Interview with Dilip Pawar of the VKKS

On the 13th of May, comrade Adhiraj Bose had conducted an interview with Dilip Pawar of the VKKS (Vishwa Kalyan Kamgar Sangathana) which led the previous 50 day work stoppage at Bajaj and is leading the present work stoppage for an indefinite period to pressurize the management of Bajaj Auto Ltd to concede to the major demands of wage revision in Bajaj.

Q1. We have been interested in the developments around Bajaj Auto Ltd since the 50 day work stoppage you had undertaken last year, as this was a landmark in industrial worker struggles in Pune. We would like to know more about your union. What is the origin of the VKKS and how was it founded ?

The VKKS was founded in 2003. Before the VKKS the main union representing the workers in Bajaj’s Akurdi plant was the Bharatiya Kamgar Sanghathan or BKS which is affiliated to the Shiv Sena. They were a corrupted union and catered to the interests of the management. Often they would just pretend to act for the interests of workers taking token actions now and then, but nothing would result from this. In their 10 years of existence they could get only two very meagre pay rises.
The workers in general there were very discontented with this union.

Together we decided that enough was enough, and made our own new union independent of any political party. This was how the VKKS came into being in 2003. Our aim was to create a militant trade union independent of the bosses which could properly represent the interests of the workers. With our formation most of the workforce at Bajaj joined our new union. Our first action was to stage a hunger strike to get an urgent wage revision which had been pending for years that the previous union did nothing to achieve. We achieved it. The management still decided to suspend all striking workers for 4 days just to ‘save their pride’.

During this time we also built a coalition of trade unions across the industrial belt. The Shramik Ekta Mahasangh, was built out of militant company based unions throughout the belt. At present 112 unions are part of this coalition.

Our success had strengthened the union. Almost immediately the management’s heavy handed tactics and harassment started. Now that they had lost their pet union, they felt threatened by our existence. We thus, had to start a struggle for recognition. A court application was made at the tribunal. The rival union, BKS tried underhanded tactics like giving false affidavits to show a bloated union membership. We insisted on a physical check up to counter this. It was settled that the majority of the workforce were with us and that we had a separate existence.

The management hadn’t stopped harassing us though, the worker’s cooperative society premises within the factory was made a target. They cut off electricity and necessary infrastructure to try and break us. We had to move our office out of the factory premises to the present office building. We never stopped the struggle for recognition and finally achieved it in 2007.

Towards this time our union membership within the company had increased to around 2200.

In 2007, Bajaj had just established their new factory at Pantnagar and desired to move production over there as labor costs are much lower over there. They were also planning to close down the factory at Akurdi in Pune, which had been their main factory thus far. We were told to leave work and would go unemployed the next day. We were told “we would get paid at home”. We started a protest against this arbitrary shift of the plant. For 65 days we had gherraoed the plant with hundreds of workers sitting at the factory gates in strike. It was a massive show and a great success, we had support from all unions across the belt as well as from across the nation. 200 unions in the industrial belt alone joined our action at Bajaj as well as several social activist groups throughout the city. The result of this action was that the plant was not shifted. We made sure that none of our workers on strike were victimized.

Later on we were joined in by the Chakan unit of Bajaj as well with its 850 permanent workers who are mostly young. Now most of the production has shifted away from Akurdi to Chakan and Aurangabad. However, Pune remains their main production centre with Chakan being their best factory.

Q2. Can you tell us something about the condition of work for the workers at Bajaj factories in Pune ? What is the composition of work force in the factory like and what are the condition of work for different categories of workers like contract workers and permanent workers.

At present most of the production has been shifted away from Akurdi to other plants, most notably to Chakan. At Akurdi most of the workforce was old and aging and took voluntary retirement. The present factory workers there wouldn’t number more than 120. The majority of those who work there are company staff workers, they number around 2000.

At Chakan we have around 850 permanent workers as well as 700 contract workers. The main concern we face over there is that the wage revision has not happened in a long time. That is the core of our demand for which we are striking. The other core concern is the harassment at the hands of the management which continues.

The workforce at Akurdi gets an average wage rate of around Rs. 38,000/- while the equivalent worker at Chakan gets around Rs. 14,000/- as starting salary which rises up to Rs. 24,000/- at the third level of promotion, i.e. After 10 years’ work. The difficulties at work however, started when the total productivity methods were implemented in the factory which has led to straining the workforce with extended work hours, harsh shift timings and very little benefits.

The situation for contract worker is far worse than the permanent workers however. They are not given more than the minimum wage and their situation at the plant remain precarious due to the flexible scope of hire and fire at the plant. The same goes for so-called trainee workers who are basically students but made to work for nothing under a traineeship program from their respective colleges/institutions. The company makes liberal use of these trainee workers and contract workers as part of strike busting tactics, hiring extra workers to make up for the shortfall of permanent workers and keep production levels intact. More often than not, the police who would be called in would force them to work.

However, our union focusses only on permanent workers. It is very difficult to organize contract and temporary workers due to their temporary and precarious nature. An isolated struggle of such a workforce is bound to fail as the management can simply resort to firing them when they agitate. What can be gained then ?

However, we are concerned with the issues of contract workers and trainee workers. We have launched a legal action for this in the industrial tribunal. The issues facing the contract workers include absence of basic facilities like canteen, transportation and pathetically small wages (Rs. 150 to 200 per day, just bordering on minimum wages) .

An important point to note, is that Bajaj hires most of its workforce from out of state. There are workers from Bengal, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra etc. There are hardly any workers from Maharashtra now. The purpose is to sow divisions among the workers. One of our biggest success I believe, was to overcome this and preserve the unity of our organization.

Q3. Tell us about the upcoming action you’re taking and the background behind it. The issues are the same as the work stoppage last year isn’t it ?

The present action is being drawn along the lines of the last one. Again, it will be a work stoppage and not a ‘strike’ as such. It was supposed to start on the 28th of April but we deliberately delayed it and welcomed the management to negotiations. This was a deliberate action on our part, as the management had made preparations to curb our strike in advance.

By delaying the strike we are basically harassing them since they will have to pay for the contract and trainee workers which they will employ to curb our absence in addition to the permanent workers. Basically, this was a harassment tactic on our part. It will also give us more time to organize better for when the day does come to stop work. We will now begin our action on the 15th of May.

Like in the last work stoppage, this time too the entire industrial belt is in support of our cause. The Shramik Ekta Mahasangh is active this time as well. We are again gearing up for an indefinite strike in the same vein as the one last year.

The issues are again the same. The demand for shares it should be known is only a cover for the real demands for a wage revision and an end to management harassment of workers. We have no illusions on what to expect from the management, even during negotiations they don’t talk seriously and just waste time leading every negotiation to a dead end. The management which isn’t willing to give our legitimate wage revisions won’t ever give us shares in the company. We must fight to coerce our just demands from them.


Q4. What are your expectations in terms of outside support and solidarity ? How can we help ? What has been the role of Central Trade unions in this struggle ? Have they been proactive in supporting your struggles ?

At present we have international solidarity from the IndustriAll union based in Switzerland. They have been helping us with finance and raising awareness nationally and internationally on our struggle here.

We have solidarity from the industrial workers in Pune as well. We welcome as much support as can be had nationally and internationally. What we would appreciate most is to raise awareness on the coercion tactics the management uses against us.

We would really appreciate proactive support and solidarity from Central Trade unions like the CITU and AITUC etc, but most of them don’t understand our struggle. They are taken aback by the demand for shares and just sit on the sidelines confused. They don’t seem to understand or appreciate the core of this struggle or the energetic support from the workers.

We need all the support we can get here as we are fighting alone against a very well funded and well entrenched enemy. Bajaj is getting all manner of support from the government and political parties who are beneficiaries of Bajaj. Of late there was a report of the villages supporting Bajaj as well. I would like to point out, this is only half true. It is not the whole village or ordinary village folk who are supporting the management against us in any way, it is only the elite of the village, the sarpanch in particular who are supporting the company, as they get benefits from the company by way of labor contracts and land rents. This is not a new tactics for the management, at Mahindra and Mahindra they used this tactic to break a strike there. I feel this was due mostly to the lack of leadership there. This won’t work here, because there is a solid organized leadership uniting the workers.

We are a union which believes in solidarity actions. In the recent strike actions like in Godrej and Bharat Forge we were there supporting them. We participated in their rallies and meetings.

The Garment Worker’s Struggle continues :

The garment workers of Bangladesh have been struggling for decent conditions of work and living wages since for nearly a decade. The movement had reached a pinnacle in the aftermath of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in November last year which took the lives of more than 1000 workers ! This tragic disaster has sparked off one of the strongest mobilizations of garment workers in recent times and has succeeded in winning important advances. One year on the struggle remains strong and continues to score victories. The most recent of which has been an increase in the minimum wage to $100.

The significance of the present mobilization is both in terms of its scale as well as its intensity. Workers have targeted factories and there have been frequent incidence of arson and violence. It has been reported that the strike resulted in the closure of more than 100 factories and a 20 percent decline in national productivity. The strike has already encompassed a vast majority of workers employed in the sector which serves as the backbone of the Bangladeshi economy.

The mobilization in Bangladesh has also served to inspire actions throughout the globe targeting western retail conglomerates which has acted in support of the just demands of the workers in Bangladesh. Important mobilizations have taken place against Walmart and GAP in the USA where workers of these retail giants have voiced their support for the garment worker’s agitation and likewise activists from Bangladesh have given their support to the agitation against unfair labor practices by Walmart. Such solidarity actions have been instrumental at creating safety accords which mark a victorious milestone in the struggle of the garment workers.

