Working class must go for political power to reorient the economy to provide for all!
Call of the Central Committee of Communist Ghadar Party of India on the occasion of May Day 2013
This May Day comes at a time when the class struggle is growing sharper, on the world scale and in our country. Things are building up towards a major confrontation between the capitalist class and the working class within each country.
In the countries of Europe and North America there are mass protests against the attacks being launched on the basic rights and living standards of workers in the name of “austerity”. There is rising anger in all continents against the financial magnates who have thrown the social production process into a deep crisis. Working people are out on the streets protesting against capitalist governments that are taking measures to shift the burden of the capitalist crisis on their backs.
Our country has seen a rising tide of strike struggles and mass protest actions by workers in auto and other manufacturing industries, airlines, railways and road transport, banking and insurance, hospitals and numerous other sectors. Workers in modern service sectors have started forming unions to resist capitalist super-exploitation. The fighting mood of the working class has compelled all the central federations, which are affiliated to rival parties, to unite on one platform. A two-day General Strike in February paralysed most sectors of the economy. Crores of workers demanded strict implementation of labour laws and their extension to cover all workers, immediate measures to bring down consumer prices and a halt to privatisation.
Alongside the protests of the working class, there are numerous peasant struggles against their robbery in the globalised market. Peasants and tribal peoples are resisting the corporate land grab. Oppressed nations, nationalities and peoples in the North, North-East and other parts of the country are fighting against the suppression of their basic rights by the central armed forces. There is widespread discontent and anger against the corrupt and criminal nature of bourgeois rule.
The agenda being pursued in Parliament includes measures to open up retail trade to global monopolies and to enable the Tatas and Ambanis to set up new private banks. It includes measures to allow capitalists to play with pension funds. A new law is to be enacted to enable capitalist companies to grab agricultural and tribal lands more easily. It is an agenda for Indian capitalists to become global giants, based on intensifying the exploitation and plunder of the land and labour of workers and peasants, and inviting more foreign capitalists to join in this loot.
The social surplus created by the toil of workers and peasants is being extracted and siphoned off abroad by the Tatas, Reliance and other Indian corporate houses, to feed their money making projects in Africa, Europe, Asia and other parts of the world. The surplus value extracted by foreign capitalists from workers of numerous countries is flowing freely into our country to take advantage of our highly skilled and relatively cheap labour power, and of the tax benefits extended by the Government of India.
Presenting the central budget on 28th February, Finance Minister Chidambaram announced a massive dose of bitter medicine for the working class and people. Extraction of taxes on salaried incomes and indirect taxes on the goods and services that working people purchase is projected in 2013-14 to be Rs. 125,000 crore higher than in the previous year.
What successive governments have been implementing in our country since Independence is the agenda set by the bourgeoisie, headed by the big monopoly houses. Political parties in Parliament try their best to hide this reality and maintain the illusion that the government is of the people, by the people and for the people.
Nehru claimed that his agenda was to build a socialistic pattern of society. What actually developed was a form of capitalism in which a handful of big capitalist houses kept expanding their wealth at the expense of the rest of society. They cornered all the licences and gained a dominant position in the home market.
Indira Gandhi advanced the slogan, “Garibi hatao!” but the result was further expansion in the private wealth and political clout of the big capitalists, and to their complete domination over the state machine.
Rajiv Gandhi called for modernization and taking India into the 21st century. The 21st century has arrived and what we see is that some Indian capitalists have become global giants while more than half the population remains among the poorest in the world.
Vajpayee boasted about “India shining!” but the majority of people did not find their conditions of life to be shining at all. They were angered by the enormous enrichment of a small minority.
Twenty one years ago, when Manmohan Singh was the Finance Minister in the Narasimha Rao government, he launched the first phase of the liberalisation and privatisation program with similar bombastic claims. He claimed that rapid growth in wealth creation was required in order to lift people out of poverty. The actual results have exposed this lie.
The wealth of the biggest monopoly houses have multiplied by over 50 times in the past 20 years while the wages of the majority of workers have barely kept pace with consumer prices. Even those workers whose incomes have risen in real terms are working longer hours and are more intensely exploited than before. The majority of peasants have become more indebted and face heightened uncertainty about the future. The depth and intensity of poverty has risen.
The political system in our country is supposed to be democratic because every adult has an equal right to vote. However, merely having the right to vote has not given us any say in shaping the course of society. The only role the vast majority of people have is to choose among candidates selected by different parties of the capitalist class which dominate the political process.
The existing party dominated political process serves the bourgeois class to impose its will on society, while completely excluding the toiling majority from having any say in setting the agenda. It is a democracy only for the bourgeoisie. It is a brutal dictatorship for the toiling majority.
The situation is pointing to the need for a new kind of democracy – proletarian democracy – in which the will of the toiling majority of people will prevail over the will of the exploiting minority. The duty of a political party in that new system will be to enable the people to wield power, and not to concentrate power in its own hands and rule in the people’s name.
The political process must enable not just political parties but all workers’ unions, peasant associations, women and youth organisations to put forward candidates for election to legislative bodies.The final list of candidates must be approved by the people of the constituency before voting can take place.People must also have the right to recall the one they elected at any time, through a secret ballot.
