Letter to NSF

The following letter was sent addressing the meeting of the NSF at Bagh (POK) to discuss Permanent Revolution :

Greetings comrades,

I comrade Adhiraj Bose, from the New Wave Bolshevik Leninist group, send you my greetings from india. I regret to inform that local compulsions and visa rules have prevented me from joining your meeting on the 26th, while I cannot be there in person, I will strive nevertheless to contribute to the meeting through this writing.

Firstly, I would like to commend you for conducting this meeting on a question that is of most vital importance to the world working class. The greatest concrete challenges today is to overcome the crisis of revolutionary leadership, this of course means the task of building the revolutionary party. But the question then comes, what is a revolutionary party ? and within that the question remains, What is a revolution ?

In 1906 Trotsky when reflecting upon the dynamics of the failed Russian revolution of 1905 concluded that the question of the democratic revolution is not isolated from the socialist revolution. The experience of that revolution had proven for him, that the time of the progressive revolutionary bourgeoisie was over and the task of social revolution chiefly fell upon the shoulders of the working class. The proletariat would have to fulfill the questions posed by the democratic revolution not as part of a bourgeois democratic revolution, but in passing as part of the greater socialist revolution.

Thus, from this conclusion emerged the theory of permanent revolution. While Trotsky in Results and Prospects was only analyzing the concrete realities in Russia in 1906, the theoretical arguments themselves found resonance in much of the world which was at the time still in the throes of feudalism and colonialism. It was thought (and some in the left still adhere to this notion) that the democratic revolution is a task best left to the bourgeoisie, and that the working class would have no part in it or at best a secondary role in it. Trotsky’s detractors have time and again cited the overwhelming burden of the democratic tasks that the backward countries of the world faced, to demonstrate as if that these countries are not ready for the socialist revolution. Their false arguments were washed away by the tide of history that came with the Russian revolution of 1917.

The success of the Russian revolution in 1917 had proven the oneness of the democratic and socialist revolution. However, this lesson has over time been forgotten by most if not all of the would-be leaders of the working class leading to one disastrous turn after another.

Take our present epoch for instance, where not too long ago the Maoists in Nepal had overturned the power of the monarchy in Nepal and had opened the floodgates of revolution in that backward Himalayan nation. The hopes of the Nepali proletariat were never raised higher than they were in 2006, that their nation would be free from imperialist hegemony and finally tread the path of progress and freedom. The events after 2006 would prove otherwise, as the fire of the revolution of Nepal was extinguished by the path taken by the Maoists which have now led them to a dead end. Rule has passed from the monarchy to a republic of comprador bourgeoisies licking the shoes of imperialist india.

Nepali society remains in the throes of backwardness and poverty and for all practical purposes exists as a buffer state of India. At best, the bourgeoisie could transform it into a zone for resource extraction selling Nepal’s valuable Himalayan water and mineral resources for imperial exploitation. The Maoists have fallen themselves into the trap of the Stalinist two-stage theory and have dragged the Nepali working class and peasantry down with it.

That however, is not the only example we can cite. Let us come to the middle east, which has been engulfed in the fires of a trans-regional revolution. While the popular masses and the proletariat scored victories after victories beginning in Tunisia, then Egypt, then Libya and finally Syria, bulk of the world leaderships dilly dallied over which revolution to support and which not to not recognizing the essence of the class struggle. Now with defeat in sight, the cretins among these so-called left leaderships pick straws on who was right about what. At the root of this tragic crisis, is the confounded understanding that the democratic struggle is separate and even counter-posed to the socialist struggle !

The fact of the matter is, that mankind has already gone as far as capitalism can allow it to, but history and humanity move forward regardless. This was the decisive factor discovered by Marx and analyzed further by Lenin and Trotsky, is the contradiction that lies at the core of permanent revolution today. Where the bourgeoisie tries its best to drag back humanity to levels where it can keep its power and privileges, the proletariat tries to push on ahead, breaking the shackles which bind it to the dead and moribund past. Thus, it is that the democratic struggle today, is no longer a bourgeois democratic struggle, but comes as an intrinsic part of the socialist revolution. If we fail to realize this, then we are doomed to fall, and by that I mean fall to the lowest depths of barbarism. World war 1 and 2 and even the calamity in Iraq show clearly what kind of future capitalism has in store for us, if we allow it to continue. Therefore, the question posed before us is short and simple, but brutal, “Socialism or Barbarism”.

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What the Socialist revolution will bring to India

 

A Socialist India:

 

The socialist revolution in India would open up humongous forces of production the likes of which would have no historical parallel. The already existing productive potential of India which has had to overcome the most insidious bureaucratic and reactionary hurdles to its progress would be undone overnight. Latent scientific talent which has been stunted and decapitated for decades under capitalism would be freed of its shackles and advance immeasurably faster than it is progressing now. The Indian Space programme wouldn’t measure up to even a fraction of what the future Socialist india would achieve. All of this in the context of the 21st century when mankind has already achieved leapfrog advances in scientific and technical prowess, not to mention the vast advances in healthcare and lifestyle making human civilization immeasurably more advanced than it was in the period of the revolutions in the last century. It is a manifest injustice committed by the Indian bourgeois which zealously keeps all the advances of this century to itself and deprives the people of its benefits, forcing them to languish in crushing poverty and backwardness while the rich advance to international heights. The Socialist revolution would overthrow this reactionary roadblock of the bourgeois on the development of Indian society.

