Speech of Comrade Lal Singh, General Secretary of the Communist Ghadar Party of India, on behalf of its Central Committee, on the occasion of the 42nd anniversary of the founding of the Party
It is with great joy that I welcome you all to this celebration of the 42nd birthday of our Party.
When the Founding Congress was held on 25th December, 1980, we committed ourselves to build a party in which all Indian revolutionary communists can militate. We have remained faithful to this commitment. We will remain so in the future as well.
We recognised in the decade of the seventies that the entire communist movement was fragmented. There was pressure to submit to various revised versions of Marxism-Leninism which were being spread internationally, distorting the fundamental conclusions of this science.
Capitalism was flourishing while preserving and benefiting from the remnants of feudalism, the colonial legacy and increasing imperialist penetration and plunder. Some parties in the communist movement considered such capitalist growth to be “non-capitalist development”.
Parties which claimed to be for communism were creating illusions about capitalism and parliamentary democracy. There was widespread conciliation with the European bourgeois ideology called social-democracy.
There were leaders in the communist movement who supported the social-democratic illusion of a mixed economy, the Nehruvian “socialistic pattern of society”, They were covering up the fact that it was nothing but a form of state sponsored capitalist development, in line with the Bombay Plan of the Tatas and Birlas. They were creating the illusion that it is possible to enjoy the benefits of socialism without overthrowing the bourgeoisie.
The communist movement was under the dominant influence of those who promoted the concept of a “parliamentary path to socialism”, without any revolution and forcible seizure of power by the proletariat and its allies. There were others who were advocating individual acts of terror and armed guerilla warfare in remote areas as the means to bring about an anti-imperialist and anti-feudal revolution.
There was tremendous pressure on all communist parties to either submit to parliamentary democracy and develop as an electoral machine or become an underground military machine. We defied this pressure. We refused to be either an electoral machine or a military machine.
We succeeded in establishing the Communist Ghadar Party of India as a vanguard party of the working class, in which all Indian communists would militate.
We can be proud of the fact that we have created a party that works constantly to build the political unity of the proletariat and broad masses of people and open the path for the progress of society. We have built a party that is organised on the basis of democratic centralism and guided by the theoretical thinking of Marxism-Leninism, a party that is in uncompromising opposition to revisionism and opportunism, and to sectarianism and factionalism.
Communist political work faced especially difficult conditions in the eighties, the very first decade in the life of our Party. It was a time when the bourgeoisie unleashed state terrorism in the name of fighting so-called Sikh fundamentalism. People of a particular religion were portrayed as being dangerous. They were persecuted. Our Party condemned this attack by the state of the right to conscience. We called on all political forces to unite against state terrorism.
We waged a consistent and persistent struggle against the official justification for state terrorism, that it was allegedly needed in order to defend national unity and territorial integrity of India. We exposed the truth that it is the ruling class and the State which was responsible communal violence. It is not the people but the State which is communal and divisive. All our actions were guided by this sound position of defending the unity of the people and the rights of every member of society.
The line of defending the unity and integrity of India was used by the bourgeoisie to suppress the national liberation movements within the Indian Union, such as in Kashmir and Manipur. It was used to divide the people of Punjab and destroy their unity in defence of their collective interests and rights. We boldly exposed the truth that those in power are to blame for the communal violence and other forms of growing terror and violence in daily lives. The rule of this bourgeois class is actually the biggest danger to the unity of the people in our country.
In the face of growing state terrorism and repeated incidence of communal violence, our Party has persisted on the path of defending the right to conscience, as a universal and inviolable right. We have resolutely condemned and opposed all the draconian laws including AFSPA, TADA, POTA and UAPA. We have stood in defence of the victims of Islamophobia and all other forms of persecution by the state.
The tide of world revolution turned from flow to ebb when the Soviet Union itself disintegrated in 1991. Our Party wisely recognised that a new period has begun, within the epoch of imperialism and proletarian revolution. In this new period, there is no change in any of the essential features of imperialism that Lenin identified. What has changed is that the tide of revolution has turned from flow to ebb. The forces of counter-revolution have captured the initiative for the time being. They have unleashed an unprecedented anti-social offensive, against socialism and all the rights that the working class and people had won through their struggles in the 20th century.
