Resurrect the BLPI! Resurrect the 4th International!!
Organise Around the Workers' Socialist Party !
Around the Program of 'Permanent Revolution' !!
The time was long overdue for the working class in India, to open a new page in its history- for the development of a genuine revolutionary party, as part of the world party of the proletariat. In founding the WSP, the vanguard elements in the working class have taken a definite turn to the movement of Fourth International, to base their struggles decisively on the program of 'Permanent Revolution'.
Purpose of our program is to arm the workers and youth with a revolutionary perspective rooted in the invaluable lessons of victories and defeats of the world working class in the last century and thereby to re-orient them towards an implacable struggle for socialism, since carried out under the banner of Fourth International with battle cry for permanent revolution, against Stalinist and Maoist degeneration of the socialist movement.
This, in turn, pre-supposes waging of consistent political war not only upon the overt enemies of the working class, namely bourgoeis nationalism and liberalism, but also against its covert enemies: Social democracy, Stalinism, Maoism, Centrism and Petty bourgeois radicalism, who have repeatedly betrayed the cause of socialism and have assisted the bourgeois to re-stabilise its power again and again in the last century.
Domination of the World by Imperialism, Continues...
Purpose of our program is to arm the workers and youth with a revolutionary perspective rooted in the invaluable lessons of victories and defeats of the world working class in the last century and thereby to re-orient them towards an implacable struggle for socialism, since carried out under the banner of Fourth International with battle cry for permanent revolution, against Stalinist and Maoist degeneration of the socialist movement.
This, in turn, pre-supposes waging of consistent political war not only upon the overt enemies of the working class, namely bourgoeis nationalism and liberalism, but also against its covert enemies: Social democracy, Stalinism, Maoism, Centrism and Petty bourgeois radicalism, who have repeatedly betrayed the cause of socialism and have assisted the bourgeois to re-stabilise its power again and again in the last century.
Domination of the World by Imperialism, Continues...
With immense developments in science and technology, especially since the innovation of the microchip, integrated circuit and computers, the proliferation of the material productive forces, has achieved the peaks, sufficient to ensure not only complete abolition of poverty and scarcity, but a very decent living for each and everyone on the earth, with abundance of material means and abolition of all physical labour, paving the way for the flowering of culture at much higher echelons, for the mankind.
But, instead, conditions of life are deteriorating for the working class and other toiling people; and human culture, deprived of perspective and hope for the future, is in acute crisis.
The hurdle is the global economic system based on private ownership of the means of production, and the irrational division of the world into rival nation-states- the system which we know as Imperialism. The system of Imperialism, the world capitalism, arrests the productive forces through its age old production relations, and impedes the way of advance towards a socialist society.
Imperialism has developed on the economic foundations of Capitalism. As a system of socio-economic organization, capitalism long ago exhausted its historically progressive role. Both, the Capitalism and the Imperialism, since long in decay, could produce nothing but poverty, violence, exploitation and sufferings for humanity.
Environment, the very lifeline for mankind, is one of the casualties of this decaying system, in the form of global warming, and frequent calamities and alienation of the man from the nature as a whole. Entire human civilization is threatened by the crude profit oriented misuse of the natural wealth and resources, by the inhuman, irrational and obsolete economic order of Imperialism. An irreconcilable conflict has thus arisen between the profit based system of Imperialism and the existence of humanity.
All efforts and promises to resolve this crisis within the confines of the capitalism, and to raise the standards of life, go in vain, in the face of anarchy of the market, which holds sway over everything else. This anarchy stems out of the system of private ownership of the means of production, which knows nothing except the imperatives of the system of profiteering.
The Critical Phase of Imperialism
We live in a very advanced and critical phase of the development of Imperialism. After globalisation of Commodity and Finance Capital, it is the Productive Capital which continues to globalise, integrating the production processes, scattered all over the globe, under the conditions and general environment of Imperialism.
New capitalist alliances and trusts, in the shape of giant corporations, have already become a dominant force in world economy and politics. With colossal resources at their disposal, these capitalist corporations have already subjugated the national governments to themselves, both in advanced and backward countries of the world. Divided among the nation states and dominated by these giant corporations, this is how the world remains shaped at present. The conflict between the old production relation of capitalism based upon private property and nation state system and the globally integrating productive forces, constitutes the chief motive force of revolution in our times. The fundamental pre-requisites for a world socialist revolution, thus have emerged and exist.
The world in our times, in its imperialist stage, marked by global integration of production and finance, on an unprecedented scale, though, continues to grow with utmost rapidity and at highest pace in the history, but with more and more attending symptoms of its overall decay and stagnation. On the one hand, is taking place the most comprehensive socialisation of production, while on the other, consumption continues to be private, entrenched as the system of imperialism remains in private property and nation state. This socialisation of production has already laid the foundations for the development of a socialist economy, while the old production relations reflected in private property and the nation state, put fetters on this process of socialisation.
The Permanent Crisis of Capitalism
The present age of global integration of the capitalist production and finance, is the age of monopoly capitalism, which has already eliminated competition from all major branches of the industry. Manuevring, bloodshed and violence has been substituted everywhere for the open competition.
Capitalist Monopolies, Trusts, TNCs and MNCs, having gigantic resources at their disposal have already occupied everything on the earth, giving rise to a world fully divided among them.
The world economy is characterised today, on the one hand by global integration of capital (commodity, finance and production), while on the other this very integration of the production has produced an International working class, the most revolutionary class among the history of mankind, the real gravedigger of world capitalism.
The Imperialist globalisation, however, instead of softening the contradictions of old capitalism, has resulted in immense conflagration of these conflicts. Given the unequal development of the world, this globalisation has resulted on the one hand in unprecedented growth of economies in backward countries, while on the other in huge devastation of peasant masses in backward countries and simultaneous lowering of wages of workers in advanced countries.
The claim that the capitalist market is the infallible allocator of resources and the supremely wise arbiter of social needs stands utterly discredited amidst the endless series of speculative scandals and multi-billion dollar bankruptcies that have rocked the world economic system during the whole span of the last century.
The advent of Nineteenth century and of the modern Imperialism with it, found the world capitalism in acute crisis, which directly led to World War-I among the great powers. The crisis was the outcome of insoluble and profound conflict between the globally integrating economy and the old structures of nation states, which found themselves unable to accommodate the expanding economic forces. The WW-I, but cannot resolve the conflicts and resulted in acute economic crisis and the historic depression of 1929. All efforts made to resolve the crisis went in vain, and the tensions directly led to the WW-II. The Bretton Woods agreements entered in 1944, curtailing the free movement of finance, resting upon the gold backing of the dollar as standard world currency at the rate of $35, per ounce of gold, guaranteed by the US, also collapsed in 1971, after US backed out from guarantees, as the foreign reserves of dollars had exceeded its gold reserves, leading to another huge crisis and consequent devastation.
After several decades of flirting with Keynesian projects of welfare economics, when the globalising tendencies were blocked artificially through a series of economic and political factors, the world capital since 1973, has resumed, its trajectory, that it had taken to before 1914.
With the fall of Stalinist Bureaucratic regimes in 1991, the world had entered into a new phase of complete domination and division of the world among the financial big powers and capitalist Corporations, and once again the old regime of free flow of the capital around the world resumed at much more greater pace than ever before, without any barricades and without interruptions. The consequences will be more explosive.
World Economy and the Nation States
The globally integrated production and the world economy as a whole, run through the participation and co-operation of the entire human race, is demonstrative of the fact that the production has become completely socialised. In stark contrast to the socialised production, the consumption still remains private. This conflict, generates immense tensions inside the economic, social and political regime of capitalism. The elimination of free competition and emergence of monopolies instead, has not reduced these tensions, rather has raised them to the optimum.
While the economic system operates on a global scale, with industry and finance controlled by transnational corporations, the structures of capitalism still remain rooted in a system of nation-states. In the final analysis, the national state serves as a base of operations from which the ruling class of each country pursues its interests on the world stage.
While the World economy represents the ever expanding productive forces, the nation-state represents the private property and the bourgeois power. While the world economy represents the spread and growth of the productive forces, the nation state remains the very basis of the rule of the bourgeois and the private property. While the productive forces, more and more overstep the national boundaries, the capitalism as a whole remains rooted in the nation state.
This conflict between the rapidly growing productive forces, prime among them the labour and capital, and the old production relations grounded in private property and the nation-state, has been the chief and real cause behind the two world wars in the last century. Both the world wars however failed to resolve this contradiction, rather have deepened it.
This left a void for a permanent conflagration of the world political situation in which the innumerable low intensity wars, are preparing the ground for a third world war. Humanity, already bearing the brunt of these ongoing armed conflicts, from Palestine to Iraq and Afghanistan, lives under the constant danger of a most devastating catastrophe, i.e. the looming prospects of a third world war.
This left a void for a permanent conflagration of the world political situation in which the innumerable low intensity wars, are preparing the ground for a third world war. Humanity, already bearing the brunt of these ongoing armed conflicts, from Palestine to Iraq and Afghanistan, lives under the constant danger of a most devastating catastrophe, i.e. the looming prospects of a third world war.
The nation state though has lost all the economic ground under its feet, yet continues as a formidable politico-military machine in the service of different groups of the bourgeois, organised on national basis. The capital, how much it may globalise, is not capable to do away with old production relations based on nation state and private property. It is the working class, the most revolutionary among the productive forces in our times, which is capable to accomplish the historical task of overturning these worn-out institutions based on old production relations.
Imperialism, the regime based on the foundations of world capitalism, and oriented towards the sole aim of mincing profits- survives through massive and continuous destruction of the productive forces. These productive forces had long ago outgrown the limited boundaries of their respective nation-states, depriving the nation-state and its institutions from their economic legitimacy. Disaggregating from the nation state, and spreading over the ever new regions of the globe, the productive forces, tend to integrate more and more strongly on a global scale.
The narrow confines of the system of nation states, inside of whose shell the productive forces of capitalism, had grown once, no more fit with the colossal growth and the drive for global integration of these productive forces. Its structures, no more capable to contain and accommodate the new productive forces, have lost all relevance and continue to decay.
The productive forces have long ago overstepped the precincts of nation state and their continuous integration on global scale, has dislocated the economic basis of the nation state system. The old compartmentalisation of the globe into the system of nation states, has become a reactionary phenomenon, a dead wood and a fetter upon the process of global integration of productive forces. In the face of global march of productive forces, the old structures of capitalism, the nation state rooted in private property, continue to rot and with it everything related to these nation states, decays and stagnates.
Alongside the colossal destruction of the surplus productive forces, which they fail to accommodate, the imperialist nation-states, simultaneously strive to seek an extension of their economic influence outside of their own geographic boundaries, upon alien territories, to accommodate these forces. This ambition of the capitalists, to overcome the territorial restriction, imposed by the nation state, is the chief source of conflicts and wars among the nations. Not only the bourgeois of imperialist countries compete with each other and oppress the backward countries to gain and extend their influence over them, but the bourgeois of backward countries also compete among themselves to gain favour with imperialist countries, and for attracting investments and credits from the pool of world capital. This unrelenting, endless and blind race of world bourgeois, for profits, results in wars and massive violence. Imperialism toady lives through these wars and violence, which have become an almost permanent phenomenon.
World Capitalism: The Fountainhead of Wars, Violence and Terrorism
The blood drenched history of capitalism all through the last century, is full of wars, violence, destruction and devastation of working people. The number of victims claimed by capitalist-inspired violence runs into the hundreds of millions. And this figure does not include the consignment of the peoples of entire continents to unrelenting poverty, with all its attendant miseries.
The uncontrollable drive of the main imperialist states – including, first and foremost, the United States – for geo-political dominance, spheres of influence, markets, control of vital resources, and access to cheap labor, is the fountainhead for innumerable wars, both overt and covert and ever continuing violence in our times.
In this context, the war on terror so trumpeted by the Imperialists, is nothing but a redress of their war policy emanating from the never satiating hunger of the Imperialists for more and more profits, and a bogus pretext for subjugating the weaker nations to them, and for eliminating all resistance to their policies.
We are in open and unqualified support of the right of the people to defend them against the Imperialists, through whatever means at their disposal, but we caution against the use of terrorist methods as a strategy proposed for revolutionary change. Instead of aiding it, terrorism undermines the struggle and unity of the working class. Terrorism is the resort for desperate petty-bourgeois, which has no faith in the strength of the working class. Terrorism, in whatever form, is not the path of the proletariat, as its methods remain counter-productive to the revolutionary mobilisation of the masses for a real overturn.
October Revolution and the Rejuvenation of Imperialism
The voyage of the Imperialist globalisation was cut halfway, by the mighty tide of the October Socialist Revolution, at the start of this century. With the Great October Proletarian Revolution, the world had ushered into a new historical era- the era of Proletarian Revolutions. The October Revolution fired the first shot, while the Comintern, the world party of the proletariat, vowed to wipe out capitalism from the face of the earth.
The working class, has since then, put up innumerable heroic battles against its enemies and has made great sacrifices in them, but for the repeated betrayals of its leadership the fight could not be raised to a revolutionary overturn of world capitalism. First, the Social-Democracy and then Stalinism, alongwith their different national variants like Maoism, betrayed the cause of the working class and virtually assisted the decaying and crisis ridden capitalism, in complete destruction of the world revolutionary wave. They held back the working class, assisted in infliction of defeat after defeat upon it, and through its defeats, helped the world capitalism to take a sigh of relief and re-stabilise itself. The Social Democrats, Stalinists and Maoists have a common nationalist orientation and are virulent enemies of Proletarian Internationalism and the World Socialist Revolution. They owe the liability for rejuvenation of the world capitalism from its death bed and its survival for about a century.
The innumerable betrayals of the last century, first of social democracy resulting in the defeats of revolutions in Germany, Hungary, Austria, and resultant isolation of the revolution in Soviet Union, and then the emergence and victory of bureaucracy in it under Stalin, usurpation of the authority of Comintern by Soviet Bureaucracy, physical elimination of entire old guard of the CPSU, revival of Menshevik Stagist theory of revolution leading to destruction of revolutions in China and Spain, proclaimed abandoning of the project of world proletarian revolution to appease the world bourgeois, resort to the nationalist regressive project of ‘Socialism in one Country’, and finally the zig-zag opportunist track first towards ‘social-fascism’ alienation from social-democratic workers and then ‘popular frontism’, i.e. collaborating with the bourgeois, the eternal enemy of the proletariat, leading to the rise and stabilisation of Hitler in Germany, prepared the ground for the destruction of the proletarian revolutionary current and paved the way for a takeover of the world once again by Imperialists leading to the devastations of World War-II, and then consequent re-stabilisation of capitalism on world arena.