 

The Socialist revolution would achieve in India that would have not been achieved in all previous revolutions, namely the conquest of democracy. All previous revolutions have taken place under conditions of dictatorship or colonialism. The Indian working class would achieve the conquest of power not under the crude institutions of dictatorships or colonialism but under the sophisticated institution of bourgeois democracy in a country where the bourgeois is independent and in transition towards greater advance towards imperialism. The very first tasks of the revolution would be modest in so far as it would simply implement the already existing schemes of welfare under capitalism more efficiently and more effectively. Gone would be the days when welfare for the rural masses would be simply a means for the corrupt to make money at the expense of the public. Never again would we hear of ministers and government officials looting the public exchequer of funds for development. A Soviet system of governance which puts the people directly in charge of administering and fulfilling their material needs would more than take care of corruption. It would fully eradicate it, along with the people responsible for it ! All areas of cultural and intellectual life of Indian society would advance beyond our wildest imaginations.

 

India’s vast multi national monopoly enterprises in the state sphere and private sphere would ensure that the future socialist government would have no shortage in ensuring the material needs for the socialist transformation of india. All necessary material requisites would already be in the possession of the workers almost immediately in the hands of the working class in power. (Not to mention over $1 trillion dollars of wealth which was robbed from the oppressed masses of India and kept in swiss banks and other tax havens) Add to this the nationalization of land which would bring both land and industry under the control of the proletarian regime, and we’ll see Socialist India augment its productive and financial prowess manifold within a few short years of its establishment. The control of industry and production determined nationally in coordination with worker’s councils controlling the means of production and distribution would ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of Socialist industry in India.The legendary wastefulness and destructive character of capitalism in India would end creating a society ages in advance over what it is today. And all of this within a few short years ! And this would only be the beginning ! Such would be the power of the Indian revolution.

 

Nowhere more would the advance of Socialism be more visible than in the countryside. In present day India, the countryside is undergoing the worst imaginable poverty. The rural masses have endured the bulk of the suffering imposed by indian capitalism and faced the brunt of armed repression, economic exploitation as well as political subjugation. This miserable condition would be completely reversed under a socialist revolution.

 

The Socialist revolution would realize in the indian countryside the highest freedoms, economic, political and social. The nationalization of land would immediately ameliorate the negative effects caused by shrinking land ownership and fragmentation of agricultural holdings. The cancellation of debt of the rural poor and the complete abolition and eradication of informal lending would improve the condition of the peasantry by leaps and bounds. A whole class of usurious rural landholders and money lenders would be expropriated. This would pave the way for the penetration of urban goods and machinery for the betterment of indian agriculture. The rapid advances in transportation and infrastructure brought about by worker’s control over manufacturing and nationalization of land, would make even the remotest of villages accessible to modern healthcare and education. The freeing of these two critical areas from the bounds of profit would lead to a rapid betterment of standards of living and the achievement of full literacy. Free education and healthcare at all levels would ensure healthcare and education for all and the right to live a life of dignity and worth.

 

The Socialist revolution would also produce a Socialistic armed forces. The indian armed forces are the 21st century avatar of the armed forces of tsarist russia. Bereft of any ethos, compiled of corrupt upper ranks who treat their lower rank counterparts like cannon fodder. The peasantry which is periodically duped and forced ( by economic necessity ) to join the army is seen as nothing more than this in the eyes of the bourgeois, a useful dumb-as-cattle cannon fodder. The peasant army of India is deprived of the resources as basic as food and clothing and is forced to fight the false and unjust wars of the bourgeois, more often than not against their own countrymen. These ranks of corrupt and exploitative military elite would be eliminated to make way for an armed national militia. This new army would be a far cry from the present day Indian army, bereft of any morale akin to an army of zombies with the life having sucked out of them, not knowing what they fight for or why they fight. Bourgeois nationalism has failed to galvanize even the most committed sections of the population in the army.

 

To be fair, Capitalist india like most great powers of the time have developed enough adequate forces to defend itself against other capitalist nations including the ability launch chemical warfare and engage in nuclear warfare. These resources, which under the control of the bourgeois is used against our own class brethren would be taken up and used for the defense of the worker’s state and the defense of the Indian revolution. No major country of the world would dare antagonize a nuclear armed Socialist india backed up by one of the world’s largest navies and air forces. The Navy in particular is important as a tool for the exportation of the revolution across the indian ocean. There is not a force of reaction which would be able to withstand the power of the Revolutionary Indian navy. India today possesses far greater muscle than did post revolutionary russia when it went to defend the revolution in Scandinavia and failed against the might of the German armies. But the real power of the revolution would lie in international solidarity which it would forge. The Conquest of democracy which has never hitherto been achieved, would be achieved here. This would unleash a wave of revolutions across the world throughout democracies similar to those of india inspired by the first successful revolution in a bourgeois democracy. In the event of an intervention socialist india’s greatest strength would lie in harnessing this great power and use it against the world imperialist system. The best ally of the Indian working class is the working class of Europe, Asia and America.

