Mobilize all forces against Fascist Rule of RSS-BJP
Intensify struggles of Peasants and Workers and Resistance to Ruling Class Offensive
Unite and Build struggles of all Oppressed Sections- Dalits, Religious and National minorities
Virtual abrogation of Article 370 & repeal of Article 35A in relation to Kashmir and division of that state into two Union Territories marks a sharp escalation in the attack by the RSS-BJP Govt. against the people of Kashmir as well as in their march towards imposing fascist dictatorship over the country. Since their return to power, Modi led RSS Govt. has bared its fascist fangs and has unleashed a sinister campaign against minorities, particularly Muslims, aimed at building majoritarian, hyper-nationalist frenzy to trample over the democratic rights of the people and crush all struggles of workers and peasants. RSS-BJP govt. had whipped up anti-Pakistan, anti-Muslim, anti-Kashmir jingoist hysteria to mislead and misdirect the anger of the people against its policies serving the interests of corporate- foreign and domestic, and landlords.
J&K: Suppression and Protests
Attack on the people of Kashmir is part of the general attack on the people of the country. It is only being launched in installments. While J&K is facing total clampdown, there is blackout in the country. Cold calculation of rulers at the Centre is to tire out Kashmiris by complete disruption of their lives. There has been continuous lockdown since August 5, 2019 in Kashmir, economic and social life of the people has been completely disrupted. Even funeral processions, marriage functions are not allowed. Hospitals are not allowed to function and schools are being opened under Army patrol with no students. Press in Kashmir has been muzzled while Press outside Kashmir has been largely unresponsive and insensitive due to preference of their corporate owners and pressure of the Govt. But people of Kashmir have long been used to such blatant violation of their democratic rights, living under curfew for long spells and managing their lives under war like conditions. Central Govt. has not been able to lift the curfew and is not able to even say when it is likely to be lifted. Pellet guns are being used against the people injuring a large number. Reportedly 13000 leaders, activists and even common people are under arrest, many of them kept in jail far away outside J&K. Doctors are being detained for speaking out on lack of medical care and journalists are being detained for reporting on repression. Leaders and activists are not being allowed to go abroad to prevent them from speaking on the real situation in J&K. Even temporary relaxations for a few minutes for Friday prayers in local mosques have seen large protest demonstrations. Govt.’s attempts to subdue the fighting spirit of the people of Kashmir have failed till now. Several areas have emerged where the people are not allowing security forces to enter. Students are keeping away from schools, traders from shops, govt. employees from offices. Central Govt. since August 4 has disarmed local police providing them only lathis. The whole Kashmiri people are united in their opposition to the RSS led Govt.
Kashmiris are facing existential crisis. Modi led RSS Govt. has decided on seeking ‘final solution’ to Kashmir problem on the lines of Zionist rulers’ solution of Palestinian problem. It involves taking over their land while beating the people into submission with relentless violence and gradually expelling them from parts, changing the demography of the region in due course. Even the terms like ‘development’ and ‘providing employment’ are being used on the pattern of Zionist rulers of Israel. Article 370 had provided little autonomy to J&K, the article eroded by successive govts. J&K had often been under Central rule and elections have been continuously and contemptuously rigged. Loss of Article 370 is being mostly lamented by the regional forces hitherto aligned with the Indian ruling classes. What people of Kashmir fear and rightly so, is the design to change the demography of the region. This may happen over time. Converting a state into a Union Territory though unprecedented since 1947 and not provided for in the Constitution, hence an attack on the Constitution itself, is motivated by the desire to regulate land use and thereby allotment of lands by the Centre and to allow outsiders to seek jobs and own property in J&K. Those sections in J&K, some people in Jammu and Laddakh region who had initially supported the Central Govt. on Kashmir and had been opposed to Kashmiri people’s struggle for self-determination, are also waking up to this reality. The struggle of the people of Kashmir will determine the course of future developments there while international reaction and democratic public opinion in the rest of India will also play their role.
Kashmir is living under fascism. But the danger is for the whole of the country. This not only a lurking danger, it is the unfolding reality.
Attack on Federalism Part of Fascist Drive
This attack on people of Kashmir is a sinister attack on the federal structure, to whatever extent it is there in the Constitution. Federalism stands on the ground of division of power between states and Centre. But with Central Govt. usurping the power to abolish its constituent units i.e. the states, any talk of such a division becomes meaningless with states themselves liable to be abolished. RSS since its inception, along with many Congress leaders as well, had been opposed to federalism in the Constitution. This attack on Kashmir is also an attack on the rights of the states. Besides being a demand of big capital who have been in favour of unitary system to facilitate their exploitation of natural resources and toilers of the country, it is also in line with moves towards imposing fascist dictatorship, bringing all states and regions under central control even while there are other parties ruling in such states. Imposition of GST and amendments to NIA, which was any way encroachment on the rights of the states, have been further attacks on the federal structure.
