Escalate the struggle against the anti-worker, anti-peasant, anti-social and anti-national offensive of the big bourgeoisie!
Organise to establish workers’ and peasants’ rule!
What was the situation in our country 40 years ago, when we took up the task of building such a vanguard party of the working class? It was a time when the system of parliamentary democracy was in deep crisis. The fascist underbelly of the Indian State had been exposed by the declaration of National Emergency in June 1975 and the suspension of democratic rights and civil liberties. Widespread mass protests broke out among the working people and youth of the country.
Escalate the struggle against the anti-worker, anti-peasant, anti-social and anti-national offensive of the big bourgeoisie!
Organise to establish workers’ and peasants’ rule!
We have assembled here to celebrate a very special occasion. It is the birth anniversary of our Party. It is a day of celebration for all of us who are working day and night to build and strengthen this party as the vanguard party of the Indian revolution.
What was the situation in our country 40 years ago, when we took up the task of building such a vanguard party of the working class? It was a time when the system of parliamentary democracy was in deep crisis. The fascist underbelly of the Indian State had been exposed by the declaration of National Emergency in June 1975 and the suspension of democratic rights and civil liberties. Widespread mass protests broke out among the working people and youth of the country. It was a time when revolution was on the agenda.
While the objective conditions were favourable, the communist movement was not in a position to take advantage of the situation in favour of advancing towards revolution. The communist movement had been split into numerous factions. There were parties who were merging with parliamentary democracy and lining up the workers and peasants behind rival factions of the capitalist class. There were others who had abandoned the working class and were focusing on peasants, claiming that the cities can be encircled from the countryside.
We concluded, in those conditions, that it was absolutely essential to build and strengthen a vanguard party of the working class committed to the strategic aim of overthrowing capitalism and building socialism and communism. It must be a party that is guided by Marxism-Leninism, in which all Indian communists can militate. It must be a party of the Leninist type, based on democratic centralism, with basic organisations as its foundation. We rejected the illusion of a parliamentary path to socialism. We rejected individual terrorism and the notion of encircling the cities from the countryside.
We began publishing a regular paper called People’s Voice. We carried out consistent theoretical and ideological struggle in defence of Marxism-Leninism, against both Soviet and Chinese revisionism. After such preparatory work lasting for more than three years, the Founding Congress of our Party was convened on 25th December, 1980.
We built and strengthened our party organisation in the 1980s in the midst of extremely difficult conditions. The big bourgeoisie backed the return of the Congress headed by Indira Gandhi to head the central government, with a mandate to stabilize its dictate by any means. State terrorism became the preferred method for the capitalist class to sort out its internal conflicts and drown the struggles of the people in blood. Movements for economic and political demands were turned into a “law and order” problem. Widespread repression, including the murder of youth in fake encounters, were all sought to be justified in the name of defending the unity and integrity of India.
The army assault on the Golden Temple in Amritsar, followed by the assassination of Indira Gandhi and state sponsored genocide of Sikhs in 1984 created a climate of terror against all progressive forces in the country. Our Party, which was only a few years old at that time, refused to bow down in front of this reign of terror. We boldly exposed and opposed the communal and fascist terror unleashed by the government all over the country and defended the people fighting for their rights.
Our Party pointed out the truth that it is not any section of the people but the State which is communal. It is the ruling class which is responsible for the terrible situation in Punjab, Assam, Manipur and the whole country. It is the rulers who are wrecking the unity of our people. We called on all organisations of the people to unite and oppose state terrorism. We declared that an attack on one is an attack on all and demanded that those guilty of communal violence and fake encounters be punished.
By the end of the decade of the 1980s, it became even clearer that organising diabolical diversions, unleashing communal violence and escalating individual and state terrorism had become the preferred method of bourgeois rule. The big bourgeoisie was deploying these tactics to create a favourable climate for abandoning the old socialistic pretensions and embracing the prescriptions of the “free market”. Internationally, imperialism and the reactionary bourgeoisie were launching the most savage attack on communism and on all the rights won by the working class and peoples.
In such conditions, we boldly decided to build the open face of the Party. The mass rally organised by our Party in Mumbai, following our First Congress in December 1990, in which thousands of workers participated, was a declaration by our Party that we are not intimidated by the anti-communist offensive. It was a declaration that Communist Ghadar Party would meet the challenge and advance the cause of the Indian revolution against all odds.
