On the Raadia tapes and what they exposed

On 21st September, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) informed the Supreme Court that it did not find anything criminal in the Raadia Tapes.  These tapes refer to the record of telephone conversations, tapped by various state agencies.  They are conversations between Niira Raadia, who represents several major corporate houses, with her pay masters as well as with ministers and politicians of different parties.

In 2013, the Supreme Court had directed the CBI to investigate these tapes, after observing that “Raadia’s conversations reveal deep-rooted malice by private enterprises in connivance with government officials for extraneous purposes”.

The CBI’s stand suggests that this entire issue may get quietly buried now.   In this context, we are reproducing below some extracts from the article published by the Communist Ghadar Party of India on 16th December, 2010, under the title: What the Raadia Tapes actually expose: Dictate of capitalist monopoly houses is the real content of multi-party representative democracy.


One important truth revealed by the Raadia tapes is that capitalist monopoly houses not only influence the complexion of the alliance of parties that forms the government in New Delhi, but even influence decisions such as the choice of individual for holding a particular portfolio. The tapes reveal that the Tatas were paying Raadia to influence the decision as to which DMK leader should become the Telecom Minister in the second UPA regime.

The multi-party representative democracy that exists in our country is promoted as being rule of, by and for the people. However, the majority of people have a marginal role in the political process, only on voting day. It is a small minority of super-rich and powerful monopoly capitalists who determine the party or alliance that will form the government. They play a direct role in selecting the particular individuals to handle particular ministerial portfolios. The capitalists reward the politicians, who return the favours when they occupy the seats of power. Hence, it is a regular part of the existing state monopoly capitalist system that lucrative contracts, licenses and permits are handed out by ministers and officials to favoured corporate houses. The monopoly capitalists also reward politicians of the “opposition parties”, who do their bidding in various ways. Elections only serve to legitimise the dictate of the exploiting minority.

The Raadia tapes give us a glimpse of how public policy is formulated. The investigating agencies have been forced to admit while summarising the discussions recorded on the tapes that the policies of various government departments – telecom, petroleum and gas, defence, airlines etc — are being discussed and fine-tuned by the monopoly capitalists through their dalals to specifically give them an advantage over their rivals. The appointment of every director, every secretary in the higher echelons of power is occasion for this or that capitalist group to advance its interests over its rivals. What is passed off as grand policy in “national interest” is in fact a policy dictated by the greed of the monopoly capitalists.

According to the propaganda of the capitalist class, the “free market” reforms of the past two decades are supposed to have done away with the corrupt old ways of the “license permit raj”. The so-called reform process initiated by the then Finance Minister Manmohan Singh in 1991 is supposed to have brought about good governance, transparency and accountability. The revelations of the Raadia tapes expose the hollowness of these claims.

Capitalism at its present stage of development is characterised by monopoly, by domination, parasitism and corruption from top to bottom. It is a system in which there is not and can never be a level playing field or ‘free competition’. Markets as well as the state institutions are dominated by capitalist monopolies. The so-called market reforms only serve to open up space for monopoly capitalists, for some to push out others, always leading to higher and higher degrees of concentration of capital and power.

Both in the days of the Nehruvian ‘socialistic pattern of society’, and in the period of liberalization and privatization more recently, the system that has developed in our country was and is state monopoly capitalism. It is a system in which capitalist monopolies control the central state, which intervenes in the interests of the monopolies. Over time, the degree of monopoly has increased, leading to a massive increase in the stakes involved in every deal. New capitalist groups have emerged and grown, some old ones displaced. The nexus between politicians and big capitalists has only become more overbearing than before.

The propaganda of the capitalist class is aimed at creating the impression that the existing political system can be cleaned up and made corruption free through reforms or minor corrections. In reality, only a revolution led by the working class can put an end to the corrupt and parasitic rule of an exploiting minority, by replacing capitalist democracy with proletarian democracy, the rule of the toiling majority led by the modern working class.

The truth is that capitalist democracy will only become more and more corrupt and unbearably oppressive over time. This will end only when the working class allies with the peasantry and breaks with the past, to usher in a modern democracy. That modern democracy will be the rule of the toiling majority led by the working class, where no public servant will dare to use his or her position to distribute favours to private parties.

What the Raadia tapes have exposed, above all, is the necessity to make a clean break with capitalist democracy and all illusions about it.

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