- India Moves For Freedom
1.1. The CPI was founded on December 1925 in a conference convened on Indian soil in Kanpur. The process had begun earlier when Indian communists abroad had gathered at Tashkent in 1920 and tried to form an Indian Communist Party. The birth of the Party was the result of tremendous historical developments at home and abroad. It was born when India was groaning under British imperialist rule, just after the anti imperialist struggle had acquired new mass militant dimension.
1.2. Rooted in the National Liberation Struggle which began in the early 20th Century, guided by the scientific theory of Marxism-Leninism, and inspired by the Great October Revolution in Russia, the communists went among sections of the Indian people0workers, peasants, youth and intellectuals who had already begun to fight against their condition of life and were seeking a new path to revolution after the withdrawal of the Non-cooperation Movement.
The Party had begun its work under illegal conditions and faced ruthless repression from the British rulers who launched one conspiracy case after another on communists (Peshawar, Kanpur, Meerut, etc).
1.3. Imbibing the revolutionary legacy of the freedom struggle in our country and the 1917 socialist revolution in Russia, and guided by the teachings of Marxism-Leninism, the Communists combined patriotism with internationalism in all their activities and world outlook. Work among the working people and close contact with them became their mission.
1.4. The National Liberation Struggle led by the Congress was preceded by a series of revolts by various sections of the Indian people attempting to overthrow the alien rule. Following the defeat of India’s First War of Independence in 1857, there took place many tribal revolts (Santhal Insurrections, the Chotonagpur revolt led by Birsa Munda and several others), the heroic actions by national revolutionaries dubbed as “terrorists” by the rulers, growing workers’ strikes and peasants actions heralding the emergence of new classes and their involvement in the fight for independence. Communists were among the first to raise the slogan of ‘Complete Independence”, as early as 1921 at the Ahmedabad session of the Indian National Congress, when the official bourgeois leadership was only talking about Home Rule under the British. Again in 1922, Communists at the Congress Gaya session repeated this demand.
1.5. The Nineteenth Century witnessed the ruthless march of the colonial powers who subjugated one country after another by the relentless use of arms against defenceless or poorly equipped people. They used their superior economic might-the might of the capitalist system to seize the raw material resources and capture the markets of these countries.
The Twentieth Century marked the rise of the national liberation movements in the colonies of imperialism. Colonies in Asia and Africa, and also in Latin America won their independence in this century through prolonged and bitter struggles facing brutal and leonine repression. The twentieth century has been marked by great changes for social and cultural progress and economic emancipation. The revolution that heralded a new social system in the history of mankind, the system of socialism took place in this century.
Mankind advanced from national suppression to national independence, from economic exploitation and social oppression to radical improvement in people’s life, from autocracy to democracy. No doubt there have been serious defeats and setbacks in the course of the onward march, which only shows that the revolutionary advance does not always proceed in an ascending straight line.
1.6. By 1925 workers’ actions on various issues and demands had begun to surge. The years when the Great Depression overtook the world saw great upsurge in working class actions both on political and economic issues. Trade unions were springing up in many industries, and by 1920 the first All India Trade Union Centre, the AITUC had come into existence. The anti-imperialist temper had gripped the working class. The communist party grew along with the growth of the workers’ trade union movement. The imperialist rulers repeatedly struck against the Communists but failed to destroy the Communist Party.
1.7. By the time the CPI came into being and grew, all India mass organizations of workers, kisans, students, cultural and literary intelligentsia were also formed. All India Trade Union Congress had already been formed in 1920. The All India Kisan Sabha, the All India Students Federation, the Progressive Writers Association were set up in 1936.The Indian People’s Theatre Association was formed in 1943. Their activities and struggles on demands further enriched the content of the freedom struggle and gave it militancy and mass character. Advanced militants from among them joined the Communist Party, which already included many of the national revolutionaries and patriots who had acquired communist ideology while in the British prisons.
1.8. Communists were in the forefront in all these mass organizations and in their struggles, braving hardship and repression. It became the party of workers, peasants, toiling people, students and revolutionary intelligentsia. The party inherited and carried forward the legacy of the revolutionaries and all those who had courageously fought the British rule and made untold sacrifices in the course of this fight. While the Congress led by Gandhiji was in the lead, several streams joined in the mighty turbulent flow of the Movement that finally led on to the achievement of Freedom on August 15, 1947.
1.9. The stormy forties heralded this dawn of Freedom. Following the defeat of the fascist powers in bringing about which the Soviet Union made the greatest sacrifices and played the decisive role, gigantic post-war revolutionary upsurge swept across the globe. Our country and our people moved forward to the final and decisive confrontation with British imperialism. The “Quit India” movement had already prepared the ground. Unprecedented mass demonstrations and upheavals shook the country. They took the form of solidarity actions with solders and officers of the Indian National Army founded and commanded by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. This tidal wave had its impact on the armed forces leading to the historic Revolt of the Royal Indian Navy in 1946. The armed forces of the British imperialists had begun to turn against the foreign oppressors of our people in a manner unparalleled since the Great Revolt – the First War of Independence in 1857.
1.10. It had become clear that the British could no longer continue their rule. The CPI and the mass organizations led by communists threw themselves into this tremendous anti-imperialist upsurge with all the strength at their command. Massive peasant struggles broke out during this period, such as the Telengana, Vayalar– Punnapra and Tebhaga struggles, all of which drew several lakhs of peasants into militant and even armed actions.
1.11. Under the Nizam’s rule in the native state of Hyderabad,– the biggest in British India, the atrocities of landlords on the peasants knew no limits. The Nizam administration and police invariably sided with the landlords. The struggles against the landlord’s atrocities and levies soon developed into a struggle for land. It implied a fight against prevailing laws as well as Nizam’s rule. It grew into a full-faced guerrilla warfare against the armed forces of the Nizam. After India achieved Freedom, there was a conspiracy to keep Hyderabad state as an independent entity right in the centre of the country. The Telengana struggle led by the communists fought against the conspiracy incurring huge loss of lives. It paved the way for Hyderabad’s accession to India. The inevitable bye-product of this struggle was the land struggle, the distribution of land belonging to jagirdars and landlords. It was at the same time a truly liberation struggle, against imperialism which was the main prop behind the Nizam, against feudalism represented by Jagirdars and landlords, a struggle for national integration and for advance of the languages and cultures of the Telugu, Marathi and Kannad-speaking people.
1.11 The Tebhaga movement in undivided Bengal in 1946 revealed the revolutionary potential of the peasantry and the poor rural masses when roused into action and led by a revolutionary party. Nearly six million sharecroppers, poor peasants and agricultural workers participated in it. Police opened fire in a number of places and killed 72 among whom 11 were women. Hindu and Muslim share croppers joined together and fought shoulder to shoulder against Hindu and Muslim jotedars who had united and called for action by government against “loot and intimidation by the communists”. It was a struggle of class vs class. The base of the Left in the countryside of Bengal nad built up from those days. It prepared the ground for the land reforms which were ultimately carried out by the Left Front government.
The Bakasht movement shook many districts of Bihar. The landlord-dominated Congress actively opposed it.
1.12 In October 1946 there took place the death defying battle in the district of Alleppey (Travancore, now in Kerala), where the workers, peasants and agricultural workers fought under the leadership of the Communist Party. The sinister “Cabinet Mission Plan” on the eve of the transfer of power had in addition to partitioning India, given the princely states the choice either to remain as independent states or join India or Pakistan. The autocratic Dewan of Travancore had hatched the plan to setup a ‘Free Travancore’ with an “American Model of Administration”. The ringing slogan advanced by the Communist Party was “Out with the American model! Dump it into the Arabian sea!”. Unprecedented bloody confrontation between poor toiling people armed with sharpened poles and scythes and the armed forces of the state with latest firearms took place. In six days nearly one thousand peasants and workers became martyrs.
The revolutionary significance of this struggle was the powerful combination of poor landless peasants and thousands of workers led by the revolutionary party.
1.13 For long the people in the native-states were kept away from the movement in the rest of India under direct British rule. The CPI however targeted these native rulers and chieftains from the outset. It regarded the anti-imperialist and anti-feudal struggles as interlinked. Marx while writing on India in 1953 had branded the princely state as ‘the stronghold of the present abominable English system and the greatest obstacle to Indian progress”.
1.14 Praja Mandals came up in several states under the influence of anti-feudal democratic sections. The All India State People’s Conference was organised in the course of these movements. If later the native states were finally and irrevocably integrated into Free India, the credit was in no small measure due to these heroic fights.
1.15 While the Left, democratic and progressive movements gathered strength on the one hand, on the other reactionary and communal forces also grew. This was the time when the RSS arose on the basis of an aggressive anti-Muslim slogan, and for a ‘Hindu Rashtra’. Nationhood began to be defined on the basis of religion. The “two-nation theory” was expounded, first by the Hindu Mahasabha and later picked up by the Muslim League. The antagonism between Hindus and Muslims was exploited to the hilt by the imperialist rulers. This later became the basis of the demand for Pakistan. The CPI tried its utmost to prevent this tragic division of the country by putting forward the slogan of Hindu-Muslim unity (strongly advocated by Gandhiji himself) and the vision of a voluntary federation of a united India.
1.16 Freedom was accompanied by the partition of the country into India and Pakistan with all the tragic consequences. The British imperialists transferred power to the Congress in India and to the Muslim League in Pakistan. The seeds were sown of conflict between the two states which to this day continues to trouble this sub-continent. The genesis of the Kashmir problem has to be traced to this wily imperialist maneuver. The persistence of communalism has also to be traced to this diabolic imperialist conspiracy and to the use of religion in politics. This underlines the need and urgency of secular-democratic polity in the country as the basis of India’s unity and integrity, which the CPI consistently stands for.
1.17 Developments that have taken place down the years in the world and in India show that the 21st century will witness that through many ups and downs, twists and turns, temporary and long-term set-back and forward movements, world social development will inevitably overcome imperialism and capitalism and advance towards socialism. For India too socialism is the future.
2. Post-Independence Developments
2.1 During the British rule Indian economy remained backward; it was dependent and colonial in character. But imperial interests dictated the need for a certain measure of capitalist development though superimposed on a feudal-landlord base in the country. An industrial bourgeoisie thus came into being by the end of the Second World War. There was concentration of capital in some spheres, and certain growth in banking. A few influential monopoly groups also grew in the ranks of the Indian bourgeoisie. A number of undertakings belonging to the British groups were bought out by this section of the bourgeoisie from the profits made from war supplies to Britain. The Indian Railway system which the British government had already taken over from private British investors came into the hands of the government of India after Independence with the sterling reserves that had accumulated to the credit of India. Nationalized railways became the first item to mark the beginning of the state sector in Independent India.
2.2 During the national liberation movement democratic elements, inside the Congress and far-sighted representatives of the bourgeoisie; as well as leaders of the Communist movement and the working class movement had advocated a broad policy of industrialization in order to overcome the colonial backwardness of India. The struggle for development of economic independence was necessary to strengthen the political independence that India had won. This was against the interests of imperialism. In order to expand the internal market and to mobilize capital resources it was also vitally necessary to carryout a certain measures of land reforms and restrict feudal relations in agriculture. This came in conflict with the interests of the landlords and princely houses. It had to be anti-feudal in its direction. The demand had emerged during the national liberation movement itself. However the bourgeois leadership was not prepared to carry this out to its logical conclusion. It displayed strong vacillations and compromising policies on vital aspects which signified a retreat from the programme of the national liberation movement.
2.3 Encouraged by the vacillations and compromising policies, the imperialists tried to keep the Indian economy tied up to imperialist finance capital through offers of “aids” and schemes like the Colombo Plan. This proved illusory. In the meanwhile the socialist world had made tremendous advance and was prepared to give selfless help to India’s aim of independent economic development. The growth of the democratic movement and its demand of economic advance made the government to mute its vacillations and establish contacts with the socialist countries and to formulate policies accordingly. Measures which reserved certain strategic industries for the state sector, and undertake certain measures of nationalization helped to mobilize internal resources for planning growth and gave government a grip over the finance. This initiated the establishment of state sector industries. These measures obviously did not concur with the policy of the imperialists. They were also not to the liking of the top monopoly groups of the Indian bourgeoisie who shortsightedly wanted the state sector to be restricted to defence industry, transport and public utilities, leaving the whole field of industries free for the private sector. Actually the growth of the public sector helped the growth of the private sector.
2.4 The Soviet Union and other socialist countries extended a helping hand to India in building heavy and strategic industries. Such help was without any strings, was efficient and cheaper and the know-how and technical training were given to our workers without reservation. New branches of industry and projects which emerged as a result of socialist aid have gone a long way to eliminate the legacy of the colonial past and reduce India’s dependence on the capitalist world market for trained manpower, materials and machinery.
All this was however within the limitations of the capitalist path of development, and with government policies which were inhibited by the narrow class interest of the bourgeoisie. Development has been a slow, halting process, extremely painful for the masses in terms of their sufferings and resulting in a measurably low rate of economic growth. Land reforms were also sabotaged due to bourgeois government’s compromising with landlord elements in the country. Therefore the internal market did not expand to the desired extent. The obstacles that stand in the way are precisely because of the capitalist path pursued by the bourgeois – landlord dispensation at the helm of the state, which in addition to its compromise with semi-feudal elements, also has links with foreign monopoly capital.
2.5. The public sector in the country’s economy is nothing else but state capitalism. This development of capitalism since independence suffers from all inherent and inevitable contradictions, crisis and serious limitations of the capitalist system and its basic laws.
2.6. The bourgeoisie draws the resources for industrial and economic development of India by laying increasing burden on the common people, mainly in the form of growing indirect taxation, inflation, fleecing the peasantry through the market, intensifying exploitation of wage labour etc. In particular, the failure to unleash the initiative of the peasant masses for an upsurge in agricultural production through radical land reforms and all-round agrarian reform is one of the major factors contributing to the low rate of growth of national economy. Therefore there is increasing contradiction between growing industrial production and low purchasing power due to impoverishment of people. It tried to expand by inviting foreign private monopoly capital in partnership with itself. Through such collaboration agreement foreign monopoly capital seeks to penetrate and influence India’s national economy including the state sector.
2.7. One of the most striking result of the path of capitalist development is the concentration of capital with economic power in the hands of a few big monopolies who enrich themselves at the expense of the people and even the other broad sections of the Indian bourgeoisie. These monopolies represent a combination of industrial, banking and marketing companies. The big monopolies who have grown into specific corporate entities not only hold strong positions in their own private sector but also have infiltrated into the state sector and use “public money” for their own aggrandisement and maximum profits. They aggravate the economic crisis by fostering price rise, corruption, hoarding and black marketing
2.8. In the political sphere they seek to consolidate right reactionary forces in the country, encourage the communal parties, influence the ruling party for their narrow class interest, unleash an offensive against all progressive policies and mount offensives to disrupt and defeat the democratic forces.
Driven by the big bourgeois interests the government even discriminates against and neglects the small-scale and tiny industries, and repeatedly withdraws several items from the list reserved for the Small Scale Sector. It repeatedly redefines the criteria for SSI with a view to accommodate the interests of the big sector. The small-scale and tiny industries play an important role. They claim to contribute 40% of industrial output and about 35% share in exports. They employ about 20 million workers. Government has also lifted the cap on the FDI in the SSI sector. This will enable foreign capital to take over many small-scale units, particularly those which are hi-tech, in the name of technology transfer. There is a growing contradiction between this section of the bourgeoisie and the corporates and big bourgeoisie.
They seek to subvert the foreign policy of Non-Alignment and Peace and give it a pronounced pro-imperialist, specifically pro-US orientation.