The aftermath of the Rana Plaza incident :

The Rana Plaza tragedy revealed in full the exploitative nature of capitalism in Bangladesh as well as which vested interests played the leading role in the most ruthless exploitation of the workers. The garment workers haven’t been silent victims to this. Several times there have been major mobilizations in the garment industry each aimed at the abolition of sweatshop conditions existing in the 5100 factories in this sector. The mobilizations in 2006 and 2009 were significant in the fact that it showed the power of the masses of the workers mobilized in struggle. The mobilizations following the collapse the Rana plaza and another major factory have exceeded them both in terms of scale and impact. Notably, it has succeeded in giving the struggle of the garment workers an international dimension.

The present mobilizations may be traced to the ‘wildcat’ general strike action and has often been characterized by ‘plebian anger’ directed against the very means of production in which they work. The first object of anger for the workers have been the garment factories themselves. Soon after the tragedy at Savar, garments workers have burnt several factories in protest.[2] This action has been reminiscent of Marx’s description of the initial period of struggle by the proletariat in the Communist Manifesto : “They direct their attacks not against the bourgeois conditions of production, but against the instruments of production themselves; they destroy imported wares that compete with their labour, they smash machinery to pieces, they set factories ablaze”. However, unlike the primitive workmen of the mid 19th century that Marx described, the garments workers aren’t interested in ‘restoring the abolished status of the medieval workman’ but in achieving higher standards of welfare and better conditions of work !

This combination of plebian anger with a more advanced trajectory of struggle is a potentially revolutionary combination which can open the way for further more advanced struggles in the near future and gives the garments workers’ fight immense importance in the socio-political landscape of Bangladesh. What is severely lacking in this picture is the presence of an organized revolutionary force which can channelize this raw energy and lead the workers through more advanced tactics in their battle against the viciously exploitative garment bosses and their imperial protectors. Among the major obstacles to build an organized movement of the garment workers are the restrictions on freedom of unionization. Indeed many have lost their lives trying to organize the garment workers into unions.

Importance of international solidarity :

One of the most significant aspects of the present mobilizations of the garment workers is the strength and spread of international solidarity. It must be noted, while the previous mobilizations occurred in an international situation without any revolutionary mobilizations anywhere, the present struggle is being waged with the revolutions in North Africa and the Levant. Furthermore, the waves of upheavals in the last two years in Europe and America have radicalized the workers and youth in those countries. When the worker’s uprising had emerged in Bangladesh there were already protests against companies like Walmart and Gap. The ground was ready for a widespread international solidarity of workers in Europe and America.

Some of the most significant solidarity actions took place in Boston, Madrid, and Toronto among other places. These were aimed against the leading retail corporations which source products from Bangladeshi sweatshops in the name of ‘cheap fast fashion’. Gap and Walmart as well as several important Canadian and Spanish retail brands have been the target of these actions. In addition to this, the dogged advocacy and activism of labor lawyers have been successful in putting pressure on these mega-marts.[6]

These actions together with the continuing advances of workers in Bangladesh have resulted in signing safety accords which bring a degree of accountability in sourcing material for retail. So far European brands have shown greater willingness than others in signing these accords.[7] As of now, 100 brands have signed safety accords. What these advances show is the strength of the mobilization and the concrete impact on the ground. However, shortcomings remain which must be addressed.

Tactics of struggle and international solidarity :

The biggest weakness of the movement of garment workers has also been its hitherto existing strength, the spontaneous nature of the mobilizations. While this has ensured that the workers can erupt freely into unrestrained offensives, it lacks a channelized direction for putting forth demands or a long term goal. While it would be wrong to say that the entire agitation is completely unorganized. The vast majority of garment workers and the vast majority of actions taking place are outside the bounds of labor organization. The main reason for this of course, is the immense pressure mounted by garment bosses (with complete cooperation and protection from the government). In addition to the fact that since the majority of the 3.5 million workers in the industry are women, posing problems unique to organizing women in the labor movement.

This unorganized nature of agitations has created two chief problems. Firstly, it has meant that a long term united programme isn’t being placed to carry on the struggle. Secondly, it means that international solidarity efforts get scuttled owing to a very weak communication between activists in Bangladesh and those in other countries. The restrictions on freedom of political association as well as forming unions, add to the problems of organizing the garment workers. While this situation remains, the focus of demands *( which seem unclear ) appear to be on winning wage increases and attaining some immediate relief from the deplorable conditions of work in the garment sweatshops. This disconnect can only be bridged by a concerted effort to organize on the basis of a programme with clear political aims. Such a programme can and must be realized in a socialist programme with the aim of revolutionary overthrow of capitalism.

Likewise, organizing international solidarity in support of agitations of the garment workers would be indispensable to securing a complete victory in struggle. As has already been proven through the example of the solidarity actions in North America, and Europe, solidarity is not simply a question of token gestures to ‘feel good’ about, but concrete action which produce concrete results. These actions though having impact, are impaired due to the weak co-ordination and communication with activists and unionists on the ground.

Towards a programme of action :

The foundation of action is theory, and theory expresses itself in programme. The right demands and the right slogans translate into the right actions. So it is for the garments workers struggle in Bangladesh. Considering the present situation any programme for action must express the most urgent needs of the garment workers.

1) Full Freedom of Organization and Association !

The foundation stone of a strong democratically organized struggle of the working class is freedom of organization and association. Repressive measures at the workplace and outside must be fought against tooth and nail. An immediate and urgent demand must be for full and unfettered right to organize at the workplace and to associate with any political party. We propose a campaign built around this demand with solidarity of workers from all sectors of the national economy as well as human rights and labor action groups coordinated globally.

2) For Living Wages and a Sliding Scale of Wages !

The highlight of the movement of the garment workers is the demand for wage increases to levels with which they can afford a decent livelihood. But so far, the concessions have been sporadic and piecemeal. Each time the workers have shown their power, the government and garment bosses have given a concession. While the latest concession achieved is a sight better than the last, such victories are not founded on strong roots. What the garment workers need is a lasting solution to their problems. What is needed is a base of living wage adjusted to the cost of living for a family of 5, to be under constant adjustment to inflation levels i.e. To a sliding scale. With each increase of the cost of living wages must automatically increase in proportion. Every wage agreement must mandatorily have such a provision to benefit the workers and their families, many of whom are dependent on the labor of the garment workers.

3) Full nationalization of the garment industry !

Despite all manner of efforts on accountability and imposing strict safety regulations, the garment bosses through their political clout and financial strength, manage to evade answer. One big reason why wage agreements and safety accords aren’t honored has been the protection and privilege of the garment factory owners themselves ! The only way to ensure proper accountability is maintained and worker’s rights are respected is through Nationalization of the industry in the interests of the garment workers and the people at large. Such a nationalization must be done so without compensation and under worker’s control following a cooperative model. Only this way, can the garment workers secure their interests both in terms of decent work conditions as well as a securing a living wage.

Perspective on the work stoppage at Bajaj

The nearly 50 day long tool down action at Bajaj’s Chakan plant was a landmark action by the workers of the Chakan industrial belt, both for it’s duration and the impact it has had in radicalizing the otherwise ‘peaceful’ situation at the Chakan industrial belt. The core issue of the struggle was over the ill-effects of the imposition of total productivity methods at Chakan modelled on the system at Maruti Suzuki and union busting tactics of the management at the Pantnagar plant.

The action at Chakan may be linked to the developments at the Pantnagar plant in Uttarakhand where the workers were deliberately denied from joining the Vishwa Kamgar Kalyan Sangathana ( VKKS ). The harrassment of workers at that plant led to the union at Chakan break the old agreement and make a fresh set of demands targetting an improvement of their working condition. The union leadership however, was limited from the start, by targeting shareholding in the company for workers as a ‘lasting’ means of improving worker’s wages. The leaflet distributed by the union expressed the ideological basis for their demand for shares, the belief in trusteeship, championed by Jamnalal Bajaj. This demand more than any other was what was highlighted by the union.

There were other issues as well. During the meetings, the question of condition of work for contract workers was raised more than once. Bajaj like every other major industry prefers the hiring of contract labor to use of permanent workforce. In the slump period in the auto industry, contract labor again gave way to the use of trainee workers. This together with the total productivity methods, squeezed out the highest possible productivity out of the workers at the plant, not to mention rendered them precarious owing to the contractual nature of work and the temporary or trainee status of the workers. However, the union did not raise these questions concretely in their charter of demands. On the contrary, the allotment of shares, which was stressed by the union, would only aid the management in exploiting the workers. With shareholding, the workers are tied in to the profits and losses of the company, and consequently, hostage to the policy of the management.

At no point was the tool down action directed towards more militant forms of protests like gheraos or factory occupations, or pickets. The result was that the company had a free hand in forcing the trainee workers to work overtime to compensate for production losses due to the tool down. Even though this was illegal, the union leadership preferred a legal course to tackling this than the more militant alternative of installing a gherrao of the factory. However, the enthusiasm of the young workers at the union ( their average age being 26 ), proved to be an inspiration for other workers to join in solidarity. The Shramik Ekta Mahasangh which was the umbrella body of industrial unions in the Chakan belt expressed their solidarity with the workers. However, no tool down action was taken by them.

All in all, the workers at Bajaj had to go on their own. The workers showed both determination and unity in carrying on the tool down action for more than 50 days beginning from the 25th of June till August 14th. This was all despite management tactics of harrassment and attempts to break the strike, not to mention, threats of shifting production away from the Chakan plant to neighboring Aurangabad. In the end the strike was ended ‘unconditionally’. The union leadership under has promised to ‘continue to press for the demands raised by the strike action including wage revision’.

Thus, the work stoppage action ended without any demands conceded, and a murky uncertain future awaits for the suspended workers. The management feels emboldened with its success in ending the struggle without any concessions made, and in potential for shifting production to any other plant in the country.

The unity of workers which has been building up albeit in a somewhat distorted manner since the general strike of 2010, has tremendous implications for the future of the worker’s movement. The Bajaj tool down action represents both the problems and the potential in mobilizing workers in India.

