Build Broad based movement against Fascist Offensive of RSS-BJP
Build struggles of Workers, Peasants and Oppressed Sections to counter fascist forces
In the absence of a credible alternative for addressing the deepening problems of the people, Modi led RSS-BJP’s ‘nationalist’ narrative targeted at Pakistan and powered by upper castes led Hindu mobilization led to return to power of RSS-BJP in 2019 Lok Sabha elections. While NDA strength remained virtually unchanged, BJP managed to increase its seats once again returning with single party majority in Lok Sabha. In the backdrop of deepening economic crisis and increasing woes of the people exemplified by growing peasant distress and exploding unemployment crisis, this pseudo-nationalist narrative has been powered by the big section of corporate – foreign and domestic – and landlords, managed by RSS cadre machinery aided by deep seated communalization of state machinery. The increasing rallying of Indian ruling classes to the bandwagon of anti-minority, anti-Dalit, anti-tribal and patriarchal Hindutva demonstrates their desperation in face of deep structural crisis of Indian economy. It also demonstrates the bankruptcy of the so-called centrist forces, collapse of social democracy and continuing weakness of revolutionary forces and people’s movements. 2019 verdict proves that 2014 was no aberration but a shift in the ruling class politics to the right in league with such shifts in most of the countries and rise of fascist forces targeting minorities, disrupting people’s unity against exploitation and oppression and thereby saving the anti-people regimes serving imperialism and reaction.
This narrative of the muscular ‘nationalism’ targeting Pakistan outside and Muslims in the country was paraded through Balakote strike after Pulwama blast killing CRPF personnel. RSS-BJP Govt. has predictably used people’s struggle in Kashmir, the only Muslim majority province in the country, to serve its jingoist communal agenda. Bringing that state under Central rule in violation of all norms of democracy and constitutional provisions was no accident. Majority communalism couched as nationalism has been an electoral winning formula, as repeatedly demonstrated in the ruling class politics of the country. The continuous whipping up of these sentiments shows the urgency with which the ruling dispensation treats the need to divert the attention of the people from their increasing woes. That this crescendo in jingoist-communal propaganda was orchestrated to telling effect is borne out by the change in fortunes of the RSS-BJP post Balakote, after losses in parliamentary by-elections in Hindi speaking states and defeat in Hindi heartland states in central India. People were asked to eat grass or even mud for saving/ glory of the country and draw vicarious satisfaction despite suffering all around.
Deepening economic crisis and increasing woes of the people, particularly of peasants and youth are very much there but different ruling class parties/alliances have nothing new to offer to address the same while foreign and domestic corporate want the Govt. to further the implementation of the policies which are at the root of these. Govt. claims fast growth of economy despite decline in growth in manufacture, stagnation in agriculture and slow-down in services. No wonder, these claims based on data from corporate, have been punctured by the disclosure that 36% of these companies do not even exist. These growth claims are also not backed by macro-economic indices like increase in sales, growth in employment, increase in private or public investments or increase in credit or increase in saving. These frivolous claims are being made to continue the anti-people economic policies despite overwhelming evidence that India is suffering from ‘Demand Deficit’ due to low purchasing power of the people and declining exports. On the other hand, foreign loan over the country has doubled over past five years and NPAs of public sector banks have increased to 12 lakh crores despite periodic waiving of part of NPAs.
Govt. has done everything to suppress the fact that unemployment is rising. All studies have pointed out that pro-corporate measures like Demonetization and GST have resulted in severe job losses but the Govt. backed by the corporate media have sold fake stories about them. In fact, selling demonetization as targeted against ‘black money’ despite clear facts to the contrary and severe sufferings inflicted upon the people, was a big demonstration of the ability of ruling dispensation backed by corporate media to sway the people’s opinion against their own interests. Data about increasing joblessness has been suppressed. NSSO data on the unemployment at 6.1%, highest in 45 years, was not allowed to be published. CMIE has set the unemployment at 8.4% in a recent study. This does not cover the vast underemployment in the country.
The peasant distress has been growing. Nearly half of the workforce in the country is directly engaged in agriculture and over two third people living in rural areas are directly or indirectly dependent on agriculture while share of agriculture in the GDP has come to about one seventh. Condition of peasantry has been hit by higher cost of inputs, relatively lower prices of produce, low institutional support, neglect of irrigation and almost no support to poor and middle peasants who constitute majority of peasantry. Suicides by peasants continue at alarming level. RSS-BJP Govt. has ‘solved’ the problem by not keeping the data of peasant suicides. Working class is facing increasing attacks on jobs and rights with number of those employed going down. Employment in organized sectors has declined with increasing contractualization.
