Our Viewpoint on Kashmir Question and its Appraisal by the Centrist-Morenoists!

-Rajesh Tyagi/ 15.3.2011
‘the new wave’, in its meeting at Delhi, has come out with a short resolution, re-affirming the position of revolutionary Marxism as against its Stalinist and Maoist distortions, on Kashmir. http://new-wave-nw.blogspot.in/2010/11/resolution-on-present-situation-in.html

However, the group at Pune, now working in solidarity with Morenoist IWL, subsequently has issued a statement, criticising the position of ‘the new wave’, literally echoing the position of Maoists, as embodied in its “unconditional support for the Azadi Movement”.  As their statement goes to show, the Pune group though still claiming to be with ‘the new wave’, in fact has drifted far away from the positions of Trotskyism, embracing centrism, which in our view is no less than outright betrayal of the positions of revolutionary Marxism.

The position of Pune group is pari-materia to the position of Maoists on Kashmir, i.e. “unconditional support for Azadi Movement” led by sections of Kashmiri bourgeois. This stark similarity between the two, is not incidental, but is fallout of a long drawn historic process, in which the Stalinists and Maoists and later the centrists inside the Trotskyist movement, have adapted themselves to the defeats of the world working class in the last century, and stepped away from its movement and perspectives. While Maoism emerged out of such defeats of the proletariat perpetuated by Stalinist policies on the soil of China, Morenoists are its later generation, emerging from the same soil of restabilisation of world capitalism after WW-II and its long drawn dominance, hand in hand with Stalinist bureaucracy in Kremlin.  Instead of relying upon political strength of the working class, for emancipation of the humanity from the rut of capitalism, they have started to look upon the myriad movements of petty bourgeois, e.g. nationality movements, gender, race, and others, as repository of strength for liberation of the working class.
Tragic destiny of Kashmir, long reeling under the boots of armed forces of the Indian state, comprises the core issue of national question in India. In our view, the tragedy of Kashmir is the direct offshoot of suppression of democratic anti-colonial mass movement and the communal partition of India in 1947, in which more than a million perished, and even more than that maimed, displaced, looted and raped.. Needless to say, that this could be done by the British colonialists in active alliance with the national bourgeois and its parties like Congress and Muslim League, and more tragically its express acceptance by the Stalinist Communist Party of India.

It was the abortion of democratic mass movement, which led to carving out of two separate states- a communal Pakistan and a secular India, which has since leaned more and more towards Hindu Chauvinism in last 60 years. Domination of Hindu chauvinism among the Congress leadership from the beginning, led to consolidation of communal muslim elements through Muslim League, resulting in demand of Pakistan, while creation of communal Pakistan, further reinforced the communal hindu forces in India. The apparently hindu chauvinist coloration of Indian State, not only prevents the unity of people on a secular basis, but logically brings the muslim majority regions like Kashmir in friction with it. This is logical destiny of a state in the hands of reactionary bourgeois, which pays only lip service to secularism, but in real employs communalism as instrument for its rule. Sections of local bourgeois, up in arms against the central authority now for their narrow and vested class interests, aspire to find a ground for realisation of these interests through exploitation of these genuine sentiments of the masses.  