The Second International, had already lost its image and role due to betrayal of Social-Democracy on the eve of WW-I, as it turned to Social-Chauvinism. The Third International (Comintern), founded by Lenin and Trotsky at the dawn of Great October Proletarian Revolution, in a short span, degenerated under Stalin, revealing itself into a collaborator with world capitalism. The Fourth International, founded by Leon Trotsky, after destruction of the working class movement at the hands of Fascists in Germany, carried out implacable struggle against Stalinist bureaucracy and the degeneration of the third international at its hands.
The twentieth century had opened with acute crisis of capitalism leading to the first World War, followed shortly by the October Revolution, under the leadership of Lenin and Trotsky. This was followed by temporary setbacks to world proletariat in Europe after it failed to take power in Germany and then Hungary. However, it was under the stranglehold of Stalinist Comintern that the Proletariat was completely destroyed, first in China (1925-27), then in Germany (1932) and then in Spain (1938). On the back of this destruction, the world capitalism, re-stabilised it through the WW-II and achieved its final conquest in the start of a new phase of neo-liberalism and globalisation.
Capitalism survived the 20th century not because objective conditions were insufficiently mature for socialism, but rather because the leadership of the mass working class parties was “insufficient” for socialist revolution. The working class again and again entered into epic struggles. But these struggles, misled by the Stalinists, social democrats, centrist and reformist organizations, ended in defeats.
The gone century opening with the great revolutionary wave, thus turned back to close with the global victory of capitalism in 1990-91.
This conquest of capitalism has however, forthwith intensified and sharpened all of the existing contradictions and conflicts of capitalism and has extended them on a global scale. Capitalism today is characterised by more frequent convulsions, than ever before, of boom and bust in finance and production, triggering a whole series of economic crisis, with a looming catastrophe for the humanity.
Struggle Waged by Trotsky against Stalinism and the founding of the Fourth InternationalIt would be a blunder to attempt to hermetically seal off the problems of the Indian revolution from the history and struggles of the Fourth International.
The struggle waged by Trotsky and the International Left Opposition against Stalinism, that ultimately found political-organizational expression in the founding of the Fourth International, constitutes the only viable basis for the development of a genuine revolutionary socialist party of the Indian working class.Trotskyism is the Marxism-Leninism of today. The principal task facing those who want to build a revolutionary working class party in India and fight for socialism is to break politically and theoretically with Stalinism in all its variants and assimilate the program, perspective and theoretical-political legacy of Trotskyism and the Fourth International.
The Fourth International passed through a protracted crisis beginning in the late 1940s-a crisis that had its social roots in the post-war restabilization of capitalism, a restabilization which was only possible due to the counter-revolutionary settlement, Stalinism reached with imperialism at the end of the Second World War.Foundations of Trotskyism had to be defended in direct struggle against 'Pabloism', a virulent liquidationist trend that arose inside the Fourth International around 1953 under leadership of Michel Pablo, the then leader of the FI. The Pabloites argued that the reorganization of the world working class under the leadership of the Fourth International was the “least likely variant” and that the task of Trotskyists in the “new world reality” was to dissolve themselves into the existing bureaucratic mass workers' organizations and, in the colonial countries, the bourgeois national movements, etc. so as to push them to the left. Objective events-the pressure of imperialism and the revolutionary strivings of the working class and oppressed masses-would, the Pabloites argued, compel the Soviet bureaucracy and the Stalinist parties to overturn capitalist property relations just as they had done in Eastern Europe as the Cold War developed.
Later the Pabloites backed off from some of their more grotesque claims-for example that that Soviet bureaucracy would be forced to wage war-revolution, resulting in centuries of “deformed workers' states”-but only to embrace a whole series of other equally impressionistic, petty bourgeois “theories,” including the “self-reform” of the Stalinist bureaucracy, “red universities,” the viability of Castro-Guevara type guerrilla movements, etc.Pabloite Fourth International, and their affiliates like those in Sri Lanka have a long record of aligning with bourgeois parties. For years, they had boosted the so-called Sri Lankan “peace process,” although this was clearly a reactionary maneuver aimed at stabilizing bourgeois rule and perpetuating Sinhalese bourgeois domination.
The struggle inside the Fourth International for defence of the program of permanent revolution, against the betrayal of Pabloites, thus has tremendous political significance for the working class of India.The theoretical-political struggle against Pabloite revisionism is no less a vital preparation for, and anticipation of the emergence of revolutionary leadership of the working class, than was the struggle that Lenin and the Russian Marxists waged against Narodnism, Economism, and Menshevism during the quarter-century prior to 1917.
Our political analysis is based upon the arguments concerning the causes of the failure of the Fourth International and the manner in which Marxists systematically exposed the socio-economic processes, political practices, and revisions of Marxism which lay behind the collapse of the Second and Third Internationals as revolutionary parties. This analysis in turn is a mighty contribution to the theoretical-political arsenal of Marxism.What has been at issue in these struggles has been the key strategic experiences of the world class struggle-including the significance of the post World War II restabilization of capitalism, the establishment of People's Democracies in Eastern Europe, the Chinese Revolution, the Soviet bureaucracy's “de-Stalinization” campaign, “decolonization,” the tasks of Marxists in the international working class offensive of 1968-75, the causes of the defeat of the Chilean revolution, the significance of glasnost and perestroika, etc.
We further emphasize the crucial importance of basing the struggle to build a revolutionary party of the Indian working class on the lessons of the implacable struggle against Pabloite opportunism inside the fourth international. It provides a brief, but telling, exposure of the political damage wrought by the Stalinists, Maoists and Centrists within the movement of Fourth International. These groups function in the political orbit of, and are to one degree or another all oriented to the bourgeois nationalism or petty bourgeois radicalism including various ethnic-nationalist movements, the trade unions, and NGOs aligned with the World Social Forum.
We are convinced that the crisis of world capitalism and the bankruptcy of Stalinism will cause increasing numbers of Indian workers and youth to turn toward Trotskyism. And that the greatest service the world Trotskyist movement can render under such conditions is to wage a patient, but resolute struggle for political-theoretical clarification.
Petty bourgeois movements
Predictably, the petty-bourgeois movements, notwithstanding the courage and sincerity of some of its participants, have effectively served as an instrument in the ongoing rivalry among the sections of bourgeois, to destabilize and steal march over each other, nationally and internationally, both.
The question that needs to be raised is- why did the petty bourgeois movement monopolize the political stage? Why was the working class not able to mount its own challenge to the bourgeois, mobilizing all the toilers behind it? Here once again the politics of the ostensible left played a pivotal and debilitating role.
The consecutive bourgeois regimes did face significant opposition from the working class in response to its privatization, downsizing and liberalization policies. But these struggles were confined by the left and its unions, to collective bargaining disputes- not made the spearhead of a mass movement under the leadership of the working class- and thus the historic mission betrayed.
Wherever myriad struggles led by petty bourgeois, like that of nationality, gender equality etc. arose, the ostensible lefts became its cheerleaders. Insofar as they made any appeal to the working class, it was for it to support these myriad struggles, not intervene as an independent force advancing its own program to mobilize the masses against the big business and imperialist interests upon which it rested.
The pseudo-lefts promote the emasculated petty bourgeois version of democracy, reducing democracy to the observance of a handful of civil liberties, while accepting capitalist order in India and its subservient relationship to the US and world imperialism. The lefts have sown illusions in working class that the fight for individual democratic issues was the cutting edge of the fight for democracy. They covered over the fundamental class truth that it is the social order of capitalism as a whole, that has to be fought against.
The Global Dimensions of the Revolution
The era of national programs and projects, has ended with outbreak of the WW-I. Now one hundred years later, with enormous growth of the world economy and its global integration, the conditions of world capitalism, have become the prime determinants for national life. World markets have got complete sway over the national markets.
Thus the orientation of the proletariat must proceed from the International to the national and not vice-versa. The aims of Socialists cannot be achieved on a national scale, rather can be fulfilled only on world arena. Trotsky wrote, “The socialist revolution begins on the national arena, it unfolds on the international arena, and is completed on the world arena. The struggle of the proletariat for socialism, is national only in its form, while in essence it is global.
The contradictions of the capitalist system will drive the working class into struggles that pose the revolutionary reorganization of society. These struggles will assume an explicitly international character, arising objectively from the advanced level of the global integration of the productive forces. Therefore, the great strategic task of the modern epoch is the forging of the political unity of the workers of all countries as the decisive international revolutionary force.
The solution lies not in any sort of reform of the system of capitalism based on profit and private property, but in its forcible overthrow, through the conquest of the state power by the proletariat, supported by the urban and rural poor.
The Prospects of World Socialist Revolution
All of the material conditions and elements required for the world socialist revolution, ushering the humanity into a new era of abundance instead of scarcity of means and resources, are fully ripe since long. However, the subjective condition for such a revolution, the corresponding social consciousness of the masses, lags much behind. This void between the objective conditions and the subjective consciousness, presents the real crisis of the humanity in our times.
This crisis of the humanity as a whole, is, in essence, the crisis of the working class, the most advanced and revolutionary class in modern capitalist society, imbued with historic role to overturn the old regime of bourgeois, through a social revolution. The working class, however, cannot fulfil this historic mission of liberating the old society from its capitalist shackles, except under the leadership of its vanguard political party, as the experience of the last century has shown. Thus, the crisis of mankind, in final analysis, ultimately devolves upon and refracts itself as the crisis of the leadership of the working class. The question of leadership, in the final analysis, is obviously inseparably bound to the strategic program aimed at overturn of the old and establishment of the new- a socialist society, i.e. the program of permanent revolution.
Is the Revolution Inevitable?
Revolutions are not inevitable. They are preceded by and are offshoots of revolutionary crisis, which do not last long. If not plucked, the ripe fruit rots. The revolutionary situations come and go endlessly, till conscious revolutionary forces arm themselves to rise to the occasion and transform the revolutionary situation into a real revolution. Missing of each revolutionary opportunity by the proletariat, provides a fresh spate of life to capitalism and an opportunity to re-stabilise itself. But this also cannot go endlessly. The decadent capitalism, may find itself unable to rejuvenate again and again, in face of its ever deepening conflicts. This may lead to devastation of entire human civilisation.
The Lessons of Last Century
The lessons of the revolutions in the last century, both successful and unsuccessful, are significant to discover the path of the revolution in India. While the great success of the October Revolution has endorsed the political prognosis of Lenin and Trotsky, as a whole, it was negatively ratified by the later defeats in Germany, China, Spain, France, Chile, Iran, Iraq, Indonesia, India, etc. The falsification of the history of revolutions and suppression of very important parts of it, by both the Stalinists and Maoists, has led the younger generations towards a misunderstanding of the mechanics of Russian, Chinese and other revolutions.
We derive the vision from the struggle waged by Trotsky and the Marxist Internationalists led by him, against the bureaucratic degeneration of the Soviet Union and the betrayal of the program of world socialist revolution by the dictatorial regime headed by Stalin and his henchmen. The political source of that betrayal, which led ultimately, in 1991, to the dissolution of the USSR, was the substitution of nationalism for internationalism by the Stalinist regime. The theory of permanent revolution, and the implacable struggle put up by Trotsky inside the Comintern and the Soviet Union, summarised in the 1938 program of the Fourth International, founded by Trotsky, guides and enriches our experience of the last century.
The socialist revolution, which signifies the forcible entrance of the masses into conscious political struggle, portends the greatest and most progressive transformation of the form of man’s social organization in world history – the ending of the society based on classes and, therefore, of the exploitation of man by man. This can be done only through re-organisation of the whole society and its economy, on a socialist basis and with large scale planning. The pre-requisite for this, however, is that the proletariat should take power in its hands and establish its dictatorship, in one country then many countries and then in all countries of the world. The bourgeois state is an instrument that upholds the political dictatorship of the capitalist class, which retains at its disposal apart from an army, prisons, law, courts etc. Socialism would remain a dream till proletariat takes to power, wresting the same from the hands of the bourgeois.
The permanent revolution today
Permanent revolution is a unified world revolutionary conception that arises from the global character of capitalism, the struggle for socialism and the working class. It was vindicated in the two Russian Revolutions of 1917 (February and October), which culminated in the coming to power of the Russian working class under the leadership of the Bolshevik Party in a revolutionary alliance with the poor peasantry and with the aim of spearheading the world socialist revolution. As Trotsky emphasized, in the modern epoch there can be no democratic revolution independent of, or separate from, the socialist revolution. In the backward and oppressed countries, the democratic and national tasks can be realized only through the proletarian revolution and its extension around the world.
Greeting the founding of the Fourth International in 1938, Trotsky emphasized its historic importance as the vehicle for overcoming the crisis of revolutionary proletarian leadership. “We are not,” declared Trotsky. “a party like other parties…. Our aim is the full material and spiritual liberation of the toilers and exploited, through the socialist revolution. Nobody will prepare it and nobody will guide it, but ourselves.”
Based on an examination of world socio-economic development and the class struggle, the theory of permanent revolution explains that the bourgeoisie in the colonies and other countries of belated capitalist development emerged too late to repeat the revolutionary role that the bourgeoisie in Western Europe and North America had played at the dawn of world capitalism. The colonial bourgeoisie is too dependent upon imperialism, too terrified of the working class, and its resources too narrow to mount a revolutionary struggle to realize the tasks that in the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were historically associated with the rise of the bourgeoisie—the breaking up of the landed estates, national unification, the establishment of democracy, etc. Rather, it invariably sides with imperialism and reaction so as to safeguard its own class privileges.
However, the same historical process has brought onto the scene a working class whose social weight, given its decisive role in modern industry and transport and its organic connection to the world working class, far outstrips its relative size, and whose class interests lie in rallying all the toilers against imperialism and capitalism.
The expansion of cheap-labor production in Asia in recent decades and the consequent strengthening of capitalist social relations and huge growth in the size of the working class has enormously increased the revolutionary potential of the working class and further bound together the resolution of democratic tasks with an attack on capitalist property and the struggle for socialism.
The permanent revolution was confirmed in a negative sense in the aspiring Indian and Pakistani bourgeoisies’ abortion of the democratic revolution in South Asia, through their deal with British imperialism and partition. In an open letter to Indian workers written in 1939, just a few weeks before the outbreak of World War II, Trotsky denounced the Stalinists for binding the working class to the Indian National Congress on the grounds that the bourgeoisie was the historically legitimate leader of the democratic revolution.
