Problems of mass movements in India
At the open session of the All-Bengal Youth Conference under the auspices of the Democratic Youth Organization on 20 June 1975 at the district town of Suri in West Bengal, just on the eve of the clamping of emergency rule by the Indira Gandhi-led Congress government at the Centre, Comrade Ghosh made this analysis of the then political situation and the problems before democratic mass movement in India elaborating the main problems the country faced. He also outlined the unavoidable preconditions and irrefutable tasks of accomplishing revolution in the country. Prior to his speech, Shri Jayprakash Narayan, respected veteran mass leader who was present at the meeting, had elaborated his concept of ‘total revolution’
Comrade President, revered mass leader Jayprakash Narayanji, Youth Delegates present and Friends,
With much patience you listened for long to the speech of Jayprakashji, one of India’s veteran mass leaders. He has placed before you in the easiest and simplest possible way his views regarding movement as well as the thoughts and ideas relating to his ‘total revolution’. If the main object of the total revolution he is speaking of is to take the country forward and open the door to an all-round uplift and advancement of the entire country in the interest of all-out development and progress of the common people through a radical transformation of the social system as it is prevailing at present in our country, the political, or for that matter, the state structure as obtaining here, the very socio-economic system as it is operating, the way the government administrative machinery is running, the state to which our democratic institutions have been reduced — if the main object of this total revolution is to bring about a radical transformation of all these, that is to say, to accomplish a fundamental change of the present capitalist economic and social system and state structure, replacing it by a socialist system on the basis of scientific socialism, then we are agreed. But we differ with him as to how this total revolution will come about. That is, however, not so important at the present stage of movement.
To me, and to our party as well, what is of utmost importance at the present juncture for the accomplishment of this radical transformation of the whole of society is to free the students, youth and the people through this mass movement from the degenerated state of morality as manifested in their selling themselves out for petty considerations and money, petty cravings for securing jobs, yielding to intimidation by the government, hooliganism and to various temptations. Simultaneously, they must be organized on the base of a newer and higher morality and culture, keeping a correct political object steadfastly in view. Then alone will they be able to act as a ‘directive force’ or a ‘motive force’ to usher in this revolutionary transformation of society. Hence, we are at one with Jayprakashji when he is speaking about the urgency of rousing the students, youth and the people by imbuing them with higher morality for developing mass movements. However, mutual exchange of opinion is required and an understanding has to be reached concerning concepts of this morality, ethics and politics.
During our talk at Patna1 , this is what I categorically told Jaiprakashji. I told him, if the ‘total revolution’ he wishes to bring about by peaceful means is considered possible, at least for argument’s sake, even then it will necessitate giving birth to the political power of the people — people conscious, united, and organized on the edifice of higher culture and morality, down from the grassroots level up to the highest level. If through people’s movements we are able to give birth to this people’s power in the form of political mass committees, right from the village level up to the national level, politically conscious and erect standing upon the edifice of higher ethics, morality and culture, being conducive to revolution — that is, if we succeed in giving birth to what we call in our Marxist or revolutionary parlance the toiling people’s political power—then and only then will it act as a directive force or a motive force for this social transformation. But, no matter how many times the agitational form of movement are organized centring round various economic and democratic demands, and whatever militant character they assume that alone will not suffice to accomplish this task spontaneously or automatically. During our discussion at Patna I felt that he had come to fully agree with me on this point.
Now, when we speak of giving birth to this political power of the people organized on the edifice of higher moral and cultural standard, it does not necessarily mean that we will be able to make the people of the whole country, I mean, ninety per cent of the population, politically conscious at a time and elevate them to a strong moral position. For, whatever moral degradation we are witnessing in the society is stemming from the present reactionary and decadent capitalist system. Hence, so long as this reactionary and moribund capitalist social system will continue to exist, we will be raising some people on a moral base by striving hard and conducting painstaking political movement, on the one hand, and, on the other, moral degeneration will at the same time go on degrading hundreds of thousands of them constantly and continuously in the general atmosphere of reactionary capitalist mode of living. This process will simply continue like this as long as the capitalist state machine lasts. Under these circumstances, the thought that revolution can be accomplished by slowly bringing about a total ethical, moral and cultural change in the majority of the people, I mean, 90 per cent of them, keeping the capitalist state intact, is completely unscientific and impractical. So, in order to fulfil this task, a fundamental change of the present capitalist social system has to be brought about first of all, through a political revolution. But, if the people, being organized on the basis of a distinct ideology, object, political line and outlook, want to bring about a fundamental change of the present capitalist social system by peaceful means and the state power tries to resist it with its armed coercive machinery, will that movement still remain peaceful? History records, it does not. Nowhere and never has it remained so.
