Evaluation of Present Situation; And Proposal for Revolutionary Left Unity
1. The Covid-19 pandemic has paralyzed the human society at global level. This has led to further worsening of the already permanently crisis-ridden world capitalist economy. Still, treating this as business s usual, the imperialists and their junior partners everywhere are trying to intensify their neoliberal plunder of the working class and nature, and at the same time to throw the whole burden of the crisis on to the backs of the working class and the oppressed people. It is true for the whole world including India.
2. Major capitalist crises are major, just because they bring a great deal of uncertainty and require abnormal responses from the ruling classes as well as from the revolutionary forces. While the fascist ruling classes are showing their own in the way they are known for, by resorting to more pernicious measures whether in pursuing neo-liberal policies or in introducing fascist onslaught, revolutionary forces are yet to show any such initiative of their own and come out with a well defined plan to counter them. The most necessary
Plan as for today on the part of the revolutionary forces is certainly to get united in the first place, as without this it is now even more difficult to challenge the fascist multipronged response with respect to and in the name of dealing with this Covid-19 health and economic crises.
If a major crisis turns permanent, like the one that erupted in 2008, it makes even abnormal responses far more difficult for the ruling classes. Since then, this is our experience that it has not been easy for capitalism to move on from there. Covid-19 has hit world capitalism just at such a time. The present juncture of crisis as induced by Covid-19 is such that it is giving rise to permanent and successive moments of turmoil with bold openings for new political developments. Good or bad depends upon how working class forces and oppressed people rise to the occasion and act to lead the oppressed humanity in such a grave situation. But one thing is sure, if we don't act boldly to seize the opportunity thrown to us in the given circumstances such as these, the reactionary fascist forces will surely utilize this situation to crush even whatever democracy is left.
Today's crisis of world capitalism, as it stands more accentuated and aggravated by Covid-19 pandemic, has little chance to get stymied by any government or bank measures. In no way is it poised to be overcome or stemmed by fiscal or financial measures. Its edifice is crumbling and falling non-stop. If we don't seize this moment, the fascists surely will, and where the fascists are already in power they will get further strengthened. If not overthrown by a revolution, crisis will further worsen and help fascists to fix humanity even more perniciously. In this lies a great opportunity, though it may seem impossible to many, for the working class and oppressed people and humanity to strike at the roots of the crisis and come out with a better world. Let us all show our revolutionary will, exemplary courage and come up with such a dream with a well planned offensive, in the situation when we see fascists tightening their grip.
Insofar as Covid-19 has seemingly forced a shift in narrative on public health and a change in discourse on the future of neo-liberalism and globalization as being evident among bourgeois economic experts, it bears not much substance and is like a temporary fit stemming from internal convulsions caused by the sudden and severe attack of Covid-19 pandemic. Nothing much sans a few cosmetic changes and a temporary ostentatious makeover is going to occur. Even that may evaporate once normalcy resumes. Neither is neo-liberalism going to be put in back gear, nor is there any possibility of globalization getting reversed. There is, however, an avalanche of such views pouring in from all directions that seek to paint a picture of their reprocessing, if not reversing. This is a newly born utopia of the petty bourgeoisie class being expressed and echoed by the bourgeois economists/experts with a sinister plan to divert the public attention away from realizing the need of rebuilding a new society on the ruins of capitalism. Such a narrative is a veiled attempt to further help the completely rotten and inefficient capitalist system get some lease of life that stands threatened due to increasing mass unrest in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic attack. Long supply chains collapsed and hard borders are back and international travel has been severely constrained, yet this is not going to be a permanent takeaway of today's situation. The revolutionary sections of the working class must not fall victim to it and grasp that its reversal lies in completely dismantling and overthrowing it. Given the gigantic growth of monopolies and level of centralization, growing merger of the monopolies giants with the state and thus taking over by them of all its organs, no switch over from private control to state control is possible, either. There will be no let up in growth of barbarism all its way if the present situation is not overturned by the revolutionary forces of the working class.
