Thursday, September 29, 2011

Notes on the Indian Economy

Notes on the Indian economy part 2 - Focussing on the role of foreign Capital

Whilst part 1 of the study explained the dynamics empowering Big capital in India and what role the informal sector and proletarianization plays in that regard, part 2 is intended to understand the role and nature of foreign capital in India and what role it plays, both social , political and economical in the Indian context. To begin with , I would like to state, that the dynamics of Capitalism and imperialism are such that though it may be moribund, and destructive in essence, it is not undynamic, nor are imperial relations static. Equally so, just as there cannot be a single monopolist corporation determining the entire economy on a local or regional or even national basis, there cannot be a single monopolist imperialist country that assumes all of imperialism unto itself. This is an impossibility at least under Capitalism. The imperialist system, at least in the understanding in the Leninist sense, does not undo competition but distorts and degenerates it. The earlier liberal capital is now totally wiped out and replaced by monopoly capitalism which forms the main body of Capitalism in our epoch. With the end of liberal Capitalism we saw between the period of the last half of the 19th century to the first half of the 20th century, an end to Colonial capitalism.

Colonial Capitalism is distinguishable from its successor, imperialist capital, in that the former is solely based on trade and productivity, whilst the latter is based more and more on Export of Capitalism, and the predominance of Finance Capitalism. In the epoch of Colonial Capitalism, the main imperialist countries would construct a foreign policy that hinged on opening more and more markets for trading of goods. Here, the free exchange of Capital (Which is a definitive feature of Capitalism in any form) would take place through the freeing up of trade by creating direct colonies or in some cases spheres of influence. Competition between rival imperialists would then for the most part be determined by which imperialist possesses how many colonies and how well they can hold on to these colonies. With the advent of imperialist capitalism and the predominance of finance capital and the export of capital gaining greater and greater importance, this most outmoded form of colonial imperialism would be eclipsed in totality. Two cases highlight the drawbacks of Colonial capitalism in the epoch of imperialism, one is the Spanish colony of Cuba which even though a colony of Spain, was economically dominated by Germany and America. The other would be the British Colony of India oddly named the "Empire of India" where 95% of British investments into India were diverted to maintaining the bureaucracy and the armed forces. Both these examples reveal perfectly how Colonialism had outlived its utility. America which is the dominant imperialist of our times, emerged to this position without having to construct a colonial empire unlike Britain. What it lacked in an external empire was compensated for by a rich and massive internal sphere which remains strong till today.

America's rise to imperialism is a reflection of the dynamics of our present epoch i.e. the epoch of imperialism. In our epoch, that is the epoch of imperial capital, the free exchange of capital compels countries to adopt policies which hinge on opening more and more markets for the export of Capital as it is this exportation of Capital which assumes primacy over trade. Whilst, trade in goods is not undone by this and in fact never will be undone by this, it does serve to subordinate the trade of goods and its dynamics. This is done by either subordinating, the trade in goods to the need for financing this trade *( often this would mean financing large trade deficits ) whilst on the other hand, it would be done by attaining direct control of the chain of trade through direct or indirect investments across borders. What this means is, unlike the direct political and territorial capture of power under Colonialism, modern imperialism behaves in a much more indirect and often surreptitious manner to create what we understand as semi-colonies. The semi-colony is distinguishable from a direct colony in that it does not require for the imperial country to rule over these countries directly but it would be enough for them to rule indirectly, often through favored proxies be it within a democratic parliamentary framework or by the destruction of the same and the imposition of dictatorships. Both regimes display nearly the same degree of harshness in curbing the proletariat of these countries.

When we take all of this into consideration a picture emerges of the imperialist world economy which is far more anarchic, far more competitive, and overall 'freer' than its predecessor of colonial capital where territorial fetters would isolate trading blocs and inter-imperialist conflicts would take place with a much more tangible territorial dynamic. In our epoch, this territoriality is lost. What is also lost is the linear relation where metropolitan trading countries with superior financial or manufacturing prowess could effect a clear cut exploitation of agricultural countries through colonizing them. Modern imperialist capital having attained far greater flexibility and having completed the task of effecting free exchange of capitals throughout the world, exploits not only the people of agricultural countries but of all countries anywhere and everywhere. Thus, emerges the tendency of imperialist capital to move towards areas of other imperialist capital within the same nation. In many cases, Imperialist countries in their sub-imperialist phase invite the forces of foreign capital to aid in the process of accumulation and opening up large internal markets. Whilst colonial capitalism fettered and often subjugated its colonies to backwardness and technological isolation, imperialist capital opens up markets to higher ever greater technical advances and opens the way for the flooding of the markets with its capital. However, both serve the almost identical ends in that they tend subjugate the markets they enter into to their own capitals and fulfill the domination of those markets thereby destroying or driving out of competition or marginalizing domestic capital be it petty or large. This becomes difficult or almost impossible to accomplish when Imperial capital enters the sphere of other like capitals. With this dynamic in mind we may now see the role of foreign capital in the Indian context.

When considering India's development of Capitalism, several unique features emerge particularly in its post colonial history but also in its colonial history. India was perhaps the first major Asian power to be opened up to the full force of foreign capital and was in fact the first country to be subjugated by it. In historic terms what this would represent is the worldwide victory of the bourgeois-capitalist mode of production over feudal or quasi-feudal modes of production. India had till 1757 in fact, controlled 70% of the world's trade and had a GDP many times larger than Capitalist Britain ! however, India had not undergone a revolution, neither had it revolutionized the means of production, therefore, this fantastic control of wealth which it had was destined to melt away when faced with the decidedly superior forces of bourgeois-capitalist modes of production. And it was no less than Britain, the most powerful of the European countries which was also the first European power to undergo a bourgeois revolution successfully, which carried out this task. Marx had cited a dual role for the English East India company which had come to rule over India eventually. The two aspects of its rule over India was both destructive ( destruction of the native pre-capitalist economy and polity and society ) as well as creative ( the creation of a capitalist economy, polity and society replacing its pre-capitalist predecessor ) . However, Marx had also noted that in his notes on India, that it has always seen convulsive political changes without requisite social change. British colonialism was the first force to attempt to consciously try to end this dichotomy and achieve it partially.

However, the peculiar nature of colonial capital with its focus on control over trade, meant that competition would focus more on destroying the potential for its erstwhile pre-capitalist economic superior rather than creating a new base for Capitalism to flourish. The destruction of Indian polity and economy was thorough, but the destruction of India society's structure was slow. The result was the loss of the old world without a gain of the new. The reactionary burden of the old society would be preserved and concretized by economic and political subjugation and impoverishment. Nevertheless, the creative aspects did in fact develop as slow as they did, and Indian society was in course of time morphed to suit more advanced Imperialist exploitation, but the vast colonial economy which the Empire had created in India and on the basis of which lay the enslavement of the whole of the Asian continent, would not be undone so easily. The colonial fetters remained and continued to slow down and distort the entry of imperial capital into India, till the point of time where it became unbearable for the colonial masters. The creation of a native Indian bourgeois was one of the consequences of British colonialism, but even this in time grew too large and influential for the decaying and dying British Capital to control. The two world wars of the last century were the death knell to the old Empire and paved the way for new empires to take its place. The United States of America would be the foremost gainer of this destruction, being unfettered and unburdened by colonialism and having conveniently escaped the destruction of its European counterparts, and possessing a vast internal market of its own, and having vanquished both the great powers of Germany and Japan, it had a formidable military apparatus as well! The contraction of European Capital from the world stage left a huge area of the world out of the bound of imperial capital which in most cases would be kept out by the revolutions in Asia and eastern Europe, Latin America and Africa. Whilst, the presence of the Soviet Union and China served to limit the penetration of imperial capital in Asia, the overbearing presence of America and Europe over Latin America and Africa would do the opposite allowing in time for the complete domination of these continents by the forces of imperialist capital. India however, managed to withstand this onslaught by virtue of sheer historical circumstance as well as the cunning of the Indian bourgeois. In addition to this, the inheritance of British colonialism gave India access to a large sphere of influence around its own neighborhood as well as an armed force to defend it. In course of time, India managed to crowbar its way onto becoming a centre of Big capital gaining quite recently, the ability to export Capital as well. But this ability has come at a price, costing both in terms of economic sovereignty as well as social and political destruction and degeneration.

