Update on the Indian Situation
June 4, 2012 Leave a comment
An update on the indian situation :
We had written our last document on the indian situation in 2010. The context of that document was the massive watershed general strike of 2010. That strike was a watershed since it worked towards breaking trade union fragmentation and united workers across unions and across different sections. Clearly there was a change taking place in organizational perspectives of the masses. Add to this a general situation of world crisis as well as a period of political and social turmoil in town and country. Since then there have been some changes, but not fundamentally so. Far from a decrease in social tensions in India, there has been an increase in class struggle and a frequency of strikes and mass mobilizations both in town and country. Overall our analysis from the situation in 2010 still holds today, but we must take into stock certain changes which have occurred since then.
Increasing class tensions:
The year 2009 to 2010 saw an upsurge of worker’s militancy which peaked with the general strike of 2010 and the indefinite strike at the Maruti plant at Manesar a year later. But there was no cession or decrease in these tensions since then, on the contrary there was a continuation of the militant wave spilling over from the last year, this time witnessing militancy in public sector enterprises. The world economic crisis has forced Indian capital to expand more aggressively internally, resulting in a militarist approach to deal with dissent in the countryside as well as concerted attacks on public sector undertakings, in particular those sectors in which considerable private Indian capital enjoy monopoly positions.
The telecom and air transport industry are two main areas for attack. BSNL and Air India are presently being targeted vehemently for privatization and pro-private structural changes. The workers have not taken these moves without reaction but have taken to strike actions and protests. The frequency of these actions have also increased. Between the last major general strike and the one in 2012 there was only a 14 month gap while before that it took more than 7 years between the general strike of 2003. These mobilizations are not without political consequence as was seen during the general strike of 2003 which tilted popular opinion against the then incumbent government led by the BJP and eventually brought them down. Since then a policy of aggressive proletarianization in india has created multiple class tensions both in cities and in the countryside. The old class tensions released at the turn of the century have thus only intensified and become more organized. At present the tensions under the surface have reached near critical levels showing an advanced stage of the pre-revolutionary situation in India, and this reflects in the nature of class militancy, organization and direction of struggles.
Yet another interesting trend has been witnessed in the popular movements for self-determination in Kashmir and elsewhere. Earlier upheavals saw a very minimum participation of working classes in these regions, and a total subjection of these upheavals to a reactionary agenda. However, increasingly, the mobilizations are turning towards more concrete demands with a clearer agenda with the reactionary forces finding it far more difficult to retain mass support. Self-determination struggles have become more sophisticated in the present context and far more closely interwoven with class struggle between bourgeois and proletariat.
Significant political changes :
The rise of class struggle by the working class and its class allies *( the marginalized and marginalizing petty bourgeois and peasantry ) has effected important political changes which will affect the socialist revolution in India. The petty bourgeois in india has been squeezed out more and more under pressure from big capital, to the point where an extreme stratification is taking place between enriched petty bourgeois and those who are marginalized. The middle ranks of both peasants and petty bourgeois are almost being driven to extinction. This new stratification has resulted in a more left leaning and more democratic leaning petty bourgeois which finds itself fighting against the forces of big capital. The latent tensions have now come out most clearly in the form of the petty bourgeois led anti-corruption movement. This was the largest spontaneous mobilization of people since 1977. The impact of this movement has to cripple the ruling Congress party completely curbing their bonapartist tendencies more. Despite it having failed to reach any of its objectives yet and having fizzled out, it has opened up a new chapter of class struggle in India and wrenched out a huge mass of petty bourgeois from the grip of the bourgeois political parties.
Within the same timespan events in Bengal changed the face of the left in India, with a total rejection of Stalinism by the people of Bengal and Kerala. The weakening of Stalinists have created conditions for the further advancement of the left in India and made space for the rise of a revolutionary Bolshevik Leninist alternative. New trade union initiatives and organizations are emerging which are increasingly organizing disorganized workers and contractual workers in the cities, and new spontaneous organizations are emerging in the countryside organizing the peasantry to defend against increased attacks from Big capital. Overall, we are witnessing a situation which bears some similarities with pre-revolutionary Russia in the immediate years before the revolution, with a plethora of dissenting organizations and a popular movement emerging against the ruling Tsar.
The crisis of sub-imperialism:
A rapid global expansion of indian capital has brought with it the problems of becoming an emerging centre of Capital. Part of that is integration with the forces of Western Imperialism and economic thrust into Africa has brought with it massive foreign debt and exposure to volatile western markets. The crisis in Eurozone as well as the USA has hit India in markets When the crisis did hit, India could only offset the effects through a rapid expansion of industry and deeper penetration into the domestic market. Overtime, Indian capital has been making more militarist overtures in desperation of penetrating regions not yet penetrated firmly by Indian Capitalism. But this rapid thrust into the Indian hinterland has been failing when faced with stiff local resistance and a tribal-peasant based Naxalite insurgency. When the thrust to the countryside stagnated, the focus shifted to within the urban sphere, targeting state enterprises, but here again they faced stiff resistance from organized workers to defend their welfare. Attacks against worker’s wages are continuing to fail as organized militant workers are fighting against this. The usual tricks of corruption and scandals wrecking the democratic institutions of India are now being thwarted just as much.
Internationally, the Arab spring in the middle east has posed new challenges to the free expansion of Indian capital to these areas, as well as the war in Afghanistan seeks to throw a spanner on the imperialist dreams of the Indian bourgeois. The Indian bourgeois is increasingly finding it more and more difficult to keep up the false facade of bourgeois democracy intact, as it finds itself surrounded by hostile forces both at home and abroad by hostile forces. The bourgeois may well choose a more dictatorial alternative to bourgeois democracy, but as has been seen throughout Indian history, with each measure to suppress the masses, the masses have responded with an equal of greater force against such measures of the rulers. The objective factors for a revolution are not only present in India today but are ripening more and more with each passing day to the point that it has become over-ripe for a revolution. What is found in wanting has been the presence of subjective strength which can harness the power of these objective factors and channelize them into a revolutionary socialist direction.
Revolutionary party building – an urgent task :
As the objective conditions for a revolution continue to mature, the most urgent task facing revolutionaries in India is to build a revolutionary Bolshevik Leninist party to lead the Working class and all oppressed masses to a Socialist revolution. It must be remembered that it is not enough for objective maturity of a pre-revolutionary condition to give a revolution, what is necessary is to complement it with a subjective force strong enough to give leadership at the critical point of revolutionary upsurge. That point of revolution is nearing with rapid pace as is evident from the frequent upsurges being seen in the country today.