“The Indian bourgeoisie,” affirmed Trotsky, “is incapable of leading a revolutionary struggle. They are closely bound up with and dependent upon British capitalism. They tremble for their own property. They stand in fear of the masses. They seek compromises with British imperialism no matter what the price, and lull the Indian masses with hopes of reforms from above. The leader and prophet of this bourgeoisie is Gandhi. A fake leader and a false prophet!
“…Only the proletariat is capable of advancing a bold, revolutionary agrarian program, of rousing and rallying tens of millions of peasants and leading them in struggle against the native oppressors and British imperialism. The alliance of workers and poor peasants is the only honest, reliable alliance that can assure the final victory of the Indian revolution”, claimed Trotsky.
As the Stalinist bureaucracy usurped power in the USSR from the hands of the working class, and sought peace with the international bourgeoisie in the name of “socialism in one country,” it resurrected and codified the Menshevik two-stage theory of revolution. This theory justifies the subordination of the working class to the bourgeoisie, cedes to it leadership over the toilers, and accepts the bourgeoisie’s claim to power on the ground that it is the historically determined leader of the democratic revolution and that the existence of unresolved burning democratic questions is proof that conditions are not yet ripe for socialism. The various Stalinist Communist parties pursued this line for decades, facilitating the bourgeoisie’s political dominance and invariable betrayal of the masses. A series of disasters resulted: in China in 1927, in Spain in the 1930s, in Iran in 1953 and again in 1979, in Indonesia in the run-up to the 1965 Suharto-led massacre of leftists. The list goes on and on.
The tasks of the democratic revolution will be realized in India and South Asia not by, or in alliance with, the bourgeoisie or any section of it, but in revolutionary struggle against the bourgeoisie and the capitalist social order. The working class will emerge as the liberator of the downtrodden masses and the leader of a revolutionary alliance of the working class and peasantry only by waging a ceaseless struggle to free the masses from the political influence of the bourgeoisie, by exposing its subordination to imperialism, indifference to the democratic aspirations of the masses and venal pursuit of its class interests. A workers and peasants government will combine revolutionary democratic measures, most importantly a radical transformation of land relations, with the expropriation of big business and other socialist measures and place at the heart of its strategy the struggle to mobilize the world working class to put an end to capitalism. Freedom from imperialism and capitalist exploitation, the prerequisite for any enduring solution to the problems of the masses in South Asia and across the globe, can be secured only as part of the world socialist revolution—a process that begins on the national arena, unfolds internationally or permanently, and attains its accomplishment only in the final victory of the new society on our entire planet.
The Spectrum of Revolution in India
India is passing through an acute political, social and economic crisis. This crisis is part and parcel of the world capitalist crisis that is rapidly unfolding on a global scale and is having a devastating impact on the lives of billions of ordinary people. The world capitalist system is beset by the same insoluble contradictions that produced the twentieth century horrors of two world wars, fascism and a nearly endless series of regional military conflicts and brutal police-military dictatorships. The basic contradictions are between the global economy and the nation-state system and between socialized production and private ownership of the means of production. From these contradictions emerge not only the danger of another disastrous world war, but also the objective conditions for the overthrow of capitalism—the socialization of industry and finance, the globalization of economic life, and the social power of the world working class.
With this statement, we are initiating the struggle to build the party of the Indian working class, as part of the World Party of Socialist Revolution founded by Leon Trotsky—the co-leader of the 1917 Russian Revolution and the protagonist of the struggle against the privileged bureaucracy that usurped the power of the Soviet workers and ultimately restored capitalism in the USSR.
The urgency of building such a party of the working class is underscored by the fact that under the impact of the global capitalist crisis, the working class is being propelled into struggle, yet everywhere it immediately comes up against the fact that the organizations that once claimed to speak in its name—the remnants of the Stalinist parties, social democracy and the trade unions—uphold the capitalist profit system and seek to split the working class along national lines.
Colonialism and Growth of Capitalism in IndiaInvention of steam engine led to industrial revolution and consequent rapid capitalist development in England. This development, however, paved the way for colonialism in history, providing the English Capitalists with necessary logistics to earn super profits, beyond the frontiers of England, through exploitation of the backward periphery of the world for its natural resources and markets. Vast territories of India being rich in such natural resources and wealthy enough to consume back the finished goods, were the prime casualty. Trading capital of England has already taken control of social and political fabric of the Indian sub continent. With crushing of the last organised revolt of the princes against British domination in 1857, British conquest of India was complete. British capitalists, who led the industrial revolution in England against feudal relations in property and production, fostered those outmode feudal relations in India in the form of Ryotwari and Zamindari, which not only destroyed the old balance of Asiatic modes of production in India, but decisively blocked any independent capitalist growth in production by way of forced de-industrialisation of handloom and handicraft based artisan industry, by all possible means at their disposal. India was subjugated in complete colonial slavery by English capitalists, serving both as a source of raw material, primarily cotton, and ready markets for consumption of processed goods from English Industry. Breaking down of the old economic structures of India and their substitution by more reactionary feudal relations, led to permanent crisis in agriculture resulting in extreme agrarian poverty and starvation of peasantry. British Imperialism, imported for the first time private property in land in India, in the form of princely estates and zamindaris. This gave rise to parasitic classes of princes and zamindars in India. In this way, a definite and direct link was established in India between Imperialism and landlordism*. This demonstrated the dual character of capitalists- they talked of liberty, equality and freedom on their land, subjugated millions in colonies in slavery, and while opposing medievalism on their land, imposed it in the colonies under them. Anyway, destruction of the static Asiatic modes of production, with no inherent potential to develop on their own, at the hands of British colonialists, is credited with carrying out the first social revolution in Asia, which gradually was exported to other parts of the backward world. Asiatic despotism, was substituted by colonial rule of British capitalists.
Revolt of 1857, despite its reactionary leadership of princes and landlords, revealed immense mass discontent against crude exploitation of British capitalists, forcing the British imperialists to change the policy of governance. In 1858, Queen took over the governance of the colony from the East India Company.
Under the conditions of domination of Imperialist capital, a comprador section of Indian commercial bourgeois, weak and loyal to imperialists and enmeshed with feudal relations in land, emerged in commercial centres of India as appendage to imperialist capital, with no considerable impact either on economic or political front. It was this bourgeois, which organised Indian National Congress (INC) in 1885, to meekly petition the crown, now and then.
In absence of independent political assertion of the proletariat, the party of the bourgeois, Indian National Congress, came to dominate the anti-colonial struggle by default.
WW-I forced the British Imperialists to invest in India and permit the Indian bourgeois to invest in war industry. This gave rise to indigenous industrial classes- bourgeois and proletariat. This gave rise to competition and consequent conflict of interests between the British and Indian bourgeois. Corresponding change came in the policy of Congress, which now demanded self-government within the empire.
Under pressure of mass movement British colonialists carried out the Morley-Minto reforms, through the Indian Councils Act of 1909, which satisfied the limited purpose of Indian bourgeois, which sought an apology to cooperate with the British colonialists and assist them to suppress the mass movement and to make Indian toilers cannon fodder in the war industry.
However, independent of the will of both British and Indian bourgeois, proliferation of war oriented industry in India, resulted into corresponding emergence of the Industrial proletariat, the real grave-digger of capitalism- both foreign and national.
Earth shaking historic victory of the proletariat for power in October Revolution in Russia, resulted in a huge wave of unrest and discontent among workers and peasants in India and other British Colonies, with a battle-cry of freedom against imperialism. Imperialists once again forced to give concessions, brought Montague Chelmsford reforms in 1918, to diffuse the situation and to once again buy off the Indian bourgeois through them. Indian bourgeois, taking advantage of the situation for its limited and narrow class interests, embraced the reforms and after using the mass movement to put pressure on imperialists, betrayed it. Civil disobedience Movement of 1919 and Non-Cooperation movement of 1920 suffered similar betrayal at the hands of Congress under Gandhi and Congress under his dictatorship. On the pretext of violence by the peasant agitators in Chauri-Chaura (Bihar), where peasants had retaliated the firing by the police upon peaceful meeting of peasants, by burning down the police station, Gandhi unilaterally withdrew the movement in February 1922, condemning the retaliatory act of the peasants, instead of the police. After Champaran and Khera agitations, agitation in Bardoli (Gujarat) was also betrayed in the same way in 1928, apparently to support the war efforts of the British colonialists.
Despite repeated betrayals of the anti-colonial struggle by the bourgeois and its party- Indian National Congress- petty bourgeois mass and the peasantry behind it remained dependent upon the bourgeois leadership, in absence of any serious challenge to this leadership from the side of the proletariat.
Against repressive rule of colonialists, sections of petty bourgeois youth and Intelligentsia demonstrated radicalism through terrorist movement, which instead of advancing the cause of freedom struggle remained counter-productive, in alienating the masses from the struggle. Dictatorship of Gandhi on the one hand, and on the other left demagogy of Subhas Bose and Jawaharlal Nehru, served to reinforce the leadership of bourgeois Congress over the mass anti-colonial movement.
Year 1928-29 was witness to acute economic crisis due to deep plunge of world capitalism and consequently of major upsurge of working class and radical shift in peasant movement, which terrified the British regime and bourgeois Congress under Gandhi. Indian bourgeois which had already started to collaborate with British regime, to suppress the mass movement, sealed this collaboration through Gandhi-Irwin pact. Having its hands open now, British government unleashed a wave of repression in 1932-34, through widespread killings, arrests, tortures and prosecution of freedom fighters. Hanging of Bhagat Singh and his comrades was part of this repression, with Gandhi and Congress remaining mute spectators and collaborators.
Post 1932 history of Congress is the history of collaboration with colonialists, to diffuse the political crisis of the British Raj.
Congress and Muslim League, both betrayed the freedom struggle by conceding to the Government of India Act, 1935, granting limited governments in 11 provinces. 1936-37 elections in these provinces deepened the Hindu-Muslim divide and facilitated the British plan for future partition of the sub-continent on communal basis. However, the results of the elections, falsified the claim of Congress under Gandhi that it represented majority of the population. Congress failed to get even 40 percent of the 1771 seats. Muslim League performed even worse, with only two seats in muslim majority region in Punjab. Congress got 752 and Muslim League 106 seats in total. This was clear indication that masses were drifting away from bourgeois leadership.
The fourth International was organised against the Stalinist degeneration of the Third International (Comintern) under leadership of Leon Trotsky, the co-leader of Russian revolution, organiser of red army and the leader of left opposition inside the Comintern. Fourth International consistently opposed the Stalinist policy of the CPI rendering critical support to British Colonialists on the pretext of fighting with fascists. Trotsky in his letter to Indian workers, on the eve of the WW-II, made it clear that the workers must oppose the British Colonialists and Congress both and must struggle to take power against them. Bolshevik Leninist Party of India (BLPI), a Trotskyist Party fought for this program and strategy of permanent revolution against capitulation of the CPI to Indian Bourgeois as well as Imperialists.
1942, saw the last protest-the Quit India Movement- by bourgeois Congress, against the British Raj, which was soon withdrawn to enable British Government to engage in war efforts. The CPI, opposed this popular movement against the British Raj, and remained in open collaboration with the British Government till end of the WW-II in 1946, thereby discrediting itself in the estimation of workers and peasants.
February 1946, saw the naval mutiny in Royal Indian Navy, starting from Bombay and spreading over to Calcutta and Karachi, involving 78 ships, 20 shores and more than 20,000 sailors. This mutiny shook the British Raj to its roots. General strike was called in Bombay in support of the mutiny, with Trotskyist party BLPI playing leading role in it and was followed by similar strikes in other cities too. Congress and Muslim League again played a deceitful role by pressurising the mutineer sailors to end the strike. Sardar Patel from Congress and Jinnah from Muslim League misled the sailors to surrender and call of the mutiny, assuring them on behalf of the government that no action would be taken against them. Mutineers fell prey to this trap and called off the mutiny. Mass dismissals and court martial were imposed upon the mutineers, but the leaders of congress and muslim league did not show up.
This naval mutiny however made it crystal clear to the British Colonialists that they cannot rule with old colonial methods. Britain had lost its monopolistic position in WW-I and WW-II further decimated it, with US emerging as new axis of the capitalist world. A process of de-colonizing was thus in the offing and British colonialists wished to prepare a road map for it in the interest best suited to the British capitalists.
Agreement with Indian bourgeois, peaceful transfer of power to it, and partition of the sub-continent on communal basis, were the three underlying features of this road map.
Working class, would have sure played a great role in leading the anti-imperialist movement, place itself at the head of the revolution and seized the power. But unfortunately by this time Stalinist bureaucracy had taken full control of the Comintern, the world party of the proletariat and the Communist Party in Soviet Union, which were guiding centres of the world proletariat. Stalinists transformed these fighting organisations of the revolutionary proletariat, into citadels of collaboration with world bourgeois, under the slogan of ‘socialism in one country’. Chinese revolution was strangulated (1927) by that time and Hitler rose to power in Germany (1932), due to abortive policies of Comintern under Stalin. Communist Party of India, an agency of Stalinist Comintern, played pernicious role, first in surrendering the leadership of the revolution to the bourgeois congress, basing itself upon the Stalinist mis-belief that bourgeois is the leader of democratic revolution in colonies, and then in openly collaborating with the colonialists. With this policy working class was turned into an appendage of the bourgeois by the Stalinists, voluntarily surrendering first the leadership of the freedom movement and then the power to the bourgeois.
Bourgeois and behind it the Stalinist CPI collaborated with the colonialists in executing this plan.
Tragedy of Partition and the suppression of the democratic revolution
The establishment of India and Pakistan in 1947 constituted not freedom, but the suppression of the democratic, anti-imperialist revolution by the communally organized bourgeoisie of India and Pakistan, working in concert with British imperialism.
The immediate outcome of partition was an orgy of violence, which resulted in some 2 million deaths and turned 12-14 million people into refugees. The living body of the subcontinent was cut by what were, in effect, multiple partitions—the division of the Bengalis, Punjabis, Kashmiris, etc.—and state borders were imposed that defied and continue to defy economic, historical and cultural logic.
