Statements of Radical Socialist
Published on Friday, 17 September 2010 08:34
Written by Radical Socialist
Radical Socialist was set up by Trotskyists coming from the wreck of the former Indian Section of the Fourth International (Inquilabi Communist Sangathan), as well as comrades who had never belonged to any Trotskyist organisation previously. While RS has had a clearly anti-Stalinist, revolutionary Marxist orientation, RS has not presented itself as Trotskyist. This is not due either to some hidden liquidationism, or to any entryist perspective.
Two issues were clear to us between the crisis in the ICS in 2003 and the setting up of RS in 2008-9. First, a commitment to principled internationalism should not be confused with making the international organisation the reason and the focus of our entire existence. Second, and related, that a party building exercise cannot begin with discussion on the merits of diverse international groupings. This does not mean we do not want to affiliate to an international organisation. But the reality of the world is, there are several large and even more small international groupings calling themselves Fourth international, or factions of the Fourth International. There are also serious revolutionaries in india who identify with the basic positions of revolutionary Marxism without identifying with any one of these currents, along with groups affiliated with, or oriented to, one or other of these internationals. But in India, Trotskyist politics has seldom been widely present in the working class movement. To add to the welter of small groups who define themselves in international terms and make the differences between themselves more significant than what unites them has seemed to us an unaccpetable starting point.
As realists, we are aware that there exist certain groups, behind either international sects or local cult figures, for whom revolution is just a word, the sect or the cult is all. There is no need to identify such groups. They take pleasure in identifying themselves. Even excluding them, however, there are serious groups. We have been engaged in discussions with some of them, like the New Socialist Alternative, or New Wave. What follows is a discussion document written by a comrade of RS. It has already been submitted to NSA and NW. We publish it here, so that others who may be interested in the unity of revolutionary marxists in India can also take part in the discussions. The document speaks for itself. We only wish to stress that we are calling for a democratic centralist organisation with one area where individuals will have freedom of action without national leadership intervention, which is the right to belong to any international organisation, to disseminate the literature of such international organisation, and to take part in its activities without hampering the work of the organisation in India.
A further point to understand is that precisely because this is a unification document addressed to organisations in a particular political tradition, and not the finalised programme or manifesto of a united organisation, we have not felt it necessary to reiterate certain issues which would have been much more central, had this been a document discussing unity with organisations coing out of Stalinist or maoist traditions -- e.g., the meaning of permanent revolution, the real Leninist tradition, united front of the working class versus popular fornt, and so on. Even among those currently engaged in discussions, many other points are likely to be raised. This document only highlights our view about why a unity is needed, what struggles such a united organisation has to carry out, and what kind of unity not to impose.
UNIFICATION DOCUMENT OF MARXIST REVOLUTIONARIES IN INDIA
(Draft Document – Version 1.0)
PART-1 – THE INDIAN CONTEXT
Economic Context of India
The noticeable changes that has taken place in India over a period of last 2 decades are mainly in the economic sphere, but also in other aspects of life. During this period the Indian bourgeoisie class has strengthened them to a much higher plane ever than it was in last 100 years. Indian capitalist class is now aspiring for their berth beside the imperialist countries on a global scale, as a junior partner. They are demanding official acknowledgement of regional domination. The impact of Indian economy and their ruling class is now treated as a factor for growth, crisis and sustainability of capitalism globally. In domestic arena the entire spectrum of life in India is now under the influence of capital, particularly monopoly capital. Capitalist commodification has been completed, even in backward and rural India. It is observed that almost everything in India including political changes, economic policies pursued by the state and central governments, socio-economic schemes launched by the government are either by direction of the capitalist class or for the benefits of the capitalist class or for the development of the bourgeoisie-democratic system. All these are now pre-requisite for the Indian capitalist class to enable them to sit beside their big brothers in the same row.
While following the same 'law of value' for the capitalist growth, Indian socio-economic growth has seen some special features too. Gigantic growth of neo-economic segments like financial sector, IT, real estates, health, education, telecom etc and blowing up of service sector and service sector workforce are two major such features.
Economic Crisis of India that cannot be solved
By entering thoroughly as the member of the imperialist club, India has invited all sorts of global capitalist crisis alongwith including economic and social. Recent food crisis and price rise are two such examples which, inspite of major political losses, the mighty Indian ruling class is unable to address even partially. It is clear that the the Indian economy has lost its capability to control the economic activities even for political purpose, which was not an absolute true even a few years back. It is obvious, that increased tie-ups and dependency on big imperialism has resulted in big crisis, which Indian Capitalist class cannot solve anymore.