India having entered its independence, with numerous colonial and even pre-colonial burdens would naturally have to resort to the most drastic measures to allow the development of Capitalism. However, this has had to be balanced with the need to pacify its immediate class enemy in the form of the Indian working class and peasantry. India's polity thus emerged both bonapartist as well as bourgeois democratic! Completing neither the one nor the other. Colonial Capital's shared destructive characteristic with imperial capitalism is seen in the manner they destroy weaker forms of capital and how larger more technically advanced capitalism dominates over technologically less advanced forms. Indian Capital has been no different in this regard. the destruction of the countryside which was initiated by the British was exacerbated and intensified under the rule of the Indian bourgeois which being now surrounded by two very powerful but opposing forces of global Stalinism in the Soviet union and world imperialism through the US-UK alliance, has had to exploit and defend its internal sphere aggressively. The result of this was statism. This statism was both a consequence of monopoly capital as well as an arbitrary reaction to external and internal pressure and a product of the weaknesses of Indian capitalism owing to a hundred years of fettered Colonialism. However, as Statism grew and consolidated reaching a high point with the nationalization of banks and 'Indianization' of foreign companies, it consolidated the sub-continental sphere for Indian capitalism to dominate over. However, India's statism was not absolute nor did it end the existence of foreign capital and in fact as early as 1950s, foreign capital was still being invited through joint ventures to aid Indian capital in developing itself. But balancing this with the prevalence of the state in the economic life of India, meant that these foreign capitals could exist only through political protection and cover accorded by the bourgeois and its political formations in particular through that of the congress party. Another area for the penetration of foreign capital in these early years had been through state based construction or power projects and as ancillaries to defense where vital technologies in India's armed forces were still lacking. In time the wall of statism and its consequent welfarism ultimately became a drain for the Indian bourgeois and an unwanted fetter for the development of Capital. All along however, this retained legitimacy through the continued existence of the threat of foreign capital as well as a steam valve to pacify the working class. The Nationalized corporations of India as well as the welfare measures they supported were and are corrupted and exploited to suit the ends of the bourgeois often through extra legal means and in a most brazen manner. The existence of Bonapartism in India adds to this crude form of exploitation of the working class. The statist economy which India had created however, could only survive the external pressures of imperialism with the preponderant protection of the Soviet Union.

After 1991, this protection would be lost. With it would also be lost a tremendous fortress of the working class and a great negative wave of reaction would ensue where imperial capital would find it easier to move into areas previously untouched by it, as well as intensification of the exploitation of the areas where it was already present. This was accompanied by the expansion of the export of Capital and the further domination of finance capital over other capitals. All of this was a sign of the rate of profits falling back and returning to pre-world war trajectories of imperialism, only without its colonial - territorial fetters. The Indian bourgeois would now have to adjust to a new world order where statist subsistence could no longer hold against imperialism, and where the domestic bourgeois had itself consolidated a large enough internal sphere to survive in competition against foreign businesses. The dismantling of statism had thus begun in the 1990s and with it, a massive penetration of foreign capital into India, the like of which had not been seen in the 40 years preceding it. But this opening up of capital was not a one way affair, no sooner, than a massive inflow of capital began, an equally robust development of capital exports began to take off from India which soon surpassed capital imports! The fate of the capitals which had already invested in India would now be determined by fierce competition with new foreign rivals and an empowered domestic capitalist class equipped with greater access to the world markets as well as technologically developed. The earlier privileged positions would now be naturally challenged as the Indian bourgeois opened up the Indian markets to World Capitalism. Along with these external pressures, foreign capital and domestic private capital *( In particular small to middle private capitals ) still had to deal with a vast State sphere which continues to exist in India and takes an increasingly active role in building and consolidating a base for Indian capitalism to develop and expand further till it becomes a major global player as a fully imperialist country. This is naturally contingent upon the completion of Capitalist domination over the rural countryside and over petty capital sectors in urban India. This has by and large been achieved in the urban sphere through the penetration of financial capital which is still statized considerably but has yet to complete its penetration into the countryside. Additionally, the dominance of services and manufacturing over petty capital remains unfinished. Furthermore, big Indian capital is still a new player in the world stage and in comparison with its foreign peers is still a junior in terms of high technology and financial support. This warrants the continued existence of the state in the economic life of the country, not to mention the continued albeit weakened threat from the working class which still requires statism and welfarism to handle.

With the opening of the Indian markets, the Indian bourgeois has in fact strengthened not only itself, but also the world bourgeois by giving it access to a huge market of yet unproletarianized populations of peasants and petty bourgeoisie with a strong and able state apparatus which most African and South east Asian countries can't boast of. However, they have also subjected the entrant foreign capitals to domestic competition compelling them to resort to more exploitative practices than their domestic rivals. What this also entails for foreign capital investing in India is a need to avail the advantages of scale, to compete with more established and naturalized domestic capitals. Thus, it has been seen that most of the foreign capital that has entered in the form of direct investments have been through big investments and made by big corporations. And in most cases, the foreign capitals which continue to hold dominating positions remain the very corporations who had managed to buy or deal their privileged positions before the complete opening of the Indian market to World Imperialism. This gives the foreign corporations a much more organized form, as well as exploitative characteristic. The proletarians employed in these companies particularly in the manufacturing sector would be subjected to harsh management practices many a times in conflict with labor laws, (their privileged status allowing them to flout labor laws at will and gaining the protection of the state for the same) as well as focused attacks on any attempt to organize in resistance or agitation. The best example of the contradictions of foreign capital are revealed through the Maruti-Suzuki corporation in India, where the Suzuki motor corporation itself grew by the blessings of the Indian bourgeois and in particular the blessing of its political leadership in the Congress party, which ironically uses the blessing hand as its symbol! The workers organized in these sectors face the most advantageous position in terms of communist organization *( owing to the large organized nature of foreign capitalist concerns ) as well as the worst conditions of work *( owing to the need for foreign capital to cut down on labor costs to compete with more well entrenched national rivals ) . From the ranks of these workers a vanguard can very well emerge in India, however, the trajectory of their struggle is limited in that it does not expropriate the main enemy of the Indian working class which is the Indian bourgeois. Nor do these struggles aim at securing state corporations away from the serpentine grip of the Indian bourgeois making them organizations of the working class which is what they should be ! The vanguard of the working class would therefore, come from both these ranks organizing and struggling in unison and coordination with each other against a shared enemy which is the Indian bourgeois.

