The Struggle Against Liquidationism

[From the Political-Organisational Report adopted at the Fifth Party Congress, December 1992.]

In the Fourth Party Congress, we had envisaged drastic changes in several of our policies and resolved to effect necessary changes in the Party structure. A section of comrades, however, felt otherwise. According to them, no amount of restructuring could have possibly imparted a fresh lease of life to the Party and the best course left was to bid farewell to the communist party in favour of a democratic party or at the most, a liberal left formation. "If this is termed liquidationism, then the seeds of this liquidationism have already been sown in almost all the central committees of the communist parties the world over in this era of scientific and technological revolution", proclaimed one of the advocates of liquidationism. He was right. Liquidationism indeed it was, and under the spell of Gorbachevian reforms it did assume international dimensions.

Several communist parties in Europe, Eastern Europe in particular, began disbanding or transforming themselves into social democratic parties and the phenomenon reached its climactic height with the demise of CPSU. The CPC could thwart it only at the cost of a big social turmoil and the Italian and some other parties faced vertical splits.

Our own battle against liquidationism too proved quite stormy. The idea to liquidate the Party had surfaced first within the pre-Fourth Congress Party Central Committee itself. But the debate did not come up in the Fourth Congress and for quite some time after the Congress too, the liquidationists kept shying away from any full-fledged political debate. In fact, while the original protagonist chose to silently withdraw from the Party, several others continued to sow confusions among Party ranks and chose to operate in a clandestine, cliquist fashion, spreading canards against the Party leadership. Of course, subsequently they all had to come out in the open, denouncing Marxism and socialism, eulogising capitalism, ridiculing revolutionary struggles and pursuing their individual careers in government and semi-government agencies while preaching the gospel of reforms.

This struggle, first of all, helped us in standing firm in the midst of the great crisis of socialism and the accompanying all-out bourgeois offensive against Marxism. Our Party has been the foremost in India in upholding the banner of Marxism-Leninism and in rising in its defence and for its retrieval.

This struggle enabled us to carry forward Marxist education within the Party and to restructure and revitalise the Party organisation. The long spell of stagnation and slow growth in Party membership was broken and the Party witnessed a qualitative jump in membership.

This struggle enabled us to firmly uphold the banner of independent left assertion, consistently oppose the tailism of the mainstream opportunist Left and bring out the struggle between the two tactical lines in Indian left movement into sharp focus. At the same time, we could exert increasing influence on the left-leaning ranks of various parties and groups, developing, step by step, close cooperation in movements with the parties of the mainstream Left without compromising or sacrificing our principles.

Although the Party has scored a decisive initial victory against liquidationism, the struggle is far from over. The present ideological environment provides quite fertile ground for the rise and growth of liquidationist ideas. Liquidationism essentially means erosion of the Party spirit which again is not an abstract thing, but is embodied in the Party’s revolutionary principles and in its integrated organisational structure. Compromising these principles and treating the Party as a federal body will only weaken the Party’s fighting capacity and encourage centrifugal tendencies.

The apprehension that the struggle against liquidationism will weaken the struggle against the other harmful tendency of anarchism is quite a misplaced one and betrays a mistaken understanding of the Party’s evolution. The whole practice of our Party has always been directed towards overcoming all the anarchist remnants of our past and making the Party’s tactical line correspond more and more to the concrete conditions of our country. This practice can, however, just get derailed if a sharp ideological struggle is simultaneously not carried on against liquidationism.

Looking at the struggle against these two erroneous trends metaphysically and seeking their eclectic combination will lead us nowhere. The error of judgement on the part of a thinking section of the Party in the struggle against liquidationism came precisely from their failure to grasp this crucial link. Real life has proved that a decisive struggle against liquidationism has not taken the Party back to anarchism. It has rather facilitated our forceful entry into the arena of practical politics with all its ramifications. Persons with die-hard anarchist world outlook, if not reformed, have only deserted us and in many a case they have joined the liquidationist camp. In the coming days, the Party shall go on making bold experiments in the arena of practical politics and hence, dialectically, there will be a greater need for exercising consistent vigilance against liquidationism within the Party body.