Statements of Radical Socialist

What We Stand For

Published on Sunday, 17 July 2022 09:49
Written by Radical Socialist

Earlier this year (2022), Radical Socialist held an All India Conference. This conference adopted a series of important documents, including  a revision of the programme, a constitution, a code of conduct, and a set of position papers. We are publishing the documents here. This programme replaces the 2008 document What We Stand For, uploaded in the Radical Socialist website in 2009. --Administrator, Radical Socialist website for the Coordinating Committee of Radical Socialist

 

Our Politics, Our Stand

Who are we?

We are socialists who stand proudly in the tradition of revolutionary Marxism as
developed and exemplified by Marx, Engels, Luxemburg, Lenin and Trotsky, and by all the workers and militants who have fought for, enriched and reaffirmed that tradition.

The International Situation:

The collapse of the Soviet Union, the restoration of capitalism in the form of state capitalism in China, the restoration  of capitalism in the countries of the former Soviet Union and the East European bureaucratically degenerated workers states, and the collapse of Keynesian welfare state model and its replacement by neoliberalism, amply assisted by state violence, beginning with Reagan breaking up the Air Traffic Controllers’ strike, heralded a major transformation of the international situation. We still live under its shadow. Imperialism and world capitalism have regained much of what they had lost in the earlier periods, and a period of widening gap between capitalist exploiters and their hangers on at the top, and the workers (urban and rural), poor peasant, the urban population in uncertain earnings, and even middle peasants and the petty bourgeoisie, has continued. This has not meant any stability, as imperialists have continuously fought wars. The economic trend to neoliberal globalisation has been complemented by a growing worldwide tendency to cultural-ethnic-racist-religious exclusivity. Together, these have also meant an increasing decline of both the old style Social Democracy, which relied on Keynesian policies for the reformist measures it pushed; and the Moscow or Beijing oriented Stalinist parties, which in their reformist version combined the same Keynesian welfarism along with upholding the Soviet Union or China as the models of socialist construction, and which in their more militant versions stressed a party-centred model of revolution. While there have come recurrent cases of worker-peasant resistance in different countries, these have not generally come close to the development of a proletarian revolutionary consciousness and mass proletarian organisation building that would take on capitalism directly. The programme we develop here is therefore one that looks at the period and cannot be taken as one that will remain unchanged for all times.

The Indian State and the Present Situation:

India is a capitalist state with a certain degree of autonomous accumulation of capital. The assumption of Marxists, that no countries will be able to develop out of colonial underdevelopment, had been based on the expectation of early revolutions. For historical reasons, these did not happen in the heartland of developed capitalism. However, the manner in which capitalism developed in India involved a combined and uneven development, whereby the capitalist system did not destroy the older exploitative forms. Instead, capitalism in India has grown by intensifying the exploitation and oppression of peasants, who remain a large component of the Indian population, the exploitation and oppression of Dalits and Adivasis, by co-opting reactionary ideologies and systems of oppression like racism, xenophobia (super-exploitation of immigrants), and gender oppression.

Our Commitment to Working Class Self Emancipation and Workers’ Democracy:

We believe that the working class, which comprises the majority of the world's population, is the one social force that can provide the leadership in struggles to bring down capitalism and replace it with a just, humane and truly democratic society: socialism. A democratically planned society has the potential to progressively reduce the burden of work allowing greater and greater participation in the running of society by those that create its wealth through their labour. Such a society will not be a utopia, but a society where humans will gain the freedom to develop themselves. Such a socialist society will develop through our own struggles, and through theoretical reflections on the struggles, not through blue-prints imposed from above. Socialism is not a dogma created by self-proclaimed vanguards. The crisis of capitalism throws up new challenges all the time, and the struggle for socialism must address all of them.