Notes on the Indian Economy

From now on I will be updating the blog with my notes on the Indian economy. I basically deal with the Indian economy in its social and political content and the consequences of these dynamics which may have in the global context and especially in terms of developing revolutionary political work. I would particularly like it if readers would give me their feedback on the postings.

Part - 1

Proletarianization and the Manufacturing Sector in the Informal Sector

I would like to begin by stating a well known fact of Marxist analysis of the Law of Value. Capitalism works ultimately to suck out surplus from the labor intensive, low tech sectors to sectors where high tech capital intensive operations take place. This is what was at the heart of the destruction of the Indian handicraft industry in the colonial period as well as the rise of British manufacturing on a global scale. In the scenario that a nation develops capitalism fully, it is reflected through the marginalization of the contribution of the 'intermediate classes' of small proprietors ( Peasants and petty bourgeois ) . In areas where capitalism is plentiful we see this has already happened. Here the social and political significance of small proprietors is either insignificant or non-existent in totality. In areas where capital is scarce, the intermediate classes of small / petty proprietors are existent to the greatest degree. By and large you may characterize the third world in this way. This half of the world where capital is scarce in relation to the total population would include South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, South East Asia, and parts of Latin America and Eastern Europe. These are areas which have a large base of peasants and petty bourgeois which have yet to be proletarianized. As such they present extremely attractive markets for big capital particularly from imperialist countries. For most countries which have such a large and substantial peasant-pb base and having scarce availability of capital they are generally not strong enough to develop a powerful bourgeois on their own and become dependent on the entry of foreign capital to aid them with vital technology and infrastructure and in many cases in actively securing their political power. However, this is not a stringent rule and in some cases, there are such 'third world' countries where capital is scarce which manage to develop their own bourgeoisie and need little or no help to maintain their authority internally. Not only that but at least 3 countries throughout history have been able to emerge as capital exporting countries without any recognizable strategic or economic impairments despite the scarcity of capitalist development. These four countries are : 1) Tsarist Russia till 1917, 2) Imperial Japan till 1945 , 3) India 1947 - present.

As a post-war example India contains many unique features of a country undergoing rapid capital accumulation having emerged from a colonial yoke. Among these features, is the continuing scarcity of Capital in India in relation to its large population, as well as the proliferation of its urban population as a part and parcel of proletarianization. But is this proletarianization concentrated and organized ? In Tsarists Russia during its period of industrialization, similar efforts were taken by the then existing government to liberalize the agrarian sector allowing for massive transfers of populations from the countryside to the city. In India, far more sophistic methods are used to achieve roughly the same end. But there's a difference here in the consequence of the action. It has been reported that manufacturing in India has stagnated. This has resulted in two things for the masses of rural migrants when they enter into Indian cities. On the one hand, organized large scale manufacturing is stagnating in terms of absorption of new proletarians into its fold, whilst on the other a channel is created for very sub-standard employment either in certain government jobs(cleaners, sweepers etc) or as is in the majority of the cases, into the informal sector. This informal sector is characterized by the existence of micro organizations employing not more than 9 people in it, with very limited capital requirements where the government imposes restrictions on the total capital invested. The Law of Value tells us that these are sectors where the workers involved are *exceptionally* exploited by their owners for the reason that they are forced to competing with the forces of big capital with very limited means. In India's case a large number of these small 'informal' businesses are in fact family owned stores and organizations. The profits would be shared by the family and each member of the family takes part in the business, even though women are found to be in a minority for the most part. *( Surveys reveal they represent not more than 20% of the total employment in the unorganized and informal sectors) .The unfavorable economic realities of small proprietorship is compounded by the fact that labor laws and protective coverage hardly ever reaches to these areas. Which means, the employment of child labor among other things is found mostly in this area. This speaks of the situation of labor in the urban centers, but what of the rural sector ?

The situation is actually worse in the rural sector with big capitalist farming holding a minority of land *( large estates in India are considered to be 5 hectares and above ) whilst their relative share in the total number of rural households are few. In addition they monopolize the best technologies available and are able to employ large numbers of agricultural proletariat to till their crops. This section of the agricultural population actually accounts for the bulk of the farm output in India and are concentrated for the most part in the wheat belt of India, in Punjab-Haryana-Western UP region whilst in Maharashtra and Gujarat there is the influential "Sugar lobby" based mostly around Western and Central Maharashtra. The marginal farmers and the landless rural households have only two choices in the villages, either leave to work in the cities, or to work in another's farm. But since, most holdings are either small, marginal or medium the scope for generating rural employment for this landless populace is bleak. *( 30% of all rural households are landless ) they have no other choice but to go to the cities, or die. Here again we have yet another phenomena in the villages, with the existence of village money lenders and pawn brokers. This class of usurious people are present in the cities as well and are considerably more exploitative and consequentially richer in most cases than the money lenders in the villages, however, the destruction to livelihood caused by village money lenders is considerably greater when comparing the relative standards of the urban and rural poor. In most cases it is this debt that drives the migration from countryside to city. There are of course other factors too if one considers, direct state repression of peoples in Central India. For the forces of Big Capital what this would mean, is the massive availability of dirt cheap labor as a result of migration from the villages to the cities. Additionally, what this could mean if we consider the steadily rising unemployment and underemployment of peoples is the creation of a vast reserve army of the unemployed. the proliferation and steady expansion of this means, that the Indian bourgeois finds a ready and seemingly 'natural' mechanism for the dampening of wages across the board. The prevalence of statism in India means *( figures suggest that even now 38% of all goods produced in India and almost 50% of the GDP output and 75% of all banking in India by volumes belong to State owned corporations ) that the Indian bourgeois and particularly the big Indian bourgeois need not worry about the entry of foreign capital who would not have the upper edge in terms of exploiting this vast pool of exploitable human labor.

The initial stages of protectionism in that case would stand to mean that an internal sphere had already been secured by State fiat, something which Russia and Japan both invested in heavily but not to the extent of Italy or Germany. Statism, however, could not and will not last forever. The bourgeois does not see state control as an end in itself but merely as a means to an end. The end envisaged here is that Big Indian capital should be readied and nurtured enough to be able to compete aggressively with its more technically sophisticated big imperialist rivals in the west and in the far east. A facet of this development has been noticed in the stagnancy of employment generation in manufacturing sector which contributes to around 14% of the total employment *( Note this includes small and micro level manufacturing as well ) but contributes nearly 30% of the total GDP and this contribution is rising. In fact, Indian manufacturing sector has reached to such an extent that it presently has assumed the lead role in exporting Capital outside India. The main targets of this export has predictably been in the advanced countries where the best technologies exist as well as providing a sort of backroom access to outlying markets in other countries. This success of course, is limited to only a few family based conglomerates and households who control the bulk of the output in the country along with of course the government. But this still hides the perplexing fact that the Indian economy for its boom and accumulation shows enormous and seemingly mysterious disequilibrium. One example of this is the fact of micro and small scale firms accounting for 40- 55% of the GDP in India *( the higher estimate takes into consideration the size of unorganized or informal sector to be 9 per organization, whilst the lower estimate is based on labor output ) . To the largest extent they are represented by small traders in the city and peasant households in the countryside, but also include various services and small manufacturing *( Small manufacturing has a unique feature of having a relatively small output compared to its manpower employed ) . This sorry state of affairs has a parallel with Indian agriculture which has a similar adverse relation between productivity and labor employed. The spurt in growth of Indian manufacturing post 1991 has taken place in only the last 6-7 years of this century and this period saw the emergence of India as a *Major* Capital exporting country which achieved the distinction of exporting more capital than it imported around 2007 when the Tatas acquired CORUS. Before this it was the IT sector which emerged as top dog. What i feel may have happened during this phase was the IT sector losing its distinctive position in India owing to a market determined shift of labor from the IT sector to Manufacturing which has spurred on this growth of Indian manufacturing. Over and above that it has been helped enormously by the infusion of foreign capital in this period as well as acquisitions made abroad which has given it access to new technologies and an expanding investment into research and development. This impetus was previously absent owing to the natural cover provided by Statism in India. Despite these changes, India's manufacturing has yet to catch up the levels of its nearest rivals China. What these contradictions in part shows is the validity of our argument for India's sub-imperialist status as well as its characterization as an economy driven by enforced proletarianization. In India it is the politics of India's sub-imperialism which maintains the social dynamics at the rural level that holds more importance than the economics of sub-imperialism. But the one only exposes the latter and vice-versa.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Limited Program of Maoists Cannot Present a Viable Answer to Unlimited War of Bourgeois

