Monday, January 25, 2016

Republic Day in India

Socialists stand for a united world society based upon the common ownership and democratic control of the resources by all the people. Our first aim is to create a united world, free from all national division. We want to end nations, not establish new ones. Socialists oppose all imperial aims by all capitalists. Workers have no country - no country to defend, no country to gain, but a world to win. Think about that before you wave your Indian flag. The aspiration to have a nation which belongs to you is in reality a desire to have a society which is yours — which you can feel a part of because it belongs to you. Workers are right to want a society which we can call our own: a planet which belongs to humanity and local areas which we can take pride in as people who are no longer the tenants in a capitalist-owned world. 

In 1947 Britain relinquished its control over the Indian subcontinent. As a divisive measure the British had in 1905 encouraged the formation of the Muslim League made up of aspiring Muslim businessmen fearful that the majority Hindu population might swamp them and their interests. Independence solved none of the problems resulting from exploitation. Indian governments were wedded to the same set of priorities and subject to the same constraints as any other capitalist government. Poverty in the midst of a potential for plenty remains a running sore, exploitation and massive disparities of wealth continue to exist, war with Pakistan claimed the lives of those with no class interest in the outcome, environmental degradation continues virtually unabated.

Improvements in agriculture mainly due to the "Green Revolution” which benefited the richer farmers who could finance the necessary inputs means that India is “self-sufficient" in food production. It also means that India has suffered the "problem" of plenty since independence. In 1968 for example there was a massive pile up of wheat in Punjab and Haryana provinces where 200,000 tonnes of wheat worth Rs 180m lay rotting in the open for lack of adequate storage facilities. In 1974 the province of West Bengal suffered the worst famine since 1943—this time the cause was not outright lack of food, but that the poor have no money to buy it.  The larger farmers, hoping to profit by high prices, refused to pay landless labourers in kind. It was said that the cash wages paid to some 20 million are so low that they cannot afford to buy rice at current prices. If the creation of an Indian state had led to a vast improvement in the condition of the workers, or if it had led to increased class-consciousness on the part of those workers, then socialists might have to concede that we were shortsighted back in 1947 and that nationalism had been in the interest of the working-class. But this is not the case.

It can be seen that independence for the vast majority of the people of India has simply meant the exchange of one set of exploiters for another. As we pointed out in this journal and elsewhere in the years prior to 1947, independence would solve no peasant or working-class problems, only the establishment of Socialism could do that. Now is the time for those in India who really desire Socialism to strike a blow for it by preparing the way by joining a genuine socialist party of India. Such a party exists, and we welcome workers in India to join with them in the work that needs to be done before the system that exploits us all can be brought to an end.

M. N. Roy, at one time prominent in the Communist International, said that when India and other countries achieved independence, "absolutely nothing changed except the personnel of the State machinery."

Nor is it any different in Pakistan or Bangladesh. Millions have been made hostages to the lust and greed of a few employers, nawabs and petty feudal land-lords. The power or ruling élite consists of these very people whose grip on the country's resources and people is as hard as can be. Come election time and these millions of poor are herded into polling stations to elect their so-called "representatives". The game is repeated after every few years, as the assembly does not last long, with either the president or the ubiquitous military dismissing the government for being too "corrupt".

There are but three ways for people to escape their wretched lot. The first is via the liquor-store, the second is the path of the temple; but the third is by way of the social revolution. The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed. If those in charge of our society, the professional politicians, corporate bosses and media moguls can dominate our ideas, they will be secure in their power. Except for a very few, politicians will surrender whatever integrity they possess, claiming to be ‘pragmatic’. But those in the World Socialist Party (India) are not politicians, but workers. We have no political office to hold on to, only our consciences, which insists on telling the truth. The WSP (India) possesses no charismatic leaders and those impressed by power are rarely critical and seldom of a revolutionary character. The WSP (India) does not want you to follow it because if a political party can lead you to the “promised land", another just as easily could lead you out again. The role of the WSP (India) is to persuade - better still - to help people persuade themselves. If workers wants to take part in the self-emancipation of their class, the basic requirement is that they should cease allowing others to teach them and should set about teaching themselves. The working class of today are acquiring revolutionary knowledge and conclusions and they do not need to look to the academics and intellectuals for their enlightenment. The truth of the wage-slave existence in their daily lives and taking part in the collective activities of the labour movement, is the most stubborn fact in history where workers begin to acquire consciousness of their condition. Holding the political theory that the class struggle is the most stubborn fact in history, the World Socialist Party (India) is a party not of reform but of revolution.

Who are the World Socialist Party (India) with such a grand sounding name but can hardly fill a meeting-hall? The WSP (India) is part of the even more grandiose titled, the World Socialism Movement, which presently is also more of an aspirational title than a true reflection of its strength and influence. Yet you should not let this lack of numbers prejudice you against the validity of the viewpoints we advocate. Recall, for many decades, Marx and Engels could count only a small circle of correspondents as the receptive audience of their ideas.

To workers who are obsessed by national independence The WSP (India) appeals with all of the passion which the nationalists use in their address to the working class: Come, let us unite as a class which has everything in common, everything to gain, a variety of cultures to develop — let us, indeed, have the world for the workers. For the worker in India there is but one hope. It is to join the international socialist working class and to make common cause with the socialist workers of all countries for the end of all forms of exploitation: saying to both Indian and world capitalists: “A plague on all your houses." For the true battle-cry of the working class is broader, more significant and more inspiring than mere nationalism, and that rallying cry is:

The World Socialist Party (India): 257 Baghajatin ‘E’ Block (East), Kolkata – 700086,
Tel: 2425-0208,

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