Jayprakashji is saying, what is the harm to experimenting if this change could take place by peaceful means? I say, Gandhiji, too, had made this kind of experiment. Let him also do the same if he likes. Our only request, please see that the people’s struggle committees, to be formed through mass movements, right from the village level up to different wards, factories, schools, colleges and everywhere, are made politically conscious and developed morally and culturally in such a manner that they can offer resistance in the event of armed onslaught. For this, what is of paramount importance is to give birth to the political power of the people, right from the grassroots level up to the highest level, comprising the forces of students, youth and the masses, made politically conscious and equipped for revolution through arduous political battles based on class struggle. You should bear in mind that isolated spontaneous movements can very easily be built up centring round public resentment. But giving birth to the political power of the people, the way I said, is far more a time-consuming and painstaking task. Today I would not like to waste your time by continuing my speech any further on this point. You have long been waiting. You have also displayed exemplary patience. Now, I will only present before you in a few words the way I have understood the major problems of our country, and I will also try to discuss in brief the task ahead of you in this condition.
What is the main problem facing us? The main problem with which we are faced today is that we are unable to maintain uninterrupted development of industry in our country. Affected with recurring slumps, the progress of industrial development is getting hindered. We are unable to ensure an uninterrupted development of production. In mills and factories lay-off and retrenchment are the order of the day. Ours is but a poor country. We are in want of capital. Despite this small amount of capital, we cannot utilize even fifty per cent of whatever productive capacity are at hand in mills and factories, in engineering industries of our country. That is remaining idle. Why? Indiraji2 is saying, our country is poor; capital is wanting, so industrial progress is not taking place. My point is : this statement of Indiraji can in no way be a matter of serious discussion because the question remains as regards why capital — whatever capital is accumulating every day through trade and commerce and agrarian economy — is remaining idle? Why are the productive capacity at hand in industry remaining idle in our country? Had it been true that in our country industrial development is not taking place or production is not increasing due to want of capital, then why in an underdeveloped country like ours the working force and the installed capacity of the machines for production at hand in mills and factories are being kept idle? Why is lay-off taking place in mills and factories here? This lay-off means actually that productive forces are getting idle. This question has to be answered. Then and only then will it be understood whether it is the very want of capital Indiraji is citing as the main obstacle in the path of industrial progress of our country or it is the capitalist economic system of our country, that is, the capitalist-worker relation in production and the objective of earning maximum profit as the motive force of production which stand as the main stumbling block before the advance of industry and production. This question cannot be resolved till then.
If you go deep into the problem, you will see that the capitalist economic system obtaining here is the main obstacle in the path of an unhindered development of industry of our country. What is meant by this capitalist economic system? Capitalist economic system is said to operate wherever production is run on the basis of wage worker-capitalist relation and earning maximum profit is the motive force of production. Production policy is determined here not with an eye to the progress of society and the needs of the people but with an eye to earning maximum profit. This system is what prevails in our country. The capitalist amasses this profit by exploiting the worker, by robbing him of his legitimate wage. Hence, in this condition the purchasing capacity of the people and the workers of the country cannot but dwindle. And if the purchasing capacity of the people gradually declines, the uninterrupted development of industry in a capitalist system in today’s world-wide crisis of the capitalist market is in no way possible.
On the other hand, have a look at our villages. You know, our country is an agriculture-based country. 75 to 80 per cent of the total population of our country live in villages. Again, 80 to 83 per cent of this vast multitude living in villages are proletariat or semi-proletariat. I do not want to give a detailed description of the subhuman condition of the living they are eking out. It is not possible to understand this simply by listening to the radio or going through the dailies. This majority of the rural population do not have any fixed job throughout the year. Save at the time of sowing and harvesting the majority of the population is rendered jobless the rest of the time. Belonging to this section is a good number who remain out of employment all round the year. Crowding the cities in search of jobs, they are swelling the number of the urban unemployeds and by taking to porterage or beggary they somehow scrape a living. Many of them again return to the villages after some days. This 80 to 83 per cent of the rural population are practically without any purchasing power. This being the condition, how will industrial development take place in our country? Why will the capitalists produce goods if the people have no purchasing power and there is no demand in the market? So what are they doing? They are out to grab their profit by producing lesser quantity of goods and selling them to a fewer number of people at higher prices. Hence, there is no industrial development in our country.
