Comrade Asit Bhattacharyya’s fervent appeal at the 69th Party Foundation Anniversary at Guwahati
[On 24 April last, 69th Party Foundation Anniversary was observed in different districts of Assam. Under the auspices of the Assam State Committee, a state-level meeting presided over by Comrade Chandralekha Das, Assam State Secretary, was organized on 28 April at the District Library Auditorium at Guwahati. Comrade Asit Bhattacharyya, Member, Polit Bureau of the Party, addressed it as the main speaker. We give below the English translation of the gist of his speech delivered in Assamese. The responsibility of translation error as well as inadequate representation, if any, solely lies with the Editorial Board of Proletarian Era.]
Elaborating upon why we observe the foundation day of the Party with due solemnity, Comrade Asit Bhattacharyya pointed out that 24 April is a historically significant day in our Party life. On this date in 1948, Comrade Shibdas Ghosh, the great leader of the Proletariat founded SUCI (Communist) as a necessary weapon in the hands of the exploited Indian people to achieve emancipation. It won’t be a tall claim to make that to the exploited masses of India it is this Party which is now gradually getting accepted as the only force they can depend upon. On this very backdrop, each day we take the pledge for making this Party stronger, developing it further and thereby hastening the course to overthrow the capitalist class from power as early as possible. Over and above that, on this very particular day of 24 April, all over the country and all of us together, the Party members and supporters as well as toiling people, we resolve afresh to ascertain our tasks on the strength of threadbare analysis of national and international situations in the light of Comrade Shibdas Ghosh Thought. And through this we renew our pledge to take the Party further ahead.
Backdrop of building up SUCI(C)
In a very brief outline of the background upon which the SUCI (Communist) was founded, Comrade Bhattacharyya showed that independence struggle against the British imperialist rulers started in this country towards the end of the nineteenth century, and became considerably powerful in the beginning of the twentieth century. He added that two mutually opposing trends had clearly emerged in this independence movement. One was a compromising trend while the other was uncompromising. The compromising trend led by Gandhiji looked ahead for a transfer of political power through an understanding with the British imperialists. In opposition to it, those upholding the uncompromising trend had realized that the compromising trend was sure to prove fruitless, as it would not be able to bring in real independence the people were aspiring for. Contrarily, it would push the country towards precipice of ruination. The uncompromising trend had Netaji Subhaschandra Bose at its helm. Primarily because of the people’s upsurge centred on this uncompromising attitude for attaining independence of the country, the British imperialists felt that they would not be able to continue their rule in this country for long. And that was the reality too. The impact of this upsurge forced the British imperialists leave this country.
In course of this discussion, Comrade Bhattacharyya made it clear that the compromising leadership of the Congress did never wage any ideological campaign to make people aware of what the essence of independence was, or, what would be the real character of independence. Netaji Subhaschandra Bose had started a campaign on how could emancipation from all kinds of exploitation be attained, how should the country be built up after independence. But, because of definite historical reasons, even these thoughts could not make any deep and decisive inroad into the masses. Another reason was the absence of any genuine communist party in the country upholding Marxism-Leninism. In consequence, though it was possible to achieve political independence giving defeat to the mighty British imperialist power in all its aspects, the root cause of people’s plight that is exploitation of man by man could not be eradicated. Not only such exploitation was not ended with the Indian national bourgeoisie usurping the state power, the situation turned worse with exploitation tending to aggravate further.
On this backdrop, a question struck a section of those ardent fighters who had engaged themselves in the independence movement putting their life at stake, having aflame in their heart the urge for emancipation from all kinds of exploitation. They sought for the answer as to what would be the outcome of this independence which was being achieved through a compromise with the British imperialists? They could not get the correct answer at that time. Even though there was a party carrying the name of the Communist Party of India, people could not obtain the answer from it. It was under those circumstances that Comrade Shibdas Ghosh emerged to discharge a historic role. He presented to his countrymen an outstanding analysis of what was going to be the situation after the country became politically independent. He pointed out that through a compromise with the British imperialists the Indian national bourgeoisie had usurped the state power. With that, the country had become politically independent, but people’s aspiration for emancipation from all kinds of exploitation remained unfulfilled.