J&K is not the only state for which there have been special provisions in the Constitution. The part XXI contains such provisions relating to several states and regions. Central Govt. move has created deep apprehensions in the North East. Home Minister Amit Shah has stated that there are no plans to change any part of Article 371 but with Govt. trampling the Constitution under foot, such assurances carry no meaning. While RSS has started with the Article 370, their attack will gradually encompass the rights of the states, including special provisions. They basically oppose all the progressive aspects that got crystallized in Indian people’s struggle against British colonial rule viz. anti-imperialism, democracy, social justice, secularism and federalism. Indian elite classes then represented by the Congress had embraced them albeit hesitatingly and with conditions; compromised them when they came to power. And today, RSS which had kept itself aloof from the freedom struggle of the Indian people, wants to undo them to impose fascist dictatorship over the country.
Move towards Fascism
This fascist drive of RSS enjoys good support among the ruling classes. Due to deepening economic crisis the ruling classes are increasing the burden over the people and to lead their struggle astray and to suppress them, they are adopting RSS Hindutva plank. This is also in line with the aspirations of the ‘managers’ of the system, drawn mainly from the Hindu upper castes who wish to maintain their social hegemony and they are now increasingly adopting Hindutva for that purpose. It is not only anti-minority but also against oppressed castes. Their call for abolishing reservations in jobs and education emanates from their core ideological beliefs of upper caste hegemony with the banner of ‘Hindu-Hindi’. Through social engineering they are disrupting the unity of oppressed castes thereby preventing any backlash to such attacks.
RSS Hindutva is being supported by ruling classes, big bourgeoisie and big landlords. They wish to intensify the exploitation of Indian toilers particularly working class and peasantry and find Hindutva useful in disrupting people’s unity. Corporate backed Hindutva leaders ruling at the Centre are intensifying attacks on the democratic rights of the people. Before their attack on the people of J&K, the Govt. amended Right to Information Act rendering it toothless, UAPA to target leadership of all the movements without even having to declare them unlawful, NIA to increase the reach of this agency in all the states to more offences under different acts. All these are to further sharpen the weapons of state repression. These besides, there are changes in the rules governing Forest Rights Act, Land Acquisition Act (LARR) and different other acts. They are intensifying attacks on the workers, tribals and toiling sections of peasantry. These acts of RSS rulers are in furtherance of the interests of foreign capital and comprador bourgeoisie and protection of interests of the landlords.
Since the return to power of RSS-BJP led by Modi and Shah with increased majority, the RSS domination over different organs of the state has increased further. Different ruling class formations and parts of the state machinery are falling in line to facilitate fascist dictatorship over the country. There were many complaints about partisan conduct of the Election Commission and manipulations during Lok Sabha elections 2019. RSS return to power has signified increased acceptance of their agenda as well as unbridled use of state agencies like CBI, ED etc. by the ruling dispensation. Several parties of the ruling classes including some regional parties have sided with RSS-BJP to facilitate passage of NIA amendment, Triple Talaq Act, UAPA Amendment, RTI amendment and Constitutional amendment regarding J&K. All these could not have been passed without the direct support of some of the parties and indirect support of other parties who allowed their members to be absent to facilitate these measures. With the direct support of several regional parties of the ruling classes and covert but calculated support to its agenda by some other ruling class parties, RSS Govt. now enjoys comfortable majority in Rajya Sabha, able to pass even those measures requiring two third majority. It has thus gained complete control over the legislative agenda.
Different institutions of the ruling classes are supporting the fascist agenda of the RSS-BJP. Corporate controlled mainstream media has mainly supported RSS agenda and electronic media had gone out of the way to whip up chauvinist jingoist frenzy around Balakot before the elections and again on Kashmir issue after the elections. Even while foreign media is reporting on Kashmir ‘lockdown’ as well as protests, media in India has been in denial mode losing its already low credibility leading to queries by some whether Indian and international media are reporting from the same region. The most significant and least discussed attack on the big newspapers and electronic channels comes from their corporate ownership and control while those outside this control are reined in by Govt. intimidation and prosecution. Journalists are being attacked and killed, implicated in false cases and imprisoned for exposing violations of democratic rights and laws, and corruption. Not without reason does Indian media enjoy so low a rating on the press freedom index. Worse, their owners do not seem to mind it. Obviously there was some protest coming from journalists for the total suppression of media and communications in J&K.
Higher judiciary including the apex Court has simply caved in due to their own predilections or due to pressure of RSS controlled executive or partly due to both. This was on full display when the Court refused to even entertain petitions on suppression of press and violations of democratic rights including habeas corpus petitions. The Court expressed full faith in the very Govt. which is being accused of these violations. It is a reminder of Supreme Court judgment in ADM Jabalpur case during Emergency when the apex Court had held that fundamental rights are abrogated during Emergency and advised the people to have faith in the govt. Though the apex Court had tendered an apology for that judgment but it was due to the fact that power equation in the ruling classes had changed i.e. decline of the Congress. Supreme Court like other institutions of the ruling classes appeared to have acquired some independence during the period of minority rule or coalition era and not because of their institutional strength. Executive enjoys so much arbitrary power almost without checks and acts with total impunity. Even then some forces like RSS call for even more unbridled powers for the security forces calling this virtual police state as ‘soft’ state. Those adorning these high offices have many skeletons in their cupboard and should not be expected to stand for the people’s rights, even those formally enshrined in the Constitution. People alone must step forward to defend their rights. Only strength of their movement can see some of these institutions discovering their ‘independence’. There are some important cases before the apex Court related to Ayodhya dispute and virtual abrogation of Article 370 but what is heard of the proceedings before the Court does not show that the Court is moving in the direction of upholding what are straightforward questions in the realm of law. But then it is often remarked that the best politicians of the ruling classes are in higher echelons of judiciary, selected as they are.