Secondly, this ‘Azadi movement’, emanates from rivalry between the bourgeois nation-states of India and Pakistan, due to its special geographic location as a buffer zone between the two. Bourgeois rulers of two countries, are keenly interested in exerting more and more influence upon this buffer zone of Kashmir spread on both sides of the border, and thus of military strategic importance. Various fundamentalist groups in Kashmir today, are closely linked to one or the other sections of Indian or Pakistani bourgeois, which in their turn are linked to camps of Imperialists.
Communal partition of India has given rise to the “Kashmir question” by cutting the Kashmiri people in two as part of the communal division of the subcontinent and by making it the object of the reactionary geo-political rivalry between India and Pakistan. Kashmir has since been turned into a hinterland for this rivalry between the two states, resulting in an omnipresent proxy war, always ready to burst into full scale conflict, with two such encounters at hand, in 1965 and 1971.
Subsequent partition of Pakistan itself in 1971, into East Pakistan (Bangladesh) and West Pakistan, and ferocious communal riots, erupting now and then since 1947, in which innumerable lives, limbs and properties have been lost, are few of many such consequences of the communal partition.
Needless to say that colonial design of communal partition of India, out of which emerges the tragedy of Kashmir, was directly aided by the Stalinist CPI. In fact, Stalinists have played most pernicious role during anti-colonial movement and thereafter. All through the struggle against colonialism, Stalinists have subjected the working class, to the leadership of the bourgeois, thereby preventing it from taking to its own independent class policy and program and through it to the leadership of the national movement. It is In line with this policy of capitulation, the then Stalinist Communist Party of India, had conceded to the colonial design of partition of India. In the name of ‘self-determination’, Stalinists aided the colonial project of partition, instead of calling upon the working class to fight against this joint project of colonialists and national capitalists. By capitulating to the partition, they held back the working class from taking a political offensive against the collaboration of colonial and local capitalists and thereby preventing them from taking to power. This way, they marginalised the proletariat to outskirts of politics and made it trailing behind the bourgeois agenda of partition of the country. Because of this doomed Stalinist policy, working class missed the opportunity of taking to power against the capitalists. This failure of the working class to take power in 1947, facilitated the taking over of power by the bourgeois. Stalinists thus prevented the working class, way back in 1947 and thereafter, from finding practical solution to the problem of nationalities, through abolishing the bourgeois state and its substitution by federation of socialist states in South Asia. Stalinists still continue on sentry duty on outposts of bourgeois fortress, upholding the political positions of bourgeois, i.e. calling for protection of boundaries of bourgeois state. Working people drifting away from the bourgeois rule, followed the Stalinists in millions, but the Stalinists led them back to the bourgeois, every time. Their express support to the communal partition of India, was outright betrayal of the working class.
The two states were carved out in a triangular agreement between the British colonialists, national capitalists and the feudal lords, coupled with armed suppression of the democratic movement of the workers and peasants, like Telangana and Tebhaga, directed against colonialism and feudalism. Carving out Kashmir was part of this colonial roadmap.  
Woes of the Kashmiri people, are direct fallout of this imperialist design of partition of the Indian sub-continent and the forced accession of the state of Kashmir to Union of India, through a settlement between the bourgeois and the feudal rulers of Kashmir. After the WW-II, partition of India was so designed, so as to suit the needs of division of territories in the sub-continent into the zone of influences between the world powers, Stalinists on one side capitalists on the other.
We recognise that, the most genuine democratic aspirations of Kashmiri people have continued to be crushed by the Indian State and through its armed forces it has committed horrific crimes against people of Kashmir. In our view, it is the Indian bourgeois, holding the power at New Delhi, which is primarily responsible for all of the woes of the Kashmiri people. Its repressive regime in Kashmir and a dubious communal policy laced with hindu chauvinist coloration, directed against the muslim minority, is the underlining factor for creation of present tragic situation in Kashmir.
Suppression of all democratic protest against the partition and forced accession of Kashmir at the hands of bourgeois, has left the mass sentiments simmering since then, surfacing now and then in varied forms. Local bourgeois seeks to exploit these genuine sentiments of workers and toilers to its own advantage, through bogus slogans of Azadi.
Our opposition to the bourgeois rule at New Delhi, but in no way means, that the program of sections of the bourgeois in Kashmir- through the much trumpeted ‘Azadi Movement’- could be permitted to derive any legitimacy for itself, out of this appalling situation of Kashmiri people.  In response to the betrayal of the Indian bourgeoisie as a whole and the subsequent failure of its state, its own sections of local bourgeois, cannot present any legitimate alternative to its misrule, from the standpoint of the interests of the working people. The historical experience of 20th Century South Asia has already tragically demonstrated the organic incapacity of the bourgeoisie, all over the subcontinent, to complete the essential tasks of the democratic revolution.
In our view, the question of betrayal of the independence movement by the national bourgeois, and its connivance with imperialism in suppressing the pre 1947 democratic revolution—is the touchstone of the revolutionary proletarian attitude and political policy towards the contemporary nation-state system in South Asia, including the Indian Republic, and practically for towards the unresolved democratic problems of the sub-continent.

