The year 2021 has come to an end. It was a year of courageous and determined struggle by crores of workers and peasants all over the country.
The growing mass protests by workers reflects their anger and extreme discontent with their terrible conditions. On top of the massive destruction of jobs and wage cuts resulting from the lockdowns, parliament enacted the anti-worker and pro-capitalist Labour Codes in 2020. The Central Government stepped up the pace of privatisation of public assets in 2021. Workers in the railways, coal mines, banking, insurance, electricity, telecom, defence production, ports and other sectors of large-scale industry and services have united in struggle against privatisation. They are waging a united struggle, rising above all differences of union and party affiliations.
The unity of over 500 kisan unions around one common set of demands is a big step forward. The protracted struggle waged by the kisans show their resolve that the liberalisation program, aimed at monopoly capitalist domination of agriculture, must be defeated.
People are opposing state-organised communal violence and all other forms of state terrorism. They are opposing the violation of human rights and democratic rights, including the rights of the different nations, nationalities and peoples who together make up India.
Masses of workers and peasants have recognised that they are fighting a common enemy, the monopoly capitalists, Indian and foreign. They can see that policies are decided by the Cabinet on behalf of monopoly capitalists. Parliament enacts laws aimed at fulfilling their greed for maximum profits, at the expense of our livelihood and rights.
The need of the hour is to defend and further strengthen the worker-peasant alliance by building political unity around one common program. We have to build unity around the alternative to the capitalist program of globalisation, liberalisation and privatisation, and around the alternative to the existing parliamentary system which excludes people from power and tramples on their rights.
The system of rule by the capitalist class is based on maintaining the illusion that all classes of people can get their problems addressed by electing the party of their choice to form the government. In recent years, the growing mass discontent among workers and peasants, coupled with the absence of a credible alternative to BJP at the all-India scale, has been posing a threat to the system of capitalist rule. The ruling class has sought to use the Kisan Andolan to fulfil its need for a credible parliamentary opposition.
History provides many examples of how the ruling capitalist class has at various periods of time promoted so-called democratic alternatives, to keep alive the illusion that the existing system represents the interests of all classes. One such example is when the state of Emergency was lifted in 1977 and a new Janata Party government was formed to replace the Congress Party government of Indira Gandhi. The ruling class claimed that democracy had been restored. For a short period of time, they even made Chaudhury Charan Singh, a kisan leader from Uttar Pradesh, the Prime Minister of India. There was no change in the class character of political power. The central government continued to implement the agenda set by the monopoly capitalists. The economy continued to be geared to enrich big capitalists at the expense of workers and peasants.
The ruling capitalist class wants to use the upcoming state assembly elections in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and other states to shore up the credibility of parliamentary democracy and test various alternatives to BJP. As always, it will try to use elections to smash the fighting unity of the people. Learning lessons from history, workers and peasants must defeat such plans of the ruling class.
It is in the best interests of all kisans that they decide collectively what to do in the state assembly elections, and all kisan unions follow one single line of action. If different unions follow different lines of action it will go against the interests of the kisans as a whole. It will weaken and destroy the fighting unity of workers and peasants and serve the interests of the ruling class.
In order to foil the divisive and deceptive tactics of the rulers, we need to build a political front of workers and peasants around one common program. It must be aimed at putting an end to the liberalisation and privatisation program and reorienting the economy to fulfil people’s needs. It must be aimed at reconstituting the political system to vest sovereignty in the people, with a State and Constitution that protect the inviolability of human rights and democratic rights, including national rights of peoples within the Indian Union. Our program must be aimed at redefining India’s international relations on the basis of principled opposition to imperialism, to wars of conquest and all forms of interference in the internal affairs of independent states.
Masses of people are out on the streets in protest, not only in our country but in all capitalist countries of the world. People are longing for a qualitative change in the nature of political power and in the course of development of society. The imperialist and capitalist states of the world are resorting to diabolical means, from massive disinformation, biological warfare, spreading of fear, imposition of lockdowns and promotion of parliamentary alternatives, to prevent the working class and people from seeking a revolutionary alternative.
Let us welcome the year 2022 with revolutionary optimism. Let us take up the tasks we face with courage and determination. The day is not far off when the sun will shine for all of us. The sun will shine for the workers, peasants, women and youth when we end the rule of the capitalist class and take political power into our hands.
Happy New Year!