Deepening Crisis of Economy at the root of Fascism
This endorsement of the fascist turn in Indian ruling class politics is rooted in the need to take anti-people measures to overcome the deepening crisis of Indian economy. Corporate Media and ruling class establishment had kept the information regarding deepening crisis in the economy and the slowdown in growth under wraps for it not to disturb the orchestrated campaign for a stable and strong govt. avowedly to speed up growth. Though people could feel the burden of economic hardships but these were propagated as temporary as a bright future awaited them. As soon as the elections were concluded, media was full of the reports of the economic slowdown and consequent hardships faced by the people. Growth has been falling for the last five quarters. Economic growth rate measured by the corporate data for the quarter ending August has slumped to below 5% while actual growth rate, if at all, is far below that. This is despite the fact of change in the method of calculation of GDP growth made in 2015 which overestimates the rate by nearly 2%. Moreover, the data of the corporate on which these quarterly reports are made include companies of which nearly 36% are reported to be fake.
At the root of this slowdown is the deepening industrial-agrarian crisis which had been developing for quite some time. Manufacturing sector, second largest employer after agriculture, at the heart of industrial sector, is facing deep seated crisis while other sectors are also facing stagnation or decline. Growth in the basic industries like coal, steel, power etc. has fallen to only 2.1%. For some time, the growth rate was artificially kept up by increased govt. expenditure. The real reason for the deepening economic crisis is lack of effective demand which means lack of purchasing power with the people. Domestic consumption constitutes over half of the GDP in India. While people’s sentiment about future prospects may play some role in the immediate context, in the ultimate analysis it is the purchasing power of the people that counts. In our country overwhelming majority of the people live in abysmal conditions. Wages of industrial workers are stagnant while those of agricultural labourers are declining. We have been analyzing that the export led and FDI driven growth model pursued by Indian rulers has run into deep crisis. Domestic demand is not rising due to the policies pursued by the Govt., demand for Indian goods and services in the foreign markets is in fact declining due to stagnation in the large economies of the western imperialist countries and rise of protectionism in those countries. The model pursued by Indian rulers is in deep crisis and their anti-people character and neo-liberal orientation designed to maximize corporate profits prevents them from taking the obvious course of enhancing the purchasing power of the people.
Crisis in the automobile sector is in news with automobile sales dipping down by nearly 40%, nearly 23% in August 2019. This sector contributes to nearly half of the value of the manufacture in the country and nearly 37 million (3 crore 70 lakh) people are directly or indirectly dependent on it. Automobile majors have thrown lakhs of contract workers out of employment. This sector also has relatively better paid workers in private sector outside the services. Maruti has announced suspension of work for three days while Ashok Leyland has announced eighteen days work stoppage. Gurgaon-Manear, Chennai and Pune, major centres of automobile industry, are witnessing destitution and miseries of workers. Even the localities including the villages where these workers live, wear a desolate look. Automobile sector is not alone. Construction sector, one of the largest employers, is witnessing slow growth with Central Govt. slowing down NHAI works. Other industries, even the biscuit makers, are also facing the down turn, laying off workers as announced by Parle and Britannia. Other sectors are also facing varying degrees of decline, stagnation or slow growth.
Unorganized sector, mainly small and medium industries, which contributes nearly 45% of the value of industrial production and 93% of the total employment in the industrial sector, have been particularly hard hit due to RSS-BJP Govt.’s pro-corporate policies. Steps like Demonetization of 86% of the currency in November 2016 and imposition of GST have hit this sector hard with reported cumulative loss of nearly 40 million jobs.
Agriculture has been in virtual stagnation with periods of slow growth over a long period of time. The proportion of agriculture in the economy has come down to nearly one sixth while nearly half of the workforce remains engaged in agriculture and over two third people remain directly or indirectly dependent on it. On top of the exploitation by landlords and usurers, the stranglehold of imperialist and comprador capital has strengthened which corners a good part of the value generated in agriculture. With this, condition of the large part of rural populace has declined, at least in relative terms and in many cases in absolute terms. With no growth in employment to absorb the surplus labour from agriculture, rural areas have become centres of unemployment and underemployment, lumpenization and drug abuse, petty crimes and cultural degradation. The rise in the cost of inputs which has been mainly responsible for the rise of cost of production, has not been compensated by an increase in the prices of produce, resulting in the relatively lower prices of agricultural produce acting as a scissor to appropriate large part of the surplus produced in agriculture. While higher prices of inputs directly contribute to profits of big companies producing them, lower prices of agricultural produce, which contribute to keeping wages lower and raw materials cheaper, help the corporate maximize their profits. An OECD study has pegged the value of such robbing of the agrarian sector (due to adverse terms of trade) at 45 lakh crores between 2001 and 2018. Crisis of economy and resultant human misery finds its sharpest expression in the conditions of toilers, workers in the unorganized sectors and peasants who are helpless victims of market forces; another name for the ruthless exploitation by capital in the proportion of investment. This increase in exploitation and oppression has intensified the contradictions in these sectors. Large increase in the number of unemployed and under-employed is one of the defining features of the present deepening crisis.
