In the nineties of the last century thanks to imperialist globalization, capitalism appeared to be a bit revitalized. By virtue of its new explorations in the fresh fields of exploitation by ruthlessly crushing protectionism and tariff barriers, imperialism attained, as it were, a fresh lease of life. The advocates of capitalism got euphoric at this, while the Marxists the world over, already losing their sheen after the global debacle of socialism, found it more and more difficult to uphold the invincibility of their doctrine. They did not, perhaps, become skeptical about the future of communism; but that they were gripped with a sense of being irrelevant to the contemporary society was beyond doubt. But this phase was short-lived. As early as in the year 2000, the U.S. Stock-market collapsed and with this the country’s economy went into recession. The U.S. economy tried to salvage itself by lowering short-term interest rates to boost the financial management. From then on a credit-induced expansion of economy started creating ‘bubble’ and when this creation of bubbles was based on home-mortgages, the profit kept on booming through extension of mortgages to further and further customers, until the credit market froze. The bubble at last burst in the later half of 2008, causing a crash, reminiscent of the Wall Street crash of 1929. The citadel of world imperialist was shaken to its foundation. The crisis had its spillover effect on the whole world. The viability of the capitalist system was once again questioned. Marxist understanding of the inevitable doom of capitalism was once again fully vindicated.
Our country, too, is having her share of the toll caused by this global recession. On the one hand there is unprecedented job losses particularly in textile, garments, gems and jewellery, construction, steel and IT sectors, and a hectic revision of monetary policy to manage the economic slow-down, like increasing government borrowings, on the other. To add to the woe of Indian economy, defence spending is terribly increased and purchase of arms, particularly from the U.S. and Israel has surpassed all past records. In the period of imperialist globalization, India has completely shed her air of neutrality that she had as a leader of non-aligned movement and become an integral part of the imperialist network, led by the U.S. imperialism. Flinging open the entire economy to FDI, passing and implementing the Seed Bill 2004, SEZ Act 2005, National Agricultural Policy 2006, FII and many other steps indicate the government’s tie-up with global capital and an absolute unconcern for the well-being of the masses. It is during this period that India declared herself a Strategic partner of the U.S. imperialism. It is an interesting phenomenon that the Indian National Congress, the major constituent of this very government, the source of immense misery of the people, could win the last parliamentary elections with comfort by projecting itself as a symbol of peace and stability and a new generation leadership on the one hand and offering rural debt waiver and NREGA as a sop, on the other. This is not inexplicable either. Given the fact that the BJP was torn to pieces for its internal squabbles, the so called Third Front was a patchwork of parties hardly generating any confidence among the people and its major architect the CPI (M) was blatantly acting as the enemy of the people, the electorate considered, by default, the Congress as a better option for the time being. The people of West Bengal rightly rejected CPM, the shameless land grabbers and the mindless killers of peasants in Singur and Nandigram while at the national level the electorate failed to connect the suicide of lakhs of peasants with the treacherous pro-imperialist policies of the Congress and voted for them en masse. But this is what the parliamentary politics leads to in the absence of an organized movement of the working class and other toiling masses. Is it not true that there is as yet no political party that can consistently expose the anti-people policies of the ruling classes and the government and launch agitational programmes against them?
The parliamentary left parties have traversed fully the course of their degeneration. In the late fifties and sixties of the last century they started their journey as the partners in the state governments very benignly, proclaiming that their governments would play the role of providing support to the people’s struggles and relief to them and partly they did that. But as was the historical destiny of revisionism, these parties led by CPI(M) at some time in their experimenting in self-contradictions, found it difficult to hold on to power and at the same time to carry on reforms of sorts even within the bounds of the constitution. They came to realize in the late seventies that to opt for the former was a sure and safe course to rally the cadres behind the party who had by then lost even the vestiges of revolutionary conviction and habit of putting up with the hardships of a struggling life. Thus the basically revisionist line was further nurtured by the constraints of the situation of its our making, leading to what these parties are now today, an integral part of the makers and executioners of the reactionary state policies. Thus these parties, by their negative example have acted as eye-openers and imparted an important lesson: No Communist Party worth the name should go in for the state-power with an objective of retaining it at any cost, within the existing system.