The First Congress of our Party was held at a time when major changes were taking place on the world scale. Several pseudo-socialist regimes in Eastern Europe had collapsed. The Soviet Union was on the verge of disintegration. China had opened its doors to foreign capital in the name of building “market socialism”. Albania was on the verge of capitulating to the capitalist offensive.
Communist parties in various countries were succumbing to the pressure of the ferocious anti-social and anti-communist offensive of the imperialist bourgeoisie. Some parties deleted the word communist from their name while some others deleted the goal of establishing the dictatorship of the proletariat from their party program. In such conditions, our Party decided that we must stick to the fundamental principles and conclusions of Marxism-Leninism and contribute to its further enrichment, by summing up its application to the class struggle so far.
The First Congress of our Party resolved that we are own models and set the task of developing Indian revolutionary theory, a theory emerging out of the conditions of this country and suitable for the development of communism here. We thereby made a clean break with the tendency within the Indian communist movement of looking towards some other party in some other country to show the way for the Indian revolution.
Taking note of the major changes taking place on the world scale, the First Congress set the task of analyzing these changes and working out the General Line, party program and tactics suitable for advancing the class struggle in the changed conditions. It set the task of building the broadest possible political unity against the offensive of the ruling class and its State, in defence of the universal rights of all members of society and of all nations and peoples within the Indian Union.
Following the First Congress, our Party paid first rate attention to the theoretical work of analysing the changes that had taken place on the world scale. A number of consultative conferences were organised during 1991-98 so as to involve the entire membership in discussing and working out the General Line.
We recognised that the world had entered a new period within the epoch of imperialism and the proletarian revolution. The tide of revolution has turned from flow to ebb. The balance of forces has changed in favour of reaction and against the revolution. We reiterated that this does not mean the end of revolution. The task of communist parties is to adopt diverse methods of struggle and work out appropriate tactics to combat the offensive of the class enemy. In short, we had to learn how to swim against the tide.
Our party’s analysis of the stage of development of Indian society confirmed that capitalism is the motor of the Indian economy. We observed that capitalist relations were expanding while perpetuating the remnants of feudal and caste relations and the imperialist plunder of the country. We concluded that the overthrow of capitalism and the rule of the bourgeoisie is a necessary condition for completing the anti-feudal, anti-colonial and anti-imperialist struggle.
We analysed the factors which led to the degeneration and ultimate disintegration of the Soviet Union. The principal factor was the abandonment of Marxism-Leninism and the revision of its fundamental principles by the leadership of the Soviet Party, starting with the 20th Congress of that Party in 1956. The Soviet party headed by Khrushchev did not deal with the problems of the socialist economy, of proletarian democracy and of the role of human conscious factor. Instead, it promoted anti-Marxist concepts such as the “state of the whole people” and “party of the whole people”. The working people were lulled to sleep with the propaganda that there was no longer any need for class struggle in Soviet society.
The Soviet party conciliated with social-democracy and advocated the peaceful and parliamentary road to socialism as the path mandatory for communists in all capitalist countries. It brutally interfered in the internal affairs of other communist parties in order to impose its revisionist line. The Soviet state was transformed into a social-imperialist state, socialist in words and imperialist in deeds. It began to collude and contend with US imperialism for world hegemony. It tried to transform the communist parties in different countries into tools in the service of its imperialist agenda. In order to establish and expand its own neo-colonial empire, it called on communist parties in newly independent countries to support the bourgeoisie and strive to establish pro-Soviet governments in their countries.
Militarization of the Soviet economy and wars of aggression abroad resulted in increasing misery of the working people. The discontent of the people, which reached a peak in the 1980s, was manipulated by the internal and external capitalist forces to eliminate the last vestiges of socialism and ultimately break up the Soviet Union itself.
We reiterated that there is one communist movement, within which the main danger comes from those who are conciliating with social-democracy. We decided to seek the restoration of unity of the Indian communist movement by waging ideological and polemical struggle against those who are conciliating with social-democracy.
All over the world, capitalist democracy was being increasingly discredited and exposed as a system designed to keep people out of power. There was broad and growing discontent among the people with political parties that ruled in their name while serving the interests of capitalist monopolies. More and more people were demanding their right to exercise control over their lives. Our Party recognised this striving for people’s empowerment as a potential revolutionary factor in the present period.
