The Second Congress of the Communist Ghadar Party of India was convened in the first week of October, 1998. The Central Committee elected by the First Congress submitted a report entitled: Preparing for the Coming Storms – Challenge facing Indian Communists. By summing up the theoretical and practical work of the party, this Report sought to arm the entire party to take on the challenge posed by the situation on the eve of the 21st century.
The Second Congress of our party was convened at a definite time within the period of the retreat of revolution -- a time when imperialism and the reactionary bourgeoisie are making new arrangements to escalate their offensive against the livelihood and rights of the working class and peoples. In India, the working class and people are facing the offensive of the big bourgeoisie to globalize its production and capital, and to divert and brutally suppress any opposition to this course through state terrorism and parliamentary coalition politics.
It is a time when Indian communists are grappling with the question of how their unity can be restored and how the vanguard party can play its role in the struggle of the working class and people to open the path for the progress of India, putting an end to the legacy of factionalism and disunity among Indian communists. The Second Congress, taking stock of the objective and subjective conditions prevailing in India and internationally, took the key decision to adopt the communist program of the working class for the renewal of India, consistent with the strategic aim of the revolution and with the General Line for this period, a program to lift Indian society out of the crisis.
Comrade Lissamma inaugurated the proceedings of the 2nd Congress of the Communist Ghadar Party of India. Having heard and discussed the Draft Report presented by the CC, with active participation of all the delegates, the Second Congress resolved to adopt this Report. The Congress also resolved to continue the discussion of the Draft Report in the various regions and finalize it for public release before the end of 1998. It decided that the Party Program that was adopted at this Congress will be released as soon as possible, so that the crucial work of taking this program to the class could begin. The Second Congress elected the third Central Committee of the Communist Ghadar Party of India. Comrade Prakash Rao was elected to be the Spokesperson of the Central Committee of CGPI.
The Second Congress opened by saluting the memory of two of the founding members of the CGPI who had passed away since the First Congress – Comrade Hardial Bains and Comrade Das. The podium was adorned with photographs of these two comrades, with a bouquet of beautiful red roses in between. The Presidium paid rich tribute to the unforgettable contributions of each of these comrades. Comrade Hardial was the architect of the party and its founding. Comrade Das was one of those rare Indian communists who rose above all sectarian considerations and plunged into the work to reconstitute the unity of the vanguard party in India. The Congress honoured these glorious comrades who had fought for the cause of communism till their last breath.
Messages of greetings to the Second Congress of CGPI were received from our sister parties and organizations including the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist), Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist), Communist Party of Ireland (Marxist-Leninist), Organization of US Marxist-Leninists and Indian Workers Association (Great Britain).
Delegates and observers coming from different parts of India as well as from various continents participated in the proceedings. The majority of delegates were wage workers; about 40 percent were industrial and agricultural workers. An equal number were other working people – teachers, doctors, nurses, engineers, scientists and so on. About 40 percent were women. Less than 5 percent were professional revolutionaries.
The report was presented in Hindi and Tamil, and the discussions took place under such an arrangement that allowed all the participants to express themselves in the language of their choice. This was a powerful repudiation of the elitism that is prevalent in the communist movement, whereby the most important discussions take place in English, marginalising the majority of Indian working people to whom this language is alien and unknown. The language policy followed in the Second Congress of the CGPI was appreciated by all the delegates and observers as a policy that empowers all to engage in discussion and participate in decision making as equals.
Assessment of Work
Summing up the work of our party over the past 8 years, the Report adopted by the Second Congress shows how in a stepwise manner we have implemented our decisions and provided modern definitions to all the cardinal questions of the Indian communist movement. These include the problem of the General Line, of Indian political theory, the problem of the program of the Indian communists, the problem of uniting the vanguard force and the problem of uniting the working class and people. In a period of unprecedented attacks on communism and all communists, our party, sticking loyally to the principles of Marxism-Leninism, has not only defended but expanded the space for the flourishing of revolutionary communism on Indian soil, guided by the directive of the First Congress to build the political unity of the people. The implementation of the decisions of the First Congress has given rise to a new situation in the communist movement and the movement of the people. New tasks have arisen because of the work that we have carried out and in which others have also joined. The Second Congress, the highest forum of the Party, had been convened precisely to make those decisions that would enable the party to address the new tasks that present themselves.