The biggest beneficiary of gross monopolisation and capitalisation of economy and society is the Indian bourgeoisie class. An example to cite. A lesser profit by 6.6% compared to fiscal first quarter of last year by IT giant Infosys in last quarter (April-June 2010), which earned $326 million during this period as net profit has shaken the corporate world and is seen as something to be looked into seriously. A net profit of Rs. 1467,00,00,000 (one thousand four hundred sixty seven crore rupees) in3 months time also cannot make one corporate house happy. Other corporate houses are also concerned with such falling rate of profit of Infosys. This example shows the kind of benefits of capitalists are making, as well as the nature of their crisis.
The next biggest beneficiaries are the managers, whether corporate or governments. A new economic layer has been created comprising of top corporate managements and the top government bureaucracy which plays a vital role in growth, expansion, crisis management of capitalism in economic front and absorbs socio-politico-economic issues critical to the stability of the system. These managers are shared with the corporate profits in different form. While these managers are placed in a very important strategic point of capitalist structure, their roots may not be from the same class always. Selectively chosen from other classes creates an illusion among neo-educated aspiring youths from urban areas, the possibility towards similar achievements. However capitalism absorbs this creamy layer into integral part of the system and changes its class origin totally. A section of academicians, media personnel etc also become a part in this layer.
The third layer of beneficiaries are the rural capitalist class. The engagement of financial institution, foreign and big national capital in agriculture has helped conversion of old feudal landlords and rich peasants into kulaks and they are now one of the biggest stakeholders in Indian capitalism. This class collaboration has catalysed the conversion of our agriculture into a literally completed capitalist agriculture.
The fourth layer of beneficiaries include the white collar workforce in the service sector, those neo-educated youths referred above. This workforce comes from middle and lower middle economic strata and with modern education. Although this section starts earning a handful amount from early life of profession, can afford to consume most of the luxury items in life, actually they are integral part of working class. If thoroughly realised, it will observed that on all trade related issues, they are actually exploited and their interest can be best protected in collaborating with working class movements. The benefits they get are apparent, camouflaged and are actually for the benefit of capitalism. The benefits are more in concepts than in reality.
The affected sections
When this mega capitalist changes in Indian economy has brought to surface, a section of people with lot of actual and apparent benefits, upon which the capitalist economy here is still breathing; there is an even larger section of Indian population where misery of poverty, hunger and insecurity is growing day by day. They are partially or totally deprived of basic human amenities like health, shelter, education, employment. They are our working class, reserve workforce and lumpen proletariats in towns and villages. They form 75% of our population. Their survival, growth and development is possible only when capitalism, the society based on inequality and exploitation can be defeated and destroyed.
Effects on Environment
With such dramatic change and growth of capitalism in India, we see worst affect is our environment. To meet the competition in imperialist sphere from a backward perspective, indiscriminate use of our richly available natural resource has become an important weapon by the capitalist class. Today the struggle for environment has to be equated and converged with anti-capitalism. Working class should use the struggle for environment as a imminent counter weapon to weaken capitalism.
Existence and conditions of different conflicts in Indian society
There exists a multi-layer class contradiction in Indian society which is portrayed in the contradiction of the capitalist system and majority population in India. Within the framework of such situation the actual class contradictions are between the capitalist class, including rural capitalist class and its agents on one side and the working class, reserve workforce, lumpen proletariats, rural proletariats, peasantry, service sector workforces on the other sides.
Apart from those economic class contradictions, we find special and sectoral exploitations, and therefore contradictions in our society. Gender, sexual, ethnic, caste, religious exploitations are obvious in class divided societies, so in India. These conflicts exists neutrally from class; among exploiting and exploited class; and their crudest forms are viewed predominantly in exploiting classes. Struggle for a classless society cannot keep eyes shut on these exploitations and make them dormant as a futuristic and socialist agenda, rather supports and encourages as an independent struggle against these exploitations as neutrally as they actually exist. It believes that these democratic struggles magnifies the working class struggle collaterally, helps to find its justifications, produces revolutionaries and increases the strength of revolution. While saying so, one must also remember that India's capitalist growth didn't happen by uprooting feudalism and under the colonial supervision during its birth. Hence Indian society is carrying along the remnants of both feudal and colonial practices. The exploited section of people suffering from these special oppressions are actually facing these oppression of all, capitalist, feudal and colonial nature together.
