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.


Our differences with the Delhi comrades on the Kashmir issue

[ The text herein was printed in our 1st edition of the regular edition newsletter available locally. This is a part of our continuing open debates on Kashmir and the national question. We welcome the statement by the Delhi New Wave group on Kashmir as an important initiative to get the debate on this issue under way (the link to the text of the Delhi section is : http://new-wave-nw.blogspot.com/2010/11/resolution-on-present-situation-in.html ). We don’t fully agree with their statement and hope we have stated our position clearly enough to carry forward the discussion in and between the New Wave groups in a productive and comradely fashion. This document was published after 2 months of serious discussions and research on the Kashmir question and the question of National Liberation. We welcome any feedback on our texts on Kashmir and on the newsletter itself. ]

The National Question has been the subject of one of the most heated debates within the New wave. Recently, the debate sharpened with the Kashmir struggle as its focal point. On the 31st of October 2010, the Delhi section came out with a resolution on Kashmir which opposed the liberation movement of Kashmir on various grounds. We were opposed to this resolution and dissented by bringing out our own statement on Kashmir on the 6th of December. Our position was to unconditionally support the Kashmiri people in their struggle against the oppression of the Indian state.The National Question itself has always been a contentious issue for the left internationally. The National Question was developed and sharpened by Lenin and Trotsky in the early half of the twentieth century. Before them they had the rich experience of the Russian revolution where the National Question was posed14in the most complex manner. This is not to say that Lenin and Trotsky didn‘t face opposition. Among the spectrum of opposition to the Bolshevik Leninist Position was the sectarian approach towards National Liberation criticized harshly by Trotsky in his polemic on the Ukrainian question. We see many similarities between the position held by the sectarian wing of the 4th international at the time and the present position of the Delhi section.

We would like to specify the areas of disagreement with the Delhi comrades over the National Question.The following issues on the general idea of self determination:

1) The alleged dichotomy between right to self determination and secession:Lenin and Trotsky were very clear on this question and in this context the question of supporting and not supporting the fight of oppressed nationalities. For Lenin and Trotsky, the national question was of immense importance and was treated with the greatest sympathy and support towards oppressed nationalities. The question of the right of self determination was never divorced in the abstract from its realization even in the ultimate form of secession. The actual attitude of the Bolsheviks under Lenin and Trotsky is shown their treatment of the oppressed nationalities around Russia. Lenin supported the right to self determination ―up to secession‖. The comrades of the Delhi section however, opine the two may be separated and that the right to self determination may be supported without supporting secession even when the majority of the populace are decisively in favour of secession which today is the case in Kashmir. In our opinion it is meaningless and disingenuous not to support secession in actual practice when claiming to support it in words.

2) Position of the National Question in the wider historical Socialist Struggle:There is a reason why revolutionaries support the national struggles notwithstanding the obvious disadvantages in the formation of small nation-states. National liberation represents an unfinished task of the bourgeois democratic revolution and as it stands is of immense strategic importance for the revolution both on a national basis as well as on a global basis. For the success of the revolution it is of decisive importance to gain the support of the peasantry and petty bourgeoisie. Whilst the revolution we aim at is emphatically a socialist revolution establishing the dictatorship of the proletariat, bourgeois democratic goals nevertheless get entwined in this struggle where they are yet unresolved. Self determination for oppressed groups is one such key bourgeois democratic goal which in our epoch falls upon the shoulders of the proletariat for its resolution.For the success of the Socialist revolution it is imperative we secure the support of the non-proletarian classes of the peasantry and petty bourgeoisie. Support for the national struggle is as much a strategic/tactical question here as a question of principle. ―A country that oppresses can never itself be free‖. As long as the comrades of the Delhi section do not take the living dynamics of the historical class struggle into account, they are inevitably caught in an abstract view of the proletariat and consequently fail to understand the importance of National Struggles.

