A BOLSHEVIK-LENINIST MANIFESTO FOR INDIA Where we stand on India
– There will be a socialist revolution! Indian society has seen many convulsive changes, and will see more. Human history has never stood still, and never will – not in the world, not in Asia, and not in India. No society is ever static. It is futile to imagine that today's India, ruled by the oligarchs of the Congress Party, and big capitalists like the Tatas and the Birlas, will survive for ever. The feudal Mughals didn't, the Imperial British didn't, and the present would-be-imperialist bourgeois system won't. The reason is simple – everywhere a group of people has gained control of a society's wealth it has used it to buy arms and soldiers to take power and keep power. Slaveowners did this, feudal lords did this and the capitalist bourgeoisie did this. Each group formed a great social and economic class, and each class in turn was larger than the previous ruling class. But the change was far from gradual or peaceful. The new class grew slowly stronger and stronger behind the backs of the old rulers until it was ready to challenge them for power. The struggle between the classes went on for centuries, because the old system jealously defended its monopoly on arms and soldiers, and used it to crush any challenge to its supremacy. Eventually however the new social force had undermined the old system and weakened it, and had such mass support that when the struggle erupted into open class war that the old ruling class was overthrown and the new class took over. The change-over was bloody and revolutionary. In hindsight the outcome appears to have been inevitable – but it didn't look inevitable to those fighting, and there was no inevitability about the where, when and how of the decisive changes. The transformation of the vast slave-owning Roman Empire into feudal kingdoms seemed to go on for ever. These sprawling feudal kingdoms lasted for centuries while small efficient bourgeois city-states grew within them like a cancer and ate them up from inside thanks to their control of finance and trade. Like a snake, the bourgeoisie emerged fresh and vigorous after shedding its feudal skin, but it took the volcanic events of the English Revolution of the 1640s and the French Revolution of the 1790s to complete the process, and mopping up the remains took decades. In our era the class struggle is the titanic confrontation between the working class and its allies, the poor peasants and rural labourers who produce the wealth funding the power the ruling class, and the senile bourgeoisie surreptitiously monopolizing this wealth and power. It has exploded into open war many times since the revolutions of 1848. These
wars have often led to defeat for the revolutionary workers and peasants, but in Russia in 1917, and in Yugoslavia, Vietnam and China after world war 2, the rising class was able to seize power and keep it for decades, holding off the ruthless aggression of the bourgeoisie â€“ now an imperialist class with monopolist power over the whole world â€“ and proving that societies change, that an apparently invincible ruling class can be beaten and held at bay, and that the working class and its class allies can take power, run society, and defend themselves. Part of the bourgeois monopoly of power is its control of the media. All day, every day the imperialist media trumpet the glory, invincibility and sanctity of their rule. They trumpet its inevitability and permanence. They claim history has ended, classes are no more. All social and economic problems are just the work of a minority of ignorant and evil saboteurs, and that reforming this or that area of governance is all that is needed. But their rule is ugly, brutal, bloody and destructive. And above all it is precarious and temporary. It can and will be destroyed and replaced by a society run by people who produce wealth instead of stealing it and who are the great majority of humanity and not a greedy, parasitical minority. This is the historical perspective in which we view the social and economic upheavals now ravaging India, Asia and the world. And this spirit of revolutionary change in the making inspires every aspect of where we stand on India and the challenges facing its hundreds of millions of exploited and angry workers, labourers and peasants. India is now experiencing the rising tide of a Socialist revolution. Everywhere in town and country and in the great cities, the proletariat and its allies are at war with the bourgeois ruling class, the capitalists who are the land-owners, big industrialists and politicians. But this revolutionary ascent is bitterly opposed by counter-revolutionary forces. These are not just the forces of the bourgeoisie but also treacherous leaderships within the working class and the rural masses, all seeking to suppress the aspirations of the masses. To keep up a facade of democracy and moderation, they often opt for deception and pacification. But when these no longer work, they seek to cripple the masses with ruthless brutality, using the armed forces of the state or the aggression of reactionary mobs. The growing tensions in India pit the proletariat and its allies directly against its class enemies, the bourgeoisie and its allies. But these tensions cannot be resolved until we have overcome the crisis of revolutionary leadership, because only a revolutionary socialist leadership can lead the rebellious masses to power so they can take their destiny into their own hands. This crisis of revolutionary leadership is the single most important factor holding back the working class and its allies in the struggles breaking out in India today. The New Wave group has set itself the task of resolving the crisis of revolutionary
leadership and building a revolutionary Bolshevik Leninist Party. This manifesto for India sets out where we stand and how we intend to build our party.
Chapter1 Classes and Parties in India and their political role: The class struggle in India is fundamentally a social war between the two great classes of Indian society, the Indian working class and its arch enemy the Indian bourgeoisie. In this struggle both classes vie for the support of the peasant and petty bourgeois masses. In todayâ€™s scenario, both of these big intermediate classes ( the peasantry and the petty bourgeoisie ) are coming more and more into an open alliance with the forces of the working class and shedding their allegiance to the big bourgeoisie and in particular to the landowning bourgeoisie. Whilst the ruling class utilizes the mechanism of the bourgeois state to viciously suppress and pauperize the oppressed classes in the cities and in the countryside, the latter struggle against this to defend the gains they have achieved in struggle and to defend their livelihoods. Whilst in the countryside the bourgeoisie uses its power to monopolize its hold over the land thereby pauperizing the classes of the countryside, in the cities they pauperize and suppress the urban classes. But naturally enough this forced pauperization of the peasantry and the pitiless exploitation of rural labourers causes a flood of desperately poor people into the cities, creating a chaotic urban disorder turning the cities of India into swollen megalopolises bursting with slums and shanty towns. The dual attack of pauperization in the countryside and intensification of wage slavery in the cities, and the struggles against these attacks forms the core of the class struggle in India today.
I) the Indian bourgeois: The bourgeoisie in India has several unique characteristics. It was crippled in its development by the negative effects of colonialism. But since achieving independence and power (by shamelessly hijacking the massive struggles of the proletariat and the peasantry) it has managed to build and develop itself to the point that it can now strive for imperialist status! As a late-comer to capitalism, its course towards imperialism is blocked on all sides. On the one hand it must compete with the forces of western capitalism which is in a much more advantageous position than itself, whilst on the other hand it must containing the internal threat from the Indian working class and its allies. This threat is fundamentally more acute for the Indian bourgeoisie than any external threat because its survival as a ruling class is at stake!