The Crisis has hit the banking sector hard. Despite annual waiving off of NPAs, these keep on swelling hitting banks, particularly PSBs. With profits falling and also frank loot of public money in connivance with those in power, banks are being hit. Govt. has responded with merging crisis hit banks with ‘healthy’ banks thereby increasing the sickness in the sector. Number of the PSBs has come down to 12 from 27. The capital infusion promised by the Govt. is too meagre to address the crisis.
The crisis of banking sector is only a reflection of the deepening economic crisis and attempts of the Govt. to brush this under the carpet and hand over public money to corporate. RSS-BJP has been robbing the PSBs and PSUs to siphon off public money both for the corporate and its own leaders. Non-banking financial institutions (NBFCs) are being used for this loot and later their losses are dumped on the people in the name of their ‘bailout’ like in IL&FS case. PSUs are being made to serve the interests of the corporate and PSBs are being used to lend to them. Public money in small saving schemes like LIC, is being used to cover up these losses i.e. to foot this bill.
The ruling RSS-BJP is denying the very existence of the crisis; some economists, apologists of corporate, calling it cyclical and due to external factors, but this crisis is structural i.e. stemming from the very structure of the system. Their only strategy is to invite foreign capital. They have waived off the surcharge on FPIs that was announced in this year’s budget, have opened coal mining to 100% FDI, waived off the requirement of procuring a minimum of 30% from domestic producers in single brand retail and have hiked limit of permissible FDI in several other sectors etc. All these steps are to benefit the corporate- foreign and domestic- which shows the classes whose interests the ruling dispensation serves. But all these already failed policies do not address the causes behind the deepening crisis.
Addressing this crisis calls for increasing the effective demand i.e. purchasing power of the workers and peasants, the overwhelming majority of the people. This would entail adoption of the policies which increase the purchasing power of peasants and workers which the ruling classes cannot and don’t want to adopt. The drive of Govt. policies is to increase investment and for that they are looking to attract foreign capital. They are not willing to implement even such measures which can mitigate some effects of this deepening crisis. Land reforms should be expedited and rights of landless peasants, Dalits and tribals on the land should be guaranteed. Input prices should be lowered and Swaminathan Committee’s formula for deciding the MSP of agricultural produce should be implemented. Expenditure on rural development should be increased. Wages of those employed under MNREGS should be enhanced, days of entitlement should be increased and corruption should be eliminated. Drive towards contractualization of jobs should be stopped and regularization should be undertaken besides ensuring increase in wages and benefits. All those who lose their jobs should be paid lay-off wages which should not be less than minimum wages. Pension schemes for the aged, disabled or those unable to undertake employment at the rate of living wage should be uniformly implemented. Health services and education under the Govt. should be expanded to expand employment and improve lives for the people. Corporatization of PSEs particularly those providing public utility services should be stopped. Corporate loot of public money (PSBs and insurance) should be stopped and NPAs should be recovered lifting the corporate veil i.e. from the other assets of the defaulters. GST should be waived off on all items of mass consumption.
Ruling Class Drive Needs Sharpening of the tools of Repression
With return to power of RSS-BJP with increased majority, the corporate media rushed to highlight the deepening economic crisis which it had been keeping hidden till then. It is partly because the crisis is too deep and its effect too pervasive to be ignored, it is also because the ruling classes want to speed up what they call reforms which are essentially intensification of the attacks on the toiling sections. These are being once again projected as the means to overcome the crisis while these policies have driven the country to the present state of crisis.
In order to bolster its falling revenue collections, RSS-BJP Govt. has resorted to ‘robbing’ the Reserve Bank of its reserves, taking 1.76 lakh crores. This is in addition to profits of the RBI which it annually pays to the govt. RSS-BJP Govt. is defrauding PSBs and insurance companies. Demonetization and GST, done in the interest of foreign and domestic corporate have had a downward cascading effect, hitting unorganized sectors and agriculture. Now with Govt. revenue falling, besides robbing RBI, Govt. is further reducing expenditure on social sector.
RSS Govt. has launched a series of attacks on the workers. They have moved to replace existing labour laws with four codes. Two of these, dealing with work place safety and wages have already been made public. The main thrust of these codes is to rob the workers of job security and thereby reduce their wages as proportion of the value produced. The main attack will be launched through Industrial Relations Code which is expected to further attack their right to organize and give employers full freedom to hire and fire. This has been the main thrust of the reforms of labour laws peddled by the ruling classes. They want to attract foreign capital dangling the bait of low wages. They have not succeeded till now despite abysmally low wages in India but they are at it.
