SUGGESTIONS OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY IN BUILDING UP OF A NEW KERALA
The Resolution passed by the Kerala State Conference of the Party held at Thrissur on 22, 23 and 24th of June 1956.
It is with gratitude and great expectations that the Communist Party welcome the formation of the new state of Kerala, which, in all probability, will be on linguistic basis. Movements that forced the formation of states on linguistic basis have evolved as an integral part of the great struggle our people had waged to attain the goals of total liberation from the foreign rule; to establish democracy by uprooting the autocratic princely states and other anti-democratic institutions and to build up a free and democratic India in the strong foundation of socialism. The unity of the Indian people can be achieved through struggles to wipe out the relies of imperialism and feudalism and to build up a social system on the basis of total democracy. And this will meet with success only when the Malayalis, Tamilians and Andhrites get their own states formed and at the second time facilities for the rapid development of backward by states like Kerala are provided.
The communist Party, right from its genesis in this part of the country, has made efforts to the formation of a united Kerala. It was by being part of the movements for the reorganisation of states on linguistic basis; the movements which were gaining momentum throughout India. These movements integrated the Malayalam speaking people scattered in the three states of Madras, Kochi and Travancore and in the French colony of Mahe. It also aimed at accelerating the social, economic and cultural progress of the Malayali people.
The Communist Party, which holds innumerable activists who participated during the 1930’s and afterwards in the democratic national struggles, has always seen the mass movements for responsible government in the states of Cochin and Travancore and for national independence in Mahe as part of the more lofty goals of national independence and of a united Kerala.
The Communist Party proudly reminises the fact that thousands of selfless activists who have endured hardships like police atrocities, life in underground shelters, loss of family and assets and broken – down, deteriorated health have emerged from the party. It also has its share of martyrs.
The communist party also remembers with gratitude the fact that these movements were geared up towards the goal of a united Kerala, not only by the Communists, but thousands of patriotic people belonging to other parties, organisations and those who do not belong to any party, but all with their patriotic, nationalist convictions in and outside Kerala. The Party also remembers the eminent role played by the Malayali Diaspora. The Communist party has had, on occasions, differences in opinion with these nationalists on ideological, political and other grounds; such differences of opinion still linger. But all these patriots of different shades kept aside their discords and remitted on agreeable grounds to move this ideal for a United Kerala. And that is why, like many other achievements, the formations of aUnited Kerala became a reality.
The Movements for a United Kerala launched by Communists and other nationalists had to face several stiff oppositions from diverse fronts. The most important rival force among these is the anti-democratic policy followed by the Congress leadership after 1947 in connection with the re-organisation of states on linguistic basis. Also, during that period, arguments for western coastal states also surfaced. Even after a decision to form states on linguistic basis has been arrived at as on outcome of the mass movements which arose against these arguments coupled with struggles staged by people including ordinary Congress men, the forces which demanded western coastal states did not subside. These slogans for western coastal states were sheltered by movements that swept all over Kerala as well as other southern states and which ultimately were instrumental in the re-organisation of Kerala and other states on linguistic basis. At the same time, the threat even now emerges here and there about southern states with a possible infiltrations of the provisions envisaged in the States Re-organisation Bill, relating to Regional Councils. People need a live, combined alert about these potential threats.
This is the beginning of a new epoch; the successful culmination of movements which was aimed at a United Kerala. The communists and non-communist nationalists united to forge this movement while the congress leadership stood against a linguistic re-organisation of states. On this auspicious occasion of the victory of an organised mass movement to get a Kerala state, the duty to build up a democratic and prosperous Kerala has rightly befallen upon us. The communist party makes an earnest appeal to other parties and individuals that we should, as has been done in the past, unite in a fair way on matters where an accord can be arrived at; the unity and selfless activity we expressed for the formation of a new Kerala shall continue. We can divert this renewed effort towards the building up of a new Kerala we dreamt up till now. The difference of opinion that we do have should not be a deterrent to that goal.