3) Confusing understanding of the socio-political forces in Kashmir and their roles:Whilst the above two areas of disagreement refer to more general and deep rooted differences of understanding over the national question, a more specific disagreement is over the understanding of classes and parties and their role in Kashmir. Firstly, confusion is created in the vague presentation of who or what precisely constitutes the ―Big Bourgeoisie‖ and where and how foreign capital comes in. To justify the confusion an abstract picture of an ―Asian game‖ is created in which Kashmir is a mere pawn.Weaker still is the exposition of the role of the Indian bourgeois and its oppressive role in Kashmir. The traditional Bolshevik treatment of an oppressor nation is the harshest possible condemnation of its oppression of weaker nations. The resolution not only fails to condemn the oppressive role of the Indian bourgeois in Kashmir — it fails to even mention the Indian bourgeoisie as the foremost oppressor in Kashmir. What is implicit in the whole resolution though not mentioned overtly is an implied condemnation of the whole struggle for freedom in favour of defending the interests of the Indian bourgeois. Such a stance is dangerously close to Dominant Nation Chauvinism. We share the disgust and anger of Lenin and Trotsky at Dominant Nation Chauvinism – here in the form of Indian chauvinism – and sharply criticize even the slightest hint of it. For this reason we are astonished that the resolution of the Delhi section fails to condemn the Indian bourgeoisie in the harshest terms.Finally, and this is very important for our own concrete intervention in the struggle in Kashmir, the confusions arising from the resolution are compounded by the absence of demands and the total lack of the transitional perspective essential to a Bolshevik Leninist approach.

Statement on the Kashmir struggle

Statement on the Kashmir struggle:

Recent development in Kashmir, particularly in the past 4-5 years have brought back the Kashmir question to the fore and posed it sharper than ever. Beginning with the protests surrounding the Shopian Double Murder case and the landmark State Transport Corporations Strikes which garnered the support of hundreds of thousands of workers, we are witnessing a heightened tension in the valley as the masses advance further and further towards self determination. Counter posed to this advance is the increased suppression of dissent at the hands of the Indian state. The past 6 months have seen over a hundred Kashmiri youth falling victim to indiscriminate firing by the security forces stationed in the valley. These acts were committed with the intent of curbing peaceful protests in the valley against Indian occupation. In the light of these events we express unconditional support to the Kashmiri people in their struggle for self determination.

For the self determination of Kashmir! :

The occupation of Kashmir has been brutal, treacherous and unjust. The democratic aspirations of the people of Kashmir have been continuously denied by the Indian ruling class time and again. The democratic aspirations of the Kashmiri people which began in the form of pro democracy movements pitted against the repressive and reactionary monarchy in Kashmir has today resurfaced against an equally oppressive rule at the hands of India. In 1948 in the aftermath of the first Indo-Pak war, it was agreed by UN mandate that Kashmiris would be allowed a plebiscite to decide accession to either India or Pakistan in a democratic manner. Notwithstanding repeated false promises from Nehru to hold such a plebiscite, the accession of Kashmir into India at the hands of the Maharaja was accepted as the valid instrument of accession without regard to the aspirations of the Kashmiri people themselves. Farce elections were made the norm in Kashmir in which the central government would conduct “tailor made” rigged elections to keep their prized proxy the National Conference in power in the state and through them exercise its own influence. Repeatedly, the NC proved itself to be an instrument of the Indian ruling classes serving the needs of occupation of the Kashmir. The question of a plebiscite still hangs on in the air retaining its validity as Kashmir’s self determination stands unresolved. However, over time the original demand for plebiscite has lots some of its relevance owing to changes both nationally and internationally. For the fulfillment of the aspirations of the Kashmiri people towards self determination it is imperative a plebiscite be held to decide whether the Kashmiri people want secession or not. However, for this a new instrument of plebiscite must be charted out taking into consideration the renewed aspirations of the Kashmiri people which aims beyond accession to either India or Pakistan.

Out with the troops! :

The presence of the occupational troops in Kashmir is the main foundation upon which the Indian state establishes its control over Kashmir. The fallout of the continued occupation is felt by the Kashmiri people on a daily basis who are subjected to repeated harassment and abuse at the hands of the Indian occupational force. Terror, murder and torture have become routine affairs for the Kashmiri people. The death toll of the occupation has already reached around 100000 in the last 20 years with thousands more if the years preceding the insurgency be considered. Forced disappearances, rape, torture are some of the many methods used by the security forces in the region to maintain its hold in Kashmir. In the light of the above it is imperative that there be a total troop withdrawal from Kashmir as well as an abolition of the authoritarian laws like AFSPA which shield the troops from any legal action after human rights abuses. Additionally we demand that the strategically vital affair of defense and security be left to the prerogative of the Kashmiri people themselves and not to the hands of the Indian state to decide for them. Additionally we demand that all those who have fallen victims to the excesses of security forces, be compensated adequately and a trial be held for those responsible for perpetrating such crimes against humanity.

Down with the Indian proxy! :

Since the start of the occupation of Kashmir, the Kashmiri bourgeois and their chief Political formation the National Conference have played the most treacherous role in the region paving the way for continued Indian occupation of Kashmir and courting silence at the indiscriminate human rights violations being perpetrated by the security forces stationed there. The National Conference exists in Kashmir solely under warrant from its supreme leaders stationed in Delhi under the Indian national Congress and its Bonapartist leadership. Its primary function is not towards the masses of peasants, workers and petty bourgeois of Kashmir but towards the interests of the Indian bourgeoisie dictating its policies via its main political instrument the Congress and legislative power based in Delhi. The National Conference is in essence the main enemy of the Kashmiri people within Kashmir.