2.9. From the late eighties and nineties, a new set of policies of economic liberalization is being increasingly pursued. They have now crystallized into the policy of ‘neo- liberalism’ boosted as ‘economic reform’. Following the demise of the Soviet Union and the collapse of the socialist countries in East Europe imperialism headed by US and their international agencies such as IMF, WB and newly established WTO have stepped up their offensive for a “Free Market Economy,” for carrying through Liberalization, Privatization and Globalization.
2.10. The constant refrain that is heard today is ‘privatization’ in all spheres of economic and even cultural and social life. It has become a dogma, an article of faith with the ideologues of ‘free market’. In pursuance of this policy several public sector undertakings have been dismantled and privatized by selling government equity in them. Even the equity in nationalized banks is sought to be brought down, as a prelude to their ultimate privatization. Corporate Houses and Big Businesses are being invited to open new banking concerns. It has come up against serious obstacles, first and foremost due to the bank employees’ determined resistance and the Left parties’ vigorous opposition. They are now touting a new concept, viz. ‘Public Private Partnership’ which is actually a public mask for private aggrandisement. In their craze for privatizing the financial sector the government has failed to recall the bitter lessons of bank failures in the US, Germany, England, and other developed capitalist countries. A serious financial crisis overtook the capitalist world from 2008, which brought on a deep economic depression that continues to this day. If India’s financial sector survived this onslaught, it was primarily due to the financial sector in the country remaining in the public sector. However the bourgeois government in India persists in its drive for privatization. While in the West they are talking of state regulation and even buying up of equity, government talks of giving licenses to Business Houses for launching private banks.
India and China escaped the severity of the world capitalist financial and economic crisis because they were in a way uncoupled from the US financial empire. But now with huge exports tied to the western markets which are not showing healthy signs of recovery, they are liable to be affected.
2.11. Liberalization has meant ‘free trade’ under the WTO regime. While the imperialist and developed capitalist countries have forcibly prised open our markets for their goods and for acquiring a grip over our raw material resources they have themselves taken care not to reciprocate by opening their markets by brazenly mounting several non-tariff barriers against the developing countries. In its eagerness to woo foreign capital, the government. is even discriminating against our own industrial structure particularly in the public sector. This is a process of guaranteeing private profits at public risks.
The people are treated to a lot of propaganda about “Free Market” and ‘Competition’ as the desirable goals of modern economic and social life. It is true developing capitalism in the earlier phase fought vigorously for free market so as to remove all obstacles to the free flow of capital and commodities. But experience shows that competition gave rise to the gradual concentration of production on a large scale, which at a certain stage of development led on to monopolies and corporate entities. It continues further through a series of mergers and acquisitions, pirating of equity shares in order to gain effective control, cartel arrangements for sharing the market, collaboration agreements between MNC’s and local monopolies. The rise of the MNC’s is a feature of monopoly growth based in the most advanced capitalist countries.
2.12. There is a virtual competition among the developing countries including India for attracting FDI. With the ‘open door’ policy and the red carpet treatment meted out to foreign investors specially the MNC’s, what is missed is that the bulk of FDI is determined by the search for natural resources and markets, such that the labour cost -differential makes it more profitable to invest rather than export commodities from the home country. Some sections of the local bourgeoisie in the developing countries whose interests are hurt have no choice but to cry out for a “level playing ground”, that is to say, ask for similar concession and facilities for themselves. This is sowing the seeds of contradictions between the local bourgeoisie and the bourgeoisie of the advanced capitalist countries notwithstanding the collaborationist role played by the monopoly sections aided and abetted by the government. There are some Indian corporate houses which have grown to such an extent that they are aspiring to become world players, and have even managed to become so.
The CPI does not oppose FDI under all circumstances. To make up the need for capital investment, foreign capital, whether from the U.S. or any other country is welcome if it helps the growth of productive forces, brings in new and advanced technology and opens up fresh avenues of employment. But moves by government to invite FDI in retail trade has to be firmly opposed as it will cause large scale displacement of more than 4 crores of people (along with their dependents), throwing them out of their livelihood, nor will it bring worthwhile new technology. We oppose FDI in banking and insurance, as it will mean foreign control over our financial sector.
2.13. The inclusion of agriculture and food in WTO negotiations has specially hit hard the Indian farmers. The impact of Dunkel on our agriculture, specially on the poor-resource farmers is extremely harsh. Its impact on the food market due to obligatory imports and exports, and the control which the developed capitalist countries exercise on the gene sequences, micro-biological resources and genetic engineering, or on the preservation, sale and free exchange of seeds etc will have far more significance here and can prove disastrous for the whole country. For a vast country like India attaining self-sufficiency in food is of utmost importance. Drawing food into the world market and allowing the food MNC’s to acquire a strangle-hold over this market has serious consequences.
2.14. The monopolizing of innovations and technology has reached a stage that “Intellectual Property Rights” (TRIPs) has been mandated to an international treaty. Hitherto in our patent laws we had tried to balance the interest of patent holders with public interest. But under the new patent regime it will be difficult to ensure the primacy of the public interest. Patent holders are often the multinational corporations.
2.15. The Structural Adjustment Programme, the Dunkel treaty were both latest ploys of imperialism. “Market fundamentalism”, monopoly of high technology, grip over communication and media, international trade dictated by the WTO regime are all weapons pressed to that end. This is imperialism in the epoch of the scientific and technological revolution and the rise of International Finance Capital. It is nothing but an attempt to prolong the crisis-ridden world capitalist system through an offensive against the working people in each country and against the people of the Third World in general.
Times have changed indeed but imperialism continues to be a threat no less than before. The task is done in more sophisticated form, making the task of fighting them many times more difficult than before. However the task of fighting imperialism remains a priority for carrying forward the democratic revolution.
2.16 This neo-liberal globalisation is widening economic inequality, generating poverty, debt and unemployment. The US and the IMF are pushing India for capital market liberalization. It has been shown by the experience of the ‘East Asia Crisis” more than a decade back, that capital market liberalization brings instability and a crippling financial crisis. India should rebuff such pressure. The Indian people have to participate actively in the growing worldwide movement against ‘globalisation’. This movement had correctly highlighted that with ‘globalisation’ poverty does not decrease. Inequality actually rises. Disparities among and within countries continue to grow. The richest people in the world and in each country corner the wealth and the vast mass of people are left without means for their bare existence. This state of affairs cannot be accepted. We have to fight to change it.
2.17 Following the demise of the Soviet Union the capitalist powers led by the U.S. pronounced that “socialism is dead; It is the ‘end of history; Capitalism is the only viable social and economic system”. Actually capitalism including its latest variant of neo-liberal capitalism, so-called ‘crisis-free capitalism’ has not only sunk into a deeper crisis than ever, but has also failed to solve the problems of poverty and unemployment. Rather, these problems have been further aggravated, both in relative and absolute terms, as can be seen from these facts:
– Nearly one and half billion people out of world population of six billion continue to live in absolute poverty and on the verge of starvation.
– More than eight hundred million people go to bed hungry. All this at a time when the world’s resources, its production potential and the advance in science and technology is capable of meeting their requirement in food and other necessities.
– The gap between the rich and poor, among people and countries is widening by the day. The richest 20% of the world’s population hold almost 83% of the world’s wealth. The poorest 20% controls only 1.4%. This was 2.4% only thirty years ago.
– The poorest of the developing countries have more than half of the world population, but only 5.6% of the world income.
2.18 The world capitalist system is now gripped by a deep financial and economic crisis. Despite all bailout packages liberally handed out by bourgeois governments to the corporates, recovery is very slow and tardy. It is a crisis of the capitalist system, and not a manifestation of any mismanagement, or aberration of the system in this or that country. Capitalism can no longer find a solution to the main contradiction that afflicts it, – the sharpening contradiction between the social character of production and the private nature of capitalist appropriation.
2.19 The competitiveness between the most advanced capitalist economy, the USA first and foremost, and the emerging economic powers, such as China, India, Brazil, is intensifying. The correlation of forces is changing and new realignments are coming up.
With deepening crisis the political system of capitalist countries becomes more reactionary and more repressive.
2.20 Faced by growing unemployment corporate greed and widening inequalities, masses of people in many countries are corning out on the streets, abominating capitalism and demanding a change even though many are not yet clear what or how.
2.21 Economic growth measured in terms of rise in the GDP, in national income, in per capita income hides the actual economic inequality that exists within the country, the yawing gap between those at the top who are rolling in wealth, and the vast majority at the bottom that is wallowing in poverty. To calculate the per capita income among such unequal incomes and suggest a rise in general prosperity is to mock at poverty and divert attention from it.
Bourgeois governments, repeatedly speak of development as their goal. But economic development implies that along with growth there are positive changes in the distribution of the fruits of that growth, as well as changes in the economic structure itself. Development must mean growth with equity and justice. It must mean satisfaction of the basic needs of the mass of people as a matter of priority. Those who sidetrack this issue are the votaries of the notorious ‘trickle down’ strategy.
The total number of people in India belonging to the poor and vulnerable group having a daily per capita consumption of less than Rs. 20in 2004 –05 is 836 million, constituting about 78 per cent of our population. Since then the number has grown.
About 88 per cent of India’s SCs/STs belong to this group of poor and vulnerable. Similarly about 85 per cent of all Muslims other than the SC/ST and 80 per cent of all OBCs except Muslims are poor and vulnerable living below per capita consumption of Rs. 20 per day.
Those who are poor are also illiterate and poorly educated. They also account for 79 per cent of the unorganized workers with informal and casual employment with no job security, social protection or minimum wages and working in abysmal physical conditions. Poverty, unemployment, illiteracy or poor education go together.
2.22 Economic growth is certainly necessary for development. But economic growth perse does not mean development which should bring general improvement in the living conditions of the vast masses. The harsh reality is that under neo-liberal capitalism high economic growth and social development are moving divergently. Even the bourgeois rulers are aware of this. In their relatively frank moments, when faced with peoples’ discontent they talk of the need for ‘inclusive growth’. The steps they suggest is to announce some welfare measures, some efforts at poverty alleviation, some targeted relief schemes for specific sections, – most of them with an eye towards embellishing the image of the ruling circles. However these are palliatives which do not alter or touch the basic flaws of the system. This has resulted in India being placed 134th among 187 countries in the Human Development Index Report, 2010.
2.23 Real inclusiveness will mean that it encompasses the workers and peasants, the dalits, adivasis and minorities, the most backward sections among the OBCs, not merely as objects, as beneficiaries but as subjects involved in the process of economic growth and development. This is possible only in a new dispensation with changed class forces at the helm. It can come about only through political action and mass movements of these sections of people, for the overthrow of capitalism.
2.24. India has only 1.3% of the world GDP but 17% of world population. It is almost at the bottom of ‘Human Development Index’ in world reckoning, despite the claim that the rate of growth is 8 to 9%. Over 2.5 million children die in India every year, accounting for one in five child’s death in the world. Poverty and inequality is glaring yet the government pursues the neo-liberal economic policies, which benefit the rich and hit the poor.
The WHO in its report squarely blamed the World Bank policy of health privatization and pointed out that poor are the casualty for such health reforms. Yet the bourgeois governments in India persist in implementing a policy of health privatization.
2.25 The Communist Party of India is the political party of the Indian workers, peasants, toiling people in general, youth, students, men and women, intelligentsia and others devoted to the cause of overcoming imperialism and capitalism, and of ushering in socialism. It has equipped itself with the scientific ideology of Marxism-Leninism, which is a tool for understanding and analyzing the complex reality of Indian society and its evolution through decades of pre and post independence periods. It is the guide to action for transforming this reality through the course of struggles for completing the tasks of the new democratic revolution and its transition to socialism.
The CPI presents this programme before the Indian people. It is not a manifesto for any particular election. It is a long-term programme that charts the strategy and tactics for basic revolutionary change in India, for its socialist future.
3. World Capitalism in Crisis
3.1. It has been seen that the possibilities of crisis constantly exist within the capitalist system. The contradiction between the social nature of production and the private nature of capitalist appropriation is at the root of this crisis. This contradiction between social production and private appropriation is constantly becoming deeper. Even as the world produces and consumes more the rich-poor gap widens.
3.2. The crisis that struck the world recently originating from that haven of capitalism,– the USA, is a combination of financial crisis and an economic depression. Based on the market economy, on speculation, and on the ‘profit first’ principle, the maximization of profit under neo-liberal dispensation, the financial economy has grown several times over the real economy. The sub-prime speculation in the US hit the financial economy like a tsunami, leading to the bankruptcy and collapse of several giant banking institutions in America. It spread to other developed capitalist countries and adversely affected the economy of most developing countries. If India and China could manage to avoid the worst it is because the financial sector was very largely in the hands of the state. For this in India the credit belongs to the communists and the Left and to the unions in the financial sector who tenaciously and firmly opposed the move of the bourgeois government to move towards privatization of these sectors.
3.3. The failure of the all-powerful US monopoly capital to recover from the economic melt-down underlines the general crisis of capitalism. This is despite the fact that huge financial packages running into trillions of dollars in the entire capitalist world were handed over to the capitalists to ‘stimulate’ the economy and help its recovery. All this was done at the expense of the working class and other sections of the people, for whom social spending from the budget was drastically cut and austerity measures were imposed on the people in a blatant move to pass on the burden of the crisis on to the toiling sections and the common people. Several countries like Greece, Portugal, Italy had to face pressure from International Finance Capital. People of course put up stiff resistance.
Overwhelmed by crisis capitalism hands out bailout packages to corporate houses, monopoly groups, finance capital and the banks. At the same time it resorts to mass dismissals, closures alongwith attacks on workers and trade union rights, on wages, pensions, social security etc. Peoples’ earnings are reduced, and there is huge increase in unemployment and poverty. Political systems become more reactionary and repressive.
Job loss, unemployment is the major form of attacks on the working people as a way-out of the crisis of capitalism. The International Labour Organisation in its ‘The World of Work Report 2011’ has painted a gloomy picture of the world economy and said just 40 million or half of the 80 million jobs were likely to be created over the next 2-years. Most of these new jobs would be created in the developing world, while just 2.5 million would be created in advanced economics. As a result, industrialized countries would be short of 24.7 million jobs during 2012 and 2013, it said. The developing world, including India, needs to create 53 million jobs in the next 2-years, required to attain pre-crisis employment rates.
3.4. The US had been all through the decades a consumer society living beyond its means. It has been described as a parasite sucking the blood of others by using its economic and military might. Its foreign debt has accumulated to unprecedented and unmanageable dimensions. The danger of default to its creditors stared this mighty country in the face. It had to enter into a ‘deal’ between the Democrats and the Republicans to limit the debt ceiling and to cut its excesses. This has led to the downgrading of US credit rating for the first time in history.
There is good deal of talk about environmental standards today. People have woken up to the issue of preventing environmental pollution and protecting the ecological balance. Actually the profligate consumption in which the world’s rich indulge is the single biggest factor in destroying environment and upsetting the ecological balance. The manner in which driven by the craze for earning super-profits, resources of this earth are being denuded and the entire ecosystem is being destroyed; the speed at which the air, the terrain, rivers, lakes and seas are being polluted, spell disaster for the future of entire humanity. The most industrialized nation, the one which is responsible for the maximum damage to the environment, viz. the United States of America, has refused to sign the ‘Kyoto Protocol’, E.U. and the USA are stalling fruitful negotiations at the World Conferences on Climate change.
