Letter to the NSF(Marxist)

The following letter was sent to the National Students Front (Marxist) for their conference on the role of youth in the revolutionary struggle on the 26th of September. Here we lay down our view on youth struggles encompassing students, the unemployed and young workers.

Message to NSF(M) conference on the role of youth in the socialist revolution :

Comrades of the NSF, On behalf of New Wave ( Bolshevik Leninist ) in India, and the Indian youth and working class, I send you greetings on this occasion. At the start, I am deeply sorry for not being able to be physically present at this conference addressing the youth of Kashmir, and contributing in its success. However, I hope this message will be read and discussed, and in some way, help in the education of the youth cadre in your organization.

We are living in the midst of great upheavals world wide. The wave of present revolutions in Asia can be said to have begun with the successful Nepali revolution which deposed the monarchy from Nepal in 2006, followed by democratic upheavals across Central Asia, then Iran and Pakistan, the last of which resulted in the ouster of the military Dictator Parvez Musharraf in 2008. India was not immune from this wave, as peasant uprisings rocked the countryside, and led to a civil war situation in some parts of the country as pauperized peasants lent their support to the armed naxalite movement. The struggle of the peasants is still alive and securing victories even as the armed naxalite movement seems to dissipate. While most of these struggles have achieved only pyrrhic victories or have ended in failure, they signal a change in the world situation.

No longer are the oppressed classes silent victims of the assaults of imperialism. Not even in the advanced imperialist nations of Europe and America, where the working class and youth have risen up against austerity and of passing the burden of the world crisis upon the shoulders of the working class. The working classes of Britain, France, Portugal and Spain, and not to forget Greece, are leading the fight against the attacks of the exploitative Franco-German financial alliance and it’s helpers, otherwise known infamously as the ‘troika’ ( the European Central Bank, the IMF, and the EU ) . And lest we forget, the massive mobilizations around the Occupy Wall Street, which succeeded in mobilizing the youth of America and its workers, that great sleeping giant in the world.

All these upheavals point towards an objectively pre-revolutionary situation worldwide.

At present all revolutionaries turn their attention chiefly to nations of the middle east and North Africa where the situation has gone beyond the bounds of a pre-revolutionary situation and is objectively revolutionary ! A trans-national wave of revolutions has emerged there in the wake of the Tunisian uprising, and then the Egyptian revolution, the Libyan revolution and finally, the ongoing civil war in Syria. These revolutions are objectively democratic in their nature, and are aimed chiefly against imperialist backed dictatorships ruling over these nations. Yet, these revolutions contain the seed of a future socialist uprising, and naturally the seeds of socialist transition as they clear the way for the proletariat to wage a much clearer class based battle against the bourgeoisie.

Barely a decade has passed and the 21st century has given a series of revolutions worldwide.

In this situation, the role of the youth both as students and as young workers, and among ranks of the reserve labor can’t be ignored.

The student movement :

Under capitalism education and commerce become virtually indistinguishable. Universities and schools are converted into veritable factories to manufacture exploitable proletariats rather than nurture their minds and creativity. The challenge before students most immediately is to break out of the chains imposed on it by the capitalist system. This means we put our full force in mobilizing students against the commercialization of education and against any move which stifles the creative and organizational freedoms of students. The student youth are the buds from which every political cadre blooms. The bourgeoisie wants nothing more than to crush the flowers before they blossom into a threat. For this curriculums are deliberately designed to keep students focussed on only those areas which cater to the interests of the bourgeoisie, they make student life as dreary as possible for readying them for an equally dreary future as robotized workers. If that weren’t enough, any democratic aspiration students may have is stifled by rules crippling their freedom to organize. An iron curtain is drawn between them and domineering authorities with no accountability who manage the educational institutions like private business concerns. To this effect, they exploit the students as much as is possible by all manner of hefty charges and fees.

A most perfect example of this is the crushing student debt in the USA. Educational loans as well as the educational institutions themselves make for brisk business, toying with the future aspirations and needs of the youth. Our work, is to fight this ! The fight is thus twofold :

1) For free education at all levels (From Nursery to University) :

Learning must be opened to all and be given the freest opportunity and access to education. For this we fight for free education at all levels. There are already major mobilizations underway in Latin America, in Chile and Brazil for free education. Necessarily, this also means we demand greater spending in education by all governments we fight against. In this fight, the students will find their ally teachers and academicians whose position as educators are downgraded to that of a factory worker working on a commodified student. Capitalism brings every profession, every work into the ambit of wage slavery, this is no different for teachers and professors.

