India: New Bengali language edition of Marxism in Today’s World

We publish below a new introduction by Peter Taaffe to his book ‘Marxism in Today’s World’ which will be published in Bengali, this year. This book gives explanations of some of the basic ideas of the Committee for a Workers’ International. It was originally the product of an interview with an Italian socialist in 2003. First published in English, Marxism in Today’s World has since been translated into many languages. An edition was published in India in 2007 but this is the first time it has been translated into Bengali. It will allow our ideas to be outlined to workers and youth in West Bengal in India and Bangladesh.

The publication of this book in Bengali for the first time is a very welcome advance in the task of spreading the ideas of genuine Marxism, Trotskyism, both in India and in Bangladesh.

The first Indian edition of this book was published in 2007, during the Congress government of Manmohan Singh. 2014 saw the election of Narendra Modi as India’s Prime Minister, and under both governments the shine has come off the pro-capitalist vision of a ‘rising India’, which would once and for all solve age-old poverty and ‘underdevelopment’. The original introduction to this book predicted this would happen.

This is underlined by the accounts of bourgeois economists and historians themselves in their analyses of the current situation and future prospects for the subcontinent. The Financial Times in London reported in September 2017: “India’s growth has fallen to a dismal 5.7% this quarter, the slowest annual rate since 2014 for an economy that was humming at around 7% last year.”

The emergence of India as a ‘middle-income’ power, rivalling and even superseding China’s growth, was taken as a given. Yet in a recent book by Vijay Joshi – ‘India’s long road – the search for prosperity’ – he claims that “to reach the goal [prosperity], India would require high-quality per capita growth of income around 7% a year for a period of 24 years, from 2016”. This would require the incomes of poor people to also rise by at least 7% a year: “By high-quality growth, I mean growth that is environmentally friendly.” But even if these goals were reached, “this would make India a high-income country by today’s standards, with a per capita income comparable to countries such as Greece and Portugal.” So European countries, torn apart by the effects of the world economic crisis of 2007-08, and in the case of Greece virtually reduced to colonial status, is the ideal model for the weak Indian bourgeois!

This author is trying to put India’s problems in some historical framework when he writes: “From around 1950, the growth rate of national income went up from the funereal 1% a year… that prevailed in the first half of the century to 3.5% a year… for 30 years thereafter”. The so-called Hindu growth rate’, as it was mockingly described, was a major disappointment and was so low it did not make any real dent in poverty. From 1980, Joshi claims there was “a second marked change to a growth rate of more than 6% a year… for the next 35 years (1980-2015). However towards the end of this period, “long-term growth was faltering, and… conditions were not yet in place for the rapid ascent to first-world levels of prosperity”.

‘Statist’ model

This was a ‘statist’ model which Joshi criticises as a “command and control strategy”. This is a clear criticism of the ‘mixed economy’ model that prevailed under the Nehru/Gandhi domination of the Congress party and governments, and was heavily influenced by the Stalinist bureaucratic ‘planned economy’ that prevailed in Russia and Eastern Europe. At this time, India leaned on Russia and borrowed some features from it as did the newly ‘independent’ bourgeois regimes in the neo-colonial regions as a whole.

These regimes, including India, imitated some of the aspects of Stalinist economies like nationalisation of some industries but not completely, and never introduced real planned economies, remaining within the framework of capitalism. A real democratic socialist planned economy has never been implemented in India. The country under the Nehru/Gandhis remained in a halfway-house situation – the so-called ‘mixed economy’.

This Indian ‘mixed economy’ represented the continuation of capitalism and landlordism with the majority of the means of production still owned and controlled by a minority of parasites. Where nationalisations – a form of state capitalism rather than socialism in the Marxist sense – took place in India, for instance during the regime of Indira Gandhi’s Congress, it did not seriously threaten capitalism. It was not a serious ‘revolutionary’ act as the Communist Party of India (CPI) at the time argued.

