CPI(ML) HOME Vol.11, No.49 02 DEC - 08 DEC 2008

The Weekly News Bulletin of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist)(Liberation)
U-90, Shakarpur, Delhi 110092. Tel: (91)11-22521067. Fax(91)11-22518248


In this Issue

We Need a Robust Unity of an Awakened People Against Terrorism, Communal and Regional Hate-mongering, and US Imperialism

3 days and nights of terror. India’s worst-ever experience of terrorism till date, claiming close to 200 lives, including those of brave personnel of the police, ATS and NSG. The shock, tears, and anger still shake all of us to our roots. Undoubtedly, this juncture is a turning point, calling for a deep introspection about our preparedness as a country to protect ourselves from terrorism.    
The most urgent question is, of course – how on earth could a team of desperados come audaciously across the seas to our shores, armed to the teeth, land a stone’s throw away from the naval dockyard, enter a prominent city’s major hotels, which were also distinguished urban landmarks – without being spotted or stopped? How was such a large store of ammunition stocked in strategic spots in Mumbai, including within high-profile hotels, without anyone coming to know? Apparently, a clear warning by an intelligence agency of such an attack was issued a week in advance but was ignored and played down. Clearly, the Indian intelligence machinery was tragically less than thorough, failing to follow its own leads and its own information. The political establishment and security mechanism was also incredibly lax. The result was that our entire country was taken by surprise by a well-planned, meticulously executed terror plot that resulted in a terrible crime against humanity.
The Maharashtra Government has claimed that the terrorists were prepared to kill 5000 people – and that it was the courage and sacrifice of the ATS, NSG and police which restricted the scale of the terror. While that may be true, and we must of course salute the heroic courage of those who risked and gave up lives to save others, this cannot be to the Maharashtra Government’s credit. The Maharashtra Government, as well as the Central Government and the NSC must answer for why this attack – and the resulting loss of precious innocent lives – could not be prevented. We must also remember that such audacious terrorist attacks have taken place before – when terrorists rode into the Indian Parliament complex – and the Vajpayee Government with L K Advani as Home Minister was just as much at a loss to explain how such a brazen attack was allowed to happen. Even today, the political establishment is at a loss to tell the country who master-minded the Parliament Attack.
Shivraj Patil has resigned as Home Minister, and the heads of Maharashtra CM and Deputy CM too are likely to roll. This is an attempt by the UPA and Congress to save face and salvage credibility – credibility which the entire ruling political class has badly lost.
Unfortunately, at a time when what we need most is people’s unity and resolve, our ruling class politicians are shaming us by circling around for political capital out of bloodshed - like vultures around dead bodies. If people are angered by the inability of Patil and Co to protect us, it is equally revolted by the BJP bandwagon’s double standards and willingness to fish for votes in bloody waters. BJP’s ads in Delhi papers called to ‘fight terror, vote BJP.’ The worst example of this was the shameful spectacle of Narendra Modi rushing to Mumbai to give one of his inflammatory public speeches near the Oberoi Hotel – even as the anti-terror operation raged inside. Modi did not stop there. He had the incredible gall to visit the home of ATS chief Hemant Karkare – whom till the very previous day he and his party were vilifying for doing his job and interrogating terror suspects like Sadhvi Pragya from the Sangh stables. Karkare and his team had been branded anti-national and the BJP had launched a national campaign of mud-slinging against them. Before trying to bask in the reflected glory of Karkare’s martyrdom, Modi and his ilk should at least have taken time to apologise for targeting him!   
And Modi wasn’t the only one. Reportedly Bal Thackeray too went to Karkare’s home. The previous day, Thackeray in Saamna had declared that unless Pragya etc... were released, the Shiv Sena would make public the names and addresses of the ATS team so that they could be ‘socially ostracised’ – an open threat of Sena-style violence and vandalism at Karkare’s and other ATS members’ homes.
Maharashtra’s political class – the Raj and Bal Thackerays and the ruling Congress and NCP – have been too busy beating up the poor and vulnerable North Indian taxi drivers and hand-cart pushers, too busy rounding up bar girls, to notice when armed marauders march in and take Mumbai hostage. The Congress-NCP Government tried to cash in on ‘Marathi pride’ by planning to install an enormous Shivaji statue in the sea, and their cadre beat up an editor of a Marathi daily who commented on the futility of such gestures: but the basic security of sea shores was breached with ridiculous ease. The scale of the terror spectacle in Mumbai, the sheer pain and loss – exposes the puniness of political vision of the Modis, Advanis and Thackerays.
The wave of people’s anger against the insensitivity of ruling politicians is entirely justified. And arrogant dismissal of this anger – such as the insulting responses of BJP’s Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi or the Kerala Chief Minister – can only add salt to the wounds. However, the outrage against our rulers must translate into a toughened resolve to struggle for a truly democratic and accountable politics. The autocratic and fascist prescriptions that are being freely bandied about in the media – such the call for handing over the country to the army, for giving the police a free hand without any democratic accountability, and so on and so forth, must be firmly rejected. Pakistan has had army rule for years and decades, yet today Pakistan is as insecure and unsafe as India.     
We must also introspect about why India is becoming more and more vulnerable to the international virus of terrorism. Of course, India has its own myriad home-grown terrorisms, each calling for a decisive political resolution. But as American, Israeli and British guests are singled out in terror attacks on Indian soil, we are forced to face the fact that our foreign policy – shackling us to a globally unjust and unpopular nexus of imperialist wars and occupation – is making us (like our neighbour Pakistan) a target for global terrorism. We need, as a people, to introspect and ask ourselves – doesn’t India have enough problems of its own to cope with? Do we need to expose our people to the added threat of being ‘partners’ of imperialists, war-mongers and occupiers?        
The most crucial question is: can we allow callous politicos to manipulate our grief and anger, to cover up their own culpability? Shrill calls are being issued for ‘stern measures’ against Pakistan. The UPA Government is reportedly toying with the idea of closing down diplomatic dialogue with and even flights to Pakistan. Yes, pulverising Pakistan may offer some satisfying sense of ‘revenge’: but will it give us lasting peace and freedom from terror? Surely we cannot afford to forget that Pakistan too has, in recent times, has been a repeated target for massive acts of terrorism. The Lal Masjid siege and the Marriot Hotel blasts are fresh in our memory, eerily similar to the Mumbai three-day terrorist siege in top hotels. 
The BJP has been clamouring for a revival of POTA and MCOCA-style draconian anti-terror laws. The question that stares us in the face is: did MCOCA help Maharashtra prevent the latest terror strike in Mumbai? In spite of POTA in the hands of a BJP-NDA Government, why is it that the real identity of the perpetrators of Parliament Attack remains shrouded in mystery? Why did POTA fail to prevent Akshardham blasts, also in BJP’s own tenure? Was it a lack of POTA that made the Vajpayee Government hand over terrorists in exchange for Kandahar hostages? POTA or MCOCA are no help for gaping holes in intelligence and security.