Demand for special attention
A special attention is required towards the apparently enlightened section, the service sector workforce and those who are in waiting, mentioned before. Engaging this section in the revolutionary activities is a big challenge for the working class movement as they are basically integral part of working class if understood from the perspective of production relation. Excluding them shall marginalise working class in the society numerically. The biggest apparent problem among these workers is alienation at the first instance, which is a basic capitalist phenomenon among working class. Working hour, social security are also very important problem among these workers. Their problems are multiplied since they are unorganised. Due to nature of their jobs, tremendous unhealthy competitions for survival in job market and above mentioned reasons, many among them have started suffering from severe physical and mental health problems. They are actually a tremendous force having a potential of keeping impacts on society. If organised, they can damage capitalism and their profits centres largely and thereby bring capitalism into collapse. The challenge of working class movements to organise them even more important because capitalism can easily and effectively use this force against other section of working class and working class ideology as a whole. Similarly, equal attention is required those who would join this force in near future and are in waiting. Building organisation among the students should be treated as a proletarian task. A serious study and action about this growing contradiction has to be addressed on a priority basis in special context of India.
Bourgeoisie Democracy Presently
Only biased people and organisations cannot see the changes happening with the bourgeoisie democracy in India. It is growing, deepening its root into deep and expanding its branches in many directions. While saying so, we mean that by deepening its root, capitalism in India is making it even more difficult to deny their own democracy easily when they require to crush the class struggles and by expanding its branches we mean capitalism wants to expand capitalism in every sphere of leaving no stones unturned. Citing various examples those whose oppose this fact of expansion actually equate bourgeoisie democracy with socialist democracy subconsciously or purposefully and expects bourgeoisie to offer it. But working class should not be afraid of such expansion, call for even more expansion and convert it for their use to overthrow capitalism. This expansion of bourgeoisie democracy however is not overwhelming and is limited. In micro level, in backward rural areas, in tribal zones, among the minorities, on the questions like gender injustice we find it is yet to occur and remained in form of laws and acts. There it is still unused or misused by the exploiters and power managers.
Consequence of growth of Bourgeoisie Democracy
As a consequence, the Indian bourgeoisie state has become more autonomous and acting neutral in many common cases. Obviously one cannot expect such neutrality of the state on the question like Bhopal Gas Tragedy, rights on fossil fuel in Narmada Basin, telecom spectrum licenses, disinvestment deals, policy liberalisation, land grab etc. In essence, they are behaving like a bourgeoisie democratic state, while cleaning the feudal and colonial marks from its body.
Consensus of people for bourgeoisie rule?
Marxists know that, such changes in superstructure supported by economic basis is important and beneficial for the ruling class and has not come as their good gesture. But what is more important for us is that we can observe that these are opening more avenues of protest against injustice, the embryo of the class struggle. These protests are both organised and unorganised, reflected through legal battles, media coverages, propagandas, rallies, blockades and strikes. Some of them have achieved the immediate relief and some didn't. The tendency of adaptation with injustices has reduced largely. Though these protest are yet to take shape of organised attempt towards class struggle under a conscious leadership but signs of such possibilities are visible. It should be wrong not to mention that in many occasions such initiatives take a rightist path as well. But, we can conclude the myth of consensus propagated by the ruling class is not true.