3.5 The size of the financial economy today is several times bigger than the real economy. This is so both globally and in each country. This has given rise to tremendous volatility to finance capital leading to widespread speculation, movement of capital across borders, instability in national currencies etc. The dominance of finance capital, of the money market over all and a liberalized system has come to mean an over- heated stock market and unrestrained speculative activities by which colossal sums are transferred from public to private pockets and huge profits are raked in without any corresponding productive activity. In this free-for-all market, money has a merry free run. The foreign banks lead in this swindle from up front.
3.6 International financial oligarchy is on the rampage, blackmailing governments in certain countries, manipulating changes within governments and even bringing them down. Of course all this is within the framework of the World Capitalist System.
3.7The imperialist powers, in particular the USA, remain as exploitative and aggressive as ever before. Times have changed and therefore tactics and propaganda methods have also changed. Armaments including weapons of mass destruction are piling up. The USA and its allies have a monopoly of them. Under imperialist domain the world military spending has reached Himalayan dimension. Of this more than half is spent by the US alone. A literal arms race has been unleashed. India, Pakistan and other developing countries have been drawn into it. Little wonder that American imperialist aggression, preemptive strikes against countries for bringing about ‘regime changes’ suited to imperialist interests, local and regional wars have accounted for nearly 23 million deaths mostly in the developing world since the end of World War II.
3.8 The quest for oil has already provoked invasion and war by US imperialism and its leading EU partners, as witnessed in the oil rich Middle East. Such possibilities can recur as long as imperialism exists.
Globalisation unmasked is nothing more than imperialism working in the interest of international finance capital and the multinational corporations. It is imperialist globalization. It is a US led process of compelling the developing world into accepting what is dictated by US and EU countries. The aim is to turn the entire Third World into a huge open market, a free trade zone, dominating their industries and buying up their resources for their exploitation, forcing them to face the most unequal competition.
3.9. The Indian bourgeoisie and its government is trying to show a brave face in the midst of the capitalist crisis pretending that its ‘fundamentals are strong’ and that it is doing ‘business as usual’. Its response to the present situation is to persist with more ‘economic reforms’, that is to proceed further with the policies of liberalization, privatization, and globalization. Of course one should not underestimate the resilience, the capacity to maneuver and to find ways out of accumulated economic difficulties which capitalism as a system still possesses both on world scale and in India, by means of various devices. These are however shrinking by the day. The solution of the basic problem facing the economy lies only along the socialist path. But in the immediate context i.e. ‘here and now’, the CPI and the Left in general have to struggle for an alternative economic path which can help overcome the present economic difficulties, encourage normal development and growth. Such an alternative calls for;-
-Expanding the domestic market through radical land reforms and consistent policy of agrarian reform.
-Instead of copying the western model of industrialization, concentrate on a labour-oriented policy of developing infrastructures, education and healthcare system.
–Undertake employment-oriented schemes and boost Self-employment through credit and marketing facilities.
–Fight price rise and introduce universal public distribution system.
— Develop the productive forces more speedily by removing the shackles which restrict their growth.
— Restructure and democratize the public sector, making it cost effective, competitive and accountable, while being socially committed, oppose disinvestment and dilution of state equity.
— Cut down imports which cater for elitist consumption.
— Crack down on corruption through an effective Lokpal; break the nexus of the corporates, bureaucrats and venal politicians responsible for scams and scandals.
— Restructure the tax structure so that the burden falls on the corporate houses, big business and affluent section of the country. Mobilize internal resources for development.
— Activate the bureau of industrial cost and pricing for investigating the cost of production and essential industrial goods so as to curb monopoly pricing and super profit.
— Allow foreign investment in industries where high-tech is essential and urgently required for development, in the interest of overall economic growth.
— Unearth black money, bring back and confiscate black money stashed away in foreign banks.
— Provide easy credit and market support to tiny, small and cottage industry and cooperatives.
— Protect the interests of the non-monopoly section against the threats of Indian and foreign monopolies.
3.10 Along with these steps the country has to develop close economic, social and cultural relations and scientific cooperation, in particularly with the SAARC, ASEAN, and BASIC countries, etc. The economies of these countries have been complimentary and closely related for centuries. Imperialism has been keeping them at loggerheads striking deals with each on its own terms. Struggle for a new international economic order and equitable terms of trade and investment by developing regional cooperation.
- India in the Contemporary World
4.1 The latest deep and continuing crisis originated with the financial crisis in the USA, – the Eldorado of capitalism, leading to the collapse of more than a hundred banks and financial institutions, which by their very gigantic size and scale of operations were supposed to be incapable of collapsing. This was soon followed by an economic meltdown, that spread to all countries of the capitalist world.
4.2 As is usual with capitalism, the entire burden of the crisis was shoved on to the shoulders of the working class and the common people, who were faced with closures, retrenchments, loss of jobs, cut in wages, pensions and other benefits earned through tremendous struggles and sacrifices, in every country.
4.3 The shockwave of the crisis could not but affect many other countries, which had only five or six decades back broken out of their colonial chains, but had adopted the capitalist path of building their economy and were in many respects bound to the economy of their old masters.
4.4 Countries which had moved away from capitalism and were engaged in building economy according to their own conditions, such as China had managed to avoid this crisis. But they could not altogether escape the effect of the international links of trade and finance, which they had with the capitalist world.
4.5 India, a developing country following the capitalist path of development, and even adopting the neo-liberal prescriptions dictated by the IMF, World Bank and the Transnational Corporations, inevitably suffered from this crisis of world capitalism. But it was saved from its rigours and intensity due to the fact that its financial sector till then mostly in the public sector, and so were many of its strategic industrial and commercial undertakings. They could not indulge in the speculative financial maneuverings and skullduggery which the private players in the Developed West had been indulging in.
Neo-liberalism did contribute to a fast economic growth in India for some period measured in terms of GDP, but it led to tremendous economic disparities with dizzy heights of affluence at one end and depth of poverty at the other, together with disastrous consequences for the environment.
A section of middle class and intelligentsia, which has benefited from the economic growth and is dazzled by ‘Shining India’, is also influenced by such talk of ‘Reform’, ignoring the actual consequences. Actually this serves to camouflage the ideological, political and economic designs of American imperialism and International Finance Capital.
4.6 In the name of combating the economic crisis bourgeois governments in most countries doled out huge funds to the corporate firms. The bailout packages ran into billions and even to trillions of dollars in the US, U.K, France, Germany and Japan etc., in the name of stimulating the economy and reviving it. Corresponding deep cuts were made in the funds meant for the common people.
4.7 India too followed suit by doling out huge packages to the crisis hit corporate entities. That could not mitigate the widespread closures and the resultant unemployment in a number of industries in the country.
4.8 Even after the passage of few years the US economy,- the largest in the world, is still not in the way of recovering from the depression. So also several countries of the developed West, – the European Union in particular. The crisis has lengthened into a more or less permanent one. There is the Sovereign Debt Crisis. The US which is the most indebted country of the world, living like a parasite at the cost of others, finds it difficult to repay its loans. The dollar has lost some of its sheen. Though there have been talks of finding an alternative international currency, the very weight of its prestige and acceptability backed by US economic and military might has prevented any such cataclysmic move so far. It continues in its position by default.
4.9 National currencies, including the Indian Rupee are under tremendous pressure, and there is financial instability all round. Situation in the Eurozone is very serious. Greece, Portugal, Spain, Italy have to face the ignominy of inability to repay their loan commitments. Led by Germany and France the European Union imposed harsh austerity measurers on Greece to bail it out of its predicament. This is meeting with the stiffest resistance ever, bringing Greece to the brink of a revolutionary outburst. Other countries cut their welfare budgets meant for the working people.
The working class and also many sections of the middle class are not taking this attack on their living standards lying down. Everywhere they are fighting back determinedly with massive militant actions directing their indignation against corporate greed and its quest for maximizing profits at the expense of the common people. It took the form mass upsurge in many capitalist countries with people voicing their demand for an alternative to capitalism.
4.10 In the US and UK, the very citadels of capitalism, people in their thousands have come out on the streets against unemployment and economic inequality. The so-called London riots which took place not only in London but also in several other cities, and the “Occupy Wall Street” call which saw huge turn-outs in all cities of America for several weeks flaunting placards, and slogans against capitalism showed that mass indignation against capitalism was no longer confined to the peripheries of the capitalist world. The Metropolis too is now under attack!
Capitalism has long passed its peak and is now on the decline. No longer we hear the triumphalistic cry that there is no alternative to capitalism.
The era of capitalist domination all over the world first ended after the October Socialist Revolution in Russia in 1917. World War-II saw the rout of fascism, the most reactionary and most imperialist element of finance capital. Hundreds of countries broke their chains of colonial slavery and achieved their National Independence. Some countries in Europe and Asia broke away from capitalism and took the path of socialism.
4.11 However the Soviet Union and some East European socialist countries collapsed towards the end of the 20thcentury. They are now engaged in restoring capitalism in their countries. This has given a new breath to capitalism, whose propagandists even gloated about the ‘end of history’. But this is now proving short-lived. China, Vietnam, Cuba have been building socialism according to their specific conditions and characteristics. China and Vietnam have adopted the course towards “Socialism through a market economy”. This is an original way to build a dynamic economy as a first step in their path to socialism. It remains to be seen what are the immediate consequences, but note must be taken that their sight is firmly focused on the goal of socialism.
China today has become the second largest economy after the USA. There is speculation about its economy overcoming the USA in the not so distant future.
4.12 A wind of change has swept across the Latin American continent. The Cuban Revolution in 1959 has withstood like a rock all the attempts of the US to suppress it and is marching ahead towards the socialist goal. Venezuela, Equador, Brazil, Argentine, Uruguay, Bolivia, Peru, have all broken away from US domination and emerged from what was earlier known as the “U.S Backyard”. After pursuing armed guerilla struggle for many years they have changed tactics and won a majority in their parliaments and in presidential elections.
For more than a century most of these countries were under the iron heels of brutal dictatorships propped up by the US. Some had come to be called ‘Banana Republics’ serving the interests of American Transnational Corporations. Now profound political changes are taking place in each of them towards democratization. Economic changes for radically improving the conditions of life of the poor and indigenous people have been carried out. The countries of Latin America have also initiated several regional agreements for joint development including a bank of their own. US over lordship in the Organisation of Latin American States is no longer there.
The Latin American developments undoubtedly exercise tremendous impact on the world situation. They have made a difference in the balance of forces. So have certain developments in the African continent.
4.13 Unprecedented massive and militant mass uprisings have rocked the northern states of the African continent. Millions of people occupied the main squares and streets of the capital and all major cities for several weeks at a stretch demanding the ouster of autocratic dictators and hereditary rulers in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Bahrain and several countries of the Arab world. For several decades these rulers were acting as reliable allies of America, and supporting Israel against the Palestinian people’s struggle for statehood. At the same time they subjected the people to harsh repression. The people displayed exemplary courage in facing severe repression and fought back with fierce determination. Their demand was for an end to autocracy, for democratization and for a better equitable economic order. They succeeded in driving out the dictatorship in Egypt and Tunisia, though the final battle has not yet been won, mainly due to the motley combination of forces leading the movement, and the intervention of the military and imperialism from behind the scene. The most reactionary and autocratic country in the Arab World, Saudi Arabia, the reliable bastion of America sent its army to neighbouring Bahrain to crush the people’s uprising and prevent the contagion of revolt from spreading. However, success cannot be measured only by the immediate gains, but by the people’s mass awakening, which once roused cannot be thwarted or held back for long.
In Libya, the imperialist powers acting through the NATO have militarily intervened so as to thwart the people’s movement, install a toady regime and grab the rich resources of Libyan oil. The same forces are trying to take over Syria by instigating and extending military aid to counter-revolutionary armed elements.
Africa, – the Arab World in particular, is in turmoil. The move is unmistakably for democratisation, and against autocracy having links with imperialism. But in the absence of strong and powerful democratic and progressive parties leading the revolts in these Arab countries, the relatively strong Muslim Brotherhood patronized by Imperialism and the Saudii ruling circles are taking over. It emphasizes the importance of who leads the people’s revolt and with what aim.
4.14 In working out and evolving the national strategy for social transformation, it has become increasingly necessary to take into account the global context and the global solidarity for achieving success.
4.15 The world today is divided into several groups of countries. Developments that are taking place in these countries illustrate the diverse possibilities and ways of building a new society in each of them in the course of advancing towards the common goal of socio-economic transformations. There may be many ups and downs, many twists and turns, and even temporary or long setbacks, but the inevitable course of historical developments is towards overcoming imperialism and capitalism and advancing towards social progress and change. This is a historical truth which has to be taken into account in carrying on revolutionary activities today.
4.16 Even though capitalism is on the decline and is facing serious problems this does not mean that it will come to an end on its own before long. World capitalism has tremendous reserves. It has unbounded capacity to use the Scientific and Technological Revolution and the Revolution in IT and Communication as well as its hold over the corporate media to prolong its life. It can only be overthrown by a combination of revolutionary classes and forces and led by a revolutionary party when the political situation matures in each country.
4.17 Though imperialism, and in particular US imperialism is in the midst of a serious crisis and is finding it difficult to emerge from it, this cannot be construed to mean that the danger and offensive of imperialism has diminished. Indeed US imperialism is taking recourse to more and more militarism and unilateralism in its relation with other countries. Its military expenditure is more than the combined defence expenditures of the rest of the world, and its strategic moves are for ‘regime changes’, sanctions and military interventions against countries that dare to stand up to it, and assert their determination to decide their own destiny.
U.S imperialism puts its national interests above the interests of World Peace and orderly international relations. It pursues a strategy of preemptive attack against other countries in disregard of the United Nations. It is today the greatest threat to World Peace and Security, and to the sovereign rights of nations. The struggle for peace and opposition to imperialism is therefore a priority task on the agenda of all those who are fighting for democracy, progress and socialism.
5. India’s Foreign Policy
5.1 The foreign policy of a country is generally influenced by and often times even determined by the internal economic policies pursued by the country.
In the immediate aftermath of independence India’s foreign policy suffered from the imprint of British pressures, its membership of the Commonwealth and so on. But soon it underwent a significant change. It faced disillusionment with the indifference and even opposition from Anglo-American imperialist powers towards its desire to overcome its colonial backwardness and strive for independent economic development, though within the framework of the capitalist system. Such was the approach of Britain and the US towards the other South-East Asian Countries which had similar aims. On the other hand India saw that the Soviet Union was willing to extend a helping hand both for setting up large-scale strategic industries in the core sector and also to share technological know-how, while also shoring up its defence needs.
5.2 In the international field, in addition to the erstwhile colonies of imperialism that had achieved national independence, two powerful blocs had developed, – one led by the US imperialist and the other by the Soviet Union, including other socialist-oriented countries.
5.3 India opted for a foreign policy of peace, non-alignment, solidarity with the newly liberated countries and anti-imperialism. Though there were several lapses and compromises in its execution, this policy conformed at the time to the class interests of the national bourgeoisie, met the needs of India’s independent economic development and was in tune with the anti-imperialist traditions of India’s freedom struggle. It also reflected the interests of the newly liberated countries and all those who were still struggling for their independence from colonial powers. It had the support from the Soviet Union which needed peace to reconstruct its economy, which had been totally devastated by the anti-fascist war.
5.4 In pursuance of this policy of peace and non-alignment, India and China signed in 1954 the famous ‘Panchsheela’ i.e. the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence governing relations between states.
This was followed by the Ten Principles set forth in the Declaration adopted at the Afro-Asian Conference held in Bandung (Indonesia) in 1955.