It is thus seen that the main problem confronting our country is how to open the doors of this uninterrupted growth of industry. The second problem is to scientifically modernize the agricultural economy of our country, without which the doors of industrial revolution cannot be opened and without which the mode of living of those attached to rural economy cannot be brought to the level of modern man. In that case, the gulf of difference between towns and villages cannot be removed. If the villages of our country are to be made into modern ones from the utterly backward and primitive state they are in today, if the raw materials of industry are to be supplied, if the food problem is to be done away with in such a vast country, then modernization and mechanization of agriculture is necessary. But in this present era under the capitalist system this cannot materialize due to the fact that the doors of production are already closing because of the capitalist production relation, and whatever installed capacity for production is there at hand is getting idle owing to dearth of market. Industries are winding up; lay-off and retrenchment are on the rise. In such a situation people who are set free from the agrarian economy in the event of mechanization in agriculture cannot be provided with employment. It is impossible for any capitalist state machine, within its reactionary and decadent capitalist economic framework, to cope with the threat of millions of people turning into an army of unemployeds by one stroke in the event of mechanization of agriculture, when in cities the number of the jobless is already rising at an alarming pace due to absence of job opportunities.
So, what is the Congress, the party of the ruling capitalist class of our country, doing? By fixing the land ceiling and with plans to distribute small plots of land, they are seeking to keep the rural people confined as far as and as long as possible to these small holdings. And they are prescribing palliatives such as green revolution; that is, they are taking recourse to quack cure in agricultural economy. Their purpose is to keep the surplus rural population arrested within that very agrarian economy in half-fed, half-clad condition so that the capitalist system can be sustained as long as possible. This is the conspiracy going on here and this is what is being passed off as a programme of progressive agrarian economy. There are many who, in their greed for getting a few bighas of land, even tend to consider this to be a progressive programme and, knowingly or unknowingly, are falling into the trap of this sinister design of the ruling class. But they cannot understand at all that if the present exploitative capitalist social system continues to exist, then just as the lands of poor and middle peasants went out of their hands and became concentrated in the hands of a few, so also today following the same process of capitalist exploitation this land, too, will go out of their hands. Hence, whatever importance it may bear to the ruling class as far as causing deception and confusion, for the time being, among the people no solution of the problems of village life in the genuine interest of the people can accrue from this. Moreover, astonishingly enough, even many left parties, claiming themselves to be progressive and Marxists, cannot understand or they refuse to understand this very simple truth that this so-called progressive scheme, pursued by the bourgeoisie, is nothing other than the conspiracy of breeding fascism in the crisis-ridden capitalist system.
Therefore, it is clear that the question of opening the doors of uninterrupted industrial revolution in India is linked up with that of modernization of agriculture and solution of the problem of unemployment as well. And, linked up with this, is the question of removing the gap between towns and villages and accomplishing all-round development of the country, that is, the question of transforming the country into an industrially advanced one. Do you think that by keeping the present Indian capitalist system intact it is possible to resolve these questions? To grasp these, you need to have a clearer and better understanding as to what we mean by the capitalist social system, what we mean by the production system. Today I have no time to enter into any detailed discussion on this point. I have dealt with this point in many of my speeches and writings on other occasions. What I would like to stress here is, how to change this capitalist social system if you really mean it. Who is protecting this system? Do you think that a handful of capitalists have kept this state machine in operation by virtue of their money-power or it is being protected only by bands of hoodlums? Are the hoodlums really bold? No! They are not bold. In gangs they assault the weak; patronized by the police or being engaged with the money of the capitalists they resort to hooliganism. Many believe that they are very bold. They are in fact cowards. They are not at all bold. Bold are those who, when required, can stand against the police and the military forces to resist injustice. Bold are those who, when required, can stake their lives to face ruffians single-handed. Nobody considers those youth courageous who mount attack like cowards. Today the youth of Bengal who are the progeny of Vivekananda, Khshudiram, Subhas Chandra, Rabindranath, Sarat Chandra and Nazrul are found to be oblivious of their heritage. Together in large numbers they beat up a single individual and they proudly regard themselves as heroes and as musclemen. Are they brave? Those who do not feel ashamed to assault the weak are cowards. The youth will have to get rid of this scourge of cowardice.