Another important area where RSS-BJP govt. is going to attack is to hand over the mineral rich resources to the corporate- foreign and domestic. Corporate have been asking the Govt. to do away with or dilute the Forest Rights Act to allow forcible takeover of tribal land for exploitation by the corporate. They are also insisting that the Govt. do away with 2013 LARR particularly its provisions of taking consent of the peasants and social impact assessment. They first brought amendments then made changes in the rules. BJP led state govts. enacted amendments to the law. Now RSS govt. is attacking the peasants particularly tribals. Other state institutions like Supreme Court are also playing their role in this offensive. Govt. is also planning to change the Forest Act of 1927 enhancing the police powers of the forest officials, further terrorizing tribals to drive them out of their lands.
Increased offensive of Telengana Govt. in the forest areas of Telengana in the name of ‘haritha haram’ is part of this offensive. Our Party is in the forefront of struggle against this offensive and hence target of attacks. On July 31, PC member and RC leader Com. Linganna was killed by the police to eliminate the leadership of the movement. The protest by the people against police action shows the deep bond between our leaders and the people. It has sent a very strong message to all the fighting people. The Govt. offensive is clearly against the movement for defending podu lands. Top police official has said on the arrest of a Party leader that he was “instigating tribals” on the podu lands. Tribals in other states including Jharkhand, Odisha, Tripura, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh are fighting for their lands and means of livelihood.
RSS-BJP Govt. has nothing to offer on the question of peasant distress and unemployment crisis. They are banking upon communal division, jingoist frenzy and religious mobilizations. These crises are waiting to burst upon the scene. However, division on communal and caste lines are coming in the way of attempts to build movements.
Social Crisis : Another Motive for Fascist Drive
Besides aggravation of class contradictions in Society, caste oppression is also increasing particularly caste attacks to suppress rising Dalit anger against deprivation, discrimination and oppression. Since widespread expression of Dalit anger (Bharat Bandh of April 2, 2018) against Supreme Court Judgment on Prevention of Atrocities Act (POA) there is churning among Dalit youth against caste oppression, RSS-BJP Govt. attacks and traditional Dalit parties like BSP reducing the whole issue to only voting for their candidates. Recent mass participation particularly of youth in the protests against demolition of Ravidas Temple in Tughlakabad once again demonstrated the mass anger. Nearly a hundred activists are in jail on the trumped charges relating to protest at the demolition of Ravidas temple. Fabricated criminal cases against a large number of Dalit youths for April 2 Bharat Bandh are still continuing Even among some Dalit students and intellectuals, there is growing realization of the need to fight against Hindutva communalism and new economic policies. This trend is apparent though it needs to be consolidated. There is also need to develop the issues of their share in the means of production like agitation in Punjab on Dalit share in Panchayat lands. This is a potent fault line in the Hindutva politics which wishes to brush the issue of caste oppression under the carpet.
Aspirations and struggles of women for gender equality are another fault line in the Hindutva project. Women’s aspirations for gender equality are a target of Manuwadi forces no matter how much they talk of betis and narayanis. Though attacks on women are there under the rule of all ruling class parties, they take on vicious ideological character under RSS rule.
NRC in India : A Hindu Rashtra Project
RSS-BJP Govt. has announced its plans to prepare a National Register of Citizens (NRC) in the country. The purpose of this exercise is to terrorize the Muslims and to harass the people. There is no need of such a hugely expensive exercise as the people have different types of identity proofs. This step is part of the anti-Muslim agenda of the ruling RSS-BJP combine which have been working to define their nationhood based on caste Hindu hierarchy in opposition to what they term as foreign religions – Islam and Christianity. It is a continuation of the propaganda of the Hindu communal forces at the time of partition for the exchange of population. They have conducted systematic campaigns of violence against minorities under various pretexts. There has been a spurt in the cases of ‘mob lynching’ which are in fact violent attacks orchestrated by RSS with complicity of police and administration. Behind every such case stand RSS cadres who organize the ‘mob’ and co-ordinate with police. The mob is a pseudonym for RSS Mafia. Their NRC project is the latest offensive against the Muslims and will also harass all poor people who will struggle to prove their entitlement to citizenship. It should be thoroughly exposed and opposed. As this is to be carried out by the states, people’s campaign should also put pressure on the state govts. not to undertake the NRC preparation in their state.
RSS-BJP have systematically built a narrative of a large scale influx of ‘foreigners’ in India particularly from Bangladesh. During NDA I (Vajpayee Govt.) period as well they had tried to remove such people from voter lists, but they could not carry it out then. The targeting of Muslims is obvious from the proposed Citizenship Bill which specifically bars Muslims from citizenship while allowing Hindus from the sub-continental countries (besides other religions which are not very significant in this context). This communal bill is aimed at polarizing Bengalis to consolidate RSS strength in Eastern India. There has been a systematic campaign by RSS to polarize people of Bengal on communal lines on the issue of ‘infiltrators’. However this Bill is also being opposed by people of North Eastern states where minority nationalities fear being swamped. RSS-BJP Govt. had been forced to allow it to lapse in the life of the earlier Lok Sabha but is intent to bring it now.