If the Malayalis who love their country unite to under take the duty to build up a new Kerala, we have all possibilities open before us for the realisation of a greater part of the dream our people cherished over generations. This is because the concept that the Indian economy has to be restructured on the basis of industrialisation and its aim should be to bring about a socialist system of society, is spreading the active gamut of the country in a way that even the ruling class cannot ignore it. Although the congress and the government utilizes this concept to mask the real face of their policies and to divert the visions of the common people thereby strengthen their class-rule, it still has possibilities to bring about fundamental charges.
Kerala has all the environment to utilise these possibilities to enact its significant role in the industrialisation of India. This is because Kerala is a state with rich forest wealth, very valuable mineral deposits, wide and spread-out watersheds, extensive seas. In addition there are other physical resources that would help the total industrialisation of India. The livelihood and better standards of living of our people can be achieved with the help of these resources coupled with the work force of our hard-working people. The hindrance to this is the social system which still prevails in our state ( the system which is dominated by feudalism ; hegemony of foreign investors; the undue profiteering and vested interests of our own capitalists). In order to arrive at a solution to the specific problems of this state, such as relatively high density of population, rise of unemployment, scarcity of food etc; we need to unfetter our productive forces from the shackles of these counter forces of the social system.
In this connection, we cannot forget the fact that several obstructions hindering our efforts to solve our most difficult problems exist and the Chief among these blockades is the nature of various policies adopted by the Congress government at the Centre relating to national reconstructions.
Now, consider these
a) The Chief obstruction to utilising our total resources for creative reconstruction is the land- owning system of our country. Thousands of acres of land are left waste; mind-blowing ‘pattom’ (rental wages for the land) is extracted from formers for allowing them to cultivate; they could be vacated from their farmland at anytime rendering them unemployed. It is a system in which all the powers to carry out these activities reside with the landowners. And it is this system prevalent in Travancore, the major region of Kerala. Even in the Cochin- Malabar region where relatively better land- rules and regulations exist, the suggestions put forth by the Planning Commission were not heeded. (These suggestions include among others, restriction of ‘pattom’ that it should, by no means, exceed 25 per cent and that ceiling should be fixed for land occupied which this is the approach of the Congress leadership in Kerala, the Central government and the Indian Planning Commission rejects the relatively progressive recommendation of the Land Policy Committee of the commission itself ( eg.Pattom in no way should be strongly resisted etc.) Moreover, they have given full freedom to the State government in dealing with such matters.
b) Just like the land-owning system, which stands as a hindrance to a successful planning, another factor is the hegemony of foreign capitalists over the resources of our country. The democratically minded people of this country have been continually demanding the nationalisation of foreign – owned plantations, mines, important industries and foreign trade by totally eradicating the foreign hegemony. However, the government has not conceded to this demand or even to slop the annual outflow of money in the form of profit of the foreign capitalists thereby bringing about the foreign hegemony over Indian economy.
c) To bring important and basic industries under public- ownership is another inevitable basis for a successful planning. The Planning Commission, in its first draft, had agreed upon this in principles. But finally, the commission turned away from this principle complying with the interests of foreign and national capitalists. Also, most of the important industries were listed under private sector.
d) Another basis crucially inevitable in framing and implementation of planning is the co-operation of the people, particularly the working class, in all levels. Without their active participation, planning will not be practically possible. However, although the ruling class speaks loudly about people’s co-operation, they continue the old system of entrusting all powers and duties to the beurocrats.
e) The communist party and other democratically inclined people have suggested several straight and practical means to raise money for the implementation of the plan. Such as: do not allow any capitalist to extract profit beyond a reasonable level; to prohibit the foreign investors from taking out excess and unreasonable profit to their country and retain that profit in the country; to add this amount to the fund for national reconstruction; to bring foreign trade under public ownership; take steps to enhance profits obtained from public sector undertakings; to reexamine the tax systems, and transfer the load of this system, particularly income tax, land tax and agricultural income tax, from the poor to the rich ,etc. etc. However, the Planning Commission not only did heed any of these suggestions, but also adopted strategies of enhancing sales tax and excise tax, which befalls head on upon the poor. Also they have increased the land tax and water tax directly on the poor. This is their strategy to increase revenue resources.