Five years of Modi led RSS-BJP Govt. are marked with complete disregard of people’s concerns, intensification of anti-people policies and feverish attempts to drown the people’s disillusionment in communal and pseudo-nationalist din. Attacks on Muslims and Dalits have increased. With the aid of state machinery dominated by upper castes, these attacks in the name of ‘gau raksha’ and against beef have been escalated while RSS vigilante groups have mushroomed under state patronage. RSS-BJP Govt. has particularly made determined bids to capture institutions of higher learning, statutory bodies governing education, science, history and culture trying to establish their sway not only on the present, but also on the past and the future. RSS-BJP govt. has intensified repression on the people’s movements, particularly communist revolutionaries. They have targeted all dissent as anti-national and attempts were made to suppress people’s movements and democratic rights organizations and activists as ‘Urban Naxals’.
That despite such a dismal record, Modi led RSS-BJP could return to power is due to the fact that other ruling class alternatives had nothing else to offer. The largest opposition party, the Congress has not only been the originator of these policies but is even now committed to follow these policies. While paying lip service to peasant distress and unemployment crisis, they refused to endorse the peasant demands particularly of agricultural produce pricing formula of Swaminathan Committee and refused to offer any new policy to increase employment. Even other parties of the ruling classes did not come up with any new policies or change in policies. Thus there remained only the question of expression of anger against Modi led RSS-BJP which was effectively subverted by jingoist hysteria.
2019 elections have demonstrated that RSS polarization on religious line and service of corporate is supported by the bigger section of ruling classes and is in sync with dominant communal caste chauvinist dispensation in other organs of state. The corporate and managers of Indian state, the upper castes, have rallied around the banner of Hindutva though for their own reasons. Corporate see RSS utility in disrupting people’s unity against the disastrous economic policies. Corporate are also in favour of centralized state for facility of their using people’s money as well as suppressing the people’s movements. Upper castes want their hegemony in society, landlords who mostly belong to these social groups their land and control over village economy, and their monopoly over higher jobs to be kept intact. They find Hindutva as effective tool to control the more numerous oppressed castes. New Economic Policies have mainly strengthened the position of upper middle class which is mostly drawn from these sections. It is due to the shift in allegiance of these sections that leaders of RSS who hailed killer of Gandhi have been elected to parliament.
Congress tried to re-emerge as the main party of these sections. Before the elections Congress leaders claimed that Congress is a Hindu party. Their Govts. in MP and Rajasthan have implemented their own brand of Hinduism. Secularism was banished from their vocabulary. In fact, Congress at the instance of corporate did not confront RSS-BJP rather they fought against regional parties in many states. Even entry of Priyanka Gandhi for whatever worth it was, was mainly used against regional parties. Both Rahul and Priyanka talked of rebuilding of Congress in the long run. Liberal intelligentsia should understand that while ruling class parties were willing to use their abhorrence of Hindutva attacks on minorities, Dalits and other oppressed sections, they are keen to continue the policies which are at the root of rise of Hindutva forces as the main force of ruling classes.
2019 results have also demonstrated the limits of ruling class parties mainly banking on mobilization of oppressed castes and Dalits. In UP Samajwadi Party and BSP had come together marginalized by RSS-BJP in 2014 Lok Sabha elections and 2017 state assembly elections. They were banking upon mobilization of their castes and consolidation of Muslim votes to deliver victory to them in the most populous state even making them dream of the chair at the Centre in the event of a fractured mandate. Similar was the planning in neighbouring Bihar where RJD led alliance tried to build symbols of some backward castes to conjure a winning combination. These forces are in time wrap. It was the backward caste groups that challenged the monopoly of Congress in late 1960s and it was the advent of Kashi Ram which denied Congress majority and was one of factors responsible for coalition era. The main ruling class parties dominated by upper castes and mainly supported by big landlords and big bourgeoisie came up with ‘social engineering’ to counter the mobilization of oppressed castes and Dalits. The whole thrust was to break up these larger groupings into individual caste groups to deprive them of the influence that they came to wield. Analysing 2014 results, we had noted that era of macro caste mobilization (broad mobilization of backwards and Dalits) has been replaced by micro management of castes. Social engineering had come of age. Backward and Dalit parties banking on a single large social group, when they were unable to break that mould, could not rally other groups closer to them. Appetite for power had percolated to all the groups and unable to get satisfaction from these parties,they rallied under the banner of religion (Hindutva) to be accorded piece of power and money that goes with it. This micromanagement of castes has been established even more firmly. Even more, the sections of these social groups i.e. from backwards and Dalits, who have been able to improve their condition too look for acceptance by the dominant castes. Hindutva accords that recognition though under the overall dominance of upper castes. The caste parties treated the sections they claimed to represent only as vehicles of coming to enjoy power and perks and were being paid back by their constituents in the same coin. 2019 elections have not proved that caste identities have ceased to exist as is being claimed by ruling class parties and their commentators but development of the question of caste oppression. Present situation brings to the fore that caste oppression can be fought on the basis of class unity both within these groups as well as in society at large. Revolutionary communists who have long advocated this approach should intensify their efforts to hit at the base of caste oppression i.e. their deprivation of the ownership of means of production and forge unity of all exploited and oppressed.
