 2014, global military expenditure has never seen a fall. Data released by the NATO in July 2016 shows an increase of military expenditures by all the alliance partners put together. The spending by the alliance in 2016 is targeted to reach US $918 up from US $892 billion in 2015. The increased military spending is not only to cater to the needs of the military-industrial complex, but also to use its military arm as a threat to prise open the markets for resources and end products. It is with this objective that US led imperialism is intervening in all the regions of the world – whether it be West Asia, North Africa, Latin America, Asia-Pacific or the Korean Peninsula. These nefarious designs of imperialism should be resisted and fought back by strengthening our struggle for peace and people to people bonds of solidarity and friendship.
Thanks to imperialism and its rapacious plunder of natural resources, we are living in a time of 'uncertain destiny of human species', as Fidel Castro, calls it. A fraction of the monies spent on arms and armaments, if spent on developing sustainable models of alternative energy, the future of the world could have been much more safer. But here again profits are playing a key role in defining the priorities. As communists, we should take an active role in addressing the question of environment and in the survival of human race.
Contrary to projections, in India too there is an all round deterioration in people’s livelihood. The economy continues to plunge into a deeper crisis imposing greater burdens on the vast majority of our people. The country’s foreign policy is in shambles and importantly our social fabric is sought to be assiduously torn apart. Notwithstanding the claims of this government of high GDP growth, which is now officially estimated to be 7.1 per cent this year, the ground realities suggest otherwise. That these figures are suspect, is now being confirmed by international agencies. The Financial Times has said that India’s GDP growth rate according to the earlier standard of measurement should be 4.3 per cent instead of what this BJP government is projecting, according to its new measurement criteria, as 7.1 per cent.
The latest figures show that there is a serious crisis that has engulfed the Indian industry. The index of industrial production in July has registered a minus 2.4 per cent growth, the manufacturing sector which is the crucial provider of employment has registered a growth of minus 3.4 per cent. 12 out of the 22 main manufacturing industries have registered an absolute decline in growth.
The agrarian crisis continues to deepen. The real rural wages have been in the negative i.e. fall in absolute terms since October 2015. This happening in the drought year means a greater rural distress. Peasants suicides are estimated to have gone up by 40 per cent from 5650 in 2014 to 8000 plus in 2015.
Official figures estimate that urban employment in August was 11.24 per cent and rural 9.18. As is well known these estimates are deeply flawed. The burdens on the people through price rise continues to intensify.
On the other hand, Indian corporates owe banks over a whopping $127,767 millions in terms of the loans that they had taken which are not being paid back. The top ten corporate groups owe $8623 million as of March 2016. The government is now seeking to wave off such loans or to restructure them. Such a huge loan waiver for the corporates is given down when the poor peasant is prosecuted for the meager loan of a few thousands and his property and cattle confiscated. It is this debt burden which is the main cause for growing peasant suicides. The government refuses to provide relief to the victims of this agrarian distress by a loan waiver but is willing to waive loans to the corporates on such a mega scale.
In opposition to this sharp decline in the livelihood standards of the working people in the country and to safeguard the legitimate democratic rights of the working people and against these policies of neo-liberal economic reforms that this government is pursuing, the recent call for general strike given by the central trade unions evoked a widespread response in the country. Nearly 180 million workers have participated in the strike.
In order to ward off the growing discontent against the economic policies, religious intolerance and hatred are being sown in the society. Attempts are to divide the society on various lines of identity – religion, caste, ethnicity, nationality, etc.
Our Party, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) is trying hard to expose the designs of the ruling classes and unite the people. Sustained, militant, class and mass struggles against the exploitative economic policies will be the basis on which we are trying to mobilise people on an alternate platform. Together with these, we are taking up the issues concerning education, health, culture and other myriad aspects that are directly under threat from the ruling classes. It is on this basis that we are putting in our best efforts to build a broad-based unity of all the Left and democratic forces. This unity can be built around a strong Communist Party. Towards this end we are concentrating all our efforts.
The ruling classes in our country have launched one of the most vicious attacks on our Party to physically and ideologically eliminate it. In Bengal, hundreds of our comrades are murdered, thousands are driven away from their homes and their properties are forcibly confiscated. Rape is used as a political weapon. Even in Kerala, where we are heading the provincial government, there is a planned attempt to murder our comrades and destabilise the government.
Throughout the country authoritarian trends are on the rise and attempts are on to curtail dissent and protest. Labour laws are sought to be amended to favour the corporates. Student rights too are sought to be curtailed in an attempt to depoliticise university campuses. It is in this overall background that the CPI(M) led Left governments in two provinces – Kerala and Tripura – are trying to project and provide an alternative before the people, being aware of all the limitations that the existing State structure imposes.
We are aware that resisting the attacks of the ruling classes on the people and building of a strong communist party should go hand in hand. As Comrade Ho Chi Minh had stated, it should be “building while fighting”, all the while “upholding the thorough revolutionary stand of the working class” and “keeping close contact between the Party and the masses”.
Ho Chi Minh identified “Capitalism and imperialism” as “very dangerous” enemies that need to be fought and defeated. This is a task that can be performed only by the communists. Of course, neither defeating capitalim nor building socialism is going to be easy. The Great October Socialist Revolution, whose centenary we are going to observe shortly had demonstrated this historical truth.
History teaches us that if we are not up to the task on hand, the right-wing and divisive forces that are always on the prowl will pounce upon the opportunity and divert the growing discontent into sectarian channels. This will cause immeasurable harm to the revolutionary movement and heap further hardships on the shoulders of the working class and common people. As communists, we should stand up to this huge challenge and thwart such attempts of the right-wing forces.
As Comrade Ho Chi Minh had stated: “There is nothing easy, nor anything difficult”. It is our unshakable faith in Marxism-Leninism and an iron will to fight and to win that should guide our struggle for a classless society.
“We have to win for the enemy to be defeated”.