The outbreak of SARS virus in 2003 and MERS in 2012 were sufficient warnings on the danger of emergence of such viruses and other severe calamities as a result of continuing ecological devastation. As became evident in 2019 Madrid conference on climate, following US administration under Trump, many imperialist forces and neo-colonially dependent countries also went even against Kyoto Protocol like treaties in practice. So, carbon gas emission, deforestation etc intensified further. In this situation, it was already warned by many scientific studies that old viruses may get mutated and appear again in more dangerous forms, or new viruses shall appear as many of them dormant for many millennia have come out as glaziers in both poles are melting and breaking as a result of global warming. So, it will not be incorrect to point out that the capitalist imperialist system in its most voracious and devastating neoliberal/corporate phase is responsible for the outbreak of novel corona virus or Covid19
Capitalism as a system of production runs on the objective logic surplus value or profit and this is manifested primarily as the contradiction between capital and labour and, secondly, also as competition among the class of capitalists for market that eventually leads to development of science and technology that increases efficiency of labour and thus become a productive force. It is here that the source of an immense and never-ending development in scientific knowledge and technology ushers in human history. However, as knowledge and technology are not just the fruits of capitalist mode of production based on profit and they existed even in prior societies, yet it is capitalism that created enormous potential, hitherto completely unknown, for humans to explore into the natural sources of knowledge rendering its laws and having got the power of the methods to reckon with them. Thus, it has also created a great potential to intervene into the Natural world external to human species. The problem is that the extent and nature of the realization of the scientific potential that capitalism produced or engendered in a positive manner is undermined by the objective logic of profit. The whole development of capital is contradictory and this is now most reflected in the destruction of Nature in the worst way. Thus, only by way of exploiting the contradiction between labour and capital has capitalism attained the capacity to destroy the nature. Capitalism created capacities that now remain idle as a result of loss of areas and options of further investment of capital and hence it has now gone on a destruction spree. It has led to unprecedented destruction of productive forces, too, in the absence of the requisite profit incentive. Marx had already said that capital is the real barrier of capitalist production and the means of capitalist development i.e. the unconditional development of the productive forces of society comes continually into conflict with the limited purpose, the self-expansion of the existing capital that hence the laws of development of capital that feeds and grows on exploitation of labour finally leads to destruction of capital, Nature and the whole society through wars, hunger, malnutrition, diseases, inviting natural calamities and all possible means and measures.
Coming to the present crisis, when Covid-19 invaded, once again the warnings coming from scientists were neglected for many weeks by almost all the leaders of the main capitalist world. As China is most globalized economy, Covid19 spread very fast through international passengers. Then there were lockdowns and other abrupt reactions, without making any prior preparations in the medical field or in preparing the government machinery and the masses for it. As a result, the number of affected and dead went up phenomenally, and the masses of workers as in India were subjected to avoidable human tragedy, seeing which it can be said that more will die due to hunger and other diseases than due to pandemic.
The pandemic has almost stopped all manufacturing activities and paralyzed the whole service sector, the economy is severely affected. So, in spite of the fact that the number of people affected and dead have reached almost 3.5 million and more than 3 lakhs globally, and these numbers are still increasing, most of the governments have decided to go for some form of phasing out of the lockdown, while developing vaccines and medicines to contain Covid-19 may take many months or even more. So, clearly covid-19 is going to stalk the planet for a longer time to come. It is also a fact that covid-19 can even switch over to back gear and show its resurgence in places where it was controlled and contained. Also, it may attack in waves like manner while the present phase is just its first wave. Whether world capitalism which is based on only profit motive will efficiently and effectively be able to manage this before it becomes even a greater catastrophe in future is the major question before the whole humanity. Crisis-ridden as the world capitalism already was before covid-19 struck, it is highly expected that world capitalism may seek to project and resort to some very irrational or even false steps in the name of curbing it resulting in its most dangerous flaring up. Even in Africas and Americas, its spread has shown some very disturbing and troubling upward trend. The poor countries are in very precarious situation in facing this pandemic.
Like in most other countries, In India too, it was much after WHO's declaration of a pandemic and health emergency that the Modi government decided to act, that also through an abrupt announcement of lockdown only after Trump's announcement of it in the US. And the lockdown was announced by Modi, without making any preparations for many weeks for facing the pandemic at national level, without planning the action with the state governments who have to do the actual field work, without providing financial assistance to them, without taking into consideration what will be the plight of the 40 to 50 crores of casual/contract workers, most of whom are migrant workers who will lose jobs and shelter. Still, after 55 days of lock downs, no sufficient arrangements for testing, treatment of patients, for isolation and quarantine, for medicines, equipments or safety gear has been made. As a result, though the phasing out is started from 4th May, the Covid19 graph shows no sign of flattening in India and both infection rate and death rate remain high.
The first glaring fact before us is that, similar to what happened in earlier occasions like 2003 and 2012, though the Ecological Catastrophe is coming nearer intensifying climate change and global warming, giving rise to possibilities for Covind19 pandemic like crises more frequently, threatening even the extinction of the human species from the earth, once again the global capitalist-imperialist system and its junior partners like Modi are still showing no serious concern to this grave issue. So, the chasm between capital and humanity based on the basic contradiction of labour vs. capital, as reflected in the ongoing unfettered capitalist destruction of Nature is intensifying very fast. Therefore we should make all efforts to take it up internationally through all possible platforms, and within the country by developing our studies and discussions with like-minded forces. We should launch a powerful movement focusing on this question, educating the whole humanity of the need of replacing this capitalist world with a new world based not on profit, but on the overall well being of the whole humanity. We should fight the capitalist-imperialist system and its junior partners with the strategic concept of overthrowing their rule.