After presenting a summary assessment of the work of the Party, the Report devotes considerable detailed attention to the crisis of capitalism in India and internationally, to the current political crisis and the clash over values and over ideas. On the basis of telling facts and powerful arguments, the Report confirms that it is capitalism, which has reached the stage of monopoly capitalism, that is the defender of the remnants of feudalism; the protector of the imperialist interests and the colonial legacy; the driving force and motor behind the Indian bourgeoisie and its imperialist program of globalization of capital and production. It confirms that capitalism has caused disaster and promises to cause bigger disasters in the countryside by aggravating the agrarian problems. The Report confirms that the institutions of State and the "Rule of Law" that exist in India are direct descendants of the colonial state and order that was established to subjugate India and eliminate everything Indian. And the Report also confirms that it is the big bourgeoisie and its imperialist ambitions that stand behind the present coalition government headed by the revanchist BJP, whose agenda is to escalate the offensive against the livelihood and rights of the working class and people and preserve the system of plunder. It is also the bourgeoisie that stands behind the attempt to promote the Congress(I) and the Third Front as alternatives to a BJP led government. On the basis of analyzing the developments, the Report concludes that a thorough-going renewal of Indian society necessarily means ending the entire colonial legacy including capitalism and its democracy which deprives people of power. The working class, the toiling peasantry and other sections of working and oppressed peoples constitute those social forces who stand to gain from such thorough-going transformations. The struggle for democratic renewal needs to be led by the working class, which is the most consistently revolutionary class, in order to ensure that it is taken to its logical conclusion – the transformation from capitalism to socialism and communism.
The Report points out that our struggle for the restoration of unity of Indian communists has entered a new phase. The phase of struggle for the acceptance of communist unity as a general principle has come to an end, giving rise to the new phase when the concrete forms in which communist unity will be realized have to be taken up for solution.
During the discussion at the Congress of this question of restoring the unity of Indian communists, it was reiterated that the communist movement is one movement which includes all those who call themselves communists. The main obstacle to the unity of this one movement comes from those communists who conciliate with social-democracy and the bourgeoisie. It was reiterated that the issue is not for communists of different parties to brand each other as traitors. Such activity will not empower the working class to overcome the obstacles to its movement. The issue is to fight against all forms of conciliation with the bourgeoisie and ideologically arm the working class to effectively fight its class enemy. The Report calls for stern ideological and polemical struggle to be waged at this time against those in the communist movement who are promoting the notion of Congress-Communist alliance and the notion of a Third Front as the alternative to all extremes, and against those who conciliate with state terrorism and its justification in the name of "defending national unity and territorial integrity".
Basing ourselves on the tested policies of unity in action, and action with analysis, we have acquired rich experience in building the party and building the fighting organizations of the people. Acknowledging this experience, the Report affirms that this would also be the policy with which we are going to approach the form in which the Marxist-Leninists of India will provide the necessary consciousness and organization to the working class movement and the movement of the peoples of India for their emancipation.
Positively assessing the work of the CGPI in the struggle against state terrorism and in defence of rights, the Report notes that in the course of this work, our party has defended all victims of state terror and persecution irrespective of their ideology or political affiliation. It has carried out decisive work to elaborate modern definitions, ideas and perspective on rights. The large amount of work the party has carried out to implement the decision of the First Congress to build the political unity of the people has given rise to new tasks. The greatest need of the struggle against state terrorism and in defence of rights, to go forward, is for the working class to establish its leadership of this struggle around its vision for the liberation of India.