Muslims have been the main target of Hindutva forces. They have been attacked, killed and maimed, their properties destroyed, they were forced to leave their hearth, their women assaulted and their youth incarcerated. Hindutva forces define their Hindu national identity mainly in opposition to Muslims. Hindutva forces’ success can be gauged by the fact that other ruling class parties too hesitate to come to the defence of Muslims. Congress has been eager to shed its pro-Muslim tag pinned on it by RSS. But even other ruling class parties are not immune. AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal’s statement before counting of votes,about the Muslims voting enbloc for Congress should be an eye-opener for some for it echoes the oft-repeated charge of RSS. It is not the question of bloc voting by any community- many of them have been doing this and to a much greater degree than Muslims even in these elections- but he singled out of Muslims for that attack. The fact is that since 1947 all ruling class parties have been practising Hindu Raj, conditions of Muslims have deteriorated in almost all states as brought out by Sachar Committee report. Hence bloc movement of cadres of such parties to RSS-BJP should not come as a big surprise. RSS however, through Hindu Rashtra, institutionalizes their status as second-class citizens (actually non-citizens who are to live at the mercy of Hindus-Golwalkar). With no ruling class party standing against the attacks by RSS and communal forces, there is increasing despondency among Muslims and consequent decline in their votes. Muslims today occupy the lowest economic status in India and are mostly labourers- urban and rural. Even the so-called secular ruling class parties do not stand for their protection as evidenced by Muzaffarnagar violence under SP rule and abandoning of a bill against communal violence by the then ruling Congress. Revolutionary forces must rise to the occasion and organize them into class organizations while standing against all attacks on them. There is a need to project unity of India in terms of people’s unity cutting across religions as was begun in the 1857 war against British colonial rule.
Five years of Modi led RSS-BJP rule has seen intensified offensive against tribals aimed at dispossessing them from their land and means of livelihood. Modi Govt. tried to change the LARR 2013 through Ordinance and when they failed to enact the amendments, RSS-BJP state govts. changed the rules under the Act virtually to deny tribal rights. Similarly, rules of environmental laws have been changed to facilitate exploitation of resources by corporate at the cost of environment. There have been intensified attempts to impose Manusmriti code on women which imposes patriarchal order. There have been increase in attempts to privatize health and education and handing over of health delivery system to corporate.
These elections marked continuing decline of revisionist parties. Their strength dwindled to a mere five – three for CPM and two for CPI (four of them courtesy alliance with DMK in Tamilnadu). In Bengal which CPM led front ruled for over thirty four years, their vote share was reduced to a mere 7.46% (of which CPM 6.28%) while bulk of their voters shifted to BJP. While CPM talked about defeating BJP, in West Bengal they mainly targeted TMC. This is the hypocrisy of ruling class opposition parties that while they talked of defeating BJP, in that garb they tried only to increase their strength. Even Mamata Banerjee posed to take on Modi led RSS-BJP, but unleashed attacks on the opposition parties. TMC’s attacks on opposition parties reached a zenith during panchayat elections, when one third of total seats were won by TMC unopposed through physical prevention of candidates of opposition parties from filing their nominations. CPM led Left Front’s decline is not limited to West Bengal, in Tripura too it came a poor third on both the seats while Congress, which was decimated in the assembly elections with almost all of it going over to BJP, came second. Even in Kerala, not only its strength was reduced to merely one seat, its vote share declined by over five percent. While decline of CPM led Left Front is due to their neglect of people’s issues, pursuing of anti-people policies by their govts. and also crimes against the people, ruling classes propagate their decline to be decline of Left politics itself. The revisionist parties in course of their long service to the ruling classes have suffered from deep corrosion and corruption among their ranks and are unable to resist the attacks of Govts. Even the later entrant to revisionist club, Liberation, eschewed all opposition to RJD and became part of the RJD led grand alliance including Congress for Ara seat in Bihar. They even gave up their slogan of left unity for parliamentary representation as RJD was not willing to accommodate CPI, CPM. The revisionist parties supported AAP in Delhi. They had done so in the Delhi assembly elections as well.