The world economy is facing the biggest plunge since the Great Depression of the 1930s-- economic contraction as of now is estimated at an absolute shrinkage of around 9 trillion dollars, equal to the combined GDP of Germany and Japan--not happened even during WW II, as at that time the war-oriented production was flourishing. The consequences including unemployment, poverty, destitution, etc. are going to be unimaginable. These developments have considerably weakened the US position as world's largest economy for more than a century. With around 800 military bases all over the world and military spending of around three times that of China, in spite of its most destructive military machine, in the long-run it will be difficult for it to sustain its present hegemonic positions. NATO is going to weaken further. US economy is slowing down. It is also losing its grip over UN system as is manifested in the recent of WHO’s stand leaning to the side of China, which is already the biggest commodity exporter and trading partner and is trying for establishing its supremacy in the capital export, too through OBOR initiative, etc. There are possibilities for the new vigor and avenues opened for Digitisation and Digital currency before and during the pandemic and global lockdown may reduce the role of US dollar's international role as medium of exchange and store of value. This may have its impact in US led imperialist institutions, IMF, World Bank, WTO and their subsidiaries. The inter-imperialist contradictions and trade war shall assume new dimensions, and Post-COVID international relations also may change accordingly.
The total disruption in production, supply chains, transportation, trade, travel, etc. in the post-pandemic situation is not going to revert to the earlier position but to a new situation with far-reaching consequences for the working class, especially for the 'informal working class', the women, migrants, refugees and all oppressed. With the latest developments in data processing, production and processing technologies, capital will try to bring about an alteration in the accumulation process and for avoiding possible disruptions in future. As at present, as there is no immediate possibility for an intervention by the revolutionary forces, the new international division of labour that is going to emerge will put heaviest burdens on the back of the working people and oppressed. Along with possible alterations in energy use, pattern of employment including more emphasis on home-based work, and lengthening of working time, emphasis on video conferencing instead of travel and physical meeting, adaptation to electronic mode and e-services, change in education system and research, etc. will have far-reaching consequences for the working class. Though no immediate intervention looks possible, primarily due to absence of a strong revolutionary working class party, yet there are such indications coming from the whole world that throws possibilities of widespread unorganized and spontaneous working class eruptions of protests and revolts and this gives a very strong ground that can be utilized to move on from here and get prepared to give a befitting challenge to the ruling classes. No doubt, this needs an all India party having roots in the working class and the toiling masses. So, we find there is still a silver lining even where there are dark clouds all around.
What is going to happen in the Indian situation should be analyzed in this global context. The increasing economic contraction and social crisis in India, with its own specificities, can become more gruesome, under one of the most reactionary regimes in the world. Among other things, the un-organized and informal workers, whose number according to ILO is 400 milllions, comprising 95 percent of Indian working class, including inter-state migrants question is unique to India. This issue has become glaring in the pandemic context. The case of another 6.5 million Indian migrant workers in Gulf countries, majority of whom are in labour camps, is another serious issue that needs attention of the revolutionary forces. They have to give specific attention to such areas and work out programs for organizing them. As the Modi regime is utilising COVID19 pandemic as an opportunity for speeding up implementation of the RSS agenda of Hindu Rashtra, revolutionary forces likewise should strive for a counter-offensive appropriately intervening in this situation.
It will be factually, analytically and historically wrong to think that the imperialist system and all those who follow its neoliberal path shall change because of the Covid19 pandemic. From what the ruling classes are doing even while the pandemic continues, it is clear that they take this as business as usual even though the bourgeois experts are saying things that seem to suggest otherwise i.e. a change or shift in narrative, in a direction opposite to the one that goes with neo-liberalism. But, in actual life, as said above, there is nothing to suggest such a change. Once preventive vaccine and medicines are developed, they will feel free to continue destroying nature in pursuit of capitalist greed, which is going to never end. At the same time, they are utilizing the present opportunity to take away more rights of the working class and the oppressed people and to make the system more fascistic.
Though Covid19 affected all, all the burden of the crisis was thrown to the back of the masses. They are in colossal misery, with practically no end to it in sight. It is possible that more people may die due to starvation or commit suicide due to agony than the ones who will die due to Covid-19. The way Modi government is communalizing the issue spreading Islamophobia, pushing forward RSS agenda, arresting more Muslim students and youth falsely alleging involvement in anti-CAA movement or Delhi pogrom, using police force to suppress people under all pretexts, refusing to provide shelter, food and medical care for the millions dumped in concentration camps like places, not procuring adequate medical equipments, safety kits, testing kits, medicines etc, it is dead sure that this natural calamity will remain no more natural and will turn into a capitalist and imperialist driven man-made perpetration of the biggest ever human tragedy, while ruling classes are stipulating siphoning of whatever social wealth created by human labour is left with the society and the government. This is increasingly alienating the masses and forcing them to revolt. The revolutionaries must take this into account while assessing the overall situation. There are still signs of hope.