At one stage, Mrs Gandhi nationalised the banks and insurance companies, together with the abolition of the privy purses to the provincial kings. But this did not touch or seriously threaten the foundations of capitalism in India, no more than did the nationalisations of the 1945 Labour government in Britain. Ironically, it actually helped the British capitalists by bailing out ruined industries as well as providing them with cheap resources for rebuilding the infrastructure, while at the same time lavishly over-compensating the former owners and therefore burdening these new industries. With nationalisations came a highly-paid bloated bureaucracy that, moreover, was ideologically opposed to any hint of socialist nationalisations. They were then used as a scarecrow against further nationalisations, particularly of profitable industries.

Of course, we should give critical support when the capitalist state is compelled to take over even some industries because it signifies the failure of neoliberal capitalism. But this should be combined with fighting for democratic structures and policies which benefit working people and can also be attractive to the mass of the population. This is why in Britain the Socialist Party, when nationalisations took place in the past, advocated minimum compensation on the basis of proven need, in opposition to the lavish amounts handed out to the previous owners who ran these industries into the ground.

We also demanded that the boards managing and controlling them should be composed of a majority of workers’ representatives. We suggested that one third of the places could come from the government – theoretically representing the people as a whole – one third from the workers in the industry, and one third from the trade unions as a whole to represent the working class in general. All officials elected to these boards should be subject to recall and should be paid no more than the average wage of the workers they represent, thus helping to undermine and eliminate corrupt practices and toadying for personal gain. By introducing socialist planning even for a minority of industries, this could then become a springboard for the further nationalisation of the ‘commanding heights of the economy’ and a socialist national plan of production.

This approach in the future will find an echo amongst the Indian masses and in the neo-colonial world as a whole, particularly when a new world economic crisis strikes, as it will. In this situation, the bourgeois themselves can be forced to act when faced by the prospect of industries collapsing with all the calamitous consequences of a mass revolt. So precarious is the situation of the masses that a wholesale collapse of industry, as witnessed in some countries in the 2007-08 crisis, could provoke revolutionary upheavals. To mollify the masses the ruling class could be forced to take over whole sections of industry without going the whole way and expropriating the capitalist class. In that situation the socialist and revolutionary forces would mobilise the masses to complete the process and set up a national democratic socialist plan of production in India.

Moreover, the stunted growth and perpetuation of poverty was not at all eradicated when this was replaced by the predominantly ‘marketised’ alternative, including that of the BJP and Modi. Although some improvement has been made in the conditions of some sections of the masses in the 70 years of India’s existence, this has now shuddered to a halt and India could face a period of stagnation and decline.

Neo liberal policies

All previous capitalist models in India have failed and any other pro-market nostrums will meet the same fate. Neoliberal policies – particularly in the aftermath of the 2007-08 crash – or a variant of this, which would include marrying together privatisation, with a reliance on the private sector, and the state, will not work.

Nor will imitating the ‘advanced’ countries work now in general in the neo-colonial world or in India. Progress by echelon – step-by-step advances through first industrialisation, then a high quality ‘technological’ industrial policy – won’t work.

Bourgeois economists have recently commented that factories are “disappearing at much lower levels of development than in Europe or the US”. One US economist argues that an industrial slump in South America, Africa and parts of Asia since the 1980s, in terms of output and employment, is likely to continue. He spells out a bleak future for these regions: “If automation and robotics can now compete with even the cheapest labour then new [opportunities] will never open up. Developing countries will either have to find a new growth model via services or be forever stuck selling commodities.”

In particular, Indian capitalism offers no future for its youth. A recent article in the Guardian newspaper in London commented on the lack of opportunities for and hopelessness facing young people in India today: “Every other day, an Indian news report underlines the gap between jobs and jobseekers. In 2016, in one municipality, 19,000 people applied for 114 jobs; among those competing to be a street sweeper were thousands of college graduates, some with engineering and MBA degrees. In the same year, more than 1.5 million people applied for 1,500 jobs with a state-owned bank, and more than 9 million took entrance exams for fewer than 100,000 jobs on the railways.