I get quite astonished to hear Jyotibabu3 say that Congress does not allow them to wage movements. Because Congressite rowdies beat them up if they come out in the locality, there is no movement in West Bengal at present. It means, his point is, since in different localities hooligans backed by the police are attacking them, for that very reason the condition for movement is non-existent in West Bengal. On hearing this, I remarked jestingly: yes, that day they will take to revolution when the police will not prevent them, the rowdies will not resort to hooliganism, when nobody will come to oppose them. When and in which country has revolution ever been accomplished in this way? Actually under the protection and patronage of the police, they have made cowards out of their party cadres. So if again saddled in governmental power with police in their favour or if ever they get an assurance that the state power or the police will not come down upon them with any serious attack, then only will they display heroism. I urge the youth to shun this kind of politics.
I would remind you of one of the sayings of Lenin. Once in Russia he said, "better fewer, but better". That is, no matter if they are few in number, but, let them be men worth the name. If they initiate it, revolution will come, either today or tomorrow. Revolution does come about as the people of Vietnam have demonstrated. But, what did America not do in Vietnam? It used its full military might in Vietnam. In order to suppress the people of such a small country like Vietnam, it spent a much bigger amount of money than what it had spent in the Second World War. It reduced the entire country to a mere desert by using warships and napalm bombs. But did it succeed at all in containing the youth of Vietnam? Was it able at all to break the stamina of the revolutionaries there? Did the revolutionaries of that country argue like Jyotibabu that bombs were being dropped, cannons and guns fired by American military forces — until and unless these were stopped, how could there be any movement in their country? No, they never resorted to such pleas. So, give up all illusion about those bogus parties who make such arguments.
Vietnam has taught that three conditions are necessary for revolution — first, a correct political line, outlook and ideology for revolution; second a correct revolutionary party, that is, a party really capable of providing leadership to revolution; and, third, a well-forged powerful united front for conducting united mass movement. The right time for revolution comes only when these three conditions are fulfilled together. That is, for revolution it is imperative that there is simultaneous fulfilment of the three conditions. It will not suffice that only the people have become united. Or else, have not the people of West Bengal fought united before this? Have not the people of India ever taken to the streets in hundreds of thousands? Have not the peasants and workers, students and youths of this country laid down their lives? Yes, they have and on many occasions. But, that did not leave behind even a scratch on the present social system. Rather what has happened after each and every movement? Feelings of despondency and frustration have gripped the people. The left movement, mass movements have grown weaker, these have been shattered to pieces. The forces of reaction alone, the capitalists, have become continually stronger.
So you see it is not enough to simply get united and wage movements. It is also essential to judge whether the course of movement chosen, the ideology governing it and the very leadership of it – whether all these are correct or not. Besides this, many more aspects are to be carefully looked into in a movement. The parties hobnobbing surreptitiously with the enemy camp are to be identified in a movement. For, bear it in mind that the enemy camp or the bourgeoisie does not simply unleash direct attacks upon a mass movement, they also smuggle their own agents into it. These agents of the enemy camp are after mock shows of a movement over various demands of the people. And sometimes within the fold of a mass movement they pretend to be much more militant than even the true revolutionaries. Again, they at the same time carry on a dialogue with the enemy camp, cause split in the fighting front of the people at the opportune moment and create disruption. In this way, they act on behalf of the enemy camp against the genuine mass movement. This apart, the task which is of decisive importance for the transformation of the present capitalist exploitative social system, that is, formation of the struggle committees of workers and peasants through mass movements right from the lowest up to the highest level as people’s own instruments of struggle in the shape of a united front conducive to revolution — these parties do never allow implementation of this task, and under various pretexts they oppose in one way or the other formation of such struggle committees. Rather, they try to impress upon that increasing the strength of their own party by hook or by crook and creating widespread influence of their party over the people is tantamount to giving rise to the political power of the people. They always try to pass off the superficial agreement reached by the different parties opposed to the ruling party as the struggling front of the people. Thus these parties create direct obstructions in the path of developing revolutionary preparedness and hatch conspiracy to draw the people away from the revolutionary party by confusing the masses through violent movement against the enemy which they sometimes resort to. They constitute the shrewd social democratic forces in the mass movements, who are called, according to the revolutionary terminology, the compromising force between labour and capital. Because of their indulgence in hypocritical talk and their outward behaviour the common people are unable to recognize their true character. It is impossible to give birth to the political power of the people without isolating these social-democratic forces from the people by unmasking their cunning and anti-revolutionary politics in mass movement.