Like the whole capitalist world, India too was facing serious recession, leading to galloping unemployment when the Covid crisis broke out. During the last two months, if the Covid-19 crisis has led the world economic scene to an acute crisis; in India, the condition is going to become worse. What is going to happen? In 1970s when serious crisis broke out, the world capitalist-imperialist system adopted neoliberal policies of globalization, liberalization and privatization, threw the entire burden of the crisis to the backs of the working class and oppressed peoples, while making more accumulation of wealth in the hands of elite and ruling classes. Again, when the 2008 crisis happened, they further intensified plunder of labour and nature and got more enriched, accumulating most of the world’s wealth in fewer hands. Though the neoliberal model advocated by IMF, World Bank and WTO has failed, instead of accepting it, in the post-Covid19 phase they will be further called for taking plunder of human labour and nature to unprecedented and newer levels to continue their barbarous practice. Irrespective of whatever may be the consequences of the sharpening trade war between US and China, whoever may come to dominance, similar to what happened repeatedly in the past, this time also the working class and the oppressed people shall be the losers, if the present hegemony of the global imperialist system and its junior partners is allowed to continue. So, appropriate action should be taken to continue ongoing efforts more vigorously, while intensifying the ideological struggle focusing on how capitalist imperialist system is intensifying its attacks on labour and nature, from a revolutionary perspective.
Coming to state of India's economy in brief, let us be more specific to the point. After 55 days of lockdown, while the workers and toiling masses are clueless about the ways and means of their survival in the face of mounting unemployment and hunger like situations that may not subside even after lock down is over
At the same time, Modi government is providing all forms of incentives, writing off of bank loans, cut in taxes, delayed payment of taxes, packages to ensure their profit to the corporate houses. The main content of the ‘Rs.’20 lakh crores’ package announced by Modi is basically for helping the entrepreneurs of all levels. Besides, the chief ministers, especially of the BJP ruled states are coming forward with the cut down of all labour rights, reducing them to bonded labour, to please these blood suckers.
Actually, while the actual preparations for opening up is started from 4th May, the Modi government has accepted all demands of the Indian big and medium bourgeois have been demanding for the last few weeks their desire that government should take over the existing bad loans and also provide some kind of future guarantee to take over such bad loans if they go bad in the event of failure of economic recovery. So clearly the crisis has sent things to their extreme limit. That means, transferring not only today's, but also future capitalists’ private losses to the public finances. It only means that the worst of neo-liberalism is yet to come. Worst form of austerity and extortionist methods such as extracting higher taxes and levies from public shall be clamped upon the masses. This also shows that, notwithstanding pessimistic claims that there is no light at the end of the tunnel, it's time for the revolutionary forces to brace up for something more than being confined and shackled to 'spontaneity', even if it is resorted to in the name of immediate demands of working class. The key task here is to combine the most immediate demands with appropriately well defined intermediary political demands and then to finally come up with the slogans of proletarian led revolutionary interventions in due course of time.
It is already clear how the burden of the pandemic is going to be thrown to the backs of the migrant workers, to the urban and rural poor to the masses of the people in general. Already, there are calls for moratorium on trade unions for a year. Another call is, to help economic recovery the workers should work in 12 hour shifts with same pay. All labour laws have been suspended. Some are calling for cutting the wages to Rs 200 per day like that of MNREGS workers. Though the government asked the managements to pay the wages for lockdown period to workers, following a writ petition, the Supreme Court has in effect invalidated it.
So, in the post- lockdown phase, firstly, an all round intensification of plunder of the working class, natural resources and the agricultural sector by the corporate forces can be expected, making life more miserable for them and intensifying the agrarian crisis, too. Secondly, while intensifying Islamophobia, more genocides as happened in Northeast Delhi may be resorted to, intensifying police raj and all out attack on Muslims, dalits, Adivasis and other backward sections and women. There will be a powerful move again to launch the NPR along with Census to prepare the NRC based on CAA. Along with these. Modi government may go for more militarization and closer relation with US imperialism, whipping up anti- China campaign further and attempts at a possible military skirmish with Pakistan. And we must make no mistake, using such planks and these and many other grounds, an anti-communist law may also be brought through as an ordinance.
It means we are going to face a very testing time both internationally and within the country. We have to get prepared to fight on all these fronts and also against the continuing impact of Covid19 among the urban and rural poor. It is better to start discussion on these questions, to unite the revolutionary left forces and to make the whole movement politically and organizationally prepared to take up these challenges.
This evaluation and proposals are being sent for discussion to all revolutionary organizations with an appeal to unite so that the fascist offensives in such a condition of a serious health and economic crisis could be countered and the regressive situations may be overturned.
Comrades, let us take up immediate tasks, and combine them with intermediary political demands as emanating from the immediate tasks, and finally come up with revolutionary slogans of proletarian led intervention in due course of time. The preparation of such tasks can be taken up once a possibility of a broad unity seems to be arriving and surfacing. If the revolutionary left forces agree, in the main, with this analysis and proposals, or are prepared to sit together for discussion with others based on it, we can advance to drafting the Common Program for coordination, if immediate unity is not possible, and united actions based on it. Our appeal is, comrades, at this critical juncture, let us take up this challenge.
KN Ramachandran, GS, CPI (ML) Red Star,
Ajay Sinha, GS, CPI (ML) PRC.