(the following article has been represented here from the new wave blog,

Maoist attack on Alpha Company of 62nd Battalion of the CRPF at Dantewara in Chhattisgarh on 6th April 2010, which wiped out around the whole company formation, leaving 76 dead, has shaken the Indian government, the government of capitalists and landlords, to the hilt. The attack, which took the unprecedented toll upon the armed forces of the state, has come amidst the boasting by the Minister of Interior, P.Chidambaram, that his government is determined to liquidate the ‘naxal terror’. The attack has not only demoralised the armed forces of the state, specially those engaged in ‘liquidation’ of naxals, but has triggered a fully blown up crisis among the ruling classes. The jolt was so powerful, that in the immediate aftermath of it, the Minister of Home had to offer his resignation, saying that “something has gone terribly very wrong”.

After the attack, many in the elite camp have already started to lose faith in the policy and prospects of the war unleashed by the government, leaving only the rabid right wing sections of the establishment, still screaming for more bloodbath. Remarkably, this scream finds its echo in the camp of Stalinists, where the leaders of CPI and CPI(M) not only declare their unconditional and all out support to the barbaric and genocidal policy of the Central Government, but themselves execute the same pro-investor and anti-working class policies through the government under them in West Bengal. Stalinist leaders have virtually joined hands with the government of capitalists, to create an ‘investor friendly’ environment through suppression of all ‘dissent’, with armed might.

The government run by the Indian elite, has recently escalated its war efforts to clear the ground of all sorts of resistance in peripheral regions, to ensure more conducive atmosphere for huge investments. During last year only, the Central Government has deployed 57 battalions of central security forces in the regions they describe as ‘troubled zones’ spread over the eastern part of the country in six states and covering more than one third of the whole country. This is in addition to, and despite the heavy presence of the police force under the respective state governments, already mobilised in this region on a huge scale. This heavy deployment of the state armed forces has virtually militarised the whole region and has created a war-like situation.

The war, unleashed by the Indian ruling elite in the tribal regions of the country, is an inseparable part of the overall military expedition of world capitalism, imposed by it against poorest of the poor, in backward peripheral territories of the world. From Afghanistan and Iraq to Waziristan in Pakistan and upto India, everywhere the same war is being imposed, the aim of which is nothing but to seek absolute domination for world capital and open up ‘all doors’ for investment and capitalist expropriations. From phosphorus bombs to killer Drones, ever new weapons are being added to its arsenal by the world bourgeois.

The old equilibrium achieved by Imperialism after World War-II, with active assistance of Stalinist regimes in Russia and Eastern Europe, is shattered after destruction of these regimes. With metro centres of capitalism becoming over saturated, the world capital, in order to stabilise the profits, is seeking ever new avenues for its investments in backward peripheries of the world, where the national governments, under the economic and political compulsions, are forced to assist the international capital in this hunt. They are lured to open and turn over their territories more and more, to the world capital, as platforms of cheaper labour and raw materials. Governments of all backward and ex-colonial countries are in rat-race against each other to provide more ‘investment friendly’ atmosphere and opportunities to world capital, in their respective countries. This they venture through offering human and natural resources at cheaper rates, subsidies, concessions, lowering of life standards of their working classes, and of course their readiness to crush the resistance of workers and toilers against the exploitation.

The pro-investment neo-liberal policies of the national governments in backward countries, coupled with sharp decline in costs of transportation and communication, the world over, have prepared very conducive environment for entry of world capital into remote backward regions on the globe. The most backward regions are thus being dragged by the forces of market into the great whirlpool of world capitalism.

Most backward regions on the globe are thus intruded through big investments of capital, with most advanced logistics produced by capitalism, at their disposal. Gigantic forces of modern capitalism which had outgrown the centres of world economy long ago in history and since have continued to decay in centres, suddenly come face to face, with the most primitive modes of life and patterns of production and consumption in most backward regions of the world.

Absolutely uncontrolled and merciless expropriation of human and natural resources thus starts at the hands of capitalist corporations, and with it starts the profound social conflagration. Capitalist corporations oust the native population from everything they can and force the poor habitants to pauperisation, starvation and suicides. Exclusion of indigenous toilers from the bare necessities, especially forced acquisitions of the lands by the corporations, and displacement of people, erodes the old patterns of life and forces the toilers to put resistance to intrusion of corporations. As the State enters the scene to crush this resistance to perpetrate the exploitation, the whole situation becomes extremely explosive.

Huge investments of capital in India, at least in six of its states, mostly backward tribal regions, have served virtual death warrants upon the poor habitants. Innumerable contracts of mining and forest, the acquisitions of communal lands, etc. have virtually deprived the natives of all their customary means of livelihood. Much trumpeted rehabilitation of the uprooted, remains elusive, and so the promises of ‘inclusive growth’.

Huge ventures and infrastructure of corporations is raised alongside or in place of the thatched huts of rural poors and tribals, where the whole social scenario presents itself into a social ladder, with extreme poverty and deprivation on one of its end, with extreme riches on the other. Profound social crisis is thus triggered with the chasm between the two distinct worlds existing side by side and is flared up by intervention of the state with its armed forces in favour of the rich and against the poor and exploited.

In the setting of extreme backwardness of region and its habitants, to their advantage, not only the capitalist corporations seek super profits through legal and illegal squeezing of the whole region, but the officials of the state, the supervisors of this exploitation, add to this every possible form and means of human degradation and crude exploitation-including sexual exploitation of women.

Pockets of resistance, thus emerge against the efforts of the bourgeois state to ravish these peripheries. The poor people are forced into a war of resistance, a war of bare survival, a war very genuine in essence, but equally unequal and consequentially desperate.

Needless to say, that given the leadership of working class, capable to integrate them around it, these zones of resistance have immense potential to get multiplied in thousands to become powerful lever for a proletarian revolution. However, in absence of such leadership, they remain isolated in their own shell, and consequently incapable to develop into an all national uprising against the power of capitalists and landlords. Worse, in absence of a working class party armed with a revolutionary program, the partisan uprisings fail to bring their revolutionary side as auxiliaries of proletarian struggle for power, and depict only their reactionary side, i.e. the defence of primitive forms of economy as against the most advanced modes of production at the helm of modern capitalism. Independently and on their own, incapable to bring an edge against the rule of the bourgeois, these movements confine themselves to the pitiable and desperate repulsion to the advance of capital to the peripheries, a cause which has no prospects of success and has to be lost, today or tomorrow.