Facing such acute contradictions the Indian bourgeoisie reluctantly adopted Statism – strong state intervention in the economy and society -- and eventually Welfarism – a series of concessions to the working class leading to a relative rise in living standards -to defend itself against the dual threat of imperialism and the working class. This gave the Indian bourgeoisie a ‘centrist’ appearance with dictatorial one-party tendencies. It is forced to build itself strategically and economically to fend off the imperialist threat, at the same time as it is forced to resort to more and more repressive means to contain the proletariat. Where the normal measures of deception and pacification no longer work, the bourgeoisie has to resort to force, greatly damaging its bourgeois democratic facade. The political force which best exemplifies these contradictions in India is the Congress Party. Over 60 years ago, in 1942, the pioneers of Bolshevism in India the Bolshevik-Leninist Party of India (BLPI) wrote in “Classes and Parties in India and their Role” that the Congress Party was the most favored vehicle of the Indian bourgeoisie. We might well have expected that bourgeois democracy and the development of capitalism in India would undermine this favored position. But this did not happen. The politics of the Indian bourgeoisie hinged on the pacification of the masses, and state force could be applied most effectively by the Congress party. Moreover, the Congress Party proved to be the most effective representative of the interests of big monopolist industrialists, the surviving aristocratic sections of Indian society and the landowning bourgeoisie. The supremacy of the landowning bourgeoisie in India has been embodied in the Congress Party as the party of Statism and capitalism. The unique development of Indian capitalism eventually revealed more dictatorial traits too. A country’s development into a monopolist imperialist nation distorts any functional democratic structures. The rise of bureaucratism and one party rule are examples of this distortion. With its inborn aristocratic-landlord flavour and the lack of real capitalist clout, the Congress has spearheaded the vicious economic plunder of national assets. Early on, this took the form of institutionalized corruption. Faced with the threat of the working class on one side and imperialism on the other the bourgeoisie has had to resort to more and more repressive mechanisms. But repression is expensive and counter-productive and corruption is a drain. The permanence and acceleration of both these phenomena in our period is an indication of how sick imperialist capitalism is. The bourgeoisie is constantly undermining its own rule. India's democratic façade has long been exposed for the sham that it is. Whilst bourgeois democracy is still the most efficient regime for running capitalism, as the system veers closer to crisis this democratic façade decays more and more to reveal the harsh realities of class oppression. The big benefit bourgeois democracy accords to the capitalist system, which is the ‘free’ reconciliation of rival capitalist interests has itself been undermined by the decadence of democracy in India. The struggling bourgeois opposition tries in vain to reform a system that has run its historic course and to present itself as a ‘boldly’ liberal
alternative to the existing government. The bourgeois opposition of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is nothing but that. Even worse, the BJP is nothing but a faction that split with the old oligarchs of the Congress party and united with the fascistic petty bourgeois Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS) party. This party combines the hopelessness of the weakened classes of the lower bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie. The directionless naivetĂŠ and fragmentation of the party is evidence enough of its disoriented class direction. Over time the BJP has progressively become more and more bourgeoisified to the point where it has become almost indistinguishable from its origin the Congress Party. The working class and its oppressed allies have nothing of any worth to expect from this political force. However, its ability to mobilize the wide masses of the petty-bourgeois into the dead end of the big bourgeoisie, makes it a backup choice for the Indian bourgeoisie during times of crisis. If the Congress fails, the capitalists throw their weight around the BJP and embrace their obscurantist reactionary partners like the RSS, playing a game of divide and rule, using all manner of chauvinist policies to entrench its political position.
II) The Indian petty bourgeois: A large but shrinking intermediate class in Indian society is the petty bourgeoisie. It is a poor relation of the bourgeoisie, owning its means of production, but on a small scale. Despite is small scale it carries out some of the most vicious exploitation in India, while some of the poorer members of the class, like small shopkeepers, exploit themselves. And like its more pauperized class relative, the small-scale land-owning peasantry in the countryside, the petty bourgeoisie in the cities has the same historically characteristic political ineptitude for the task of changing society. The political formations of the petty bourgeoisie are incapable of leading India to any resolution of its economic or social challenges, or of meeting any of its deepest needs. The petty bourgeoisie is split into extremes on the right and left. Occasionally, it presents itself as a sheep in the name of pragmatic moderation. The bulk of apolitical struggles in India today and so often celebrated in the liberal media are very much the expression of the petty bourgeoisie who are its overwhelming supporters. Examples of this have been the anti-corruption movement which has ground to a standstill, and the even more ignominious failure of the Janata movement in the aftermath of the 1975 emergency. The petty bourgeoisie in India shares with its peasant counter parts amongst other features, its fragmentation. The petty bourgeoisie owing to its nature as a class of small proprietors has been doomed to never achieve the status of a national class and consequently, it has by and large failed to develop a national party of its own. Nevertheless, of the petty bourgeoisie is not immune from political organization. Some of its main political representatives are the fascistic RSS on the extreme right wing along with similar parties like the communal ethnic MNS and the secular TMC whilst on the ultra-left wing are the Maoist organizations which have over time accumulated substantial support from the intermediate classes.
The Maoist leadership of the various groups which constitute the naxalites currently heads most of the armed resistance of the peasantry in the countryside. The Maoists claim to be staging a Chinese-style revolution in India using Mao's strategy of protracted war, but this approach has only led to disaster and the unnecessary deaths of hundreds of the bravest and most politically conscious young people both in the cities and the countryside. The Maoist failure to grasp the main contradictions in Indian capitalism has led them to a strategy that will ensure defeat in the great class war in the countryside â€“ in fact continuing their historically counter revolutionary role in India. We must understand that the only class that can lead to the necessary revolutionary changes in Indian society is the working class, and that this can only be achieved with the leadership of a revolutionary Bolshevik-Leninist party. Both the right wing and left wing petty bourgeois parties ally themselves at different times with different sections of the bourgeoisie. The Maoists postpone a socialist revolution by insisting on "bourgeois democracy first", and as a result of this they invent a non-existent â€˜progressive national bourgeoisieâ€™ and a historically redundant national liberation agenda for India. India is proclaimed to be the feeble victim of its former western oppressors of the west and this has no relevance to the ongoing armed struggles in India today. However, the oppressed are becoming increasingly aware that their main enemy is at home in the form of the Indian bourgeoisie. The fascist parties on their part fully support the bourgeoisie, which in times of crisis depends on the ruthless repressive measures of the fascist forces to crush the organized resistance of the working class. In present-day India, however, a mass nationwide fascist movement is unlikely, as the rabidly antiworking class petty bourgeoisie is petty in numbers as well as in name. Nevertheless, wherever fascist forces exist and are able mobilize; they threaten workers and their organizations. They are armed and ruthless, and must be tackled accordingly! The forces of the bourgeois state will never act effectively to curb them as they are too useful. The petty bourgeoisie like its rural twin the peasantry is being squished between the two major classes of Indian society, the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. The section of the petty bourgeoisie which could enrich itself thanks to the policies of the BJP government has now entrenched itself as a section of the bourgeoisie, while a poorer and weaker section has lost its property and been proletarianized. A positive development is that the fascist right wing is going into decline, and this has been accompanied by a dialectical rise of left-wing petty-bourgeois formations rebelling against their growing marginalization and humiliation by big Indian capital. The petty bourgeoisie is more contradictory than the peasantry. It shares the rebellious frustration of the peasantry, and in so far as it is opposed to big capital it may ally with the working class. But usually when it does not actively support the bourgeoisie, it
withdraws into political apathy. It is a far less reliable ally than the peasantry, but in a revolutionary crisis it is a very important ally due to its economic, administrative and intellectual skills, and not least its knowledge of the bourgeoisie and its weakest links. This is especially true of officers in the army and students in higher education. Students are in a contradictory social situation. Although they are being trained for highstatus jobs and come from relatively well-off backgrounds, most of them have no economic freedom, get into debt, feel discriminated against by their teachers treating them as children, and face a future of unemployment and social uncertainty. They often feel frustrated and angry, and are not as inclined to shut their ears to revolutionary explanations or their minds to the needs of the masses as their elders who are imprisoned by their narrow economic interests of keeping a job and paying off mortgages and loans. Their parents are under the illusion that they own property, but in fact it's the banks who own them and their property. Students are less shackled, and have been in the vanguard of many great social and political struggles throughout the world – most notably in 1968 when youth and student mobilizations against the Vietnam war shook governments in the US and Europe, and permanently changed the balance of influence between the generations. Army officers are less likely to rise in revolt, but when they do the effect is explosive, and has often led to revolutionary social and political change. In the case of Cuba, following the petty bourgeois nationalist leadership of the intellectuals around Castro, this process led to a change of the whole economic system of the country, from capitalism to proto-socialism. The army officers' rebellion in Venezuela under Chavez led to a regime that broke with the US and its crippling policies towards Latin America, and nationalized crucial industries like oil. After World War 2 similar movements threw off the colonial yoke of many countries in Africa and Asia – like Ghana, Kenya, and Indonesia. As an historical example, the great Indian mutiny of 1857 changed British policy in India for ever. Shortly afterwards the British Empire was proclaimed, and discontent and rebellion against the British just kept mounting. The petty bourgeois leadership of the Indian independence movement was fundamentally radical, but shackled by Gandhi's spineless capitulation to British violence – not only did he encourage his followers to meet British guns unarmed, but far from fighting for Indian independence during the imperialist war he actively organized and mobilized the Indian masses to fight for their oppressor! The petty-bourgeois and mass movement was also hijacked – due to Gandhi's influence to a great extent – by the Congress movement led by the big landowning bourgeoisie. So India became independent, but far less liberated than most of its national liberation counterparts. The bourgeoisie did not have things all its own way in India, however. Against Gandhi's treachery and the Congress's deceitful dealings with the British, the revolutionary petty-
bourgeois leadership around Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose formed an army fighting for real Indian independence from its colonial master. The Indian National Army was led by officers who defected from the British and their lickspittle Ghandian collaborators. It set up a provisional government of Free India in exile manned by revolutionary pettybourgeois intellectuals and officers. There are many other policies of the Indian National Army and the provisional government that demonstrate the heroic revolutionary commitment to be found among the mobilized left-wing petty bourgeoisie, including its angry response to the great Bengal famine caused by the British and shrugged off by Gandhi and the Congress.