We must remain firm in our resolve to protect our people from the deadly viruses of terrorism, communalism and regional chauvinism. We must firmly rebuff those forces who seek to reap a political harvest from each terrorist attack – and even go to the extent of staging such attacks themselves. Any resolute fight against terrorism demands we must keep the US away from pitting Pakistan and India against each other. And we must not give in to blind jingoism and communal hatred whipped up by vested political interests. A robust unity of an awakened people is the only foundation for such a fight against the many colours of terrorism that threaten us today.



VP Singh

Former Prime Minister Vishwanath Pratap Singh passed away on November 27 2008, after a long battle with blood cancer and renal failure.
V P Singh will be remembered as one of the most far-sighted and astute leaders in India’s mainstream politics. He broadened the social horizons of bourgeois politics and thereby decisively changed the contours of Indian politics forever.
In the wake of his crusade against corruption and defence kickbacks as Finance and Defence Minister in the Congress cabinet in the late 80s, he rode a wave of popularity to become Prime Minister in 1989, supported by BJP and the CPI-CPI(M) from the outside. His tenure as Prime Minister was marked by the ushering in of OBC reservations as recommended by the Mandal Commission, in the face of a virulent casteist backlash and anti-Mandal hysteria fuelled by the Congress and BJP. His tenure as PM also witnessed the aggressive communal ‘Mandir’ politics of the BJP. VP Singh stopped L K Advani’s communal ‘rath-yatra’ in its tracks, and consequently had to step down as PM following BJP’s withdrawal of support.
After being diagnosed with blood cancer and renal failure, he retired from active politics. However, till his last days, in spite of weekly dialysis required by his condition, he continued to take a keen interest in politics. With his characteristic insight, he saw the resentment of poor building up due to the policies of globalisation (which had incidentally been ushered in during his own era of active politics.) He warned against the consequences of such anti-poor globalisation and advocated a human face, appearing often at protests against displacement in the name of SEZs, slum eviction and farmers’ suicides.  