Ninety-five percent of the Indians comprising the workers, peasants and other sections of toiling masses made extreme sacrifice, laid down their lives in thousands for fulfilling the dream of achieving total emancipation from all sorts of exploitation. But with the national bourgeoisie installed in state power, that cherished dream of theirs was completely shattered. Comrade Shibdas Ghosh also showed that there had been no attempt at all to expose and foil the grave conspiracy hatched by the aspirant national bourgeoisie and its servitors to usurp power. To combat and thwart this conspiracy, it was necessary to lead the independence struggle with the goal of establishing a society free from exploitation and making people conscious of that goal and the path to achieve that. Theoretically, this responsibility lay with a genuine communist party. But on the question of conducting a two-fold struggle simultaneously— one of ending with the imperialist rule and exploitation and the second of foiling the design and desire of the national capitalist class to usurp power. But the CPI carrying the signboard of Communist Party took such a position that, let alone forging unity of all sections of exploited masses, only helped the capitalist class to grab power. Explaining the root cause of this failure, Comrade Ghosh elaborated that abject failure of the undivided CPI in developing into a genuine communist party following strictly the Leninist methodology of party formation, was the main reason which caused this debacle. As an inevitable consequence, the CPI growing with a communist name board actually turned into a typical petty bourgeois party. Leave aside performing a correct role in independence movement— which remained a far cry—its flaws and mistakes in deducing correct political line only brought about utter disaster.
Struggle imperative for developing a genuine communist party
Comrade Asit Bhattacharyya then highlighted the outstanding struggle Comrade Shibdas Ghosh conducted to form and develop a genuine communist party based on Marxist- Leninist understanding and in the process provided invaluable teaching in this regard. In his explanation, Comrade Bhattacharyya added that a genuine communist party cannot develop without following correct Leninist methodology. It does not make a communist party, if a few individuals with desire to form a party assemble, fix up a conference and from there announce the formation of the party. Following the teachings of the great leader Marx and drawing appropriate lesson from the history of development of the Soviet Communist Party under the leadership of Lenin based on these teachings, Comrade Shibdas Ghosh showed that those who would come forward to build up a genuine communist party must first generate an all-embracing arduous socialist movement covering all aspects of their life to imbibe essence of Marxism-Leninism and thereby attain ideological centralism. This movement for attaining ideological centralism should be carried on for a considerable time forming a platform of struggle before giving a final organizational shape or formal structure of the party. And the movement must also involve the exploited toiling masses. On both theoretical and practical aspects the purpose of this movement would to be free oneself from the private property as well as private property mental complex. This is necessary, as here lies the living soul, the inner kernel of communist ideology. Marx had succinctly expressed this concept in his beautiful enunciation: Communism is humanism minus private property. This concept, this idea must also be carried to the workers, peasants and other sections of exploited people and mass movements will have to be waged on its basis. The toiling millions must be imbued with class consciousness. If such a movement is conducted successfully for a considerable period of time, it would clearly reveal to what extent those engaged in this struggle could advance and bring out the relative positions of each of them in the graph of progress. With a note of caution Comrade Shibdas Ghosh made it explicit that a communist party cannot be formed bypassing this struggle.
Secondly, in order to found a genuine communist party it is required to concretize revolutionary working class thought on the concrete situation of the concerned country. Working class thought and bourgeois class thought are fundamentally opposed to each other. In course of establishing working class thought, all bourgeois thoughts and ideas will have to be wiped out. And while conducting this struggle for firming up working class thought, ideological centralism will have to be created covering the entire realm of thoughts and ideas. It means that in the process the party will have to develop one process of thinking, one process of movement, oneness in approach, uniformity of thinking and singleness of purpose within it.