5.5 As one of the leading initiators of both the Panchsheela and the Bandung Declaration India’s prestige went up high among all countries of the new Third World that had come into existence.
5.6 Guided by such a policy India played an important role against imperialist wars of intervention first in Korea and then in heroic Vietnam. It stood with Cuba where the US imperialists suffered a humiliating defeat in its Bay of Pigs adventure and in all subsequent manoeuvers to blockade Cuba. India expressed full solidarity with the long struggle of the people of South Africa led by the ANC against apartheid, of the people of Angola and Namibia for their freedom.
India all along stood with the people of Palestine for their independent statehood.
5.7 The solidarity which India displayed towards countries struggling for their freedom was fully reciprocated by them when Indian people liberated Pondicherry and Goa from centuries old imperialist occupation. The Anglo-American imperialists disapproved of the minor military action which India took on the issue, while the Soviet Union supported it. This was so also when India fought Pakistan leading to the liberation at Bangladesh.
Inside the country there were sections who opposed the non-aligned foreign policy. The monopoly capitalists who had strong links with multinationals together with some bourgeois ruling groups and right-wing parties opposed the policy of non-alignment and anti-imperialism under the specious plea of ‘genuine non-alignment’ and ‘correcting the tilt’. This led to vacillations and lapses which were not in conformity with the general foreign policy. The policy of non-alignment, peace and anti-colonialism strengthened India’s political independence and also enabled her to obtain resources and aid from friendly countries particularly Soviet Union and socialist countries. After the demise of the Soviet Union and the dissolution of the socialist bloc US imperialist thought of itself as the only super power and the arbiter of the destiny of the world. It resorted to unilateral action and started ignoring the realities of the world situation. US transnational corporations and international financial and trade organisations which the US dominate began to dictate economic policies and impose a world order quite contrary to the ‘New International Economic Order’ (NIEO) proposed by the United Nations. India adopted the policy of Neo-liberalism, which implied liberalization, privatization and globalisation and a free market economy, under pressure from the US.
5.8 India entered into a series of agreements with the US such as ‘New Framework For India-US Defence Relations’, ‘US-India Agricultural Knowledge Initiative’, ‘Agreement To Setup the Global Democracy Initiative’, ‘US-India Financial and Economic Forum, India-US C.E.O Forum and US-India Defence Policy Group’. It could not sign the dangerous ‘Logistic Agreement’ after negotiating it because of vigorous Left objection. The Nuclear Cooperation Deal which India entered into with the US was a continuation of all these agreements. In this way India was steadily moving away from pursuing an independent foreign policy and moving towards a strategic alliance with the US. The Indian bourgeoisie expressed its eagerness to align with the US in its pursuit for further integration into the global economy. It regarded this as the way for India to emerge as an economic power and eventually as a political power. It terms this as Economic reform.
The economic policy of neo-liberalism had a corresponding effect on India’s foreign policy.
5.9 India of course has no interest in hostility towards the US. It should be for friendship and good relations with the US, but not subservience to it.
5.10 Non-alignment has been given up as being irrelevant in today’s world. In fact its anti-imperialist content and its solidarity with countries fighting for their independence and social progress has been diluted or eschewed in the name of “enlightened self interest” ‘pragmatism’ and so forth. This even allows the ruling class to tie up with Israel, and turn a blind eye to the military junta rule in Myanmar and Sri Lanka’s oppression against the Tamils.
5.11 India however is too big and important a country and the democratic consciousness of its people is quite alert not to let its foreign policy be subservient to the US. It is the second biggest country in the world. It has friendly relations with most countries of the world and commands respect in the third world. It has a long tradition of anti-imperialism and its geo-political status is acknowledged by all. All these factors impel India to pull its weight for peace and disarmament in the Asia-Pacific region and the world however wary it is not to offend the US. It has raised its voice for reorganizing the United Nations according to present day realities, which also takes into account India’s rise. It has joined up with the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and forged alliances with BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). Within this group is a sub-group called the IBSA (India, Brazil, South Africa). It has raised its voice for statehood to Palestine, for lifting the embargo and blockade against Cuba, and so on.
5.12 No issue affecting world peace and international relation in general can be solved today without the active involvement of India and China. An important task in the field is to work for further democratizing and strengthening the UN and for structural changes in its setup, freeing it from imperialist pressure (overt and covert) and expanding its peace keeping role. The goal of a world without weapon and war also requires that the UN be strengthen ensuring equal status for all countries in it and for their democratic participation through giving the General Assembly decisions and resolutions due respect. The aim is to make India a country which stands for peace and disarmament, a country fighting for a nuclear-weapon-free world, a country fighting for a new international economic order, a country which has a powerful voice in resolving the regional conflicts based on justice.
The Security Council’s role has to be reviewed so that a coterie of “Big Powers” is not allowed to take decision on crucial issue of peace and security, ignoring the General Assembly.
India’s foreign policy is thus subject to many complex and contradictory factors. The task of the progressive and democratic movement in the country is to ensure that India’s foreign policy retains its independent and anti-imperailist character and stands in solidarity with all countries fighting for independence, democracy, social progress and socialism.
- Changes in Agrarian Relations Since Independence
6.1 Bitter and many times violent struggles by farmers resisting the forcible acquisition of land by the state and the corporate entities with the active help of the state have been taking place in many parts of the country. We have seen standoffs between the state power and the peasantry in NOIDA and other districts in UP, long drawn out anti-POSCO struggle in Jagatsingpur (Orissa), movement against the nuclear plant in Jaitapur (Maharashtra) and so forth. Many lives have been lost in the course of these struggles.
In trying to grab the farmers’ land, the Government has used the Land Acquisition Act of colonial era and justified indiscriminate use of force against peasantry by insisting that it is a necessary step for development. In the process, several lakh acres of land have been acquired and millions of peasants and other dependent on land have been evicted and deprived of their livelihood. This is a crude and brutal offensive of the bourgeois state led by the corporate houses and big business.
6.2 The development of capitalism in Indian agriculture is based on a compromise with feudal remnants on the one-hand, and collusion with foreign capital on the other. While semi-feudal production relations still dominate many parts in rural India, the door has been opened for the multinational corporations to enter the field and assume cardinal positions in certain areas. IMF, World Bank and the WTO have played an active role in this respect. The government has signed Indo-US Agricultural Initiative where representatives of Monsanto, Cargill and other multinational companies participate in joint committees to take important decisions on research and new initiatives in Indian Agriculture.
6.3 It is important to see the tremendous changes which have taken place in the agrarian sector since independence. These changes have been speeded up under neo-liberalism i.e. in the last three decades.
Before Independence two popular slogans of peasant movement were, “Abolish the Zamindary System” and “Land to the Tillers”. The formation of the All India Kisan Sabha in 1936 added militancy and urgency to these slogans, underlined the anti-feudal and anti-imperialist character of the movement and made it an integral part of national liberation struggle. With Congress party coming to power, land reform legislations putting an end to the Zamindary, Jagirdary and all forms of intermediaries were enacted in all the state assemblies. The occupancy tenants got direct control over land that they tilled. The rulers of princely states and the feudal landlords had constituted the crucial social and political base of colonial power. It was, therefore, expected that in independent India no place will be given to them in political and economic spheres. This did not happen. Congress party continued its alliance with the landlords as well as the dislodged rulers of princely states. The peasants paid Rs. 600 crores to the erstwhile Zamindars for getting control over their land. The landlords were also given an opportunity to become capitalist (farmer) landlords and evict thousands of “tenants-at-will” in the name of resuming self-cultivation. The capitalist landlords and the new stratum of rich peasants formed the political base of the new ruling class in countryside.
6.4 Along with abolition of intermediaries the land reform legislations also included provisions for imposing ceiling on land holdings and protecting tenant farmers from exploitative land leasing practices. But the implementation record of land redistribution and tenancy reforms has been very poor in every state except west Bengal, Kerala and Jammu Kashmir.
After the state governments had enacted first round of ceiling laws, the Mahalanobis Committee estimated that there was 63 million acres of ceiling surplus land in the country. In 2004 the Union Govt. informed Parliament that the land declared surplus in the country was 7.3 million acres, land acquired by state governments was 6.5 million acres and the land actually distributed was only 5.3 million acres (most of this was done in the states of West Bengal and Kerala). The marginal and small holdings are 62% of the total holdings, but the area cultivated by them is only 19%.
6.5 The expectation of landless peasantry was belied and in 60s and 70s land struggles took place in many parts. The Communist Party of India headed by C. Rajeshwar Rao carried out several militant land struggles for breaking up large estates under the occupation of big landlords. Several thousand acres of land was captured and distributed among landless peasants and agricultural labour. In many cases the farmers or their children are still cultivating the land, which they had taken possession of in 60s and 70s. They cultivate the land although legal entitlement has been given to only a few households.
6.6 The Naxalbari Movement also rose in 1967 calling for land redistribution. Although it did not come up on the centre stage, it played an important role in persuading West Bengal government to redistribute surplus land and carry out meaningful tenancy reforms. The impetus land struggle in 60s and 70s petered out with time.
6.7 The Green Revolution was introduced in mid-sixties in the northern states. The government invested a great deal of resources in HYV programme. The necessary physical and market infrastructure was provided on subsidised rates to the well endowed farmers of Punjab, Haryana and western U.P. Productivity increased manifold and the class of resource-rich capitalist farmer was consolidated. At the same time a large number of small and marginal farmers moved out of agriculture in these states. The Green Revolution increased disparities both between regions and within regions. It needs to be noted that notwithstanding the emergence of a powerful capitalist farmers lobby, the semi-feudal production relations survived the entire period of the green revolution prosperity.
6.8 The Structural Adjustment Programme, which heralded the offensive of liberalization, privatization and globalization, brought with it a new crisis in rural livelihoods.
The inclusion of agriculture in the Urguay Round of negotiations and the so-called Free Trade Agreements with some countries under the new regime of WTO have adversely affected our agriculture. All restrictions on external and internal trade of agricultural commodities were removed and the agrarian sector was exposed to unfair and unequal international competition.
The domestic and foreign multinational companies rapidly made deep inroads in input and output markets. The supply of seeds, fertilizers and pesticides is now largely controlled by MNCs The recent mode of attack on Indian peasantry is through forcibly providing genetically modified seeds by the seed MNC’s in collaboration with government. This is creating havoc and instability in agricultural production. The government intends to pass a ‘Seed Bill’ which will give a legal basis to this attack on agriculture.
6.9 Starting from year 2000,a new offensive was launched on the farm sector by corporate and industrial units, building and land mafia, real estate developers and the government in the name of SEZ and other developmental projects. The state governments invoked antiquated Land Acquisition Act of 1894 to evict peasants from their land and hand over the land to private companies. Under the neo-liberal frame, the state governments reversed the clock of land reform. The corporate sector has been allotted vast tracts of forest land and the so called waste land. It has also got indirect control over farm land through the provision of contract farming.
Apart from forcible land grab and introduction of contract farming by corporate houses, the farmers are also subjected to an iniquitous credit system. Nationalised banks giving loans for agriculture and small industries as a priority sector are neglecting this task. Once again the peasants are being thrown to the tender mercies of the money lenders or so-called ‘loan providers’. It is estimated that while the banking system as a whole financed 35.6% of the loans, private money lenders accounted for 25.7% of the loans advanced to farmers. A much-trumpeted ‘loan waiver’ gave relief only to a small section of the peasantry just on the eve of the 2009 general election. This provides no solution to the credit needs of agriculture, which requires an easy access to credit at no more than four percent rate of interest.
6.10 As to irrigation, only around 41% of net sown area is irrigated during Kharif and 65% during Rabi seasons. Availability of water varies across the states. Public investment in irrigation is negligible. The transition from surface water to ground water actually implies the privatization of irrigation infrastructure. The ownership of ground water assets naturally belongs to rich peasants and affluent landowners.
A corollary has been the emergence of internal ground water markets and pump-rental markets. To secure access to ground water the rest of the peasantry including the small and marginal farmers have to pay a heavy amount as rental for this facility.
6.11 Following the repeated hikes in the prices of fuel, so essential to the farmers, there are moves to increase the prices of fertilizers too. Market forces unleashed by a government wedded to neo-liberalism are squeezing the farmers dry. The neo liberal policy frame affected all sections of the peasantry adversely.
The big farmer’ lobby took an ambiguous stance towards the new regime. Initially, they perceived trade liberalisation and entry of agribusiness as programmes advantageous to them. However, the deflationary trend in world market prices in latter half of 90s and unequal bargaining power vis-a-vis the corporate lobby made them uncomfortable. The big farmer lobby now opposes free trade and demands protection of its economic space through state intervention.
The medium and small farmers generally follow the lead provided by the big farmers in switching over to new technology, new cropping pattern and new production arrangements. Sometimes they do it willingly in the hope that the returns will be high. More often it is done under compulsion because earlier infrastructure has been dismantled. In 1980s and 90s the medium and semi-medium farmers shifted to new cropping pattern and new technology. This shift required increased resources and entailed greater risk. The consequent indebtedness and the spate of farmers suicides has become a matter of great concern.
6.12 As for the small and marginal farmers, they have increasingly got dispossessed of their land and other resource base. In 2004-05, around 43 per cent of rural households had no land to cultivate. In addition, 22 per cent households cultivated less than 1 acre of land, which is insufficient to meet basic needs. The dispossessed marginal farmers and landless agricultural labourers rarely commit suicides. Instead, the men migrate out in search of jobs, leaving behind the non-viable pieces of land for the women to cultivate. The number of male cultivators declined by 4.24 million between 1991 and 2001, while the number of women cultivators increased by 5.71 million during the same period.
6.13 The beginning of the 21st century has been greeted by a pervasive and intractable agrarian crisis in Indian economy. More than two lakh farmers have committed suicides. The number increases every day. Agricultural growth has stagnated. The share of agriculture in National Income has come down to 12%, whereas its share in workforce still remains as high as 58 percent. The cumulative effect of neo-liberal measures is that the goal of real food security i.e. “Food for All” is receding howsoever much the government claims to legislate a Food Security Act. Per capita food grain availability in the country has declined in past decade. A big country like ours with a huge population has to defend its food sovereignty. It cannot afford to depend on food imports to feed its people. Food export is a political weapon of imperialist countries and the major food exporting countries like US extract a heavy price.
6.14 With the intensification of the agrarian crisis, features like usury, bondage and caste violence have resurfaced aggressively. Absentee landlords continue to exist extensively in Bihar and in some other parts, especially in the Hindi belt. The Bihar Land Reform Commission constituted in 2006 prepared a list of big landlords clandestinely holding thousands of acres of land and running a shadow Zamindary system. Hathua Raj in Gopalgunge, Bettiah Raj and Sikarpure Estate in Bettiah, Kausalaraj in Katihar are a few such names. They are in addition to the religious trusts and maths who hold thousands of acres of land.
Due to the crisis in agriculture, uncertainty caused by floods and droughts in certain regions, the growing burden of indebtedness and the lack of employment there is large-scale migration from the rural to the urban centers in search of work and better opportunities of livelihood. This has led to rapid increase in urbanization and certain cities have expanded into huge mega cities with slums, inadequate infrastructure and rise in general social problems.
6.15 Arable land is shrinking. With the real estate boom, the land market has become very active in rural India. It is calculated that between 1992-93 and 2002-03, as much as 18 million hectares of arable land has got transferred to non agricultural uses. Beside forcible acquisition and consequent eviction of peasantry by the state, a great deal of land has also slipped out of agriculture through the operation of local land markets. The markets have created a huge demand for non-agricultural use of land on the one hand, and have made farm operations non-viable for a large section of peasantry on the other. During the decade between 1991 and 2001, over 7 million people i.e. nearly 2000 people a day, for whom cultivation was the main source of livelihood, quit farming. That underlines the depth of the crisis in agriculture. Where do they go? They migrate to the cities in search of work, often wandering from one place to another. This is the route of rapid urbanization which is taking place in the country, and the source of the exploited mass of unorganized contract and casual labour. They swell the ranks of the reserve army of the unemplyeds.