The Report positively assesses the work that has been done on the question of the empowerment of the people, the work to develop the alternative to parliamentary democracy and party dominated government. The Report reaffirms the necessity to further develop this alternative both in theory and practice, in the form of institutions and mechanisms of the new power, of the direct democracy of the working class and its allies, as part of preparing conditions for them to take power in their hands. The Report confirms that the project to prepare for the 50th anniversary of the Constitution in January 2,000 is an important initiative, which requires first rate attention. It points out that this is an opportune time for the party to begin discussion on the fundamental law of new India. The proposal of the ruling circles to review the Constitution by an expert committee must be contested on the basis of the principle that it is the people to whom this task belongs.
Starting from the period of the second consultative conference in 1993, through the period of the third consultative conference in December 1995 and the Extended Plenum of the Central Committee in January 1998, the entire party has carried out extensive discussion of the General Line and Political Program of the working class and communist movement. The Second Congress affirmed the General Line and adopted the Program of the Party -- the program for the Democratic Renewal of India, entitled: Ham hai iski malik! Hum hai Hindostan! Mazdoor, kisan, aurat aur naujawan! (We are India, we are her masters -- workers, peasants, women and youth). The adoption of this program opens a new phase in our work to restore communist unity and build political unity for the all-round renewal of Indian society. This is the phase where we have to organize so that the working class of India adopts this revolutionary program as its own and fights for its realization. It marks the start of open contest between two visions for the future of India -- the imperialist vision of the bourgeoisie and the vision of the working class which wants to empower the people to create a humane society and end the enslavement of the past. This clash and the work of communists to lead the class struggle against the bourgeoisie will create the subjective conditions for the working class to go on the offensive against capitalism as the ebb of revolution turns into flow.
The Report concludes that organizational strengthening is critical for the success of our work. Transforming our words into deeds has been the hallmark of our party from its founding and it is this feature of the party that we must strengthen as we adopt the program for the next phase. The work is more complex than ever before, more challenging than ever before, but the most important thing to recognize is that this is the most necessary work at this time.
The Report affirms the policy of collective decision and individual responsibility as the guiding principle at all levels of the party. Whether we speak of the work of the Central Committee, the regional committees or the basic organizations of the party, the common consciousness of the party at each level arises from the collective decisions that are made at that level. The work of the party at each level emerges from the collective decisions and the consequent common consciousness. The Report also affirms that while the politics of the party is open, its organisation remains secret. The Report points out that the experience of the party in preparing for the Second Congress, especially since the Extended Plenum of the CC held in January 1998, has revealed the critical importance of eliminating all subjectivism and spontaneity in our work, and of basing our entire work on collective decisions and individual responsibility. The Report reaffirms that the basic organizations of the party, which are the organs of class struggle in the midst of the class, are where communists are trained and tempered. There is no such thing as communist training outside the basic organization, nor does our party accept the notion of individual leaders and followers. The Report emphasizes that the main shortcoming in our work, which needs to be overcome, has to do precisely with the establishment and building of basic organizations in the class.
The Report emphasizes that the Party Paper should continue to be the scaffolding around which the party is built and the class is organized. Assessing positively the initial successes of producing the party organ in the languages that workers understand, the Report recommends that this work be developed further so that the organ assumes mass character and appears in as many Indian languages as possible. It calls upon all the party organizations to participate in strengthening the Party Paper as their preeminent tool for building the party and developing communist work in the class that has been burdened with trade unionism, electoral politics and other forms of bourgeois politics. The experience gained by the party this year in implementing the decisions to build the basic organizations in the class and regularize the publication of the organ in the vernacular languages has not only proven the correctness of the CC decisions. It has also posed new tasks, such as building groups of writers and disseminators in the class and other progressive forces. The Report estimates that this front of work is going to be crucial in the future.
After extensive discussion of all the key issues raised in the Report, the Congress took its key decisions in the form of resolutions. Summing up the discussions of the previous days, the Presidium moved 11 main resolutions for adoption by the Congress. In addition to these resolutions, and consistent with them, there were 37 resolutions that were moved from the floor. All the resolutions were read out in several languages to ensure that all the participants could understand and consciously take part in the decision making. These resolutions together constitute the collective decisions of the Second Congress, which every organization and every member of the party is duty bound to defend and implement in the coming period.
Also refer to publication: 2nd Congress Documents