One of the important conclusions we drew is that the proletariat must fight for a modern democracy in which sovereignty is vested in the people. We communists must demand and fight for a political system in which the people are guaranteed equal right to elect and be elected, including the right to select the candidates. They must enjoy the right to demand a rendering of account by their elected representative, and the right to recall him or her at any time. They must enjoy the right to initiate legislation and policies. All residual powers must be vested in the people, including the right to amend or re-write the Constitution.
Instead of people voting to place parties in power, parties must be required to work to keep people in power. This revolutionary idea was introduced by our Party into the movement in defence of rights in 1993. This was at a time when people were revolted by the criminal role played by the principal parties in Parliament, who had colluded to demolish Babri Masjid and unleash widespread communal violence in
There was considerable confusion that was spread within the communist movement at that time. The conciliators with social-democracy identified the BJP and its allied organisations as the communal forces. They spread the illusion that the Congress Party is a “lesser evil” and that the existing State is secular and not communal.
Our Party has consistently opposed this line of allying with the Congress and defending the existing State in the name of fighting the communal forces. We have persisted in exposing the fact that both the Congress and the BJP are part of the communal State. Both parties colluded in the demolition of Babri Masjid. They are two sides of one coin. They serve the interest of the same class of capitalists headed by the monopoly houses.
The theoretical work carried out by our Party during the period 1991-98 was summed up by the Second Congress held in October 1998. The Second Congress adopted the program for the Navnirman of India – that is, for the reorientation of the economy and reconstitution of the state and political process to vest sovereignty in the people.
At a time when the spokesmen of the big capitalists were asserting on a daily basis that there is no alternative to a “market oriented economy” and to “multi-party representative democracy”, our Party boldly presented a revolutionary alternative. We argued that the alternative to a capitalist economy oriented to maximise private profits is a socialist economy oriented to maximise the degree of fulfillment of the rising material and cultural needs of all members of society. The alternative to multi-party representative democracy is a system and political process that would empower the people instead of reducing them to voting cattle.
Our Party has used elections as one of the arenas of the class struggle against the bourgeoisie. The bourgeoisie uses elections to depoliticize the masses and resolve its own contradictions. We have intervened in the electoral arena to politicize the masses and popularize the program of Navnirman as the only way to lift Indian society out of crisis. We openly tell the people that our political aim is not to manage the existing State of bourgeois democracy. Our aim is to replace it with a new State of proletarian democracy, whose fundamental law will ensure that sovereignty is exercised by the people.
Arming the working class and people with the revolutionary program for the Navnirman of India, in the course of fighting against the anti-social offensive of the bourgeoisie, has been the central focus of our Party’s work in the present period. It has been reconfirmed and reiterated as the central focus of our work by the Third, Fourth and Fifth congresses of our Party.
The entire experience of the class struggle in this period confirms that the capitalist monopoly houses are dragging India on an extremely dangerous and destructive course, in pursuit of their narrow imperialist aims.
The Congress-led coalition government headed by Narasimha Rao unleashed the first wave of so-called economic reforms under the banner of globalization and liberalization in 1991. The BJP-led coalition government headed by Vajpayee championed the second generation of policy reforms starting in 1999. Under the banner of privatization and further liberalization, measures were taken to further advance the global expansionist aims of the monopoly houses. In 2004, a Congress-led coalition led by Manmohan Singh was sworn in, promising to implement capitalist reforms with a “human face”. Over the next 10 years, the concentration of wealth reached unprecedented levels. The gap between the rich and the poor widened rapidly. In 2014, a majority government led by BJP took charge, promising “development for all, in unity with all!”
Looking back at these developments, it is clear that it is one and the same program which successive governments headed by the Congress and BJP have been pushing over the past 26 years. As a result, the Tatas, Birlas, Ambanis and other monopoly houses have grown from crorepatis to dollar billionaires. At the other pole, the degree of exploitation of workers has risen. Unemployment and inflation have also risen. Peasants are facing unbearable degree of insecurity of livelihood.
As capital has become more and more concentrated, the exercise of political power has also become increasingly concentrated and fascistic in nature. The degree of concentration of economic and political power has reached an unprecedented level at this time. About 150 monopoly houses impose their will on 125 crore Indians, through the ballot and the bullet, with increasingly frequent resort to communal violence and other forms of state terrorism.