In order to formulate and defend the ideas of working class liberation and to promote the revolutionary organisation of the working class it is necessary to organise the most class-conscious members of the oppressed into a political party that can combat all the  parties of the oppressor classes. The revolutionary workers party must fight for the allegiance of the working class and seek by its activity to represent the interests of the whole class. It must therefore reject 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. It must learn from the bureaucratisation of earlier worker's parties and defend the democratic functioning of its internal life. This includes the right to free and open debate inside the party and also in front of the whole class. It means the right of party members to form tendencies and factions within the party to promote the debate on party policy and action. Democracy is advanced by all members of the party joining together to implement the policies of the majority so that their ideas may be subjected to the judgement of real practice. Equally, it is advanced by guaranteeing real autonomy of mass working class organisations instead of seeking to turn them into adjuncts of the party.

In the same way, the historical lessons show that the working class is divided, and the process of building revolutionary class unity involves recognising the reality of such divisions and special oppressions. Structurally, the capitalist market itself constantly creates competition and creates heterogeneity. Neoliberalism has increased the competition, because the reserve army of the proletariat has grown. The changes in the economy, the coming of lean production, the extension of the service sector, have created a new situation which intensifies the divisions. The strength of a proletarian revolutionary movement lies in unity of the class, which has to be fought for. In addition, social-historical conditions have created differences and oppressions of special types.We therefore see dalit, adivasis, women workers as specially oppressed groups, and reject the notion that “general class goals” are defined by an imposed norm that sees special oppression as issues to be treated as marginal and to be resolved after the revolution. Such an approach makes the revolutionary class an abstraction, and ultimately reinforces patriarchal, oppressor  caste, and other dominant group norms and contributes to a weakening of genuine class unity and class consciousness.

At the present stage, we are not, and do not claim to be, a revolutionary working class party. We are a grouping aiming to build a revolutionary working class party.

Our allies and enemies:

We oppose caste and racial oppression, the oppression of women, the oppression of immigrants and the oppression of lesbians, gays, transgenders and bisexuals. We take part in the struggles of these groups against their oppression, and fight for their right to organize independently. We need class unity, but in order to have genuine class unity based on equality, we call for support to the rights of all marginalised groups within the class. Such oppression, which does not fit into a purely capital and labour relationship, is real, and cannot be ignored or downplayed as ‘identity’. Resistance to such oppression requires a recognition of autonomous organizations and struggles. Class struggle and class unity can be strengthened only by supporting such struggles. However, we affirm at the same time that these struggles can only achieve their complete goals and class unity can be built up only by such organizations and struggles moving in an anti-capitalist direction. Radical Socialist intends to play a role in fighting with these movements and in assisting such an orientation. We fight for secularism. We also stand for linguistic-cultural equality.

We oppose national oppression and support oppressed nations' right to self-determination. At the same time, we recognize that nationalism, even when a positive sentiment among the oppressed, cannot lead to real solutions leading to abolition of oppression. We therefore stand for internationalism based on equality. We believe that real solutions to national oppression call for full equality, democratic rights, cultural autonomy, and multi-ethnic community building. In the light of twentieth century experiences of building socialism and revolutionary parties, we need to redefine socialism and the socialist struggle. In particular, we affirm that socialism today must be committed to feminism, to abolition of racial and caste oppression, and to socially oriented eco-friendly development models.

Capitalism cannot be reformed. It is a social system founded on exploitation and brutality through all its history. We believe that the state and its institutions are instruments of the ruling class, and that therefore they cannot be used as tools of the working class. The bureaucratic and repressive instruments have to be smashed, and even the legal-judicial and electoral mechanisms thoroughly reworked. However, the electoral terrain is not an adequate space for preparing the broader class vanguard or effecting social transformation. That is why we fight for revolution, instead of seeking to merely reform or work within the system. When we fight for specific reforms we do so only with the understanding that in the final analysis real social change can only come about with the overthrow of capitalism, and the establishment of a workers' government. The historic experience of the Soviet Union, China and Eastern Europe shows that the establishment of dictatorial party-states do not assist working class self-emancipation. These were bureaucratically degenerated/deformed workers’ states whose rulers ultimately brought about capitalist restoration.