But Morenoists do not even remotely touch upon these most significant issues in dealing with Kashmir. Instead of arming the working class and toilers of Kashmir, with the program of permanent revolution, i.e. annulment of partition, through a revolution from below, they declare their unconditional support for the bourgeois agenda- ‘Azadi Movement’ ongoing under the leadership of core communal fractions of the local bourgeois, like  Jamait-e-Islami.  Instead of calling upon the working class to execute its own independent program, Morenoists endow the program of the fraction of the bourgeoisie, the Kashmiri bourgeoisie, with all sorts of progressive potential. The ‘Azadi movement’ which has already taken a virulently communal and religious obscurantist form and is clearly orientated to bourgeois rulers of Pakistan and certain sections of world imperialism, but for Morenoists it can unite the Kashmiri people, achieve genuine national liberation and, open the door to the progressive resolution of the water dispute between the Indian and Pakistani bourgeoisie, and otherwise overcome the legacy of Partition. In doing so, centrist Morenoists, in fact, adapt themselves to this legacy of partition, instead of calling upon the working class to undo it through a revolution from below.
They argue, “ Now, we must consider the strength of the working class and its revolutionary leadership in Kashmir. The first is minimal and the second is non-existent”. 
And from this they deduct the conclusion essentially Menshevik in nature: Working class is too weak to take leadership of the national revolution against the capitalists, so let the capitalists take to the power first and let the working class then learn from its own experiences”. Exactly argue the Morenoists, agreeing with Maoists in their position towards the “Azadi Movement”
This Menshevik viewpoint of Morenoists is the result of their conditioning in the environment of defeats of world proletariat, where instead of fighting to change this environment, centrists have adapted themselves to it. After world capitalism restabilised itself post WW-II, with the aid of Stalin, through which pact both of them strengthened themselves, centrists lost all hopes in independent strength of the working class and took to capitulation in one form or the other. As this period of political lull and defeat continued further, more and more joined the ranks of centrists losing all hopes in world socialist revolution. While they continued to talk in the name of revolution, in fact they followed the lead of bourgeois or their Stalinist lackeys. While Pablo and Mandel, called for open capitulation, others did it in more subtle way by orienting themselves towards the movements of petty bourgeois in different forms of myriad struggles. Morenoists are one of them. They seek the path to socialism not through independent political struggle of the proletariat against the bourgeois, but by following the lead of the bourgeois in national struggle. “Azadi Movement” of Kashmir is such a platform for them to assist the bourgeois in carrying out its mission to take to power.

In exclaiming that the working class is ‘minimal’ in Kashmir, the Morenoists forget that firstly, it is not the numerical strength of working class, but its proximity to the nerve centres of capitalism, that really matters; and secondly it is not the working class of Kashmir, but working class of the world, in whose name we really speak to other sections of the population. In proposing to bypass the working class in Kashmir, non-existent in their view,  Morenoists forget the recent struggles waged by sections of the working class in Kashmir, like those in Transport sector, employees, teachers and others. From this wrong assessment of the working class, they derive the Menshevik conclusion that the struggle against bourgeois cannot be waged except through the direct action of petty bourgeois mass. Like Mensheviks, they too argue that proletariat is weak, therefore its the turn of bourgeois. Their assessment of the strength of working class is too superficial and debased. Amazing is that this they attempt to put in the mouth of Lenin and Trotsky, who continued to fight against this two-stage Menshevik conception of revolution. Now our Morenoists are suggesting this “two-stage revolution” for “Independent Kashmir”.  Proletariat is weak, therefore socialist revolution is out of question and thus let the bourgeois take to power in Kashmir and let the masses learn from their own experience. This hit and trial edition of old Stalinism is the core thought of Morenoists on Kashmir.

