The Central Committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) held its meeting from October 12 to 14, 2008 at Kolkata. It has issued the following statement:
US Financial Crisis & Its Impact
The severe financial crisis in the United States has become a global financial crisis. The Wall Street model of unregulated finance driven speculation and greed for quick profits has collapsed with disastrous consequences for the banking and financial institutions with harmful consequences to the lives and livelihood of the people. The CPI(M) has consistently maintained that the finance driven imperialist globalisation is unsustainable. The manner in which the United States government is trying to solve the crisis by bailing out the investment bankers and financers at the expense of the taxpayers will only worsen the situation.
There are lessons to be drawn for India from this financial crisis. The Manmohan Singh government has been pushing for the very same policies which have spelt ruin for the financial system in the United States and many European countries. The government has been assiduously pushing for financial sector liberalisation in the past four years. Both the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister are the architects of the legislation, which seek to open up the insurance and banking sector to more foreign capital. They have sought to put the pension funds of government employees into the stock market. They have blithely wanted capital account convertibility. All these would have ensured India becoming a victim of speculative financial capital and destruction of its economic sovereignty.
It is the firm opposition of the Left parties while supporting the government which prevented the legislations to increase FDI cap in insurance from 26 to 49 per cent; for amendment of the Banking Regulation Act to facilitate 74 per cent FDI in private Indian banking and the adoption of the Pension Fund Regulatory & Development Authority Bill.
Despite the dire experience of hot money flows, the Manmohan Singh government has sought to tackle the stock market crash by further relaxing norms for the entry of Foreign Institutional Buyers (FIIs). The minor restrictions of Participatory Notes has been lifted and norms for external commercial borrowings relaxed. These are a recipe for importing the financial crisis into India.
The Central Committee warns the Manmohan Singh government not to tackle the crisis in a manner which only helps the big corporates and private financial institutions. The Central Committee demands that the government take the following steps immediately:
1. Stop relaxing measures for speculative capital flows
2. Tighten capital controls and financial market regulations
3. Stop efforts to deregulate and open up the banking and insurance sector to foreign capital.
4. Scrap the New Pension Scheme and withdraw the PFRDA Bill
5. Provide uninterrupted credit to small and medium enterprises
6. Ensure bank credit to farmers and weaker sections
7. Stabilise Rupee value
Reduce the Price of Petrol & Diesel
The Central Committee demands that the government immediately reduce the retail price of petrol and diesel. The international oil prices have come down sharply and is now around $ 75 to 80 per barrel. The government had increased the price of petrol and diesel by Rs. 4 and 2 at a time when the international price was around $ 120 per barrel. The government should cut the price by Rs. 4 and 2 for petrol and diesel respectively.
Growing Communal Violence
The Central Committee notes with serious concern the growing incidents of communal violence in various parts of the country. The shocking attack on the Christian community in Kandhamal district in Orissa which began in the last week of August continues even today. There have been attacks on Christians in Mangalore, Udupi, Davengere and other parts of Karnataka. The Naveen Patnaik government in Orissa has totally failed to curb the attacks on the Christians and round up all the guilty persons who belong to the Hindutva outfits. The Central government has failed to effectively intervene to protect the minorities in Kandhamal by discharging its constitutional obligations.
A series of attacks on the minority community has taken place in Dhule, Maharashtra Buharanpur in Madhya Pradesh and lastly the violence in Bhaisha town in Adilabad district which has seen the ghastly burning to death of a family of six members.
The BJP-RSS combine is instigating communal violence according to a game plan keeping in mind the forthcoming Lok Sabha and assembly elections in five states.
Act Against Bajrang Dal
The Bajrang Dal has been spearheading the attacks on the Christian community and its involvement in terrorist violence through the manufacture of bombs and placing of explosives have come to light, the latest being in Kanpur. The Central Committee demands that strong action be taken against the Bajrang Dal under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.
The spate of terrorist attacks through bomb explosions that have taken place in Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Delhi confirm that there are a network of terrorist groups operating with a view to disrupt communal harmony and the social fabric of our society. There is a growing sense of alienation with the failure of the State to check violence against the minorities and to render justice. This is helping the extremist elements. The terrorist attacks need to be met firmly. This requires effective intelligence and revamping of the security agencies and their coordinated action. The solution does not lie in introducing more draconian laws as the BJP demands.
