Sovereignty of India is at risk under the rule of the bourgeoisie
Statement of the Central Committee of Communist Ghadar Party of India, 13th August, 2014
India became an independent sovereign state, free from British colonial rule, on 15th August, 1947. It was a time when a revolutionary situation prevailed in our country and on the world scale.
The victory of the anti-fascist and anti-colonial struggles at the end of the Second World War resulted in the emergence of several newly independent states. It led to the international acceptance of the principle that all nations and peoples have the right to constitute themselves into independent and sovereign states, to pursue their chosen path of development free from outside interference. This was enshrined in the United Nations Charter. Several countries of Asia and Europe, including China, North Korea, North Vietnam, Albania and the countries of Eastern Europe broke free from the imperialist system of states.
Workers, peasants and progressive intellectuals in our country rallied around the Communist Party and other revolutionary organisations and fought for an India free from the imperialist system, free from all forms of exploitation and subjugation. However, the big capitalists and big landlords, represented by the leaders of Congress Party, sought to occupy the seats vacated by the British rulers and continue with the system of exploitation and plunder of our land and labour.
The anti-colonial struggle in India had reached a high pitch in the forties. The revolt of the Indian people found its reflection in the colonial army with the Naval uprising in19466. The common fear of revolution brought the British imperialists and their Indian collaborators together. They struck a deal to preserve the exploitative order and keep India within the imperialist system of states. The nations of Punjab, Bengal and Kashmir were each broken into two parts. The country was partitioned on a communal basis into two states — India and Pakistan amidst an unprecedented bloodbath followed by an unprecedented migration of people between the two newly formed states. The supreme power over India was transferred from the British imperialist bourgeoisie to the Indian bourgeoisie.
The Indian Independence Act of 1947, passed by the British Parliament, transferred the sovereignty over India from the British Crown to India’s Constituent Assembly. Executive power came into the hands of an interim government headed by Congress Party. The civil service, the armed forces and other state organs that had been built to enslave our people were all retained intact. India remained within the British Commonwealth.
The following years witnessed the interim Nehru government wielding the colonial armed forces to crush the people of Telengana and to annex the territories of the Nagas, Manipuris and various princely states into the Indian Republic under formation. The Communist Party was banned.
While the broad masses of people were terrorised by communal violence and by central state repression, the Constituent Assembly adopted a Constitution behind their backs, without seeking the people’s approval. The Constitution adopted in 1950 ensured that people were deprived of sovereignty. Sovereignty was vested in the President in Parliament, who is bound to act according to the advice of the Cabinet.
The Constitution legalised the system of concentrating decision-making power in the parliament; and within parliament, it was further concentrated in the Cabinet formed by one or other party of the bourgeoisie. The Union Government was armed with overriding powers over the states, including the power to dismiss elected state governments.
The right to vote was extended to include all adult citizens. However, in the absence of any say either in candidate selection or in government formation, the toiling masses of people were effectively excluded from the decision-making process. They have remained nothing more than voting cattle ever since.
The economic orientation of independent India was set by the Tatas and Birlas in the form of a 15-year perspective plan. It was called the “Bombay Plan” and published in two volumes in 1944 and 1945. The Nehru government adopted this as the basis for the first three five-year plans. Given the worldwide discrediting of the capitalist-imperialist system and the growing popularity of socialism at that time, Congress Party presented its plan to build capitalism as allegedly being aimed at creating a “socialistic pattern of society”. The actual result of implementing this plan is the development of state monopoly capitalism – a system in which capitalist monopolies dominate the state; and the state intervenes in the economy to guarantee maximum profits for the monopolies.
The big capitalists have become the most dominant and ruling force of our society. They have taken the place of the British colonialists, as the principal beneficiaries of the loot and plunder of all the nations and peoples of our country. They have preserved and further expanded the space for foreign capital so as to intensify the joint exploitation and plunder of our land and labour. They have trampled in the mud the cause of freedom from the imperialist system, for which thousands of Indian patriots laid down their lives.