Our own camp, i.e., the “the communist revolutionary forces” too, has been consistently failing to live up to the expectation of the people as well as to forge a revolutionary line capable of uniting the various groups into a party. Some of us are distinctly leaning towards a rightist direction. They do still retain the tinge of radicalism and a very militant and struggling cadre force, almost reminiscent of the CPI (M) of the sixties. Their too much bias towards parliamentary struggles and a programme of building a mass party show distinct trend of their deviating towards a confirmed revisionist party. On the opposite extremity there are forces among us who despite their supreme sacrifice, courage of conviction and unwavering revolutionary spirit, are still suffering from left adventurism. True, they have rectified many the of errors of the seventies by way of promoting mass organizations, mass struggles, differentiating between the struggles of the rural and urban areas and putting an emphasis on the working class movement. But the root of their basic error and left deviation for that matter lies in their wrong understanding of the present Indian society. They are still stuck to the idea that India is more or less like pre-independence China. They might not proclaim it, but their entire theoretical frame-work points to this mind-set. And as a result they earnestly believe that they are already in war with the Indian State, that Indian revolution is facing the counter-revolution waged by the ruling class and that guerrilla warfare is the principal form of struggle at this juncture. To be true to their belief, they are concentrating their forces in the jungle and hilly areas inhabited predominantly by the tribals, in an honest effort to create guerrilla zones there. They have earned a limited success in carrying out their programme in these selected areas, so much so that the Indian Government also seems to be disturbed at this development. But we must keep in mind that India is too vast a country, its economic development, its capitalist development in particular, has nothing to compare with that of China in her pre-independence days and her working class, both numerically and qualitatively is much more developed than that of China in her revolutionary days. In such a country and in such a situation how can the revolution surge ahead without the political awakening of the working class, without enabling the working class to lead the revolution and without unleashing mass-movements against imperialism and the Indian ruling class? Even the CPC went through this practice before hoisting the red flag in Chingkang Mountain, of course in a way befitting the concrete conditions obtained in China at that period. Unless our comrades become prompt in taking historical lessons, their success may become short-lived and whatever the success, it will remain confined within a few pockets. In between these two aforementioned forces, there are myriads of revolutionary groups endlessly groping in the darkness, untiringly trying and failing to unite the revolutionary groups into a single party. They cherish a false belief that a sufficient political ground exists by which to unite these disparate revolutionary groups into one party. In pursuit of this will-o’-the-wisp these forces are getting fatigued, the elderly leadership devoid of any liveliness and creativity, the number of the cadres decimated.
India is crying out for the birth of a real communist party, incorporating whatever is positive and discarding whatever is negative in the Indian Communist movement. The situation is ripe. Imperialism is in its throes, likened only to the Great Depression of late twenties of the last century. India, although having a measure of capitalist development and consequently showing some bargaining power of her own, has become a favourite hunting ground for global capital which is sucking our country full to the lees in its desperate attempt to survive. On the one hand, our ruling class shows scant hesitation to compromise with our country’s sovereignty by means of new Patent Acts, SEZ, FDI, FII and to top it all the abominable Indo-US Nuclear Treaty, and on the other, they have unleashed an all-out attack on our people in an unprecedented scale and intensity. The working class is undoubtedly the worst victim. The number of workers (including organized sector workers, unorganized sector workers, agricultural labourers and informal sector workers) is around 40 crore; most of them finding it difficult to make both ends meet. Lay offs, lockouts, wage-cuts, retrenchment are a day-to-day affair for industrial workers. This class which is potentially revolutionary is also the motive force of our revolution. The class that will lead our revolution is now a sleeping volcano, lying in wait for the ultimate offensive. Under the circumstances, building up a real communist party is the historic task of the communist revolutionaries. But as our past history and the present confusion indicate, the main obstacle to the formation of a party is the absence of the advanced theoretical line without which all efforts in that direction are bound to failure. The communist movement both nationally and