 

A towering achievement of the Indian revolution would be the unification of the indian sub-continent on a new democratic and socialist basis. The present unions of India and pakistan are hinged on a reactionary communal logic of the ‘two-nation theory’. The unnatural nature of pakistan is evident from the cession of Bangladesh and the ongoing secessionist battles in Balochistan and Waziristan. Bourgeois india has shown itself to be incapable of breaking through the communal divisions which have plagued the people’s of the sub-continent and failed to integrate vast populations of the country. The result is secessionist movements breaking out in Kashmir and north east of the country as well as demands for statehood in Telengana. The revolution would ensure the democratic principle of self-determination would be respected and a new democratic and federal basis of integration would be constructed, one which would be much more tenable than either of the dominions of India and pakistan. Though not traditional for a worker’s state, the future Socialist India would have to reconstruct itself into a federal nation as this is the only way to accommodate varied and complex interests of nationalities and sub-nationalities in India and South Asia. The federation of South Asia cannot be without the right of self-determination of the federating units. The policy of Socialism is to respect the right of people for their self-determination and to stand resolutely against any effort to rob an oppressed people of this right.

 

The Socialistic land use would solve half the problem of communalism in india and the expropriation of the bourgeois and the abolition of bourgeois parties would ensure that communal harmony will be maintained as inequality would be dramatically reduced. The new found goodwill between various ethnic and religious communities would ensure a lasting union of a Socialist Union of South Asia, which would stand as a model for the future world union. The masses of africa , South East Asia and Central Asia would be most interested in integrating into the Socialist union of South Asia as much as the neighbouring nations of South Asia. The middle east with its large indian population would not be far away. The people’s of all oppressed nations would seek their emancipation within the Socialist Union forged in South Asia leading to an Asian union and a world union with the people’s of Africa and Asia. Socialist india would show the way with its land use policy and resolution of communal and ethnic tensions would be a brilliant example to follow for Africa and Asia. India will have found her rightful place in the world as an emancipator of humanity and the path maker for the World Socialist system.

 

Beware of the lies of the bourgeois !

 

When one approaches a commoner in India with the question of “what is socialism”, instantly the commoner would reply with vague ideas of an intolerable bureaucratic system with endemic corruption and poverty. The Indian constitution has written “Socialism” into the preamble after the 42nd amendment promulgated by Indira Gandhi immediately before the declaration of emergency. In part ideas of a totalitarian nightmare stem from this very negative political experience with Socialism and in part due to the bureaucratic nightmare that the Soviet union and China became. In no small part the idea of socialism was distorted by bourgeois statism which was proclaimed with great and shamefaced enthusiasm as being “Socialism”.It must be admitted that the Indian bourgeoisie’s ramshackle approaches towards what it considered “Socialism” has been a derelict failure. The failure is more than evident with poverty and inequality not only rampant but also increasing. The trickle of welfare which the masses did enjoy in the first few decades after independence neither helped have practically been reversed, proof enough that what was done in the name of ‘socialism’ was nothing more than a populist scam by the Indian bourgeois to gain support for its own vile and exploitative agenda. What it has succeeded in though, is distorting people’s ideas of what Socialism really means and what it would really mean for india and her people.

 

Genuine Socialism and fake bourgeois-socialism :

 

The bourgeois is most efficient when it is able to secure the consent of the masses for its governance. This is achieved from time to time by conceding welfare and democracy to the workers and peasants primarily and secondarily to the petty bourgeois. Nothing works better for this than the mask of ‘Socialism’ one that can appeal to the needs of the workers and peasants. When the concessions materialize the illusion of social advance appears very real till their illusory existence is completely exposed. This happens when the bourgeoise is satisfied of the passivity of workers and feels it no longer needs to concede and can turn to outright repression. All along the media, which are the mouth organs of the bourgeois, launch a concerted ideological assault on socialism, so as to pave the way for unfettered capitalist exploitation and the eventual retraction of welfarist concessions. We must dispel the illusion that these concessions are in any way something of a socialistic system, if anything their very usage goes against the principles of Socialism. The Socialist system requires the revolutionary capture of state power by the working class to begin. Nothing short of the seizure political power in the hands of the proletariat can ensure an advance towards Socialism. The lies peddled by the bourgeois over 60 years on what Socialism is has deliberately distorted this one most critical aspect for the preservation of its political supremacy in India. The reformists and Gandhians of our time only serve the ruling class in its power goals by diverting the masses away from the goal of revolution.

 

Genuine Socialism, when it does arrive, would have none of the fragility that the old welfare state and yet harbour all the strengths of the present system and amplify them. Socialism isn’t merely a kind of quick fix solution to soften the death blows of poverty and deprivation caused by capitalism, but a powerful and enduring system which will rescue humanity from the hell of capitalism.