“Faced with this lack of opportunity, many turn to rioting.” The journalist “covered two large urban youth revolts, in which entire cities had been shut down as people demanded quotas in education and jobs – today, young people from agricultural castes want to work in offices and not farms.”

India, as with many countries in the neo-colonial world, has not been able to carry through completely the bourgeois democratic revolution: thoroughgoing land reform, the purging of society of all reactionary remnants of the past, and all-India economic and social development. The latest word in technique and progress co-habits with poverty and the gnawing feudal or semi-feudal prejudices which only the socialist revolution can completely eradicate.

The perpetuation of the caste system is one reflection of this. Clare Doyle from the CWI in a recent article on this issue – for which she drew on the experiences of comrades in India and elsewhere – quotes a documentary film maker who puts this issue into perspective: “Caste is to India what apartheid was to South Africa and segregation was to the US.”

There have been recent uprisings of the Dalits – the largest of the caste groupings, of which there are an astonishing 4.7 million categories throughout India. There is a certain overlapping with class, but this this does not mean that the oppressed castes cannot become rich. A very small minority of Dalits have even made it into the ranks of the ruling class and state bureaucracy but the great majority are kept down. Each week, 10 to 15 workers, predominantly Dalits, die on building sites. Amongst them, Dalit women are horrifically raped and persecuted .The deaths of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Dalits), who are forced into the menial labour of cleaning manholes, mocks the ‘progressive’ character claimed by the Indian capitalists. They boast of sending a space shuttle to Mars in search of methane gas yet are impervious to the horrible deaths of Dalits who clean cesspits through the inhalation of methane!

BJP thugs

In Gujarat, Modi’s home state, there was an uprising of the Dalits in 2016 after four young men, whose job it was to collect skin carcasses of dead cows, were tied up and publicly whipped and humiliated by BJP thugs. As a consequence the chief minister in Gujarat was forced to resign when it was revealed that they had been attacked by ‘cow vigilantes’ who were backed by the viciously communal wing of the BJP, the semi-fascist RSS.

Caste and class overlap in Indian society but the curse of the caste system is part of the incomplete bourgeois democratic revolution, which can only be carried through to the end by the working class in alliance with all the exploited layers of society: the most oppressed castes, the poor peasants, etc.

Meanwhile it is necessary to give critical support to ‘positive discrimination’ or ‘affirmative action’ to those like the Dalits who have been kept in the mud by class society and the policies of the ruling class.

This is something which the socialist council of Liverpool in England – influenced by Militant, now the Socialist Party  – was compelled to do in order to begin to eliminate the discrimination against black and Asian workers, particularly those employed by the city council. But this was done on the basis of first winning the support of the trade unions and working class, and ensuring a fair mechanism for implementing this through the supervision of the trade unions, as well as winning more resources from the Tory government of Thatcher, which then allowed the council to introduce these measures without denying the claim of workers as a whole!

In addition, we campaign for the trade unions to have a policy of combatting racism including inside the unions and workers’ movement. Of course, the conditions in Britain are not completely analogous to those in India. Trade unions in India should also have a policy of zero tolerance on caste discrimination and combat it whenever it arises by educating workers.

Something like this could be implemented in India but no complete or lasting solution is possible without firstly carrying through the socialist revolution. Then, on the basis of a democratic socialist plan of industry and society, it would be possible to satisfy the demands of all, which could then begin to eliminate caste and racial inequality. The puny measures of the present government’s attempts to literally ‘buy off’ the higher castes to marry oppressed caste members through financial inducements is insulting and bound to fail.

The same applies to the national question and the huge inequality in the distribution of land, which in both cases are also legacies of the incomplete bourgeois democratic revolution.

Winston Churchill once famously stated “India is a geographical term. It is no more a united nation than the Equator”. Before Churchill, Marx showed that India was conquered by native troops under British command. This would have been impossible if an Indian national consciousness had already been established. It was under the whip of British imperialism that India took shape with the emergence of a national consciousness, which then meant that British imperialism would not be able to continue to hold down the mass of the Indian population.