Dated 17th May, 2020
The Super Cyclone Amphan which had its landfall in Kolkata on 2oth May has caused extensive damages in W. Bengal and parts of Odisha. As it was already warned that this Tropical cyclone could become one of the most intense Category 5 cyclones on record, as pointed out in our statement of 19th May, with Kolkata in its direct path, about five lakhs of people were evacuated and possible precautions were taken by the state authorities. Still, when the cyclone struck with a speed of 165 kms per hour, whole villages of thatched huts disappeared and severe damages happened to even permanent buildings in Kolkata city and suburban areas with 85 people dead and hundreds of people injured as per government declaration. Entire Sunderbans, East Midnapore, Howrah, North and South 24 Parganas districts along Kolkata have been worst hit. Many dams have been demolished so a big area of Sunderbans has been inundated and particularly for this a big damage are also taking place. In the heavy rain many roads in the cities and vast areas of rural districts were flooded.
Uprooting of tens of thousands of trees, hundreds electric posts, mobile towers, traffic signals and police kiosks uprooted in Kolkata intensified the damages. While tens of thousands of thatched houses and huts were totally destroyed and large number of small buildings in the urban areas were destroyed, lakhs of families have become homeless. In W. Bengal alone the damages are of lakhs of crores of rupees, apart from the extensive disturbances to human life. Many animals were killed. Damages to electric supply and internet connections were widespread. Even after two days Kolkata city has not returned to normalcy. In Odisha from Bhadrak to north all areas were affected with many areas flooded and destruction of hundreds of kutcha houses.
CPI(ML) Red Star demands that the central government should declare it as a national calamity and extend immediate relief to both the states, as well as substantial assistance for rebuilding of the areas and rehabilitation of all affected people. We consider the Rs.1ooo crores offered by the prime minister,, even if it is announced as immediate help, after seeing the extensive damages in his aerial survey is an affront to the people of W. Bengal. His government should rectify it, and send expert teams to assess the damages and issue adequate help as early as possible to W. Bengal and Odisha.
The super cyclone caused extensive damages and loss of life in Bangladesh also. CPI(ML) Red Star declare solidarity with the suffering people of Bangladesh
It Is Sad when people who are well respected in the Left liberal circles and who are one of the most fearless voices of secularism, start slandering Lenin in the most ignorant ways possible. In an article in Indian Express last month Professor Apoorvanand talked about Lenin and claimed that Lenin did not believe in democracy, making Soviet Union a one-party dictatorship, and was responsible for the agony of the Soviet people. He claimed that Lenin is not a good ideal to follow in these times of crises. We are attempting here to respond to some of these assertions.
To respond to the point Apoorvanand makes about democracy, we should start with understanding the meaning of democracy. Marxist Leninists believe that what people understand as democracy is nothing but the dictatorship of the capitalist (ruling) class. We say that the political parties in capitalist countries are just tools of the corporates, so whichever party is elected, it does not matter because the class rule remains the same. This can be easily seen in the context of imperialist counties like America and even in countries under neo-colonial domination like India. It is common knowledge that in America corporates control both leading parties (Republicans and Democrats) and policies are made according to them. For instance, the gun law still remains, global warming is utterly ignored and jails have been privatised because of the corporate interests and there are thousands of examples how the corporates virtually control the whole system. Also the corporate interests were directly responsible for the war on Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Vietnam, Korea etc. in which lakhs of lives were lost.
Elections in capitalist countries do not result in any fundamental change in the lives of the masses. Today in India 1 % super rich controls 73% of the wealth. Since 1991 researches by people like P. Sainath have shown that lakhs of farmers have committed suicide because of pro corporate policies of the Congress and migration on a large scale started in this period. Today when we have a massive human tragedy involving lakhs of workers walking thousands of miles without food, we should remember that the ground for it was laid in the Congress era. Here a simple question arises -- what do we have in India today, people’s rule or corporate rule? Anyone who sees it with open eyes, can see that it is corporate rule and even if the opposition comes to power, it will remain the same. So what we have in the guise of democracy is actually the rule of the corporates.
There is also another basic flaw with Apoorvanand's idea of democracy as it does not consider surplus labour which is extracted from the workers by which the capitalist wealth is created. Also it should be understood that how in countries under neo-colonial domination American imperialism controls polices through World Bank and IMF which are responsible for their impoverishment. As long as this remains, there will be huge income inequality. So saying that you can create a true democracy without removing the loot of the labour and of finance capital is a utopian idea.
Also freedom of speech in these so-called democracies is severely constricted. It exists only until you start organising for a radical change in the class structure. For example where was democracy when thousands of peasants were killed during the Telangana uprising? Or when thousands were killed and jailed during Tehbhaga and Naxalbari movement? Or why did the Congress leaders help the British to pacify the Indian Naval Mutiny in 1946? Why were all the democratic rights dismissed during the emergency? Where was democracy then? It clearly shows that this formal democracy exists only until you start challenging the ruling class.
Marxists believe that this can only be changed if working class along with the peasantry come to power through a revolution. This is what happened in Russia. But Professor Apoorvanand claims that Lenin forcibly took power of the state and that was the end of freedom! He puts it as if it were a coup, but in fact it was a revolution in which overwhelming section of the population took part, books like ’10 days that shook the world’ show this clearly. Yes, the Bolsheviks came to power but Soviets were elected by the people and people had the right to choose their candidates.