Comrade Shibdas Ghosh said that honesty of purpose, sincerity of desire and aspiration for becoming a communist merely indicate the augury of this struggle. How will it be ensured that the struggle for attaining communist character is advancing correctly towards its goal? He added that it would depend upon whether the struggle is being conducted based on correct methodology. To change the ever-changing world, one should have correct idea about which is the correct process or methodology for a specific act at a specific situation. The question of following the ‘correct methodology’ is extremely vital. And in this regard, developing collective leadership based on collective knowledge is indispensible. For any individual, the success in the struggle for freeing oneself from private property, private property mental complex, self –centrism and bourgeois individualism will hinge upon successful conduction of the struggle based on correct methodology and under collective leadership. These are imperative tasks that must be performed unfailingly. Only then it can be possible to proceed towards adopting necessary steps towards building up a communist party. Judging the activities of the CPI on this yardstick, Comrade Ghosh showed that the undivided CPI could never grow as a genuine communist party. One must not fail to note that when Comrade Shibdas Ghosh was elaborating and enriching these fundamental conditions of founding a communist party, the world communist movement was passing through its glorious times. At that time, the Russian revolution as well as remarkable progress of the Soviet socialism had not only been attracting the working class and genuine intellectuals of the entire world towards socialism, it had also created a passion, an urge for socialism and even communism in them. This was the backdrop upon which workers and toiling people of India were once drawn towards the undivided CPI. This was the reason behind growth of that party for a certain period. And see, even in such a situation Comrade Shibdas Ghosh pronounced with great wisdom and firmness that the CPI was not a genuine communist party. A genuine communist party must be founded in India. This is the background in which the SUCI (Communist) was founded.
SUCI(C) is fast receiving acceptance as genuine communist party
Comrade Bhattacharyya said again, this Party founded, reared and steered by Comrade Shibdas Ghosh, is now being increasingly acclaimed today as the genuine communist party by the Indian people. In different states of the country, people in increasing number are being drawn towards this Party. You are aware of the inconceivably arduous struggle that Comrade Shibdas Ghosh conducted to build up the SUCI (Communist). Referring to another important aspect, Comrade Bhattacharyya said: While conducting the struggle for building the SUCI (Communist) as a genuine communist party, Comrade Shibdas Ghosh correctly realized that deceitful political activities devoid of any values and ethics, rather smacking of sheer hypocrisy had made a large section of the people of the country averse to all kinds of political activities. This is the context in which Comrade Shibdas Ghosh called upon all to not forget that politics calls for noble feelings of heart. Nobler still is the feeling that spurs on to revolutionary politics. On this realization itself, Comrade Ghosh said in an address in 1975 that he had desired for building up a party of completely different mettle. In absence of the great leader Comrade Shibdas Ghosh, it devolves upon the leaders and cadres of the Party to keep that thought living. When can this task be shouldered in right earnest? It can be shouldered successfully only when those aspiring to become communists would imbibe the indispensability of conducting the struggle for changing themselves from within with every passing day. It bears recall the teaching of Marx that before educating others the educators will have to change themselves. These words clearly indicate that on this question each and every individual has a historic role to play in developing this struggle. The communists are like teachers. Leaders and cadres of a genuine communist party bear the responsibility of helping exploited people to acquire correct knowledge and consciousness. In these regards, the undivided CPI could play no role at all. How could they do it even? As I have mentioned earlier, they tried to build up a party without paying any attention to the fundamental aspects of forming a genuine communist party following Leninist methodology and thus they avoided the struggle for changing themselves covering all aspects of all life including sex as well as for the imperativeness of launching this ideological struggle involving the masses. In consequence, the undivided CPI and later CPI (M) or the other breakaway groups of the undivided CPI have ultimately reached today the stage where they were destined to. It would not be wrong to say that they have found refuge in serving capitalism today. Comrade Ghosh did not live to see the recent activities of these parties. But see, even as far back as in 1948, the profound wisdom and far-sightedness of Comrade Shibdas Ghosh did not fail to identify the non-Marxist character of this party. In course of his struggle for building up the party, Comrade Ghosh presented this correct scientific analysis, then founded the SUCI (Communist) Party as the instrument of struggle for emancipation of the working class through an unthinkably firm and arduous struggle following Leninist methodology and by picking up and developing Party workers one by one. Today Comrade Shibdas Ghosh is no more with us. Yet after his demise, the growth of the Party has been remarkable. Armed with Comrade Shibdas Ghosh Thought, those like us who are striving hard to expand the Party organization further are definitely noting the fact that to whatever extent we are able to carry his thoughts to people of various states of the country, the exploited masses, progressive intellectuals, students and youth are feeling magnetic attraction towards the Party. People are gradually getting convinced that it is the SUCI (Communist) which alone is holding aloft the noble the banner of Marxism-Leninism. Even beyond this country, wherever and to whatever extent we have been able to reach out his thoughts, it is receiving attention and even acceptance by the communists of the world.