Forcible acquisition and eviction have provoked violent struggles in different parts of the country in the last few years. A section of the peasantry, especially the well-off section is willing to part with some land by demanding an ‘appropriate price’ for their land. At the same time the tribals who are the most hit by forcible acquisition and eviction, as well as a section of small peasantry are unwilling to part with their land altogether. They reflect the different positions of the different layers within the peasantry. The small and marginal peasant clings on to his miserable plot of land as the only source of livelihood and his place in rural society, even though it is not sufficient to meet his basic needs.
6.16 While tribals constitute 8.08% of the entire population, there are 40% of tribals among the displaced and affected persons. Official figures claim that 28% of the displaced tribals have been rehabilitated. What has happened to the remaining 72% who number nearly 1.5 crores? They are truly the victims of such ‘development’.
Agriculture in India is being drawn into the world commodity market, subjecting land, water, resources and other agricultural inputs and outputs to inexorable market forces. This signals the growth and development of capitalism and capitalist relations of production in agriculture. The growth of capitalism in agriculture is sharpensing all the social contradictions. Superimposed on the ruins of earlier modes, it accounts for the specific nature of the crisis in agriculture, the widening disparities and the misery of the lower strata of the working peasantry. A most heart-breaking suspect of the crisis is the suicide of more than two and a half lakh kisans in 8 years.
Though capitalist development has proceeded apace there is a mixture and co-existence of several earlier social formations – feudal, semi-feudal, tribal scattered across a vast territory of the country.
6.17 Land, water, jobs, food have become the focus of the ongoing and impending struggles and peoples’ movement. The land problem cannot be resolved without severe class struggle in the countryside. Some of the important issues raised by these struggles can be enumerated. Land is the key issue in this struggle for carrying forward the new democratic revolution. Demands that have to be fought for are:
i). Abolition of feudal and semi-feudal remnants, for the strict implementation of ceiling and tenancy laws and also for the cancellation of all benami transactions of land.
- ii) Repeal of the colonial era Land Acquisition Act, 1894. Its replacement by a new law which is pro-farmer and provides for rehabilitation and resettlement in case any agricultural land is diverted for non-agricultural use. Fertile multi-crop land to be exempted from any such acquisition, whether for public, private or public-private partnership projects.
iii) SEZ is neither inevitable nor necessary for industrialization. A halt to further inroads of SEZs. Land already acquired in excess should be returned to the farmers.
- iv) All moves to repeal the ceiling laws on rural (and urban) land to facilitate the drive of business houses and the builder and land mafias to acquire land for speculative gains should be banned.
- v) Oppose all attempts of introducing corporate and contract farming. Opposition to opening up of the agricultural sector to the entry of multi-national corporations and to the free market forces as suggested by the IMF, the World Bank and the WTO regime.
- vi) Provide easy access to institutional loans at 4% rate of interest. Small and marginal farmers to be given protection and preferential treatment in such matters as credit, supply of plants, seed, fertilizers, access to markets etc. so as to make farming productive, efficient and viable.
vii) Remunerative prices for agricultural produce and for maintaining parity in terms of trade between industry and agriculture, and against loot by monopolies and multinationals. Agriculture to be made profitable, a paying and respectable profession. Capital accumulation should be through surplus earnings not through intensified exploitation of farmers.
viii) Giving emphasis to the growth of dry land agriculture. Massive public investment for the growth of infrastructure facilities like irrigation, rural electrification, market development, network of village roads. Proper implementation of NAREGA, with social audit.
- ix) Ensuring flood control and prevention of water logging. Large scale tree plantation to maintain the ecological balance.
- x) Agriculture should be diversified and agricultural income increased by encouraging supplementary occupations like dairy and poultry farming, sheep rearing, horticulture and fisheries, echo-culture and sericulture, social forestry etc.
- xi) Encourage small scale, tiny and cottage industries especially agro-industries so as to draw a significant part of the work force dependent on agriculture into the non-agricultural sector.
xii) All anti-poverty and rural development programmes as well as employment generation programmes should be integrated with agriculture development through the Panchayat–raj institutions. Leakage of these funds should be arrested through social audits involving the panchayats. MNREGA work should be used mainly for building assets for agricultural growth.
xiii) Steps be taken to develop better indigenous bio-technical and genetic engineering. India being the country with the largest livestock, emphasis should be given on organic farming.
xiv) Struggle against price rise, and for a food security act based on a universal public distribution system, which will ensure food for all.
6.18 The struggles undertaken by peasantry and other marginalised sections of society have a sharp anti-capitalist character, in particular against the domestic and foreign corporate entities. The collective political struggles of the marginalised peasantry can be further strengthened by persuading the resource poor peasants to form a collective economic base.
6.19 The next step forward is to see that farmers, in particular small and marginal farmers are encouraged to form cooperatives strictly on a voluntary basis in different spheres of agricultural operation and economic life. Such cooperatives will demand help and facilities from the state for their effective functioning. Cooperatives are not just economic units. They have a political, social and cultural role to play in bringing about systemic changes.
6.20 The Issue of Food Security: Despite the vast agricultural potential of India, agriculture is in a state of crisis. In particular the production of certain items which are the main source of nutrition for the common people are declining. India is today a net importer of foodgrains. The per capita availability of foodgrains, pulses, edible oils coupled with their high prices is jeopardizing the food security of our people. The low-figure of per capita availability hides the gross inequality in the actual consumption of food. The poor have far less access to food than better offs, and are thus condemned to chronic malnutrition, hunger and occasional starvation deaths. Externally the developed countries with their high consumption pattern absorb a much larger share of available food. While internally the top 10% also absorb more than the average owing to their growing demand for animal product. Fifty per cent of the world’s hungry live in India. Within the country estimates have varied as to who are the poor and how many are below the poverty line.
6.21 The demand for the Right to Food, for ensuring ‘Food for All’ has therefore been central to the struggle against poverty. The paradox of the situation is that a large section of the food producers themselves, viz; the agri-labour and the marginal farmers are among the most vulnerable in the matter of food. To ensure the common people’s access to food it is essential to fight against price rise and inflation in food items and also to fight for sufficient and easy availability of food. This is only possible in our specific conditions through a highly subsidized Universal Public Distribution System (PDS).
6.22 The entry of corporate entities including multinational companies like Reliance, Cargill and others into the food market has aggravated the problem on both counts, price as well as availability. The bourgeoisie has paved the way by allowing forward trading in foodgrains and making the Essential Commodities Act totally ineffective. This has opened the door to hoarding, speculative rise in food prices and deliberate disruption in supply.
6.23 The bourgeois government’s approach to food security is to have a targeted Public Distribution System in place of universal PDS. It seeks to justify this by displaying special concern for the Below Poverty Line (BPL) and certain vulnerable categories. It has arbitrarily divided the population into 3 or 4 categories, and capped the coverage in the rural and urban areas in an arbitrary manner. The amount of foodgrains to be supplied per month as well as the prices varies with each category. A huge number of households, about 40 to 50 per cent of the population are thus excluded from the purview of this Food Security Law. The entire approach of the bourgeois government is to minimize its own obligations by restricting the number of eligible households, as well as their entitlements to subsidized food.
6.24 A system of cash transfer instead of providing subsidized food items, actually. means making a mockery of the Public Distribution System. Since cash transfers can lead to gross misuse and even resulting in raising prices if the distribution of subsidized food is discontinued, it has to be firmly opposed.
The issues of state procurements, stocking of foodgrains through a decentralized system, of ensuring that the quality of the stocks is preserved, its proper distribution and a social audit of the entire mechanism has to be addressed. Chain of cold storage for vegetables and other perishable items has to be built. The Party has to fight for a pro-people Food Security Law.
- The State in India
7.1 The state in India in the organ of the class rule of the bourgeoisie headed by corporate big business and monopolies. This class rule has strong links with the semi-feudal and capitalist landlords. This determines the economic and political policy of the government. It directs the capitalist development in agriculture. Operating within the World Capitalist System it develops links with international finance capital led by US and international financial institution like the World Bank and IMF. In the matter of international trade it works with the WTO regime, though national interests have driven it in many cases to develop bi-lateral and regional trade agreements.
7.2 The Constitution of the Republic of India adopted in 1950 provides for a parliamentary democracy based on universal adult franchise. The Constitution provides for certain Fundamental Rights for the people and Directive Principles for the state. However to subserve the interests of the bourgeoisie and other exploiting classes many of these rights are often misinterpreted, distorted and even violated by the authorities of the state. Even with these limitations the existence of these rights in the Constitution can be made the platform and instrument for the struggle of the peoples as is often done for defending their democratic and civil rights. India’s present parliamentary democracy has enabled the people to a certain extent to fight the distortion and autocratic nature of the bourgeois class rule. There is however always pressure from the main anti-democratic and exploiting class forces in the country to curb the democratic and civil rights of the people, and to limit parliament functioning and powers.
7.3 Despite the attacks and discriminatory practices against the Left Democratic and Progressive forces, the emergence of non-congress governments in the states and in particular, Left Democratic and Left Front Governments shows the possibilities that are inherent in the Constitution itself and in the Parliamentary democratic system. Under such conditions there is the constant need for extra-parliamentary struggles to defend democracy, and Parliament itself.
7.4 The path of capitalist development pursued has more and more strengthened the top monopoly groups some of whom have now grown into corporate houses with their specific brands. These sections and the big bourgeoisie as a whole wield power even over the budget and in deciding other economic measures. Laws and policies are shaped in their particular group interest. A nexus has developed between them, the higher echelons of the bureaucracy and sections of the ruling class. Crony capitalism has grown out of this nexus. The influence of foreign monopoly interest is also felt in this development. They support and demand measures that facilitate the entry of foreign capital in the country. The corporate-driven neo-liberal economic policies are expressed in the form of a drive for liberalization, privatization and globalisation.
The growing control of corporate houses and big business over the media enables them to conduct virulent campaign against the progressive democratic and socialist forces both at home and abroad, and to propagate the virtues of liberalization, privatization and globalisation, and the inevitability of capitalism. It propagates about the ‘TINA’ factor, (That There Is No Alternative), though life every day proves the contrary.
7.5 Elections in India take place on the basis of universal adult franchise. There is the Election Commission charged with the responsibility of holding free and fair election. But elections under the capitalist regime, howsoever free they may be, are intrinsically loaded against the toiling masses, firstly because, the press and other means of propaganda are controlled by Big Money and, secondly because “money power” and “muscle power” are being unreservedly used. The Election Commission of India is a powerful statutory institution and has been doing everything in its power to ensure a free and fair election. But under the prevailing system it is helpless against the power of Big Money.
The latest case of the 2009 election to the 15th Lok Sabha is illustrative of this. Out of the 543 members elected to the Lok Sabha, as many as 306 are “crorepatis”. Of these 141 belong to the Congress and 58 to the BJP showing that both the mainstream bourgeois parties have the same composition. As a result the UPA-II Cabinet has 64 Ministers accounting for total personal assets of Rs.500 crore. With each passing day, these assets continue to grow and multiply. One can hardly expect such a Legislative body and Executive to be in resonance with the needs and aspirations of the working people. With each day elections at every level are becoming prohibitively expensive, quite apart from other handicaps and prohibitions from which the poor suffer. The working people and political parties who are based on them find it increasingly difficult to contest elections. What is needed is radical electoral reforms which can serve to counter the influence of money power and muscle power.
If nevertheless some legislations and decisions which are of some benefit to the common people do take place it is to be attributed to the mass struggles of different sections, and the compulsion on the part of the bourgeois government to yield to and contain the growing popular discontent, in the overall interests of the bourgeoisie.
7.6 A major problem which India had to face on attaining national independence was the refashioning of the state structure in a manner which would ensure better opportunities for economic and political participation of the people in the administration of the different states. Under British Rule the erstwhile provinces joined together many regions whose population spoke different languages and had different cultures. They were products of the conquest by the British Rulers as it went on subjugating the whole country. It was also a part of the deliberate policy of the colonial power to keep the people in the provinces divided and alienated from the administration. Further, the imperialist rulers had divided India into princely states and arbitrarily carved out portions in order to prevent India growing into a united and democratic republic.
Actually, there were large units distinguished by their well-defined territories, developed languages, history and cultural features. Thus arose the demand for reorganizing the states on a linguistic basis. This was a democratic demand and the Communist Party played a significant role in the struggle for reorganizing the state on the basis of languages. This helped to bring the state administration closer to the common people, who could access it in their own language.
Unfortunately due to uneven development under the capitalist system and the different histories of some regions which had come together in the same state, problems remained about emotional integration and uniform and just treatment to all the regions on issues of employment opportunities and common development in all spheres. These unsolved problems in course of time have led to tensions within the states and became the genesis of splitting the linguistically united states though the different regions speak the same language.
7.7 Although the state structure in India is a federal one with each state having its own elected assembly, government etc. and there are specific central and state lists, together with a concurrent list for exercising jurisdiction and power, real power and authority is increasingly concentrated in the Central government. The constituent states of the Indian Union enjoy limited autonomy and power which has been greatly eroded over the years, mainly because financial resources are mostly in the hands of the Centre. The states though responsible for development activities have meager resources, which restricts their rapid economic and cultural growth. Under the cover of concurrent list the Centre adopts many laws and decisions which have an overall jurisdiction over the state laws. Law and Order is a state subject. However on the ground of combating internal disturbances the Centre takes a number of decisions and legislative measures which in effect undermines the authority of the states. Bourgeois parties ruling at the Centre discriminate against the governments run by other parties. In such a situation contradictions and conflicts between the Central government and the states get accentuated. The big bourgeoisie in its narrow class interest aspires for a unitary state undermining the federal character of the Indian Union. Reactionary circles rather than seeking a democratic solution generally tend to aggravate the central-states conflicts.
7.8 This development has given rise to big sections of the regional bourgeoisie and landlord elements in some states, to capitalize on real and imaginary grievances about neglect and discrimination. Certain reactionary and anti-people sections try to utilize this for fomenting regionalism and regional animosity. But democratic forces have to take note of regional demands and adopt a sober and positive approach for solving them, while rebuffing the reactionary sections.
7.9 One of the biggest danger to the country’s unity and integrity is the growth of communalism. Communalism has social, political and economic dimensions but it is the outcome of communal ideology and practice of communal politics for serving political ends. It is fuelled by religious fundamentalism, which gives many issues a communal colour. Communalism is the handmaid of reaction and tears the secular fabric of the country’s polity. There is a link between communalism and reactionary political, economic and social policy. Gujarat genocide in 2002 against the Muslim minority exposed the ugly face of communal agenda practiced by the Sangh Parivar. It creates a deep rift between the Hindu majority and the Musilim and Christian minorities in the country. Sometimes they keep it muted for tactical reasons. The call for a Hindu Rashtra is the ideological offensive of Hindu communalism. Hinduism and the Hindutva are two entirely different concepts. Hinduism is a religion which the vast majority of our people follow-while Hindutva is politics in the name of religion. It is the politics of a group, a party. The rise of Hindu communalism in certain sections has given rise to Muslim fundamentalism in some sections. The one fuels the other and both tear the fabric of secularism in the country. Both have to be countered and secular democratic polity has to be defended so as to protect India’s unity and national integrity. The overwhelming majority of our people are however secular-minded. That is the biggest guarantee of India’s unity. A political, ideological, cultural and social battle has to be conducted by the Party against all forms of communalism.