Moreover, the mass movement contains within its fold another section who, without developing necessary revolutionary preparedness, speak of abruptly venturing on something. For revolution they do not think it at all necessary to build up, by conducting painstaking political struggle, the political power and organization of the people conducive to revolution. They hold that once started by any means, revolution will automatically come about. Those who think this way include many genuinely honest individuals who are truly sincere to the cause of revolution. But owing to these conceptions and behaviour born of ignorance, they also create an effective stumbling block in the path of developing revolutionary preparedness in the country, before fulfilling the prerequisites, that is, before acquiring the necessary strength for revolution by way of building up the people’s own political power and organization — so very indispensable for the accomplishment of revolution. They launch untimely attack on the state machine, and by that they not only do not render any help in favour of revolution, but what is more they strengthen the hands of the enemy forces against revolution as well. They should know that the revolutionary party, it is true, provides leadership to revolution; but it is the people who accomplish revolution. Hence if the political power of the people cannot be developed as being conducive to revolution, revolution can never be brought about by a handful of party workers alone, no matter how honest and sincere they may be. And it also has to be borne in mind that the task of evolving this political power from the people and building up such an organization conducive to revolution is very difficult and time-consuming. To grasp these things properly, you need to cultivate revolutionary politics and acquire political consciousness.
Bear in mind, those who just go on harping, without judging these questions "now movement is going on, so there can be no ideological deliberations", they either know nothing of the history of revolutionary movements of the world or even if they have gone through it, they have understood nothing, or they are all political tricksters. They are simply after becoming ministers and big shots by usurping all the sacrifices of the people in the movement. They simply want to exploit the anti-government feelings of the people to derive electoral advantage. They never want to develop the political power of the people through mass movements, right from the grassroots up to the highest level, as an alternative to the present capitalist state power.
You should correctly understand what this state power means. You should know that it is this state power which actually protects the present capitalist social system. This I was discussing when I shifted to another point. This state power rests on three main organs or pillars with the help of which it protects the capitalist social system. These three main organs or pillars of the state power are — the military, the judiciary and the bureaucratic administrative system along with the police. Does the character of these three organs of the state undergo any change at all by change of government through elections ? Remember, the character of these three organs of the state does not change as a result of change of government through elections. Change of government — no matter whether brought through elections or by organizing a coup or through any other means, or by floor crossing in Parliament – does not change these three organs of the state which have grown into a specific mould, as a machine in a specific manner having specific characteristics of its own. Say, for instance, a machine made of different parts is constructed in a specific manner, intended to perform a specific function. No function other than what the machine is made for can be performed, no matter how badly or how well the operator or the engineer runs the machine. Similarly, the capitalist state machine with its mindset, its rules and regulations, its system of organization and its concepts relating to legality and law as well as to democracy, its understanding regarding the country and the people, is designed in a particular pattern intended to protect capitalism, the capitalist system and the rule of the capitalist class. And the government is but the operator running this capitalist state machine. Hence, the character of the state machine does never change through a change of government simply. So, if people’s committees from the grassroots to the highest level, which will emerge through democratic movements, are not made adequately conscious and are not built up on the appropriate moral and cultural edifice in a way that they combine in themselves the capacity to competently discharge the functions of the three vital organs on which rests the capitalist social system, then there cannot be the birth of alternative state power. And this task remaining unaccomplished, revolution can never be made to materialize simply by changing governments through elections. This is what I want to bring home.