Our Party has learnt how to swim against the tide in the present period. We have preserved and further strengthened our party and its forces.
We have paid serious attention to analysing the reasons for the disintegration of the Soviet Union, so as to draw appropriate lessons.
Once the Second World War had come to an end, the socialist system was faced with very definite problems in the economic, political and philosophical spheres, which demanded solutions. Instead of dealing with these problems by further developing the science of Marxism-Leninism, the Communist Party of Soviet Union deviated from the path of revolution in 1956 and started pursuing an imperialist agenda of competing with the US for world domination. In the economic sphere, there was need for workers to participate in deciding the prices of commodities and their own remuneration. In the political sphere, there was need for people to exercise their right to elect and be elected, including the right to select the candidates, recognised by the 1936 Constitution. In the philosophical realm, there was need to recognise the need for Marxist-Leninist theory to be further developed and the role of the conscious human factor to be further enhanced.
Failure to address the problems facing socialism led to its degeneration. Socialism stagnated, while capitalism got gradually restored, leading to increasing misery and discontent among the broad masses of working people. World imperialism and reaction exploited this discontent, ultimately resulting in the disintegration of the Soviet Union altogether.
We have paid a great deal of attention in this period to the development of Indian revolutionary theory, or the theory of Indian liberation. We have brought forward from the past what is most precious for the class struggle today – namely, the principles that sovereignty must be vested in the people and that the state is duty bound to ensure prosperity and protection for all.
We have adopted a party program in 1998, which has served as the focal point for building the political unity of the working class and all the oppressed. It is a program for Navnirman of the state and political process so as to empower the people. It is a program for reorientation of the economy to fulfil human needs instead of fulfilling capitalist greed. It is a program to re-define India’s foreign policy and international relations on the basis of equality of all nations, big or small, and on the basis of anti-imperialist unity..
We have persisted in building the unity of the proletariat, and its united front with kisans and other toiling and oppressed people, against the monopoly capitalist offensive. We have opposed and exposed the path of tailing behind some so-called secular front or any parliamentary opposition. We have steadfastly defended the rights of any and every section of the people who have been attacked, be it on the basis of religion, caste, nationality, gender or ideology.
On every birth anniversary of the Party, we take stock and we address the problems facing our class and the people of the country. We advance in the course of the struggle to find solutions to the problems.
There is no doubt that the people of our country are beset with enormous problems. Less than 40 percent of the working age population have any kind of gainful employment. Those who are employed face enormous uncertainty, insecurity of livelihood and intense exploitation.
The political climate is growing from bad to worse. People are attacked for their religious beliefs and traditions. Those who fight for the rights of people are thrown into jail and held there indefinitely. The growing intelligence and military cooperation of the Indian state with the warmongering United States of America is increasing the danger of war in this region.
What is the source of the problems and what is to be done to solve them? That is the crucial question. On that there is maximum confusion.
The confusion is not accidental. It is by design. The entire system of parliamentary democracy and its party dominated political process is designed to confuse people about who really is exercising supreme power and setting the agenda for the country.
The real source of the problems lies in capitalism and the rule of the bourgeoisie. This is the truth that the bourgeoisie and all its parties want to keep hidden from the people.
The bourgeoisie brought democratic rights and social progress in Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries, by getting rid of the old feudal system. At the same time, the development of capitalism in Europe brought colonial enslavement to the peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Capitalism reached its highest stage of imperialism at the beginning of the 20th century. The deceptive system and party dominated political process of representative democracy, through which the imperialist bourgeoisie was ruling in Britain, was adapted and implanted in British India.
The Constituent Assembly, filled mostly with representatives of Indian big capitalists and landlords, decided to perpetuate the colonial system of rule and political process in independent India. About 75 percent of the 1950 Constitution of India was a reproduction of the British colonial Government of India Act of 1935.