The use of religion to fan communalism by reactionary forces is highly disruptive of national unity and integrity. The need for communal harmony is a prime necessity. Secularism is thus born out of India’s specific need. It is not an expedient to be used only on certain occasions. Consistent secularism implies the separation of religion from politics, and from the state. The CPI has to propagate this.
7.10 Another problem that severely strains national unity and integrity is the uneven development and real neglect of a number of states, especially in the north east of the country. They have their special problems too. This has given vise to the demand for ‘special status’ to some of these states. This demand needs to be considered in the interest of strengthening national unity and integrity.
A major source of terrorism in India is religious fundamentalism spreading communal hatred and fomenting the desire of some groups to take revenge against the other. It would be wrong to ascribe terrorism to any one community alone, as recent events have shown. The so-called war on global terrorism led by the US and the talk of a ‘clash of civilization’ has only led to the spread of “Islamophobia” in some countries. Instead of ending terrorism it has only fanned further communal violence and terrorism. They have to be firmly combated.
7.11 An administrative system based on a highly centralized bureaucracy contributes to concentration of power at the top and its exercise through privileged bureaucrats who are divorced from the masses and generally serve the interests of the exploiting classes. The introduction of the Panchayati Raj system in the country has helped to some extent to counter this bureaucratic centralization and also helped the masses including women and the deprived sections for limited self-rule in local affairs. These local organs of self-government are a step towards taking democratic consciousness to the grassroot level. They can become arenas of struggle between the vested interests in the countryside and the exploited rural masses. The Left and democratic forces have to utilize them to the utmost to spread
consciousness among peasants, agricultural labour, dalits, adivasis, backward sections and women.
7.12 The social reality In India is the existence of both, classes and castes. Even the unity of the working class and the toiling peasantry is difficult to sustain by ignoring their caste differences. Caste has always been a powerful potential and actual weapon in keeping the people divided and weak in face of any challenge. The economically exploited classes in town and countryside are generally at the same time the most socially oppressed and politically discriminated castes. The most heinous is the practice of untouchability against the dalits which though banned still exists in large areas. The exploiting classes try to exploit these caste differences in order to break the unity of the exploited whenever the class struggle gets intensified.
7.13 Such is the pernicious effect of caste divisions and caste hierarchy in Hindu society that they have affected even the Muslims and Christians. It has to be remembered that a good number among them are converts from the lower castes in Hindu society. So also are the neo-Buddhists. Therefore in the course of forging the class unity of the toiling masses and developing the class-struggle against the exploiters it is necessary to firmly oppose all forms of caste discrimination and hostility, to fight against any and every manifestation of atrocity and injustice perpetrated against the Dalits and other backward castes.
7.14 The Party must not and cannot afford to ignore the caste question while fighting for democracy and socialism. It is necessary to carry on a consistent ideological, political, socio-economic and practical struggle against castes and casteism. They have to be combined, together with affirmative actions to bring up from the lower depths the hitherto oppressed, deprived and backward sections on par with the rest of society. There is a dialectical connection between such struggles and the struggle for the eventual annihilation of castes and the elimination of the caste system. So deep-rooted is the system of castes and the hierarchy of castes in people’s minds, that it will necessarily be a long struggle. Reservation in education and jobs is needed for this purpose. Reservation must not be confined to dalits only among Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs, but must be given to dalits among Muslims and Christians. Otherwise it will be discrimination on the basis of religion. It has also to be extended to the economically backward sections among the so-called forward castes. Reservation must also cover the private sector especially when public sector undertakings are getting increasingly privatized. All this is necessary for ensuring a sense of social justice among people.
7.15 India is a multi-religious, multi-lingual, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural country. Because of these complexities, the Indian people have multiple identities. Some NGOs and parties exaggerate these identities, and play ‘identity politics’, so as to undermine class divisions and the importance of class struggles. It has to be stressed that while class struggle, the struggle between the exploited classes and the classes of exploiters is the main driving force in social revolution, the caste, ethnic, linguistic and other identities have also to be suitably factored in for bringing about real social transformation. They cannot be ignored.
The Party stands for a classless and casteless society which only a mature and advanced socialist society can ensure. It has to struggle and fight for such a revolutionary transformation.
8. Classes and Other Sections: Their Role
8.1 With the changes that are taking place the hitherto existing classes are undergoing changes in their composition, in the relative strength of sections within them, in their equations and mutual relations. The co-relation of forces is changing.
8.2 The relentless pursuit of neo-liberal economic reforms has brought up a strata of powerful corporates within the bourgeois class. The bourgeois state pursues policies of pampering this section. The corporate houses have accumulated unprecedented wealth and come to wield tremendous economic power. They are emerging as private monopolies in several vital sectors, such as oil, power, mines, telecommunications and pose serious challenge to the public sector in these spheres. This section of the bourgeoisie in its ruthless quest for super-profits aims to spread its tentacles to other spheres of the economy and also extend operations abroad.
8.3 The policy of liberalization and globalisation has provided facilities for the multinational corporations to set up bases in India. Indian corporate houses are entering into a number of partnerships with these MNCs. Some corporates have acquired the strength to buy up a few foreign businesses and are going for mergers and acquisitions. With their economic and financial clout they are able to influence government policies not only in the economic but also in the political and other spheres.
8.4 Corporate capitalism in league with the MNCs has created conditions for large-scale corruption and the play of money power in national life. The corporates pirate experienced executives, talented experts in various fields and experienced officials from the public sector with fabulous salaries, allowances, perks, share options and so forth, there by putting the public sector undertakings in difficulties.
8.5 Through advertisements in media and their financial hold over the media as a whole, the corporates and the MNCs have choked the voice of criticism, and fostered a consumer culture which has lured the elites and sections of the middle class. In turn this has built up a huge consumer market for domestic and foreign business houses. Consumerism is not denoted by expanding consumption of the necessities of life and culture with better incomes, but with the growing desire to acquire luxury goods, luxury brands flowing from the urge for a ‘good life’.
8.6 Bourgeois sections engaged in small-scale industries find it hard to withstand the offensive and competition from the big bourgeoisie. The small-scale industries play an important role in our economy. They contribute 40% of industrial output and have about 35% share in exports. With the clout that the big industrialists wield over the economy, the small-scale sector finds it difficult to hold on to its own. This is the source of the contradiction between the different sections of the bourgeoisie. In the prevailing economic atmosphere, banks also discriminate against the small-scale sector. The share of credit flow to small-scale industries from public sector banks has been steadily declining. With nearly 40% of the industrial output their share in bank credit is a mere 6 to 7%.
8.7 While the main contradiction is between the bourgeoisie led by the big bourgeoisie, the corporate houses and the MNCs with whom they collaborate on the one hand and the working class on the other, several contradictions raise their heads between different sections. In the course of struggle for the democratic revolution the working class and its allies have to take into account all the contradictions and decide their tactics accordingly.
8.8 Following independence bourgeois class rule had led to the adoption of the capitalist path of development which has resulted in gross economic inequalities, and backwardness and the total neglect of vast sections of people and regions. Neo-liberalism pursued since the beginning of the nineties further aggravated the problems of poverty, unemployment and disparities. The much-hyped fast economic growth has not solved or even mitigated these basic problems. Rather it has aggravated them further. Never has there been such shocking disparity between the rich and the poor, between one region and another. The increasing exploitation of labour is shown by the fact that while during the 1991 to 2002 two decades profits surged by over 13 times, the wage bill rose by only 2.24 times. An ILO report shows that between 1990 and 2002 labour productivity went up by 84%, but real wages in the manufacturing sector declined by 22%. The rate of unemployment has also gone up.
The total number of people in India belonging to the poor and vulnerable group having a per capita consumption of less than Rs. 20 in 2004-2005 is 8.36 million; constituting about 78% of our population. About 88% of India’s SCs/STs belong to this group of poor and vulnerable. Similarly about 85% of all Muslims and 80% of all OBCs (except Muslims) are poor and vulnerable.
The World Bank in its latest country overview on India has this observation to make: “disparities in income and human development are on the rise. A large section of the population – especially the poor, scheduled caste, scheduled tribes, other backward classes, minorities and women – lack access to the resources and opportunities needed to reap the benefits of economic growth”.
8.9 The bourgeoisie has all along been engaged in strengthening its class position at the expense of the people. It has been engaged in bargaining with the trans- national corporations and international financial and trade agencies dominated by imperialism.
Even when the economic base of a moribund social system is no longer there, its ideological and cultural legacy continues to influence the social system that follows. The ideological and social mores of feudalism continue to influence the minds of large sections of the people. It is reflected in the conservative, obscurantist thinking and behaviour of large sections especially in relation to women and family. This is mixed up with the consumer and cosmopolitan culture that is preached by neo-liberal socio-economic way of thinking. The present Indian Society is a peculiar mixture of caste, communal, semi-feudal, patriarchal and tribal institutions which act as a drag on its democratic social progress.
8.10 And yet, India has a tremendous potential for forging ahead with all-round development. It has vast agricultural cultivable land, and a variety of climatic zones, water resources for irrigation and power generation and abundant variety of crops. It is richly endowed with forest and mineral wealth. Above all it has a talented mass of people, and a reservoir of skilled scientific and technical personnel second to none. It has a great legacy of art and culture which is the envy of the world. Such a country is destined to rise to the top of the comity of nations. But the big bourgeoisie whose narrow class interest guides it towards corporate greed is incapable of leading this country to its full potential. What is called for is a new class combination which can truly emancipate this country and lead it towards full democracy, progress and social justice.
8.11 Arrayed against the exploiting classes are the working masses of the country, first and foremost the working class. Enemies of social transformation are engaged in the propaganda that the working class is “declining”. The truth is that ever-new forces are joining the ranks of those who are engaged in wage labour. There is a most unwarranted assumption that only industrial workers, belong to the working class proper. The assumption itself is totally wrong. The changing composition of the working class under the impact of the technological revolution has brought to the fore, engineers, scientists and technicians with high qualifications and skill. They directly participate in the production process, while at the same time some of them perform certain supervisory and even managerial functions. From the ranks of the workers at shop-floor level, there have come up highly skilled functionaries and operators, – ‘a special kind of wage labour’ who are elements of the rising working class technical intelligentsia. The gulf dividing the engineers and technicians from the workers proper is becoming narrow, and increasingly they are adopting forms of organisation and struggles which are peculiar to the working class movement. There are of course opposing pulls and tendencies in the social psychology of the engineering strata. But in the mass they are driven to the path of struggle against the capitalist management and state. Lenin had referred to them as the ‘engineering proletariat’. That way even the working class is ‘divided into more developed and less developed strata’, and under conditions of capitalism, it is “surrounded by a large number of exceedingly motley types”. This is quite true of India.
Under the impact of globalisation and liberalisation changes are taking place in the employment profile in the country. Outsourcing, downsizing, contracting-out, home-working, casualisation etc. have seriously cut into regular employment at work places. In addition there are the workers and employees in the unorganised sector, and informal workers within the organised sector. The present policies are only adding to the latter number. Even with growing industrialization regular wage employment is not increasing. This is an indication of ‘jobless growth’ and also ‘profit without production’ which are aspects of neo- liberalism. This has only sharpened the edge of struggle by these sections against the big bourgeoisie and corporate houses who are pursuing these policies.
8.12 The STR and the growth in service and communication industries and commerce has also thrown up a mass of so-called ‘white collar employees’ as against the blue collar workers’. In our own Indian experience any barrier between them was demolished long back, thanks to the powerful organisational and movement of bank and insurance employees, central and state government employees, commercial employees etc. the newly inducted huge mass of female employees such as anganwadi, asha, mid-day meal scheme workers, whom the state had conspired to brand as less than government employees, have by their militant actions, strikes, demonstrations and so on have already ‘declared’ as it were that they are a part of the working class.
In brief, although the working class composition has changed in several respects, its essence has not, nor has it declined. Leading this mass are the organised industrial workers.
8.13. The Scientific and Technological Revolution (STR) has been making great strides all over the world, and in India too. STR should cater to the needs of our people and to the betterment of their lives and environment.
The capitalist path of development has however meant Science and Technology being basically put to the aim of maximizing profits and to the selective task of space programme, Information Technology and Communication, Defence Production and in certain limited sectors. The competence of STR personnel remains unutilized for the benefits of entire people. Its impact on raising the general agricultural and industrial productivity remains low. STR generally is labour saving and capital intensive. It is necessary to safeguard employment and not allow such technology which makes workers redundant and unemployed. Introduction of up-to-date technology into sectors of our national economy should take into account the need and priority for the same, and the issue of job displacement that this may involve. It has to happen in a planned and phased manner so as to ensure that we are not dependent for imported technology for a long time, nor depend on repetitive technology. In order to avoid this, a base has to be created for absorption of imported technology and for developing our own within a specified time frame.
While making use of advanced technology from abroad, the country has tol firmly strive for strengthening the self-reliant basis of its economy
Development of our own science and technology infrastructure is a must for advance of our country. For this, and for accomplishing the massive task of rebuilding and utilizing our national resources on the basis of self-reliance, the Party will fight for allocation of adequate funds for research and development.
8.14 STR has brought about changes in the composition of the working class. There is a relative rise in the workers in service and communication industries as compared to those directly engaged in material production. The increase in the number of white collar workers, technicians, engineers, scientists and specialists indicate their direct participation in the sphere of material production. On the other side is the increase of unskilled workers performing the most routine and monotonous jobs. This calls for suitable trade union approach and tactics so as to draw all of them into a common movement of the class.
8.15 The working class and its organisations are the most consistent social force playing a major role in the struggle for social progress and social transformation. This derives from the place they occupy in social production and socio-economic life, their organised numbers and strength, their consciousness and activity, which gives it great political and moral prestige in society.
Events have proved the dictum that ‘Unity is infinitely precious, and infinitely important for the working class. Disunited, the workers are nothing. United, they are everything’. (Lenin)
Along with its allies from the mass of the working people, the working class would surely be able to assert its leading and revolutionary role in the coming days. Assertions that with new development and advances, the complexities of economic life and administration now call for the leadership of an ‘elite corps’, of ‘technocrats’ are not correct.
The upsurge in mass struggles by different sections of workers, peasants and working people as a whole, is creating a real basis for forging the worker – peasant alliance, with other sections rallying round them. The ranks of the workers’ allies are growing, the vista of struggle is expanding, and the task of winning over and consolidating new sections of fighting people, of evolving suitable approach and tactics oriented towards them is assuming great importance. With the intensification of the crisis and the decline of capitalism huge sections of the unorganized workers who were lying dormant for decades are now rallying behind the organised workers and taking to the path of organisation and militant action themselves, overcoming diversities and divisive factors like caste, region, language, gender and so on.
8.16 The agricultural proletariat, the mass of landless labour is the natural ally of the working class. The advance of capitalism in agriculture is driving more and more peasant mass towards landlessness. The small and marginal farmer has also to rely on labour himself for his livelihood. The crisis in agriculture is making life difficult for the several types of artisans and handicrafts men who depend on agriculture and the farmers for their livelihood.
These sections together with the mass of self-employeds constitute what can be termed as the rural poor. They are all fighting against government policies which are leading to high prices and deprivation.
