In a scathing self-criticism of its failures in the last few years, the CPM has admitted its inability to expand, its dropping and ageing membership, slowness in its social media campaign and shortcomings in organising national or local campaigns.
This is part of a draft political organisational report, yet to be made public and accessed by The Indian Express. The draft, which will be discussed in the ongoing six-day party congress, says the “inescapable conclusion is that there is a decline in the mass-base of the party”. “The party has been unable to advance as this is reflected in the poor election results. It reflects the failure to expand its political influence, increase its organisational strength and develop its mass base, especially among the basic classes.”
The party admits its failure to rally large numbers for its campaigns. “The party has been able to rally only a small section of party members and mass. Enough effort was not made to reach wider sections and rally them in programmes. Propaganda work organised among the people was very weak,” the draft says. For agitations and struggles on local issues, the draft report says there was a “failure to identify the immediate or local issues on which masses will respond in a big manner”.
It also criticises the leadership in states for their reluctance to take up social issues. “There is reluctance on the part of the leadership in many states to take up social issues of the socially oppressed sections of the people. The negative attitude of the leadership in some states is creating hindrance in taking up social issues and rallying socially oppressed sections,” the report says, calling for a review of the attitude of leaders.
About dropping membership, it says, “The high percentage of droppage shows organisation weaknesses such as loose recruitment, inactivity of the party members and branches, low political-ideological level, weaknesses in educating party member etc.”
The party has also identified an “ageing of party membership”, which it says shows “young people are not coming forward to join the party”. According to the report, only 6.5 per cent of party members are under the age of 25, and only 13.6 percent are in the age group 26-31, as against nearly 50 per cent in the age group 32-50 and 27 per cent between 50 and 70. “The has adverse impact on activities of the party,” the report says.
It notes there is no “substantial improvement in women composition” and that women composition in higher committees is “poor”.
About its approach to social media, the party has admitted it was “late in recognising the importance of these new forms of communication” and that “there is yet to be any effort to intervene in debates that are going on in social media platforms”.
The draft report, which calls for “streamlining” the work of the party centre, politburo and central committee and strengthening the party centre, says the “political ideological level of party members is low”. It admits that “in the case of large section of party members, there is not much qualitative difference between the members of the party and the sympathisers and supporters.” It cites “an extreme mismatch between the social composition of the total party members and the composition of the higher committees in some states”.
The report notes that though the 20th party congress and a midterm review report called for a rectification campaign, “there is no substantial change in the overall situation”.
The draft report, prepared on the basis of work reports of state committees, is not exhaustive since the party plans to hold a special plenum to discuss organisational issues later this year.