Only such a power that represents the will of the toiling majority, led by the working class, can act to restrict and eliminate the “right to maximum profits” demanded by capitalists. It will guarantee the rights of workers and peasants, rights of every oppressed nationality and the human rights of every member of society. It will convert the means of social production from being private property into social and collective property.
As he unveiled his anti-people budget, Finance Minister Chidambaram claimed that he has no other choice except to deliver bitter medicine to the working people. This is the old mantra that the capitalist class has been repeating for over two decades now, that “there is no alternative” to intensifying capitalist exploitation and robbery of workers, peasants and tribal peoples.
Why should society be geared towards satisfying the greed of a minority of profiteers? Why should those who work hard to produce the social surplus not be assured of prosperity?
The working class has to assert, in one voice, that there IS an alternative to the inhuman and anti-social agenda of globalisation through liberalisation and privatisation.
The alternative to the bourgeois agenda is the working class agenda to ensure prosperity and protection for all, as a matter of right. This can be achieved by getting rid of the economic basis for some people to amass wealth by exploiting others.
The first step is for the working class and other toilers who produce the social surplus to become the masters, so that the surplus can be deployed for meeting the needs of all, according to an overall social plan. Nobody must be allowed to claim that maximising private profit is his or her right.
We have the right and the duty to fight for nothing less than a reorganisation of society, based on empowering the toiling masses of people and reorienting the economy to guarantee prosperity for all.
Proletarian democracy and socialist reorientation of the economy is the working class agenda. This is realisable today, provided we break free from the domination of parties that want to maintain workers as nothing more than vote banks. We must build workers’ unity committees in every industrial area, cutting across party affiliation and committed to advance the working class agenda. We must unite as a class and become a mighty political force committed to rebuild Indian society on new foundations.
To become political means to recognise that there is one struggle between two opposing classes – the capitalist class and the working class. There is one agenda, one program when the capitalist class is in power, in alliance with other exploiters, domestic and international. There will be another agenda and program when the working class is in power, in alliance with peasants and all other toiling and oppressed peoples. There cannot be anything in between.
In this class divided society, every political party is either loyal to the capitalist agenda or to the working class agenda. It cannot serve both.
The BJP and many other opposition parties in Parliament blame the ruling party for all the problems, thereby creating the impression that it is only the Congress Party which is responsible for the anti-social agenda. On the other hand, there are working class parties that keep allying with the Congress Party in the name of keeping the BJP out of power. Why should workers choose one over the other among these two principal parties of Indian monopoly capitalists?
One argument is that Congress Party is a “lesser evil”. But why should workers put up with any kind of evil capitalist party rule?
It is said that the Congress Party is a lesser evil because it believes in dharma-nirpekshta, whereas the BJP swears by Hindutva. Dharma-nirpekshta means not taking sides in religious disputes; in English it is called “secularism”.
Secularism is an ideology and method of rule that developed under the British colonial empire. The British rulers incited various religious groups among Hindus and among Muslims to spread hatred against each other’s religion. After provoking and inciting a religious dispute, the British rulers would act as the so-called neutral arbiter, who allegedly does not take sides.
The Congress Party follows the cunning tactics learnt from the British colonialists. While the BJP is consistently anti-Muslim, the Congress Party alternates between attacking and appeasing now one, and now another religious group. This is the real content of its ideology and politics of secularism. It is nothing but a deceptive form of communalism.
There are some who are arguing that the BJP is the bigger danger because it represents fascism. But what is fascism? It is the open dictatorial rule of big monopoly capital, based on brute force and violation of basic democratic rights. It is indeed true that fascism is growing today, but it is spearheaded by both the Congress and the BJP.
The Congress Party and BJP are both parties of big monopoly capitalists. They are both responsible for the rise of state terrorism and communal violence as preferred methods of rule. They are both responsible for the criminalisation of politics and degeneration of the social environment. They both defend fascist laws like TADA, POTA and AFSPA. Neither of them has any respect for the democratic rights of all citizens, or for the human rights of all members of society.
Rejecting both Congress Party and BJP led fronts does not mean that workers must place their faith in some coalition of regional capitalist parties calling itself a Third Front. Past experience shows that it is useless to expect such a front to challenge the monopoly capitalist agenda.
Our political aim is not merely to replace one capitalist party or coalition by another. We want to end the rule of the capitalist class once and for all, and replace it with the rule of the toiling majority, led by the working class.
The political crisis in our country presents grave dangers of diabolical diversions, bomb blasts, and escalation of state terrorism, communal violence and warmongering against Pakistan. At the same time, the crisis also offers an opportunity for the working class to go for political power.
Let us unite firmly around the aim of establishing working class rule in alliance with the peasants and all the oppressed. Let us agree to make a clean break with all notions of a middle path, a joint rule of capital and labour, or an intermediate stage between capitalism and socialism, which have all been shown to be harmful illusions. Let us not get diverted by calls to defend secularism or defend parliamentary democracy or to support any “lesser evil”.
Communist Ghadar Party calls on all communists, all organisers and activists of the working class, to devote their energies towards building political unity around the working class agenda.
Let us fight for proletarian democracy and socialist reorientation of the economy!
Let us urge all working class parties to unite and contest elections around this working class agenda!
Let us oppose all attempts by anyone to push any other agenda among workers!
Workers of all countries, Unite!