Communist Party of India vows fight on food prices

April 9, 2008

PWW Editor Teresa Albano is blogging from India, where she is attending the conventions of the Communist Party of India and Communist Party of India (Marxist) representing the Communist Party USA. The Communist parties hold seats in the national Parliament and lead the governments in three of Indias states.

HYDERABAD, India The Communist Party of India began its five-day congress here March 23 in a pouring rain unusual for the season and this area which mostly does not get enough. But the rain nourished the fighting spirit of Communists and their supporters.

Present at the opening day ceremonies were leaders of the four other left parties that are in coalition with the CPI. Each party vowed to work together to challenge the policies of the Congress Party-led government that negatively affect the working people, farmers, women and minorities in India, while at the same time not allowing the far-right BJP party to take advantage.

The left front has lent support to the Congress -led coalition of parties in the Parliament so it could form a government. Yet the left refused to officially be part of the government with ministers. They agreed to support based on a Common Minimum Program of demands that the government must meet. So far, the left charged, the CMP has not been met.

The main issues of concern for the left are in foreign policy and domestic economic issues. The Indo-U.S.nuclear deal is the main point of concern. Because of U.S. imperialism’s strategy for Asia to isolate China and to dominate the region economically, politically and militarily, the Indian Communists and left are opposed to the deal unless certain safeguards for Indian sovereignty and an independent foreign policy are met. For example, in the deal the U.S. demands that India stop and withdraw from an agreement with Iran on an oil pipeline. The CPI and others see this deal, along with recent joint military exercises in the Bay of Bengal, as a dangerous path to making India subservient to U.S. domination. India has a long and proud history since winning its independence from the British in 1947 of having an independent, nonaligned foreign policy. India has also bought large amounts of military hardware from the U.S. and Israel.

CPI General Secretary A.B. Bardhan said in his opening report, ‘The government is willfully violating the Commmon Minimum Program which commits the government to pursue an independent foreign policy aimed at promoting multipolarity in world relations. We want friendship with all countries including America, but subservience to none.’

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was in Delhi March 25 meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the pact. Singh told her there are ‘political problems’ they face with the pact, referring to the danger of the left withdrawing support for the government some 65 seats making it a minority government.

The CPI and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) led long mass marches through towns and villages letting people know of the dangerous agreement.

Economically, India boasts ‘fast growth’ especially in the private sector. This model of development, however, has left ‘the vast mass of our people high and dry,’ Bardhan said.

‘Never has there been such a shocking disparity between the rich and the poor. India has now the dubious distinction of having four among the 10 richest individuals in the planet, while at the other pole are the poor and vulnerable whose daily per capita consumption is less than Rs. 20 (50 cents) a day. They constitute about 78 percent of our population, almost 836 million.’

Indian agriculture is also going through a deep and chronic crisis with farmers saddled with unbearable debt, leading to some 150,000 suicides of farmers in the last 10 years.

The CPI called for immediate militant actions on the soaring prices of necessary items such as wheat, flour, rice, cooking oil, milk, eggs, vegetables and gasoline. Talks for a general strike in April are under way.

Some 29 Communist and workers parties from 26 countries are represented at the CPI congress. The CPI has a tremendous reputation around the world for internationalist solidarity, especially organizing actions in support of Cuba and the people of Palestine. Many parties from South Asia are here including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Burma (Myanmar). The Chinese Communist Party sent a large delegation. Vietnam and the DPRK (North Korea) are also represented as is the Japanese Communist Party.


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