Far from resolving the “communal problem,” partition has compounded it by enshrining communal divisions in the state structure of South Asia. Partition has given rise to a reactionary geopolitical struggle between India and Pakistan that has resulted in three declared wars and countless war crises, squandered vital economic resources, and today threatens the people of South Asia with a nuclear conflagration, which would have catastrophic consequences for world civilization.
Partition has facilitated imperialist dominance of South Asia by frustrating rational economic development, including the use of water resources, and by providing a political mechanism for the US and other great powers to play one state and ruling elite against the other. Today South Asia is the least economically integrated region in the world.
The so-called secular state of Indian bourgeois and landlords always remained dominated by communal overtones of hindu chauvinism, with extreme right political formations like RSS permitted to work at the helm of its polity hand in hand with sections of ruling Congress. On the other hand the communal Pakistani national project represented the venal class interests of sections of the Muslim zamindars and capitalists of South Asia who had obtained privileges within the British colonial order by serving as its “Muslim representatives” and by promoting the use of various Muslim groups as cannon fodder for the British Indian Army (the martial races).
Both rabidly communal organisations- the RSS and the Muslim League, were elite organizations, notorious for their disdain for the workers, peasants and artisans who comprised, then as now, the vast majority of South Asia’s population. Both of these communal formations, openly sought and received the patronage of British imperialism.
The ultimate responsibility, however, for the success of British imperialism’s divide-and-rule strategy and partition lies first and foremost with the Indian National Congress, the principal party of the emerging Indian bourgeoisie. Though the Congress, formally espoused Hindu-Muslim unity, but because of its class position, was utterly hostile to the struggle to unite the masses of South Asia on the basis of an appeal to their common class interests in the struggle against colonial-zamindar-capitalist oppression.
Fearing the rising tide of worker-peasant struggles in post-World War II India and the increasingly insurgent character of the anti-imperialist movement, the Congress grew desperate to get its hand on the state machine built by British imperialism so as to stabilize bourgeois rule. Thus it rapidly abandoned key tenets of its program, such as the demand for a constituent assembly elected on the basis of universal suffrage and its opposition to Dominion status, and chose to unite with the Muslim League and the British in dividing the subcontinent. Indeed, the Congress became the most vehement and consistent protagonist of partition, insisting that the communal division of South Asia also required the communal partition of Bengal and Punjab.
Right from its birth the Congress was a bourgeois party that employed socialist-sounding, populist rhetoric to harness the masses to a program of national-capitalist development and, just as importantly, prevent the working class from escaping the political control of the bourgeoisie. Moderately Indian-nationalist, it advocated petty-bourgeois socialism, combined with a series of reforms, including the nationalization of sectors of industry, meant to underpin a state-led program of capitalist development, similar to that pursued by many other newly independent bourgeois regimes in Asia and Africa.
This betrayal was greatly facilitated by the Stalinist Communist Party of India (CPI). Under the influence of the bureaucratic caste in Moscow, that had usurped power from the Soviet working class in USSR, the CPI in the two decades that preceded independence and partition pursued an opportunist policy that enabled the Congress’ to get its stranglehold over the anti-imperialist movement. On the basis of the Menshevik-Stalinist theory of the two-stage revolution, the Stalinists opposed any challenge to the Congress’ leadership in the struggle against British colonialism, and in the final years of British rule followed a political line similar to that of the Muslim League. This included providing legitimacy to the demand of communal Pakistan, sending CPI cadres into the Muslim League to build it. Between 1945 and 1947, when the Congress and the League faced each other with daggers drawn, the CPI instead of contending against them for leadership of the anti-colonial movement, pleaded to the rival bourgeois parties to join together and fulfil their “responsibility” to lead the national revolution.
Partition was defined—and continues to be defined—as an aberration to the “freedom” and “independence” incarnated in bourgeois India and Pakistan. Far from being an aberration, partition was only the most bloody and immediately apparent consequence of the abortion of the anti-imperialist revolution and betrayal of it at the hands of bourgeois and landlords.
From the get-go, the Stalinists accepted the legitimacy of the capitalist nation-state framework imposed by partition. The failure of Indian crisis-ridden government to uphold basic civil liberties, institute land reform or address the other democratic and social needs of the masses became for the Stalinists a fresh argument justifying the need for alliances with the so-called ‘progressive bourgeoisie’.
The Stalinists have since thrown their weight, behind the bourgeois regime under Congress, boosting its claims to represent a viable and legitimate instrument for social progress.
The new states have since defended the wealth of the zamindars, princes and big businessmen and otherwise protected property and privileges. It retained the key institutions and laws of the British colonial state, adopting at most a handful of meagre, piecemeal reforms aimed at facilitating capitalist development.
In keeping with the reactionary logic of partition and the Indo-Pakistani rivalry, no region of the world is less economically integrated than the subcontinent.
The working class must draw far-reaching conclusions from the experience of partition and six decades of “independent” bourgeois national rule in South Asia. Imperialist oppression and the legacy of colonial rule and South Asia’s belated capitalist development will be overcome only through a working class-led socialist revolution, one that of necessity will have to challenge the reactionary state structure of South Asia.
The outcome of the bourgeois-led national movement has substantiated the theory of permanent revolution, though in negative way.Formal Independence of India of 1947, was not a “partial victory” as the CPI and CPM falsely claim, but an outright betrayal of the anti-imperialist revolution at the hands of the national bourgeois, with its endorsement by the Stalinist CPI. It was a reactionary settlement between imperialism and the aspirant Indian and Pakistani bourgeoisie to suppress the anti-imperialist revolution in South Asia. None of the critical problems of the democratic revolution were resolved: be it freedom from imperialist oppression, national unification, the liquidation of landlordism, separation of religion from state, or the eradication of caste oppression.
On the contrary, partition of the subcontinent on communal basis was the most devastating twin outcome of this ‘independence’. This communal partition of the subcontinent, not only constituted a monumental crime and a tragedy, resulting in murders, loot, rapes, arsons, maiming of men and women on an unprecedented scale, it has had an enduring reactionary impact. The nation-state system of post-1947 South Asia has served as a major obstacle to rational economic development and a mechanism, through which imperialism has exercised its domination, has promoted communalism, and given rise to a reactionary geo-political rivalry between the elites of India and Pakistan that has repeatedly exploded into war and now threatens the people of South Asia with a nuclear conflagration.
Post-1947 Regime of the National BourgeoisTo say that the democratic revolution was betrayed, does not mean however that the problems today are posed in exactly the same manner as in 1947.
The bourgeoisie, having seized hold of the colonial capitalist state, carried out some limited reforms from above. These reforms involved all manner of reactionary compromises with imperialism and the princes and zamindars. Their object was to stabilize capitalist rule by incorporating the remnants of the feudal elite, diffuse popular discontent, and to promote capitalist development.The utter incompatibility of bourgeois rule with the democratic and social aspirations of the workers and toilers of South Asia is ever more manifest. Six decades after the aspiring national bourgeoisies of India and Pakistan joined hands with British imperialism to suppress the anti-imperialist revolution and partition the subcontinent along communal lines, South Asia is home to the world’s largest concentration of malnourished and impoverished people.
Six decades on, none of the burning democratic and social problems of the masses have been resolved. On the contrary, they have grown ever more malignant as landlordism, caste oppression and other feudal vestiges have become increasingly intertwined with capitalist exploitation.
Half of the world’s poor live in the Indian subcontinent. In no region of the world is a greater proportion of the population malnourished. Neither the Indian nor Pakistani or Bangladeshi state spends more than 5 percent of its gross domestic product on education and health care.
Unable to offer any progressive solution to the problems of the masses, the Indian and Pakistani bourgeoisie seek to divert social tensions through their reactionary geo-political state rivalry and by fanning religious-communal, national-ethnic and caste divisions.
Both Islamabad and New Delhi are eagerly competing for Washington’s favor.
India, the erstwhile champion of non-alignment, tethers itself ever more closely to Washington’s plans to contain China, greedily accepting the US offer of help in becoming a world power.
The US stance arose from Washington’s eagerness to establish closer relations with India now that it was free of its Cold War alliance with the Soviet Union.
Even more fundamentally, the US drive to assert hegemony in Asia is disrupting the entire region, adding an unpredictable and explosive dimension to many longstanding geo-political conflicts, not least the Indo-Pakistani rivalry. Power and influence in Afghanistan has become a major object of the competition between New Delhi and Islamabad. And the US drive to contain China by forging a “global strategic partnership” with India threatens the long-term strategic interests of the Pakistani bourgeoisie. The Afghan War has compounded the crisis of the Pakistani bourgeoisie, plunging significant parts of the country into civil war.
As for India’s much touted rise, the emergence of Indian-based trans-nationals and a small cluster of Indian billionaires has been propelled through devastation of much of the rural population and the emergence of a savagely exploited working class.
The past 60 years have seen a vast spread of capitalist relations in the countryside and the strengthening of a rich, kulak-type peasantry. While in pre-1947 India, the peasantry was already highly stratified, with richer peasants enforcing caste oppression, hiring agricultural laborers, and engaging in money-lending, all of the peasantry did have a common interest in overthrowing zamindari and abolishing the land tax. While the agrarian question still remains pivotal, the penetration of capitalism into agriculture, fragmentation of peasantry in innumerable layers and massive proletarian-isation of rural mass has remarkably reduced the social and political weight of the peasantry as an integrated class.
63 years of “independent” bourgeois rule: The balance sheet of a social disaster
After 63 years of independent bourgeois rule, India is characterized by horrific poverty and deprivation, grotesque social inequality, a dilapidated infrastructure, national-ethnic, casteist and other sectarian strife as evidence of continuing political predominance of medieval elements.
More than 80 million people in India live below the official subsistence-level poverty line, and almost two thirds of the population lives on the equivalent of less than US$2 per day. According to the United Nations, 60 percent of Indian children under five are moderately or severely stunted and malnourished. Meanwhile, a tiny venal ruling class—comprised of big businessmen, landlords, top bureaucrats, officers and their business cronies—plunder the country’s wealth in league with foreign capital.
Because of poverty and the state’s failure to provide a basic infrastructure, tens of millions still have no access to schools, health care, sanitation or electricity. Electricity load shedding has become a chronic disruption to socio-economic life. Education and health care are especially neglected, forcing even the poor to turn to private institutions and charities of religious or fundamentalist character. The Indian state’s combined spending on education and health care is equivalent to less than 5 percent of the country’s gross national product (GNP).
Migration from rural areas to urban centers has increased due to the lack of basic facilities in the countryside and the difficulty rural people have in eking out a livelihood. Seventy percent of the rural population owns no land, surviving as sharecroppers, tenants and agricultural laborers. In the cities, the population also must contend with a lack of basic public and social services and jobs.
Unable to provide a progressive solution to the problems of the masses, the Indian bourgeoisie has increasingly fomented anti-Pakistan chauvinism, hindu fundamentalism and ethnic nationalism to divert mounting social anger into reactionary channels and split the working class. India has become an incubator for sectarian hatreds and religious obscurantism.
The claim of the proponents of bourgeois democracy in India, that a national homeland would provide safety and security to its people, has proven to be a cruel hoax with most of its people living in acute economic insecurity, if not extreme poverty.
As a direct consequence of the Indian ruling class’ logistical support for the US political and military designs in Asia, middle-east and elsewhere, imperialist occupation of world has been facilitated. Its assistance to US led war in Iraq and more recently in the ongoing Af-Pak War, is demonstrative of the open complacence of Indian ruling elite with US imperialists, strengthening the stranglehold of US imperialism over politics and governance in south asia.
The crisis-ridden Indian bourgeoisie depends on the political pivot of its reactionary geopolitical rivalry with Pakistan and its mercenary alliance with US imperialism.
There are striking parallels between the role played contemporaneously by Indira Gandhi in India, Bhutto in Pakistan, and Madame Bandaranaike in Sri Lanka. Under conditions of a rapid intensification of the class struggle associated with the end of the post-World War II capitalist boom, all of them sought to bind the working class and oppressed toilers to the bourgeoisie through pseudo-socialist rhetoric and populist nationalism, initially enacted very limited reforms, then came into headlong collision with the working class and employed emergencies and other authoritarian methods to suppress dissent.
Having served to blunt the challenge from the left through populism and repression, they all fell from power within the space of five months in 1977. Bourgeois politics then shifted sharply to the right, although in the case of Indira Gandhi, she herself came to embody this shift when restored to power in 1980. These governments left an enduring reactionary legacy—their “left” populism, laden as it was with chauvinism and appeals to national and religio-communal identities, sowed the seeds for a qualitative escalation of ethno-communalist politics across South Asia in the 1980s.
The Stalinists and Maoists played a crucial role in preventing the working class from challenging these ostensibly left regimes. They failed to fight to mobilize the working class as an independent political force against the bourgeois regimes.
The Communist Party of India was a coalition partner of Indira Gandhi’s Congress government, including during the 1975-77 Emergency. The Communist Party of India (Marxist), meanwhile, subordinated the working class to the bourgeois opposition to Congress, ultimately supporting the coming to power of the Janata Party—an ad hoc coalition of Congress opponents, including the cadres of the Hindu supremacist Jana Sangh. The Naxalites (Maoists) refused to challenge the Stalinist parliamentary parties’ political domination of the working class. They proclaimed peasant-based guerrillaism (“a protracted people’s war”), not the struggle for the development of socialist consciousness and the political independence and hegemony of the working class, to be the crux of revolutionary struggle. And like the CPI and CPM, the Naxalites openly opposed socialist revolution, advocating a peasant-led bloc of four classes, including the “patriotic” elements of the bourgeoisie, in order to complete the national democratic—i.e., capitalist—revolution.
The current crisisLong raven by profound class antagonisms and national-ethnic and communal frictions, India has been further destabilized by the rise of hindu fundamentalism and its strategic partnership in the US’s criminal drive to subjugate south asia and middle east. With the eruption of the global capitalist crisis in the fall of 2008, the ground has been cut from under the Indian bourgeoisie’s schemes to grow the economy by wooing foreign investors and offering up the country’s impoverished workers as cheap-labor producers for the world market.
Striving of Indian bourgeois to compete in world market from the platform of a backward economy, is taking its toll upon the natural and human resources, with environment becoming a casualty, alongwith health, shelter, education and employment, under its axe.
Integration with world economy and imposition of neo-liberal structures upon a fundamentally backward economy is producing devastating results, with extreme poverty on the one hand and extreme riches on the other. While a handful of capitalists, bureaucrats and technocrats are the real beneficiaries of this process, working class and rural and urban toiling poor are at the receiving end. Price hike and food crisis are two offshoots of this process, among the many. This systemic crisis of capitalism in India is the has already triggered a revolutionary process.