CPI(ML) pays last respects to VP Singh, a rare secular democrat in Indian ruling class politics who will be remembered for raising his voice in favour of secularism, social justice and people’s rights in the present phase of onslaught of communal politics and globalisation.


CPI(ML) mourns the passing of veteran civil liberties activist Dr. Yashpal Chhibber, founding member of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and its national general secretary for over two decades. Dr. Chhibber passed away on 2 December 2008 after a brief illness. We are joined by many in our confidence that his struggle for democracy and justice will be taken forward boldly in the face of the tough challenges ahead.

CPI(ML) Politburo Meeting 25-26 November

Deliberations and Decisions

The Polit Bureau of the Party Central Committee met in Kolkata on 25-26 November. At the outset of the meeting, the PB paid homage to Comrade Ashok Kumar, departed editor of Lok Yudh, Comrades G Murali and N. Venkateswar Rao of Andhra Pradesh and Comrade Ramji Rajbhar of UP. Com. Murali was building the Party organisation in Telengana and Com. Venkateswar, popularly known as Venkanna, played a key role in the Party’s recent expansion to Khammam district which hosted the state conference of AIALA two months ago. Comrade Ramji Gond was a member of the Ghazipur District Committee of the Party.
Just as the meeting was coming to an end, terror gripped Mumbai. The PB condemned the terror strike in the strongest possible terms and called for a high-level judicial inquiry to probe the major intelligence and security lapse underlying this most well-planned terror operation. Above all, the PB stressed the need to strengthen the spirit of, and struggle for, people’s unity and democracy to overcome the designs of terror and the failure of the government.
The deliberations and decisions of the PB are summarised below.

1. Crisis of Global Capitalism, Obama’s Victory and our Tasks:

  • a) The US economy is currently reeling under an acute financial crisis which has pushed the entire US economy into deep recession. Many other developed countries are also showing similar symptoms. The crisis has been in the making for quite some time and our Eighth Congress had rightly analysed the essential nature of the crisis as resulting from the growing imbalance or contradiction between a stagnant real economy and an ever growing financial superstructure propelled by huge speculative bubbles. While imperialism is bound to make desperate attempts to overcome the crisis by using economic, political and military means, for communist and anti-imperialist forces across the world the current crisis provides a major opportunity to mount a comprehensive assault on imperialism which Lenin had rightly characterised as moribund capitalism. With global capitalism and its American headquarters in grave crisis, the time is ripe for popularising revolutionary socialist solutions to the inherent anarchy and irrationality of capitalism.
  • b) For us in India, the moment is particularly opportune for heightening our resistance to the Indian ruling classes’ gamut of pro-US economic and foreign policies. For India’s comprador rulers, the US is the ultimate model and now that the US itself is trapped in such a huge crisis, the Indian compradors will be hard pressed to defend their policies. If the crisis in India’s financial sector still remains within somewhat moderate proportions, the credit goes to the continuing movement of the working class, peasantry and the rural poor which has not allowed successive governments to implement the policies and measures of liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation as fast and as thoroughly as they would have liked. This is therefore the most opportune time to highlight the contribution of the movement and press for a complete reversal of the policies and stress the goal of economic self-reliance and foreign policy independence.
  • c) In the name of reducing the impact of the crisis, the government is implementing bailout packages for the financial sector and the corporate houses. The government strategy revolves around reassuring foreign capital and big Indian corporate on the basis of easier credit and greater concessions. The advocates of free market economy want the state to intervene in favour of crisis-ridden capitalists and bail them out. We must oppose this bailout strategy and instead insist on direct assistance for direct producers. We must press for greater public expenditure to ensure assured employment, minimum wages and adequate availability of wage goods at cheap rates for the working people. Any increase in the purchasing power of the working people will get translated into greater market demand for basic consumption goods and will thus surely provide much-needed boost to the market at a time of recession. The battle for employment and wages must therefore be intensified to save the country from the ravages of the economic crisis.
  • d) The emphatic victory won by Obama in the November 4 US presidential election cannot be seen in isolation from the raging economic crisis. Two decades ago, during the Reagan era a prominent Black leader Jesse Jackson had run for presidential nomination of the Democratic Party, but on both occasions in 1984 and 1988 it turned out that the Democratic Party was not ready for endorsing Jackson as the party’s nominee. But eight years of Bush presidency and the unprecedented crisis of the US economy and of Washington’s war campaign have made Obama’s nomination and victory so easily possible. However, beyond the symbolism of the first Black man occupying the White House, we must recognise that Obama’s policy pronouncements mark no real change and the teams of advisors and officials announced by him are almost all Clinton era appointees and top bosses of mega corporations. While welcoming the social significance of an Obama victory for the domestic context of the US, we must continue to sharpen our struggle against US imperialism and against the pro-US policies of the Indian ruling classes.