The larger picture :

Though the action at Bajaj ended without consequence, the significance of this work stoppage action can’t be ignored in the larger picture. Since the beginning of market reforms and what is generally called ‘neo-liberal’ growth, the condition of workers in India has become more and more precarious. Contractorization, casualization and rationalization of workforce in addition to privatizations of public companies have added to the burdens of the working class. The ‘boom years’ of the Indian economy also saw the birth of a new phase of class struggle, with the workers at Honda revolting. Soon after, the Gurgaon industrial belt became the scene of the most significant labor movement in recent times centered around Maruti. The rest of the country has not been immune to this. It was not too long since the workers at Mahindra’s Nasik plant struck work after the arrest of it’s union leadership there.

With worsening conditions of work, and the entry of millions upon millions of freshly proletarianized peasant populations ( people who’ve been rendered wage slaves due to loss of subsistence income from the countryside, pushed into the cities or factories to find work ), a new young working class has been created out of the most rebellious and desperate section of india’s populace. The increasing intensity of struggles, with frequent cases of workers turning violent, is an unsurprising outcome of the brutality of the system upon the lives of these populations. With shrinking stable job opportunities, owing to a stagnation of organized employment, most of these wage slaves end up with the worst kind of work in the unorganized sector, if not end up unemployed yet again.

The increase of this reserve labor has strengthened the ability of capitalists to impose their will upon the workers. It is not for no reason that the management at Bajaj could compensate the loss of man hours as easily with trainee workers. The system favored him, but the times are against him. The world crisis has affected india, and the problems of a proletarianizing economy founded on the systematic destruction of peasants and petty bourgeois, has come crashing in. Workers become more rebellious and there is an ever present danger of it becoming violent. The example of Gurgaon-Manesar industrial belt stands as a warning before the greedy bourgeois.

With this new method of exploitation, there have been new movements of resistance against it. The movement for organizing contract workers for decent, secured job opportunities through their regularization, epitomizes this. The proliferation of contractorisation in Indian industry has given new impetus to the movement to organize contract workers. There is not a single major company where contractorisation has not taken roots, and consequently, there is an ever present struggle against the conditions which it brings about. This is one area which can combine the struggles of workers in private industry with those in public industry where contractorisation is emerging in a major way. Take the case of BSNL where almost 100000 workers work as ‘outsourced’ contract workers. But while the significance of the struggle seems obvious, the nature of the movement is restrained to a company specific approach. No focussed effort seems to be in place to create a movement of all workers against contractorisation uniting both public and private sector workers. Building such unity is the need of the day !

This is not unconnected with the developments in the public sector. The crisis has forced the government to aggressively target the public sector for increased privatizations. The results have been a spree of strike actions by workers against privatization. Coal India Ltd, BSNL, Neyvelli lignite have all been witness to workers protesting efforts at privatizing these companies. These have so far been successful in restraining any efforts at completing the privatizations of these companies. The question of contract workers and overall, the question of improving work conditions are not unrelated to this. Privatization brings with it a worsening of working conditions, and increasing precariousness of work. The workers of the public sector companies are essentially waging a defensive struggle against privatization and against losing the security that comes with state ownership. This stands in contrast with the actions in the private sector where existing conditions of work are being challenged.

The public sector is a fortress for the working class, and a lifeline for giving sustainable secured employment. It accounts for a majority of organized workforce in the country as well as being in the commanding height of the economy. Uniting the workers of these two sectors would strengthen the working class in their struggle against Indian capitalism. This would not be possible without the necessary political leadership.

On the question of the united front tactic

In short the policy of united front-ism is one of ‘march separately but strike together’ . This in itself does not however, explain the various possible variations of the united front depending on the objective strength of forces involved. In principle the party of the working class creates united fronts where there is a need for joint interventions around shared interests. The most notable example of a united front at work was the united front of the Bolsheviks with the menshevik government to save the provincial government of Kerensky from Kornilov’s reaction.

In this instance, the party engaged in united front retained it’s own independent organizational existence even while siding with hostile forces. The overarching importance of the most urgent democratic tasks was realized which formed the basis for a united front. It was to save the february revolution that the Bolsheviks made an alliance with Kerensky against Kornilov, all the while knowing the reactionary nature of both forces involved. But it was the necessity for such a united front that compelled the formation of the united front tactic, one where the bolsheviks could fight off the forces of reaction.

A Bolshevist united front and Stalinist popular front :

The foremost consideration for any successful united front is the independence of the revolutionary force with the parties it is in a united front with. This is contrasted with the policy of a popular front where class compromise is sought around an opportunistic premise for advancing the organizational interest at hand. Stalinism presents before the working class the prospect of certain defeat through the popular front where it’s power is diluted into that of the national bourgeoisie. When Lenin joined hands with the government of Kerensky, the Bolsheviks did not dissolve themselves into the government, nor dilute their revolutionary programme for the sake of the alliance. It was over a particular agenda of defeating the reaction led by Kornilov that the cooperation was forged. However, when Stalin and the troika had ordered the Chinese communists to align with Chiang Kai Shek in the revolutionary upsurge of the mid-1920s, they dissolved themselves for sake of keeping that alliance intact.

It must be born in mind that numerical or organizational dimensions were secondary to the success of the united front. The Bolsheviks were in an inferior position of power in relation to their respective allies when they engaged in the united front. However, the reactionary regime was on the verge of collapse under pressure of war. Most importantly, the regime was fast losing or had already lost mass support. At the same time, the forces of revolution were gaining influence. In such a situation revolutionary help extended to bourgeois-democratic reactionaries ( like Kerensky ) would be like using a rope to hold up a dying man!

The successes of these actions have important lessons for us today when revolutionary bolsheviks seek to engage in a united front.

Few basic principles :

Before any united front is undertaken two key questions must be asked :

a) For what is there a need for a united front ? What benefits will it bring ?

b) What is the strength of our own forces ?

The answer to the first question will lay the ground for forging any united front with other organizations whether we agree on fundamental questions of theory or not. The answer to the second will help us understand how to approach the united front and how deeply we should commit our resources to it. Only once a clear understanding is reached by balancing between both these questions, can a revolutionary organization approach a united front with a firm footing. A united front based on light and weak foundations will end in a failure.

Once the basic questions have been answered, the next question must be that of particulars of engagement. :

a) Whom do we align with ?

b) To what extent to we align ?

Of course, it is impossible to answer these two questions without first answering the basic questions of the united front. In chapter 4 of the Communist Manifesto Marx laid the foundation for such an alliance as support for democratic struggles world over. For this purpose the communists would be willing to align with any force that is fighting for a democratic revolution. In saying this however, Marx never compromised the need for maintaining an independent character of the communist movement. This brings us to the second question on the extent of our engagement. That again depends primarily on two factors :

a) The class character of our allies

b) Our own objective(organizational) and subjective(theoretical) strength.

An important third factor in this of course would be the objective we intend to achieve through this united front. The nature of intervention whether it’s military or civil in nature, or whether we intend to in future to merge with a group if there are fundamental programmatic agreements, or whether we intend to wage a defensive struggle where the entire interests of the class are under jeopardy ( as would be with the case of a fascist threat ) . Each instance will come with its own imperatives and will determine the tactics of the united front in action.

Flexibility in tactics :

One of the hallmarks of Leninist thought has been the flexibility of its tactics in class struggle. Lenin characterized class war as a war fundamentally more complex than any other war hitherto fought, and not without reason. From this conclusion, he states in his work on guerrilla warfare that Marxists must be open to the use of the most varied tactics as the situation demands. Thus, revolutionaries must be prepared to go underground when faced with a emergency situation. When democratic organizing becomes impossible it is naive to retain any pretense of absolute internal democracy, a centralized organization with strict discipline becomes indispensable.

Such a flexibility must be shown in approaching the question of the united front as well. The working masses will not always possess revolutionary consciousness. Right up until the decisive eruption of revolution, we will be dealing with a population which albeit rebellious and militant may continue to harbor every possible illusion in the machinations of the bourgeois state. In such a situation revolutionaries must refrain from a sectarian attitude towards the organizations of the class. While sharply criticizing every opportunistic step which they may take to harm the interests of the class, the revolutionary force must be ready to work with these organizations whenever and wherever the interests of the class struggle are involved.

Here we are faced with a dialectical question. How to retain independence in perspective, discipline and organization while engaging in work with organizations whose character is decidedly non-revolutionary ? The whole success or failure of the united front for the revolutionary party is contingent on this question being answered correctly. There are no black and white alternatives given beforehand, since the issue is one of balance between forces involved.

Variations of the united front :

We may either enter a united front with a similar organization or express unity in action. This choice depends much on whom we plan on aligning with. The difference between these two variations can be demonstrated using the example of our tactics towards the forces involved in the Afghan war and our tasks in that country.

The foremost task of the present Afghan struggle much like China at the time of the Japanese invasion rested on the expulsion of the imperialist forces attempting to subjugate and exploit that country’s resources. The problem we face in pursuing this overarching goal, is that we will be sharing our battles with the most vile, most corrupt and reactionary of armies in the Afghan Taliban. Their agenda is to establish a repressive islamic state, which would perhaps in the long run make just as bad an agreement with world imperialism as the present quisling Karzai government. But the core tasks of bolsheviks is not to speculate idly on what possible future may befall Afghanistan, the core task is to understand the democratic tasks to fight for and chart the road for the socialist revolution in South Asia.

It is as obvious as daylight that there cannot be even the remotest of agreements with the Taliban on long term agenda. Given the chance, they would be as committed to the evisceration of the revolutionary party as the imperialists. However, our first commitment is towards fighting for the liberation of Afghanistan from the ongoing imperialist occupation. For this we are fighting the same enemy as the Taliban. Here we call for unity in action with the Taliban on the point of agreement over the fight against foreign imperialism. Our troops in the field would coordinate their attacks against ISAF troops and proxy Afghan National Army troops with the troops of the Taliban. However, we keep not only our own discipline in fighting, but retain our own propaganda, our own programmatic agenda for the future of Afghanistan as well as our long term hostility towards the idea of theocracy.