The popular enthusiasm for the bourgeois Congress(I) led UPA coalition government, that re-entered the power corridor after devastating misrule of the hindu fascist BJP led coalition of NDA, has rapidly dissipated.
Defying the wishes and aspirations of the population, the UPA government has continued and further intensified the policies of the NDA regime that preceded it. It has provided pivotal support to the strategic US designs in Asia and middle-east, including the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, pressed forward with privatizations and other pro-market “reforms,” imposed the austerity diktats of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and repeatedly hiked the defence budget.
Living standards have been ravaged in recent years by rising food and energy prices. But the government and the IMF are insisting that all electricity, gasoline and natural gas price subsidies be eliminated in the current fiscal year and, so as to contain the burgeoning budget deficit, social spending be cut yet again.
With more and more emphasis on Private-Public Partnerships, a ploy that has been used the world over to provide big business with a means of leveraging state funds and securing guaranteed profits at the expense of essential services, the elite rulers are withdrawing from spending on public utilities and enterprises.
Fulfilment of the elementary democratic and social aspirations of the Indian people—from guaranteeing basic civil liberties, elimination of gender inequality, caste discrimination, child labor and bonded labor, and providing education, sanitation and jobs—requires the liquidation of landlordism, the dismantling of the imperialist sponsored neo-liberal bourgeois regime, and placing of the banks and basic industry under the democratic control of the workers and toilers. These measures will be realized only through the bringing to power of a workers’ and peasants’ government that consciously links the fate of the toilers of India and South Asia to the international working class’ struggle to put an end to world capitalism.
A new revolutionary working class party must be built to spearhead this struggle. Such a party must base its program and perspective on the lessons of the strategic experiences of the world working class, including those of the workers of India and all of South Asia.
Democratic Revolution and the Working Class
We are the party of the working class, as the working class is the only class that has the social power and class interest to liquidate India's oppressive socio-economic order.
The outstanding tasks of the democratic revolution can only be realized through a revolution against the Indian bourgeoisie and its state, and the working class alone is capable of leading such a revolution to victory. This explains the class position of the working class in opposition to all other social classes, as the only consistent fighter for the cause of revolution in India.The unresolved democratic tasks are a mighty impetus to revolution-a revolution that under the leadership of the working class must combine democratic and socialist tasks, or fail.
The development of capitalism in India is rapidly expanding the ranks of the working class--that is those who are dependent on the sale of their labour power for their livelihood--and where increasing numbers of small peasants are being dispossessed, are being transformed into agricultural and urban labourers.Unquestionably, a revolution in India is inconceivable outside of the development of a revolutionary alliance between the working class and poor peasantry. The poor peasantry can and will play a major role in the coming Indian revolution. But in India, where all manner of forces insist that the peasantry is the principal revolutionary force, what we privilege in our argument is the revolutionary potential of the working class and the possibility of, and necessity for, it emerging as the leader of a revolutionary alliance between the working class and the poor peasants, i.e. the peasants whose income is small but who derive their livelihood solely from the land that they own, those who own land but have to sell their labor-power for their survival, share-croppers and agricultural labourers.
The bulk of the petty land-owning peasants are wretchedly poor. We anticipate that as the class struggle intensifies, many from this layer will come to view the working class as an ally in the fight against the oppression of the landlords, moneylenders, and traders and the dominance of the world capitalist market. Some will even be won to the program of socialist revolution. But those that are, as Marx explained, will be defending their future class interests (for capitalism is inevitably proletarianizing the small peasants), and not their current interests as petty-bourgeois property-holders.Certainly the working class will need to develop a fighting alliance with all the above layers, but it is important to recognize the distinctions between them.
India, with its strategic geo-political location and significance in South-Asia, which hosts all the major contradictions of Imperialism, and with the social and political conflicts and tensions reaching their climax, is the ready bastion for a social revolution. Above all, this comparatively backward country, has a ready lever for a social revolution, in the form of its rebellious poor peasantry, which comprises the two third of it.
In India, the impending revolution, is bourgeois democratic only so far as the immediate unresolved tasks lie before it, but it is essentially proletarian socialist in its character, prospects and leadership. The agrarian revolution, radical transformation of relations in rural regions, comprises significant agenda of these immediate tasks. These immediate democratic tasks in themselves, however, constitute a prelude to the proletarian socialist revolution.
This revolution, as a single process, would bring the proletariat to power, who would establish its dictatorship supported by the poor peasantry. In the dictatorship of the proletariat, backed by the poor peasantry, would be realised the alliance between the workers and peasants. With the proletariat coming to power, the democratic tasks would directly merge into the socialist program. Thus, from the very beginning the proletariat would overstep the boundaries of mere democratic tasks and uninterruptedly start to expropriate the bourgeois.
The proletariat may be able to use the wave of peasant upheaval to take power in India, and may re-organise the economy with socialism oriented policies, including voluntary collectivisation of the peasant farms. It would use the power in its hands to spread the revolution first to South Asia and through it to other parts of the world. It will strive for a world socialist revolution.
The struggle for power requires the unconditional political independence of the working class from the parties, political representatives and agents of the capitalist class. The working class cannot come to power, let alone implement a socialist program, if its hands are tied by politically enfeebling compromises with the political representatives of other class interests.
It is however, very clear that though the proletariat can take to power in India and establish its dictatorship, but its regime cannot last long and cannot build socialism, until the proletariat in other countries, specially in the advanced countries, does not seize the power and come to the aid of proletarian regime in India. Therefore, after taking to power in India, though the proletariat would set out to destroy the bourgeois structures en-masse, but the central task before the proletariat would not be building of socialism in India, but to aid the expansion of the revolution to other countries. Primarily the South Asian countries would be forthwith set afire, triggering a revolutionary wave all around and thus preparing the possibility of a ‘Socialist Union of South Asia’.
Revolution in India may trigger a process, which at the most can weaken the world capitalism. To uproot the world capitalism though, it is necessary that proletariat takes power in advanced countries, without which building of a socialist society would not be possible. Till the world proletariat comes to its aid, by conquering the power in number of countries, the proletarian revolution in India would remain isolated, temporarily hinged upon the support of petty-bourgeois peasantry. However, after an initial tide generated out of the waves of revolution, the long term prospects and tempo of the revolution would remain comparatively dim.
Agrarian Revolution: the peasantry and the working class
The revolution in India is an Agrarian Revolution, in its content, and thus the rural Peasantry is its main force. But the peasantry, due to its historic limitations, cannot play either a leading or independent role in the impending social revolution. Being a class of pre-capitalist society, and not a product of modern capitalism, heterogeneous and fragmented in composition, and essentially of rural petty-bourgeois origin, the peasantry, can only follow the lead of the working class. However, the working class cannot succeed in making a revolution unless it first succeeds in winning over the poor sections of the peasantry. In the existence of a rebellious peasantry, the working class in India finds a readymade lever for revolutionary overturn leading to its dictatorship.
The political struggle between the bourgeois and the proletariat in India, in its social essence, is a struggle for influence over its peasant mass. Till the bourgeois succeeds in deceiving the poor peasantry and keeping it under its influence, there can be no question of a revolution in India.
Political struggle for power, would thus be a direct struggle between the two basic classes of the capitalist society- the bourgeois and the proletariat. The intermediary classes, like the peasantry, which are not product of modern capitalism but of the pre-capitalist systems, would follow the lead either of bourgeois or the proletariat. The peasantry, however strong numerically it may be, is unable to play either an independent or a leading role in the revolution. But given its immense weight in the agrarian societies like India, it still continues to be determinant and to certain extent decisive political factor. Proletariat will have to win over the support of toiling peasantry, in order to enable itself to conquer the power. However, the peasantry both as an estate and as a social class, is rapidly becoming weird-out in the face of massive intrusion of globally mobile productive capital in India and is losing its political weight. With the advance of global capitalism, resulting into general urbanisation and industrialisation, the more and more domination of the city over the village, also decimates the peasantry as a political force. While the comparative weight of the working class keeps on growing at fast pace, that of the peasantry continues to vanish in the same proportions.
To win over the peasantry means to politically consolidate its sporadic struggles emerging now and then on local arena, into a conscious struggle on national scale, around the axis of proletarian party and its program, directed against the bourgeois and landlords. As revolutionary Marxists we do not worship the spontaneous and fruitless local uprisings of peasantry, but organise the peasantry as a bulwark for the nationwide struggle, around the leadership of working class, which would directly lead to the dictatorship of the working class, the state of proletariat and peasantry.
The emergence and existence of rural proletariat- the agricultural working class, is yet another very significant factor. It not only forms the rear of urban workers, but is the most revolutionary force in the rural regions. Doubtlessly, the number of working class is still small, in proportion to the peasant mass in the country. But the numbers are not important for the working class. It is the peasantry which lives by its numerical strength, and not the working class. Strength of the workers lies not in its numbers, but in the fact that modern capitalist societies run under its hand and its vital installations depend on the working class for their operations. Not a train would run, not a telephone would ring, without the will of the working class.
The petty-bourgeois parties- Social-Democrats, centrists, Stalinists, Maoists, who do not base themselves directly upon the working class, thus cannot lead the revolution to its fruition. Their limited programme of ‘democratic revolution’ thus cannot go beyond the confines of capitalism, either today or tomorrow, while socialist revolution would remain a farce for them. It is only the party of the working class, i.e. only our party, which would lead the working class and the peasantry behind it, to a proletarian socialist revolution, for which all necessary pre-requisites are already created.
The role of National Bourgeois
The national bourgeois has to play only a counter-revolutionary role in the impending revolution in India. It has already exhausted its limited energy before 1947. The democracy under its rule, in the last more than 60 years, has degenerated more and more to the rule of the rich, by the rich and for the rich.
The power of the bourgeois state however depends on the huge military machine at its disposal, which in its turn rests directly upon the bayonets, chiefly in the hands of peasantry. The sections of peasantry have an objective interest in the success of the proletarian revolution and expropriation of bourgeois and landlords. Though in ordinary times peasantry follows the lead of bourgeois, but this political equilibrium would disturb as soon as the working class would organise itself in a revolutionary party and would present itself as the leader of peasant masses, taking with it first and foremost its poorest sections.
The National bourgeois, after taking the power in its hands in 1947, through a settlement with the British colonialists and in outright betrayal of the national movement, has utterly failed to carry out even a single bourgeois democratic task. These tasks which include land reforms, national integration, mass education, linguistic, national, caste and religious issues, etc. etc. are almost left in the lurch by it. The proletariat has to take up these issues as the episodic ones in its transitory programme and would realise them as part of its revolution.
The bourgeois has taken power in 1947, not in struggle against Imperialism and feudalism, but as local agency of world capitalism, and through mutual adaptation with local reaction. Due to this adaptation, India presents a picture where the most backward forms of economy and production co-exist alongwith most advanced technology and capitalist innovations, of the world. This peculiarity of India, being a backward and peripheral country, determines on the other hand, that the movements of the proletariat would also combine the most militant and abrupt movements, alongside the old dullness, setting ablaze the whole political scenario, within no time. As the capitalism has not grown step-by-step, in an organic way, thus the revolutionary movement led by the proletariat against it, would also not grow in the old manner.
Place and Role of India in World Capitalism
India remains a formally independent country, with institutions of bourgeois democracy at its helm. But the truth is that it was never so dependent and subservient to Imperialism, as it is today. Its age-old pre-capitalist structures have been adapted and subjected to itself by the world capitalism. Capitalist mode of production dominates all existing modes and determines the tone of economy. The national bourgeois is nothing but the bandwagon of world capitalism. Failure of the project of de-colonisation, long ago has pushed the country in the fatal embrace of imperialism. Ruling national bourgeois, is the nodal agency which presents the country as a platform to world capitalism for uninterrupted exploitation of its cheap labour and the natural resources of raw materials.
Acting on the dictats of World Bank, IMF and GATT, the Indian Bourgeois rulers have already dismantled the limited social welfare programs and the national development schemes, and have set out for structural adjustments with neo-liberal phase of imperialism, and is gradually turning itself into the ‘bill collector’ for foreign banks. Instead of seeking ouster of foreign capital, the national bourgeois is providing conducive atmosphere to attract it for unrestricted exploitation of cheap labour and other resources, and is exporting its own capital to world markets through the global financial centres.
Though, the pre-capitalist forms of production, from primitive to comparatively new, exist in the economy, but they are subjected to itself by the capitalist mode of production. Thus, there cannot be any question of fighting these forms separately, hand in hand with the national bourgeois. These forms are intertwined with capitalism, and the struggle to abolish them thus turns itself, from the very beginning, into the struggle for abolition of capitalism itself.
Both Stalinists and Maoists refuse to see this, and thus seek an ally of the revolution, in the national bourgeois. While the national bourgeois rules, these false revolutionaries do ‘coolie service’ for it. They always keep themselves stuck to this or that section of the national bourgeois.
We reject the idea of forming any collaboration with the sections of the bourgeois. The only United Front we propose is the united front of workers’ parties and organisations, directed against the bourgeois, both democratic and fascist.
The Congress and the BJP are two main national parties of big bourgeois in India, with so many satellite parties representing the interests of local sections of the bourgeois. While Congress mainly occupies the liberal space on bourgeois political spectrum, the BJP occupies it on the right. Both of them represent the same ruling class, the bourgeois and landlords. Other parties like the BSP etc. which have raised themselves on the plank of oppressed identities, also represent the bourgeois layers within those sections.
The other parties of local bourgeois, which are mainly state parties, assert their own influence and the local bourgeois makes a breathing space for itself through them. In essence, these parties represent one or the other section of bourgeois and landlord classes and divide the working class into segments politically subjected by bourgeois and petty-bourgeois sections.
Stalinists and Maoists Smother the Working Class
For decades, the working class in South Asia has been politically smothered by Stalinist parties. With ruinous results, the Stalinists have systematically subordinated the working class to one or another section of the national bourgeoisie on the grounds that the unresolved problems of the democratic revolution—including the eradication of landlordism and casteism and the establishment of genuine equality among the subcontinent’s myriad peoples—is possible only through a bourgeois-led “national” revolution.