f) The living conditions of labourers, formers, agricultural workers and middle- class
workers, instead of gradually improving, will become worse. They will become more and more poor, while the rich will become richer are richer, as a result of these policies of government. Production on the industrial front does increase, but unemployment does not lessen. Even though by the pressures of organised trade unions wages have increased in several industries, the authorities increase the workload of labourers to disproportionately higher levels. As a result, the enhanced industrial output helps only to increase the profit of the owner. In the agricultural front, also the result of increased production is reaped by a small band of landowners and rich formers. The huge amounts spent in the name of agricultural betterment go to their purse. Owing to the day-to-day increase in price of essential commodities in recent months, the working class and middle class people experience untold misery.
g). While, in this way, the living standards and livelihood of common people deteriorate more and more, it is natural dissatisfaction spreads among them and organized or unorganized strike break out from them. Whenever this happens, the common people were described as violent troublemakers and the activists who live among them and some how becomes instrumental in these movements are labelled as saboteurs; the government tries to suppress them. The most striking examples are what happened recently in Khasipet, Kharappur and Kalka. Just like in other parts of India or even at a more rapid rate, these are all happening in Kerala.
h). The government is formulating and complementing its political and economic policies in such a way that discontent and stir are aroused not only among the working class but some of the middle and upper classes of people. A good example of this is the mass struggle in Maharashtra in which the local congress committee was also forced to take part. The struggle goes on. It is as a result of such struggles involving people from all walks of life that the ruling party was forced to withdraw the recently proposed suggestions for Bengal-Bihar integration. In the national reconstructions projects envisaged in the second five-year plan, some region do not get benefits they truly deserve. In such cases, people of all colours from those regions unite and rise in rebellion. This was echoed in the recently held National Development council (the expositions by Sri. Hanumanthiah that south India in general and two states in particular have received only a meager share of the plan).
Along with these kinds of struggles different sets of people are participating in struggles against police atrocities as well as to resist bribes and corruption.
i). Kerala is a state in which these situations, which are prevalent all over India, have reached their pinnade. The people of Kerala have fought against the British rule as well as against the despotism of princely states. And after independence they are forced to fight against the congress rule. They had to continue the struggles they waged against the British rule for employment, wages, for land and for better living conditions during the congress rule also. The expectations that independence will bring with it a better and prosperous life did not materialize. Also, their conditions became worse. This created discontent, not only among working class but in the middle and upper classes too.
For the past several years, unemployment among not only the working class, but also all the categories of educated people is alarmingly on the increase. Planning without involving schemes and special drives to solve this problem of unemployment in the context of Kerala will not helps in the accomplishment of national reconstruction. Moreover, no steps have been taken to alleviate the special problems faced by Kerala such as unemployment, food scarcity, lack of facilities for agriculture etc. while no steps to solve these problems either industrially or by improving agricultural output have been taken, the Central government has not even released funds to Travancore-Cochin at the rates received by other states. Madras state also did not consider the Malabar region positively.
This, along with the growing corruption under the Congress government has caused the spread of discontent the upper and middle-class people. The movement already prevailing among the working class coupled with this new wave of discontent rapidly spreading through the upper and middle class can be seen as the primary cause of the dismal failure of the Congress party all over Kerala in the general elections in 1952 and in the Travancore-Cochin in 1954. But instead of rightfully accepting this reality and allowing the other parties to form the government, the Congress tried mischievous tricks one after another to retain power. As a result of this anti-democratic move, this state is facing a grave political instability. A real solution to this instability is to accept the defeat and allow the oppositions parties to form their government. Instead, the government has established an advisor rule, which means a continuance of the Congress rule.
The Kerala state is being formed against this backdrop. So to build up a democratic and prosperous new Kerala, all patriotic Malayalis must unite and fight against the anti-people policy adopted as pointed out above, by the Congress government.
All the patriots thus united must :
resist together the atrocities, corruption and anti-democratic activities going on under the advisory rule of Travancore –Cochin
– demand the Central Government to form a Kerala State Legislative Assembly at the time of formation of the Kerala State as 1st October. This Assembly must include the present MLA’s of Malabar-Kasargod region and MLA’s of Travancore-Cochin except those of the Tamilnadu provinces.