This led to ‘independence’ in 1947 but one that was celebrated through a bloody partition, the legacy of which is felt throughout the subcontinent today, most notably in the numerous ‘national’ confrontations within India itself as well as the four wars between India and Pakistan over Kashmir and East Bengal.

At this stage, these issues within India itself seem to have been largely pushed into the background but they can once again be resurrected, with the prospect of the ‘Balkanisation’ of India. This could manifest itself under the pressure of a new economic world and domestic crisis which could bring the national question back onto the agenda and affect not just India but neighbouring countries.

Nowhere today is the bourgeois fully capable of solving the national question, of granting the right of self-determination, where it is the established wish and demand of a nationally repressed people or group. This is true of the ‘liberal’ capitalists as it is of the centralised national bourgeois and its state.

Rohingya people

Witness the pusillanimous behaviour of Aung San Suu Kyi over the terrible fate of the Rohingya people in Myanmar. They have been brutally attacked within Myanmar with half a million now driven over the border into Bangladesh into horrific conditions in the camps. This has added to the half a million Rohingya who were already in Bangladesh. The prime minister of Bangladesh’s solution was simply to urge the Rohingya to go back. This, initially, without a peep from Aung San Suu Kyi in protest at this latest example of ethnic cleansing.

This in turn has led to a worldwide demand that she be stripped of her Nobel Peace Prize! The Myanmar regime and Aung San Suu Kyi have sought to excuse their stance on the basis that the Rohingya people have provided cover for armed resistance to Rangoon, and are influenced by the policies and ideas of Isis/Daesh.

Even if this was true, the suppression of the national and ethnic rights of the Rohingya has fuelled this resistance. This could lead to a growth in support of Isis but the responsibility for this is to be found in the repressive measures of the military regime in Myanmar. Clare Doyle comments: “In Buddhist-majority Burma, the Muslim Rohingya have long been treated as an oppressed minority. There are 135 ethnic groups with recognised status in the country, but the Rohingya are not even recognised as an ethnic group. They have been denied citizenship since 1982 and it is notable that Aung San Su Kyi had not one Muslim candidate on the electoral list of her party in 2015.” [‘Myanmar: ‘Ethnic cleansing’ of Rohingya causes worldwide outrage’, 19 September 2017,]

The experiences of Iraq and Syria have demonstrated that the obscurantist death cult represented by Isis can only find fertile soil in which to grow where the national, democratic and trade union rights are suppressed by a capitalist regime backed up by western imperialism and China.

The truth is that Myanmar has been for over five decades a repressive military regime and remains so despite the ‘democratic’ cover provided by Aung San Suu Kyi’s election. The military ultimately call the shots, with key ministries and a quarter of seats in parliament reserved for them as well as exercising control over the army and the police.

The alleged transition to ‘democracy’ is a myth. The international bourgeois express more and more doubts and are increasingly sceptical that this will take place. Only a root-and-branch clear out of the dictatorial tops of the army – by a mass movement – will be capable of ensuring such a transition.

Moreover the whole region is in turmoil, including neighbouring Bangladesh where the Guardian reports: “Sheikh Hasina Wazed, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh since 2009, under whose watch hundreds of political opponents have been ‘disappeared’ – kidnapped by state security forces and ending up dead or incarcerated with no recourse to justice.” This regime is reported to have close connections with British politicians including, it is alleged, the Labour MP for Hampstead, Tulip Siddique, who is anti-Corbyn and has de facto come to the defence of the present Bangladeshi regime; Sheikh Hasina is her aunt!

It is claimed that Bangladesh has achieved an economic miracle in the past 20 years. From one of the poorest countries on earth – a byword for famine and floods– it is claimed that it is now firmly established as a ‘middle-income’ country alongside others like Vietnam. Growth has accelerated to 6% a year on the back of cheap labour, in such industries as textiles, making Bangladesh the world’s second-largest garment exporter. But as a Financial Times correspondent wrote: “Even as Bangladesh takes off, there are doubts about whether” this will be sustained.