Independence without social revolution has meant freedom for the big capitalists to expand their wealth as rapidly as possible and pursue their global expansionist aims. The vast majority of our people are not free from exploitation, poverty, discrimination and persecution based on caste, class, race, nationality and religious belief.
Workers are not free from job insecurity, super-exploitation and intolerably high inflation. Peasants are not free from extreme uncertainty in a market dominated by global multinational companies. They are not free from the threat of forcible acquisition of their land. Women are not free to even walk in the streets without the danger of being molested or raped. Youth are not free from unemployment and arbitrary arrests.
Having built up its industrial base and armed might, the Indian big bourgeoisie is today dragging the country on a dangerous path. The doors of our country are being opened even wider, in one strategic sector after another, for foreign capitalist ownership and control. The previous Congress-led government opened up banking and several industrial sectors and agro-business, while the present BJP-led government is going even further by opening up insurance, defence production and the media to foreign investors.
The big capitalists of our country are gambling with the fate of India, in pursuit of their narrow selfish aims. They think they can use increasing foreign capitalist penetration of our economy to their advantage, to achieve their own imperialist aims. In the process, they are subjecting the country to grave risks. Control over banking and insurance, over seed supply and over a military-industrial complex could give foreign powers a vital handle over the fate of India.
The media is already dominated by the Indian big business houses, which are closely aligned with the western imperialists. As a result, public opinion in our country is being increasingly influenced by the lying propaganda of the Anglo-American imperialists. Indians are being influenced to believe that Russia is the villain in Ukraine and America is out to save the lives of innocent people in Iraq. Truth is being turned on its head. The situation will grow from bad to worse if the space is further expanded for foreign media groups.
In international affairs, Government of India does not stand up for the victims of the imperialist offensive headed by the US. Our rulers have given up all pretensions of being part of the anti-imperialist camp. They do not lift a finger in defence of the sovereignty of Cuba or Iran, Syria or Iraq. They do not condemn even the most monstrous crimes such as the Israeli offensive in Gaza at this time. Their narrow-minded and unprincipled foreign policy is earning very few friends for India abroad. It is earning many enemies.
India has not raised its voice even once against the criminal US interference in Pakistan, violating all accepted international norms. The US continues to launch drone attacks on Pakistan’s territory, leading to numerous deaths on a daily basis. Drones are bomber planes without pilots, operated by remote control. Far from opposing this blatant violation of sovereignty of our neighbour, Government of India is planning to collaborate with the US to further expand the scope for using drones in this region, in the name of fighting terrorism.
The Indian ruling class is eager to be part of the leading club of the imperialist camp. Towards this end, it is cultivating a strategic partnership with the US imperialist bourgeoisie, the main aggressor and violator of independence and sovereignty of nations and peoples. Agreements are being signed with the United States for joint development of weapons of mass destruction.
This is a dangerous course wrought with catastrophic consequences for India and for all the peoples of South Asia.
The unity and sovereignty of our country are under serious threat today. The threat comes from the increasing integration of India with the global imperialist system. It is further enhanced by the denial of rights within the Indian Union.
The denial of national rights has given rise to numerous movements within the Indian Union. The claims of the Kashmiris, Nagas, Manipuris, Punjabis and other peoples have all been turned into “law and order” problems. Every assertion of national rights within the country is deemed to be a threat to the territorial integrity of India, thereby justifying the unleashing of state repression. The more the Indian Union unleashes force against national movements in the name of defending “national unity and territorial integrity of India”, the more unstable and tenuous does the unity of India actually become.
The threat to India’s sovereignty has to be seen in the context of the aggressive drive of US imperialism to establish its hegemony over Asia, as the “pivot” for world domination. Having integrated most of Europe into a system of states under its leadership, through the NATO alliance, US imperialism views Asia as the key challenge for its drive to establish a unipolar world under its dictate. It views China, Russia and India among the potential roadblocks to its aim of conquering Asia.
As part of its Asia pivot policy, US imperialism is stepping up its deployment of armed forces in the Asia-Pacific region. It is enticing India to join a military alliance led by the US, and threatening dire consequences otherwise.