On the basis of the suppression of an examination of the key strategic experiences of the international working class, those experiences that have formed the substance of the disputes between the various currents claiming to represent the continuation of the revolutionary Marxism, Stalinists, Maoists and Centrists for decades' have subordinated the working class to bourgeois nationalism, social democracy and petty bourgeois radicalism.The counter-revolutionary role of Stalinism on the world stage and all the variants of Indian Stalinism, from the CPI through the Naxalites for their adherence to the Menshevik-Stalinist theory of two-stage revolution, need to be laid bare and exposed as counter revolutionary currents inside the working class movement.
Failure of Stalinists and Maoists to present a real opposition and a viable alternative to the bourgeois rule has left the space open for bourgeois and petty bourgeois nationalist and reformist movements to occupy the space.We must therefore develop a systematic and historically-grounded critique of Stalinists, the role the Soviet Stalinist bureaucracy and its satellite Communist Parties played in propping up world capitalism. But this is complicated problem, because of the political-ideological domination the various Stalinist currents including its Maoist variant, have exerted, and continue to exert, over the working class and socialist-minded toilers and intellectuals in India. Such a critique is not only fundamental for understanding how capitalism survived the 20th Century and the political problems that the working class now confronts, but also sheds critical light on the program and perspective that must guide the working class in the next period of revolutionary upheavals.
Stalinism was the ideology of a privileged bureaucracy that succeeded in usurping power from the working class in the USSR under conditions where the revolution (notwithstanding the post-World War I revolutionary upsurge of the German working class) had remained isolated in what was an extremely backward country. The bureaucracy with its doctrine of “socialism in one country” repudiated the internationalist program on which the revolution had been based and with increasing self-consciousness orientated toward securing a recognized place in the capitalist-dominated world order, in the process, transformed the national Communist Parties into instruments of its counter-revolutionary foreign policy.We must understand what Stalinism was and why it arose, the key revisions of Marxism with which it is associated (including socialism in one country, the two-stage theory of revolution, social fascism, popular frontism, and peaceful co-existence with world bourgeois), point to the key strategic experiences of the world working class that demonstrate the counter-revolutionary role of Stalinism, lay bare its destructive impact on the South Asian revolution, and indict the Soviet and Chinese bureaucracies for ultimately serving as the mechanism through which capitalism has been restored in the former USSR and the People's Republic of China.
The Soviet Stalinist bureaucracy systematically strangled the world socialist revolution, promoted a nationalist-opportunist ideology and politics that acted, as Trotsky said, as the syphilis of the world labor movement, and mercilessly persecuted and sought to physically annihilate the revolutionary cadres of the Fourth International.It is also necessary to review the record of Stalinism in India, tracing back to the origins and evolution of the CPI and its various offshoots including the Naxalite movement. This overview would clearly show how Stalinism systematically confused and disorganized the revolutionary-minded elements, making both the Stalinist parties- CPI and CPM – an integral part of the bourgeois order.
Again the challenge is to imbibe the key experiences of the last century. These would certainly include the CPIs zig-zag- from the conception of a multi-class party in the middle and late 1920s, to an ultra-left and abstentionist attitude toward the Congress-led nationalist movement in the early 1930s, and then, under conditions of a growing radicalization of the working class and peasantry in the latter half of the 1930s, to a policy of systematically subordinating the working class to Gandhi and the Congress who were held up as the rightful leaders of the democratic revolution.Mention here needs to be made to the CPI's criminal support for the British Raj during World War II, which helped solidify the Congress' leadership over of the anti-imperialist movement, its support for the Pakistan demand, and its craven calls for unity of the Indian National Congress and Muslim League during the crucial period of 1945-47, when India was convulsed by social struggles and in the throes of a pre-revolutionary situation. Even as the rival parties of the national bourgeoisie were competing for Britain's favour and drawing daggers against each other, the CPI was issuing bogus appeals for the INC and ML to play their reputed “historically-assigned” role as the leaders of the democratic revolution.
In the backdrop of the developing Cold War confrontation between the US and USSR and the genuine disquiet within the CPI's ranks over the party's miserable opportunist course in the preceding period, during a brief period CPI took to left-turn and associated itself with peasant revolt of Telangana; but this brief turn paled in view of CPI's subsequent unabashed accommodation to the Indian state. The crisis in the CPI in the early 1960s brought forward only the political bankruptcy of all the rival factions inside and outside the CPI. Various Stalinist currents played a very pernicious role in subordinating the working class to the bourgeoisie during the crisis of 1970s. The collapse of the USSR left the Stalinist parties in the lurch. Stalinists aided in implementing the bourgeoisie's post-1991 new economic policy. The government under Stalinists unleashed violence on peasantry in Singur and Nandigram to acquire the lands for big business. Left Front- the united front of Stalinist parties played crucial role in propping up the UPA government led by the bourgeois Congress (I). They promoted USSR and as “socialist” till its fall in 1991, and still promote China as such. The Maoists (Naxalites), have emerged out of the same soil of Stalinism and perpetuate the Stalinist betrayal of Marxism.Both the Stalinists and Maoists, politically root themselves in the common soil of Stagism, i.e. the two stage Menshevik theory of the revolution- ‘capitalism today, socialism tomorrow’, according to which the proletariat in the backward countries, due to its numerical weakness, neither can establish its dictatorship nor can expropriate the bourgeois. Both of them, rather seek collaboration with sections of national bourgeois, which in their estimation are revolutionary allies.
Both Stalinists and Maoists mislead themselves in thinking that the revolution in India would follow the same trajectory of ‘two stages’ like it had followed in nineteenth century Europe. With the advent of Imperialism and subjection to itself of the world as a whole, there can be no question of separate democratic revolutions in India. The left over democratic tasks, which the national bourgeois has failed to accomplish because of its organic impotence in face of Imperialism, would be accomplished only as integrated part of the proletarian socialist revolution, under the dictatorship of the proletariat.
The bogus and class collaborationist Menshevik perspective, common to both the Stalinists and Maoists, has done incalculable damage to the prospects of world proletarian revolution in the last century. Their nationalist outlook has pushed both of them to the embrace of the national bourgeois, and they had delivered the proletariat bound hand and foot to the bourgeois.
While the Stalinists hold back the workers through their parties CPI, CPM etc. and the trade unions under their control, from taking offensive against the capitalists and their government, the Maoists simply decimate the working class and orient themselves directly to the peasantry. With their limited nationalist program, they simply ignore the world working class and rather serve the interests of their national bourgeois. They are the virtual ‘left wing’ of the national bourgeois. Both of them are avowed enemies of proletarian internationalism and the permanent revolution, which formed the basis of the Great October Revolution. Proletariat and its party must strive to decimate these false revolutionaries.
Given this limited political outlook, both the Stalinists and Maoists refuse to lead the working class and the multi-million peasantry behind it, against the rule of the bourgeois in India. They propose to take the power hand in hand with the sections of national bourgeois, by using the workers and peasants as cannon fodder. They have adapted to this rule both in their program and action. Completely disoriented, the parties under their leadership, are fighting for their bare survival.
Stalinism facilitated the conquest of power by the bourgeois in India
Indian bourgeois had come to power in 1947, through a compromise with British Colonialists, betraying the national liberation struggle. Historic tragedy of the Partition of India was the direct fallout of this settlement.
National bourgeois trumpeted this betrayal, as national freedom. The Stalinist Communist Party of India (CPI), then acting under command of Stalin, collaborated with bourgeois regime under Nehru, not only in propagation of illusion of ‘freedom’, but in partition of the country. The CPI hailed the betrayal by the national bourgeois as ‘national freedom’ and misled the workers, peasants and the youth to believe that this freedom would usher in progress and prosperity. It openly supported the British plan of partition of India, and alongside the Muslim League, it demanded such partition. This partition resulted in killings, rapes and maiming of thousands and further displacement of millions. Partition proved to be a device for communal divide among the workers and peasants, thereby crippling them from challenging the betrayal by the bourgeois, its compromise with colonialists and its rule in India and Pakistan. Workers and peasants looked towards communists for leadership, but the Stalinist CPI bound them hand and foot to the bourgeois.
Stalin forced the British and Indian Communist parties to abandon the revolutionary demand for ‘national independence’ and substitute for it the reformist agenda of ‘responsible government’.
Peasant revolt was triggered in Telangana region in 1948, and the peasantry paralysed the feudal regime of Nizam Hyderabad. CPI initially was forced to support the uprising, but soon under mandate from Stalin, abruptly withdrew from the struggle and advised the rebellious peasantry to surrender before the Indian Army. This resulted in mass butchering of the peasantry.
Stalin looked at bourgeois regime under Nehru as progressive and nationalist. He advised communists to support the Nehru regime, so as to enable it to fight the forces of extreme right, instead of fighting for power against the Nehru regime itself. This policy of collaboration with bourgeois resulted in overturning of revolutionary situation then maturing in India and assisted actively in stabilisation of the bourgeois rule of Congress. This quest of Stalinists seeking national and progressive sections inside bourgeois, continues to this day and has become an apology to collaborate with bourgeois.
Communist Party of India (CPI) was founded in 1925 at Kanpur Congress, i.e. after the death of Lenin, when the Third International and CPSU were practically under the command of Stalin. It therefore suffered from the deformities since its birth, inherited from the leadership under Stalin. Though the CPI, later in 1964, was split in two- CPI and CPI(M), following the Sino-Soviet dispute between Stalin and Mao, for hegemony over the world communist movement, with CPI facing to Moscow and CPI(M) to Beijing, but both have since followed the same flawed political policy of collaborating with bourgeois under the shelter of ‘democratic’ revolution. While CPI has faithfully adhered to Congress (I) after the Telangana struggle, the CPI(M) has aligned itself to different bourgeois parties at different times, including the congress and those at the extreme right.
CPI remained instrumental in keeping Congress regime in power and played considerable role in diffusing the political crisis whenever it challenged the Congress regime. It supported Congress under Indira Gandhi even during Emergency period 1974-77, and played a critical role in holding back the workers and peasants from taking offensive against the Congress regime in crisis. CPI (M) on the other hand tagged itself to the bourgeois coalition of Janata Party and helped it come to power in 1977. It supported the government of Janata Party from the left, of while ultra rightist Jan Sangh, was also a component. CPI(M) again supported the government led by V.P Singh, from the left while Rightist BJP supported it from the right. Both CPI and CPM on the pretext of keeping BJP out of power, then supported the bourgeois coalition of UPA government led by Congress, for more than four years, in the last Lok Sabha, till they were kicked out by the Congress. Both then entered into a bourgeois coalition, the ‘third front’ alongwith parties opposed to Congress(I) which was badly beaten in elections.
The political outlook of the Stalinists is based upon the Menshevik ‘two stage theory’ of revolution, which supposes that in the countries with belated capitalist development, a democratic revolution would precede a proletarian socialist. This flawed theory is based upon Menshevik assumption that sections of bourgeois would play a positive, progressive and revolutionary role in democratic revolution. Stalinists have no faith in strength and struggle of the proletariat. They presume that proletariat in India is not strong enough to embark upon independent politics and take power in its hands to establish its dictatorship, therefore it has to follow the lead of progressive bourgeois. This progressive bourgeois sometimes they locate in Congress sometimes outside it. This is what they call democratic stage of revolution, while postponing the issue of socialism for an indefinite tomorrow.
Maoists, the Chinese variants of Stalinists, are rooted in the very same politics.
Irrespective of the conflict between Moscow and Peking for the hegemony upon the world communist movement, when Maoists pressed to their service a more radical vocabulary, the two follow the same political line emanating from two stage theory of revolution and are common enemies of the program of ‘permanent revolution’.
The program of ‘permanent revolution’, based upon the concept proposed by Marx in 1848, and developed later by Trotsky, does not recognise the stage-ist theory of revolution as historically or politically valid, instead postulates that as the national bourgeois is too weak to carry out a revolution, it is for the proletariat to take to power, establish its dictatorship and advance the revolution. In this, it has to contend for power against the bourgeois and not collaborate with it, as Stalinists think. There is no question of democratic revolution in alliance with bourgeois- either the revolutionary dictatorship of the working class, or the counter revolutionary dictatorship of the bourgeois. Peasantry, whatever its numeric strength be, would play only a supportive role in bringing one or the other class to power. Different level of development in different countries would only present different tasks before the revolutionary dictatorship of proletariat and hence different pace of advance in different countries.
Like Stalinists, Maoists are also advocates of the ‘two stage theory’ of revolution and have the same pernicious allegiance to sections of bourgeois. Maoists bypass the proletariat and consider that in agrarian countries, peasantry would bring about a revolution through protracted war. Maoists are offshoots of the flawed Stalinist policy of ‘democratic revolution’ in China during 1925-1927, which ended up in a fiasco after strangulating the mature proletarian revolution of 1926. While left opposition fought against this Stalinist policy to save the Chinese revolution of 1926, Maoists instead of fighting it, adapted to the defeats inflicted by Stalinist policies by abandoning the cities and the working class. Bypassing the working class they took to peasantry, and later built up a whole thesis of peasant socialism, upon it. Maoists never dissociated themselves from the bogus Stalinist program of ‘two stage revolution’, rather are more ardent advocates of it today. Maoist thesis of ‘bloc of four classes’ is nothing less than a death warrant upon the proletariat, who is invited to sit inside this bloc in direct alliance with bourgeois. Nepal is recent and live exhibition of the crushing failure of Maoist politics.
Like Stalinists, Maoists also think that sections of bourgeois are progressive and thus have to play revolutionary role in India. In that they again and again turn to such assumed sections of bourgeois. History of Maoists in India is full of such instances of collaboration with sections of bourgeois. Their recent open collaboration with TMC under Mamata Banerjee is not the only instance, before it also they continued like Stalinists to collaborate with different bourgeois parties and tag the youth, workers and peasants who follow their lead, to these parties. They supported Rajasekhar Reddy of Congress(I) to come to power in Andhra Pradesh, they lend support to JMM under Shibu Soren, in Jharkhand, they supported BSP and so on and so forth.... While Maoists preach the workers and peasants to keep their hands off from bourgeois parliament and Assemblies, they assist bourgeois parties to capture the power. The Maoist program of ‘New Democracy’, is nothing but reprint of the same Stalinist roadmap of democratic revolution.
In the name of ‘democratic’ revolution, Stalinists tag the working class to this or that sections of the bourgeois and hold it back from advancing against the capitalists, Maoists simply push aside the working class to political margins and take to the peasantry. Both, in their own ways, prevent the working class from placing itself at the head of a national revolution, against the regime of capitalists and landlords and establish its dictatorship, as part of the world socialist revolution.