Of course, given the reality of our peripheral existence in the world and undoubtedly in Afghanistan, it would be next to impossible to build such an alliance even one only restricted to ‘unity in action’. Our actions must therefore, be oriented towards propaganda activities primarily and the cornerstone of this is the attack on imperialism. We would thus continue to work on the united front principle and express a ‘unity in action’ with the Taliban. At the same time, we warn the Afghan people of the dangers of allowing the Taliban to lead the anti-imperial struggle and condemn any agreement they make with any imperial force.

The same principles may not apply when and if we engage in a united front effort with an organization who share fundamental agreements in regard to programme. If we unite with organizations of the working class, with whom differences are of a peripheral nature but agreements are fundamental *( if we agree on the Socialist revolution and its path ), incidental differences on tactics and strategies to combat imperialism are secondary in nature. Here we engage in joint work with a view towards possible merger of forces over a common party building agenda on the basis of a programme for revolution. This would be a deep united front which may go beyond simply working together around single issues.

Conclusion:

The united front tactic gives a Bolshevik-Leninist force its power. Despite smaller numbers and organizational weakness, we can multiply our forces in conjunction with the resources of another force in conducting our intervention. Using this approach we retain our own discipline and our own political character and use the power of bolshevik theory to build our strength in the class struggle. Care must be taken however, that we never weaken the effort by compromising our stance even and especially with respect to those we align with. Our alignments with deeply hostile forces which are against our ideals are necessarily only be temporary and issue-specific. Once a front with such forces has accomplished its core objectives, we must be prepared with our own organizational strength to fight against them and stake our own claim to power.

Report on the General strike

The All India General strike of the 20th and 21st was the third such strike in the last 3 years. The strike evoked a massive response much in the same manner as the last two strikes preceding it. In each instance over a 100 million workers affiliated to the 11 central trade unions and supporting regional and local unions joined in the strike actions. This time as well, the strike garnered the support of roughly 120 million workers across the country in practically every sector of industry and service. Despite a greater intensity, and larger turnout, we can’t ignore the shortcomings of the perspectives of the trade unions and the shortcomings in organizing for the strike.

 
The context of the strike :

 

While dealing with the instant strike action, we can’t ignore the political, economical and social context in which the strike has occurred. The past year had been a year of worldwide upheavals and India was not immune from this wave. The mobilizations first around the anti-corruption issue, then around the anti-rape agitations each left it’s mark on the social spectrum of the country. Added to this, we have been witness to an upswing in the worker’s movement. The inspiring struggle in Maruti for union recognition, the successes of public sector workers at preventing privatization in telecom and banking sectors, are all indicators of a rise in class struggle in india and the strengthening of the working class. Together with this we find a deepening of the world crisis and a concerted effort by the ruling classes to preserve the rule of capital at all costs.

The burden of this crisis is being transferred onto the shoulders of the workers and peasants of India. Whilst in europe the attacks have assumed the form of austerity, in india they have assumed the form of deliberate inflation, and aggressive investment policies along with concerted attacks on public sector companies. Indeed in some parts of the country the attacks on the peasantry have assumed near warlike conditions. The response to these attacks while strong have not been decisive. The chief factor behind this had been the role of the political leadership behind the strike, blunting it’s edge and reducing it’s impact.

The organization of the strike and demands :

The 2013 general strike can be distinguished from both the 2012 and 2010 strikes in terms of length and care put behind propaganda and organization. The call for strike was made on the 4th of September, where all the central trade union bodies came together in a national conference and adopted the charter of 10 demands. From that time till the days of action, the central trade unions and their local and regional allies undertook several mass efforts at propagating the demands for the strike, and raising awareness. One of the high points of this preparatory phase was the mass mobilization of the workers in a ‘jail bharo’ action where workers courted arrest for supporting the 10 charter demands. The mobilizations did not stop there, till the 19th of February, one day before the days of strike, there were mobilizations carried out especially by leftist trade unions in the major cities of Kolkata and Mumbai in which hundreds of thousands of workers and activists participated.

With these preparations the strike itself was expected to be one which would be met with enthusiasm and it would have a big impact. Whilst the turnout was indeed substantial on the days of the strike, the impact of the strike was in fact uneven. Not every segment of the working class joined the strike due to various reasons. Workers of the transport sector for instance were conspicuous by their absence in the strike, with a few notable exceptions in Bangalore and Delhi where taxis and busses did not ply the roads. The rail workers as usual did not go on strike along with other workers. Their concerns too were not incorporated into the charter demands. Along similar lines the workers at Pune municipal corporation did not go on strike with the industrial and service sector workers who responded well in Pune.

In the state of Haryana, the strike had a particularly intense response with workers going on the aggressive. In Noida there were clashes between workers and policemen who attempted to prevent the marches through the city, while in Ambala tensions arose when a transport worker was killed by a moving bus while attempting to stop traffic. No doubt, this aggressive stance is the direct result of the radicalization of workers in that region as a result of the Maruti struggle. However, the biggest impact of the strike was expectedly in the states of Kerala and West Bengal where the unions have strong political support in the Stalinist parties present in these states. Here the strike call was supported by a total closure of all economical activity in a ‘bandh’.

The rallying point of the strike was the charter of 10 demands which the trade unions had jointly developed for the agitation. The 10 demands were :

1) Take Concrete measures for price rise

2) Take concrete measures for linkage of employment protection with the concession/incentive package offered to the entrepreneurs.

3) Ensure strict enforcement of all basic labor laws without any exception or exemption and stringent punitive measures for violation of any labor laws.

4) Universal social security coverage for the unorganized sector workers without any restriction and the creation of a national social security fund with adequate resources in line with the recommendation of the NCEUS and parliamentary standing committee on labor.

5) Stoppage of disinvestment in Central and State PSUs.

6) No contractorisation of work of permanent nature and payment of wages and benefits to the contract workers at the same rate as available to the regular workers of the industry / establishment.

7) Amendment of the minimum wages act to ensure universal coverage irrespective of the schedules and fixation of statutory minimum wage of not less than 10,000 rupees.

8) Remove all ceilings on payment and eligibility of bonus payment, provident fund and increase the quantum of gratuity.

9) Assured statutory pension for all.

10) Compulsory registration of trade unions within a period of 45 days and immediate ratification of ILO conventions no. 87 and 98 on the right to organize.

When we begin to analyze these demands, we understand that firstly they are pegged to the a compromise with the existing ruling structure. To the extent that many of the aforesaid demands point towards the bourgeoisie’s own laws and simply call for their more effective implementation, be it in calling for implementation of ILO conventions or implementing governmental committee recommendations. Where the charter does challenge the interests of the capitalists it only does so in a defensive manner for example, “no contractorization” or “stoppage of divestment” instead of Nationalize the major private companies or abolish contractorization of work. In general, these demands reflect the trend in worker’s consciousness at the present level and are reflective of most if not all struggles they are presently involved in. The main factor in creating these conditions have been the leadership of the worker’s movement itself which has taken every care to dim the strength of the struggle in India. Of particular importance has been the dominating role of Stalinism and it’s progressive degeneration in the left movement in India and the world.

These deformities reflect not only in the charter of demands, but also in the tactics of organization which were used throughout the preparations. Though the organization of this strike showed a decisive improvement over the preceding strikes, thanks largely to greater care taken to mass propaganda activity before the days of strike, the methods of organizing the rank and file retained it’s bureaucratic approach. There was still no fundamental difference in approach towards mobilizing rank and file. The strike was still following a bureaucratic method of mobilization which drew success only because of the worker’s own weakened consciousness and the anger which every average worker has towards the system of capitalism generally and in particular the ruling class.

The choice of dates for the strike itself showed a strong streak of opportunism in it. The 21st of February was international language day, and in order to placate a rising trend of bengali linguistic chauvinism, the trade unions in west bengal refused to go on strike. This as well as the nature of mobilizations contributed to blunting the impact of the strike. After the massive mobilizations which preceded the strike, one would expect that the strike itself would have lived up to radical expectations. It is outright criminal in our opinion for the trade unions to have weakened the strike action so.

 

Lessons to be learnt :

 

We acknowledge the role of the present general strike as well as the strikes preceding this one in the larger picture of class struggle in india. There is no denying the change in the condition the repeated mass mobilizations of workers have achieved in india. That being said, we must also caution ourselves with the realization that a way forward must emerge from here. The re-emergence of the working class in the centre of indian political and social life has deep consequences and demands deep and profound questions.

Firstly, we must pose directly the question of leadership in the worker’s movement. It is the direction shown by the leadership of the working class in india, which is chiefly dominated by Stalinism, which has led the working class to it’s present situation. If we consider the framework in which this strike was conducted and the organizational tactics adopted, we see some clear signs of Stalinism at work. The opportunism in deciding the date of strikes, the dilution of the potential impact it could have had and the bureaucratic methods adopted in directing the rank and file of the union all contributed to weakening the potentially greater impact of the strike action. To mention nothing of the purely economical nature of the demands made despite the strike action having clear potential to make a strong political impact !

What lay at the roots of this compromising approach of the political and trade union leadership in the working class? The Stalinist parties and the trade unions under their influence, both share a capitulationist attitude towards the bourgeoisie as a whole. This is particularly true in parliamentary democracies like India. The major Stalinist formations in India, namely the CPIM and CPM have long since made peace with the bourgeoisie in power and they would not dare take any measure which would unsettle this balance. The working class in advance of course, forces them to take up a more militant stance against the bourgeoisie. However, such actions are carefully conducted so as to retain the dominating positions of the party and trade union bureaucracy. The prime motivation of the leadership is not to struggle for the overthrow of the bourgeois state, but simply to to carve out a stronger position for themselves within the existing framework of social and political relations. Having made peace with the Indian bourgeoisie the leaders of Stalinism have by extension made a pact with democratic reaction. They effectively drain the militant potential of the working class and it’s allies into the dead end of parliamentary politics. The fate of the strike actions in the long term would remain bound to defeat and capitulation at the gates of parliament, as long as Stalinism continues to excersize it’s hold over the working class. But this in itself is not the end.