III) The Indian peasantry: Alongside the Petty Bourgeoisie, and like it intermediate between the Bourgeoisie and the Proletariat, is the vast Indian Peasantry. Together with rural labourers and the rural poor, the peasants number around half a billion people. This is roughly the same as the entire population of Latin America excluding Mexico, and is a massive concentration of humanity living under conditions of crushing poverty and traumatic insecurity. The peasantry in India like its like counterparts elsewhere in the world and in history has been self-sufficient for thousands and thousands of years. Previous ruling classes and conquerors exacted ferocious tribute from the peasants, but none threatened their whole way of life and their very existence as a class until the British colonialists seized India and began to undermine the foundations on which the self-sufficient village system rested. It did this by forcing it into a capitalist market system, into a money economy which capitalist landowners and usurers - the Zamindars - exploited to suck peasants into debt and fling millions of them into wage-slavery. In 1947, in bed with the British colonialists (literally in the case of Pandit Nehru!), the big landowning bourgeoisie and the big capitalists stole the independence of India from the people. Far from making good the rape of the countryside they took over the destructive ways of the British and intensified the process of flinging the peasants off their land and into the swelling slums of the big cities. From owning their own means of production and survival, millions of peasants were forcibly turned into landless, property less proletarians. This process of proletarianization, which the bourgeoisie and their bought media and academics hide behind the classless term of urbanization, has been going on for decades and is accelerating fast. The peasant-workers are the largest part of the working class in the cities, with one foot in the countryside and one foot in the town, and most of the peasants still desperately trying to support themselves and keep their village communities viable have nothing to look forward to except their own eventual pauperization and displacement. And yet this huge class of producers, treated with contempt and brutal disregard by the aristocratic landowning bourgeoisie and their class allies the capitalists, is politically
marginalized and fragmented. The only resistance the massive social potential of the rural poor can put up is local or at most regional, and never aims to overthrow the capitalist system which causes its misery, but only to alleviate the most painful symptoms. Despite decades of proletarianization, the peasantry and the rural poor still form a huge untapped reserve of labour-power for capitalism. So the expropriation of the peasantry, the loss of its land, and its conversion into low-wage peasant-workers in the city slums has for decades been one of the defining features of capitalism in India, and remains so today. To enforce this process of proletarianization the bourgeoisie uses the most brutal forms of class oppression. It increasingly resorts to the use of force to crush any resistance to the expansion of capital in the countryside and unashamedly shores up the most reactionary vestiges of the old caste system. Caste oppression plays a vital role in the process of proletarianization and ensures that the oppressed and marginalized sections of the countryside remain so when they are forced to leave for the cities. Once there the great majority of these migrants are forced to live in the poorest, most wretched areas of the cities in grotesquely crowded slums. Caste oppression in India has been effectively merged with capitalist class oppression. These dynamics must be seen in the context of Indiaâ€™s position in the world today. India is a rising sub-imperialist power. It is too big, too wealthy, too well-armed, in short too autonomous to be cowed by any established imperialist power let alone occupied and recolonized. But it is compelled to contend on an unequal footing with imperialisms much stronger than itself. And since its path to external expansion has been for the most part blocked by imperialist countries that jealously guard their economic and strategic territory, it is forced to exploit its internal sphere to compensate. In other words, the present growth of Indian economic and military power on the world stage is fuelled by the most brutal exploitation and impoverishment of the Indian peasantry and capitalist expansion into Indiaâ€™s hinterland to seize mineral-rich and agriculturally productive lands. Already large areas of the countryâ€™s hinterland are in the grip of a civil war. The peasantry, the poor and the tribal peoples have taken up arms to defend themselves against the aggressive militarism of the Indian state. The situation of the peasantry fighting for its land pits it in the first instance against pre-capitalist casteist oppressors and behind these against the more advanced forces of the capitalist bourgeoisie. But increasingly, the two enemies are merging as the capitalist bourgeois state assumes a more proactive role in enforcing its class interests. This development means that the rural masses are increasingly coming into direct conflict with the bourgeoisie and its capitalist interests. It also means that the struggles of the masses in the countryside are directly parallel to those of the workers in the cities.
The peasantry needs the concentrated hard-hitting power of the proletariat to win its war against expropriation and destitution, while the boundless peasant masses are the most strategically vital ally of the proletariat!