Stalinists and Maoists have played this pernicious role not only in India, but all over the world in last century, repeatedly aborting the mature revolutionary situations and bail out the bourgeois through the crisis.
World capitalism could survive and resurrect itself after the second world war, due to this complacence by Stalinists and Maoists, with it. During and after the second world war Stalin openly collaborated with bourgeois leaders, and participated in division of the world entering into a peaceful co-existence with the world bourgeois, which Nikita Khrushchev later developed into a whole concept of peaceful co-existence, only as true disciple of Stalin. Mao himself joined hands with US imperialists under Nixon and played a dubious role during Vietnam war.
The Third International (Comintern), the world party of the proletariat, organised under leadership of Lenin and Trotsky, degenerated under Stalin more and more, before its formal dissolution by Stalin in 1942, during the second world war to appease and doubly assure the world bourgeois leadership that the project of a world socialist revolution is abandoned.
Both Stalinists and Maoists have assisted the world capitalism to re-stabilize itself and to remain in power in different countries of the world. The parties and Trade Unions under them have become an instrument to bail out the bourgeois whenever it finds itself engulfed in crisis.
World history is full of such accounts and thus its no difficult to understand as to how the Stalinists and Maoists have assisted the world bourgeois to keep itself in power. But if the world bourgeois was kept in power by Stalinists-Maoists, then who kept the Stalinists and Maoists in power? It were Centrists! Centrists inside the left opposition, inside the Fourth International!!
After crushing of the Chinese revolution by 1927, and then ascend to the power of Hitler in Germany in 1932, due to the flawed political policies of Comintern under Stalin, it was almost clear that the Third International is no more capable of providing leadership to the world proletariat. The abortion of Spanish revolution in 1937, endorsed this. The left opposition hitherto working inside the Comintern came out, to found the new Fourth International under the leadership of Trotsky, around the program of permanent revolution. Fourth International played a great role in gathering the revolutionary forces around it, till Trotsky’s assassination in 1940 by Ramon Mercader, a Stalinist agent, when its leadership fell to the hands of Pablo and then Mandel. As Stalinism strengthened itself and the bourgeois too, in collaboration with it during and after the WW-II, the new leaders of Fourth International unable to understand the new reality presented by the history and the underlying tasks, took to a centrist position in false hope that Stalinists would be forced by the emerging realities of history to fight the world bourgeois.
Parties of Fourth International were thus directed to work from inside the Stalinist parties in different countries, instead of exposing them and fighting against them. The Fourth International and the parties under it, became casualty of this centrist policy of the new leadership of Pablo and then Mandel. Bolshevik Leninist Party of India (BLPI) was one of them. It was forced under the wings of Congress Socialist Party (CSP) only to be later diluted into it.
The BLPI has a short lived but glorious revolutionary history. The party followed the lead of left opposition, and built up itself around the program of ‘permanent revolution’ to counter the degeneration of Stalinism. In opposition to Stalinist CPI, which collaborated with British colonialists to oppose the ‘Quit India’ resolution at Bombay, BLPI enthusiastically supported the resolution and the movement. It supported the Bombay Naval mutiny against the British rule and led the workers demonstration in Bombay in its support. While the Stalinist CPI advocated the partition and making of Pakistan hand in hand with Muslim League, the BLPI staunchly opposed the plan of partition drawn by the colonialists aimed at drawing a communal divide among workers and toilers. This BLPI chapter of history is simply vanquished by Stalinists.
Strong but belated opposition came against Centrist leadership from inside the Fourth International under leadership of James P. Cannon, but the damage was already done, by then. Pablo and Mandel were discredited by history, as it was shown beyond doubt that instead of fighting with bourgeois, Stalinists and Maoists had slipped more and more under the folds of world bourgeois. But the centrist tendencies continued to hold the sway in more than one form inside the Trotskyist movement, calling for concessions and collaboration with Stalinists and Maoists.
Stalinists assisted the bourgeois to keep in power, Centrists assisted the Stalinists in the same way to hold the power, instead of calling upon the working class to prepare for political revolutions against them, in Russia, China, Eastern Europe and elsewhere. Centrists prevent the working class from taking to fight against Stalinists-Maoists, while Stalinists-Maoists block the workers from fighting against bourgeois. Therefore to put up an effective fight against the bourgeois, and its political lackeys- fascists, liberals, social-democrats- it is necessary to first deal with the Centrists, Stalinists and Maoists. It is thus the urgent task before Marxist revolutionaries to organise themselves around the program of ‘permanent revolution’ and to put up an implacable fight against the currents, alien to it.
Resurrect the BLPI in direct fight against Stalinists, Maoists and Centrists
In the last several decades, immense revolutionary possibilities have presented themselves again and again. But, in absence of a revolutionary program capable to orient and lead the working class and behind it the whole nation, in political struggle against the rule of capitalists, these opportunities continue to turn in a fiasco.The recent deep plunge of World capitalism, coupled with acute crisis in agrarian sector in India, has triggered a new political crisis for the ruling capitalist class in India. If this crisis fails to transform itself into a revolutionary situation, it is only because of failure of the working class to rise to the historic occasion, apparently due to its political marginalisation, perpetuated under the conditions of domination of Stalinists, Maoists and the Centrists upon its movement.
Thus continues a situation of political status quo and historic dilemma with capitalists holding the political power without any real power at their disposal to hold it, while their Stalinist, Maoist and Centrist lackeys continue to hold back the working class from advancing against this power. In order to smash the power of capitalists, it was thus all the more necessary to first smash the stranglehold of these lackeys of old power.Working class but cannot accomplish this historic mission, as the history of last century goes to show through a whole series of successes and failures, except by arming itself with these strategic lessons in history, under the leadership of its party- the party of revolution, the party armed with the program of revolutionary Marxism.
The purpose of this program is to re-found the Bolshevik-Leninist Party of India, gone down in the history as –BLPI, which had emerged as part of the implacable struggle carried out under the leadership of Leon Trotsky, against the Stalinist degeneration of the Third International and the communist parties in different countries, which failed to revolt against it. The short but glorious struggle put up by BLPI not only against the colonial power, but also against its political apologists- the Bourgeois Congress and Stalinist CPI, illuminates our path. Though the BLPI was later disoriented and virtually liquidated under the centrist leadership of Pablo and Mandel over the movement of fourth international, yet the program it fought for, still remains a vital foundation for building of a revolutionary movement. More than six decades now separate us from BLPI, which is to re-emerge from its own ashes after more than half a century!
For the Socialist United States of South Asia!
A strategic imperative for the workers of India and Pakistan is to reach across the partition divide and coordinate their struggles against their common enemy—the subcontinent’s rival national bourgeoisie and world imperialism. The lifting of the threat of a fourth and potentially disastrous- nuclear Indo-Pak war, the eradication of the scourge of communalism, and rational and equitable economic development in the interests of working people require the overthrow of the reactionary state system in countries of South Asia, that the national bourgeoisie and imperialism imposed in 1947 and the voluntary unification of the peoples of the subcontinent in the Socialist United States of South Asia.
The bourgeoisie of India and Pakistan have proven utterly incapable of providing for genuine equality among the myriad ethnic groups that constitute their respective states. The political wounds of 1947-1948 have only festered and putrefied. In India, as in Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, the bourgeoisie has made the fanning and manipulation of ethno-national and communal differences an integral part of its system of political and ideological control. This, in turn, has provided fertile ground for the rise of myriad ethno-nationalist and secessionist movements.
In India and China, the national movements, of the first half of the twentieth century posed the progressive task of unifying disparate peoples in a common struggle against imperialism—a task which proved unrealizable under the leadership of the national bourgeoisie. However, contrary to this, the new form of nationalism promotes separatism along ethnic, linguistic and religious lines, with the aim of dividing up existing states for the benefit of local exploiters. Such movements have nothing to do with a struggle against imperialism, nor do they in any sense embody the democratic aspirations of the masses of oppressed. They serve to divide the working class and divert the class struggle into ethno-communal conflicts.
These movements appeal to genuine democratic and socio-economic grievances. But the nationalist-exclusivist program they advance in no way corresponds to the interests of the working class of South Asia. The balkanization of the subcontinent would facilitate imperialist manipulation and oppression, create new obstacles to the unification of the working class, and further institutionalize ethnic politics and strife.
The national-separatist movements articulate the strivings of local sections of the bourgeoisie for their own ethnically defined state with a view to expanding their possibilities for enrichment and exploitation, especially by brokering deals with international capital. Their politics are oriented not toward overturning the reactionary nation-state system imposed on South Asia in 1947-1948, but toward reshuffling some of its borders by pressuring the dominant bourgeois faction, frequently through insurgencies, and by winning the favor of the great powers. Raising slogans like “Kashmir for the Kashmiris” “Nagaland for Nagas” and “Assam for the Assamese” such movements subject workers and toilers of “alien” nationalities to chauvinist denunciations and violence, and champion exclusivist language and citizenship laws.
The myriad national grievances that today beset South Asia are rooted in the failure of independent bourgeois rule and bourgeois nationalism. Like the other unfulfilled tasks of the democratic revolution, the elimination of all forms of national oppression is bound up with world socialist revolution. In keeping with the program of permanent revolution, the working class must wrest the leadership of the toiling masses from the bourgeoisie and petty-bourgeoisie by demonstrating that only through the overthrow of the current bourgeois order can genuine democracy, national equality and independence from imperialism be secured.
Ultimately, the failure of the petty bourgeois insurgencies, from LTTE in Sri Lanka to ULFA in Assam, NSCN in Nagaland and AZADI in Kashmir, is rooted in their narrow class aims. They could not and would not make an appeal to the international working class and the toiling masses, rather these movements increasingly alienate the masses. This experience has provided confirmation in practice that the only historically viable program for securing the democratic rights of the peoples of South Asia is the socialist revolution.
The Kashmir question has special importance given the role it has played and continues to play in the reactionary Indo-Pakistani state rivalry. Both the Indian and Pakistani elites have abused and repressed the people of Kashmir. When the Indian government’s flagrant rigging of the 1987 state election in Indian-held Jammu and Kashmir helped spark an insurgency, Pakistan quickly intervened to promote the most communal-minded and Islamist elements among the insurgents, calculating they would be the most susceptible to its control.
The working class must resolutely oppose the rival territorial claims of both states. All of the solutions proposed by New Delhi and Islamabad—Kashmir’s incorporation into Pakistan, a communal partition of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, greater autonomy, etc.—are based on a continuation of the same communal policies that are at the root of the current conflict and will only give rise to new tensions. Nor should the working class lend support to the demand of some Kashmiri nationalists for an independent Kashmir. This is a program for the creation of another capitalist nation-state in South Asia based on the calculation of sections of the Kashmiri elite that they could leverage an independent Kashmir’s geo-strategic importance as a state bordering India, Pakistan, China and Afghanistan and lying close to Russia.
The unification of the Kashmiri people on a progressive basis and, more generally, the development of equitable relations among all the myriad people of South Asia will be possible only as part of an undoing of partition from below—as the result of a united working-class led struggle against decrepit bourgeois rule and for the Socialist United States of South Asia.
We reject all forms of nationalism and nationalist and communalist politics, including the reactionary communal ideology enshrined in partition and the rival states of India and Pakistan, as well as those forces that advocate the break-up of India along national-ethnic lines.
Today, a new kind of nationalism has come to the fore calling for division of people on the ground of religion, race, creed etc. Number of nationality movements have erupted under the leadership of local sections of bourgeois, demanding secession of small territories from the bourgeois states, which the local bourgeois aspires to use as its launching pad, bypassing the big bourgeois, to integrate directly with the world capitalism and grab the share of booty directly, by itself presenting the statelet under it, as a cheap bastion for exploitation of labour to the world capital. The common feature of these movements is that none of them is anti-imperialist in character and instead of uniting the people of different origins, languages, culture, caste and race, they base themselves on the division of people on these reactionary grounds. They rather base themselves upon fundamentalist ideologies and a hatred even towards the working people of other nations, languages, ethnicity, caste and religion. In no sense these movements are motivated by the imperatives of anti-imperialism.
Driven by the impulse of enriching itself by establishing a direct link with the world capital, bypassing the middleman, the big bourgeois, the local bourgeois seeks dismemberment of the existing bourgeois states to establish small Islands on the pattern of Taiwan, Hongkong and Singapore. For this, the sections of local bourgeois, exploit the backward ethnic, religious, linguistic and national sentiments of the working people. Instead of uniting divergent identities on a broader national platform, these movements seek to divide the working people on reactionary identities. Invariably, these movements remain tagged to this or that group of imperialists, seeking their support to survive. As the national question is essentially bound up with the development of capitalism in general, the present era of globally mobile capital has made possible the existence, survival and growth of these statelets. These movements of ‘neo-nationalism’, spring out, in fact, out of the mechanics of capitalist globalisation and serve only its interests.
Though we declare our unconditional opposition to the oppression of weaker nationalities at the hands of the bourgeois regime and support the demand of oppressed nationalities for the ‘right to self-determination, including secession’, yet restrict ourselves only to support for this ‘right’. We resolutely oppose the secessionist movements, as they serve solely the interests of the sections of the bourgeois, by inducing the clever divide between the workers of both nationalities. It is the revolutionary duty of the proletariat of oppressor nationality to oppose the oppression of weaker nationality by its bourgeois rulers and support the cause of the oppressed nationality and its right to self-determination, including secession. Similarly, the revolutionary task of the proletariat of oppressed nationality is to unite itself with the proletariat of oppressor nationality to oppose the bourgeois of both the nationalities, against their national projects of oppression and secession respectively. The task in this regard, is thus a dual task, a two faceted duty of the working class, aim of which is to take out the working class from the toxic nationalist influence of bourgeois and petty bourgeois.
On the Identity Movements
Another form of opportunism, which has played a significant role in undermining the struggle for the unity of the working class and lowering class consciousness, is the promotion of innumerable forms of “identity” politics - based on the elevation of national, ethnic, racial, linguistic, religious, gender, and sexual distinctions above class position. This shift from class to identity has been at the expense of an understanding of the real causes, rooted in the capitalist system, of the hardships that confront all working people. At its worst, it has promoted a competition among different “identities” for access to educational institutions, jobs and other “opportunities” which, in a socialist society, would be freely available to all people without such demeaning, dehumanizing and arbitrary distinctions. Affirmative action programs have benefited, for the most part, a relatively small layer of the middle class.
