PRAKASH KARAT | 25 JANUARY, 2018
Discussions are an exercise of inner Party democracy
The adoption of the Draft Political Resolution for the 22nd Congress of the CPI(M) by a majority vote in the Central Committee meeting held in Kolkata on January 21, has raised a lot of comment in the media and political circles.
Even before the Central Committee meeting, when it became known that there is a Polit Bureau draft resolution and a minority draft resolution to be presented before the Central Committee, a lot of reports appeared in the mainstream media. Most of them were either ill-informed about the style of functioning of the CPI(M) as a Communist Party, or, they utilised the occasion to draw motivated and distorted conclusions intended to depict the Party leadership in a poor light.
For instance, a common theme found in the media, particularly in the media in Kerala and West Bengal, was to portray that two drafts have been presented by two “factions”. Some went further to depict it as a clash between two individuals, in this case, the current general secretary and the former general secretary.
Such a depiction is baseless and wrong as discussions on differing political views and approaches within the framework of inner-Party democracy are reduced to personality clashes and so-called personal differences. Another mistaken but common assumption is that the Draft Political Resolution is mainly concerned with the electoral tactics to be adopted at the time of the Lok Sabha elections in 2019.
The CPI(M), as a Communist Party, has a distinctive style of functioning based on the organisational principles of democratic centralism. This means all the leading committees of the Party have inner-Party democracy wherein all matters political and organisational are discussed and decisions taken. On political issues, different views can be expressed, either an individual member or a group of members can present their political views before the committee. After a free and frank discussion, the committee arrives at a decision. If necessary, a vote is taken to decide and the majority view becomes the collective decision of the committee.
A majority view, or, a minority view, within a committee on a political question is not to be seen as a line up of two factions. Factionalism and factional groupings are impermissible as per the Party Constitution. It is only those who violate the collective decisions of the Party and band together for extraneous reasons who are considered to be factional.
In this particular instance, the Central Committee was discussing and finalising the Draft Political Resolution to be placed before the Party Congress. This is a responsibility assigned to the Central Committee under the Party Constitution. The Constitution further obligates the Central Committee to release the Draft Resolution two months before the Congress so that all Party units and members will have the time to discuss the Draft Resolution. The Constitution further provides for amendments to the resolution to be sent directly to the Central Committee by any Party unit or Party member. A report of these amendments will have to be placed before the Party Congress.
The Polit Bureau and the Central Committee were involved in the preparation of the Draft Political Resolution for the past four months. This is the normal time which is required to finalise the draft and to release it two months before the Congress. The Draft Political Resolution proposes the political-tactical line that has to be pursued, after its adoption in the Party Congress, for the next three years.
It is going to be nearly four years of the Modi government being in power by the time the Party Congress is held. The country is faced with the serious consequences of the BJP-RSS taking over the reins of State power. It was hence natural that the Polit Bureau and the Central Committee had intense discussions on formulating an effective political-tactical line which can counter this threat – a tactical line which can fight the BJP politically, ideologically and mobilise the people to defeat the Modi government.
Interest and concern about the political line to be adopted by the CPI(M) stems from the widespread desire of secular and democratic minded people that an effective unity be forged to take on the BJP. The political-tactical line that the Party Congress will adopt will meet this concern. Based on the political line, the Party will adopt concrete election tactics for the forthcoming assembly and Lok Sabha elections.
The process of inner-party discussions on the Draft Political Resolution will conclude and be clinched at the Party Congress in Hyderabad being held between April 18 to 22, 2018. The Congress will comprise of elected delegates from all states and from those working in different mass fronts. Here again, the Congress being the supreme body of the Party, the delegates will have the right and the freedom to express their opinions on the Draft Resolution and suggest any changes or move amendments.
Once the Party Congress has debated and adopted the Political Resolution, it will become the current tactical line of the Party. Every member of the Party irrespective of what individual opinion, he or she held prior to this, would as per the principles of democratic centralism unite to implement the adopted political line of the Party.
Thus the wild and baseless speculations about a “crisis” in the Party and of factional disputes and conflicts will be laid to rest.
The CPI(M) has a proud tradition of vigorous inner-party democracy combined with centralised discipline. The 22nd Congress will embody and carry forward this tradition.