True to their origin and politics, Morenoists simply overlook the working class. They take to tail of petty bourgeois leadership of “Azadi Movement” to execute their program of building socialism in independent Kashmir of their dreams.

Inside the Trotskyist movement, the movement of Fourth International, a political struggle, consistent with the fundamentals of revolutionary Marxism, has to be waged under the leadership of our party, against these centrist tendencies like Pabloism and Morenoism, the bearers of bourgeois influence inside the movement of the working class.

National question is important, but not so much for the success of a proletarian revolution, as to dispel the illusions entertained and retained by the Maoists, Morenoists and other centrists, as retained by them in the strength and power of the bourgeois.
Degeneration of centrists becomes abundantly clear, when they say, “If the Kashmiri masses demand full independence and secession from India we support them in this. They must make their own experience of bourgeois national rule”.  What else the Stalinist two-stage theory is about: First let the workers have taste of the rule of capitalists and then it will be our turn! Morenoists claim the same two stage theory, with context altered.

In essence Moreno-ism leads to this: “Let the bourgeois lead and then rule, let the masses go behind the bourgeois, we would go behind the masses”. This tailist policy of centrists itself is the result of loss of faith in the strength of the working class to act independently and for sure against the bourgeois, to fight against it for the leadership of peasantry and the petty bourgeois mass.

While eagerly chasing the lead of the bourgeois, the centrist Morenoists accuse us of making vague references and not bringing sufficient exposition on the role of bourgeois in Kashmir. We have made it clear that the local bourgeois of Kashmir is seeking bigger and independent role for itself against the regime of big bourgeois at New Delhi under the banner of “Azadi”. ‘The big Asian Game’ which Morenoists refuse to understand, has divided the bourgeois of Kashmir in two camps. One looking towards the Indian Bourgeois, while other oriented to the Pakistani bourgeois.

Local bourgeois, i.e. not organically bound to the bourgeois regime at Delhi, is striving to liberate itself from the rule of the big Indian bourgeois and establish its own local rule. And contrary to fantasies of our Maoists and Morenoists, this local rule of bourgeois is not to be and cannot be anything other than an agency of the world bourgeois. Rather, the smaller the nation, the more it is deprived of resources, the more it has to be dependent on world capitalism for survival.

Centrists not only dream of an Independent Kashmir as heaven of humanity, but call for accomplishment of democratic and socialist tasks inside it.