Deprived of the leadership and program of urban proletariat, these local movements of very limited amplitude, in defence of pre-capitalist forms, can only resist and thereby slow down the process of capitalist development, prolong its life span and thus can only delay its extermination at the hands of working class.

The Maoist Bureaucracy having no political idea and program against the rule of bourgeois, simply adapts itself to these partisan struggles of peasantry and raises the banner of their limited and local demands. How much these struggles, armed or unarmed, may appear radical in their form, they fail to bring forth a real program of social revolution, directed against the rule of capital. This explains the root political cause of failure of peasant revolts from Telangana to Naxalbari.

Time and again sections of tribals and peasantry had risen in revolt against the rule of exploiters, but only in this partisan manner and with a very limited program of concessions and reforms. Given the historic inability of the peasantry, to rise as a class on all national scale, bourgeois succeeded in defeating these partisan struggles easily, one after the other. The more the peasant struggles move forward, the more they depict their historic inability to capture power against the might of capital and trigger a social revolution.

Without the leadership of the working class, the partisan struggles of tribals, peasants, dalits and other sections of poor toilers, can never develop into a nationwide uprising, sufficient to overturn capitalism!

It is in these struggles, that Maoists seek their political base, to constitute themselves into a political bureaucracy, erect a command structure, disorient the columns of revolutionary fighters and mislead the whole revolutionary process turning it away from the working class and its program of ‘permanent revolution’. Instead of taking up the struggle to overturn capitalism, Maoists search for routes to escape the ‘ills’ of capitalism, under false notions of ‘new democracy’ and amazingly in conjunction with sections of bourgeois and its parties.

Given the political void, created by the absence of a proletarian movement capable to consolidate the partisan struggles of poor and toiling masses around it, Maoists find it convenient to substitute themselves for the working class and build themselves upon the very shallow foundations and reactionary side of these struggles, which in any case, do not even touch upon the contours of capitalism. This includes chiefly their support for defence of the primitive modes of life, property and the existence as a whole. It is not of any political significance if this program is executed through armed or unarmed, violent or non-violent means. Sometimes these struggles may appear to be very radical, given their violent opposition to those in power, but the point is that in any case, even at their climax, these movements on their own cannot aim at deposing the capitalists from power.

Maoists-the protagonists of the ‘Chinese Path’, possess a misconceived notion of revolutionary process in China and elsewhere and thus deny the need for an independent and leading role for the working class in impending political revolution. Instead of turning to the working class for such leadership, they adapt themselves to myriad forms of struggles of the poor, in pursuit of their very limited and narrow aims and program.

In the name of ‘new democracy’, which is nothing but the road leading to the old bourgeois democracy in essence, Maoists dissociate themselves from the great historic mission of proletariat-the overturn of capitalism. Firmly entrenched in the bogus Stalinist ‘two stage theory’ of revolution, Maoists deny the need for a proletarian revolution, for advancing the struggle for a proletarian dictatorship. On the contrary they profess to take power in collaboration with ‘national bourgeois’, which in their opinion is an ally of revolution. They are not for overturning of capitalism and private property, rather they seek its preservation. Like Stalinists, they too zealously seek ‘progressive’ sections among the bourgeois, and always remain adherent to one or the other section of bourgeois. If yesterday Mayawati’s BSP qualified their criteria of progressive ally, today it is Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress. Their ‘new democratic revolution’ does not go beyond the narrow Menshevik confines of bourgeois democracy.

The erstwhile People’s War Group (PWG), the predecessor to CPI(Maoist), helped Y.S. Rajshekhar Reddy of the Congress party to win the assembly elections trouncing N.Chandrababu Naidu of the Telugu Desam Party. Having won the elections with thumping majority, YSR led congress government half-heartedly proposed ‘talks’ inviting the Maoists to abandon the struggle and within weeks of the “collapse” of talks, senior leaders of the Maoists were shot dead. YSR raised the ‘Greyhounds’ which drenched this friendship in blood. Maoists then spared Bahujan Samaj Party from attacks, during Parliamentary elections and permitted it to campaign while banning all others.

The erstwhile Maoist Communist Center (MCC), another constituent of the CPI(Maoist), with its base in Bihar and Jharkhand, has a history of remaining adherent to various caste and identity based political formations. Its role in the local elections, underlines the flawed politics of Maoists. This has recently come up in Jharkhand in their tacit understanding with and support to Shibu Soren, during the assembly elections.

Their open alliance and support to Trinamool Congress (TMC) in West Bengal is perhaps the starkest of all. They had worked hand in hand with this rabid agent of bourgeois, on the pretext to dislodge the CPM. This paved the way to victory for TMC candidates in recent Parliamentary elections. But when immediately after the elections, the central forces unleashed repression upon the Maoists, and Kishenji called for help, while TMC remained partner in Central Government, TMC leaders just looked away.

Maoists oppose the intrusion of capitalism to backward peripheries from its advanced centres, and in that they base themselves upon the popular notion that there can be good escape from the ‘ills’ of capitalism, while denying the need to take up the struggle for overturn of the power of capitalism at its core centres, as immediate agenda of the revolution. Instead of pushing capitalism forward to its graveyard, Maoists hold it back, block its march to gallows, and thus prolong its life, making the birth of new socialist society belated and thus more and more painful.

Destiny of toiling masses, exploited and ravaged under the rule of capitalists and landlords, remains inseparably bound with that of the working class and depends upon it, upon its victories and defeats, its ups and downs, in its life and death struggle against capitalist power. Liberation of toiling masses, from the clutches of capitalism, is not possible except through a successful struggle of working class at the centres of capitalism. Partisan struggles of poor toilers, the tribals, peasants, dalits, and women at peripheries, can only be elevated to a successful uprising for their liberation, which only can realize the aspirations of the poor, through their consolidation around the struggle of working class in the centres, for political power.

Maoists, pitiably deny this leading and conclusive role for the working class in theory. In practice, they turn their back upon the struggles of working class at the centres and orient themselves towards the backward peripheries. While denying an independent role for working class from bourgeois and petty bourgeois influences, Maoists seek independence of partisan struggles from the leadership of working class itself.

Maoists preclude the idea of working class leadership on the false pretext of ‘protracted war’, in which urban working class has no role to play except that of an appendage to the ‘peasant war’. Maoists bypass the working class and substitute their para-military command structure, for the leadership of working class. They make a fetish out of the tactics of protracted war- a war completely dissociated from the working class and its struggle for power.

City would lead the village, industry the agriculture and thus the city proletariat would lead the peasantry. But the Maoists, overlook this historic truth to build their castles in the air. Their program reveals an amalgam of Narodist and Menshevik program. Towards capitalism, their whole approach is based upon resisting its advance, in defence of petty producers and to save them from ruin. Demands in their program thus do not go beyond a softer hand and benevolent face for capitalism.

Insurgency under the leadership of Maoists offers no way forward for the working class, neither for the mass of toilers. They are politically retrograde Nationalist-Stalinist movement who consciously reject the struggle for political independence and hegemony of the working class. They rely upon partisan war based upon the rural mass, having no faith in the strength and no understanding of the role of working class.