8.17 The rural bourgeoisie, the capitalist landlords, the rich peasants do not join the landless labour in their struggle for land reforms and distribution of land. But in certain other aspects e.g. the struggle against high cost of inputs, infrastructural facilities, remunerative prices and measures to make agriculture viable, and on the question of opposing all attempts by the state to forcibly acquire and grab agricultural land one can expect all of them to join together.
8.18 The fast economic growth brought about by the neo-liberal economic policies is responsible for a huge expansion of the middle classes in society. They have sprung up in every field. The expansion of IT and communication, the growth of the service sector, the fattening of the administrative apparatus have each contributed to an exponential growth of people manning these sectors. This is in addition to the old sections of the middle class who consisted of government, public and private sector employees, persons engaged in trade and commercial activities, in the health and educational spheres and so on. Their numbers too have multiplied considerably. All of them constitute what has come to be termed as the Great Indian Middle Class. They cannot be ignored in carrying out transformative and revolutionary politics.
8.19 The middle class is not a homogeneous mass. The top layers are upwardly mobile, hoping to join the ranks of the affluent and the entrepreneurs. Most of them have come to earn big salaries which puts them apart from the sections at the lower levels. The rest of the middle class is however affected the same way by policies of liberalization, privatization and globalisation as the working people. They are affected by price rise, unemployment and unfulfilled aspirations which are the byproduct of neo-liberal policies. The large-scale dimensions of corruption and harassment in everyday life fuels their sensitivities and eggs them on to express indignant discontent. They find themselves associated with the working class and other sections of working people. In their fight against such conditions they borrow and adopt tactics of organisation and struggle from the working people.
This section of the middle class comes from employees of government, semi- government, public and private sector, from the financial sector, from teachers and professionals. Among them are writers, poets, artistes, journalists. The sensitive among them are affected by the sight of grinding poverty and deprivation. They respond to the fight and the resistance of different sections and communities against their miserable conditions, against exploitation and oppression. Most of them play a progressive, democratic and secular role and have high expectations from the political Left. In general they constitute vital components of the left and democratic movement. Some among them who get disoriented and alienated from the exploited and oppressed mass are capable of joining the ranks of the reactionary, communal and divisive elements. There is thus a social and ideological battle within the ranks of the middle class. This is all the more important because the middle-class is a great moulder of public opinion which affects those below them.
It is necessary to interact with the sections of the middle class, and develop organisations of employees, professionals and the self-employeds. Cultural, social and literary organisations have an important role to play in winning them over to left positions and rallying them in the struggle against reactionary, communal and divisive forces at home and against the machination of imperialism and globalisation.
8.20 In India, student youths have played a glorious role in the Freedom struggle. That tradition continues in the anti-imperialist, anti-feudal and anti-monopolist struggle in the course of the democratic revolution. They are the purveyors of progressive, democratic and modern scientific ideas among the people. That is why deliberate attempts are being made to poison their minds by planting among them communal, chauvinist ideas and diverting their energies towards careerism, consumerism and so forth. The Party and the Left have to pay special attention to win them over for the cause of democracy progress and socialism. The students and youth constitute a big reserve in the struggle for revolutionary transformation.
8.21 Tribal People: The tribal people constitute a substantial part of our population, (over 8 per cent). They are among the most poor and neglected sections, and one that is most affected by bourgeois development-oriented policies. Most mega-projects have led to large-scale displacement of tribals without any hope foradequate or proper rehabilitation. They inhabit territories which are richly endowed with minerals and forest resources. But this bounty from Nature instead of being a boon has become the cause of their misery. Big Business have a greedy eye over these resources.
8.22 No justice can be done to the tribal people, no proper appreciation can be made of their role in shaping India’s destiny, without recalling the fact that the tribals were amongst the earliest contingents in the struggle against alien rulers and had made some of the greatest scarifies. Actually, tribal uprisings can be traced from as early as the starting point of British rule in India, and continued throughout the subsequent centuries. Whenever the foreigners (Dikku) tried to enter their habitat, and this included the British and in their train the landgrabbers, the mahajans, the sahukars, the forest officials etc. they had to meet fierce resistance from the tribal people, which could be put down only by armed forces and leonine repression. They are displaced from the native habitat of their forefathers, deprived of their land, water and other natural resources, and chased out of their forest dwellings. The so-called high growth economy has totally excluded them. The ruling class has adopted the sinister design of making adivasis fight, which has the support of both parties of the bourgeoisie. The notorious ‘Salwa Judum’ was the weapon. Even military camps and so-called training centres in jungle warfare are being set up in the most affected area (viz, the Bastar region of Chattisgarh).
8.23 The tribals are today one of the most inflammable material in Indian politics. They have tremendous revolutionary potentialities.
Among nearly 2 crore people displaced from land, 40 per cent are tribals. This is upsetting the tribal community life, besides depriving them of their sources of livelihood.
8.24. Tribals have a distinct culture and way of life. This is being destroyed so that they are losing the old world without finding a new. Reactionary communal Hindutva forces are seeking to assimilate them though most of them have a faith of their own. The bourgeois leadership from the time of the national movement has ignored and even denied their separate identity and distinctive culture and even held that the adivasi languages are nothing more than local dialectics and are in any case dying out, dissolving into the languages of their surrounding environment. It will be wrong however to think that the various tribal languages are dying out, even though they do not have a script of their own. The biggest difficulty in the way of spreading education among tribal sections is that the children have to learn everything in a language which is not their mother tongue. In recent times with growing awareness some big adivasi sections have struggled for a script in which their language could be written. Such is the case for instance with the Olchiki script for the Santhali language. Elsewhere the Devnagri or Roman script has been introduced.
8.25. The tribal question must not be identified with the Maoist question. The two are different.
8.26. The Party opposes the forcible assimilation of tribals and subsuming their tribal culture into the prevailing dominant culture. While helping them to adapt to modern life and to raise their living conditions, the party will fight for their Constitutional safeguards and special provisions of the Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996. Their right to forests, forest produce, water resources and land under cultivation must be assured.
8.27. ‘Jal, Jangal, Jamin’ is their battle cry. They are organizing themselves everywhere. The Party must fight along with them.
9. Transition Period
9.1 Life has shown that capitalism is incapable of solving the problems of poverty, unemployment and deprivation. Its rule has only led to wide economic inequalities among people. With the bourgeois ruling clique’s compromise with feudal and semi-feudal elements and its growing collaboration with imperialist powers it is incapable of carrying out the tasks for taking ahead the democratic revolution. There has to be a different class combination to lead the country towards completing the democratic revolution and preparing the transition to socialism. This democratic revolution has to be anti-feudal, anti-imperialist and anti-monopolist. The classes and sections of people that are in action for carrying out these tasks of the democratic revolution whether spontaneously or consciously are the working class, the rural proletariat, the working peasantry, the progressive democratic and secular intelligentsia and the revolutionary sections of the middle class. Rallying around a firm worker-peasant alliance, they can lead the country during the period of advancing the democratic revolution by replacing the big bourgeoisie from the leadership. It will be a type of new democratic revolution, not the old type of bourgeois democratic revolution.
9.2 By fighting imperialist machinations and attempts at imposing neo-colonial dictates through international financial and trade agencies dominated by U.S. imperialism, it will complete the national democratic tasks. Likewise, by fighting and eliminating the monopolist big bourgeoisie, it goes through the people’s democratic tasks of the revolution.
9.3 Capitalism with its contradictions, crisis and its incompetence to solve the basic problems of the common people, whether globally or in India is not permanent, stable, and the ‘end of history’, but only one phase in the history of humanity. Like its predecessor the colonial-feudal phase, it will be superceded by another kind of society viz. the socialist phase. This is the march of progress.
The completion of the tasks of the democratic revolution in India will not be a permanent halting stage. Between this and the advance towards socialism will be the period of the revolutionary transformation from the one to the other. How long this period will be cannot be predicted or envisaged now. There is nothing like a manual of strategic and tactical decisions that will determine this. It is only political actions and mass movements based on the situation inside various regions and in the country, that will decide what is necessary and possible at any time. Politics has to be subordinated to the historical development, viz; the growing mass actions against bourgeoisie policies. It is not as if we have to ‘introduce’ socialism, as a sort of utopia but to coordinate the growing spontaneous as well as organised mass movements and lead them towards a mass upsurge in the country. In this the global context will be an important factor to be taken into account. This is possible only when led by the Party and similar other forces who move into action with the revolutionary ideology of scientific socialism as their goal. Broad Political action and democratic mass movements are the keys. It has been seen that real politics begins when millions are on the streets. This has been amply and forcefully demonstrated in recent days in various countries, as well as in India.
There were extremely powerful and unprecedented mass upsurge against autocracy and oppressive dictatorial regimes in Arab countries which brought determined millions on the streets. They showed great promise and won success at the first stage. But they could not succeed in taking the country towards democracy and social progress in the absence of a leading centre having a definite programme of social transformation with the result that they were ultimately taken over by all brands of fundamentalist forces. However once the people have realized the force of their mass action they cannot be kept down for long.
The ‘Occupy Wall Street’ Movement with avowed and strident ‘anti-capitalism’ slogans mobilized thousands of youths in the very citadels of finance capital for several weeks. It is a fight of the 99% vs. the 1%, as claimed by the participants. But the Movement has been more or less stagnating for the reason that there is no clear idea what alternate system to fight for. However the movement has withstood repression and all hostile propaganda and divisive tactics to defame and destroy it. The genie is out of the bottle. It cannot be forced back.
The policy represented by Dalal Street (the headquarter of India’s finance capital and Stock Exchange in Mumbai), is identical to the policies followed at the Wall Street in New York. Bank employees in India are planning to launch a similar movement here.
The capitalist path of development has reached a dead end. There is no future for India along this path. The only other path open to it is the path of workers’ and peoples’ struggles for progress and social justice. The path of workers’ and peoples’ struggles, the path of the socialism. All sections of working people, working class, the peasantry, the rural proletariat, urban middle class, the women’s movement, the youth and student movement have all to be drawn into the fighting alliance. The ideological struggle is of vital importance against all opportunist and sectarian dogmatic trends and all anti-scientific theories. For this the broadest possible democratic unity needs to be built.
9.4 At this stage it is necessary also to guard against petty bourgeois revolutionsim hijacking the mass actions and distracting them from their main objective. So-called Left-wing extremism is also an expression of the petty bourgeoisie and the lumpen elements in society. It only leads to anarchy, needless loss of militant cadres and death of innocents as collateral damages. On the other hand the repeated statements by spokesmen of the ruling circles that Left wing extremism is the greatest threat to India provides a cover for stepping up fascistic repressive measures, including the use of the armed police and the Army for exterminating the militant Left from Indian politics.
9.5 The Party will strive to utilize parliamentary democracy to bring about the required changes in order to carry forward and complete the tasks of the democratic revolution, and move forward for its revolutionary transformation to the next stage. By developing a powerful mass revolutionary movement and broadening unity of all left and democratic forces, and by winning a stable majority in Parliament backed by such mass movements, the working class and its allies will strive their utmost to overcome the resistance of the forces of reaction and transform the parliament into a genuine instrument of the people’s will for effecting fundamental transformations in society.
9.6 The limitations of parliamentary democracy that exist today arise from the class rule of the bourgeoisie. Parliament today has become a ‘crorepati’s club’. More than 60% of the members are crorepatis and with capitalist development this number will go up further. The use of money power and muscle power has become so common that it is extremely difficult for the real representatives of the common people, the poor, to get elected. Hence the need for basic electoral reforms which will change the composition and the character of Parliament. The Party advocates the system of proportional representation to replace the ‘First Past The Post’ system which prevails today, where money power and muscle power rule the roost, and parties with minority of votes manage to get majority of seats and win power. The provisions for reservations along with right to recall will have to be incorporated within the proportional representation system.
9.7 It is the right reactionary and monopoly bourgeois sections who when faced with fierce mass movements are attacking the existing democratic liberties and undermining parliamentary democracy both from within and without. They look at parliament as an instrument to advance their narrow class interests. The Party on the contrary defends the parliamentary and democratic institutions and strives to develop them further to make democracy full and real for all.
In the struggle for completing the tasks of the democratic revolution and advancing democracy it will be necessary to fight the steel frame of the bureaucracy bequeathed by the British and further developed manifold by the governments since independence. It acts as a big break on the initiative of the democratic masses, their self rule and actual participation in administration, with its omnipresent authority, its red-tape, its interference at every step and so forth. For real democracy to be strengthened and to flourish, popular initiative has to be unleashed. Bureaucratic delay only causes harassment and frustration among common people and breeds corruption. The struggle against corruption and for a Citizen’s Charter, and an effective Grievances Redressal machinery is a must.
Given united working class and popular front or other workable forms of agreement and political cooperation between the different parties and public organisations there exists the opportunity to win a majority in Parliament and undertake radical legislations and ensure the transfer of the basic means of production to the hands of the people. The working class and its allies together can defeat the reactionary anti-people forces, and through its majority in parliament transform parliament from an instrument of serving the class interests of the bourgeoisie into an instrument serving the working people, coupled with launching an extra-parliamentary mass struggles.
9.8 The transition period from the democratic to the socialist stage may take time. During this period India may have to go through a number of political formations and combinations in course of which forces of reaction will be marginalized and the forces of democracy and socialism, the left and democratic forces will emerge more and more powerful. It will ultimately result in the leadership of the bourgeoisie getting replaced by the leadership of the working class and its broad democratic allies. This is not an evolutionary process but of revolutionary transformation through sustained mass struggles and political actions.
9.9 Parties and Politics: The two main bourgeois parties are the Congress and the BJP. They differ in certain matters, the one with its allies is in the seat of power, while the other with its allies sits in the opposition. However on basic economic, political, foreign and internal policies both reflect the interests of the big bourgeoisie and monopolist sections. Their attempt is to impose a two party system in the country. This is a typical bourgeois method of channelising popular discontent and keeping it trapped within the confines of the bourgeois system. However this is difficult in India because of its diversities and pluralities, and the ripeness of the situation for change.
At the present time a party that claims to have no specific ideology and is not burdened with any, is actually a purveyor of bourgeois ideology. It is necessary however for the Party to look not into the words and declarations but into their actual deeds and their response to any situation.
9.10 Some of the other parties are caste or region based, built around individual and leading groups, but with significant mass followings in certain regions. Not having clear cut ideology and programme of their own, they generally share a bourgeois or petty bourgeois outlook.
9.11 Attempts are also being made by the ruling class to divert the people’s movement and mass discontent into so-called non-political channels or even reactionary channels through some NGOs financed from abroad by pro-imperialist sources. There are of course some other NGOs which boldly dare to join and help the people’s movements on some specific issues. Not having a definite political outlook, these regional parties are willing to join hands with the communists if the situation so demands. Most of them cannot be branded as reactionary or communal except that for sharing power some of them may opportunistically align with either of the two main bourgeois parties, from time to time.
9.12 Regional Parties have acquired an important role in India’s political scenario. They represent and voice the urges and demands of vital sections of the people in the particular state/region. They also articulate the urge for empowerment of the people of that region. Their rise has partly to be attributed to the failure of the main national parties in voicing and fulfilling the legitimate urges and demands of various sections of the people and regions.
The CPI should closely watch the developments among these regional parties and have a positive attitude towards those who are breaking away from the two main bourgeois parties. It should also watch and influence their approach towards economic policies.
With the large mass of OBCs, dalits and tribals being drawn into politics, and into the vortex of the political struggle for empowerment, regional parties basing themselves on large regional caste groupings have also come up. These parties have one or two numerically powerful castes at the core, and are able to rally round them other scattered castes. The minorities in some states who have felt neglected and only used so far by the major bourgeois parties, have also rallied behind them in some states and regions.
