NEW DELHI: Time was when the cadres and sympathizers of the communist Party of India (Marxist) considered it an honor to pay a tithe to the party funds. Old timers proudly made do with a pittance by way of subsistence allowance from the party But he country’s biggest Left force has come to acknowledge that times have changed.

Faced with resistance from the ranks the party has decided to reduce the rates of the party levy on the incomes of members and sympathizers. Besides It has old the State units to increase the abysmally low honoraria paid to its filaments

Worried over the fall in the number of youngsters accurate 19 the panty the CPM leadership is now talking about the “material needs” of the cadres a tacit acknowledgment that no army even revolutionary army marches on empty stomachs

That should be good news for party old timers many of whom have sacrificed lucrative careers to work for the organization and live in party offices and communes. The late M. Basavapunnalah one of the tars of the CPM lived in a one-room tenement on the premises of the Party Central Committee at 14 Ashoka Road

At the same time the party has expressed its concern at the disinclination of many its legislators to pay the pany levy. The salary of legislators right now goes to the Party funds and they are paid a far a of honorarium depending on whether they are members of legislatures of Parliament.

Article XX (5) of the CPM constitution states specifically “Salaries and allowances drawn by communist legislators and local body members are considered to be party money.”

They party tithe is in slabs starting with20 paise on a monthly income of Rs 100 and going up to Rs 20.70 for an income of Rs 1000.

Beyond Rs 1000 it is Rs 20.70 plus five percent for any additional income. While that is the base rate many members in the higher income bracket pay much more voluntarily But given the rising prices there is increasing declination on the part of the members to pay the levy and the leadership acknowledged that fact in its report on the organization tasks presented to the 14th congress of the party in Madras early this year. “The report from the states shows that in practice that levy rate is not being paid by a majority of the party members in many states… There is resistance to the full Realization of levy as per the rates set out by the CC (Central Committee)…It is hard reality that the levy rates are observed more in breach of the CC rates and ad herence to these rates is the exception.”

 The resistance to paying the rates was more pronounced among the industrialized and white collar middle “income groups the back bone of the party.

In the light of the resistance the leadership has acceded to the demand by many units to cut down the levy rates and is working out A new rate structure which it pointed out should be enforced “strictly”

While obliquely acknowledging that the increasing economic privation that militates against paying a party levy by members the party  however declared in the report. The payment of levy is not just a source of income for the party.

It embodies the consciousness and outlook of the party members who must be prepared to sacrifice and contribute a part of their earnings for the sake of the party.

The CPM has pulled up the units for giving less attention to the welfare of the party old timers.

Article extracted from this publication >> May 1, 1992