They say this: “The Kashmiri struggle therefore needs to progress uninterruptedly from a democratic one to a socialist one”.
“Aiming as its ultimate goal a Socialist Kashmir! United we stand and divided we fall. This is the principle for any successful movement and for any nation to be successful”.
So after independence of Kashmir from the bad guys at Delhi, our Morenoists would also build socialism inside it. The whole understanding of the centrists just ignores the working class and its great role in the struggle.
They fight the position of ‘the new wave’ which in clear terms has put the question of self-determination in Kashmir from the perspective of International working class, saying in unambiguous terms that the “Azadi Movement” in Kashmir is not only dominated by communal overtones but is inseparably bound to sections of Imperialists. Its aims are not libertarian as against the domination of imperialism, but it ventures for a new and direct deal with world capitalism.
Morenoists not only call upon  the ‘masses’ to follow the lead of the local bourgeois its parties like Jamait- E- Islami,  dominating the “Azadi Movement”  but proclaim their unconditional support to the bourgoeis to establish an independent Kashmiri statelet under their domination. Only advice they impart to local bourgeois is that such state cannot be carved out unless they unite all communities irrespective of religious identity.
No interest of the proletariat lies in carving out such state. On the contrary, the bigger the state, the greater the strength of the proletariat and consequently, brighter the possibilities of revolution, and its sustenance.  The petty bourgeois program of Morenoists however suggests secession of Kashmir. The program of Morenoists leads to this conclusion, absurd both politically and historically: ‘A socialist Kashmir between Capitalist India and Pakistan’. Morenoists merely echo the program of Maoists, and accuse the Trotskyists on the same plank.
Morenoists pledge to go where the masses would go! Instead of preparing the advanced sections of the working class to lead the petty bourgeois mass, Morenoists suggest the working class to go behind the petty bourgeois mass. Putting the cart before the horse!
We call upon the proletariat in Kashmir to arm itself with the revolutionary program of annulment of partition of India, under whose axe today’s Kashmir became a casualty, and this through a mighty proletarian revolution directly against all sections of bourgeois, in forcible overthrow of their power. This program of course runs into direct conflict with the common program of Maoists and Morenoists who proceed from an absolutely wrong  premises that proletariat is too weak to take to power and thus it must give way to domination and rule of bourgeois. To do this, both Maoists and Morenoists, substitute the abstract ‘masses’ for the ‘working class’ and just ignore it to take to the petty bourgeois.
So far as the position of revolutionary Marxists qua the question of self determination is concerned, it is never determined by the attitude of ‘masses’ as Morenoists say, rather they are subordinate to the objective interest of the proletariat.  Marxists supported the national freedom movements only so far as they fought for independence from Imperialist domination, and were directed against it. That phase of national movements has gone far back in history, never to return, and national bourgeois since then has exhausted all its steam. Today, the sections of bourgeois are not fighting for independence from Imperialism, but in collaboration with it. The sections of the local bourgeois in Kashmir, in leadership of the “Azadi Movement” are bound with the sections of imperialists. They are mere pawns and proxies in the “Asian Big Game”. Morenoists recognise this change in international conditions, but just to slip away in the next breath, without drawing any conclusions: “However, over time the original demand for plebiscite has lost some of its relevance owing to changes both nationally and internationally”.  But they miserably fail to dwell upon these changes and to draw any conclusions from them. These essential changes are: the omnipotent domination of world capitalism and resulting impotence of the national bourgeois. And the only valid conclusion which can be drawn from it is that the national movements have lost all their role and vigour. But our Morenoists are shy of drawing conclusions from their own statements.
We made it clear, in our earlier statement, that we give unconditional support to the ‘right of nations to self-determination, even upto secession’, but only the “right”. In exercise of that right we are always guided by the general interest of the proletariat and as no interest of the proletariat are served by carving out an independent Kashmir, so we say to the proletariat that its historic mission would not be achieved through secession but through revolution. Instead of demanding a separate statelet, we call upon the kashmiri and non-kashmiri proletariat to unite in its struggle to overthrow the bourgeois rule and thereby undo the partition.
So far as aspirations of workers and toilers of Kashmir are concerned, it is beyond the capacity of any bourgeois state, local or federal, to fulfil them. These aspirations can only be fulfilled by an overthrow of the power of the bourgeois, forthwith annulment of the partition of country of 1947-48, and establishment of a socialist federation of South Asian countries, under the dictatorship of working class. This can only be achieved through a revolution from below under the leadership of the proletariat.
Aspirations of the Kashmiri working and toiling people are no different than that of the other workers and toilers of India and the world. Capitalism is oppressing the workers and toilers everywhere, but the leaders of the “Azadi Movement” are oblivious to this oppression, they don’t even mention it. They have no purpose or program to abolish this oppression of working millions. On the contrary, they seek the licence to such oppression, by having the reigns of independent Kashmir in their hands. Independent Kashmir, in the hands of local bourgeois would be no different than the present Kashmir.