The answer to democratic reaction is permanent mobilization. We have only begun to see the faint flickers of this in the form of ‘sangharsh jathas’ conducted in various parts of the country in support of the strike demands. Whether this will succeed in forcing the government to accede to the demands of the striking workers or not, is a question that can only be answered after the budget session on the 28th of February. What is needed are more militant actions conducted with a view to push forward ever higher levels of actions with a clear view towards seizure of power by the working class. This means adopting a transitional approach which stems from the present level of consciousness of the masses and moves towards a higher level of socialist consciousness. This reflects in the form of transitional demands made by a revolutionary force. Of course, we cannot hope for the present political leadership of the working class to adopt such views, neither the from the Stalinist ‘left’ parties and definitely not the right wing bourgeois formations. What is needed is an independent revolutionary party of the working class with a perspective towards seizure of power and the establishment of a worker’s state in India.

Conclusion :

The strike has shown both the power of the working class and the weaknesses plaguing it. The complex dialectic attached to this has created conditions where a revolutionary party can emerge. This party must build itself in class struggle and on the rock solid foundation of a Bolshevik Leninist programme. We understand that the struggle of the workers may be national in form but international in essence. International solidarity around the fight of the Indian working class is more necessary now than ever before especially in this critical period where the class is in revival of it’s strength. Building the revolutionary leadership in the form of the 4th international and the Bolshevik Leninist Party has become a most necessary task of our time.

 

ALL OUT SUPPORT TO THE GENERAL STRIKE !

Rising inflation ! Rationing of LPG cylinders ! Price hikes in essentials ! Divestments in public sector companies ! Mass arrests and repression on worker’s organizations!
These are the reasons why all the major trade-union bodies and even smaller trade unions throughout India are coming in a general strike on 20th and 21st February.

We want to express our unconditional support for the General Strike. Only the uninterrupted and permanent mobilization of millions can bring a real change in India. A General Strike is great weapon in the hands of working class. Even a two day strike shows everyone who really runs this world! It shows what will happen once the entire proletariat arises in indefinite general strike against the intolerable exploitation of the capitalist bosses and government. The only thing a boss can keep moving is a whip… For the third time in three years that workers of India are rising against inflation, for defense of worker’s rights and social security !

A charter of ten demands has been drawn up to rally the workers in struggle. We fully support to these ten charter demands, but to really improve our lives we must mobilize behind a more aggressive programme with the following demands :

1) A sliding scale of wages :

To fight inflation, worker’s wages must be compulsorily increased along with the price levels of essential commodities starting from a minimum living wage of Rs.15000. All wage agreements signed between workers and management and the statutory minimum wage of a state must be subjected to regular increases based on rising inflation in essential commodities. This sliding scale would be more valuable than gold in our fight against inflation. We would no longer helplessly watch our wages drain away. We must fight to win real wage security!

2) Price controls pegged to average minimum wages :

The government is fully capable of controlling the prices of essentials, if it wishes to. It fails to do so because it is not interested in our needs, and only caters to the needs of the Tatas, Birlas, Ambanis and Mittals. These corporate interests pressure the government to deregulate prices so that ‘market’ forces will boost their profits. We must teach them the lesson that our needs are more important than their profits!


3) No privatizations ! No to FDI! Nationalize the Big Private Companies !

The cause of our present misery from inflation to corruption have been the corporate interests (both indian and foreign) and their lackey politicians who loot us. They hold all the wealth and power. Public Sector Companies are built by our toil and effort, and we resolve to never let them be sold off to fatten these bourgeois scoundrels! We demand an immediate moratorium on all divestments in public sector companies and a plan to nationalize WITHOUT COMPENSATION the major conglomerates of the Tatas, Birlas and Ambanis to be placed under control of democratic councils of workers. We must nationalize them and bring back to the people the wealth they have looted.

4) Right to organize must be a Fundamental Right !

The class enemy knows the danger a mobilized and militant working class presents, that is why they try their best to suppress us and take away our right to organize. The Honda and Suzuki motor workers set us a proud example of a principled fight for organizational rights and the right to union recognition. When we are starved by inflation, beaten by repression and pauperized by privatizations, struggle is our only hope of surviving the attacks of capitalism. We therefore demand that the right to strike and to organize be made a fundamental right!

These demands are the core needs of the working masses of India today. The bourgeoisie and their lackey accountants and intellectual ‘experts’ will try to convince us our demands are wrong. But we must not waver. They sow fear, and doubt to intimidate us and stop us fighting. But we refuse to pay for their crisis and their failures. The workers on the move are a huge force which can change history, but no struggle will be successful without a revolutionary party to channel the energy it generates. The problems traumatizing India can only be resolved by throwing the bourgeoisie from power and replacing the capitalist ruling class! We need a workers’ state. We can only do this if we build a revolutionary Bolshevik- Leninist Party and build the Fourth International as a party of world revolution! 

 

On the question of the revolutionary party

We are re-publishing this article written by comrade Jonas Potyguar on the question of the revolutionary party and it’s organization. The article lays bare the critical importance of organizing the party on the principles of democratic centralism and with a distinct emphasis of recruiting workers as its grassroots.

 

88 years without lenin: A revolutionary leninist party, or a party of affiliated sympathizers ? 

– Jonas Potyguar

The topic of construction of a revolutionary party and the discussion hinging round this pivot abound among socialists. The character of a Leninist party has been attacked from all kinds of angles.

It has even been said – and not altogether wrong – that Lenin’s main contribution to Marxism has been the theory and practise of the organisation of a revolutionary party. This is so, because Lenin regarded organisation as a fundamental issue among all the other tasks, whether agitation or propaganda.

He has even stated that the task of organisation is more important than that of the use of revolutionary violence in the revolution and that is what he said in 1919, at the funeral of Sverdlov, the greatest organiser the Bolshevik party has ever had:

“Comrades, people who judge by what they see on the surface, the numerous enemies of our revolution, and those who to this day vacillate between the revolution and its opponents, consider the most striking feature of our revolution to be the determined and relentlessly firm way it has dealt with the exploiters and the enemies of the working people. There is no doubt that without this, without revolutionary violence, the proletariat could not have triumphed. Nor can there be any doubt that revolutionary violence was a necessary and legitimate weapon of the revolution only at definite stages of its development, only under definite and special conditions, and that a far more profound and permanent feature of this revolution and condition of its victory was, and remains, the organisation of the proletarian masses, the organisation of the working people.”1

And he tops this reasoning “…the main task of the proletarian revolution is precisely the task of organisation.”2

That is why, unlike reformists, Marxists wish to exert power together with the organised masses and that is not a feat of some great parliamentary “leaders”. The most serious symptom of capitulation to the apparatuses – whether reformist or bourgeois parliamentary – and the most frequent way in which this is expressed is the abandonment of the organisation of the toiling masses – or the pushing back of this task to second-best position (in their own organisations) – and of the vanguard in the revolutionary party. The most appealing task normally are those that imply audience, where is possible to test out very soon and in front of people one’s own individual aptitudes. The simple “grey” task of organising, recruiting and spreading the orientation of the party through the press, for example, is much more difficult and tedious. But pushing the task of organisation to the second-rate level means to yield to the pressure of the bourgeoisie and to capitulate to the apparatuses where a few leaders “substitute” the labour of the masses and of the advance guard.

 

This is so important that taking it as priority and building the revolutionary party in Russia was the reason for the victory in Russia and the opposite, considering this a secondary task, led to the defeat of the revolution in Germany in 1918.

The secret of the Bolshevik party and their most important lesson on how to build revolutionary parties all over the world was that, understanding the importance of the organisation, they leaned on a tripod that could (and can) ensure strength and invincibility to any revolutionary party: the use of Marxist theory, a close link with the International and their insertion in the workers’ movement.

“Only relying on Marxist revolutionary theory and on the experience of the international social democracy we can merge our revolutionary trend with the workers’ movement…”3

Using this tripod, Bolshevism gets organised in a new type of party, reflecting not only the specificity of the Tsarist Russia but also the new historic epoch of wars and revolutions. It is from his analysis of imperialism that Lenin draws his vision of a new type of party, fighting, for action, for the seizure of power.

“Imperialism is a stage of capitalism in which, after having done all it could have done, it now revolves towards decadence… There may be many similar wars… To fulfil this new task, the proletarian party may need organisations of a totally new type. It is difficult to foretell what the new form of organisation should be in correspondence with this phase.”4

In 1900, defending a party built around a hard core, basically by professional revolutionaries, he said,

“We must prepare men who would not dedicate only their free afternoons to the revolution, but their entire lives…” 5

He asserts that the party must have a flexible structure to define when a frontal combat is required and when it is necessary to retreat properly. He asserts that unconditional centralisation and the most severe discipline of the proletariat inside their party is one of the fundamental conditions for victory over bourgeoisie.

He draws on the norm that the grassroots of the party be active militants, where all the members, without any exception, take part in the struggle, in the movement and in the everyday life of the toiling masses.