IV) The Indian Proletariat: The Proletariat in India and all over the world is united by the simplicity of its condition. It owns nothing but its ability to work, that is to say, its labour power. Since this labour power is all it owns, it is the only thing it has to sell. Like everything else on a market, it exchanges for what it costs to produce. Human beings cost food, shelter, family expenses, and training to produce, and this is precisely what they get when they sell their labour power. Just enough to survive and procreate. They cannot receive less, or the working class would die out, and the capitalists would have no one to work for them and create their profits. They cannot receive more, for such is the egalitarian logic of the world market. You get an equivalent for your product, no more and no less. If you get more, then someone else gets less. The value workers add to every product they work on, however, is the one thing in the capitalist system that is outside this egalitarian logic. Human labour produces more than it consumes. This is the basis of all wealth, and explains why wealth increases. But under the historical system of capitalism, which superseded feudalism and will in its turn be superseded by socialism, the surplus value each product contains is owned by the capitalist - workers sell their labour to the capitalist, but at the same time they make over the product of their labour to him. The worker exchanges his labour power for survival, the capitalist exchanges his money for labour, but at the same time buys the magic ingredient of wealth-creating value. What the proletariat produces makes the capitalist ever richer, but however much they work, workers never become richer. This is the cruel deception of the capitalist system hidden under the veil of equal exchange. This is why the capitalist class, the bourgeoisie, is fundamentally a gang of thieves and oppressors. The Indian bourgeoisie is no different, it grows obscenely fat on the toil of its wage-slaves, the proletariat. We need no microscopes or telescopes or x-rays to convince us of this, we can see it with our own eyes, everywhere around us, all day and every day. Human beings are not stupid, however. We learn from experience what we need to know, and concentrate this knowledge by our power of thought into scientific knowledge. The scientific knowledge about capitalist exploitation summarized here, and demonstrated in detail by thinkers like Karl Marx, is accessible only to the proletariat and its allies, because only they need it to improve their lives. The capitalists, like all other oppressors, thrive on ignorance, wallow in their wealth, and think that the whip is a more potent instrument of production than knowledge. This is what makes the proletariat a revolutionary class. It needs to put an end to capitalist exploitation to liberate itself and
all humanity from the humiliation and degradation of wage-slavery, and the only way it can do this is with a social revolution . The Indian working class is historically very young. After independence in 1947 it grew vigorously due to industrial expansion encouraged by the direct intervention of the state, and was highly organized and militant. Proletarian militancy in India got off to an explosive start with the great mobilizations around the naval mutiny of 1946, and peaked in 1974 with the great railway strike. The zeal was not lost even after 2 years of the most brutal crackdown by the bourgeoisie during the emergency period of 1975-77, and in 1982 the working class conducted the historic Bombay textile strike. Although these mobilizations ended in defeat they demonstrated the massive organizational abilities of the working class and its devastating strength. Despite these strengths, however, we cannot gloss over or minimize the two great hindrances holding back the revolutionary self-emancipation of the Indian working class. i) Organizational shortcomings - anti-worker trade union leaderships: The Trade Union movement has often led the struggles of the Indian workers, but it suffers from the dual weaknesses of fragmentation (which spurs inter-union rivalry) and a degenerated bureaucratic leadership. The trade union bureaucracy in its historic position is a trusted ally of the bourgeoisie. It takes part in the oppression of the proletariat and makes it permanent. It does this in two ways. Firstly, it confines workersâ€™ struggles into a limited economical framework preventing their natural advancement into a general political struggle, and secondly it detaches the organized section of the working class from its natural allies the unorganized peasant-workers. ii) Treacherous political leadership - Stalinism: The core crisis of our period is the worldwide crisis of revolutionary leadership. Nowhere is this more visible than in the crisis of leadership facing the Indian proletariat. The most concentrated expression of this crisis is Stalinism. India is a stronghold of global Stalinism. With shameless treacher it serves and protects the political interests of the Indian bourgeoisie. After independence the Indian bourgeoisie has continually used Stalinist parties as a steam valve to diminish the rage of the workers. But despite these hindrances the innate power of the Indian working class has never been broken. This enormous power is once more beginning to show itself! After the defeats of the 80s and 90s the world proletariat is rising once more. The upsurge is taking place in India, too, where proletarianization has created a vast base of urban peasant-workers who combine the concentrated revolutionary potential of the working class with the ferocious rebelliousness of the peasantry. In India today, just like
in Russia before the October revolution of 1917, the peasant-workers in India hold the key to the revolutionary socialist transformation of society.
Chapter 2 Character of the Indian state: Throughout the world the struggle for revolutionary overthrow of Capitalism is a struggle for state power, that is, it is a struggle to overthrow the bourgeois state and replace it with a proletarian state. The bourgeoisie uses its state as an instrument of class rule over the proletariat. The Indian state is no different! After independence the Indian bourgeoisie retained colonial laws and the colonial inheritance of the armed forces and police. It has since been using them to hold down the working class and peasantry. But as the Indian bourgeoisie has expansionist ambitions it has been building the armed forces for external intervention as well as internal repression. This aggressive stance on two fronts means the Indian bourgeoisie is threatened from within by the classes it exploits, and from without by the established imperialist powers whose markets and spheres of influence it wishes to take over. It accumulates the power it needs by using the state to guarantee the massive and permanent exploitation of the workers and peasants of India. This is the only way the Indian bourgeoisie can continue to survive and expand. The bourgeois state has a duality. A bourgeois state cannot resort to absolute oppression at all times, as this is not sustainable. For capitalism to work efficiently, workers have to be free to sell their labour power. This limited freedom is what gave rise to bourgeois democracy, and sometimes the working class becomes strong enough under this system to wrest concessions from the bourgeoisie, often in the form of welfarism. The state manages these concessions. However, it takes them back again as soon as it can. In India, the bourgeoisie grew under colonialism, but the British kept it politically weak. The partition of 1947 deliberately maintained the old constrictions in a new form. Its growth has thus taken place under harsh constraints imposed upon it by world imperialism that hamper its agenda of achieving imperial power for itself. At the same
time, its need to expand at all costs has been counteracted by its need to maintain the bourgeois democratic framework. Thus the bourgeois state has had to pull off a tense balancing act between internal resistance and pressure from the working masses and external pressure from the imperialist powers. It has often found itself so off balance that it has resorted to dictatorial emergency measures to curb the masses, and to war to break through the constrictions imposed upon it by imperialism and by its neighbors, especially Pakistan and China. To counter some weaknesses and provide better conditions for capitalism in India the Indian state resorted to Statism. For most of its existence India has been a statist country with state corporations accounting for the bulk of the economy and dominating the most strategic sectors of the economy. Even after liberalization huge areas of the economy remain state-based. Statism is an expression of the balancing act. Although state corporations in a capitalist country are not set up by the workers themselves, they have often resulted in better rights and conditions for the workers than private employers give, including greater security of employment. In India, statism has strengthened welfarism and brought about the creation of an organized proletariat which is the political and economic vanguard of the working class in India. Aggressive bourgeois policies worldwide have given rise an epidemic of privatization and â€œcorporatizationâ€?, victimizing the workers. In so far as they provide welfare and more secure employment, and permit a degree of political scrutiny, state corporations are preferable to private enterprise. But this is no reason to consider state-based capitalism as an alternative to free market capitalism. Both are forms of capitalism and both serve to strengthen the class rule of the bourgeoisie. Socialist enterprise is the only viable alternative to capitalism for the working masses, in India and throughout the world. Keeping this framework of Indian Capitalism in mind, we can better understand the role of the struggles emerging in India today and what course it must take to the conquest of power. : a) Minimum struggles: The main body of working class struggle at present is in the form of minimum struggles. Be it within the workplace where workers fight for better wages or even on a more general plane where they struggle against privatization or other such attacks of the bourgeoisie upon them. Whilst they do not represent the realization of the socialist struggle in its most acute form, minimum struggles are definitely an advance in that direction. The relationship between economic struggles and a general political struggle had already been since laid down. Economic struggles at the local or even regional or national level is only a precursor to a generalized political struggle and is in fact the basis for the creation of the latter more advanced consciousness. We not only welcome but actively work towards increasing working class militancy even at its present level of
consciousness. We support the struggles for minimum demands in India but also strive to advance them further into the realm of a general political struggle. b) Democratic struggles: The strategic significance of the peasant and petty bourgeois classes in the context of India, gives the various democratic struggles an added strategic significance. There are various democratic struggles breaking out in India today led by forces of the peasantry and petty bourgeois for the most part but which are also supported by some sections of the working class from time to time.