Without a consistent growth path, the inherent political instability in Bangladesh – violent turmoil – will continue. And that is ultimately dependent upon the markets in Europe, the US and other parts of developed Asia.

The growth in support for Isis – if that is true – does not delegitimise the rights of the Rohingya people nor justify the terrible effects of this conflict on neighbouring Bangladesh. The Rohingya people, though predominantly Muslim, do comprise other religious entities. There are more than 50,000 Rohingya Hindus, who are turned away by both Bangladesh and India. Modi, the ‘saviour’ of Hindus worldwide, is not bothered about these hapless poor Hindus who are suffering alongside their Muslim brothers and sisters

A new programme and perspective is required for the workers’ movement in India and throughout the region, which has at its heart a class struggle approach. This should be linked to the idea of a democratic socialist confederation of India and the region which would open a new historical vista for the working class and poor peasants.

Modi’s right-wing ‘populism’

The endemic crisis which confronts the BJP government and Modi in particular demonstrates this. Modi represents an Indian manifestation of right-wing ‘populism’ in the image of Trump and, in a sense, was in advance of Trump himself in his methods.

His regime is a special form of parliamentary Bonapartism whereby Modi balances between different sections of the BJP and also between the classes, ultimately of course representing the interests of Indian capitalism.

He is not an outright fascist any more than Trump. He is not able to smash the organised force of the working class at this stage. It is true that the RSS is a semi-fascist wing and has an extra-parliamentary base which is occasionally let off the leash to conduct pogroms against Muslims – as the infamous massacre in Gujarat showed – against other minorities and also against the left. But it is not organised at this stage to crush the working class nor does it possess sufficient social weight that could be used in the same way as fascist forces in pre-war Germany which, at the behest of Hitler, attacked and annihilated democratic rights, especially the organisations of the working class. The power of the working class to resist Modi and the Indian capitalists was magnificently demonstrated in the 180 million-strong general strike in 2016.

The ‘modus operandi’ of Modi is to balance between different factions within society and in the BJP itself. Hence the violent eruptions, bordering on an internal civil war, which periodically break out within the BJP and could, at a certain stage, split the party.

For instance, the Indian journal The Wire carried an “explosive interview” with former BJP minister Arun Shourie, who lacerated Modi and his methods. He was attacked on social media by Modi stooges in the most vicious manner. The interviewer commented: “You and your son, who has cerebral palsy, were attacked and abused… When you criticised him, Modi, in an interview… [He] even said that you deserved your son’s illness as your karma for criticising Modi.” Shourie replied: “So obviously it is now a government operation, a party operation. And, this is one of the many instruments being used to silence voices in the whole country.” He concurs that the BJP is going towards a “decentralised mafia state. The centre will provide a rationale for the goondas at the local level.”

It is widely recognised that the methods of the BJP have some similarities to the infamous emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi in 1975. At this time, there were warnings from some that this would lead to the imposition of a complete totalitarian regime in India. We opposed this analysis because the balance of class forces did not allow the imposition of such a regime at that stage or now for that matter. The inevitable resistance of the working class and the broader layers of society would mean that the emergency would inevitably have to give way at a certain stage to the restitution to a form of bourgeois democracy. Without this, a serious nationwide popular rising would have followed that would have challenged the very foundations of Indian landlordism and capitalism.

Since then, the strength of the working class, particularly its potential political and trade union power, has been undermined by the catastrophic policies of the leaders of unions and the main workers’ parties, the two mass ‘Communist’ parties. They have made a series of mistakes in policy, programme, tactics and perspectives.