The more these peasant struggles move ahead, the more would they reveal the political bankruptcy of the Maoists and the inability of the peasantry to liberate itself from the shackles of capitalism. The more peasantry would rise in revolt, the more there would be need for the proletariat to stand at the head of these scattered revolts, to consolidate them around its own political struggle against the bourgeois regime, and to imbue the partisan revolts with a real program of social revolution. The more the need for the working class leadership, the more Maoists would find themselves marginalised.

As the resistance of poor toilers against their exploiters would grow, it itself would reveal, with more and more clarity, the farce of petty bourgeois doctrines including Maoism alongside the inability of the toiling masses to liberate themselves from the stranglehold of capitalism, on their own, i.e. without the leadership of the working class. The more the struggles of toilers would advance against the capitalists, the more the need would be felt for this leadership of proletariat and above all, its party, armed with revolutionary Marxism. In inverse proportion to these struggles, the distorted and degenerated variants of Marxism, both Stalinism and Maoism, would get evaporated, vacating the political stage for revolutionary Marxism.

In saying this, we do not intend to draw a parallel between Stalinists and Maoists. While Stalinists, the CPI-CPM have consciously and conveniently adapted to parliamentary cretinism, we recognise that there are lot many sincere people among the Maoists who are ready to stake their lives for the great cause of liberation of the poor and for a social revolution, though with completely distorted notions of such revolutionary process and its historic trajectory. The two cannot be equated for that. But this does not prevent us from pointing out that both of them, claim their origin to the same political soil, arising out chiefly of the decomposition of the Third International under Stalin. Both of them owe their allegiance to the politics of Stalinist Comintern, Kremlin and Beijing bureaucracies, the united Communist Party of India, the ‘two stage theory’ of revolution, the alliance with sections of national bourgeois, the farce of ‘socialism in one country’ etc. etc. Thus it is the same politics which Stalinists toe inside the parliament, that the Maoists take to villages and forests. Both of them are rooted politically in the same soil. This politics, in its essence, is the politics of adherence to this or that sections of bourgeois and denial of a decisive struggle against their rule.

Centrist politics of Stalinists and Maoists, never remained in conformity with the destiny of the working class. It is not amazing that both of them have recorded historic successes, only upon the defeats of the working class. Stalinism had staged its entry on world political scene, right at the time when the revolutionary tide triggered by the Great October Revolution had gone into the ebb, after defeat of German Revolution. Echoing the aspirations of bureaucracy, which longed only to consume the fruits of October revolution and thus demanded abandonment of the program of world socialist revolution, Stalinism unfurled the banner of ‘socialism in one country’ as Nationalist retrograde antithesis to the great dream of world proletarian revolution. Maoism, the Chinese variant of Stalinism, in its turn emerged on the back of the defeat of heroic uprising of the proletariat in Chinese cities, and its complete annihilation at the hands of Kuomintang in 1925-27. Needless to say, that these defeats were sown and facilitated and perpetuated by the Stalinist Comintern itself, its capitulation to the national bourgeois, and its total inability to understand and estimate the alignment of class forces.

Extreme exploitation of working people at the hands of capitalists-landlords and the betrayals of Stalinist CPI and later CPI(M)paved the way for disillusionment of the masses and their turning away from political struggles. A Trojan horse for Stalinist policies, the united CPI had remained a dead shell incapable of leading the working and toiling masses to revolution, rather became an instrument to hold back the masses from political struggle against the rule of capitalists. Maoists, though abandoned Stalinist parties, but not the program of Stalinism itself. They never challenged bogus fundamentals of Stalinism and even after their organisational split in a separate party in 1969, they never attacked the foundations of Stalinism. They remained adherent to program of Stalinism. In fact, all these split away groups of Stalinist CPI, like other parties of Stalinist Comintern, competed with each other in appeasing the Kremlin or Beijing bureaucracies armed with narrow nationalist outlook, and failed to put up a revolutionary struggle for hegemony of International working class and a world proletarian revolution.

Repeated feelers being sent by Maoists to the government, before and after the attack of Dantewara, showing their extreme eagerness for talks and negotiations, are demonstrative of the unwillingness of Maoists to carry forward the revolution to the end, to turn the bourgeois power upside down. On the contrary, Maoists are zealously seeking ways and means for a midway settlement with bourgeois establishment. While paying lip service to the cause of a social revolution, the Maoists, in projection of their demands to the government, are proposing a petty program of social reforms, limited to the confines of capitalism.

In any case, false hopes in Maoism would be shattered either in case of its victory (1949 China) or in case of a debacle (2008 Nepal). This path is bound to lead to stabilisation and re-stabilisation of the power in the hands of bourgeois, either through a direct systemic failure due to its unrealizable program of ‘new democracy’ or ‘peoples democracy’(Nepal) or growing over of this ‘new democracy’ into the folds of old bourgeois democracy in no time (China). However, the historic tragedy of Maoism is that whatever limited role it could play as local agency of Stalinist bureaucracy in China, it could not play in Nepal. The role it played in Nepal, it would never be able to play in India.

The war of Capitalists and their government upon the poor in India, is the part of global war agenda of world capitalism, being imposed upon poorest of the poor on the globe on the false premises of countering ‘terrorism’. The war of bourgeois thus being global and permanent in its character, the limited nationalist program of Maoists is no match to it. ‘Permanent revolution’, the only genuine political program of the proletariat, is the only answer to the unlimited and permanent war unleashed by the world capital on the globe as a whole, and peripheries in particular.
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Thursday, September 10, 2009

An Appeal to The Working Class: Support the Cause of Jet Airways Pilots! Appeal issued by 'the new wave'; 9 September 2009


The pilots of Jet Airways have gone on strike, in protest against the termination of two of their colleagues, from services. The two pilots had been trying to form a trade union of airplane pilots, for which they have been penalised by the employers.

The strike of pilots, has once again made it glaring that it is the working class which makes the world run and if they wish they can stop everything by moving a finger. And if a handful of pilots can give such a big jolt to the whole system, what would happen if the multi-million working class rises to take its destiny in its own hands! In ordinary times, an illusion is created as if rich bosses are everything and the workers nothing. Only strike tells that bosses are nothing and it is workers who are everything.

It is why all the forces of the system run by the rich, have joined hands to defeat the striking pilots. The corporate and their media, the government, the courts, the police, as if everyone has pulled the strings against the pilots. Court has issued a restraint order against the strike, while government is making preparations to call into service, the ESMA. By issuing a statement, the pilots, however, have demonstrated their will to continue the strike against all odds, till their colleague pilots are reinstated to work.

The two days strike has given a very important lesson that the struggle of the workers cannot be confined against the individual employers. The employers are immediately backed not only by their entire class, but also by the whole machine of state, designed to serve the bosses against the workers. As it becomes clear that handful of workers are no match for the combined strength of the rich employers and their government, the need arises for the working class to join hands against its class enemies. The workers essentially realise that they have to confront the state before they could resist the employers. This way every struggle of the working class, whatever its causes and dimensions may be, at the very next step, essentially becomes a political struggle against the state machine in service of the rich. The struggle teaches the workers that it is not their individual employer, but the class of employers and the whole system of capitalism put in place by them, which is responsible for their woes.

The development of science and computerisation, has increased the strength of working class hundredfold. A handful of workers, in agreement with each other, now can bring down the entire system to its knees within minutes and it is impossible to substitute these highly skilled workers at ease. The flash strikes, like the one of the Jet pilots, in defiance of laws like Industrial Disputes Act, which make it mandatory to issue a 14 days notice before a strike, so as to provide sufficient cushion to employers to make preparations in advance, including a ‘stay’ against it from a Court, are very effective weapon in the hands of the working class. Without giving an opportunity to the enemy to take to its feet, the strike appears. Pilots’ strike is the pathfinder for future struggles.