Indian socio-economic and political system - objective and subjective conditions
As a social system, India by virtue of objective condition may not be extremely vulnerable and unstable but same cannot be said as in case of subjective conditions as a blanket statement. This may appear over optimistic to many, but a thorough observation may reveal something different. The subjective condition should not be measured narrowly based on existence of massive working class movements guided by a conscious leadership. Rather we have to read the behaviour of weaker classes towards towards certain policies of the state, non acceptance of unjust actions by government agencies and registering protest in different form, ethnic struggles, initiatives of national unification and united action by different organisations fighting against special oppression etc. Notably, government cannot just ignore these and sit back these days. We have seen these in case of struggles in Nandigram, Orissa-Posco, Singur, Telengana, Gorkhaland isues. We have also noted the hesitation of government in crushing the Maoists by all means inspite of treating them as big internal threat and inspite of enjoying an apparent mass consent. Governments hesitation are seen in legislating privatisation aggressively inspite of pressure from the ruling class. The state is very careful in dealing issues like SEZ, land question and many others where there is a fear of backlash. Big or stable majority in parliament or election is not the sign or guarantee of the strength government and state. In recent days, government has shown its serious discontent with some sectoral and general strikes, but could not go offensive against the strikers. These are all signs of vulnerability in the subjective conditions. Almost every smaller issues in any remote part of India is getting converted into national issue. Externally also, India is represented as a threat to other capitalist majors. India has deteriorated its relation with its neighbours. If not war, violent border conflicts with China and Pakistan cannot be overruled in future. The number of conflicts (not intensity) that India is sustaining now in domestic and external front has no second example in the world. These makes stability of Indian society extremely vulnerable. It is true that the class factor is highly absent in all these development. It is the task of the conscious revolutionary force to integrate class factor and introduce class line on every occasion and opportunity.
Media in shaping of ideas
Due to the blessings of overwhelming presence of media, which is controlled by bourgeoisie , mainly in urban territory, there exist a feeling of growth and development of the country and its people. An idea of 'feel good' environment is made to believe among many people. While acknowledging this situation, it is also noted that as a by product of such campaign a notion of justice, logical equality, sense of democracy and rights, opinion against oppressions and poverty etc. are also growing among the literate section. Information is flowing fast and so opinions are quickly formed across the terrain. Incidents have ceased to remain local any more. These are often good for struggle against capitalism and exploitation. These phenomenon at a later stage may act against the easiest way of capitalist rule; rule by agreement and conciousness.
PART-2 – UNIFICATION OF MARXIST REVOLUTIONARIES
Tasks of working class movement
Working class need to assimilate the lesson from the expressions of impatience in different form within the weaker classes and establish leadership to convert them into struggles, working class should understand the importance of growing struggle against special oppressions and treat them as converging allies, working class need to fight for environment protection vehemently and create organised blockade against all action of exploitation of environment, working class need to build nationwide solidarity for every small and big movements that is taking place against the ruling class and ruling state in any part of India and by any oppressed class or section of people. Finally, working class need to hit and damage the capitalism at their strategic areas by increasing number of strikes in transport, communication, financial conglomerates etc., prepare for the struggle on the street, drag the ruling class for counter offensive and expose the falseness of their democratic jargons. For all above, the precondition is the class unity and awareness.
The task of working class is not easy. Ruling class shall make all efforts to isolate working class from other section of exploited people and break the unity of working class in different means. Chances are high that the reformist leadership in the working class and other exploited section take the side of the ruling class. Observation of Indian context.
Revolutionary forces in Indian Society
The revolutionary forces in India are completely disintegrated in innumerable forums. There are a very few revolutionary Marxist groups, worthy of the name. They are present among different Stalinist and reformist left parties, sectarian maoist organisation and groups, few social activist groups, trade unions, mass organisation and movements against special oppressions. A cohesion among them is necessary to make impact of the thrust everyone is trying to create in isolation. If such a cohesion is achieved on some common socio-economic issues even, it can achieve big partial victories on many occasions. These victories can help grow the class struggle in dramatically lesser time in geometric progression, in context of Indian situation.
Marxist revolutionaries and importance of unification
The issue based united front movements is extremely difficult to build here because of so divergent and antagonistic agendas of different poles of attraction. The Stalinist CPI, CPIM in spite having influence in many area and among working class have failed to lead struggle as they cannot carry it convincingly and collaborates with ruling class occasionally. The Maoist having influence in large geographical area and having a force of few thousand dedicated revolutionaries have failed because their path is not attractive and realistic to most of left oriented people of the country. In fact they themselves are against building class struggles. Small splinter left political units suffer from either of these deviations or both are even more irrelevant to the struggling people. Most other struggling forces do not have a centralised comprehensive agenda of all encompassing matters against ruling classes against all its activities. So they cannot take a leadership but can constitute an important ally.
It is the task of the Marxist revolutionaries to assume the leadership and accommodate divergent interest groups and vouch for a socialist but realistic and transitional interpretation and solution acceptable for different interest of different exploited classes. This is at all possible only when the revolutionary Marxists are themselves a pole of attraction both in terms of critical strength and taking radical approach towards struggle. Marxist revolutionaries being a critical strength has never actually happened in struggles of post independent India, hence the question of taking radical approach towards struggle does not arise.