The manner in which the police have responded to terrorist attacks in various places by rounding up Muslim youth indiscriminately, keeping them under detention and subjecting them to physical harassment has created fear and insecurity among the minority community. The CPI(M) demands the end to the targeting and harassment of the minority community. Investigation into terrorist attacks must be conducted fairly and as per the rule of the law.
The Central Committee while assuring the Muslim community that the Party will stand for the protection of their rights, appeals to them to isolate the extremist elements who are seeking to utilize the alienation and insecurity of the minority community.
The Manmohan Singh government has gone ahead and signed the 123 agreement with the United States. This was done despite the fact that the US law approving the agreement has all the restrictions and conditions in the Hyde Act. The agreement does not provide assurance of uninterrupted fuel supply; there is no assurance regarding building a strategic fuel reserve for the life time of the reactor; whatever corrective measures India takes regarding fuel supply failure does not permit taking the reactors out of safeguards; the consent to reprocess is only notional; and the US will also work to prevent other countries from providing nuclear supplies to India, if the US terminates the 123 Agreement.
The Congress Party is propagating that the deal will provide electricity for every house and village in the country. For this deceptive claim it has already committed to buy 10,000 MW of nuclear reactors from the United States which would cost $ 70 billion or 3,15,000 crores. Who is going to pay for this expensive power from imported nuclear plants.
The CPI(M) will campaign against the nuclear deal as a surrender to the United States and a betrayal of India’s interests.
The Central Committee heard a report on the TATA motors project at Singur which has been abandoned. The Trinamul led opposition in the state is bent upon obstructing all projects meant for the development of the state whether they are for industries or for other purposes. The CPI(M) will mobilize the people of West Bengal to foil such disruptive activities and to ensure that the Left Front government can fulfill its goal for industrial and all round development of the state.
Sri Lanka Situation
The Central Committee noted with concern that the offensive of the Sri Lankan armed forces is growing in the Northern region of Sri Lanka. As the armed forces are advancing towards Kilinochchi, the shelling and aerial bombardment is resulting in casualties among the Tamil people. Tens of thousands of people have been displaced. There is a growing shortage of essential commodities and medicines. The Sri Lankan government is bent upon pursuing a military solution. This will not solve the Tamil question. Only a political solution based on the provision of real autonomy to the Tamil-speaking regions can provide a durable framework for peace and a united Sri Lanka. The Indian government has to mount pressure to make the Sri Lankan government proceed for a political settlement. It should insist that the Sri Lankan government ensure supply of food, drugs and essential commodities reach the people in the conflict areas.
Lok Sabha Elections
The Central Committee discussed the political situation in view of the forthcoming assembly elections in six states and the subsequent Lok Sabha elections. For the Lok Sabha elections, the party decided that it will adopt an electoral platform aiming to defeat the BJP, which is a communal party advocating reactionary economic policies and for the rejection of the Congress that is forging a strategic alliance with the United States and pursuing anti-people economic policies. The Central Committee discussed specific electoral tactics to be pursued in various states and gave direction for the election preparations.
The Central Committee called for the following programme of action in the coming days:
The Party will conduct a sustained campaign against the communal forces and for the protection of the minorities. It will work for a broad mobilization against the Hindutva communal forces. The Party demands firm action against the terrorist groups indulging in mindless violence.
The Central Committee calls upon all Party units to observe a “Week Against Communalism and Terrorism” from October 30 to November 5.
The Central Committee calls upon the Party units to continue the struggle to demand steps to curb price rise. It should step up the struggle for the adequate supply of rations, issuance of ration cards and against black marketing.
Party units should work for the implementation of the Forest Rights Act for the tribal people and for the proper implementation of the Rural Employment Guarantee Act.
The Party will campaign against the UPA government’s pro-imperialist policy including the surrender to the US on the nuclear deal. The Party strongly protests the Indo-US naval exercises which will begin on October 24 on the West Coast.
The CPI(M) will organize protests on October 24 all along the West Coast by holding rallies and demonstrations in Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka and Kerala against the “Malabar Exercises”.