2) Freedom of organization and democratization :

Revolutionaries fight for fullest democratic freedoms of association and organization. We defend the right of workers to unionize and students to unionize and agitate. Student unions under the control of reactionaries, lead to the degeneration of the students and ultimately serve the interests of the bourgeoisie. Student unions under revolutionary leadership contribute to their betterment. We both fight for the right to organize and agitate as well as wage a ruthless struggle against every reactionary outfit misleading students. This is a dialectical approach that needs a fine strategy and balance. Never must we give the bourgeoisie an excuse to attack the democratic rights of students. This goes hand in hand with the struggle for democratization of campus management against any tendency of bureaucratization. Students must have a say in the framing of curriculum and on student infrastructure, hostel management, canteen, and institutional decision making like admission.

Lastly, we must recognize that revolutionaries working among students must focus on joining the student’s movement with the movement of the working class. Students and young workers share an intimate connect and a common enemy in the bourgeoisie, the only way forward to their common emancipation is to wage a united struggle. For this, we must work towards integrating the student’s movement with the class struggle of the working class.

The special role and position of young workers and the reserve labor :

A trend we have been witnessing world over, is the trend of new class leadership emerging from the ashes of the old. This has gone hand in hand with the upswing of struggles world over and the pre-revolutionary situation setting in worldwide. A great demographic shift has accompanied this, with almost half the world living in cities. What this means is, the great bulk of new proletarians are going to be from among the youth of the world.

The one thing we find most common among this layer of the working class, is their militancy! They are young, fresh, unblemished with the burdens of the past. From here would we find the most fighting comrades for the revolutionary struggle. With a shrinking of opportunities for secure work, most young workers find themselves as underemployed servicemen or casual workers. The trend is worst in developing countries where a vast layer of petty production exists and large scale organized capital grows in wealth without creating jobs, thus the phenomena of ‘jobless growth’. Yet, the alternatives to working as wage slaves in monopolies is only the most precarious areas of work in petty capital, which every day, is being rendered more and more precarious.

Ultimately, even degree holding youth have nowhere to turn. They end up among the reserve labor of the unemployed. In countries where petty production has all but dried up, the numbers of the reserve labor swell to previously untouched heights. The crisis has rendered this situation worse, with unemployment reaching previously untouched heights in the advanced economies of the west which lie at the core of the crisis. The layer of unemployed youth are hot springs of discontent, one has only to see the uprisings in Kashmir led by the layer of unemployed youth to see the anger they hold. The mobilizations of the youth in Britain is no less an indicator of the tinder box that is the proletarian youth. Increasingly the capitalist myth of equal and fair opportunities through ‘globalization’ is being shattered as even the best of degrees fail to offer a secure livelihood to the youth. Even those youth who manage to find themselves in employment end up facing the worst conditions of work. The example of the maruti workers or more recently with the workers at Bajaj in India show the militant potential of youth workers.

However, we must express caution, when dealing with the unemployed youth, the spectre of the fascist lumpen proletariat looms large. With their festering anger and seething discontent, they become easy prey for reactionaries to be trapped into their agenda. The reserve labor may join either side in the war against capitalism, we must work to ensure the fascists don’t triumph ! Only a strong foundation of a youth movement rooted in class struggle can overcome this threat from reaction.

Conclusion :

The contradictions of capitalism were always present, but the present crisis has only sharpened them. While the forces of class struggle have advanced, we must remember, that revolution is never greeted with open arms, and a bed of roses, but with the iron thorns of reaction. Even now as the world is being pushed more and more towards a maturing pre-revolutionary situation, reactionaries are emerging in force. South Asia is no stranger to this dialectic.

The forces of communalism have again reared their ugly head in india with an increasing number of communal instances being reported. Both fascistic and self-proclaimed ‘secular’ parties are churning a vicious communal cauldron to continue to play a game of divide and rule. All the bourgeoisie is screaming for a ‘strong leader’ who can more effectively ‘rule’ in their interests. In Pakistan too, the forces of religious fundamentalism aim at keeping the people of South Asia divided and isolated from each other, all the while cutting business deals to quench the criminal hunger of capitalists. The only reason they continue to rule over us, is because of the crisis of revolutionary leadership.

There is no dirth of energy or revolutionary power in the working class and its allies oppressed by capitalism. There is only an absolute lack of revolutionary leadership. We reiterate the immortal words of Leon Trotsky in the transitional programme, “ The crisis of our times is the crisis of revolutionary leadership !” Our task is cut out for us in building that revolutionary leadership which will enable the class to overthrow the visceral rule of the reactionary bourgeois. Such a party can only be a revolutionary bolshevik-leninist party and consequently, an internationalist world party of revolution. The struggle against capitalism while being national in form is international in substance. This is the cornerstone of our understanding which drives us to work vigorously at the national arena of class struggle while actively working to build the foundations for an international world party of revolution. Only through the socialist revolution can the contradictions of capitalism be overcome, and a just and fair world be made for all humanity.

The New Wave ( Bolshevik – Leninist ) and our international ally the International Worker’s League – Fourth International, affirm our commitment to building this party as a world party of revolution and laud the efforts of the NSF(Marxist) in building the revolutionary bolshevik leninist force in Pakistan.

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