After power has been seized, discipline and centralisation are even more important:

“The strictest centralisation and discipline are required within the political party of the proletariat in order to counteract this, in order that the organisational role of the proletariat (and that is its principal role) may be exercised correctly, successfully and victoriously. The dictatorship of the proletariat means a persistent struggle – bloody and bloodless, violent and peaceful, military and economic, educational and administrative – against the forces and traditions of the old society. The force of habit in millions and tens of millions is a most formidable force. Without a party of iron that has been tempered in the struggle, a party enjoying the confidence of all honest people in the class in question, a party capable of watching and influencing the mood of the masses, such a struggle cannot be waged successfully.” 6

For the Bolshevik party, right from the beginning, even when it consisted of a tiny group of intellectuals who acted in hiding, the insertion in the industrial working class was priority. This orientation is based on the Marxist vision, on the Marxist standpoint on the central character of the industrial working class and the very experience of Marx and Engels who did their best to take socialist ideas to the real movement of working class. As early as 1893, Lenin gets in contact with advanced workers of Saint Petersburg and in 1902 he said:

“Our work is aimed, first of all and above all, at factory workers of the cities. Russian social democracy must not disperse its strength, but concentrate its activity on industrial proletariat… we do not deem it wise to orient our strength towards craftsmen and farmhand…”7

Later on, when the party was no longer small, Lenin oriented it towards other sectors without, however, forsaking that priority. Having defined this priority to social advance guard sectors proved correct, for in 1917 Lenin defended the seizure of power when he achieves majority of soviets in two most important working class cities: Moscow and St. Petersburg. We must add that in those days the Russian working class counted 3 millions souls densely concentrated in big factories among 150 million inhabitants. They achieved the miracle of leading dozens and dozens of millions because they were a power inside the industrial proletariat.

Lenin attached an enormous importance to the press of the party. In his famous book What to do? he spreads a vision of a party newspaper as an organizational and political centraliser for the whole party. Thus, in 1912, faced with the first signs of struggle of the working class, he launches a legal newspaper, the Pravda, whose launching was preceded by a several-month-long campaign asking factory workers for their financial support. Contributions came in tens of thousands and there was also a subscription campaign. Pravda had the backing of tens and hundreds of workers, who – with their modest contributions – ensured its publication.

Reflecting directly the situation of class struggle, the ups and downs, victories and defeats, and also the different phases of the construction of the party, there were great wavering as far as the number of militants goes. A party of a few tens of militant cadres in 1901 and of hundreds in 1903 was a founding group, as Lenin put it; “a communist nucleus whose central task was to insert themselves among the masses of workers.” In 1905, at the beginning of the revolution, an advance-guard party with 8 000 militants, most of them inserted in industrial centres, a party in “transition from communist propaganda and agitation to action”. In 1907, at the congress of reunification with the Mensheviks, 77 000 militants with a slight majority of Bolsheviks, the party was already in the period of “mass party” whose essential task was, as Lenin used to say, “take the initiative in massive actions”. At a time of a slump in the struggles, of defeats, in 1910, in most regions the party disintegrated and just a few dozen militants remained. In 1916 the new ascent began and the Bolshevik party had at most 5 000 members and a few cadres. When the revolution began, thousands and thousands of workers joined the political battle and left-wing parties and by April 1917 the party could already boast 79 000 members and by July the figure reaches 170 000, 250 000 by March 1919, 610 000 in March’20 and 730 000 in March 1921.

Bolshevism combined a great inflexibility as far as principles are concerned and a great flexibility at the time of using tactics (forms of struggle) of the most varied type. For example, the defence of using parliament and then boycott, the defence of participating in all the workers’ organisations (trade unions) but censuring the yellow trade unions; the use of terrorism (and also guerrilla) but in a compulsory manner using it only in the service of the working class and as part of the workers’ struggle.

This is absolutely essential in the building of revolutionary parties because to fall into opportunism or ultra-leftism is to give priority to an only procedure, isolate it and turn it into an absolute (for example the use of the parliament). It is just like this popular saying goes: “anything in excess is poison”.

This is how Lenin expresses this vision: “On the other hand, Bolshevism, which had arisen on this granite foundation of theory, went through fifteen years of practical history (1903-17) unequalled anywhere in the world in its wealth of experience… During those fifteen years, no other country knew anything even approximating to that revolutionary experience, that rapid and varied succession of different forms of the movement—legal and illegal, peaceful and stormy, underground and open, local circles and mass movements, and parliamentary and terrorist forms”. 8

If Bolshevism could triumph in the revolution it is because they knew how to expose the opportunists in Russia and in II International; this was one of the causes of victory.

A party of active militants based on professional militants made the building of a mass party for combat and seizure of power possible. This was expressed, for example, in the way Barmin, a young Bolshevik leader, recruited new members in the factories: “Join the party that does not promise advantages or privileges. If we achieve victory, we shall build a new world. If we are defeated, we shall fight to the last man.”

But in order to build a party that can resist the pressure of the bourgeoisie and the defeat it is necessary to mould a party and leaders capable of learning from their errors.

“A political party’s attitude towards its own mistakes is one of the most important and surest ways of judging how earnest the party is and how it fulfils in practice its obligations towards its class and the working people. Frankly acknowledging a mistake, ascertaining the reasons for it, analysing the conditions that have led up to it, and thrashing out the means of its rectification – that is the hallmark of a serious party; that is how it should perform its duties, and how it should educate and train its class, and then the masses. By failing to fulfil this duty and give the utmost attention and consideration to the study of their patent error, the “Lefts” in Germany (and in Holland) have proved that they are not a party of a class, but a circle, not a party of the masses, but a group of intellectualists and of a few workers who ape the worst features of intellectualism.” 9

But he was not satisfied with just identifying the error but reasoned in a Marxist way that is to say, with the understanding that the pressures inside the party reflected the pressures existing in the bourgeois society and he always tried to propose concrete measures within the scope of the organisation of the party to correct the existing deviation or problem.

That is how in the early 1905, in the middle of the revolution, as he saw a lot of hesitations among the leaders of his faction, he proposed clear steps: that the committees of the party should have a majority of workers. (“eight workers for every two intellectuals, for workers have class instinct) He lost when the votes were taken. But in November 1905 in the middle of the revolutionary crisis, he was requesting one intellectual for several hundreds of workers.

After the seizure of power and by the end of the civil war, climbers were flooding the party. Lenin proposed:

“…I should advise the most rigorous admission to the party: a three-year period as candidate for workers (considering a worker one who has worked at least 10 years in the great industry as a simple salaried worker and has now been working for at least 2 or 3 years); for peasants and combatants of the Red Army, 4 years and for everybody else, 5 years.”10

When the danger of bureaucratisation of the USSR emerges, in his last writings he insists that:

“Inclusion of many workers to the CC will help workers to improve our administrative body… The workers who will become part of the CC should be mainly not those who have been acting for a long time in the Soviets… for they have been soaked in with certain traditions and prejudices that we wish to fight against.”11

What a difference between this party and the German party! The latter, held on to legal (parliamentary) intervention, with affiliates who did not have an everyday active participation in the life of the party and workers’ struggles. This “giant” party had, on the eve of the war, a million members, 90 daily papers and had reached 4 million votes in the elections to the parliament. It had magazines, schools, universities, 2.5 million workers were organised in trade unions led by social democrats. When the war broke out it split to pieces like crystal receiving the first bullet. But this routine in the form of organisation was so deep that this lax and rusty structure affected also the Spartaquists, whose leader was Rose Luxemburg, who in 1914 publicly split away from the reformists but did not split away, or took a long time to do so, with their forms of organisation. And that proved deadly for the German revolution. Rose Luxemburg failed to understand that the new epoch required a new type of party. Her organisation had to form itself in the middle of the war and in totally clandestine conditions, had no time to grow up: its members had no discipline and most militants, reacting in an ultra-leftist fashion to the opportunist capitulation of the social democrats, refused to take part in elections or trade unions. Later on Lenin reflected that the main error of German communists was that they did not split away from the social democrats early enough, even before the war.

In 1921 he was to say:

“it is necessary to expose in full details what is it that does not exist in most of the legal parties in the West. There is no everyday work (revolutionary work) done by each and every one member of the party.”12

Nowadays, there is a great discussion in the workers’ movement about the characteristics and the structure of a revolutionary party. Most people point blank refuse to have “Leninist” Democratic Centralism which is regarded as antidemocratic and the form of “affiliated” members, a lax form that admits “ample democracy” for the grassroots, is regarded as preferable.

The discussion on centralisation or non-centralisation of a revolutionary party depends on the purpose it is being built for.

If it is for the seizure of power and to install the dictatorship of the proletariat and overcome the resistance of imperialism by force, the organisation of the party will necessarily have to be centralised, where the 100% of the militants are active and committed militants of workers’ cause. History has proved that without such a type of party victory is always in jeopardy.

On the other hand, if we want to have a party centred hinging round parliamentary activity, elections, a trade union activity now and again (strictly legal) so as to achieve more votes and reach power through elections, there is no need for any democratic centralism. The structure of social democratic parties is good enough for that.

But it is deceitful to tell simple people who do not understand politics that the structure of “affiliates” is more democratic: this is simply a lie! In this type of parties, it is the opportunist leadership who decide everything, and more often than not they are members of parliament, governors, presidents, trade union bureaucrats and the affiliates are simply informed via TV about the guideline of the party, just the way it keeps on happening in Brazilian PT: it turned neoliberal without consulting the hundreds of thousand of affiliated workers.

On the contrary, the Leninist structure of democratic centralism, with the active militants, who participate in the everyday struggle of the workers and party life, discuss everything freely inside the party with the most absolute democracy and then, in a centralised way, everybody, from the freshest to the oldest, have to defend the guideline voted by majority.

This is the only way in which workers can impede that their leader be corrupted by the bourgeoisie.

“And if the workers’ party is really revolutionary, if it is really workers’ (that is to say: linked to the masses, to most workers, to the grassroots of the proletariat and not only to the upper crust sector), if it is really a party, that is: if it is the organisation of the revolutionary advance guard, strong and consistent, capable of doing the revolutionary task among the masses by any possible means, then there is no doubt that this party will be able to hold its members of parliament back…” 13

“The more outstanding the scabs are (meaning Kamenev and Zinoviev) the more compulsory it is to punish them at once with expulsion. The only way to heal a workers’ party is to purge a dozen pusillanimous petty intellectuals, to huddle together the revolutionary rank and file, march together with revolutionary workers.” 14

By means of thousands of negative examples, history has proved the absolute necessity of a Leninist party and today the loss of many revolutions happens just because proletariat does not have a tool of this type and is trapped by the demagogic socialist and “democratic” leaders.