Unfortunately, Marxist revolutionaries are also disintegrated in small propaganda groups or stayed individual either participating in mass activities or sitting idle. The unification of Marxist revolutionaries is now question of their responsibilities. We should not be illusioned that even such unification of the Marxist revolutionaries can give them the requisite critical strength. But is shall definitely help others feel their existence, not just in one corner of the country, but in some pockets also. The Marxist revolutionaries need to take things forward from there. How to do it can only be discussed if the unification effort is realised.
Marxist revolutionaries are those who can explain social events dialectically, give a class interpretation, draw a revolutionary task, fight against capitalism and any form social exploitation and for socialism with objective of a class free society. A revolutionary Marxist learns from workers struggle worldwide. In historical context, a revolutionary Marxist carries the revolutionary heritage and lessons of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Luxemburg, Trotsky and Fourth International. So, presently we propose the unification to be limited within these existing groups and individuals who are carrying those heritages.
Conditions of Unification
The reasons behind disintegration among the Marxist revolutionaries were mostly due to differences on theoretical political questions. At times they were also due to differences on theoretical political praxis. Whether those differences were good enough for splits are questions of academic studies. But unquestionably the differences were true. Whether they were good enough or justifying a split is subject of argument, but it is beyond argument that most of those differences has lost relevance now. This is true in the context of Indian situation. There may be a few issues of difference on international questions still pending, there may be question of existing long standing loyalty in international association; but these should not pose blocks in unification of Marxist revolutionaries in India. As revolutionaries, we cannot afford to stay divided in the present context we discussed. Difference among the Marxist revolutionaries may come on explaining India specific issues as well. But difference do not justify division.
So an unification of Marxist revolutionaries having tradition of association of Fourth International is proposed based on following ideological positions:
Commitment to Working Class Self Emancipation and Workers’ Democracy, a just, humane and truly democratic society: Socialism
Necessity to organise the most class-conscious members of the oppressed into a political party that can combat the attacks of bourgeoisie on the working class and guide the working class for a revolutionary victory. At the same time it rejects all divisions and reject turning itself into a sect that defends only some particular theory or tactic which it seeks to impose on the real workers movement.
Capitalism cannot be reformed. We fight for revolution, instead of for seeking to merely reform or work within the system.
We reject any sort of stagist path for revolution in India and fight for socialist revolution and workers control over means of production.
The allies of working class for a victorious revolution includes poor peasants. Ally social strata includes the dalits and adivasis. We ally with movements against, national oppression, caste and racial oppression, the oppression of women, the oppression of immigrants and the oppression of lesbians, gays, transgenders and bisexuals.
We seek to form united fronts, and united front type organisations, around specific issues, but reject any possible alliance with any bourgeoisie party or formation of any popular front type organisation.
Struggles at different places will see the participation and presence of bourgeois forces but we cannot be sectarian and abstain from struggles using the presence of the bourgeois forces as a plea. But we cannot subordinate the class interests of the workers and the other exploited to the bourgeoisie.
We are not in favour of electoral support to bourgeois parties as so-called lesser evils. Our aim is to use the electoral terrain as well as any other terrain to build the independence of the exploited from the exploiters.
Socialism cannot be achieved in one country. It necessitates international organisation both for Marxists and the working class.
This attempt has to be treated as revolutionary regroupment of Marxist Revolutionaries. The proposal here is not for any mechanical unity, but an attempt for a true unification. If an organic unification effort fails, we shall try again later. But if the existing micro groups of Marxist Revolutionaries consider this unity as a part of their strategy of winning over, the result and purpose of such unification shall be a disaster. If they treat this as a wishful trial then again this is going to fail. It should be realised that it is a necessity. Also if the groups unite keeping their respective identities intact within a bigger group, the entire purpose is liquidated and the the group becomes ineffective. The unification has to made with the objective of developing this group into an workers party. The united group has to run democratically on the principles of Democratic Centralism. It is presumed that in unified group, existence of member sections or fraternal alignment with different Fourth Internationalist Tendencies may be present. Such associations cannot be converted to association with any particular international tendency for the unified group nor cannot be de-associated from all such tendencies. In fact is not necessity as well. Hence the proposal of unity is for a multi-tendency (based on international association) united political group wish to develop to a party of workers of India. Any individual in the united organisation shall have right to join or leave any existing tendency.