– demand the Central Government to take necessary steps to establish a government responsible to the Kerala State Legislature on 1st October itself.
– act to form a government making an electoral alliance between left parties, democratically minded individuals and Congressmen who are willing to fight the retrograde policies of the congress so as to obtain a majority in the assembly. These are troubles prevailing for the past 4 to 5 years in the formation of ministries in Travancore-Cochin. It must be feared that it will continue in the Kerala State also. Therefore the alliance should be capable of avoiding such troubles and able to build up a new democratic and prosperous Kerala. The government should be strong enough to implement a minimum programme.
– begin a concerted struggle for controlling the price of consumer goods; for enhancing the wages and salaries of labourers and middle class employees; for obtaining reasonable price for agricultural products; for resisting eviction and for other urgent needs of the common people. The struggle to obtain the urgent needs of the common people has already begun in various parts of Kerala involving different parties on common grounds of locally significant issues. Such solidarity must be developed, elaborated and enriched.
– These are the immediate preliminaries the communist party presents before progressive parties, groups and individuals for building up a new Kerala. The party solicits the co-operation and help of all these people for the fulfillment of these duties.
In this connection, the party wishes to extend a special request to the P.S.P. The Communist Party wishes to remind them the enthusiasm and expectations created in the people drawing the alliance in Malabar made by the Communist Party and this party in this general elections ion 1951-52 and the united front formed by Communist Party, P.S.P. and other left parties in 1954. They must also remember the disappointment befell on the people when this alliance was defeated when this alliance was defeated in the election. Not only in 1954, but even before that the formation of a government for the welfare of people, but uniting the democratic forces of Kerala opposing the anti-democratic policies of the Congress was not achieved due to the anti- Communist trends included in the P.S.P. leadership. No one can deny this historical reality. Whether they will continue this policy in one form or another whether they will contrive strategies to defeat the communist party in Assembly and ministry by trying to demean the place communist part has earned among the public or whether they will try to marginalise communist party and gather other parties and groups against them. These are the questions before the public now. The communist party requests the P.S.P to re-examine their policies to give right answers to these questions. At the same time party greets the P.S.P. friends who try to establish a base for an alliance by re-examining their own policies.
The communist party also wishes to remind R.S.P. to play their role to enforce the P.S.P. to adopt right the policies. The RSP has significant responsibility in the anti-communist policies maintained by the PSP from 1952 onwards. This is because RSP had in the past always accepted the PSP stance not to give the Communist their deserved role.
The communist party requests other left parties democratically- minded individuals and Congress man who fight against the anti-democratic policies of other Congress not to allow to grow within them the anti-Communist policy. So far as the Communist Party is concerned, it will take steps to remove all obstructions to the formation of a government comprising left parties democratically- minded individuals and congressmen who fight against the anti- democratic policies of the congress. In this context, central aims of the party and all activities of the party will be for the success of a public movement and not its own narrow interests.
The communist party presents before the people a minimum programme as a basis for the alliance of left parties, democratically-minded individuals and Congressmen who fight against the anti-democratic policies of the congress, for the formation of a democratic and prosperous new Kerala.
At the same time the party realizes that there will be those who will not totally agree with this. Congressmen who may fully agree with this may think that the Congress government itself can implement this. The Communist Party requests these Congressmen to co-operate with us for other those elements on which we can agree upon.
The party does not think that this programme is a complete one or that it is some thing, which cannot be altered. The party has outlined this programme for the consideration and opinions of all patriotic Malayalis. The party is prepared to bring about necessary changes after obtaining the opinions of the people about this, and opinions gathered as a result of discussion with other parties.
The unity, which we require today, is not one confined in the alliance or adjustability of political parties. The duty to build up a democratic and prosperous new Kerala rests with all the people of Kerala. Therefore, the party appeals to the labourers, farmers, middle-class people intelligentsia, activists of literature, art and culture, women and youth to strengthen and co-ordinate their movements to enable then to be part of a strong mass movement.