Defeat Fascist RSS-BJP and their Allies in Assembly Elections
Campaign to Build Militant People’s Movements
Elections to assemblies in five states are taking place at a time when overwhelming majority of the people are facing heavy burden of price rise and unemployment; abandonment during ongoing pandemic; further decrease in their abysmally low incomes reducing them to penury and destitution and widening inequality owing to Govt. policies favouring the rich.
These elections are also taking place at a time when the heroic struggle of peasants of India, symbolized by longstanding sit-ins at Delhi borders, scored a historic victory leading to withdrawal of three agri Acts. It dealt a severe setback to the fascist rule of RSS-BJP and put a spoke in the wheels of the chariot of fascist rulers. The struggle has brought into focus agrarian distress and put the demand for MSP as a legal right on the national agenda. It has exposed before the common people the pro-Corporate character of the rule. It has highlighted the deteriorating conditions of peasants, their declining incomes from crops and increasing indebtedness, continuing suicides especially of poor peasants and agricultural labourers and basic necessities like health and education increasingly going out of the reach of the common people. Declining incomes and increasing indebtedness have been corroborated even by NSSO 77th Round (2018-19) and situation has worsened further during the pandemic.
The peasant struggle has been an exemplary extra-parliamentary militant mass movement. It showed that fascist forces can be effectively defeated through people’s struggles. It has shown that electoral struggles, which are portrayed as the sole valid form of democratic expression by the ruling classes and their media, at best play a marginal role especially in struggle against the economic offensive of the fascist forces. The electoral exercise, even when it gives setback to fascist rule does not rouse the people against the sections behind the fascist forces. Ruling classes make it an end in itself while mass movements take this, where such setback occurs, only as a starting point for a process challenging the fascist rulers and those behind them. This lesson is reverberating through Punjab and parts of UP and Uttarakhand. While delivering a big blow to the fascist rule, the movement has been a glorious part of the Indian people’s struggle against imperialism and the domestic reactionary forces. By daring to hold the reins of emperor’s (fascist rulers’) horse, it has opened democratic space for rise of people’s movements for which there is fertile ground and favourable situation.
Corona pandemic has brought into focus the anti-people character of the ruling classes. Hundreds of thousands perished due to refusal of the ruling class parties to spend to protect the people; their focus being on helping the super-rich become even richer. People of India have suffered the most, dying on the roads finding no place in hospitals, gasping for Oxygen, bodies flowing in rivers and buried on river beds. Common people became poorer and indebted while losing their near and dear ones, all because the Govts. would not care for them despite having large number of trained medical personnel and abundant Oxygen with big capitalists. Hospitals were empty & understaffed while crematoriums were overflowing. Ruling class parties with the help of corporate controlled media made pretence of acting, abandoning people to police. Despite pandemic ravaging prisons, even political prisoners and those charged with crimes with lighter sentences were not released on bail. Conduct of the govts. has been criminal. Even when pandemic is raging, the Union Govt. reduced the Health Budget.
Allocation for Health was cut by 10% in the Union Budget for 2021-22 as compared to revised estimates for the expenditure during 2020-21. Similarly budget for Education was cut by 6% in the Union Budget and budget for social welfare schemes was reduced from 1.5% of Union Budget to a mere 0.6%. Impact on social sector expenditure is further compounded by depleting the resources of the state govts. who are mainly tasked with social welfare schemes, thus undermining the federal structure even as given in Indian Constitution. On the other hand largesse was showered on the corporate. Corporate tax has been steeply reduced and wealth tax was abolished in 2016. On the other hand indirect taxes have been sharply raised including sharp increase of 79% in tax on petrol and diesel from pre-Corona level.
The sharp increase in inequality is a direct result of the policies being pursued by the Govt. Number of billionaires (whose wealth is above 7500 crores) has increased and so their wealth. The richest 98 Indians own more wealth than 552 million poorest people of the country. On the other hand, 84% of people have suffered decline in their incomes and India has seen highest increase in the number of poor; more than half of abysmally poor added in the world are Indians. The lowest income group has suffered the most with poorest losing more than half of their abysmally low income. The present Govt. has outdone its predecessors in blatant pro-rich policies.
What would have taken decades to achieve, ruling classes have done in less than two years of pandemic!Unemployment has risen sharply with even recorded urban unemployment going above 15% while rural unemployment and underemployment is at all time high. In fact unemployment has emerged as an important issue and youth are agitated over it. The sheer number of people in relation to the number of jobs for which they are applying shows the scale of unemployment. This brings into sharp focus the underlying reasons for growing unemployment- failure to address agrarian distress and implementing land reforms, growing stranglehold of imperialist capital on different sectors of economy. While large sections of workers have been rendered jobless, there has been no increase in the minimum wage since 2020. Distress of peasantry has been much in focus. Retail trade has been undermined. All this has resulted in lop sided economy with sale of luxury cars, high end apartments and gold reaching all time high while basic necessities are going out of the reach of the common people including even middle classes.