In the final NRC in Assam published on August 31, 2019 though not yet notified, over 1.9 million people have not been included in the Register. Though those whose applications for inclusion have been rejected will have recourse to Foreigners’ Tribunals and thereafter to higher judiciary. One can easily see the huge human catastrophe for those not finding their names in the final NRC. This recourse allowed in the process cannot and will not be affordable to a large number of people who are not included. The ruling BJP is unhappy because its efforts to steer the process in the direction of excluding on religious ground, has been upstaged by the state’s ruling elite’s direction of discriminating on ethnic basis.
Of those failing to find their names in the final NRC in Assam, nearly two thirds are Bengalis while one third belong to other groups. According to some reports quoting intelligence sources, the number of excluded is 6.90 lakh Bengali Hindus and 4.86 lakh Bengalis Muslims. There are nearly one third from other groups particularly Gorkhas and Adivasis but also poor from other ethnic groups for want of documents. Final NRC has disproved the narrative of communal and chauvinist forces of large scale and continuing influx from Bangladesh – they alleged the figures to be between 50 lakhs to one crore. In fact there has been no large-scale influx into Assam from Bangladesh after 1971.
NRC in Assam has been prepared under the supervision of the Supreme Court. Though not directly provided for in Assam Accord of 1985, its preparation came on the agenda in the course of its implementation. However, the apex Court has not exercised enough vigilance to ensure that people are not subjected to harassment due to procedural process. The type of documents deemed necessary for proving their bonafide, have been of the nature which are not easily available or preserved by the people. Besides procuring such documents, it is a problem to preserve over long periods of time in face of natural calamities particularly floods in Assam. Supreme Court has erred in not treating citizenship as a right of every person so qualified under the law but a sort of exercise emanating from criminal jurisprudence. How does one account for a large number of cases of people who have been left out of the final NRC but had voted in the elections prior to 1971, the cut-off date. Or some siblings finding their names not included while these are younger than those whose names are included, or spouses, particularly women married to NRC included, even married prior to the cut-off date, or having married from outside Assam, being left out? Such examples are large enough in number to merit due consideration by the apex Court.
With the publication of final NRC, the apex Court should move to simplify the procedure to ensure that people are neither harassed in the course of preparing their appeals nor are they tormented with the requirements which are not ordinarily available with common people. Discrepancies should not be allowed to remain as these entail tremendous human cost. No effort should be spared to ensure that those who are eligible are included. Procedure for their appeals should be made simpler, affordable and immune from misuse for exclusion of those entitled to be in the Register. These tribunals should not be called “Foreigners’ Tribunals” and people competent to deal with the issue should be in these.
Even after all due considerations, it is apparent that a large enough number may remain outside the list. Though it will be not large enough to the liking of those who made their political careers parading astronomical figures to divert the people’s attention in order to gain or retain power, it may still be large enough to become a humanitarian issue. It should be clearly laid down that no person shall be rendered state-less, much less such a large number. Govt. of India must come forward to own up the responsibility of every Indian resident and take steps to rehabilitate them in the country with full citizenship rights as has been done earlier in several instances. In this, care should be taken not to disturb ethnic demography particularly of smaller nationalities. Democratic public opinion must rise to demand and ensure that no person is rendered state-less or condemned to detention camps. Detention camps should be abolished and so also the lists of ‘D’ (Doubtful) voters which is used to harass the people. Democratic organizations and people should oppose any attempt to demonize or criminalize the people who have been living and earning their living here in India.
International trend of rise of fascist forces and deepening crisis of Imperialism
Crisis of imperialism has been deepening and all the major contradictions of imperialist system are being intensified. With this deepening crisis, globalization has suffered due to rise of protectionism in the major economies, particularly in USA. Rise of imperialist globalization was linked to rise of unipolar world with US imperialism as the sole superpower. Its decline has dealt a blow to globalization. However, this crisis has led to sharpening of contradictions not only among imperialist powers, but within these countries as well. Proto-fascist groups have arisen in a number of imperialist countries. These are mainly targeting immigrants but their targets include the working class movement and workers’ rights. Due to worsening crisis and deteriorating situation of employment, they are trying and to an extent are able to divert the attention of working class from the real reasons of their declining wages and benefits and increasing job insecurity. Such organizations have risen to strength in a number of European countries and the USA.
US imperialism under Trump Admn. is trying to extricate US from a number of international treaties. They are pursuing the agenda of dominating the world through unilateralism and with their close allies. Trump Admn. is intensifying trade war with a number of countries, particularly China. The real object of this trade war is to force other countries to buy US products to be allowed to sell their products in US markets. Though it puts a burden on the US consumers but US rulers feel that they can outlast their rivals. Contradictions between US imperialism and Chinese social-imperialism has intensified on a number of issues. There is a growing trend among US policy makers that US should try to wean Russia away from China and isolate China. Close friends of US imperialism, Japan, Israel and RSS led Indian Govt. are trying to maintain close ties with Russia. However, a section of US establishment still sees Russia through the prism of rivalry over Europe but this trend is weakening. Putin led Russia is supporting a number of such proto-fascist organizations in a number of countries. The main point here is that main attack of these organizations are on immigrants, labour movement and democratic movements.
Trump led US Admn. is trying to increase its share of world market and is forging closer ties with the rulers of a number of countries. All these rulers, Wahabbis of Saudi Arabia, Zionists of Israel and Hindutva rulers of India are close allies of Trump Admn. Though Trump Admn. is intimidating other countries but they are aware that US public opinion is not in favour of another military aggression.