2. The Challenge of Terrorism, Communalism and Aggressive Regional Chauvinism:

In recent months we have seen a significant increase in incidents of terrorism, communalism and aggressive regional chauvinism. Investigations have also established the direct involvement of the Sangh brigade in some cases of bomb blasts. While resisting communalism, terrorism and aggressive regional chauvinism in every form and from all sources, we must pay particular attention to the fascist convergence of communalism, terrorism and aggressive regionalism as practised by the Sangh brigade and its allies. We must observe the coming December 6 as a Day of People’s Pledge against Communalism, Terrorism and Aggressive Regional Chauvinism.

The Mumbai terror strike has shocked the entire country and vitiated the political atmosphere. Everywhere we can see heightened jingoistic propaganda against Pakistan, a clamour for giving a free hand to the police and armed forces and a generalised hate campaign against the Muslim community. We must reject all these disturbing and dangerous trends and campaign vigorously for a democratic political solution and uphold the banner of people’s democratic unity to rebuff every attempt to spread panic and divide the people.

3. Sankalp Abhiyan (Pledge Campaign):

18 December, 2008 will mark the 10th anniversary of Comrade VM’s untimely demise. Since 1999, we have been observing every 18 December as “Sankalp Diwas” (Pledge Day). This year the PB has called for observing a month-long Pledge campaign from December 18, 2008 to January 16, 2009 (January 16 is the martyrdom day of Comrade Mahendra Singh). The CC will shortly issue a call for the campaign which will have to be taken to every Party member in an organised way during the campaign period. The call will highlight the challenges and opportunities opened up by the developing situation and call upon the entire party to consolidate and expand the gains made on different fronts since the 8th Congress by strengthening the Party organisation and unleashing the fullest initiative of the entire Party and its mass base. The call must be systematically taken to the entire Party membership through branch/GB meetings and cadre conventions and all Party State and District Committees must immediately draw up their plans for the campaign period. In the course of the campaign and finalisation of Party membership chart, levy cards will be introduced for every individual member. The proforma of the levy card will be sent along with the call and will have to be printed by State Committees for members in respective states. The CC will initiate the campaign with a four-day-long meeting of the CC in the historic Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh from December 18 to 21. Party leaders and leading Party committees at every level must provide direct leadership to the pledge campaign.

4. Preparation for Forthcoming Lok Sabha and Assembly Elections:

The stage has been set for the forthcoming Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in important states like Andhra Pradesh and Orissa. Many constituencies are yet to fulfil the criteria decided by the CC for contesting the Lok Sabha election (20,000 mass membership and an initial fund of Rs. 30,000), and efforts must be stepped up to fulfil the criteria before the CC meeting in December. 

5. Conferences and Mass Political Initiatives:

The Polit Bureau expressed satisfaction over the recently concluded Third National Conference of AIALA and the Party State Conference of Tamil Nadu. The CC had set up a membership target of 25,00,000 for the Ballia conference of AIALA which has been more or less fulfilled. The UP State Committee responded energetically and enthusiastically to meet the challenge of the Ballia conference and now the successful rally and conference have given a timely and much needed boost to the Party in UP.

The PB also appreciated the bold and timely role played by our student-youth comrades in Bihar in the wake of the recent developments and called upon them to keep up the momentum and unleash full-scale initiative to build a popular movement for education and employment, dignity and security, and development and democracy.

Edited, published and printed by S. Bhattacharya for CPI(ML) Liberation from U-90, Shakarpur, Delhi-92; printed at Bol Publication, R-18/2, Ramesh Park, Laxmi Nagar, Delhi-92; Phone:22521067; fax: 22518248, e-mail: mlupdate@cpiml.org, website: www.cpiml.org
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