Capitalism is so crisis-ridden that the economy keeps stumbling from one crisis to another. Politics is dominated by communal hatred, revenge seeking and other kinds of sectarian strife. The money power and media access of monopoly capitalist companies overwhelms the electoral process, with the broad masses of people reduced to a marginal role. Casting their vote on polling day is their only role. Their vote legitimizes the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, headed by the monopoly capitalists.
The bourgeoisie is unable to rule without spreading death, destruction and terror among the people on a constant basis. State terrorism is accompanied by 24-7 disinformation through news media and social media.
The constant bourgeois ideological offensive, carried out through the TV, print and web editions of the news media, and the messages sent to crores of mobile phones through social media, have a definite aim. The aim is to prevent workers, peasants and other oppressed people from recognizing the real source of their problems and uniting against their common enemy.
The bourgeois propaganda constantly spreads the false impression that people, through their vote, are deciding which party will set the agenda for the next five years.
The truth is that people do not decide the outcome of elections. The truth is that it is not just the party in charge which sets the agenda. The bourgeoisie, headed by monopoly capitalists, sets the agenda. And it is the bourgeoisie which decides electoral outcomes. The party which forms the government is entrusted with the task of marketing, implementing and justifying the agenda set by the monopoly capitalists, on behalf of the bourgeois class.
The result of every election is decided before the polling day. There is a prior setting, as they say. The ruling class decides and puts its weight behind the party of its choice, to organise its victory. Those who sit in the opposition benches wait for their turn. While in opposition, they act like champions of the exploited and oppressed masses. They try to impress the bourgeoisie that they can do a better job of deceiving the people.
What and who is the driving force behind the program of privatisation of public assets and services? Monopoly capitalists who want to get hold of these assets and the lucrative markets of public enterprises are the driving force. Their greed for maximum profits is the motivation. This much is known to all workers who have been engaged in the struggle against privatisation. Yet there are not a few leaders of workers’ unions who point their finger at the BJP and create illusions about one or another parliamentary alternative.
We must not forget how privatisation has been pursued in Indian Railways ever since the Rakesh Mohan Report was submitted in 2001. It has been pursued in a stealthy way, with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as well as Prime Minister Modi repeatedly declaring that Indian Railways will never be privatized.
The four anti-worker Labour Codes have been on the agenda of the ruling class for more than 20 years. Various experts of the bourgeoisie have been working on various drafts of these laws. Same is the case with the three anti-kisan laws on agricultural trade and storage. It is true that these laws were enacted during the tenure of the Modi government in 2020, in the midst of the Corona Virus pandemic. It is also true that they have been worked upon by expert committees set up during the Vajpayee, Manmohan Singh and Modi governments. How then can workers accept that BJP is the source of the problem?
Capitalist greed is the source of the problem. The political system is a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, headed by monopoly capitalists. The monopoly capitalists decide which party is best suited at any particular time to implement their agenda while hiding the same from the people.
It is both wrong and harmful to follow the line of thinking that the source of all the problems lies in the rule of BJP and its policies. This wrong thinking leads to the conclusion that the immediate task is to build parliamentary alliances to defeat BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. This bourgeois line has penetrated the working class and peasants. It is the main and most harmful form of bourgeois influence being spread among workers and peasants at the present time.
What should be the immediate political aim of the working class? It is important for all workers to participate in discussing this question. Dislodging BJP through electoral battle is the main aim of the Congress Party and various other parties of the parliamentary opposition. It is not the aim of the working class. Our aim is to dislodge the bourgeoisie from power and establish workers’ and peasants’ rule.
Workers need to question those leaders who want us to have faith in the existing political system. We cannot blindly believe that workers and peasants decide the outcome of elections. Nor can we believe in the promises of Congress Party or some other bourgeois parliamentary opposition.
The struggle against privatisation and the struggle against anti-worker labour laws are component parts of the struggle of the proletariat to end the exploitation of human labour. It is part of the struggle of socialism against capitalism, of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie. It has to be waged with the perspective of replacing the rule of the bourgeoisie by the rule of the proletariat, in alliance with all other toiling and oppressed people.
It is an illusion to think that some “less evil” bourgeois government will halt the privatisation program and start following some pro-people policies.