i) Anti-Caste struggles. The struggle against caste oppression strikes at one of the key sources of proletarianization of the Indian peasantry. The eradication of adverse casteist relations in the countryside is one of the chief tasks of the social revolution in India and one of the great unfinished bourgeois democratic tasks in India. Unfortunately, it also remains detached from the working class and is hijacked by the forces of the bourgeois in particular of regional bourgeois formations. They pose no answer to the oppression of the oppressed castes and are incapable of eradicating Caste oppression. In this struggle, the oppressed castes will find as their enemy a section of their own who have been enriched to become a creamy layer among the lower caste. For the most part they are bureaucrats, small businessmen or labor aristocrats. They have neither concern for caste oppression in the countryside nor any bother for capitalist oppression generally. ii) Peasant struggles. The struggles in the countryside which in some parts of India has gone to the extent of a civil war, represents another major arena for democratic struggles. Where ever there remain the remnants of pre-capitalist oppression and land is disproportionately held by large capitalist farmers and upper caste landed gentry, there will be a struggle for land reform. This forms part and parcel of the struggles of the peasantry in the countryside in addition to the main body of struggle against the attacks of Capitalist proletarianization. Within the peasant struggles the two main bodies of agitation have hitherto been for land reforms (which strike by and large against the pre-capitalist classes of Quasi-feudal aristocracy and the more advanced class of the land owning bourgeois), and resistance against land acquisitions by capitalism. iii) Struggles for self-determination:
Struggles for self determination are common-place in the Indian sub-continent. These range from struggles tending towards national liberation to struggles for the recognition of language. In the north east there have been struggles for greater autonomy and even secession from the Indian republic, whilst in Southern India there have been various struggles for recognition of the rights of linguistic groups. The struggle for the creation of the state of Maharashtra belongs to this group of self-determination struggles and was perhaps the only major struggle for self-determination with preponderance of the working class as against petty bourgeois or peasant leaderships. Similar is the case with the agitation for Gorkhaland which involved the demand for the creation of a separate state for the Gurhka people which is supported to the maximum degree by plantation workers who have been economically and socially disenfranchised. The Kashmiri struggle for self-determination represents the most complex and the most intense of these struggles and also the most strategically sensitive. In general it is the duty of the revolutionary party to extend unconditional support to all struggles for self-determination even up to secession. Kashmir in this context is no different. iv) Struggles against gender oppression: The oppression of women in the family is one of the bases of the oppression of the Capitalist system as a whole. In Indiaâ€™s case this is particularly true with the maintenance of archaic and oppressive patriarchal traditions fuelling the oppression of women and other genders. Indiaâ€™s uneven and combined development has produced a unique situation in where the oppression of the old is combined with the oppression of the new. Here the biggest bourgeoisies and political parties are organized as virtual holdings of few dominant families. Whilst most wealthy corporate households having a mercantile background with its own systems of traditionalism, the most eminent political families have emerged from the background of aristocratism of colonial India, bringing the reactionary features of the old into the new world and in a new form. Their positions compels them to retain the old social structures of caste and creed and with it the oppressive traditions of the old family system. The result of this has been stunting the growth and development of rural society rendering it undynamic and sterile and rotting with the burden of the past. With rampant illiteracy and medievalism run amuck, women and other oppressed genders stand to suffer the most. This state of affairs isnâ€™t alleviated when the pauperized in the countryside migrate to the urban centers where more advanced forms of oppression take root. The process of pauperization and marginalization has still the same the crushing effect on the emancipation of women in India. The farcical efforts of the Indian bourgeois have resulted in little if anything to aid the emancipation of the women of India. Worse still they have at times ended in compounding their misery. The contradictions in Indian family laws are only one example of this. The eradication of the oppression of women is a foundation stone for the Social emancipation of the masses. c) Defeatism:
We stress in this manifesto that Indiaâ€™s character is that of an emerging sub-imperialist power in the world. The ambition of the Indian bourgeois is to emerge in the realm of big imperialist capital. In this ambition India must adopt the route of aggressive expansion both internally and externally. For this purpose it must exploit its working class and peasantry to the hilt. We state that the workers and peasants have no interest in Indiaâ€™s imperial ambitions as that is directly linked to their misery and pauperization. In the event of war the Indian proletariat must not find their enemy in the working class brethren across the border but in the class oppressors at home! It is the bourgeoisie of India that is their enemy, which controls the bourgeois democratic state.
Chapter 3 The course of the Indian revolution India has an illustrious history of class struggles. These struggles have been the locomotive of that has shaped India over the years. The first great revolutionary struggle in India came in the form of the sepoy uprising of 1857. This was Indiaâ€™s first war of independence and the first of the several modern peasant rebellions in India. But this was an India bereft of any capitalism. India had no proletariat then and the bourgeois itself was very nascent as was capitalism. The rebellion failed however, and British rule could not be overturned. Liberation was not achieved. Instead British rule became more direct and more oppressive. It is said that the 10 years following the uprising of 1857 the British carried out a genocidal suppression of the Indian peasantry resulting in 10 million deaths. The failure of the first war of independence in India was caused by a combination of factors including the fragmentation and indiscipline of the Sepoy army and the reactionary leadership it received from the disenfranchised ruling elites of the kingdoms in central and northern India. Furthermore, the wave of rebellion was prevented by the British from reaching the provinces of Bengal, Punjab and Maharashtra. This was achieved through active connivance with local rulers as well as control over modern technological channels such as the telegram and railways. This gave the British the edge in terms of spreading propaganda and isolating any efforts of the liberation fighters in northern India to reach their brethren elsewhere in the sub-continent. Whilst externally isolated by the divisive policies of the British colonialists, the sepoys were internally weakened by the dead hand of the reactionary classes of disenfranchised Nobels. But the war opened up a whole new chapter of Indian history. The rule of the old monarchies was by and large crushed and the deepening of capitalism via British colonialism spurred on a new phase of Social enlightenment in India as well as the bringing of modernity. In time along with the development of Capitalism there developed an indigenous proletariat of India!
With these changes in Indian society the content of struggle changed as well. Whilst the main direction of these struggles remained oriented to attaining national liberation (that being the over arching demand of the Indian masses reeling from colonial oppression), the emergence of the proletariat in India and the emergence of the working class on a world scene radically altered the entire spectrum of struggle and brought to the fore the prospect of a Socialist revolution to India. The first 4 decades following independence saw a heightening of workers struggles in India beginning from the general strike of 1950 till the textile strike of 1982, both being centered in Bombay. The city which was once referred to as the Petrograd of India was for many years the centre of class struggle in India. From pre-independence times when it was the seat of the glorious naval uprising till being the centre of the great railway strike of 1974 and being the centre of the textile strike of 1982. Outside of Bombay and western India the major centre of class struggle in India was eastern India with Calcutta as its centre and Southern India with Chennai and Cochin as centers of struggle. The dialectical unity between the proletarian centered struggles of Maharashtra and Western India with the peasant-Petty bourgeois based struggles emerging in Eastern India and in Bengal created a powerful nexus of class struggle which propelled the Indian masses forward. The Indian working class during this period of post independence struggles