The issue, raised by the pilots’ action, i.e. the right to organise in class unions, is of universal significance for the working class. Paradoxically, however, the action of pilots has itself shown, that of real and crucial importance is the class struggle of the working class, and not any legal rights. But the struggle of sections of workers, becomes a genuine class struggle when it is directed against the class of their enemies- the rich bosses and their stooge governments- in which the broadest sections of the working class, those millions and millions take part to fight against their deprivation of all rights. Every trivial struggle of the workers, in this way, may be the trigger for a real struggle of the entire working class, which reels under much worse conditions of life as compared to that of the better paid pilots. This is another reason why the workers must support the cause of the pilots. Support to the cause of pilots is in fact a fight against the common enemies of the working class!

We, thus, call upon all sections of the working class to support the action of pilots by all means and measures, including demonstrations, protests, strikes etc. and express their class solidarity in action.

Political Committee
‘the new wave’
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Monday, June 22, 2009

Bombay: The Stalinist Leadership and the Destruction of the Left

Any visitor to the cities of Maharashtra, would be greeted, today, with the sight of saffron flags and pompous glorification of Thakares. But the cities of Maharashtra today, especially its capital Bombay, bear a striking contrast to the cities, as they were in the decades of the 1960s and 1970s. For these cities of Maharashtra were once one of the leading bastions of the working class and Communists. Mumbai in particular had a militant tradition among the working classes since the days of the freedom struggle. One has only to look at the glorious history of the workers struggles, there in the textile mills to get an idea of the city that once was. The situation around 1970, could be judged from the fact that the armed squads of the workers, used to disband the ‘Shakhas’ of fascists forcibly and publicly beat up those attending these Shakhas, conducted by Shiv Sena and RSS.
In the national context this was happening at a time of severe economic crisis of 70’s, when the national and local bourgeois could have risked such labour militancy, less than ever. The decade of the 1970's was infamous as a decade of acute fiscal deficit and mounting inflation. At this crucial juncture of the crisis of bourgeois regime, the militancy of workers arose and consequently the influence of the Communists over them. Under the influence of workers movement a militant youth movement was also taking shape at fast pace. The youth movement was to have tremendous impact on the political life of Maharashtra, once this movement integrated itself with the labour movement and succeeded in mobilising behind it the discontented Marathi youth. In that eventuality, the bourgeois, both liberal and fascist, would have been completely isolated.
The powerful levers of the real mass movement of the working class, elevated the CPI and its leader Krishna Desai, an MLA form Dadar, to the mass leadership in entire Maharashtra, followed not only by sections of petty bourgeois in the cities, but vast majority of the peasant toilers in the villages.
The puzzle then bogs the mind of a visitor to Bombay, how come this real left bastion, which rested upon the might of such a militant working class, with great fighting traditions to its credit, was bogged down by the fascist bands of Shiv Sena?
The roots of this historic failure, can only be traced to the fact that though the working class in Bombay and other cities of Maharashtra, showed heroism in the struggles against its class enemies, but unfortunately, the overall leadership of this movement remained, at the time, in the hands of the Stalinist CPI. The flawed policies of the Stalinists, which based themselves on class collaboration with national bourgeois and its parties in the name of popular-front, developed a very docile and capitulationist caricature of revolutionary Marxism. This tail-ist attitude of Stalinist leadership, was in fact, no match for the rising militancy of the working class. Sooner than later, the inevitable was to happen. Either the working would have overthrown its bogus Stalinists leadership, before setting out to overthrow the bourgeois power, or the bourgeois was to destroy the working class and its movement. It was in the interest of the bourgeois as a whole, and primarily of the Congress, to check the advance of rising militancy of the working class.
The bourgeois had sensed the danger in the offing, and rightly so, which the militant working class has aroused in its heart. The sword of a proletarian upsurge, was hanging right above the head of its regime, as Bombay was commercial nerve centre of the country, known as its commercial capital. Not the local bourgeois, but the national bourgeois was thus deeply concerned about the immense growth of the movement of the working class. If bourgeois rule was to survive, it was imperative upon its leaders to break the back of the labour movement, as soon as possible.
The bourgeois had already formed its rabidly fascist wing, under the banner of Shiv Sena in late 1960’s, on the tune and patterns of SS bands of Hitler, and white shirts of Mussolini, with an all out support of section of the State and its armed forces , primarily of the state police, to it. It started raising mass chauvinist hysteria against the South Indians, in Bombay, majority of whom, were workers. This was fuelled by the demands for a unified Maharashtra which had come to a conclusion in the formation of the state of Maharashtra on 1st May 1960. The Shiv Sena based itself on this passing mood, and by fanning it out of proportion, rose it to cultural regional chauvinism to gain support among the petty bourgeois middle classes of Mumbai and Pune. If it could meet with partial success, it was due to political impotence of the Stalinist leadership. Shiv Sena, however, failed to make any serious inroads even into the middle class petty bourgeois of Maharashtra, much less the trust and support of the workers. This was the strength and influence of the working class at that time.
The sectarian split of Stalinist leadership, in mid 1960’s, and the ensuing dog-fight between the two factions for bureaucratic controls over the movement for their narrow ends, adversely affected the unity of the working class. The Shiv Sena sought an opportune moment, finding the space for itself and the ground to discredit the leadership, as a political force, in the eyes of the workers. In tacit understanding with a section of the Congress, the Sena penetrated the rank and file in the Maharashtrian workers, and simultaneously started attacking non-Maharashtrian Communist leaders. This dual tactic, slowly but surely, yielded the results. Street fights often broke out between the fascist forces of the SS and that of the CPI. This reached a fever pitch in the late sixties in the famous Worli street fights which lasted for months. These clashes reached their climax in June 1970 with the murder of popular CPI leader Krishna Desai.
Preceding the murder was a Sena assault on the CPI office in Mumbai, in which the office was burnt down. The workers became furious on this, and a large gathering of armed workers numbering in the thousands assembled at the charred office. In this frenzied mood the workers vowed to wipe out the fascists in one day. Workers were all prepared to execute their will. But the bogus Stalinist leadership was frightened and could not dare to issue a signal. The armed workers looked towards the leadership, but the leadership consciously held them back. The truth is that the sight of armed workers ready to attack, struck not an inspiration but fear in the minds of the Stalinist leadership itself, because of its own allegiance to the bourgeois. They feared losing control over the workers at that moment and prevented the workers from rising against the impending fascist threat. The Shiv Sena, however, was not so sparing. It immediately identified an opportunity in the dwindling mood of Stalinist leadership and wasted no time in advancing the assault against the working class. Stalinist leadership, instead of signalling the workers to confront the fascist advance, ran away from Bombay.
Emboldened by the docile attitude of Stalinist leadership, the Sena dared to conspire to physically eliminate kill Krishna Desai. By this time the fascists in Mumbai had managed to muster the open support of the Congress leadership for their project. In June 1970, men from Shiv Sena, headed by Bal Thakrey himself, killed Krishna Desai in broad daylight, in full public view. The attack left the Stalinist leadership stunned. While Stalinists remained in dilemma, the fascists carried out the murderous campaign of annihilation of the movement. Having disposed of its arch communist nemesis, Shiv Sena became ever more bold, and by the mid-eighties it forced significant intrusion into the trade unions of Mumbai. Perplexed and confused Stalinist leadership, having no independent policy to counter fascists, kept on looking towards the bourgeois state to tackle the fascists, which in fact, lend a supporting hand to the fascists to wipe out the movement of the working class. With a do-nothing attitude, the Stalinist leaders looked at the labour movement being finished by the murderous hordes of the fascist Shiv Sainiks with the obvious backing of the Congress. This left the working class in disarray.Thus came the tragic end of the labour militancy in Maharashtra and the rise of fascists!After betraying the cause of the working class, the Stalinists, however gained through parliamentary manuevre, on the back of the crushing defeat of the working class. As an echo of the heroic battle of the working class in the recent past, the CPI managed to gain a considerable number of seats in the state assembly, in 1978 elections, with the lifting of the emergency. This shadow influence however, could not have last long. Instead of fighting, the Stalinists, rapidly adapted to the influence of armed hordes of the Shiv Sena fascists, who in time managed to decimate the entire labour movement in Maharashtra.
Shiv Sena, thus gradually increased its strength with the tacit support of the Congress and the overt support of the bourgeois, both local and national. By 1995, Sena managed to form the government in Maharashtra with support of the BJP. In the meanwhile the working class in Maharashtra, continued to be more and more marginalised as a political force, partly under the Stalinists and partly under fascists.
And what of the workers? The onslaught of fascism and the subsequent move to liberalization in the 1990s and the first years of the twenty first century have lead to ever greater pains for the working masses. The decade of the 90's witnessed to major riots pitted against muslims, a clear effort to further divide and weaken the proletariat of Maharashtra who had already been weakened by the destruction of its movement and its further division at the hands of fascists, on the lines of regional chauvinism and false identities.
The failure of the Stalinist CPI to mobilise the working class for a virtual fight against the fascists, thus led to the complete destruction of the labour movement as a whole in Maharashtra, paving way for the eventual rise of fascism. This bogus policy of Stalinists, was only the replica of their old policy which had led to defeat of Communists in Germany, Spain etc. at the hands of the fascists. In both cases it was the hopelessly reactionary line of the Stalinist Comintern, which had paved the way for the defeat of mature revolutions and the eventual rise of fascist forces.
The events of 1970 are a watershed in the history of the working class in India. The lessons of 1970’s call for an ouster of Stalinist leadership from the labour movement, not only in Bombay, but everywhere in the country. The line propounded by Leon Trotsky of confronting the fascists directly relying upon the forces of a United Front of the working class, is the only way to advance.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