The CPI should reach out to the sections behind them, and eventually draw them towards Left Democratic Front. This does not preclude criticism of any specific failure or misdeed wherever these caste-based parties are in power. The masses behind the regional parties can be drawn towards the Party through class and mass struggles, along with struggle for social justice and upliftment. We should at the same time take precaution to see that our ranks and cadres are not infected by caste-based policies of these parties. For this the class consciousness and ideological level of our ranks have to be raised.
Association with the Communists and the Left Parties in Joint Actions and struggles on people’s issues will bring about changes in the thinking and outlook of these regional and broadly secular parties and groups, strengthening their progressive and democratic outlook, making them partners in fulfilling the tasks of the new democratic revolution and the subsequent transition period. This calls for constant interaction with them and sharing the generalized experience of each phase of the movement. Those who fail to do so will drop by the wayside.
Apart from all these parties are the Communist and ‘Left parties who are based on the working people in town and countryside and stand for a socialist future.
They have to act as the motivators of a broad democratic and progressive alliance, as their strategic outlook is long-term, for completing the democratic revolution and advancing towards the socialist revolution.
9.13 Political Parties represent and voice the interests of different classes, and different communities and groups of people. In the course of completing the tasks of the new democratic revolution and its subsequent transition to the socialist stage it is unlikely that they will disappear from the political scene. They will continue to act and react competing for people’s support. Therefore during this entire period there will have to be a system of Multi-Party Democracy. The Party has a positive approach towards this.
9.14 The Party will strive for a peaceful path of revolutionary transformation. It will explore all the possibilities of such a path. This also depends on the ruling bourgeois circles which increasingly tend to use more and more repressive measures, including use of force and violence to put down the actions and struggles of the people and hold on to power. Therefore it is necessary for the revolutionary forces to so orient themselves and their work that they can face up to all contingencies, to any twists and turns in the political life of the country, and be able to counter all the moves of the bourgeois ruling circles.
In the event of the exploiting classes resorting to force and violence against the people, the other possibility has to be borne in mind. The actual possibility of the one or the other way of transition to socialism depends on the concrete historical conditions.
Old dogmatic ideas will not help in the given situation today. The concrete conditions existing at the time will have to be taken into account for assessing the actual possibility and deciding the course of action.
- Electoral Reforms
10.1 If the Parliament is to truly reflect the verdict of the people there is urgent need to reform India’s electoral system. The present electoral system apart from other shortcoming is vitiated and distorted by money power and muscle power. It has kept the door open for criminals to enter into Parliament. All this inhibits the parliament in responding to people’s demands and be sensitive to the changes that are taking place. All this suits the exercise of power by the monopoly bourgeoisie.
10.2 Several attempts have been made to bring about electoral reforms. But they have not touched the basic system of election in the country. The Election Commission on its part has made several sincere attempts to curb money power and muscle power. But their efforts have not met with success due to the limitations of the prevailing system.
10.3 Steps have to be taken to debar criminals from contesting and entering parliament, while ensuring that this does not affect genuine fighters for the people’s cause who are usually charged by a repressive government to put down the people’s struggles. What is essential is to replace the present ‘First Past the Post’ system which allows individual money bags to use unlimited money and muscle power to win anyhow. As facts show this has allowed candidates with even less that 10 to 15 per cent votes to win in a given constituency.
10.4 For instance in the 2009 general election to the Indian Parliament 145 out of 543 elected members won with less than 20 per cent votes. This enables parties or coalitions to rule with a minority of votes but a majority of seats. Due to the presence of money power a majority of members of parliament, specially from the main bourgeois parties are ‘crorepatis’ turning the parliament into a ‘crorepatis’ club’.
10.5 The present electoral system has therefore to be radically changed. It has to replace by a system of Proportional Representation. Such a system more correctly reflects the relative strength of political parties and enables representation to minorities. In such a system money and muscle power have far less scope for influencing and distorting the people’s verdict. Variations of this system exist in a majority of democracies in the world. The exact variant that will suit the specific Indian conditions needs to be worked out.
11. Federal Structure and Panchayat Raj
11.1 Considering the size and the diversity in its demography the political structure of India has naturally to be a federal one. The Constitution provides for states with their own elected assemblies and the union of India with its elected Parliament. The list of subjects on which each has jurisdiction has been demarcated as state list, central list and concurrent list. However within the bourgeois rule the trend has continuously been for the centre to transgress on the powers of the states. Laws, rules, taxation systems executive directives, are adopted and issued without reference and consultation with the states. In financial matters the Centre is increasingly appropriating funds and resources while starving the states. Constitutional provisions have been grossly misused to dismiss state governments, to threaten and intimidate them and to hold them in leash. Agencies like the CBI, CVC under central control are also used for similar purposes. All these are at the root of centre-state relations leading to tensions particularly when different political parties are at the helm at the centre and in states. The federal structure is thus being eroded.
11.2 The Party will consistently fight against all such attempts and defend the federal structure of the country’s polity for redefining centre-state relations, and for adequate financial resources which will enable the states to undertake genuine development.
11.3 The introduction of the Panchayati Raj has been intended as a measure of democratic decentralisation. Provision of women’s reservation in addition to those for SCs/STs and OBCs (including the category of most backward) was meant to empower the basic masses at the grassroot level. But this has been mostly thwarted by the refusal to give adequate financial resources and throwing open the departments which have to be administered at that level. In most states with a few hounorable exceptions, the ruling groups have been reluctant to part with powers to the panchayats at the lower levels. The bourgeois ruling class at the Centre has been complicit in circumventing the powers of the panchayats. The omnipresent bureaucracy throughout the country prevents the people’s initiatives for enlightened self-rule.
Even so the Panchayati Raj has drawn millions of men and women and fired them with the urge for self-rule. The Party and the broad democratic forces have to reckon with this and help it to grow by fighting for more funds andpower at the grassroot, and against all attempts to curb and limit this through bureaucratic control and intervention. The utmost importance has to be given to this question as it has the potential to broaden the democratic base of the people’s movements.
- Education and Culture
12.1 One of the essential conditions for national advance and for social transformation is mass literacy and ever-rising level of popular education, scientific knowledge and culture. This demands an end to the present national education policy oriented to meet the interests of the upper classes. Promotion of elitist education at the cost of mass education has to be reversed and an alternative popular education policy worked out and implemented. Primary education mist be decentralized. Non-formal education has to be strengthened and so organised as to enable the working people to be educated. The syllabus must be related to the requirements of national development and the practical needs of the masses while at the same time creating interest in the humanities and sciences. Education has to be liberated from private business houses and mafia-control. The Party will work towards a common school system and for a system of neighbourhood schools.
12.2 Democratisation, enlivening and enrichment of our creative cultural life is also called for. This needs a new national cultural policy which synthesizes our precious cultural heritage and the entire wealth of culture created by human civilization and also the multi-faceted cultures of our linguistic and ethnic groups. India’s progressive heritage and composite culture have to be defended against reactionary and decadent cultural aggression.
12.3 This task has now become more urgent because of the mounting invasion of our mass media by the imperialist-controlled and corporate-controlled media organisations which distort reality. These seek to colonise minds and alienate us from our own cultural roots. A new massive cultural movement of people utilizing new organisational forms and carrying forward our traditions of patriotism, national unity and communal amity, international solidarity, rational thinking and the passionate urge for social changes and social justice must be built. Fidelity to truth, to life and the masses must be its hallmark.
12.4 The launching of the Progressive Writers’ Association (PWA) and the Indian Peoples’ Theatre Association (IPTA) during the freedom movement made a great contribution in these spheres. They gave depth and content to our struggle for independence. They are of even greater significance in fulfilling the tasks of completing the New Democratic Revolution and during the transition period to socialism. They are an integral part of the ideological, cultural battle against the forces of neo-colonialism, obscurantism, orthodoxy, chauvinism, and unscientific thoughts propagated by the reactionary forces. They have to be strengthened, and spread throughout the country.
- Left Unity, Left Democratic Unity
13.1 The worker peasant alliance is the basis and core of the broad alliance that has to be forged for carrying out the tasks of the new democratic revolution and undertaking the revolutionary transition to the socialist stage. Such a broad alliance is to be built through mass struggles on people’s issues and actions on the economic, political, social and ideological planes. Only thus will a basic change in the correlation of forces that is needed will be brought about in favour of the Left and democratic forces, expose and isolate the reactionary, pro-monopolist and communal divisive forces. Only thus will it be possible to overcome caste divisions, opportunism and vacillations among some, greatly strengthen the Left and rally all the broad secular democratic forces, with ever increasing cooperation, coordination and unity in action among them.
13.2 The unity of the Left and democratic forces is not merely a tactical necessity for carrying out the immediate tasks but also a strategic slogan for a longer period of transforming Indian society. It will be valid and necessary throughout the period of democratic revolution and its transition to socialism. The Party has to play its role by generalizing the experiences gained during each phase of the people’s movement, make it a part of not only its own understanding but also of the other left and democratic forces and groups, achieve consensus on the next phase of the movement and thus pave the way forward. Left unity in the present situation in our country, is a broader concept that the unity of communists. It is a fact of life and can be further consolidated and strengthened.
13.3 The unity of the communist parties and groups will facilitate in bringing about left and democratic unity. Communist unity based on common programmatic, organisational and tactical understanding is essential in the present situation. It will effectively fill the vacuum arising out of the failures and bankruptcy of the bourgeois parties. People are looking forward to it. The ground for this has been prepared through joint action of the two major communist parties on national and international issues, sharing common political and economic perceptions over a period of several years. Whatever differences exist can be and have to be sorted out through frank discussions based on mutual respect. Only strong Communist Party is capable of developing mass movements, coordinating and further strengthening spontaneous and organised movements of different sections of the people, and utilizing correct and appropriate United Front tactics to achieve the strategic objective.
13.4 Efforts at joint actions and subsequent unification of class and mass organisations is a crucial task which will enhance immensely the role in society of workers, peasants, intellectuals, youth and students, women and other sections. Social reform organisations and social action groups that stand for social justice and democratic progress have also to be mobilized for the upcoming movements.
- India’s Socialist Future
14.1 The course of social development in India following the completion of the democratic revolution is to advance towards its socialist future. Elements of this will grow within the womb of the democratic revolution itself especially during its later phase. The CPI is firmly wedded to the goal of a just socialist society which will clear the way for ending all forms of exploitation and social oppression arising from class, caste and gender differences, a society in which the exploitation of man by man will come to an end. Repudiating all dogmatic and doctrinaire thinking and revisionist trends, the Party will apply. The science of Marxism-Leninism to the specific conditions of India for charting the path to such a new socialist society. This path will be determined by the specific historical conditions obtaining, as well as the particular characteristics and features of our own country, its history, tradition, culture, social composition and level of development.
The path as well as the features of socialism in Indian conditions in the historical period can only be defined as the situation develops. However certain broad features and some of the key elements of the socialist transformation that is to follow can be outlined.
The key element is socialization of the main means of production.
In India some of the basic industrial and commercial undertakings and certain key sectors of the economy are already in the public sector. Under neo-liberalism the bourgeois governments have made several attempts to reduce public equity and eventually privatize them. However for the most part they have not been able to do so due to the resistance of the working class and opposition from the left parties and democratic forces. This form of state capitalism makes the task of socialization of the means of production easier. Socialising of the means of production will be the driving force for the Indian economy, rather than the capitalist quest for super profits. It will help the development of the material and spiritual life of our people, making it possible to use planned management of the economy to ward off repeated economic recession. It will help to effectively regulate and check further environmental destruction and the widening social and economic gap.
Obviously socialist advance will be based not on the negation but the further development of all the valuable gains of the previous capitalist era.
While in the industrial field, social ownership of the main means of production will play a leading role, private sector, joint sector, cooperative sector, small-scale sector etc. in specific spheres will co-exist and interact in the over-all economy.
In the agricultural sector, based on radical agrarian reforms and ceiling on landholdings, peasant proprietorship shall have all facilities to flourish. Reducing the cost of inputs, using methods to increase productivity and production, providing remunerative prices for the produce, access to cheap and easy credit and market shall be ensured. Agriculture shall be made viable.
Socialisation of the means of production can take on a variety of forms of ownership, control and management according to the situation and condition that will suit our country. This includes advancing towards socialism through a market economy, combining it with elements of planned economy. The road to socialism in India will be a process of new challenges, giving rise to new problems. They will be solved by the collective wisdom and creativeness of our talented people. The party will give keen attention to this.
To ensure harmony and unity among our multi-crore people the socialist society will guarantee freedom of religion to all sections. At the same time it will curb religious fundamentalism. Religions minorities shall be given protection and any discrimination against them will be forbidden. Secularism implies the separation of religion from the state and from politics.
A number of committees have pointed to the deprivation suffered by SCs, STs, Other Backward Classes and Minorities. They have recommended several measures to overcome this. Abolition of social oppression and discriminations in any form shall be enacted by law.
The Party shall always keep vigil and prevent the destruction of democracy and violation of peoples’ basic rights.
15.The Communist Party of India places this programme before the people and sets forth the principal urgent tasks of the day in order that our people have clear picture of the objective they are fighting for as well as the course of social development in our country.
The Party calls upon the toiling millions, the working class, the peasantry, the intelligentsia, middle-classes, men and women, students and youth as well as all those sections of our people who are interested in a truly democratic development of the country and its advance towards a socialist society, to work for the attainment of these objectives.
The Communist Party of India based on democratic centralism, i.e. centralism based on vibrant inner party democracy, its units at different levels, its rank and file members and activists closely linked with the masses and carrying forward the revolutionary fighting tradition of our people shall stand with the people for the attainment of these objectives.
23rd April 2012
This is a draft of the Party Programme.
The Draft was introduced at the 21st Party Congress at Patna. It was agreed that it should be widely circulated for discussion among Party members and within Party units, as well as for open discussion in public.Times have changed and so have the situation in which we are working
today. The old programmes, and the last ‘Programmatic Document’ are no longer valid. The Draft attempts to analyse the present situation both in India and the contemporary world. It tries to summarise the changes that have taken place within the world capitalist system and the developments that have taken place within the path of capitalist development in India,
particularly after the adoption of neo-libaralism.The Draft seeks to understand the changes that have taken place within the various classes in Indian society as well as the changes that have
occurred within the various groups and identities during this period.Since the task is not merely to analyse and understand these changes but to radically transform the socio-political conditions in India, the Draft has indicated the path for the completion of the Democratic Revolution and the subsequent advance towards socialism in India. As the Draft states: Repudiating all dogmatic and doctrinaire thinking and revisionist trends, the Party will apply the science of Marxism-Leninism to the specific conditions of India for charting the path to such a new socialist society.This path will be determined by the specific historical conditions obtaining,as well as the particular characteristics and features of our own country, its history, tradition, culture, social composition and level of development. It is not based on any model. It will be unique and specially Indian path to socialism in this 21st Century. We invite suggestions, amendments, deletions and additions from all quarters which will help improve the Draft.We request that while doing so it will be helpful if the relevant section and para is indicated. They have been numbered in the Draft. This of course does not apply to general criticisms and suggestions, which too we will welcome.The Party leadership intends to convene a Special Plenum or Conference sometime by the end of this year or the beginning of the next year to adopt the Programme after taking into account all the suggestions and views arising from the discussions. Meanwhile, a Committee is being constituted
to process all suggestions, views, criticism and amendments.
CPI Headquarters, Central Office,
Ajoy Bhavan, 15 Com. Indrajit Gupta Marg,
New Delhi-110 002.
Phone: 23232801, 23235546,