Imperialism is capitalism's ugliest and most brutal expression. We oppose it in all its manifestations, including the occupations of Iraq, Palestine and Afghanistan (now ended); the Russian assault on Ukraine; US threats against Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, North Korea and Syria, regardless of our assessment of the regimes in those countries. We oppose imperialism whether it acts openly or in the guise of international organizations, such as the IMF, the World Bank, the World Trade Organization and the United Nations or in military alliances such as NATO and the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) dominated and supervised by the US and Russia respectively. Nor do we let other countries guilty of regional imperialist/hegemonist ambitions and behaviour such as China, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran, India, Pakistan, Israel off the hook either.

A Revolutionary Strategy for India

In the Indian context, we recognize that there are crucial allies whom the working class must win over for it to really become the "national class" as the communist manifesto said. They include the exploited poor peasants, the dalits and adivasis. Class unity in India is impossible to achieve unless caste and communal divisions are consistently fought against. We support, in the current situation, the struggle of peasants to retain control over their land against multinationals and Indian big business, both equally rapacious, trying take over such land in the name of development. We oppose land grabbing in the name of development by all forces, including the Stalinist-turned social-liberal left when it is in power.

We oppose the fascist forces with their Hindutva ideology, but we reject the class collaborationist idea that strategic alliances with other bourgeois parties can in any way be a method of stopping fascism. Recognizing the divisions that exist on the left and within the workers' movement, as well as the low level of class consciousness that exists among many workers, we seek to form united fronts, and united front type organizations, around specific issues where various groups have agreement with us. In this way we seek to maximize our impact and the number of forces that can be mobilized around a given issue, demonstrate the power and effectiveness of mass action as opposed to symbolic small-scale and individual actions, and expose others on the left and the workers' movement to our method of functioning and our political program. We also see this as the way of achieving meaningful revolutionary regroupment – because it allows different groups to work together and see whether or not they have significant political convergence. It should also be said that while we support the tactic of the united front of the oppressed, we are opposed to popular fronts – multi-class alliances that subordinate the interests of workers to that of a wing of the capitalist class. It is possible that grass-roots struggles at different places will see the participation of bourgeois forces seeking to establish hegemony, and 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. Electoral support to bourgeois parties as so-called lesser evils can do precisely that. Our aim is to use the electoral terrain as well as any other terrain to build the independence of the exploited from the exploiters.

The historical experience of struggles for socialism have shown that all talk of revolution by stages, where the first stage will supposedly involve an alliance with progressive sections of the capitalist class, only damage the independent struggles of the working class and other toiling masses and lead to their defeats.

The twentieth century experience has also shown very clearly that socialism cannot be achieved in one country but must embrace every country of the world. There are vital problems, which are problems for human existence itself, but which have a specific impact on the proletariat and the other exploited peoples. These cross the barriers between countries. From this perspective, we fight for environmental issues from a working class perspective, which of necessity must also be resolutely internationalist. For the same reason, we are opposed to nuclear weapons and nuclear energy. The correct struggle is to wage the struggle against the ruling class in one’s own country, but also to coordinate worldwide.From this flows the necessity of international organisation both for Marxists and the working class. At the present stage of building revolutionary parties and organisations across the world, the numerically small size of such organisations make the idea of a democratically centralised International non-viable. As mass revolutionary workers’ parties grow, however, such a transformation is also necessary, without turning it into the bureaucratic caricature that occurred with the Communist International after 1923-24. For the foregoing reasons, and due to our broad political perspectives, Radical Socialist seeks the closest ties with a democratic revolutionary International.

The politics of Radical Socialist will be expressed in the public domain through journals, websites, and other appropriate forms, as part of our work of seeking to build a revolutionary party along these principles.