His article claims that the poor had gone through great agony in Lenin’s time. But in fact the state gave people freedom from illiteracy and developed a new education system which was praised by people like Nehru, Rabindranth Tagore and Periyar. It abolished poverty, unemployment, provided food security and achieved great heights in women's empowerment by giving women equal rights in every sphere and freedom from domestic work. Great achievements in the fields of science and technology were made and, most importantly, the Soviet Union under Stalin fought against Hitler’s fascism and defeated it.
We can add here one more point about ‘democracy’. Since the Soviet archives have been opened people like Professor Grover Furr and Russian historians like Yuri Zhukov and others have written about the Stalin era in great detail. They have found out that Stalin struggled for more democratic rights and direct democracy in the Soviet Union. Documents including the 1936 constitution show that Stalin fought for free, fair elections and secret ballot system. He had spoken many times about the need to separate the government from the party, he said that the party should only be responsible for agitation and propaganda work. But because of many central committee leaders including Khrushchev who had their vested interests, this could not happen because they voted against these suggestions. After Stalin’s death Soviet Union degenerated into a bureaucratic state. This is well documented in Grover Furr’s book "Stalin and the struggle for democratic reform".
So things clearly aren’t as simple as Apoorvanandji would have us believe. He claims Russia was plunged into famine due to Lenin’s policies. This is the same set of lies which CIA has been peddling since the time of the revolution. We should understand that in those times 14 different capitalist countries attacked Soviet Russia and Russia was a very backward country. This had led to the food shortages and the famine, not Lenin’s policy. Claims that the Russian trials were a sham and a mass show are utterly baseless too. The most famous trials called the Moscow trials have been found to be true. It has been found by researches that in the late thirties there was a serious threat to overthrow the soviet government by German agents along with the ex party members headed by Trotsky. So the evidence was found against the people who were implicated which included party leaders, police officials and army officers. Yes there were accesses many times by the party and the police but they can’t be put all on the head of Lenin or Stalin .
Will sight an example from the book Russian historian Yuri Zhukov who claims that there were a few central committee members in those times who were scared that if the kulaks and others were given voting rights their power would be curbed. This was one of the reasons why many people were wrongly implicated or killed in the 1930s. Stalin had ordered for the arrests and actions based on the reports he was getting about the threats by these first secretaries. Also there was an actual threat to the soviet power as well , as I mentioned above .
Documents have also shown many police and party officials who had wrongly implicated people were also later dealt with by the regime. Yes, there were excesses and there were big blunders made by the leadership and this should be criticized severely, but saying that Russian revolution led to no revolutionary changes is utterly false. Also, the future socialist society which we dream of can only be achieved if we do a scientific analysis of this period and the mistakes that were made.
Also many people who were wrongly convicted or exiled during the early days after revolution and during the 30s were freed by the government after the initial years. It should be added that Gorky’s criticism might be true on many points and the debates between Lenin and Gorky should be well researched. But saying that Gorky believed that Lenin’s times were similar to fascism today, seems absolutely bizarre. The same Gorky praised Stalin and Lenin more than anyone, in fact he was invited back to Soviet Russia by Stalin and he lived their till his death! Gorky wrote one of the best obituaries when Lenin died and it starts like this “Even in the camp of his enemies there are some who honestly admit: in Lenin the world has lost a personality who embodied genius more strikingly than any other great man of his day”.
Apoorvanandji compared the lynching which are happening today in India and which are utterly communal in nature to the class uprising of the peasants against Kulaks who were the blood sucking landlords and who exploited them for centuries. This is just as absurd as it gets. Just to add Soviet society fought against ethnic and racial discrimination too, Paul Robeson the American singer and Boxer Mohammad Ali had talked about this.
The present democracy is actually the dictatorship of a minuscule minority over the vast majority of the population. The democracy that a few liberals like Apoorvanand are afraid of is actually the rule of the vast majority of the population over the tiny section which is the ruling class today. These liberals are content to remain under the dictatorship of the neo-colonial regime but shudder at the idea of being subject to a democracy which is actually the rule of the toiling people on the parasites of society. This shows the class allegiance of these liberals and proves why they cannot be dependable allies of the workers and peasants and the downtrodden masses.
Lastly it should be said that Lenin’s analysis about the fundamentals of imperialism and its plunder remains with us today and is as relevant as ever. This imperialist and capitalist plunder is the reason why we have environmental crises and why we face the challenge of such deadly viruses. Only with this understanding how both fascism and environmental crises are caused by capitalism can we devise a plan to defeat it and this is where Lenin’s ideas find their relevance today.
This year we are observing 53rd anniversary of Naxalbari Uprising on 25th May under 4th lockdown Modi. At this critical time, should we not evaluate what is happening around us daily. Even after the outbreak of Covid-19 devastated people’s life internationally and India, the capitalist imperialist system and its junior partners responsible for the Covid19 pandemic are once again on the offensive to carry forward business as usual throwing the whole burden of the unprecedented crisis over the working class and all oppressed people! That they delayed preparations to fight the virus and abruptly imposed the lockdowns as the panacea to fight it, are now saying we should learn to live with it for long time, let us take up economic recovery as main agenda giving Rs 20 lakh crores stimulus package for the corporate and others involved in it!