Weakening of social democratic forces has created favourable situation for democratic movement to surge forth
Dwelling upon the latest political situation of the country, Comrade Bhattacharyya elaborated that the more the reactionary capitalist forces are becoming despotic, the more horrific is becoming the situation inside the country. Side by side, people’s grievances are also growing and accumulating. Discontent and hatred of exploited people are increasing gradually, be it against the abject misrule of those who were earlier in power or of those who are now running the state or the Central governments. This in turn is creating a favourable situation for our Party to grow. On the other hand, a matter of grave concern is that the rise of extremely reactionary bourgeois communal forces is giving birth to a horrible situation. We shall have to conduct intense struggle against such forces. There can be no two words about it. Alongside we must take note of another development. The social democratic parties like the CPI, CPI (M) which as compromising force between labour and capital backstab working class movements from within and thereby help capitalist class to prolong its oppressive rule, are losing strength considerably. Days on, they are getting isolated from people. Once, the activities of these social democratic parties stood as stumbling blocks before building up revolutionary working class movements as well as mass struggles. That hindrance no longer exists to the extent as before. Under these circumstances, we should make full use of the attraction towards communism that exists still among the exploited masses, even among the progressive intellectuals. But that presupposes that we conduct arduous struggle in right earnest in both theoretical and practical fields, harnessing all our strength both at the individual as well as collective levels, build up class and mass struggles. This is very important. But on the question of conducting struggle with all our might, those of us within the Party are not at the same stage of development. Here again the question of the role of an individual comes in. And I mention Marx once again. It is essential to remember every moment, Marx’s basic teaching as to how to grow up as MAN worth the name. Lenin and Stalin have also repeatedly mentioned that in the course of social revolution, on the question of giving concrete shape to the noble ideology of communism, the role of each individual is unquestionably important. It means each individual every day at each moment must strive to intensify his or her struggle more and more. What I mean we must carry out all-out struggle to identify the unaccomplished aspects of struggle, first in our own life and then in the life of others. Every individual will then be able to perform his or her historic role, if the struggle against private property, private property mental complex and bourgeois individualism is conducted following correct process and covering all aspects of life including sex.
On this occasion I would like to raise another significant issue. To widely disseminate the ideology of communism among people in the present favourable condition, we require competent propagandists. Lenin said that a communist must be a good propagandist. Who can be such a propagandist? On this point Comrade Shibdas Ghosh taught that good propagandists can develop only if the leaders and cadres of the party can raise their ideological and thinking standard to higher and higher levels through day to day struggle.
