Socialist Party’s Pledge at 4th National Convention, Lucknow (14-15 November 2016)
The policies of globalisation, liberalisation and privatisation being implemented in the country over the last more than two decades have pushed the Indian economy into a deep external and internal crisis. The external debt of the country has crossed a record $480 billion. To entice foreign investors into the country, the 'swadeshi' BJP is surrendering to their conditionalities. Even defence and railways are being thrown open to foreign investors; it has quietly dropped its opposition to FDI in retail sector, which will destroy the livelihoods of crores of small retailers; steps are being taken to privatise the financial sector and hand over control of lakhs of crores of rupees of people's savings to speculators; it is bending over backwards to meet US objections to India's nuclear liability law. Even our independent defence policy is being jettisoned and military agreements are being signed with the US that will make India into a subordinate military ally of the Americans.
The country is now being run only for the profiteering of giant foreign and Indian corporations. On the one hand, the government is giving tax concessions to the rich and writing of their bank loans to the tune of lakhs of crores of rupees, as well as handing over control of our infrastructural and financial sectors and our mineral resources to big private foreign and Indian corporations for their plunder. Throwing all democratic norms to the winds, laws are being modified to enable state governments to drive out people from their lands and forests, and hand them over to big corporations for exploiting mineral resources, or for building giant infrastructural projects, big dams, elite housing projects and so on.
And on the other hand, the government is implementing policies that have drastically affected the livelihoods of crores of common people. As it is, the employment situation in the country was precarious, with less than 10% of the total jobs available in the economy being formal jobs where workers have some legal rights and job security. To enable corporations to maximise their profits, the government is now demolishing labour laws so that businesses can eliminate even these limited formal workers and replace them with contract workers, hire and fire them at will, pay them rock bottom wages and force them to work for 10-14 hours without paying overtime wages. Even in the unorganised sector, job creation has considerably slowed down. Livelihood of workers in each and every sector, from fish-workers to farmers, from weavers to garbage workers to daily wage labourers, is being adversely affected by neoliberal policies. Thus, in agriculture, public investment is falling; both input subsidies and output support to farmers are being drastically cut; farmers are finding it difficult to access loans from banks at subsidised rates, pushing them into clutches of moneylenders – all these policies have pushed the farming sector into such deep crisis that more than 3 lakh farmers have committed suicide over the past two decades. It is this worsening of the unemployment crisis due to two decades of globalisation policies that is at the root of the massive mobilisation of Jats in Haryana, Patels in Gujarat and now the Marathas in Maharashtra.
As it is, the Indian government's social sector expenditures were very low; as a part of the neoliberal reforms the present government is now further reducing them. It is because of these low welfare expenditures of the government that the majority of the people in the cities are forced to live in subhuman conditions in slums. The sharp cuts being made in government spending on education, and the resulting privatisation and commercialisation of education, has led to school and college fees going through the roof, pushing education beyond the reach of the vast majority of the population. The destruction of our public health system has made India the disease capital of the world. Steps are being taken to even eliminate our ration system (PDS) whose aim was to keep food prices in check and provide essential food grains to the country's starving millions at subsidised prices.
Taking advantage of the worsening economic crisis, the BJP had launched a huge propaganda campaign during elections to the 16th Lok Sabha held in April-May 2014, promising the people ‘acche din’, and swept the elections. However, after coming to power, the Modi government is implementing the very same policies of capitalist globalisation, only at a much faster pace and in a blind manner. What is new, and of even more serious concern, is that the RSS/BJP are simultaneously implementing a regressive communal fascist agenda to transform the secular India into a ‘Hindu Rashtra’ of their dream.
In order to promote unscientific, obscurantist mentality even in the field of education and research persons with RSS leanings are being appointed as heads of all important academic-cultural-research institutions. Education is being communalised. Simultaneously, the RSS/BJP have launched a vicious offensive to attack all ideologies and progressive forces that can challenge their fanatic Hindutva agenda in the name of a false nationalism. Even more serious and divisive are pronouncements by RSS/BJP leaders valorising Nathuram Godse, the killer of Mahatma Gandhi. There is no doubt that it is this atmosphere of hatred and intolerance being created by the RSS/BJP that have given birth to the fanatic goons who are responsible for the cowardly killings of Dr. Narendra Dabholkar, Comrade Govind Pansare and Prof. M.M. Kalburgi.
The present spectre in the country proves that neo-liberalism and fascism are twin brothers; the former creates the ground for the latter, and the latter by its rejection of the principles of democracy, makes it possible for corporate houses to continue with their accelerated profit accumulation despite the worsening economic crisis. This global capitalist model of development is pushing underdeveloped countries like India into deep economic and social crisis and also the world towards an unprecedented global ecological crisis.
It is at this critical juncture, when:
^ Policies of capitalist globalisation have pushed the country into an unprecedented economic crisis;
^ RSS/BJP are threatening the very conception of India as a socialist, secular and democratic republic as enshrined in the Constitution of India; and
^ Earth is facing an environmental emergency that is endangering most species on the planet, including our own -
We, the delegates to the 4th National Convention of the Socialist Party (India) resolve to
*Establish an alternative socialist model of development focussing on village level agro-industries and small scale industries which provides decent and well paid jobs to unemployed youth;
*Local people's control over resources and planning under the doctrine of Chaukhamba Raj (Four Pillar State) propounded by Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia;
*Defend agriculture from capitalist-imperialist onslaught and promotion of innovative methods of agriculture based on sustainable and environment friendly approach/policies; we oppose GM foods;
*Fight against privatisation and commercialisation of education; we stand for an education system that provides compulsory, common, equitable and truly good quality education to all children/students from KG to PG by the state; we stand for an education policy that promotes scientific and secular approach in order to inculcate values of democracy, secularism, gender equality and elimination of caste in students;
* Oppose FDI in the Defence and pursue an independent defence policy in order to combat neo-imperialism;
*Fight against the ongoing privatisation of public sector corporations and public sector financial corporations and pension funds;
*Support the ongoing struggles of the workers unions against government attempts to weaken labour laws and extend our support to their 12 point charter of demands including decent minimum wage, inflation-indexed minimum wage and abolition of contractualisation of labour as voiced during the recent all-India strike on September 2, 2016;
*Extend support to all peoples’ struggles taking place across the country, whether it be people fighting against destructive nuclear and coal fired power plants, or people fighting against land acquisition for industrial corridors or giant infrastructural projects without their consent and without adequate compensation and rehabilitation, or farmers fighting for more government support for agriculture, or people fighting against violation of human rights and civil liberties, or people fighting against the atrocities on vulnerable sections such as dalits, tribals, minorities, women, children;
*Struggle for a health care policy that reverses the present privatisation of health care and provide easily affordable and good quality health care to all people as a right;
*Put pressure on the Indian government to renegotiate its external debt with earlier colonial powers and demand that it be written off, and instead demand compensation for 200 years of British colonial rule that has crippled our economy;
*Work for building a casteless and genuinely secular society;
*Struggle for building a society wherein women and men are genuinely equal.
Thus Stands the Socialist Party
Upholding Brotherhood and Equality