In his 12th May speech, once again, Modi did not say why the migrant workers are walking back to their native places and dying on the road, why millions of them are undergoing horrific distress all over India and abroad from 24th March. He did not explain why the number of patients and dead jumped from 500 and 10 on 24th March, to 70, 000 and 2300 on 12th May, the worst performance in South Asia. He did not say why these tens of millions of migrant workers and urban and rural poor had to starve and face all distress when FCI godowns are full and large funds were collected in PM Cares. He was silent how the workers who were turned in the contract/casual ones under neoliberal years are being turned in the bonded labourers now. He also did not say why Islamophobia was spread by RSS/BJP telling lies, under cover of Covid19 why students and other activists are detained, and fascist terror is imposed all over the country. Comrades, we can point out hundreds of such things to show how Modi-Shah rule is carrying forward the corporate fascist rule ruthlessly,
By the second half of 1960s, the imperialists and their junior partners had launched neo-colonial plunder. Workers, peasantry and all other toiling masses were in distress. Food riots and land capturing had started. But, the revisionists and neo-revisionists had abandoned the path of revolution. It was then the Communist Revolutionaries brought revolution back to the agenda of the people and led the Naxalbari Uprising! Today it is a much worse situation internationally and in India compared to 1960s. Under neoliberal fascist offensive of imperialists and their junior partners, the plunder of working class and the oppressed people as well as of nature have reached devastating levels; at this time, not only the old time revisionists, but the modern revisionists as well as the so-called liberals, progressives of all hues and opposition political forces are contended with calling for some neo-Keynesian recipes everywhere; and even some from the camp of CRs have withdrawn to safe slogans. But, even if the trees want rest, wind will not allow them! The working class and the oppressed peoples are on the streets challenging their tormentors. As they have nothing to lose, but the chains of wage slavery binding them, they are continuing to fight. Now, while observing the Naxalbari Uprising Day, the challenge before the Communist Revolutionaries is to understand how the objective situation has reached a new stage, and get prepared to mobilize the working class and the oppressed people for revolutionary transformation of the society! Comrades, let us take up this challenge, let us dare to think, dare to struggle, and dare to win victory!
US President Donald Trump has said it is a "badge of honour" for America to "lead" the world with 3.5 million confirmed Covid19 cases since it means the US is testing more people for the disease that has killed nearly 100,000 people in US alone, when at global level the number of confirmed cases has reached 60 million, with nearly 4 lakh dead by 23rd May. He thinks that, in a certain respect, as being a good thing because it means the testing is much better. "So when we have a lot of cases," he continued, "I don't look at that as a bad thing, I look at that as, in a certain respect, as being a good thing because it means our testing is much better." It is for people of US to decide whether such a fascist with Evangelical outlook should lead them! But there is a method in Trump’s madness! It serves his imperialist vision. In this manner he conceals the fact that though the WHO alerted all countries on 7th January about the dangerous spreading of Covid19, he did not bother about it till the number of patients crossed tens of thousands; he still protects the corporate houses and super rich private hospitals who refuse to help in providing affordable Covid-19 treatment to people; he also conceals the fact that it is the Blacks who are affected by Covid19 in larger numbers, and that more than 75% of dead are also Blacks who are below 20% of the population. So, without concrete steps to control the infection and to help the Blacks and other poorer sections, Trump is ending lockdown and opening all fields for helping production to catch up with rivals of US at the global market, with business as usual.
Modi is also following Trump’s ways faithfully, though on one count, on the excellence of testing done in India he has nothing to boast. At the same time, similar to US, the number of patients and dead have started galloping in India also. Like Trump, Modi also did not bother when WHO called for health alert and for starting preparations to combat Covid-19 which was spreading fast globally. Even after the first case was detected in India, though WHO had called for observation and testing/quarantine for all international passengers at airports, it was put in to effect from 12th march only. By that time 15 lakh passengers came through airports including those much maligned Tablighi Jamaat’s foreign guests without getting checked and tested. Till 24th March Indian companies were exporting ventilators, safety kits and testing kits and other medical requirements, none of which could be sufficiently procured even up to this time. Modi was busy with Delhi elections, suppression of anti NPR/NRC movement, toppling Congress govt in MP like BJP programs. Then the announcement to start 21 days lockdown from midnight of 24th March came just four hours before, without taking the state governments or the people in confidence. This abrupt order is entirely responsible for the still continuing colossal distress including hundreds of deaths due to starvation and accidents forced on the tens of millions of migrant workers.