were both empowered and yet weakened by the overbearing existence of the Soviet Union. On the one hand the Soviet Union represented the greatest hitherto existing achievement of the working class world over and historically. But on the other the collapse of the revolution to the forces of counter revolutionary Stalinism created a cancerous burden. In India the agents of this cancerous burden was to be found in the various Stalinist parties which operated as spokes in the wheel of the third comintern. It was on Stalin’s orders that the then united CPI [Communist Party of India] was forced to betray the cause of India’s liberation and joined the side of British imperialism in the 2nd world war. Whilst the CPI was relegated to the humiliating position of being a spoke and a puppet of Stalin before independence, its post independence position degraded it further to becoming a hand-maiden of the Indian bourgeois. This was particularly the case after the defeat the CPI led peasant revolt suffered at the hands of the Indian bourgeois forces in Telengana. Almost naturally as if, the party switched from Stalin’s advice of adopting guerilla warfare in India to one of parliamentarianism. And this is where the party remains till now. However, the Stalinist Communist Party and its offshoots have had to remain answerable to the masses, which is the working class and its allies in the countryside. Whilst compromising struggles with the Indian bourgeois it would still be compelled to maintain more and more the façade of being a representative of the oppressed. In effect the Indian Stalinists have had to walk a similar tight rope to that of its new found bourgeois peers. This is a sine qua non of the Stalinists ability to maintain the leadership of the working class and the peasantry. To maintain this precarious existence, the Stalinists employ their entire arsenal of theoretical weapons especially the three most counter revolutionary weapons of them all, the policy of a popular front with the bourgeoisie (which they invoke from time to time to strike tactical alliances with the bourgeois parties), the policy of a two-stage revolution (which
has been the foundation of their reformism and the justification for parliamentarianism), and bureaucratic centralism ( which has been used both in containing the working class as well as the peasantry and securing the position of the party clique above the masses ). Of these three ideological instruments of Stalinism, the third namely of bureaucratic centralism has been the most vital instrument of the Communist parties in withholding class struggle. Through their affiliated trade unions and their respective bureaucracies as well as through the rigid hierarchy of the party, the masses have been kept muzzled on the commands of the bureaucratic Stalinist Mis-leaders. This has been one of the key reasons for the failures of the bulk of the class struggles of the past century in India. This remains so even in our century where ever Stalinism has the capability to sabotage and distort struggles in India they play their natural counter revolutionary role. But the prime reason for the Stalinistâ€™s continued influence and strength in India has been due in most part to the preponderant crisis of revolutionary leadership. It is only the reflection of this crisis that the forces of Stalinism had been strengthened in the last century. A valiant effort had been made in pre-independent India by the comrades of the Bolshevik Leninist Party of India which was a section of the 4 th international in 1942. This was the first organized political formation in India organized on revolutionary Bolshevik Leninist principles and because of the period in which they were organized they built themselves in the context of a healthy fourth international not yet plagued by the ills of sectarianism or centrism and which still maintained the revolutionary spirit imbibed in it by Leon Trotsky and the Russian revolution. The party was instrumental in giving leadership at the most decisive moment of pre-independence history which was the naval mutiny! In fact it was the BLPI which was in the leading position to call for a nation wide general strike in support of the mutineering sailors. The year and events of the mutiny represented a high point in Indiaâ€™s freedom struggle and had the embryonic elements of heading towards a revolutionary moment of overturn! But this struggle suffered from several weaknesses. From the point of view of the BLPI, they had to face overbearing difficulties in organizing themselves as a fighting force firstly being swayed violently by the events of the Quit India movement in 1942, and thereafter being targeted by the British secret services in India (acting on intelligence provided by the CPI). In this way the leaders of the would-be revolution in India were organizationally weakened from the start. Of the mutineers themselves, they lacked the leadership that would be necessary to take the struggle forward to its natural culmination. The soldiers were still willing to put their faith in the forces of the bourgeoisie, the congress party and the Muslim league. The Stalinist CPI predictably enough, could not look beyond these two political forces and pose an independent revolutionary proletarian alternative. The forces of the bourgeois in keeping with its class interests sided with the forces of British imperialism in crushing the mutiny. The Congress Party was most proactive in this with Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel personally going to the mutineers and demanding they drop their weapons and surrender. The mutiny failed and the hopes for a revolutionary India were thwarted. But in its wake the mutiny paved the way for the liberation of India from Colonial yoke. But the hijacking of the mutiny by the bourgeoisie paved the way for a
emergence of Capitalist rule in India with the Indian bourgeoisie and it’s Congress Party at the helm. The Bolshevik Leninist party later on struggled for existence in a new partitioned sub-continent with its organization in India battered and its leadership heading back to Sri Lanka. On the international plane of struggle, the 4 th international lost its key leadership with the assassination of Leon Trotsky in 1940. The new leadership was unable to handle the exigencies of the post world war world with the rising tide of revolutionary movements’ world over, particularly so in Asia with the Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese revolutions all within the decades of the 1940s. The emergence of new deformed workers states posed yet another new set of challenges which put great pressure on the new relatively inexperienced leadership of this 4 th international. Along with this the expansion of the power and influence of Stalinism as a result of these successful revolutions caused a crisis in Trotskyism. The BLPI was not immune from this. In the decade of the 50s the BLPI practiced entryism into the breakaway left wing of the Congress Party known then as the congress socialist party. This led to devastating consequences for the party as their leaders were eventually phased out then ejected from the party. After this the party collapsed and dissolved. The contribution of the BLPI however, cannot be underestimated. Throughout the history of the struggle to overcome the crisis of revolutionary leadership in India the BLPI represents the first concrete step taken towards its realization. More than anything else the wealth of theoretical and agitational writings of the BLPI are like a gold mine of Marxist literature left by the comrades of old for a new generation of fighters to take over and build upon. We in writing this manifesto have taken the writing of the BLPI on India as our guiding light. The need for a revolutionary Bolshevik Leninist Party is still felt as deeply in India today as it was during the time of the BLPI, for which refounding the BLPI in India becomes one of our most important task. But this work of rebuilding the BLPI cannot be seen as a national task alone, for whilst the revolution in India maybe national in form it is international in essence. The spectrum of revolution in India in the first instance would be regional spanning across all the countries of South Asia from Afghanistan to in the North West to Bangladesh in the East and Sri Lanka in the South. In the next instance it would be continental spanning across the Asian continent and in the final instance, global and trans-continental. India’s rise to imperialism ha already laid the basis for the trans-continental spread the Indian revolution. Its constrictions make it the weakest point in the international chain of imperialism. But such a spread would be impossible without the active role of a functioning party of world revolution. With the fragmentation of the fourth international in the period of crisis of the 50s, we are faced with the task of having to rebuild this revolutionary international. This task of building international leadership is intrinsically linked with the task of building national leadership in India, just as the Indian revolution in its national context is intrinsically linked with the world revolution of which is a vital part. A revolutionary party in order to be revolutionary must also be part and parcel of a revolutionary international. It is all too naïve to suggest that a revolutionary party can be
both revolutionary and build itself solely on national premises, even more so in the context of India’s increasing international presence.