Undivided CPI spread a false notion that people do not understand intricate theories
Dwelling upon world communist movement in brief, Comrade Bhattacharyya said: In these days of decadent capitalism, modern revisionism has caused immense harm to socialism, though temporarily. Capitalism has been reinstated in the erstwhile socialist countries. If one intends to combat this situation effectively, one must understand and grasp the latest concrete and enriched understanding of Marxism-Leninism contained in Comrade Shibdas Ghosh Thought. One must find out which are the aspects Comrade Ghosh had emphasized upon during his struggle for founding the Party, which are the issues and points where he developed and elaborated the understanding of Marxism- Leninism. Clear and precise grasping of these enriched understandings is required for freeing the communist movement from the tangles of modern revisionism. And our Party will have to take the leading role in accomplishing this historic task. How far we will succeed will depend upon the organizational strength of the Party. And this is the reason why Comrade Shibdas Ghosh had repeatedly stressed on the extreme importance of developing mass contact at individual initiative. So, if we can go to the masses by assimilating the essence of his thoughts, teachings and guidelines and in the process continuously changing ourselves, the Party would be able to penetrate among the masses. In fact, the Party is penetrating among the oppressed people. The undivided CPI had created a false notion that the masses do not understand or follow the finer intricacies of theories. Comrade Ghosh refuted it to say that it was totally wrong. If the theoretical aspects can be correctly placed and explained, even an illiterate person would acquire advanced understanding of Marxism. We have such instances in our Party. But what is important here is that one must himself have profound understanding of the ideology to make people understand it.
Revisionist deviation and standard of good communist
Another point I would refer here. You all know that modern revisionism is nothing but sheer and out-and out capitalist thinking under the garb of socialist phrase-mongering. Gripped by such anti-Marxist thoughts, many socialist states fell victim to deviation and ultimately got dismantled. Comrade Shibdas Ghosh pointed out that the main reason of this is attributable to the failure to elevate the standard of communist thinking with the passage of time. The treacherous inroad of modern revisionism cannot be checked if the ideological standards of the leaders, cadres and people are not continuously raised to higher levels through continuous development of ideology and theory. Comrade Shibdas Ghosh has repeatedly cautioned us that today in the present days of decadent capitalism, modern revisionism which has overwhelmed communist movement in many countries cannot be thwarted by cultivating bourgeois humanism. He reminded us that bourgeois humanism is totally exhausted today. At a time when bourgeois humanism could inspire people, cast positive influence on them even to some extent, the standard of a good communist was determined by subordinating individual interest to social interest. But now in dying capitalism, the minimum standard of the highest communist character is defined as total identification of individual interest with collective or social interest.
Comrade Ghosh showed that the Cultural Revolution of China drew close to this thought, but could not give shape to it in proper articulate theoretical expression. Even after hailing Chinese Cultural Revolution as magnificent, Comrade Ghosh did point out its marked limitations. So, I am sure, you would feel how urgent it is to spread this extremely significant thought of Comrade Shibdas Ghosh for reviving and revitalizing the world communist movement. We cannot allow ourselves, you, me and all of us, to slacken our vigilance over performing the role history has adjured to us in this regard.