One of the tools used by the US imperialists is the breaking up of sovereign states. Yugoslavia was broken up in the nineties, by inciting warfare among her peoples on the basis of religion, nationality and “ethnicity”. All kinds of concocted pretexts have been used since then to send US troops into various countries. Civil war has been incited in Libya and Syria. At the present time, attempts are going on to incite communal and sectarian violence so as to create conditions for partitioning Syria and Iraq. US imperialism wants to redraw the map of west Asia to suit its hegemonic aims. It seeks to hide this aim under the slogan of protecting people from terrorism and “Islamic fundamentalism”.
The imperialist tactic of divide and rule has been used in the past to partition India. There is a real danger that it could be used again in the future, to break up the Indian Union into smaller states that can be more easily dominated by US imperialism. This danger is aggravated by the narrow-minded imperialist pursuit of the Indian ruling class. It is aggravated by the communal politics of its major parties and by the brutal suppression of national movements within the country. The exacerbation of such contradictions could be exploited by foreign powers to break up and weaken India.
Thus, on the occasion of the 68th Independence Day, the conditions are pointing to the urgent need for a change of course in order to prevent the loss of India’s hard-won sovereignty.
Necessity for Change
The rulers talk about change, but what they want is only to replace one capitalist party by another, so as to continue with the present dangerous course. What our country urgently needs is a change in the class nature of political power.
The independence and sovereignty of India will never be safe under the rule of the bourgeois class. It needs to be replaced with the rule of the working class in alliance with the peasants and all the oppressed.
Drawn from the diverse peoples who make up our country, the working class is multi-national in character. It is the class best placed to lead the struggle to liberate India from the imperialist system of states, put an end to national oppression of all kinds, vest sovereignty in the people, defend everyone’s right to conscience and reorient the economy to provide for all. The potential of the working class can and must be released by restoring the unity of communists around this program.
In order to steadfastly defend the country from all external threats, it is necessary to put an end to the powerless condition of the working class and toiling majority. We must lead the struggle for a superior system of democracy, in place of the existing system which is designed to exclude the vast majority from decision-making power. We must champion the struggle for a modern proletarian democracy that vests decision-making power in the hands of the people, the electorate.
For India to be free and independent, it is essential that every nation, nationality and tribal people in the country are free from oppression and discrimination. With this enlightened outlook, communists must lead the working class to fight for the reconstitution of the Indian Union on a voluntary basis, free from the imperialist system of states.
We must oppose and defeat all forms of conciliation within the communist movement with the existing political system, and with the policy of national oppression in the name of allegedly defending national unity and territorial integrity. We must oppose and defeat all forms of conciliation with the capital-centric economic orientation and program of globalisation through liberalisation and privatisation.
We need a new Constitution that vests sovereignty in the people and guarantees equality and the right to self-determination to every nation, nationality and tribal people. That would put a complete end to the colonial legacy. It would create favourable conditions for those nations that were divided by the communal Partition to reunite, if they so desire. The independence and sovereignty of India will then stand on the rock solid foundation of a powerful union of sovereign peoples, defending their common interests.
In this epoch of imperialism, independence can be safeguarded only on the road of reorienting and transforming the crisis-ridden capitalist economy into a self-reliant, stable and planned socialist economy. Such an economic system will ensure that the surplus created by the labour of Indians is put back to raise the standard of living of the entire population, enhance the means of production and protect the natural environment. India’s development will then lead to prosperity for all. It will be independent of the crisis-ridden imperialist system. It will contribute to the struggle to put an end to this system on the global scale.
With this aim and perspective, all Indian communists need to unite and wage a resolute struggle against the dangerous course of the bourgeoisie and in defence of the independence and sovereignty of India.
Let us champion the cause of unity of South Asian peoples against imperialism!
Let us mobilise the working class and people to demand that Anglo-American troops and intelligence agencies be immediately expelled from this region!
Let us demand, in one voice, that the Indian government refuses to participate in any part of the US imperialist strategy to conquer Asia!
Let us demand an immediate halt and reversal of the process of opening up to foreign capital!
Let us step up the struggle against the program of globalisation through liberalisation and privatisation!