Chapter 4 The Indian struggle in the context of the world struggle! The situation of the world today is objectively pre-revolutionary. With the collapse of the international financial system, a whole new phase of worldwide class struggle has now started. India is not immune to this. Whilst the bourgeoisie celebrates the so-called ‘resilience’ of the Indian economy still attaining growth rates of over 7%, it is completely oblivious to heightening internal social tensions the crisis has precipitated. Having been constricted externally by imperialism India would be forced to expand internally and exploit its peasants and workers more aggressively. With the crisis the external constrictions became all the more acute and contradictory. In the 2 years since the world crisis India has expanded its defense spending to the point where it is now the world’s largest importer of weapons. In addition to that it has emerged as a major centre for export of capital from Asia. As such it is the third largest foreign investor in the Asian continent after Hong Kong and China. In addition to this economic expansion, India is undertaking a rapid military expansion focusing particularly in expanding its strategic reach over the Asian continent and the Indian Ocean. India’s aim is to secure a resource base externally with investments and military reach extending to East Africa, Central Asia and South East Asia. But the centre of India’s militarist ambitions and present sphere of concentration is in South Asia itself with the focus being on Afghanistan and the present imperial war. Whilst, India remains a more or less ‘passive’ player militarily at present, its economic expansion into Afghanistan will eventually become the setting stage of its military expansion there. As of now it is Indian diplomacy that has taken forward the bulk of the aggression by
successfully expanding the sphere of the Afghan war into Pakistan. The Indian bourgeoisie’s competition with world imperialism is being played out primarily between its own forces and the proxy forces of Pakistan in which China has emerged as its new benefactor much to the detriment of the established imperial powers of the USA and UK. Pakistan is now effectively a zone of inter-imperialist competition between India, America and China. The nation which was itself creation of the Indian bourgeois in alliance with British imperialism now finds itself as a liability to both parties and a promised land for the emerging non-capitalist power of China. With Pakistan geographical position falling squarely between the Middle East, Central Asia and South Asia, it is the most likely focal point of a future world war. The subimperial policies of the Indian bourgeoisie is only pushing the region and with it the world further and further towards this new apocalyptic war. In this, the race for nuclear power cannot be ruled out with India progressively perfecting its nuclear arsenal and nuclear capabilities whilst Pakistan steadfastly keeps proliferating its arsenal. Both the nation’s expansion of nuclear capabilities are pushing the region and the world closer and closer to the horrifying prospect of a nuclear war. The bourgeoisie is most often cautious of never unleashing the absolute forces of destruction which it has over time mastered. But in the pinnacle of a world crisis where we are headed, the same bourgeois which has refrained from nuclear war so far may well be inclined to use the same. The threat from the working class would only exaggerate this danger if pushed to the extreme threat of a revolution. The other major zone of inter-imperialist competition is Sub-Saharan Africa with India and China competing against each other to carve up more and more influence in the continent. Naval power is the determining factor in this part of the game with India having a considerable geo-strategic edge over other powers in controlling the Indian Ocean. India at present has the single largest naval presence in the Indian Ocean with a supporting aerial presence which could well contend with US power in the region. However, India does not wish for a direct competition with a decaying USA and neither does the USA desire a direct competition with a regional behemoth which it cannot win against. The two are therefore in a period of unprecedented cooperation with each other with India taking every opportunity it can to exploit every concession that the USA is forced to give to it for the sake of countering its immediate and historic class contender in the form of a non-capitalist China. India is only more than willing to play this role having been in direct competition with China since 1962! The rise of India’s oceanic power, its nuclear power and its imperial ambitions in the globe is amongst the most critical destabilizing factors in world geo politics today. Should India go to war or be threatened by war by another power, it will be the only logical consequence of India’s sub-imperialism. To this, the forces of the working class have nothing to gain and everything to lose because India’s war mongering and expansionist ways should it be dragged to defend the unjust war of the Indian
bourgeoisie. Defeatism is the only way forward for the working class to defend itself against the machinations of the Indian bourgeoisie. And in this struggle, the Indian working class will find as its allies all the proletariats and peasants of the nations which India oppresses and exploits. The workers of other imperialist powers also have in their interests to facilitate the struggle for the Indian revolution. India being the weakest chain in the link of imperialism would be easiest to break and doing so would unleash a wave of world revolution that would engulf the world.
Chapter 5 Our Transitional Demands: Agrarian demands: i)Nationalization of land (incl. permanent tenancy, and repudiation of debt) : The chief reason for the pauperization of the peasantry in the countryside has been unfavorable land relations. This state of affairs has been brought about by the monopolizing of land by the forces of big capitalist agriculture in alliance with the upper caste gentry of the countryside. The double burden of old and new forms of class oppression have made the peasantry into the most wretchedly pauperized class in India today and have paved the way for its proletarianization into the cities. Land reforms have by and large failed to alleviate the position of the peasantry with the problem of landlessness remaining. With the collapse of Stalinism in Bengal, the limited nature of land reforms have been exposed. What is called for now is aim for a much higher goal that of Nationalization of land! But such a move would be incomplete if its not complemented with providing permanent tenancy and a abolition of money lending. Whilst the root cause of the pauperization of the peasantry may be adverse landholdings and social relations in the countryside, it is debt that is the foremost weapon to enforce this pauperization. The alleviation of the farmer from indebtedness goes hand and hand with curing the adverse socio-economic reality of unequal land holdings.
ii)Expansion of Land Reforms (Incl. expropriation of large estates without
compensation) : There are still areas where large landholdings are in the hands of upper caste gentry and big capitalist farmers. In these areas we demand for the expansion of the land reforms in India. Land reforms in India have taken place but in a most unsatisfactory manner. The state has often pitched in to alleviate the position of the marginalized and landless farmers on a piece meal manner. Carefully enough the various bourgeois parties and in particularly the Congress avoided ever antagonizing the class interest of the propertied classes in the countryside. The policies of the Congress Party in particular via the green revolution and the later liberalization of agriculture has aided only in the enrichment of the land owning bourgeois and its compatriots amongst upper caste rural gentry. Where there are large land holdings we demand an expansion of land reforms by the expropriation of these lands and their re-distribution amongst the marginalized and landless peasantry.
iv)Holistic development of the rural sector through industrialization: Under capitalism the countryside suffers crushing pauperization at the hands of the ruralurban divide. The divide which condemns the masses of the countryside to a continuum of poverty and backwardness whilst enriching the minority of the urban elite, is a bane in our society. The course towards ending this division is to effect the holistic development of the countryside aided by urban industrialization and the advancement of agriculture from primitive methods to modernized methods of agriculture. This change must be brought about democratically through village Panchayats and other popular organs of the villages. Without this democratic component in the development of rural India, all developmental measures are bound to fall flat on their faces and ultimately fail to have any effect.
Democratic Demands: i)Eradication of Caste oppression and equal treatment of all! Apart from property relations, the second most critical weapon of pauperization of the peasantry is the retained existence of casteist relations in the countryside. In some cases these grow over into the cities as a consequence of proletarianization. The process of proletarianization has been critical in the accumulation of capitalism in India and has been instrumental in dampening wages in the cities while adding more and more to the pool of cheap labor coming from the countryside in the form of freshly proletarianized peasant-workers. The abolition of Caste discrimination walks hand in hand with the
nationalization of land and land reform to alleviate the situation of the peasantry in the countryside. But the demand for Abolition of Caste discrimination works in the cities too where there is active discrimination against lower caste workers especially peasant workers to alleviate their position and end the discriminatory poverty which Indian capitalism has enforced.
ii) For self-determination of all oppressed groups! We stand resolutely against all forms of national oppression and deprivation of the right to self-determination of all oppressed groups in India be it linguistic, ethnic, regional or even national *(leading up to secession). Throughout Indian history these national struggles have been critical in shaping the course of the larger class struggle in the subcontinent. As a bourgeois democratic struggle the struggles for self-determination it is one of the most intense and strategically critical in the Indian context and is one of the major unresolved tasks of the Indian bourgeoisie.
iii) Full freedom to organize and agitate! India’s rise towards imperialism has rendered the bourgeois state more and more undemocratic in nature. A consequence of this has been the narrowing scope to organize and agitate. The bourgeoisie in India which has been walking a tight rope for much of its existence is now being forced to defend its profits more and more by resorting to direct means of oppression. Unfavorable laws which curtail freedom to organize and agitate by the working class and their class allies, give the armed forces the state a free hand to curb the struggles of the oppressed by brute force. It is not uncommon to witness wanton police firing when faced with militant and fighting crowds of the poor. Mass arrests are even more commonplace. The law provides only partial freedom for organization and agitation and in course of time by numerous ‘legal’ methods even these partial freedoms have been attacked and are being reduced to a trifle. This new reality in India calls for a sustained agitation for the recognition of the right of working men to organize and agitate without any fetters. iv) Free Education for all up to university level! The bourgeois sees education not as an instrument of learning or for building the individual for society, but as a money making tool. The great centers of learning that Capitalism has had built are all held hostage by the Capitalist system which seeks to convert them into virtual factories for proletariats. Educational institutions become little more than workplaces for the creation of new work force which the bourgeois needs to put to work in its factories, offices and staff rooms. One of the ways this is done is by destroying the infrastructure for public education and privatizing the educational sector. The other way is to set an adverse and unpopular curriculum suitable for ‘corporate needs’ of the market. In both cases the monetary component of education is at the roots
of this debacle which makes the students suffer. We demand an end to such a corporatization of education by granting mandatory free education to university level and this be done for all throughout the country! The students of India and the educated youth constitute the backbone of the future of our country. They must be saved from the clutches of the Capitalist system for the sake of our future.
