Statement of the Central Committee of the Communist Ghadar Party of India, 9th May, 2018
On 12th May, votes will be cast for the 224-member Legislative Assembly of Karnataka. There are hundreds of candidates contesting these elections, including those of communist parties and of many other organisations fighting in defence of people’s rights. The corporate news media, however, has been presenting these elections as a contest between the Congress Party, BJP and Janata Dal (Secular), as if only these three parties matter.
These elections are taking place at a time when there is legitimate anger and disgust among the people with the growing criminalisation of politics and the spreading of communal hatred and fascist terror by vigilante groups. Progressive thinkers, poets, actors, investigative journalists and others who speak out against backward customs and expose the truth have faced violent threats. Several such people have been assassinated in recent years. The central and state governments point fingers at one another, while the killers have not been caught and punished. The truth about who organised the killings remains hidden.
The election campaign has led to further escalation of communal tensions in Karnataka. All the three major contending parties have selected candidates based on the caste and religious composition of voters in each constituency. Their campaign has been full of lies and slanders. They want to divert attention from the destruction caused by rapid capitalist growth spurred by the program of globalisation, through liberalisation and privatisation.
Rapid capitalist growth in Karnataka has led to the accumulation and concentration of enormous wealth in very few hands, and to growing poverty for the masses. Monopoly capitalists, mining barons, real estate sharks and other exploiters, corrupt politicians and officials have become enormously rich in recent decades. The conditions of life of workers and peasants have grown from bad to worse, year after year.
Unemployment has risen and so has the degree of exploitation of labour at the workplace. Peasants are reeling under the heightened insecurity of livelihood caused by the liberalisation of trade in agricultural inputs and outputs, in addition to the continued dependence on rain fed irrigation. Indebtedness of peasants has grown and so has the incidence of suicides among them.
Industrial workers are agitating for an immediate halt to the privatisation of defence production and other heavy industry located in Karnataka. Workers in numerous sectors are fighting against the pro-capitalist reforms in labour laws, including the replacement of regular jobs with fixed-term contracts. Workers in the IT sector, which has witnessed thousands of jobs being lost, are striving to form their unions so as to defend their rights. So are Anganwadi workers, ASHA workers and many others.
Peasant organisations all over the state are demanding guaranteed state procurement of their crops at stable and remunerative prices. Every party of the capitalist class promises to fulfil this demand. Once in power, they betray this promise because they are committed to the program of trade liberalisation – that is, to expand the space for private corporations to reap maximum profits from agricultural trade.
People from all walks of life are protesting against the criminalisation and communalisation of politics. They are protesting against state-sponsored communal violence and terror. They are raising their voices against the deterioration of both the natural and social environment in Karnataka. They are condemning the parties and politicians who are distorting history and misusing the name of Karnataka’s heroes and patriots for their narrow-minded electoral goals.
Every round of elections in our country confirms that the existing political process is designed for rival parties of the capitalist class to divide the people on a communal and sectarian basis, and line them up behind different factions of the exploiters.
Only candidates selected by parties backed by big capitalists stand any chance of winning elections in this system. The majority of candidates selected by the three main contenders in Karnataka are reported to be crorepatis themselves; and many of them have serious criminal charges against them.
Parties of the capitalist class dominate the electoral process. Capitalists use their money power and control over the media to ensure that their preferred party wins the election or heads a coalition. Once the votes are cast, people have no role in deciding who forms the government and what policy measures it takes. The electorate has no way to hold the elected representatives to account. The government that is formed is only accountable to the capitalist class, headed by the monopolies.
The Congress Party and BJP represent different alliances of the biggest Indian monopoly houses and the capitalists and landlords of Karnataka. They are both committed to the same dangerous and destructive program of maximising monopoly capitalist plunder in all sectors of economic and social activity, in all regions of the country. They both practise communal politics, wooing votes on the basis of religious and caste loyalties. The BJP is openly communal and revanchist, while the Congress is deceptively communal, preaching “tolerance” under the banner of Secularism.
The Janata Dal (Secular) represents a section of the regional propertied interests in southern Karnataka. The capitalists and landlords of this region are keen to benefit from collaboration with the biggest monopoly houses of India and with foreign multinational companies, to escalate the loot and plunder of the land and labour of Karnataka.
In sum, the pursuit of capitalist greed, accompanied by increasingly criminal and communal politics by the principal parties of the capitalist class, is responsible for ruining Karnataka. Not only Karnataka but all of Indian society is being dragged along the destructive course of globalisation, through liberalisation and privatisation, by a greedy capitalist minority. It is a program geared to maximise the profits of big capitalist corporations, Indian and foreign, at the expense of the livelihood and rights of workers and peasants. The situation calls upon all progressive and democratic forces, all concerned people of Karnataka and India, to unite against this destructive course
The political program of the capitalist class is to keep workers and peasants divided on the basis of caste and religion, and into so-called “Hindutva” and “Secularism” camps. We must defeat their attempts to break our unity. We must build a common political front of workers, peasants, progressive intelligentsia and all those who are concerned about the fate and future of Karnataka. Our struggle is against the capitalist class and its program of fulfilling capitalist greed while dividing people on a sectarian basis.
The existing political system and machinery of State was built by the British colonial rulers as an instrument to divide and rule over the diverse peoples of this subcontinent. It is now being wielded by the Indian capitalist class headed by the monopoly houses, to divide and rule over the workers, peasants and other oppressed masses of all regions. The armed security forces and the bureaucratic machinery are trained to suppress any resistance to capitalist rule.
The Constitution of the Indian Republic vests sovereignty, the supreme decision-making power, in the hands of the Cabinet within the Parliament. It reduces the role of the people to just casting a vote. The much touted political process of multi-party democracy is designed to exclude people and concentrate decision-making power in the hands of parties backed by big money power.
To lift Karnataka and all of Indian society out of crisis, what we need is Navnirman – that is, the establishment of a new State that would be duty bound to ensure prosperity and protection for all. It must be based on a Constitution that vests sovereignty in the people. The role of political parties must be redefined. Instead of ruling in the people’s name, they must be duty bound to keep the people in power.
The executive must be accountable to the elected legislative body, which in turn must be accountable to the people who elected them. People must enjoy the right to select and elect those they trust, the right to recall them at any time, and the right to initiate legislation. The State must fund the process of selection and election; and no other source of funding must be allowed.
The new State would reorient the economy to maximise the degree of fulfilment of human needs. It would convert the principal means of production and exchange, presently under the control of capitalist monopoly houses, into social property, geared to fulfil the people’s needs.
The need of the hour is for all progressive forces to unite against the capitalist offensive and against the communal politics of the capitalist class, headed by the monopoly houses. No matter which party forms the government, we need to escalate the struggle for our rights. We need to unite around the program of Navnirman – for political power in the hands of the people, for a new State and economic system that guarantee prosperity and protection for all!