Prevailing international situation and conspiracy of ruling capitalism
Elaborating the present highly explosive international situation, Comrade Asit Bhattacharyya said: the entire capitalist-imperialist world, including the USA and the European powers, are sunk in grave economic, political, social and cultural crises. In a word, it is in an all-out crisis. The USA was once the richest country. Even it is now in the grip of deep economic crisis. Crippling capitalist exploitation and rule have made life unbearable for US people. Different countries of Europe are also similarly afflicted by crises. In many of the western countries as also elsewhere, people’s resentment is bursting forth spontaneously. But due to absence of leadership of genuine communist parties over these movements these are not led to their logical culmination. As a result, mounting rage and discontent are not crystallizing into a well- organized movement. So it has become a historical necessity all over the world to organize the exploited toiling masses under the leadership of their respective genuine communist parties. But the sad reality is that, in most of countries of the world it has not so far been possible to form genuine communist parties following correct methodology of party formation. At the same time, it is also being realized that all over the world, the condition is ripened for building up genuine communist parties. On the one side, the oppression and arrogance of extremely reactionary forces, that is the exploiting capitalist ruling class, are bringing people’s life to the limit of bearing with it. On the other side, it is also true that from their own day-to-day experience people are becoming more and more averse to the ruling capitalism. To ensure that the situation does not go out of control, the ruling capitalist class and their subservient political parties are hatching thousand and one hideous designs. They are frantically trying to disunite exploited masses of people based on race, religion, colour, language and such other divisive traits. It is also being noted that the bourgeois election almost stripped of its democratic content is acting as a powerful weapon in their hands to hoodwink people. Taking advantage of the fact that the exploited masses are not positively yet disillusioned about election, the ruling class is enmeshing the masses into the trap of election. It has become a common experience to see that whenever people’s resentment against the unbearably oppressive rule and exploitation of one bourgeois party in power mounts to burst forth, the ruling capitalist class and their agents are using election as a most effective treacherous tactics to divert people’s attention and douse their resentment. Whenever they face a new crisis, they are declaring fresh election simply as a diversionary tactics, creating hype against highly discredited party in power and cunningly replacing it by another subservient party of theirs. This is the way the capitalists are holding on to power in all capitalist countries of the world. Needless to say, it has become imperative to free people from illusion about bourgeois elections, not negatively but positively. For that, the correct course of action is to develop powerful mass movements one after another on burning problems of life.
Rise of BJP denotes a renewed effort of capitalism to hold on to power
In his brief reference to the national scenario, Comrade Bhattacharyya said: The condition here also has become unthinkably murky. Menacing rise of communal BJP has created a dangerous situation. But what I want to point out is that rise of the BJP is not simply a political upsurge of BJP or RSS. It represents a new effort on the part of capitalism to survive. Not only BJP or RSS, all the parties barring our Party are now in the clutches of the capitalist class. Here I would request you to recall an important teaching of Comrade Shibdas Ghosh. Repeatedly pointed out to the people and finally categorically spelt out at a mass meeting in 1975 that though apparently there are many forces in the country, in reality there are only two forces. On the one side are all the bourgeois parties opposed to revolution and on the other the SUCI (Communist), the party to lead revolution. Excepting us, each and every party is trying to shield the capitalist class. On the other hand the SUCI (Communist) is pursuing revolutionary line of overthrowing capitalism, cultivating revolutionary theory and carrying revolutionary thoughts to the masses. These are the two opposite camps. Right now, the RSS-BJP are spreading fascist thinking and worst form of communalism throughout the country. This is posing grave danger. Even in West Bengal, we can see that taking advantage of the absence of powerful mass movements, the RSS-BJP have become frantic in their attempts to propagate their rabid communal thoughts. It is extremely disturbing to see that no party other than ours, seem to be eager to come forward to firmly stand up against the dangerous fascist forces like RSS-BJP. The CPI(M), CPI have all surrendered to the capitalists. Here in Assam too the BJP has been installed in power. With that, what a horrific situation has been created in the state! Communal and fanatic provincial forces are constantly instigating one section of worker-peasants-poor people against another. Fratricidal clashes are resulting from these. Tragic death stares at the religious and linguistic minorities. But whatever be the situation, we must combat it. People of religious and linguistic minority communities should understand that this is not an attack only on them. These forces are misleading even the common Assamese-speaking people. Here also, capitalism is shielding itself behind these servitor political parties and forces. Long back, Comrade Shibdas Ghosh said that today capitalism cannot survive without taking recourse to fascism. Today the symptoms are becoming vivid. The ruling bourgeoisie is consolidating economic and political powers. They are trampling underfoot people’s democratic rights every moment everywhere. They are spreading blindness and bigotry in the name of Hindutva. Under such circumstances the only course is to move forward by developing united democratic movements involving all sections of exploited people cutting across race-religion- caste-language-region-ethnicity. And to perform this historic task, we have to make bold stride ahead with firm resolve.