‘Communist’ parties mistakes

The main workers’ parties – the CPI(M) and the smaller CPI – stand under the signboard of ‘communism’, although in reality they have nothing in common with genuine ‘communism’, the policies of Lenin, Trotsky and the Bolshevik party which led to the greatest victory of the working class until now in October 1917. Despite the numerous opportunities to repeat this experience on an India-wide scale, the policies of the leaders of these parties have resulted in a weakening of the organisations of the Indian working class.

The policies of the CPI(M) in West Bengal and elsewhere in India have led to defeats and a severe undermining of their strength and influence. Their policies are no different than those of the Mensheviks in 1917 – the theory of stages which holds that first must come the bourgeois democratic revolution and only then socialism in the mists of time. This led to unprincipled blocs and coalitions with the ‘liberal’ parties of capitalism, which is used by the latter to save capitalism and landlordism when faced with the threat from the working class. Unfortunately, our prognosis has been completely confirmed by events since then and particularly in the current situation in West Bengal.

The most striking thing about India is the fact that despite the blatant anti-working class BJP government and the raft of unpopular measures, such as Modi’s catastrophic demonetisation programme, as well as the ‘Goods and Services Tax’, the government, according to polls, retains considerable support. Modi and the BJP were victorious in the Gujarat elections in December 2017, albeit with a reduced majority.

With the complete lack of opposition from either Congress or the leaders of the working class, the CPI and CPI(M), the masses of India have been left leaderless. Congress, still tainted by its lamentable economic and social legacy of the past, is ‘missing in inaction’. The CPs are enormously weakened and therefore the BJP is allowed to bask in an approval rating of nine in ten of the population. This is a terrible indictment of both the main bourgeois opposition party, Congress, currently ‘led’ by the hapless Rahul Gandhi, and the parties of the working class, the CPI(M) and the CPI.

As we predicted in the preface to this book in 2007, the CPI(M) was heading for disaster in West Bengal. Their decades-long class collaboration policies has used up the enormous capital which had been built over generations. We now read in the Indian press: “West Bengal’s dominant political force until not very long ago, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) is haemorrhaging to death, say senior leaders… with the party reeling from a crisis of credibility… There is even a threatened split over the central committee’s decision to bar the general secretary from (standing) for a third term in the West Bengal Parliament, Rajya Sabha. This would mean that the CPI(M) would fail to send anyone to Parliament for the first time in 60 years.”

The ruling Trinamool Congress seized hold of this opportunity by getting its legislators to vote for the Congress nominee. The West Bengal state CPI(M) secretary has gone on to comment: “Look at the state of our affairs: membership has dipped from 330,000 to less than 200,000 in 2017.” The membership of the CPI’s peasant front, the country’s largest peasant organisation, has been cut by more than half in the past period. The number of Party full-timers has been slashed as CPI(M) officials admit that “people have lost interest in our party.” And the party has “drawn a blank in recent municipal elections” with the ruling Trinamool Congress profiting from this.

Not only has the CPI(M) lost support but many former members and officials of the party have joined the BJP! Reports suggest that there has also been a big shift from the left and its parties by the middle-class towards the BJP.

This flows from the class collaborationist policies of the CPI(M) – “if you can’t beat them, join them” – particularly if such a move enhances the career prospects of an already corrupted layer within the workers’ organisations. This is not the first time that a bureaucratic layer has gone from a Stalinist party over to the right. In the 1930s, a leading French Stalinist, Doriot, infamously left the Communist Party to join the French fascists.

The political degeneration of the CPI(M) is open : “The CPI(M)’s dilemma is managing the (mostly) men who … [are at] risk of [political] pollution … the real humdinger is between managing the demands of power and proletarian transformation.. The CPI(M) has frozen the idea of revolution” [The Wire]. However, this is not a temporary deviation but flows from the past and current political premise upon which the party rests. If you abandon the idea of fighting for socialist change, of opportunistically adapting to the framework of capitalism, and of abandoning a revolutionary programme in favour of tolerating failing Indian capitalism, then you get this pitiable state of the CPI(M) in West Bengal and elsewhere.