Abolish the Indus Water Treaty! For a New Water Sharing agreement!

During the Great Game between Russia and England for control over Asia a series of unequal treaties were meted out with China which gave effective control of huge regions of China to either Russian or British hands. The Indus water Treaty is like these unequal treaties in history giving the Indian bourgeois effective control over waters flowing into the Punjab river basin and effective control over Kashmiri waters thereby affecting Kashmir and Pakistan. The net effect of the treaty is drainage of wealth from Kashmir to India and a deliberate constriction of Kashmir’s potential for infrastructural development.

We demand that negotiations be started with the Indian state to abolish this unequal treaty and a new treaty be drafted of water sharing taking into consideration the needs of the Kashmiri people and by extension fulfilling the needs of all the people of the Punjab basin! The independence of Kashmir would open up a whole new avenue for the formation of a just water sharing treaty which would cater to the needs of both the Kashmiri people as well as the Pakistani people thereby nullifying the negative effects of the treaty and making it easier to irrigate the whole basin, control the occurrence of floods and make good any damage they cause.

For an independent Constituent Assembly! :

The demand for a Constituent assembly is a basic demand for any oppressed nation struggling for independence. In the present legal set up the Kashmiri national assembly has an existence which is essentially constricted by myriad legal obligations imposed by the Indian state. Add to this legal complexity, the political stranglehold held by the Congress in Kashmir working through its allies, the National Conference, the independence of the legislative body gets reduced to a mere farce. This cannot possibly be a valid realization of the democratic aspirations of the Kashmiri people and it is imperative that the Constituent assembly be freed of its constraints to legislate in all matters relating to Kashmir. The present Legislative Assembly created by the consent of the Indian ruling class would never act in the interests of the Kashmiri people and as it is would continue to remain under constraints imposed by the mother body in India. We therefore, demand the formation of a new Constituent Assembly formed by the peasants and workers of Kashmir which would work first and foremost towards securing the self determination of the Kashmiri people and independence from India Thereafter, moving towards the full expropriation of all large landed estates and estates of the big Kashmiri bourgeois families and large Indian owned estates without Compensation and nationalization of resources. Whilst, the constituent assembly may be an instrument to attain independence, to ensure freedom it is imperative that the Kashmiri people have control over the life blood of Kashmir, its resources!

For a United Kashmir!

The creation of an independent united Kashmiri republic would then be free to decide its relations with nations bordering it as it deems fit. The slogan of Azaadi must therefore, stand for independence from India as well as Pakistan and China! Simultaneously, we appeal to the Kashmiri people not to have any false illusions on the vague promises of western imperialism. Any promise of support by western powers is necessarily contradictory and hypocritical and must be treated with suspicion. The fact that Obama appealed to India to “resolve” the Kashmir issue was enough to show that they are interested only in maintaining the status quo of occupation. The Indian state would be more than happy to effect such a communal division as it weakens and isolates the Kashmir struggle belittling it to the communal forte of a section of Kashmiri society against another. For the struggle for self determination to succeed it is imperative that it be carried out as a united struggle embracing each and every section of Kashmiri society and overcome communal divisions imposed by the occupation. Whilst, the most important immediate demand for the Kashmiri people is independence from Indian occupation, such freedom would be only half won without freedom from Capitalism as a whole. The Kashmiri struggle therefore needs to progress uninterruptedly from a democratic one to a socialist one. Aiming as its ultimate goal a Socialist Kashmir!United we stand and divided we fall. This is the principle for any successful movement and for any nation to be successful. The question of self determination of Kashmir isn’t the exclusive resolve of the people of Southern Kashmir under Indian occupation but of the whole of Kashmir and all Kashmiri people including those in Northern Kashmir ( under Pakistani occupation ) as well as Ladakh ( under joint occupation of China and India ) . For The new Kashmir which would emerge from the freedom movement, division among communal lines would mean death and re occupation. Indeed should the new Kashmir be divided communally between Hindu (South), Muslim (North and Central) and Buddhist (East) it will open up the possibility of a re occupation of Kashmir by India, Pakistan and China. The sacrifices of the Kashmiri people would have gone to waste replacing one oppressor with another. Furthermore, fuelling communal hatred in the hearts and minds of the Kashmiri people only adds to the division of an already divided society.