Contrary to perception of Morenoists, the real issue here is not of supporting or opposing the demand of “Azadi”. By making the bourgeois agenda of “Azadi” pivotal point of all politics in Kashmir, Morenoists fall in trap of petty bourgeois. They present themselves as passive responder to the program of petty bourgeois, instead of advancing the independent program of the proletariat and thereby prevent the sections of working class in Kashmir from realising that their destiny is inseparably bound with that of the working class as a whole, and to its victory over the class of bourgeois as a whole, conquest of political power against them, and not with their local bourgeois.
The tailist politics of Morenoists and Maoists in Kashmir, is bogus to the core as it throws the proletariat bound hand and foot to the sections of the bourgeois. Its our bounden duty to educate the proletariat of Kashmir that the bourgeois agenda of “Azadi” is illusory and must expose the real class interest behind it, instead of asking the working class to capitulate to it, and then leave it to learn from its own experience. This is real mockery of Trotskyism!
Drawing a mechanical corollary for the national question from experience of Russia and China, Morenoists forget that there is no dominating nationality in Union of India, even similar to that of Great Russian nationality in Russia or the Han nationality in China.
Further, In drawing a parallel between the pre-47’ independence movement of India and the ‘Azadi’ movement of Kashmir, Morenoists have demonstrated their political bankruptcy, their inability to understand the abc of history and politics. They fail to understand that while the pre-47’ independence movement, despite all reactionary attributes of its bourgeois leadership, still tended in the main to unite all communities, ethnicities and castes against colonialists, after 60 years continuous decline of bourgeois since then, the ‘Azadi’ movement of Kashmir retains no progressive elements, but proposes to divide people on communal lines, openly collaborating with sections of imperialists.
The Islamic fundamentalists, at the head of the ‘Azadi Movement’ who are backed by one section of Imperialists, are drawing a wedge between proletariat and the toiling masses on communal (hindu-muslim) basis, thereby preventing the union of workers and toilers uniting and rising in revolt against imperialists and their national lackeys. This clearly goes to show that the Azadi movement does not base itself upon unity, but outright division of the masses of workers and toilers. Again, this Azadi movement has no program against imperialism. It is all set to carve out a capitalist state, rather a fundamentalist one, under the leadership of local bourgeois. It does not intend to extricate Kashmir from imperialist network, but to more closely integrate with it, albeit directly, bypassing the big bourgeois.
 “Azadi” movement in Kashmir has a clear reactionary fundamentalist edge, which ensures it beforehand that in any case the unfortunate event of so called “independence” of Kashmir, would result in immense tragedy dragging the minority communities to a bloodbath in Kashmir.
The attempts made to free it from manipulation by the major imperialist powers, and the struggle of the Marxists to unite workers of all ethnic and religious backgrounds to establish a socialist federation—have an immense and immediate significance in Kashmir.
In supporting the making of the Kashmiri statelet, Morenoists overlook the historic fact that the stage of formation of independent national states has gone far back in history and has become historically and politically obsolete. With general decline of national capitalism, the demand for secession of nationalities has lost all progressive edge and political steam, being of no help for development of productive forces of capitalism within the national boundaries. Thus to demand, today, a national state or secession of nationality from India is politically reactionary to the core and historically outdated. Such demand, thus, must be opposed by the working class.
Finally, Marxist strategy and tactics, on national question, are guided, not by fixed formulas, but by live political interests of the proletariat, which it is always subordinate to. Against the proposal of a bourgeois state, under the command of core Islamic fundamentalist formations, closely bound up with sections of imperialists, we call upon the Kashmiri proletariat to oppose the movement of Azadi, tooth and nail and instead raise high the banner of its own independent program, the program of revolutionary Marxism, the program of Permanent Revolution. It must demand, without reservation, immediate withdrawal of armed forces from Kashmir, end to special black laws imposed by the central government and release of all political prisoners.
Stand of Morenoists that they would support the secession of Kashmir from Union of India, even if it results in a capitalist state or it goes with an imperialist power, is flawed political position, devoid of all substance in Marxist theory and practice. No Marxist can play a midwife, in any case, in formation of a Islamist-bourgeois state, adherent to imperialist powers.  Even their fantasy of a socialist Kashmir, between the capitalist states of India and Pakistan, is nothing but a political mockery.
Real preaching of Morenoists to the proletariat is to march under the leadership of its own bourgeois, against the foreign elements, rest is phrase mongering and lip service to the revolution. Absolutely lost and disoriented themselves, Morenoists accuse us of not specifying the tasks in Kashmir. 
In their zeal however to declare themselves for the program of “Azadi” a through and through bourgeois program, centrists let everything forget. They forget that they have volunteered to raise the flag of Marxism. They rush direct to the arms of bourgeois, pledging a happy union with it.

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