The people of India have been suffering repeated setbacks because this task has not been accomplished. Over and over again are they joining in struggles; again and again are they plunging into movements. In future also they will be in movements. But if this task is left unaccomplished, the future movements will meet the same fate as they did in the past. Simply because the movements suffered defeats — this is not the only reason why I say this. I know, as the revolutionary leaders of every country knew, and a great revolutionary leader of this era emphasized in one of his famous writings, that at the outset revolutionary movements of all countries meet defeat. Again and again, and still again, they meet defeat. In this way, having suffered defeat after defeat, finally revolution achieves victory. What he drove home with this is that every defeat comes about at the outset because however much might people rally in support of revolution and irrespective of preparations for revolution, whether in the form of either armed struggle or peaceful movement — whichever opinion may one hold — revolutionary movement in its early phase remains weak compared to the mighty state power. Naturally, comes the onslaught, comes defeat. But if the political objective, the political line and the leadership are correct, through each and every defeat people’s organized strength grows stronger, it grows richer in experience and people’s organization gets further steeled. Hence, it gains in strength gradually through every defeat. And through every defeat it weakens the enemy further and causes rift in the enemy camp. Thus, while getting more and more tempered with experience through struggles, revolution goes on gathering more and more strength even amidst defeats, on the one hand, and, on the other, even more acute grow the crises the reactionaries are suffering from, their internal contradictions getting sharpened, the internal crises of their economic system getting much more intensified and enmeshed in so many crises, they gradually become weaker. Thus, revolution ultimately emerges victorious.
But have these defeats in our country been of this kind? Is the left movement, the revolutionary struggle of our country steadily gaining strength through these defeats, or are we rather succumbing and retreating to the underground, our movement getting shattered and divisions setting in? The Congress, the reactionary force which had virtually been on the wane in West Bengal, has returned with flying colours again owing to the wrong political theory, wrong political line and wrong leadership. You know, in the course of conducting movements against the Congress government for a long time, the left and democratic parties had come to governmental power through elections in West Bengal. At that stage of the democratic movement where it was the principal task to unitedly build up people’s struggle committees as the instruments of struggle of the peasants, workers, students and youth, their own, on the model of workers-peasants’ Soviets, from the village level up to the state level, keeping steadfastly in view the objective of overthrowing the present capitalist state, the CPI(M) as the biggest party and the leader of the then Front paid no attention at all to so vital a task. What did it do instead? Rather, guided by the wrong politics of ‘class-based front’, and backed by the police, it engaged itself at that time in a fight for curbing the organizational strength of the other parties who were constituents of the Front, not of course through ideological struggle — for, ideological struggle will be continued within the Soviets also — but by physical force. As a result, it happened that no powerful movement was conducted at that time against the state, the capitalist class, or the reactionary clique. On the contrary, because of the CPI(M)’s bid to anyhow increase its party influence with the politics of loaves and fishes, it all turned into clashes and fights among the constituents of the Front, between workers and workers, among poor peasants themselves. Consequently that united movement of ours itself broke down, and as a reaction to this, the Congress, having had one foot in the grave, returned with flying colours again. Thus, that united movement of ours could not proceed very far. Rather, it is within ourselves that rift set in. So it is seen that it is the reactionaries, it is the capitalist class who time and again have grown stronger after every movement.
Then, where is our mistake? It is that same old point at issue. The path, the ideology, that is, the base political line before our mass movements and the leadership over those movements had not been correct. That is, the correct strategy and tactics of anti-capitalist socialist revolution were absent in the mass movements. Naturally, whatever movements have taken place over people’s demands here have in the main turned out to be some movements for reforms within the framework of the very capitalist state structure and these are being passed off as ‘revolution’ among the people. This is what has led to the kind of movements to be expected in such a situation. Thus the political power of the people conducive to revolution, the instruments of struggle of the toiling people on the model of Soviets have not been built up through all these mass movements here. So while conducting movements, these are matters to be looked into very seriously. It is imperative to pay attention to whether the base political line of the movement is correct, that is, whether it contains the strategy and tactics of the anti-capitalist socialist revolution. This apart, in order to identify the correct leadership in the movement, one has to find out which is the party or who are the forces truly interested in building up struggle committees of peasants and workers on the pattern of the Soviets through these movements as the instruments of people’s struggles. And who are those who in reality create hindrance to the formation of these people’s struggle committees under various pretexts, and in its stead want to mislead the people by passing off the expansion of the party’s organizational strength and the tightening grip of the party over the people as the growth of the people’s political power. Besides all these, for identifying the correct leadership in the movement, it has to be particularly noted that which among the different parties taking part in the movement is the party whose leaders and workers are reflecting, in their day-to-day political struggle, higher ethical, cultural and moral standard conducive to anti-capitalist socialist revolution. If a socialist social system based on scientific socialism is to be established here by overthrowing the present exploitative capitalist social system through revolution, it is incumbent on you to pay attention to these aspects in mass movements.