When the first lockdown was declared, the covid19 patients were nearly 500.But when 60 days of lockdown is over, still Modi government could not provide adequate numbers of test kite, safety kits, ventilators etc. required for such a vast country. It is not ready to disturb the super rich private hospitals to provide Covid-19 treatment at affordable rates. Lockdown are allowed to be violated with immunity for Hindutva programs, No wages or allowance is given to the 400 million contract/casual workers who lost jobs and shelters and in acute distress. Adequate free ration was not given to all though FCI godowns are over full with food grains. In short, while announcing lockdown was needed, as WHO repeatedly announced, testing facilities and medical preparations were not sufficiently made. As a result, contrary to Modi government’s tall claims, by 24th May the number of patients and dead have jumped to 1,30,000 and about 3800, and fast increasing fast day by day.
Meanwhile, following Trump, without rectifying the gross mistakes and shortcomings which led to galloping impact of covid19 and acute distress to vast majority of the workers and oppressed sections, Modi also has ordered for easing out lockdown provisions, without taking the state governments in to confidence. By 1st June the lockdown may be withdrawn, with domestic flights and train services started, to begin economic activities fast. But what will happen to fighting the intensifying Covid19 spread? How its galloping numbers of patients and dead are going to be brought down? Who will give relief to the seriously impoverished the masses including the migrant workers many of whom are still on the roads or rails? There are no answers. At the same time, Modi government was using Covid-19 as a cover to spread Islamophobia and implement RSS agenda, It has intensified fascist state terror by leaps and bounds to suppress Kashmir people, Muslims as a whole, especially the students and youth who were active in the anti-NPR/NRC movement, to announce more and more reactionary orders for further plunder of the working class and peasantry, and to saffronise every section of the state apparatus. While it totally failed to control the spread of Covid19 or in helping the masses of the people from their acute distress, it is providing all incentives to the corporate forces and to the elite Brahmanical sections. Its crimes against the people are mounting.
Modi’s crimes against the people should be exposed and powerful movements should be launched to throw him out of power and to realize a people’s alternative with the working class in the forefront. This is the first and foremost task before all progressive forces
India is fast losing its friends in the neighbourhood. This time, the top priority project of Modi, a road to reach Kailash-Manasarovar in Tibet, is the prime reason for antagonizing Nepal and provoking border skirmishes with China. Government of Nepal has published a political map of the country which includes Kalapani, Limpiyadhura and Lipulekh as part of its sovereign territory based on 1816 treaty signed by British with then ruler of Nepal, through which the road goes. Nepal PM has asked India govt to remove “encroachments” from the area.
Indian army chief General M.M. Naravane’s remarks that the Nepali government had protested the inauguration of India’s link road to Mount Kailash in Lipulekh at the behest of China has united all sections of Nepalese society – including all the political parties in the opposition against it. India’s sovereignty over the Lipulekh Pass is yet to be established as it continues to be a disputed region. In the last 26 years of discussions, the Nepal-India Joint Technical Level Boundary Committee was able to settle nearly 97% of the border, but failed to resolve the dispute over Kalapani and Susta. In 2009, both sides had “agreed to resolve the long standing border disputes between the two countries at various places, including Kalapani and Susta through further discussions.”
The Lipulekh Pass, which lies at the centre of the current dispute, is situated at an altitude of 5,000 metres. Nepal claims that the Indian army has encroached 372 square kilometres towards Limpiyadhura from Kalapani since the 1962 Indo-China war. At that time, Nepal, as a friendly neighbour, granted permission to the Indian army to set up a camp in the region. Subsequently, despite several firm requests by Nepal to evacuate the camp, India continued the occupation. Reports from Nepal claim that Indians from UP and Bihar have encroached on over 60,000 hectares of land in 23 out of the 75 bordering districts. There is a great deal of hue and cry in Nepal over encroachment. As India refuses to even discuss these, and now has constructed the road stealthily, it has enraged the Nepalese people greatly. PM of Nepal, Oli’s words reflect it. The Indian army chief‘s comments not only wounded Nepalese national sentiment. It has dragged China also in to this dispute, and as US hurriedly came forward supporting India and accusing China, these border skirmishes have given an international character to the dispute. The Nepali prime minister’s harsh comment on India in Nepal’s parliament recently is an indication of a deepening sense of alienation. Under Modi, once again the army chief has made foray into external relations, worsening the situation. Is history is repeating? Was it not the arrogant treatment given to Chinese PM Chou Enlai by the UP CM Gobind Ballab Pant along with the enthusiastic interference by US president Kennedy worsened the Indo-China relations, abruptly ended the conciliation talks and led to India’s China War in 1962?
During the last six years, Modi govt has worsened relations with all neighbours with its arrogant, majoritarian Hindutva approach. So, all of them who had complaints about India’s expansionism and big brotherly attitude have moved away. In continuation to its reactionary, divisive internal policy based on hate politics, relations are spoiled not only with the neighbours, but with all the Arab countries. Its foreign policy is focused only on strategic junior partnership with US administration. Naturally, US exploit the situation, trying to provoke a proxy war between India and China, to settle its own contradictions with it. It shows how under Modi India is dragged in to a situation in which the Indian army may be used as cannon fodder in another conflict with China, to serve US interests. It is not patriotism Modi, it is treason! All progressive forces should create public opinion to prevent Modi playing another dangerous game, making people suffer for his follies