To increase their profits and wealth and to overcome compulsions of coalition govts. the aggressive sections of ruling classes had brought RSS-BJP to power with majority. They supported the communal fascist mobilization targeting the struggles of the workers and peasants, tribals and dalits, almost all sections of people and mislead the people under pseudo-nationalist agenda. People were fed on jingoist diet and communal divisions were deepened targeting minorities especially Muslims. Under the garb of this pseudo-nationalism, openly pro-corporate policies have been adopted. Resort to fascism has been taken by dominant section of ruling classes to overcome the people’s resistance and do away with the rights won by the people through their struggles over the decades in the course of anti-colonial struggle and struggles since transfer of power.
In the course of anti-colonial struggles, certain people’s principles got crystallized which mobilized and rallied the people. These were anti-colonialism, democracy, secularism, social justice and federalism. The elite sections i.e. big capitalists and big landlords, to whom power was transferred, have always been lukewarm towards them and adopted vacillating positions, theoretically affirming but practically undermining. RSS, a fascist organization from inception, has always been opposed to these principles. Owing to exigencies of electoral politics they have interpreted these in such a way as to negate them. Since coming back to power in 2019 and caving in of several regional parties of ruling classes and sections of state, RSS-BJP have systematically undermined each of these. To impose fascist rule over the country they have moved to centralize power and have systematically attacked federalism. While they have always been opposed to secularism, they intensified their communal conspiracies in service of fascist rule through CAA-NRC-NPR and crushed democratic protests and dissents with utmost ferocity. They have systematically deprived oppressed castes (Dalits and OBCs) of their rights while paying lip service to their icons. They have combined their upper caste chauvinism with splitting oppressed castes in what is called social engineering, not to benefit anyone of them but to deprive all of them and weaken them. They have intensified war on tribals to dispossess them of their lands, rich in mineral resources, for their corporate benefactors. Their rule has been an open attack on women. Women have lost jobs and social codes have been imposed furthering restrictions on them. They have kowtowed to imperialist powers, reducing nationalism to jingoism targeted against neighbouring countries esp. Pakistan. They have vigorously attacked democratic rights and even existing democratic institutions and practices reducing the whole concept of democracy to merely electoral exercise with its full scale manipulation through money, media, muscle and also Election Commission. Misuse of central agencies have reached new heights and activists are targeted through laws like UAPA, sedition law and general abuse of legal process even using military grade spyware against them.
Elections to five state assemblies are being held in a situation where people’s fight back against fascist rulers and pro corporate policies has recently gained a victory. This fight back, which is marked by wide unity of affected people and revolutionary forces, has the prospect to play an important role like it played in the farmers’ movement. The role of the revolutionary forces is critical to mobilizing the people in the direction of revolutionary change and for forging a united front of people’s struggles and struggling forces. The situation today is marked by prospects for people’s forces to advance versus reactionary fascists to regain their lost momentum. Hence it is important that fascist forces are not left off the hook especially in most populous state of Uttar Pradesh which, besides playing an important in deciding rulers in India, is critical to their Hindutva platform.
While people all over the country are facing mounting problems, political situation in different states going to polls is to an extent different. People in Uttar Pradesh, mainly an agrarian and mostly backward state, suffered a lot from criminal conduct of the Govt. during Corona second wave. It is mired in most oppressive conditions for the overwhelming majority of people and spiraling unemployment especially in rural areas. While farmers in the western part of the state rallied in the movement through big mobilizations, agrarian distress has affected all regions of the state and here the agrarian distress has got compounded with mobilization along caste lines as oppressed castes constitute bulk of marginal and small peasants. In West UP, non-payment of sugarcane dues is a major problem with nearly half of the payment (Rs. 7000 crores) of the current season still pending and some dues pending from the last one as well. Retail trade been affected and unorganized sections have faced the worst. Most importantly, the mobilization of farmers especially in West UP has undermined the communal push of RSS-BJP to a large extent besides turning this support base away from them. RSS-BJP communal hordes are so unnerved that their supporters are openly calling for genocide of Muslims besides raking up the issues of Mathura and Kashi.