v) Full transparency and public accountability! Corruption and nepotism has become a way of life for the Indian bourgeois. It is but one of the myriad ways in which Indian Capitalism, ‘vampire like, sucks the life essence’ from every Indian. This is even more so with the main party of Indian capitalism, the Congress Party in power. The Party which is the carrier of the most reactionary interests of the Indian bourgeoisie is also the main carrier of the corruption and the innovator of institutionalized corruption. The existing legal and political framework does not allow for full transparency or public accountability. Under various administrative covers as well as secrecy laws, the vice of corruption is hidden and condoned by the bourgeois state. We demand an end to all such impediments which prevent a fully transparent system in India and demand a vertical system of public accountability from the lowest levels of the government bureaucracy to the highest echelons of power. None must be outside of the purview of public accountability. The instruments through which this will be ensured are the right of access to information and recall elections demanding for the expulsion of all ministers found guilty of corruption. Of these the right of access to information has already been granted, but is itself limited by the wall of secrecy laws. The right to recall is yet to be achieved. It is only when both these weapons are used together and with secrecy laws being abolished, will corruption be effectively countered!
Economic demands: i)Nationalization of all wealth owned by Indians abroad! Recent revelations have shown vast amounts of wealth held by Indians in foreign countries. Some of these are “legitimate” whilst most others are not. There is presently over $1.5 trillion worth of Indian money deposited in Swiss bank accounts. This huge amount is nearly equal to the annual GDP of the Indian economy and is over 6 times larger than India’s entire external debt! With such a huge capital in the hands of the thieving Indian bourgeoisie, it is imperative that each penny of this ill gotten wealth be nationalized and brought under the direct control of the state. As part and parcel of this, we demand that all external transactions between Indian individuals and corporations be brought under public scrutiny and have complete transparency in all trans-national transactions.
ii) Nationalization of the Commanding heights of the economy!
One of the most critical demands for the working class in struggle against capitalism is the complete nationalization of the commanding heights of the economy. Whilst traditionally standing to mean commanding control over all major strategic branches of the economy, it must additionally mean control over finance capital. In the age of imperialism it is financial capital that stands in a commanding position over other branches of Capitalism be it land based/agricultural/real-estate or industrial. In Indiaâ€™s case we see a nexus between state finance capital under the political control of the land owning bourgeois in alliance with the strongest barons of industrial capital ruling over the bulk of the economy. The demand for Nationalization of the commanding heights of the economy would mean the outright expropriation of all privately held capital national and foreign, as well as overthrowing the bourgeois controllers of state finance capital and bringing it under workers control. This moves hand in hand with nationalization of the land to bring about the complete expropriation of the most powerful sectors of the Indian bourgeois.
iii) 30hr Working week! The proletariat in its struggle against capitalism rebels against alienation and exploitation. With the overthrow of Capitalism the proletariat clears the way forward for achieving a higher social order where the exploitation of man by man ceases. Classes end, the state ends and class exploitation ends. However, this transition is long drawn and takes the course of uninterrupted revolutionary transition of society. Part of this transition is the increase of productive forces of mankind along with increased leisure time for spiritual and cultural development. The modern set up of Indian capitalism leaves no room for the cultural development of society or the individual forcing the average worker to work up to 50 hours a week. Existing labor laws are ineffectual in dealing with this sorry state of affairs. We demand an end to these practices and a change in the laws to restrict compulsory work period to a 30 hour working week.
iv) Sliding scale of wages and hours! [Wages and working hours are adjusted to living costs and inflation.] Under the conditions of disintegrating capitalism, the masses continue to live the meagerized life of the oppressed, threatened now more than at any other time with the danger of being cast into the pit of pauperism. They must defend their mouthful of bread, if they cannot increase or better it. There is neither the need nor the opportunity to enumerate here those separate, partial demands which time and again arise on the basis of concrete circumstances â€“ national, local, trade union. But two basic economic afflictions, in which is summarized the increasing absurdity of the capitalist system, that is, unemployment and high prices, demand generalized slogans and methods of struggle. The Fourth International declares uncompromising war on the politics of the capitalists
which, to a considerable degree, like the politics of their agents, the reformists, aims to place the whole burden of militarism, the crisis, the disorganization of the monetary system and all other scourges stemming from capitalism’s death agony upon the backs of the toilers. The Fourth International demands employment and decent living conditions for all. Neither monetary inflation nor stabilization can serve as slogans for the proletariat because these are but two ends of the same stick. Against a bounding rise in prices, which with the approach of war will assume an ever more unbridled character, one can fight only under the slogan of a sliding scale of wages. This means that collective agreements should assure an automatic rise in wages in relation to the increase in price of consumer goods.
Power Demands: i) Abolition of a Standing army and its replacement with a worker’s militia! The one thing most easily identifiable with the oppressive nature of the Bourgeois state is its standing army and police force. These institutions of oppression are but a reflection of the oppressive nature of Capitalist society itself divided as it is between haves and havenots. In India’s case the extreme surreality of Indian capitalist society which is divided between one of the richest and powerful bourgeoisies in the world and the most wretchedly poor proletariat and peasantry, is reflected almost in equal measure in its armed forces. The pathetic manner in which the Indian state treats its own soldiers and police officers, treating them as little more than expendable cannon fodder demands that the armed forces be abolished as a standing army and be replaced by a worker’s militia. The embryo of this new worker’s militia will inevitably come from neighborhood defense committees and armed Soviets and other popular committees of workers and peasants. The formation of these power organs of the proletariat in its struggle against capitalism will be useless unless armed against the armed force of the bourgeois state.
ii) For a government of workers, peasants and all oppressed peoples! “Only power is real all else is an illusion”, comrade Lenin had once said. This statement is the most concrete and eloquent expression of our most sincere revolutionary intent, to lead the proletariat to power in India. But for the conquest of power the proletariat must be organized under such organs of power that can help it realize this goal. The embryo of these organs reveals themselves now and then in the form of democratically organized strike committees of workers but for the most part they are temporary. We aim to create such permanent bodies of workers in struggle which would be organized democratically as popular committees of struggle. These would be formed from the participation of already existing popular organs of the people including trade unions, students unions and Gram Sabhas. The urban committees of struggle formed at each city, district and state would be coordinated nationally through a national coordination body which would altogether form the bulwark of the government of workers and peasants.
iii) For a Unified Socialist South Asian federation and a Socialist Union of Asia! The struggle for a Socialist revolution in India inadvertedly becomes the struggle for the liberation of all of South Asia. The trajectory of struggles in India leads towards the realization of a socialist federation of South Asian nations. But this wonâ€™t end regionally and progress uninterruptedly to the realization of an Asiatic union. In South Asia alone almost half of all Asians reside. Should this vast pool of humanity currently reeling under the oppression of imperialism *(both its own and foreign) overthrow the dictatorship of the bourgeois, it will spur revolutionary uprisings throughout the continent and touch off a political revolution in China. This would be the completion of the unfinished tasks of the Chinese revolution left deliberately incomplete by the counter revolutionary ruling strata of the Maoist bureaucracy. The Asian revolution will bring forth the unity of the largest pool of peoples in the world and lay the foundation of a world unity. To break the barriers set by the Capitalist classes, the workers rally under the war cry of Internationalism. Workers of the World Unite!