The United Secretariat of the IV International has long forsaken the democratic centralist structure of the organisation of their parties and of the International. But now they take another step forward and make a call to unite all the anticapitalist left, a call that has been passed at the XV Congress of the LCR (France) to:

“… build a new political force, ample and pluralist, radically anticapitalist and resolutely democratic. This grouping in a united party is necessary and urgent to act together along the major guidelines that may, in our opinion, be summed up in a few points: opposition to imperialism, to the war, to the capitalist globalisation… the perspective of a breach with capitalism.”15

This resolution is a “jewel” of opportunism in every field. It would be necessary to write an entire book to expose the venom it contains.

To begin with the expression “opposition to imperialism”. “Opposition” is a parliamentary term. Anybody, down to the blind man in the doorway of a church is “opposition to imperialism”. “Opposition to the war”, yes, of course we are all against the war and the imperialist invasion of Iraq. But are we for the anticolonial war that the Iraqi resistance is carrying out now, and even if necessary, for sending them weapons?

Let us go on to the “perspective” of breach with the capitalism. This just does not commit anybody to anything and left for the future it is something that even Rosseto (Minister of Land Reform in Lula administration) might sign. And the break away from capitalism is to replace it with…. what? That is not said. In this way, anyone can fit into the party, any anti-neoliberal democrat, like the ones who head the World Social Forum and claim that “another world is possible” even in the imperialist system or claim for “unlimited” democracy – and this is something everybody likes – especially imperialism and their companies that exploit and govern the world in an “unlimited way”.

To enter the kingdom of democracy it is not necessary to have a disciplined party of determined and toughened proletarians, ready to die for their class; all you need for that is “to be ample and pluralist”. That is so, because obviously what is needed here is not a party to lead an insurrection and a revolution but to form “potential socialist ministers” for the parliament who would dedicate themselves to diminish the poverty of the “excluded” by means of “compensatory measures” and to guarantee a “law” that would demand from the capital that it should share out its profit and to yell from the parliamentary tribunal against capitalism. What is the use of a centralised party, organised and educated for the seizure of power if it is all about civilised “opposition” to her majesty the bourgeoisie? It is far more convenient to make an “ample and plural” party with members of parliament, consultants, trade union leaders, where liberty would prevail so far that it would even be possible to become a minister in a capitalist government!

Whether to be part of an “anticapitalist” party or not is not a point of principles. Very often revolutionaries are compelled to be there in order to fight reformists who are there. But USec defends the dissolution of their organisations in such parties making the frontiers between revolutionaries and reformists blurred.

Be that as it may, what matters is not what is said but what is done, for words are often gone with the wind and what stays are the bourgeois laws defending the large Brazilian estates applied against the poor of the countryside by a “Trotskyist” minister (in reference to minister Rosseto, member of the USec). It is a disgrace for the IV International. Those who accept such treason are accomplices in the blemishing of the banner of the IV International, of Leninism and revolutionary Marxism.

Notes:

1 Lenin, C.W. tome 38, page 158

2 Lenin, C.W. tome 7, page 59

3 Lenin, C.W. tome 26, page 30

4 Lenin, C.W. tome 4 page 396

5 Lenin, Lef-wing communism, an infantile disorder

6 Lenin, C.W. tome 2, page 486

7 Lenin, Lef-wing communism, an infantile disorder

8 Lenin, Lef-wing communism, an infantile disorder

9 Lenin, C.W. tome 45, page 7

10 Lenin, C.W. tome 45, page 363

11 Lenin, C.W. tome 44, page 14

12 Lenin, C.W. tome 39, page 173

13 Lenin, C.W. tome 34, page 439

14 Lenin, C.W. tome 34, page 439

15 Rouge, 21/11/2003

The Maruti July struggle : Where Caste meets Class oppression

Fact finding teams of New Wave New Delhi* have confirmed that the ‘murder’ of the executive at Maruti is in fact a lie and in all likelihood he died in an accidental fire. The factory at Manesar is now under lockout and workers are under threat of layoffs with plans of the plant being shifted to Gujarat.

The death of the executive has been highlighted by practically all news channels, however what was deliberately missed out in their coverage was the cause of the violence at the factory shop floor. Preceding the violent incident in July, a worker got into a brawl with the company’s casteist supervisor who repeatedly insulted the worker’s caste. After bearing this insult for long enough, his tolerance finally broke when he assaulted the supervisor. The Supervisor being of an upper caste background and the workers mostly lower caste. After this assault, the management had the worker fired from the company but no action was taken against the supervisor for his behavior.

The workers at Maruti’s Manesar plant rose in solidarity to defend their fellow compatriot during which the violence ensued. The company sought to tackle the workers with force and subdue them. A tactic which backfired and ended in getting the company’s HR executive killed. The present situation is still tense, with the factory being under lockout and the workers under threat of mass layoffs and unemployment.

What this incident shows :

The situation at Manesar shows in full the convergence of caste oppression and class oppression which is one of the central pillars of India’s proletarianization based economy. The workers at Maruti’s Manesar plant are one of the most exploited amongst organized workers, but consequently are also one of the most militant. They are a perfect example of caste oppression working to squeeze out exploitable workers from the countryside and force them into the urban industrial sphere, where they are taken as ready-to-exploit labor force.

The worker’s fight for better working conditions and freedom of organization at Maruti, goes hand in hand with the fight against caste divisions and caste oppression in the countryside. The convergence of oppression must be replied thus, with a convergence of militant struggle against the twin pillars of caste and class oppression in India.

Urgent need of solidarity:

Most unions have de facto abandoned the cause of the Manesar workers and anti-caste organizations have been conspicuous by their silence. This has allowed the thoroughly pro-bourgeois and pro-upper caste news media to distort facts to its own liking and paint the workers of Maruti as arch villains ‘hurting India’s growth’. The workers at Manesar face the unfettered vengeance of the Maruti management and of the Haryana state government. At this juncture the most criminal betrayal would be to leave them in this fight alone.

All progressive and revolutionary forces across the country, committed to the cause of the working class and its oppressed brethren in the countryside, must unite with the workers at Maruti in this struggle against the oppressive treatment on part of the Maruti management.

*[ http://new-wave-nw.blogspot.in/2012/07/press-statement-on-struggle-in-maruti.html press statement of New Wave Delhi ]

Statement on General strike


On the General Strike of the 7th September in India

This 7th of September 2010 most major trade unions have called a strike action protesting against incessant price rise and attacks on living standards of the Indian working class. Thus far, 8 major trade union bodies representing in excess of 10 million unionized workers have declared their support for the proposed strike action including :

1) The INTUC [affiliated with the Congress Party.]

2) The CITU [affiliated with the CPI (M)]

3) The AITUC [affiliated with the CPI]

4) The HMS [an *independent* trade union body affiliated with the International federation of independent trade unions].

5) The AIUTUC [affiliated with the SUCI]

6) The LPF [affiliated with the DMK]

7) The UTUC [affiliated with the RSP]

8 ) The TUCC [affiliated with the Forward Bloc]

Thus, we see the leadership of this strike falling squarely largely to either the forces of counter revolutionary Stalinism or reactionary trade unionism under the aegis of the INTUC affiliated with the bourgeois Indian Congress, and to regional parties like the DMK. What is however noteworthy here is the united action of the organized vanguard of Indian proletariat on the plank of a common cause, namely, protesting against the ongoing price rise and the attacks of Indian capitalism upon the working class. In so far as this is an action of the class we support the strike. However, we cannot do so uncritically. Herein lay a dialectical approach to the strike action.

What is our attitude towards trade unions?

For revolutionary Marxists there are two precedents towards the approach on trade unions, One which was summed up by Lenin in the book “left wing communism: An infantile disorder” and the other in a different context in the transitional programme. What is common to both approaches is the recognition of the trade union as an organization of the working class and at the same time a more or less minimalist organization of the working class. In other words, in themselves trade unions do not represent an end in themselves nor the completion of the revolutionary aspirations of the working class. One may also conclude that they do not represent any substitution for the revolutionary party. In the example before us we find the masses of workers responding to the call of the strike action lead by trade unions both reactionary and counter revolutionary in character. The ultra left “radical” would have us say that such an action by virtue of it’s leadership in the hands of counter revolutionary forces would be rendered in itself a counter revolutionary act. They are quick to forget both the nature of the action, the context of the action and more importantly, the class dialectics operating in a trade union. Historically, we as revolutionary Bolsheviks are posed the same questions in this century, which were posed earlier to the revolutionaries of the last century, namely that of the question of our attitudes towards trade unions. As Bolshevik Leninists we stand firms by the principles of Marxism and by the core principles of Bolshevik praxis, we are steadfast in our commitment towards the same. The dialectical understanding of a trade union as a body of the working class yet one that is necessarily bridled in a myriad historical weaknesses is essential in this and this understanding will help us in developing the correct tactics for the upcoming strike.