UP under RSS-BJP Govt. under Yogi Adityanath has been a laboratory of fascist attacks on minorities and democratic forces. Large scale police attacks were launched on minorities during protests against CAA-NRC-NPR killing a large number. Economic extractions were made from them in the name of damage to public property besides publically defaming the leaders of the protest. Naked police terror is on, epitomized by “Thoko” call by Chief Minister where judicial process is done away with forcing all Mafia to seek patronage of ruling RSS-BJP. Struggles of the people, different sections, are crushed with brute force. Manuwadi code is imposed on girls. Body of a rape victim, a Dalit girl, was forcibly cremated in Hathras against the will of her family. Cow protection is taken to extreme with large number of stray animals damaging crops of the peasants and the latter rendered helpless.
Punjab is the second large state and farmers of Punjab have played a pivotal role in the farmers’ movement. Here the agrarian distress, rising indebtedness and high scale of unemployment of educated youth are agitating the vast masses. People of Punjab are also agitated over the most slanderous campaign by RSS-BJP and sections of corporate controlled media against them. Such was the sweep of farmers’ movement in the state that BJP lost its longstanding ally – Akali Dal and lost most of its support base. It is not at present a major force, a contender for power, even after aligning with Captain Amrinder Singh. The movement also forced all parties not to engage in electioneering till elections were announced which covered the period when border sit-ins were going on. People of Punjab have also reacted to attacks on the rights of the state i.e. federalism. The movement enjoyed wide support among the people, hence sections of peasant leaders aligned to the ruling class parties or that orientation have taken plunge in fighting these elections floating a separate platform. However the movement had been an extra parliamentary movement hence with Govt. not fulfilling its commitments such contesting elections will not be in the interest of peasant movement. However, peasant organizations of different political persuasions and election lines had joined hands to fight the pro-corporate agenda of Central Govt. Moreover, the unprecedented activity of people of Punjab including peasantry has aroused an interest in searching for solutions to the problems faced by the people of Punjab.
In Uttarakhand, while farmers’ movement has been strong in Terai areas, people all over the state are suffering from high unemployment. People suffer losses in disasters, for which environmental destruction by real estate and sand Mafia under Govt. patronage is largely responsible. Govt. does not provide adequate relief. Moreover, the main produce like fruits and vegetables esp. potato have suffered crash in prices worsening the conditions of peasants. Workers in industrial units have virtually no rights like unorganized workers in other states.
In Goa, a largely urban state, unemployment and mining are important issues besides reaction to communal polarization by RSS-BJP. Corruption is also an important issue.
While issues plaguing the people in other states affect people of Manipur as well, here the main question is oppression and suppression by security forces, especially under AFSPA. Hence demand for repeal of AFSPA is a very important issue here. Recently in neighbouring Nagaland killings by an Army unit of mine workers and civilians has brought the issue of repeal of AFSPA on agenda.
Conditions of the people in all these states testifies to failure of much touted Double Engine Govts. i.e. state and central govt. of the same party. If anything stable double engine Govts. make the ruling classes trample people under their boots brutally with more disdain. Though opposition ruling class parties represent no basically different policies esp. economic policies, it is RSS-BJP which is best placed to implement anti-people policies. It is only ruling class party at present having the agenda and capacity to consolidate fascist rule over the country.
People of the country are going through challenging times. On the one hand fascist rulers are heaping burden after burden on them in the form of high rate of indirect taxes leading to high prices of essential commodities, attacks on peasants and workers, tribals and all marginalized sections, loss of even the existing employment and incomes, in short the worsening conditions of the people. But the glorious farmers’ movement has once again paved the way for rise of people’s movement including revolutionary movement. However, the Govt. though forced to repeal three black laws and announce a committee with SKM representatives to ensure MSP for all farmers, is waiting to recover from the setback and go back from its commitments. Even after countrywide condemnation of the role of Union Minister for Home Ajay Mishra, he has yet not been removed from the Govt. Committee on MSP has yet not been formed. Hence it is vital to preserve the unity of the peasant movement achieved in the course of the recent movement and prevent anything which undermines this unity or changes its orientation from the line of militant mass movement.
In the prevailing concrete conditions, CPI (ML)-New Democracy has decided not to field any candidate in these assembly elections as many issues of peasant movement are still pending.
Though situation in every state is different, CPI (ML)-New Democracy calls upon the people to defeat RSS-BJP and its allies in the coming elections especially in the state of Uttar Pradesh and also Uttarakhand to deliver a further blow to ruling fascist forces – RSS-BJP.
In Punjab where BJP and its allies are not among the main contenders for power, CPI (ML)-New Democracy will campaign on the basic issues of the people and our solutions to them.
CPI (ML)-New Democracy has decided to focus in this campaign to crystallize the people’s issues and prepare building militant people’s movements in these states.