Because of deep seated economic crisis of the imperialist system which is not the result of any external shock nor of any cyclical factor, but of the working out of the basic tendencies of imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism, there is growing fascist trend throughout the world to disrupt and pre-empt the rise of movement of working people who are the worst sufferers of this crisis. By misdirecting the anger of the workers against the immigrants and other countries, the big capital ruling in these countries is promoting xenophobic, racist and fascist forces. There has been continuing a systematic and thorough ideological and administrative attack against revolutionary forces of the working class. However, these contradictions and the resultant anger are finding expression through the very mainstream parties of the ruling classes. The response of big capital to the growing crisis of the imperialist system once again highlights the clear choice before the people so aptly formulated by Rosa Luxemburg : barbarism or socialism.
Assessment of the Present Situation
After the advent of RSS-BJP Govt. at the Centre with a clear majority in 2014, Central Committee had assessed the growing danger of fascism. We had assessed that though fascist takeover of the state has not been accomplished but the development was in that direction. We had characterized that situation as a growing fascist offensive. We had noted that some impediments for imposing fascist dictatorship were there like lack of control over Rajya Sabha- thereby over the legislative agenda- and some other organs of the state like Judiciary etc.
However, since its coming back to power with increased majority in Lok Sabha, its electoral victories in a number of states thereby increasing its strength in Rajya Sabha, its winning over of a number of regional parties, its growing control over the different organs and agencies of the state, pliability of the higher judiciary, and foremost, overwhelming support of the corporate and big media controlled by them, has removed most of these impediments. Now these impediments from within the ruling class apparatus do not pose insurmountable obstacles in the path of fascism in the country. Only the democratic struggles of the people can now thwart the onward march of fascist forces. Though there are still some democratic rights, but the situation is now fast moving in that direction.
Fascism has no blue print. It represents terrorist method of rule of the ruling classes. It is the rule of the same ruling classes but different mode of governance which has vital bearing for the people and their struggles. It is negation of bourgeois democratic mode of government. In essence it is a negation of democratic rights to whatever extent they exist. Its forms and speed varies in different societies and different times. Dimitrov had noted different forms assumed by fascism in different countries and obviously it is also true of different periods of time.
India is a semifeudal, semicolonial country. Here bourgeois democratic method of rule or democratic rights are not fully existent. Here fascist repression over the revolutionary movement and people’s struggles is quite routine. All the ruling class parties unleash such repression on people’s struggles, particularly those under the leadership of the communist revolutionaries. Yet the present situation of democratic rights is just not the one that was existing earlier and this negation is taking under the nationalist slogans. There is a change in the situation. Unlike in developed capitalist countries, in India, fascism is an offensive of the alliance of imperialism, comprador bureaucrat capitalism and feudalism. Here the fascist forces are able to use the existing laws and state machinery for imposing fascism as the state had not gone through democratic transformation even in the bourgeois sense.
It is also true that RSS-BJP Govt. under Modi-Shah is utilizing the repressive laws which were made by the erstwhile govts. particularly Congress led govts. RSS-BJP is amending these laws to make them more repressive. All-round atmosphere of suppression is there. There is not only a quantitative change. It is a march towards fascist dictatorship. RSS-BJP Govt. has launched a sinister attack against the revolutionary movement and democratic rights activists under the name of Urban Naxals. All forces struggling for the people are its targets, communist revolutionaries are its special targets. Union Home Minister Amit Shah had recently convened a meeting of Home Ministers of the states and said that suppression of Naxalites is of big importance to their Govt. There has been systematic emphasis on rooting out pro-people forces from the academic institutions – Indian brand of McCarthyism – besides stifling of the very institutions of higher learning.
The situation today bears both similarities and differences from the one during Emergency. Like during Emergency there is a projection of strong and decisive leader. Emergency was imposed by Indira Gandhi to save her rule. It came with the declaration on the night between June 25 & 26 in 1975. There was complete suppression of all democratic rights and press censorship with that declaration. But today it is a gradually creeping fascism. One right after another is being attacked. While regional diversity was there during Emergency also, it is more pronounced now with regard to states and regions as well as with regard to sections of people. A very significant difference is that at that time there was growing people’s struggles in the country, ruling class opposition parties were united under the leadership of J.P. Narayan. During Emergency these parties were suppressed, their leaders put behind bars. But at present ruling class opposition is disunited and disorganized. It is not even opposing fascist drive of RSS-BJP but many of them joining its hyper-nationalist, jingoist and even majoritarian bandwagon. Today ruling class opposition is being snuffed out while under Emergency it was suppressed. Another important difference is that while Congress then had assembled a lumpen band under the banner of Youth Congress, it is no match to the RSS cadre machinery groomed in and driven by Hindutva ideology, controlling vast network of cadres on various fronts and having deep penetration in the state machinery.