In the environment of the defeats of revolutionary movements of the working class, many petty-bourgeois currents and movements have mushroomed and have been successful to woo the masses. The movements based upon the identities -ethnic, cultural, sex, national, linguistic, religious, caste or creed identities- are the most widespread offshoots of it. These movements which divide the working class in numerous sects on the basis of their identity, serve the reactionary purpose of ruling classes themselves by weakening the untied resistance of the working class and by preventing it from realising that the various forms of oppression of man by man are the essential fallout of the operation of capitalism oriented towards ‘profiteering’, which can be put to an end only by putting an end to the system of capitalism, through united efforts of the entire working class.
Oppose the Trade Union Bureaucracy
At the advent of old national capitalism based upon ‘free competition’, the Trade Unions have emerged as combination of workers, out of the system of bargain for better working conditions, primarily for the better sale price of their labour, at the hands of capitalists. However, after emergence of Imperialism, the trade union movement, became a ready bastion for reformism and opportunism and started to degenerate first in Imperialist countries and then in the entire world. In the age of globally mobile capital and dismantling of the national economic structures under its hand, the trade unions have lost all their steam. They remain plagued by trade sectarianism, under domination of a labour aristocracy everywhere.
Not only the most advanced German Trade Unions had blocked all discussions on the tactics of ‘general strike’ and resolved against the Great October Socialist Revolution, but as the whole experience of the last century shows, the trade unions have played a major role in breaking strikes, lowering wages, eliminating benefits, cutting jobs and shutting down factories. Indifferent to the hardships of their ordinary members, and protected by the “dues check-off” and labor laws from rank-and-file protests, the unions are tied by a thousand threads to the corporations and the capitalist state. The Trade Unions at the most represent the workers as an oppressed mass and not as a revolutionary class. With the decline of the age of nationalism and reformism, the role of trade unions has come to a dead end.
We call for a break with these redundant, sectarian and corrupt bureaucratic organizations, which do not represent in any manner whatsoever, the interests of the modern proletariat. Instead, we must focus upon formation of new independent organizations - such as factory and workplace committees - that truly represent the interests of the rank-and-file workers and have potential to grow directly into workers soviets.
Key experiences of the Indian working classFrom a review of the key experiences of the Indian working class, two pivotal conclusions emerge:
• All sections of the bourgeoisie are hostile to and organically incapable of realizing the democratic and social aspirations of Indian workers and toilers.
• The Indian working class is a mighty social force that had exhibited both militancy and potential to achieve its historic mission of establishing a socialist state. But it has repeatedly been politically derailed by Stalinists and Maoists of various shades, having control over numerous parties and trade unions, that have kept it tied to the parties and politics of the Indian bourgeoisie.
Key Tasks before Marxist Revolutionaries in India
The most class-conscious workers and socialist-minded youth and intellectuals in South Asia have begun to recognize the need to revive the revolutionary Marxist perspective through a turn to Trotskyism.
Based on a review of the essential strategic experiences of the working class in South Asia and drawing on the lessons of the political struggles inside the fourth international, our statement demonstrates the necessity of Indian working class basing its struggles on the strategy of ‘permanent revolution’.
Marxism like any science can only be developed through a continuous reworking of the lessons of the past and by critiquing contemporary pseudo-Marxism. It is thus our first and foremost duty to undertake a study of that history as part of its assimilation and reworking of the entire legacy of Revolutionary Marxism.The pioneering efforts of the Bolshevik-Leninist Party of India (BLPI) to elaborate the strategy of permanent revolution in colonial India and the salient analysis it made of the 1947 settlement and the Indian bourgeoisie's betrayal of the democratic revolution, comprises the core of our historical understanding and the political strategy of today based on it.
One of the key tasks should be to argue within the ranks of revolutionary Marxists that the primary challenge they face at this stage in their political development is to carry out a systematic theoretical-political reworking of the entire history of Marxism so as to discover the revolutionary heritage from which generations of would-be revolutionists in India have been cut off by Stalinism.But important and necessary as all this is, the cadres who will undertake this work first need to be assembled and they will be assembled by fighting for clarification on the great questions of the world Marxist movement in the twentieth century, questions pertaining to the rise and fall of the Soviet Union and the Third International, the existence of a Marxist alternative to Stalinism and the variant of Stalinism that Mao developed in the name of “Marxism with Chinese characteristics,” and the centrality of the Trotskyist program of permanent revolution.
To be sure, Marxists in India must make a detailed study of the agrarian and national questions. They likewise are called upon to make a fresh analysis of the changing role of India in the world capitalist economy and to probe both the extent and limits of India's rise.A genuine revolutionary current must at all times be fighting simultaneously to build a world party and its requisite national sections. A revolutionary party in India, or for that matter any other place in the world, must be trained in the lessons and experiences of the world working class, must systematically work over the problems of the revolution, including in its own country, from an international perspective.
Our understanding of present day politics and our tasks must base themselves upon an examination of the aborted anti-imperialist revolution that convulsed India in the first half of the twentieth Century, betrayal of this revolution at the hands of the national bourgeois in 1947, communal partition of India with Stalinist CPI’s approval and the subsequent development of India's socio-economic structure under the rule of the Indian national bourgeoisie.
Build the Fourth International and resurrect the BLPI!A vital part of the struggle to build a new revolutionary party of the Indian working class is the political-theoretical exposure of the Stalinists and Maoists that still hold ground in India, as a result of the defeats and marginalisation of the working class, in the backdrop of a permanent political crisis of the bourgeois establishment.
Virulently opportunist, the pseudo-marxist parties like CPI-CPI(M) have played an utterly reprehensible role, in keeping the bourgeois in power by holding back the working class. They serve to block workers and socialist-minded youth from genuine and revolutionary Marxism. They exploit the prestige of red flag while carrying out miserable right-wing manoeuvres with the trade union bureaucracy and the bourgeois political establishment that are in diametrical opposition to all that revolutionary Marxism stands for.
The conglomerate of Stalinist parties- the left front- has operated for well over six decades as a spokesman for and integral part of the ruling-class of India. It insists that the national bourgeois and its secular parties like Congress (I), which served as the instrument to politically harness the working class to the bourgeoisie during the mass upheavals of the anti-colonial struggle, still have a progressive role to play. In fact, the false popular, pseudo-secular and seemingly socialist program of Congress, is a political fraud upon workers and toilers. An exposure of its populist politics, from the standpoint of revolutionary Marxism, is an essential part of the struggle for the political independence and hegemony of the Indian working class.
The centrists inside the Trotskyist movement are the political progeny of a liquidationist current—Pabloism—that emerged inside the Fourth International under conditions of the post-Second World War restabilization of capitalism. (Michel Pablo, the secretary of the Fourth International in the immediate post-war years, and Ernest Mandel were the principal leaders of this current.)
Impressed by the strengthening of the Soviet Stalinist bureaucracy as a result of the outcome of World War II and by the ability of social democracy to obtain certain material benefits for the working class under conditions of a rapid capitalist expansion, the Pabloites declared Trotsky’s revolutionary perspective obsolete. Pablo bluntly asserted that the reorganization of the working class under the leadership of the Fourth International was “the least likely variant” in the struggle for socialism. Instead, argued the Pabloites, the Stalinist bureaucracy and other alien class forces would be compelled under the pressure of imperialism from above and the masses from below to expropriate the bourgeoisie, leading to “centuries of deformed workers states.”
The Pabloites came to view the Stalinist and social democratic parties, as well as various petty-bourgeois nationalist and radical movements, not as political obstacles to the revolutionary mobilization of the working class, but rather as alternative instruments for realizing socialism. It was not, therefore a matter of opposition to these organizations, the independent perspective of the Fourth international, but rather of transforming the Fourth International into a pressure group on the existing leadership of the working class and national movements. The Pabloites attributed to the Stalinists and bourgeois nationalists a historically progressive role, rejecting Trotsky’s insistence on their counter-revolutionary character. In pursuit of their perspective of “integrating into the mass movement,” they set about politically and organizationally breaking up the existing parties of the fourth international.
The implications of this perspective—the transformation of the parties of the fourth international, into appendages of the counter-revolutionary labor bureaucracies and secondary props of the bourgeois order—was soon demonstrated for all to see by political events in South Asia. Under Pabloite tutelage, the glorious Bolshevik Leninist Party of India (BLPI) entered and sub-merged into the Congress Socialist Party (CSP) and the Lanka Sama Samaj Party (LSSP) adapted to Sinhala populism, they abandoned the permanent revolution in favour of trade union and parliamentary opportunism. In 1964, LSSP entered into a bourgeois coalition government headed by Mde. Bandaranaike and her Sri Lanka Freedom Party.
Since struggle launched inside the Fourth International against Pabloism in 1953, the genuine Trotskyists have rallied against the Pabloites and in the ensuing decades waged a tenacious struggle to defend and develop the program of world socialist revolution. With the colossal political experience derived from many decades of struggle in defense of Marxist and Trotskyist principles, the movement embodies the need for the world working class to consciously coordinate its struggles and overthrow the moribund capitalist system.
Our central task is thus to build the fourth internationalist movement, a world working class vanguard that will be able to intervene in the mass, spontaneous struggles of the working class, combat and politically defeat the Stalinists, Maoists, and centrist opportunists, and arm the working class with a clear revolutionary program and perspective.
We urge the workers and youth to study this statement and to join our ranks and our struggle to build the party of the working class.
Capitalism, is ridden today with acute systemic crisis on global arena, making objective conditions ripe for its own dissolution through a social revolution. The working class, the only force capable to lead such social revolution, however fails to rise to the occasion and unable to respond to this crisis in a revolutionary way. This weakness of the working class, is the result of re-consolidation of imperialism, especially its re-stabilisation after WW-II, with active assistance of Stalinists, who played a crucial role in disintegration of the international working class. In this scenario, working class has lost faith in its own strength and is distanced from revolutionary socialist consciousness and its historic mission of wiping out capitalism from the face of the earth.
There is, thus, created a big chasm between the ripening objective conditions for a world socialist revolution on the one hand and backward political consciousness of the proletariat on the other. There arises, thus, the need for a transitional program, a linking bridge, between these two distant poles: starting from most immediate, pressing and easily conceivable demands of the workers, to the great historic liberating mission of the working class- the world conquest of power and establishment of a socialist society.
For this purpose of bridging the gap and transition to the ultimate aim of a socialist society, we outline a sketch of the transitional demands, just outlines, which may be altered, added or deleted, in parts, according to the need of time and place, in the course of virtual transition:
Our aim is not the reform of capitalism, but to overthrow it. The attainment of this goal, however, requires an inseparable link of the party to the broad mass of workers, and the formulation of demands that address their immediate needs. There remains the necessity of establishing, a real link between the ultimate goal and program of socialist revolution on the one hand and the concrete struggles in which the working class is engaged, on the other. In this, our work is guided by the approach of the Fourth International, embodied in the Transitional Program- “It is necessary,” Trotsky wrote, “to help the masses in the process of the daily struggle to find a bridge between present demands and the socialist program of the revolution. This bridge should include a system of transitional demands, stemming from today’s conditions and today’s consciousness of wide layers of the working class and unalterably leading to one final conclusion: the conquest of power by the proletariat.”
Such demands include universal employment, unrestricted access to quality medical care and education, decent housing, the cancellation of closures and evictions, automatic adjustment of wages in line with inflation, reduction of working hours with no loss of pay, the democratization of the workplace, unrestricted inspection by the public of the financial records of corporations, banks and financial institutions, establishment of restraints on executive salaries, imposition of a genuinely progressive income tax, abolition of all indirect taxes and significant restriction on the transfer of massive personal wealth via inheritance, nationalization and the establishment of democratic workers’ control of large corporations vital to the national and global economy, abolition of civil judicial and military bureaucracy and its substitution by the bodies of elected representatives from top to bottom, dismantling of the paid armed forces and the transfer of their authority to popular militias with elected officers, controlled by the working class, and other demands of a democratic and socially beneficial character.
However, these transitory demands present a program in transition to the struggle for socialism, making a bridge between the program of socialist revolution and the consciousness of masses at a given time, thus with changes in the correlation of different forces, the demands would also continue to change.
i) Unconditional abolition of all privileges of bureaucracy.
ii) Election of all officials, executive and judicial, from top to bottom, with right to people to recall their elected representatives.
iii) Abolition of standing Armies and Police and their substitution by peoples’ militias, through universal arming, under the control of working class.
iv) Removal of all restrictions upon the Right to carry weapon of one’s choice.
v) Fast Track Courts, with elected judges, to deal with matters of corruption, repression and omissions of public officials, with election of judges. Right of all citizens to prosecute the officials.
vi) Guaranteed right of all citizens to inspect the records and accounts of all public and private corporations, banks, offices and institutions, forthwith and without any hassles.
vii) Ceiling of salaries of public functionaries, and the Executives of Public Limited Companies. The ratio of wages of workmen and salaries of public servants, bureaucrats and technocrats in public sector and public limited companies, should not exceed in any case 1:3, all perks and benefits included.
viii) Steep income tax and abolition of all indirect taxes, sales tax, service tax etc.
ix) Effective Ceiling on inheritance of private property.
x) Full and unrestricted freedom of Speech and Assembly for working class with necessary facilities for the same at the expense of the State.
xi) Full freedom to move or settle in any part of the country, with equal rights and treatment to all immigrant workers.
xii) Inviolability of the rights of religious and caste minorities, women, dalit, children and other weaker sections of society. Special Courts to prosecute and punish the violators.
xiii) Confiscation of the property of Monopolies, both foreign and domestic, without compensation.
xiv) Land Reforms. Confiscation of all landed estates of landlords of more than 50 acres in aggregate, without compensation and put them under direct control of the collectives of landless and poor peasants.
xv) Employment guarantee, or an allowance in the alternative for 365 days in the year.
xvi) Universal and free- education, health services and decent housing for all citizens.
xvii) 6 hour working day; 5 days a week.
xviii) Industrial Courts with elected Judges by the workers.
xix) Re-enactment and enforcement of Labour laws, violations whereof be made severely punitive.
xx) Convocation of New Constituent Assembly.
xxi) Supremacy of Parliament over other organs of the state-executive and judiciary.
xxii) Abolition of colonial laws, institutions and all colonial legacy.
xxiii) Good relations with neighbouring countries including no war pacts.
xxiv) End to the system of passports and visas, and absolute freedom to move to any part of the globe.
xxiv) End to the system of passports and visas, and absolute freedom to move to any part of the globe.