We must speak out against all attempts at lining up workers behind this or that bourgeois parliamentary opposition. Such a deception was carried out in 2004, when the most prominent parties in the communist movement extended support to a coalition called the United Progressive Alliance, led by the Congress Party, to form a government headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Those who extended support later withdrew it when the reactionary bourgeois nature of the UPA Government became more fully exposed.
It is impermissible for an Indian communist to praise the existing state and its constitution as being a democracy, and call for its defence. Marx and Engels proclaimed that communists never hide the truth from the people. We must not hide the truth that the Indian state is an instrument of bourgeois rule, and a legacy of British colonialism.
It is an indisputable fact that the entire political superstructure in the country, the bureaucracy and armed forces, the party system and the periodic elections, are all imported from Europe, mostly from Britain. The domination of propertied elite is justified by the theory of “liberal democracy”, which flourished in Europe during the pre-monopoly stage of capitalism.
Liberal democracy championed the right of capitalist property owners to rebel against feudalism and fight for the right to buy and sell commodities anywhere, at any price, with minimum tax burden. At the same time, the liberal democrats in Britain and France denied all rights to the propertyless proletariat, to women and all the peoples in their colonies.
Liberal democracy meant a level playing field for the owners of capital to compete among themselves and join hands to keep the proletariat, women and colonized peoples exploited and oppressed.
Ever since capitalism developed into monopoly capitalism, the stage of imperialism and the domination of finance capital, there is no room for any level playing field even within the bourgeoisie of one country. The monopoly bourgeoisie claims the highest rate of profit as a matter of right, squeezing the rates of non-monopoly capitalist profits below the average.
In the present period, the anti-social offensive of the bourgeoisie is deceptively called neo-liberalism. There is nothing liberal about the way the executive power is wielded or the way capitalist competition takes place. Liberalisation, the calls for “free trade” and globalisation on the world scale, have been aimed at paving the way for monopoly capitalist domination over all countries and all spheres of life, and ruthless repression of all dissent.
In our country, anyone who raises his or her voice against those in power can be jailed and held without trial for indefinite periods under the UAPA or some other such blatantly draconian law. The situation is similar in Britain, USA and other so-called advanced capitalist democracies of the world.
This is a period when the suppression of democratic rights and violation of human rights in the name of national security and the so-called war against terrorism have become widespread all over the world. It is a period when state terror has become all pervasive.
The main content of the program is the same no matter whether BJP or Congress or some other bourgeois party or coalition is managing the state. The aim and orientation remain the expansion of space for Indian and global monopoly capitalist companies to reap maximum profits through maximum possible degree of exploitation and plunder of the land and labour of our country.
Close collaboration of the Indian state with the World Bank and IMF has resulted in grooming an entire galaxy of Indians educated in American and British universities, then trained in these multilateral institutions of finance capital in Washington, D.C. Such intellectuals are working as advisers to the Central Government and the Reserve Bank of India.
Those who are not fooled by the rhetoric of Prime Minister Modi and other leaders of BJP are being enticed to line up behind Rahul Gandhi or Arvind Kejriwal. We communists and other progressive forces are being called upon to defend the Constitution of this allegedly secular and democratic Indian Republic.
The truth is that workers and peasants will not gain anything by lining up behind the parliamentary opposition. It is a dead-end road.
The truth is that the existing state and Constitution serve the bourgeoisie to maintain its dictatorship.
There is no reason why we workers and peasants should defend the existing system of parliamentary democracy and worship the existing Constitution. On the contrary, we should fight for the establishment and defence of a new state of proletarian democracy, with a new constitution adopted by the people.
Proletarian democracy is superior to bourgeois democracy. It is the rule of those who work, in place of the rule of the exploiters of human labour.
Bourgeois democracy protects the rights of capitalists to exploit wage labour and to set the agenda for society. Proletarian democracy will protect all the rights of those who work, including their right to govern themselves and set the agenda for society.
The bourgeoisie is democratic only as long as it suits its own interest. Whenever there is any semblance of a threat to the system, the fascist underbelly of the bourgeois state reveals its ugliness.