internationally is completely in the doldrums, groping in vain to find out the appropriate road to progress. Applied socialism is now a history. Instances of a continuing social revolution are confined to the pages of books. Amidst this near total darkness the CPN (M) [now called UCPN (M)] of Nepal lit up a glimmer of hope. But in the recent past, after the party had entered the government, the call of its Chairman to strengthen the “Democratic Republic” dashed our hope. The party was floundering in its way to New Democracy and so long as it was in power it was in utter confusion to devise ways and means to regulate, discourage or discard the capitalist economy. Now that the UCPN (M) is out of power we are waiting with bated breath to see how the party can go ahead towards the revolution. That the Marxist theory has long been suffering from the crisis of its development, that it has been failing properly to deal with the complexities of the class-struggle of our times and that a great leap is required in the course of its development is all too obvious. Anybody denying this in the name of defending the sanctity and invulnerability of Marxism is doing harm, not a service to it. Marxism now demands that we face this reality very courageously, for since its birth, this great doctrine had never faced such a predicament before. Any complacency in this matter will ruin the spirit of enquiry and the urge to formulate new political stands, and if and whenever necessary, to reformulate the already existing political positions. Keeping continuously to this process of reconsideration, re-evaluation and reformulation is the essence of Marxism.
This issue of Marxist Intellection contains three articles:
The first one is an attempt to investigate into the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution of China led by Com. Mao and his party to avert the destiny that befell the great party of Lenin and Stalin. In its long and tortuous course, the GPCR kept on exploring various theoretical questions, most importantly the questions involving class-struggle under socialism, the source of restoration of capitalism in a socialist country and the necessity of continually carrying on revolution in the socialist countries till they achieve communism. Though confined to China alone, this movement assumes world-historic significance. We, too, are always trying to take lessons from this great event. But at the same time, we are opposed to those who consider it as a comprehensive answer to all the problems that the world communist movement is facing to-day and will face in future. These comrades are reluctant to investigate into its failure, for they believe that it was not at all a failure. We on our part cannot but question how a ten-year long movement and that too led by a leader like Comrade Mao completely failed to achieve its objective of consolidating the dictatorship of the proletariat, within a few days of Mao’s death. The patent answer that the forces of reaction were more powerful than the forces of revolution is too naïve to be convincing. If this be the answer, no failed revolution requires to be investigated to find out the faults of its inner working. The Paris Commune or the 1905 revolution also could be explained this way, but neither Marx nor Lenin did it. We have in the article “Some Observations on the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution” tried very partially to look into its limitation. We hope this will provoke many comrades to go into greater details either upholding or criticizing this movement. We will be looking forward to them.
The second article “Absolute Ground Rent, Metabolic Alienation and the Green Imperialism” explains the interrelation between the absolute ground rent and metabolic alienation to show how the increased infertility of land, a concomitant of growing capitalism necessitates more and more increase in organic composition of capital that makes a dent into the surplus profit in agriculture and thereby into the absolute ground rent. This erosion of ground rent deprives the landowners of pre-capitalist rights on land paving the way for capitalism to grow further. How this process is in operation in Indian agriculture has been shown with elaborate data. It has also been shown how this ongoing trend in our agricultural sector has been helping imperialism to turn it into its favourite hunting ground.
In the third article named “The Lalgarh Movement, the PCAPA and the CPI (Maoist)”, the reader will find a humble attempt at assessing the strength and weakness of Lalgarh movement in West Bengal. Going to do that , the political understanding of CPI(Maoist) vis-à-vis this particular movement has also been analyzed and shown how Com. Ganapati’s appraisal of the movement stands directly opposed to his party’s general evaluation of Indian situation. The author of the article is critical about the later phase of the movement. This phase, he avers, has ruined the possibility of this brilliant movement’s developing into an exemplary mass upsurge. We will be awaiting many rejoinders and hope a healthy and comradely debate will start on this most vital mass movement of our times.
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