AAP also suffered setback in these elections with only their Sangrur (Punjab) candidate winning. AAP ranked third after Congress in five of the seven seats in Delhi and second in two. AAP Govt. had come to power in Delhi winning 67 out of 70 seats. However, they only focused on the issues which are not under the jurisdiction of Delhi Territorial Administration and did little on the issues over which they have jurisdiction. They propagated much about their reforms of education and health. Under their rule, allocation on health has continued to be abysmally low. Their reforms of education meant a large number of students being given second grade education right from the 6th standard. Obviously children from working class and poor background are sufferers.
It has been once again demonstrated that when fascists increase their offensive, opposition ruling class parties adopt the issues brought up by fascist forces in order to win over the sections supporting the fascist forces and do not move to confront them. They do so only when they too come under attack which is when fascist forces are able to change the mode of governance to fascism. In the period of intensifying fascist offensive, only revolutionary forces and people’s movements consistently oppose the fascist offensive.
Conduct of these Elections was marred by the extensive use of money, media and muscle power mostly by the Hindutva forces. According to a report over 60 thousand crores were spent in these elections of which expenditure by Election Commission has been only less than 4 thousand crores. Modi Govt. has almost monopolized funding from the foreign and domestic big capitalists. Its electoral bond scheme is to dissuade these big donors from contributing to opposition parties. Under the scheme, the recipient does not know the donor but the Govt. does. The use of money has been so widespread that an unprecedented amount has been seized by the Election Commission, more than the total expenditure by the Commission in the conduct of elections. The number of the people with criminal cases of moral turpitude and millionaires has gone up. Parliament has become a happy hunting ground for corrupt, criminal and communal elements.
There have been reports of large scale deletion of names from voters lists. Among the names so deleted a large number was of Muslims and Dalits.
Elections have been conducted in the most biased manner. Election Commission has refused to maintain transparency in the conduction of elections. Its blind adherence to EVMs for conducting elections despite many objections of their being prone to manipulation, abandonment of EVMs by a number of countries, and first and foremost the need to inspire confidence of the people in whose name ruling classes renew their rule through these elections, have made EC an EVM Commission. The utter disregard of the EC to act impartially even creating division in the EC itself, refusal of Supreme Court to address concerns of the affected parties, all show the extent to which institutions of the state have been compromised in the pursuit of power by corporate backed Hindutva forces. There have been widespread reports of EVM malfunctioning and people at many places have seen and intercepted EVMs which were being unauthorizedly transported increasing suspicions among the people.
RSS-BJP have set new records in misusing the state machinery. State machinery was used to arrange crowds for meetings of ruling party leaders. Beneficiaries of Govt. schemes were approached through Govt. machinery to cast votes for the ruling party, money was deposited in their accounts and all those shown to be on behalf of Modi, in short total subversion of the state machinery for electoral purpose, using people’s money as handouts by the ruling Party leader.
Re-election of Modi led RSS-BJP Govt. is definitely a serious challenge to the people of the country. With conditions of people worsening, sectarian violence against oppressed, intensified repression on people’s movements, the rule of RSS-BJP will increase hardships of the people. Modi Govt. is going to take implementation of anti-people policies to higher level. It is going to promote corporate and contract farming while further decreasing support to agriculture and expenditure on rural development. Modi led Govt. will move to further dilute labour laws, go about labour law free industrial zones similar to SEZs, disinvestment in public sector including railways and privatization of profit-making PSUs. They will try to shift burden of NPAs onto the people be merging Public Sector Banks and utilize RBI reserves for largesse to the corporate. Modi Govt. will move further to privatize health and bring research too under the control of corporate. Modi Govt. will further pack educational institutions and statutory bodies with RSS persons and try to eliminate progressive elements from academic institutions while making institutions of higher learning preserve of the privileged. RSS-BJP II will bring untold miseries on the already suffering people.
Coming of RSS-BJP back to power with improved majority marks a new phase for the country. They have increased their strength in Rajya Sabha as well and NDA will gain majority in that House as well in the coming year. They have brought different state institutions under their control and even higher judiciary is full of compromised individuals and will not offer much resistance. Hence this phase demands more vigorous efforts to counter fascist offensive.
- Forge and develop unity of communist revolutionary forces and people’s movements, struggles of oppressed sections and other democratic forces.
- Build and develop struggles of peasants and workers, students and youth, oppressed castes, tribals, minorities and women. Move to broaden base among all these classes and sections.
- Strengthen democratic rights movement and organizations, strengthen protection of legal rights.
- Organize youth against unemployment and students against attacks on educational institutions.
- Participate in and forge closer relations with struggles of people with approach of building broad based resistance to fascist offensive.
- Adapt organizational forms to meet the requirement of the present situation and needs of struggle.
May 25, 2019