Mrs. Gandhi did not enjoy such an overwhelming support of the big capitalists and the media controlled by them. Many of them ran blank pages and spaces to oppose the censorship. But today, corporate media is censoring itself. Its performance on Kashmir is an example. Dismissal of state govts. under Article 356 was taken recourse to by Mrs. Gandhi. RSS-BJP are demolishing the very federal structure, rights of states, not only state govts. Another important difference is that during Emergency Mrs. Gandhi had adopted a progressive pose against what she called reactionary fascist forces and had declared herself in favour of secularism and oppressed people. Today, RSS-BJP are taking openly reactionary stand, they are ridiculing secularism, praising upper caste domination in the name of old Hindu culture and are openly upholding reactionary agenda in the name of development, hyper nationalism, communalism and jingoism. Mrs. Gandhi’s Emergency Rule did not enjoy the type of support RSS-BJP are enjoying among the ‘managers’ of the system, drawn mainly from the upper castes. Another significant difference is that Mrs. Gandhi had tilted towards Soviet Social Imperialism while RSS-BJP Govt. is tilting towards US imperialism and its allies, particularly Zionist rulers of Israel. The present march towards fascism is more deeply rooted in the whole system.
One should prioritize essence over appearance. No two periods are exactly same. One should not keep waiting for the formal repetition of the same events and thereby miss the essence, should not seize upon this or that difference to not see very many and essential similarities. The fact is that RSS-BJP are moving towards a different method of rule, negation of democratic rights and suppression of all dissent, even attacking the rights of the states. It is more gradual but more a wholesome attack on democratic rights and earlier mode of governance of the ruling classes. In brief, there is a change in the situation in the country which calls for considered, consistent, vigorous response from the revolutionary forces including our Party.
Return to power of RSS-BJP has had some demoralizing effect on sections of intelligentsia, they are apprehensive and an atmosphere of fear is prevalent. However with intensification of attacks, this is wearing off to an extent. In fact, a number of IAS officers have resigned to protest against attack on democratic rights particularly in J&K.
In view of our assessment given above, we must keep in mind the gravity of the task and the balance of forces, including our limited strength. While revolutionary forces are the most consistent opponents of fascism, their strength alone is not enough to decisively fight fascist forces.
We must understand that it is the RSS-BJP who are taking the country towards fascist dictatorship. They are not only the most reactionary representatives of the ruling classes, they have become the largest force among the ruling classes with a majority of ruling class forces, particularly the corporate and landlords supporting them. Though they have a tilt towards US imperialism and its allies, but they are also trying to keep their channels with other imperialist powers particularly Russia.
Given the present situation, we should see the role of different ruling class parties, including revisionist parties, in the struggle against fascism. The fascist forces in power are branding all opponents as anti-nationals even including leaders of other parties. We also have to concretely assess the role of different organizations which call themselves civil society organizations. Basing on their concrete policies and role we should treat them as representatives of the ruling classes i.e. like different ruling class parties. With regard to our attitude towards these forces, various parties of ruling classes and organizations linked to them, it is dependent on their attitude towards RSS-BJP march towards fascist dictatorship. If they oppose and to the extent they oppose, we are ready to join hands with them in appropriate way in the struggle on the issues brought up by the offensive of the ruling fascist forces.
Grasping the tasks confronting us in the present situation, we should make a concrete assessment of our forces, forces of the revolutionary camp, forces at the command of different struggling forces, particularly those fighting caste oppression and other forms of oppressions, forces with different revisionist parties as well as forces of other ruling class parties and their concrete role today. We should base our perceptions about some of the forces today on their strength and their stand, and according to the tasks confronting us.
Given our assessment of the situation, we should :
Put energetic efforts at developing class struggle and mass movements. Unite with different forces to build a broad based movement of workers and peasants on their issues and against the current attacks. For this while developing our own initiative, organization and movement, make efforts at forging joint activities for developing the movements of different sections. We should be clear that this unity of toiling people is a strong fort against fascist forces.
Overcome the problems in our strategic work and in the work of building militant peasant struggles. The conclusions drawn by us on this should be put into practice forthwith. These rural bases will be a strong bulwark against fascism.
Build appropriate form of organization. The task should be taken up with due seriousness and without delay.
Strengthen forum of revolutionary and struggling forces. Intensify efforts to strengthen and broaden that forum and ensure that its activities are conducted in the spirit of unity and consensus. Build regular interaction with communist revolutionary organizations for developing greater unity in action and build closer unity at all levels and to the extent possible.
Plan and take up forming broad-based fora of Dalits (focusing on land problem) and Tribals. Devise methods to take up the unemployment problem which is a burning issue and will become even more acute.
Build a powerful, broad-based movement against attacks on democratic rights, changes in laws or draconian laws, framing of false cases, combing, fake encounters, and generally suppression of democratic rights. Fight against turning people stateless and oppose NRC in different states. Strengthen democratic rights movement and legal apparatus.
Build a powerful movement against attacks on minorities, Dalits, minority nationalities like Kashmir and in North-East, and for rights of states.
Strengthen and widen women’s movements for gender rights, against gender violence including by security forces and against feudal fetters.
Build joint struggles on various issues. Unite with all the forces that can be united against issues of fascist offensive.
Participate in movements against attacks on democratic rights. While prioritizing some efforts, we should try to participate in all genuine efforts on these issues.
September 14, 2019