It has to be remembered that, in living memory, the mass strength of the CPI(M) in West Bengal and Kerala in particular – one, the most industrialised state the other with the highest level of literacy in India – could have been used to take power which in turn would have led to the possibility of revolution in the subcontinent as a whole. All of this has now been frittered away, which has led to the political disarming of the magnificent Indian working class.

This was clearly illustrated in the turmoil within the CPI(M) over the issue of the 2019 elections. The leadership was divided down the middle with one side advocating a bloc with the ‘Congress party’ while the other side opposes this.

United front

During the debates, Trotsky’s ideas and phrases relating to the issue of the united front in Germany in the 1930s were invoked, particularly by the CPI(M) general secretary. He quoted Trotsky’s comments on how to stop Hitler’s rise to power: “March separately but strike together”. This after decades of attacking Trotsky over the issue! The truth of the matter is that both wings of the CPI(M) and its leadership, from the standpoint of the best interests of the working class, are wrong.

Trotsky’s idea of the united front pertained to working class parties alone, not to the so-called ‘liberal’ bourgeois parties. The Congress party is not even this but stands on a programme of neoliberalism. Even a minority party, which the CPI(M) is now, should have as its task the political undermining of such parties not lending them credibility by entering into unprincipled cross-class blocs.

The CPI(M) had already gone down this road in 2016 when it formed its first ever electoral bloc with Congress, for the West Bengal assembly elections. This has resulted in disastrous results and an open split within their ranks.

They seek to justify this kind of tactic because of the continuing threat of the BJP and particularly the RSS. But, as we have pointed out, it is not possible for the BJP or any other force to go over to an openly fascist regime in India at the present time. The relationship of class forces is against them and the working class remains basically intact. The working class has suffered setbacks, but its potential power remains undiminished.

It is not only politically incorrect but potentially dangerous to characterise the present regime of Modi as ‘fascist’. Leon Trotsky was very careful in Germany to distinguish between the different stages represented by Bonapartist regimes – which were reactionary and even semi- dictatorial – and the fascist regime of Hitler. Under the Bonapartist regimes, the power of the working class had not been completely smashed and they still retained the necessary strength to stop in its tracks the triumph of fascism, on condition that they united their forces on a fighting programme.

Fascism in power mobilises the frenzied petty bourgeois – its mass base – to atomise and destroy the organisations of the working class. What then follows inevitably is a long drawn-out defensive battle of the working class to regather its forces for future struggles.

This is not the situation in India today with the waves of mass struggle evident when you just open a newspaper, watch TV, look at the mass and social media, etc. The task is to learn from the mistakes – a continuous line of mistakes – that the leaders of the different CPs and trade unions have made, which has resulted in the present dire state of the potentially powerful Indian working class and its parties.

Rebuilding the workers’ movement

The total degeneration of the traditional parties of the right and the so-called communist parties has pushed the youth and young workers to seek out new options which are springing up and attempting to fill the vacuum. None offers an anti-capitalist programme let alone a socialist alternative. The victory of the AAP (Aam Aadmi Party) in Delhi, for example, is a result of this tendency. We can also see some populist figures emerging, particularly at state level, who claim to provide anti-corruption ‘clean’ politics and who could enjoy a temporary growth as voters seek a new home as they flee the traditional parties. However, these new formations and figures offer no alternative or way out of the misery and hardship in which the majority live. Despite their rhetoric, their support will not last. A significant number of workers and youth, particularly in the main cities, will quickly see their limitations and will seek out an alternative to the capitalist system as a whole.

There is no other path to be taken than the rebuilding of the workers’ movement, particularly of a new mass party of the working class rooted in struggle but under the banner of the genuine ideas of Marxism.

The working class will not find a way out through the present organisations or with its present leadership. There is no alternative but to construct a new force, a mass workers’ party, which can win the confidence of the Indian working masses, to politically re-arm them, for the struggle for socialism in India and throughout the world.

This is the goal which the growing forces of the CWI have set themselves. We are confident they will succeed.

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