The existing system and political process of multi-party representative democracy is a system of rule by the bourgeoisie. Far from defending this system, the workers and peasants need to get rid of it and establish proletarian democracy, where workers and peasants will rule.
We should draw on the international experience of the proletariat, including the rise and fall of socialism in the 20th century. We must draw on the rich experience and political theory developed in the Indian subcontinent over thousands of years prior to the colonial conquest. Drawing on all this, we must establish a system in which we, the people, are the collective decision-makers and masters of society. It will be a system in which the executive is accountable to the elected legislative body and those elected are accountable to the electorate. The political process will affirm the right of every adult to elect and be elected, including the right to select candidates before any election. Election campaigns will be publicly funded and no private financing will be allowed.
Such a state will be an organ of rule by the toiling majority, headed by the proletariat. It will carry out the transition from capitalism to socialism, sweeping away all remnants of colonialism, feudalism and the caste hierarchy.
Marxism-Leninist science teaches us that of all the classes and strata of society which are victimized by the rule of the bourgeoisie, the proletariat is the one capable of leading the struggle to victory. Hence the most crucial task of communists is to bring the proletariat and its agenda of revolutionary proletarian democracy and socialism to the centre-stage of political life.
The imperialist bourgeoisie declared that socialism was dead over 30 years ago, following the disintegration of the Soviet Union. However, the ever-deepening crisis of capitalism at its present parasitic stage has repeatedly given rise to the necessity for an alternative. It is up to the communists of today to bring the revolutionary agenda of the proletariat back into the centre-stage of politics.
It is not acceptable that in this day and age, as many as 35 percent of children born in our country are stunted. It is not acceptable that the children of workers and peasants receive substandard education in under-funded government schools. It is not at all acceptable that accelerating growth in the private wealth of super-rich monopoly capitalists should be the driving motive for the entire country, her economy, laws and government policies. It is not at all acceptable that laws regarding labor rights and agricultural trade are decided without the approval of workers and peasants, and against their interests.
In 1857, our forefathers who rose up in revolt against the British Raj proclaimed, Hum hain iske maalik, Hindustan humaara! (India belongs to us, We are her master!) Today, the people of India are not her master.
What is blocking the people from becoming the master of India is a state that was designed by the British bourgeoisie to enslave all Indians. That state has been preserved and further developed by the Indian bourgeoisie to continue with the exploitation and oppression of workers, peasants and other working people.
The ruling class is deploying all its weapons to keep people divided on the basis of religion, caste and bourgeois party rivalry. The real division in our society is between an exploiting minority and the exploited majority. If we, the exploited majority, join hands and act as one united political force, we can certainly prevail over the exploiting minority.
Those who live by exploiting the labour of others, consist of capitalist industrialists, capitalist farmers, traders, financiers, real estate owners, etc. They add up to some lakhs of persons. The leadership of this bourgeois class is in the hands of about 150 monopoly houses. The rule of the bourgeoisie is maintained by about 5000 IAS officers who run the bureaucracy and about 4000 IPS officers who run the police forces and intelligence agencies. It is managed by political parties led by a few thousand trained bourgeois politicians. The media promotes a few hundred intellectuals as the leading opinion makers. All told, less than one crore persons, headed by 150 monopoly capitalists, are ruling this country of 140 crore people.
It is called the world’s most populous democracy while in fact it is a brutal dictatorship by a class which, along with its ideologues and loyal servants, makes up less than 1 percent of the population!
It is our task, as communists, to make the crores of exploited and oppressed people unite and defeat the lakhs of exploiters. It is possible for us to become the master of society, provided we become a united political force.
We need to restore the unity of the communist movement in the course of building the revolutionary political unity of the people around the program to establish workers’ and peasants’ rule and lift society out of crisis.
As always, let us take up the tasks we face with revolutionary optimism. History is on our side. Let us usher in workers’ and peasants’ rule, overthrow capitalism and complete the democratic, anti-colonial, anti-feudal and anti-imperialist struggle. Let us build socialism, a system without any form of exploitation, the first phase of classless communist society.
Long Live the Communist Ghadar Party of India!