May 1, 1999 is approaching. This is the last May Day of this millennium. This occasion calls on the advanced contingent of the working class, the communists, to take stock of the situation, and identify what needs to be done. What should be done to ensure that the working movement emerges as a first rate political force with its own independent program for lifting Indian society out of the crisis?
The communist movement remains divided as a result of those in the movement who persist in conciliating with social-democracy and merging with the parliamentary process, reducing communism to a distant policy objective. As a result of this politics of parliamentary communist opposition, the working class movement remains a divided and marginalised force, tied to the bourgeoisie in political terms, converted into a vote bank for this or that parliamentary coalition. In order for the working class to break out of this impotent state, it is essential to launch an open and determined struggle against vote bank politics in the communist movement.
The bourgeoisie is trying to preserve the status quo and carry on with its program of liberalisation and privatisation in spite of the acute political crisis in India, by orchestrating a plan that has been called "operation topple". It is an operation involving the Congress Party and the "left" in parliament, as well as other parties of the middle bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie, an operation aimed at toppling the BJP-led coalition and establishing a left-centre or centre-left coalition before January 1, 2000. Should the working class fall in line behind this project, as the parliamentary communists are advocating? If it does so, then the bourgeoisie would achieve its aim of completely discrediting the communist and working class movement.
The people of India have witnessed many such projects undertaken by the communists in parliament. In the sixties, seventies and eighties, these communists organised workers to bring various anti-Congress coalitions to power. Now they are calling on the workers to bring an anti-BJP coalition to power. Such changes of horses did not change the nature of political power in the past. The current project to bring an anti-BJP coalition to power will not change the nature of political power either. Power will continue to be concentrated in the hands of the same class, the big bourgeoisie. Why should the working class support such a project?
If these communists in parliament persist with this vote bank politics, the broad masses of people would become convinced that there is no alternative except to choose between BJP and Congress, as the communists have nothing better to offer anyway. This is precisely the aim of imperialism and the bourgeosie, to obliterate socialism from the consciousness of the working class and people. It is the duty of all Indian communists, irrespective of their party affiliation, to reject this class conciliatory road, and oppose those who are advocating the anti-BJP parliamentary front as the only alternative for the working class.
As we prepare for this historic last May Day of the 20th century, it is necessary to recall the most important lessons of the working class movement in this century, including the experience of the rise and fall of socialism. This experience has shown that a Communist Party that seeks political power in its own hands cannot emancipate the working class and the whole of society from all forms of exploitation. The Communist Party cannot become an electoral machine or substitute itself for the class; it must be an instrument for the empowerment of the working class and all the hitherto oppressed in society. This is one of the lessons of the Soviet experience. It is also one of the lessons from the experience with CPI(M) led governments in West Bengal and Kerala.
Another important lesson is that it is the toiling masses themselves who have to carry out the revolution and defend their own sovereignty; they cannot rely on somebody else to do so. The working class has to take up the task of restoring the unity of the communist movement in India. It cannot rely on somebody else to do so. Workers have to recognise the need for, and take up the task of building the united vanguard Communist Party to lead the class struggle. It is the duty of communists to bring this consciousness to the workers, to make them conscious of the necessity for the vanguard party, hence for the restoration of unity of Indian communists in one party.
The bourgeoisie is preparing the conditions for yet another General Elections around the turn of the century. The time is ripe for communists to call on the broad masses of workers to reject all the bourgeois coalitions and the entire party dominated political process. All those candidates who are selected by the high command of various parliamentary parties must be rejected. The people's candidates should openly campaign for the replacement of the current party dominated political process by a new process that ensures that only the people have the right to select candidates from among their peers.
Let us prepare the conditions for this May Day 1999 to become the day when the working class of India raises its voice against vote bank politics and demands communist politics. Let us inspire the workers to raise their own class demands and fight for the immediate program for the democratic renewal of India. Hum hain iske malik! Hum hain Hindostan! Mazdoor, kisan, aurat aur jawan! (Workers, peasants, women and youth! We constitute India! We are her masters!)