But see, whereas our society is hard-hit with capitalist exploitation and whereas the fundamental task of revolution is to smash this capitalist state system, the strategy and tactics, as pursued by both the CPI and the CPI(M), are of different kind. Whereas it is the capitalist class or the bourgeoisie which exploits, these parties are not speaking of fighting the whole of the capitalist class or the bourgeoisie. Rather, pointing their fingers at a handful of the monopoly capitalists, they say that these are the enemies. By this they are seeking to paint the rest of the capitalists as friends and are thus trying to shield them from people’s wrath. This way of putting things is as good as hiding the rule and exploitation of the entire capitalist class or the bourgeoisie from the people and putting its total onus upon a select few of the captains of the bourgeoisie. Same is the trick of Indiraji. What is she resorting to? She is devising some schemes in the aggregate national interest of capitalism. Whenever the narrow individual interests of the monopoly capitalists are coming in conflict with this scheme of hers made in the aggregate national interest of capitalism — a conflict quite natural to arise — and whenever they are opposing it as a result, Indiraji, too, is confusing the people by pointing her finger at this handful monopoly capitalists. She is trying to convince the people with the argument that everybody calls her the agent of the capitalists, but the very Tatas and Birlas are criticizing her. Hence, what a great anti-capitalist she is! Wherein lies then the difference between the Indira Congress and these parties? And, if this is their politics, how can they accomplish revolution and how is it possible for the political power of the people, instrumental in anti-capitalist socialist revolution, to emerge through the democratic movements conducted under their leadership?
You have witnessed that Chhatra Parisad4 and Yuba Congress5 also raise anti-monopoly, anti-capitalist slogans. It seems that these students and youths have taken no lessons at all from history. There are many among them who are honest. But, they are utterly failing to understand that nationalization of industry and socialization of industry is not one and the same thing. They do not understand that it is in the aggregate national interest of capitalism that this nationalization is resorted to. Necessitated by the widest aggregate interest of capitalism, it is being restored.
And this aggregate interest of capitalism, due to obvious reasons, comes in contradiction with the interest of individual capital. But there is a group of deceivers who cunningly try to paint this contradiction as the contradiction with capitalism. No. It is nothing else but the contradiction between the commercial interest of individual monopoly capital and the aggregate national interest of capitalism. Those who pass off nationalization of industry within the framework of the capitalist system and state structure as socialism, the worker-capitalist production relation and the law of earning maximum profit as the motive force of production remaining intact, are in fact cunning deceivers, they are evil. They confuse the people. Posing themselves as anti-capitalists thus they seek to hoodwink the entire masses and breed fascism as Hitler did in Germany and Mussolini in Italy. Notwithstanding these precedents in history before us, have students, youths and intellectuals become so ignorant and oblivious that they are not able to understand this?
In Germany, Hitler raised the slogan of national socialism. Who was Mussolini whose party brought fascism to Italy? A social democrat. The slogan of democratic socialism that has been raised by Indiraji is the same as the catchword used by them. History has testified that behind the smokescreen of this so-called progress of national socialism and welfare economic programmes, Hitler introduced the most hated Nazism or fascism in Germany. Students of history know that. That is why I said as far back as in 1948 that social democratism from whose womb fascism once came out has itself now become the last prop of fascism. And this is about to take shape today in India.
I won’t address you any longer today. My last appeal to you all — you, the youth, and people at large who desire to build up movement, should give importance to questions concerning the political line and leadership of movement and, giving due importance to these aspects, you build up mighty mass movements. The object of your movements should not be confined to merely achieving demands or conducting election battles. Through these movements, you should give birth to the organized political power of the people down from the lowest up to the highest level. I like to reiterate, revolution means change of the state itself. State as a whole means those three organs —the military, the judiciary and the bureaucratic system of administration along with the police. These three are patterned in the same mould. If, through formation of people’s struggle committees and conducting democratic movements, birth is not given to organized political power — one that is duly politically tempered and based on high moral standard, opposed to capitalism, which means emergence of alternative state power — then revolution, revolutionary transformation will remain a wishful thinking.
And I do hope the youth of West Bengal will not fall behind the youth of Bihar, Gujarat or other states of India. Once the people of India used to say : the youth of Bengal show the path to India. The question today is : will that youth show India the path of fascism? Or will they show India the path of socialist revolution against fascism. You are to deliver this message to the youth. With this I conclude my speech today.
Long Live Revolution !
Speech on 20 June 1975.
First published as a booklet
in Bengali on June 24, 1975.