The BJP and the Congress Party are the two main parties of the ruling class, both committed to implementing the anti-worker, anti-peasant, anti-social and anti-national agenda of the ruling class. These two parties portray themselves as different and opposed to each other, but they serve the same class.
The BJP portrays itself as a party which defends the interests of Hindus and accuses Congress of appeasement of religious minorities. The Congress Party preaches tolerance and accuses the BJP of being intolerant of the religious minorities. Both work to smash the unity of the working class and toiling masses by inflaming communal passions and exacerbating caste divisions in society. Both cover up the truth that the struggle raging in India is between the exploiters headed by the monopolies and the exploited headed by the working class.
The BJP claims to be making a clean break with the legacy of the Congress Party. It claims to uphold the legacy of Sardar Patel. It attributes all the problems facing Indian people to Congress rule and to the Nehru family in particular. The truth is that both Sardar Patel and Jawaharlal Nehru were leading representatives of the bourgeois class that came to power in August 1947. All the problems facing the Indian people are a consequence of the rule of this bourgeois class headed by the biggest monopolies.
There were indeed two opposite trends within the anti-colonial struggle in the twentieth century. The Hindustan Ghadar Party and the revolutionary organisations that succeeded it, such as the Hindustan Republican Association in which Bhagat Singh militated, fought to overthrow colonial rule and establish the rule of workers and peasants. The Congress Party and Muslim League, on the other hand, represented the interests of the big capitalists and big landlords of India who wanted to replace British colonial rule with their own exploitative rule.
Faced with the prospect of revolution, the colonialists struck a deal with the Indian bourgeoisie and their political representatives. The colonialists organized the bloody communal partition of India, and handed over power to the representatives of the big bourgeoisie of India and Pakistan.
The Indian big bourgeoisie relied on the Congress Party to implement the Tata-Birla Plan for the enrichment of the monopoly houses under the signboard of the “socialistic pattern of society”. By the 1980s, this path had run its course and had become completely discredited. The big bourgeoisie manipulated the discontent of the masses to push forth the course of globalization through liberalization and privatization. To impose this unpopular, anti-social program on the working class and toiling masses, it inflamed communal passions, exacerbated caste divisions and unleashed state terrorism. At the same time, it began nurturing and building the BJP as an alternative to the Congress Party to implement its imperialist agenda.
The results of the recent Gujarat elections reveal that the monopoly houses are relying on the BJP to accelerate their anti-social offensive in the immediate future. They want the BJP to push through the most unpopular anti-worker and anti-peasant measures and crack down on all forms of opposition. At the same time, they are preparing conditions for the Congress Party to take charge if and when the BJP loses credibility.
The duty of communists is to tell the workers and peasants the truth that it is useless to hope that the next round of elections will lead to some change in our favour. We must carry out persistent work to convince the most active and advanced elements of the working class and peasantry that we, the toiling majority, can and must capture political power in our hands.
The situation demands that we communists organise to strengthen the united mass resistance of the working class, peasantry and other oppressed sections to the agenda of the big bourgeoisie. We must work to ensure that the struggle is waged with the perspective of establishing workers’ and peasants’ rule. We must oppose and defeat all attempts to divert the struggle by those whose agenda is to replace BJP by the Congress Party in command.
The building and strengthening of workers’ unity committees remains a crucial aspect of escalating the struggle against the offensive of the big bourgeoisie. So is the building and strengthening of worker-peasant committees and people’s empowerment committees. All these are components of the work to create and strengthen a revolutionary united front under proletarian leadership. These organizations of the working class and toiling masses must be built in the course of waging uncompromising struggle against illusions that the problems facing people can be solved by replacing one party in power with another through elections.
The key to the success of this work lies in the strengthening of the Party Paper, and using that as the scaffolding to build and strengthen the basic organizations of the party in factories, workplaces, educational institutions and other places where masses of people are in struggle.
We must organize the advanced sections of the working class in the Party, and the broad sections in a united front with all the exploited and oppressed. We must pay special attention to organizing youth for communism. We must take steps to expand multiple forms and channels of communist propaganda to achieve this. The working class spontaneously gravitates towards socialism. Youth are against all injustice and want revolution. What is required is communist leadership and organization. In order to provide this leadership and organization, all of us comrades of our Party must become masters of communism. This means, we must fully understand, defend, and propagate the Party’s line amongst the sections we work in.