India: Parliament of the Multi-Millionaires

The largest number of the poor on the globe are domiciled in India, with over 280 million people living below the poverty line. Recent UN statistics estimate that more than 80% of its habitants live on a average of less than $2 per day. There has been recent spate of suicide by more than 3,000 farmers, due to hunger and immense poverty. However, these deprived poor are separated by a chasm from their rulers, who get themselves polled to power, through the votes of these very poor. The 543 Members of Parliament, who have been elected to the 15th Lok Sabha (the lower house of Parliament), in the recently concluded general elections, have a combined asset worth of Rs 30,750 million, with an average asset of the individual member, coming out to be over Rs fifty million. Interestingly, these are only the declared part of the assets, that too arbitrarily undervalued. There are an estimated 300 MPs with assets worth Rs ten million or more in the new Lok Sabha, which is nearly double the number of MPs at 154 in the previous 14th Lok Sabha.A total of four MPs have assets worth more than Rs 1000 million and include Congress' L Rajagopal in Andhra Pradesh and NCP's Padamsinha Bajirao Patil from Maharashtra. These are followed by NCP's Praful Patel (Rs 899 million), Congress' G Vivekanand (Rs 729 million), Congress' Y S Jaganmohan Reddy (Rs 728 million), Congress' Rajkumar Ratna Singh (Rs 678 million), Akali Dal's Harsimrat Kaur (Rs 603 million) and National Congress Party's Supriya Sule (Rs 504 million).Telugu Desam Party's Namma Nageswara Rao, who has won the election from Khammam in Andhra Pradesh, leads the tally of MPs with assets worth about Rs 1740 million, followed by Congress leader and industrialist Naveen Jindal (Rs 1310 million). Jindal has won the election from Kurukshetra in Haryana for the second time. Besides, there are Bahujan Samaj Party's Surendra Singh Nagar (Rs 492 million), BJP's Shivakumar Udasi (Rs 482 million), Congress' Praneet Kaur (Rs 423 million), Congress' Annu Tandon (Rs 421 million), Congress' Rajamohan Reddy (Rs 363 million), Congress' Priya Dutt, (Rs 349 million) and Congress' Kapil Sibal (Rs 319 million).In terms of parties, Congress has as many as 138 multi-millionaire MPs, followed by Bharatiya Janata Party with 58, Samajwadi Party's 14 and Bahujan Samaj Party's 13. Besides, there are 11 from Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam, nine from Shiv Sena, eight from the Janata Dal(United), seven from NCP and six each from Biju Janata Dal and Trinamool Congress.Interestingly, the aggregate size of the assets of these new MPs, makes their congregation more valuable than a vast majority of the public companies in the country. There are close to 4,700 listed companies in India, out of which just about 150 companies have their assets valued at more than Rs 30,000 million. The above composition of the house of Parliament, apparently depicts the domination of money power over this prime institution of bourgeois democracy and through it upon the capitalist republic as a whole. This has taken place at two levels. In the first instance, those who were elected as MPs, have enriched themselves making use of their position in the Parliament, to accumulate wealth through serving the interests of the rich. Secondly, the rich themselves have entered more and more into the Parliament. Without much effort, one may see that the noose of money around the neck of ‘democracy’ continues to tighten its grip with each passing day, as is reflected by every consecutive general election. Not only the public opinion is manoeuvred through corporate media, run on the power of millions, but the conscience of the electorate is systematically maligned through direct and indirect bribery etc. etc. This direct subjugation of the representative institutions by the money power, turns the bourgeois democracy into a farce for the proletariat. All declarations of equality, liberty and freedom remain meaningless for the poor. The right to universal franchise, under the unbridled domination of money over the institutions of democracy, turns into universal subjection of the electorate at the hands of those who have the omnipotent power of money at their disposal. In the institutions of bourgeois democracy, remains embedded the real nexus between the rich and the government. Parliament is the show window of this alliance between the capitalists and the government. Engels commented -“In a democratic republic, wealth exercises its power indirectly, but all the more surely, first, by means of the direct corruption of officials (America), secondly, by means of an alliance between the government and the Stock Exchange (France and America).”This alliance, acquires the most blatant form, among others, in the domination of the Parliament, the highest organ of bourgeois democracy, by the class of exploiters who had already gained a de-facto control of the bourgeois parliamentary system. With 300 out of 543 members of the house of parliament being multi-millionaire, the Parliament itself becomes an instrument in the hands of the rich to echo their own agenda through it, while stifling the interests of the poor and marginalised sections, within the framework of the bourgeois democracy. The parliament thus loses any effective political role or significance in the bourgeois state and becomes a platform for hollow and meaningless discourses. It turns into a virtual smokescreen for the real power of the money, vested chiefly, in the class organisations of the rich, like the Chambers of Commerce and Industries, the real directors of the state, and executed through the bureaucratic organs of the state.