Tactical line towards the unions and the movement:

The core issues raised by the striking unions is centered on price rise and incessantly rising inflation in the country which has lead to greater suffering of the Indian working class and their class allies. Corollary to this a host of other issues pertaining to the attacks of Indian capitalism upon the working class including privatizations in Public Sector Units and a critical view of the lax nature of implementation of labor laws in India are also in the range of this agitation. However, few things emerge from an overview on the agitation. 1) Though issues pertaining to the working class are being raised there is no perspective on furthering the agitation in a more radical direction. In other words, the strategy of the unions appears to be limited to making a show of political strength and air out frustrations of the class without any real goal in mind or intention to make a focused attack against the capitalist assault upon the Indian working class. Furthermore, whatever concrete demands are being made are with a most limited reformist perspective, namely, limited to the proper implementation of Labor laws and the universalization of the Public Distribution System ( PDS ). 2) With a strengthening of the Indian bourgeois state and an greater expansion of India’s sub-imperialist development democratic rights of workers have been challenged like never before and the state is assuming an increasingly undemocratic form. One of the fallouts of this has been concerted attacks upon the right to agitate of the working class. The general strike, whose call has evoked popular support, would have been the best possible occasion to raise this issue. Here again we see the union bureaucrats failing to raise this most pertinent issue and fight for expanding the democratic space for struggle. 3) In the last one and a half month period since the proclamation of the strike action by the major unions what has been evinced is certain fluidity in terms of support for the strike. Now, the unions themselves claim in their respective manifestos and programs to represent the interests of the working class. The HMS goes so far as to suggest that the union is in fact the only true vehicle for the realization of the aspirations of the working class. However, a major union like the BMS has pulled out of the strike after stating their support thus, weakening the assault of the workers. Paradoxically the Congress affiliated union the INTUC has just joined in. Paradoxical considering the present government in India is a Congress led government. What both of these actions suggest is the reformist nature of typically bureaucratized trade unions. Whilst on the one hand being organs of struggle of the working class their bureaucratization makes them assume the form of a burden upon the very people they purport to represent. Thus, the leadership of the strike falling upon the shoulders of Stalinism or reformist leaders hampers the sharpness of the assault of the strike whereas the agitation itself marks a distinct advance in class militancy in India. The scale of the strike itself is noteworthy which threatens shut down 75% of the organized sector nationwide. In so far as this is a struggle of the class for raising class demands we support the agitation and work towards strengthening it and orienting it in a revolutionary direction. However, in so far as the leadership of the agitation is concerned we voice our opposition to their orientation which works towards capping the militancy of the proletariat.

Minimalist approaches and our transitional approach:

In the transitional program, Trotsky wrote: “..The Fourth International does not discard the program of the old “minimal” demands to the degree to which these have preserved at least part of their vital forcefulness. Indefatigably, it defends the democratic rights and social conquests of the workers. But it carries on this day-to-day work within the framework of the correct actual, that is, revolutionary perspective. Insofar as the old, partial, “minimal” demands of the masses clash with the destructive and degrading tendencies of decadent capitalism – and this occurs at each step – the Fourth International advances a system of transitional demands, the essence of which is contained in the fact that ever more openly and decisively they will be directed against the very bases of the bourgeois regime. The old “minimal program” is superseded by the transitional program, the task of which lies in systematic mobilization of the masses for the proletarian revolution.” In this approach lies the dialectic of the transitional program, transitional demands and minimum demands. The present action is not per se wrong in defending to whatever limited extent and whatever jagged manner the existing conquests of the class and in raising the issues of the class, what is however wrong is the manner in which the minimalist perspective is capping the rising militancy with this minimalist approach. The minimum demands worth noting here include:

1) Proper and strict implementation of labor laws

2) Halting disinvestment of state owned industries

3) An expansion of the social security net for unorganized workers by removing the restrictions within the Workers Social Security Act of 2008.

4) Greater regulations of prices of food products by implementing universal PDS system.

5) A call for stimulus packages for ailing private sector corporations in order to secure jobs for those employed there.

All of these demands reflect in toto all that is jagged and faulty about minimalist approaches. They are limited, partial and oriented from a sectoral perspective with the only exceptions of the stricter implementation of labor laws and the call for implementing the PDS system. The world crisis has affected India like any other nation however the impact of the crisis in India has thus far been felt less in economic terms and more in social and political terms with a growing intensification of the civil war in the countryside which goes hand in hand with the greedy expansion of the sub imperialist bourgeois in its competition with world imperialism. In this context it is equally necessary for the peasant worker of the cities and every other section of the urban working class to extend a hand of solidarity to their class allies in the countryside who are seeing first hand the brunt of negative effects economic expansion and proletarianization. The bureaucrat (mis)leaders of the working class have only one thing to offer for the class allies of the proletariat in the countryside which only remotely touches upon the issues of the countryside, that of the implementation of a universal Public Distribution System. It is a pertinent demand and we support any move to control rising prices of goods however, the same can have gotten a far sharper response from the agitation especially since, India’s sub-imperialist expansion is a double edged sword which at once effects the proletarianization of the rural masses as well as the intensification of wage slavery for the working class and more dangerously the retraction of democratic rights for agitation. It is thus, imperative that demands pertaining to the democratic space for agitation of the working class be raised. This however, has fallen out of the view of our union bureaucrats. The most detestable amongst the aforementioned demands is the call for a stimulus package for private sector corporations affected by the crisis. Ironically, the unions propose this as an aim to secure the employment of the working class against the attacks of capitalism which include laying-off or retrenching of workers from employment as a cost cutting measure. We propose that such reformist Keynesian tactics are in no way a sustainable means to secure job security for the workers. The bourgeoisie has no interest to defend the rights and social welfare of the working masses and are only interested in securing their own profits and wealth by whatever means at their disposal including the most concerted and harsh attacks on the working class. To fight against it the class must orient itself towards fighting in a more radical direction aiming at securing the right to full employment as a fundamental right, in other words the right to employment to become an absolute and unconditional right of the working class.

In response to the above minimum demands of the unions we present our list of transitional demands:

1) Full and unfettered right to strike:

The class has nothing to receive from the bosses but slavery and assault to plead mercy is a wasteful endeavor. For the class to gain hold of even the most basic demands of welfare and sustenance the working class must fight tooth and nail against the machinations of the capitalist system. Bourgeois democracy despite being nothing more than a jagged “democracy” for the rich offers only a limited space for agitation for the working class. We must utilize every opportunity offered by the enemy class to fight against them. For this we must strive to constantly expand the scope for agitation and fight for making the right to strike a *fundamental right*, in other words a right which is unfettered and unrestrained and inalienable.

2) Sliding scale of wages:

Under the conditions of disintegrating capitalism, the masses continue to live the meagerized life of the oppressed, threatened now more than at any other time with the danger of being cast into the pit of pauperism. They must defend their mouthful of bread, if they cannot increase or better it. There is neither the need nor the opportunity to enumerate here those separate, partial demands which time and again arise on the basis of concrete circumstances – national, local, trade union. But two basic economic afflictions, in which is summarized the increasing absurdity of the capitalist system, that is, unemployment and high prices, demand generalized slogans and methods of struggle. The Fourth International declares uncompromising war on the politics of the capitalists which, to a considerable degree, like the politics of their agents, the reformists, aims to place the whole burden of militarism, the crisis, the disorganization of the monetary system and all other scourges stemming from capitalism’s death agony upon the backs of the toilers. Neither monetary inflation nor stabilization can serve as slogans for the proletariat because these are but two ends of the same stick. Against a bounding rise in prices, which with the advance of imperialism will assume an ever more unbridled character, one can fight only under the slogan of a sliding scale of wages. This means that collective agreements should assure an automatic rise in wages in relation to the increase in price of consumer goods.

3) Employment must be transformed into a full and fundamental right:

One of the most concerted attacks of the crisis ridden system of imperialism is focused on the employment of the working class. For the capitalist who knows only the language of profit the priority of the bourgeois is not to augment welfare and social security of the masses but to augment through whatever means available the accumulation of profit for the bourgeois. For this it may from time to time endanger the employment of the working masses and create a reserve army of the unemployed to push down wages and production costs. The best defense here as well is an offence against the system in the form of a transitional demand for making the right to employment a fundamental right. This must go hand in hand with a genuine respect for the rights of workers which already existing serve to defend albeit limitedly the social security and safety of the working class.

4) Complete nationalization of all industries:

The strike has called into attention the issue of disinvestments and privatizations. One of the demands of the striking unions being a reversal of the policy towards divestment in public sector corporations and the privatization of state owned enterprises. These demands oriented towards the defense of the hard won rights of workers and their social security, though work towards the defense of workers rights are yet limited in nature. The only realistic solution for the sustainable defense of worker’s rights is the full nationalization of all industries in the nation. Privatizations attack workers rights and in the ultimate analysis work towards putting profits above the needs of the masses. One of the consequences of privatizations is the relaxing of enforcement of labor rights and the strengthening of bourgeois management. Ultimately this reduces the workers to the position of becoming hostages of the anarchic forces of capitalism. The logic of competition between public sector companies and the private sector serve, not to augment the conditions of the people at large but instead to the detriment of their general welfare. We stand for the complete nationalization of all branches of industries in full measure. Furthermore, it is imperative that such nationalizations not be left to the whims of the government bureaucrats but pass on to the effective control of the workers over the industry. We demand by nationalization of industry, the nationalization of industry under worker’s control!

Revolutionary seizure of power as our ultimate goal:

Even the most humble demands for bread, clothing and shelter cannot be achieved under the aegis of capitalism through reforms. These demands which pertain to the most basic needs of the working masses must be fought for tooth and nail with the ultimate perspective of the revolutionary seizure of power. The present bourgeois – capitalist state facilitates not the general welfare of the people nor tends to the needs of the people but to the needs of the ruling strata of Indian society i.e. the bourgeois class. In place of this bourgeois state, enforcing the dictatorship of the bourgeois the proletarian masses must struggle for the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat by the revolutionary seizure of power and the creation of the workers state over the ashes of the old bourgeois republic. But this dictatorship of the proletariat is in no measure a dictatorship of one man or one party as Stalin’s Russia or Mao’s China had become but the dictatorship of the working masses themselves, in other words the achievement of the highest level of democratic control over the means of production and distribution and of the most advanced political conquest of worker’s democracy. Whilst our struggles in the immediate instance may be national in form it is International in substance. This revolutionary struggle of the working class can only conclude in the completion of the world revolution where the world working class seizes power in every country of the world.