Every basic organization of our party is a school for communism. The members of every unit must study the party literature, contribute to the party paper and its distribution. They must discuss with the masses of people why the road shown by the Party is the only way forward to address the problems facing society. They must consistently expose all illusions spread by the bourgeoisie about the existing system and its political process of multi-party representative democracy. They must explain the program of Navnirman to the people and mobilize them around this program. This is the way to fulfill the role of organisers and fighters for communism.
Unity of communists cannot be built without struggle. The unity of our Party has been built and strengthened through relentless and resolute struggle against all alien ideas which are harmful for the vanguard party and to the cause of the revolution.
We must conduct discussion with communists of other parties just as we do within the ranks of our party — openly and frankly — as befits discussion among communists. We must wage this struggle with the confidence that all those who are for the cause of the working class and communism will come together around the revolutionary program, and ultimately unite in one single vanguard party at the head of the Indian working class.
The main roadblock to the revolutionary unity of Indian communists at this time is the line of conciliating with social-democracy. The most blatant form of conciliation with social-democracy is the line of promoting the Congress Party as the “lesser evil” and “secular alternative”. Restoration of Communist unity demands an uncompromising struggle against this erroneous and harmful line.
As long as the capitalist class remains in power, the degree of monopoly and of exploitation, oppression and plunder will only grow from bad to worse. There will be no end to communal violence and caste oppression. There is no so-called “less evil alternative” that can be brought about through elections within the existing system of dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. Every government of the capitalist class is bound to be more ferocious than the previous one.
The escalating attacks on the working people and the inflaming of communal passions are the agenda of the ruling class. The BJP has been entrusted with the task of implementing this agenda. Replacing BJP by the Congress Party will not change this agenda.
The line of allying with the Congress in the name of defending secularism is not new. It has caused great damage to the movement of the working class in the past. It has never succeeded in restricting the fascistic anti-social offensive of the big bourgeoisie. On the contrary, by disarming the working class, it has paved the way for the offensive of the big bourgeoisie.
Many within the communist movement spent all their energies defending the Congress Party and the Nehruvian path in the past. Should another generation of communists spend their lives promoting the Congress party under Rahul Gandhi? Should we communists not spend all our energies towards building a revolutionary front aimed at establishing workers’ and peasants’ rule?
These are questions that we need to pose, frankly and openly in front of all communists and activists of people’s organisations. We must use every opportunity to initiate an active discussion and debate on the program around which communists must rally the working class and people at this time.
When the party was founded 37 years ago, we decided to include the word Ghadar in our name because we wanted to defend and develop the best revolutionary traditions and thought material of our people. We can say with pride today that we are indeed defending and developing the theory and program of the Great Ghadar of 1857 and the revolutionary uprising of 1915-16, spearheaded by the Hindustan Ghadar Party.
The life of our Party has so far been full of challenges. We have grown up in one of the most difficult periods for the working class and the most challenging times for the communist movement. Our Party boldly took up the challenge at each stag e. We have been at the forefront of the class struggle, taking principled positions in the most dangerous situations.
We have worked out the General Line and adopted the program for the Navnirman of India, a program consistent with the stage of economic and social development in our country. We have developed tactics and methods of struggle that are suitable for advancing the class struggle in the present period.
The Fifth Congress held last year has laid down the challenging task facing our Party at this time. In the face of the dangerous fascistic drive of the big bourgeoisie, spearheaded by the BJP government of Narendra Modi, we need to scale up our propaganda and agitation for the Navnirman of India. We need to build and strengthen all organs of class struggle, starting with party basic units.
As decided by the Fifth Congress, we need to work with an expanded vision and set ourselves bold targets. We have to release initiative to achieve them through maximum political mobilization. As before, the key to success depends on further strengthening the democratic centralist functioning of all party organisations and on regular communist education of all our members.
Come comrades, let us take up the challenging task in front of us with the militant spirit with which we have taken up every challenge in the past!
Let us step up our efforts to restore communist unity in the course of building and strengthening political unity among workers, peasants and all the oppressed around the program for the Navnirman of India.
Long live the Communist Ghadar Party of India!
Glory to Marxism-Leninism