Speech of Comrade Lal Singh, General Secretary of the Communist Ghadar Party of India, on the occasion of the 38th anniversary of the founding of the Party
We are marking the occasion of our Party’s 38th birth anniversary at a time when the peoples of all countries are facing an extremely grave situation. Insecurity of livelihood has reached an unbearable level. There is an unprecedented level of anarchy and violence all over the world. Racism, communalism, oppression of specific castes and communities, of nations and nationalities – are all growing from bad to worse.
In all the capitalist countries including ours, the rulers are spreading lies to cover up the fact that they have no solution to the people’s problems. They are engaged in bitter struggle among themselves, each wanting to grab a larger share of the loot. Rival imperialist powers are waging both open and hidden wars against each other, including economic wars and military wars.
The struggle for liberation from imperialist plunder, from capitalist exploitation, caste discrimination and all kinds of oppression in our country is continuing to this day, just as the Ghadaris predicted 100 years ago. The Ghadaris declared that our struggle will continue as long as the labour and resources of our country continue to be exploited and plundered by foreign or Indian capitalists, or both in alliance. It is an undeniable fact that our labour and resources continue to be exploited and plundered. The Indian economy is getting more and more integrated and entangled in the crisis-ridden imperialist system.
Successive governments have been implementing the program of globalisation, through liberalisation and privatisation, which is aimed at guaranteeing maximum profits for the Tatas, Birlas, Ambanis and other capitalist monopoly houses, and their foreign collaborators. It is a program aimed at maximizing the degree of exploitation of workers, robbery of peasants, plunder of our natural resources and parasitic loot of people’s savings.Opposition to this anti-social program is growing in scope and intensity.
Protest actions are growing in strength among workers in varied sectors of industry and services.In this year 2018, we have seen an unprecedented level of unity among peasants and farmers’ organisations from all over the country, demanding stable and remunerative prices for their products and waiver of past farm loans. There has been an upsurge in the protests of women against sexual harassment in the workplace. Crores of youth have participated in mass protests demanding jobs.
BJP with Modi at its head took charge of the central State in 2014, promising to end corruption. Prime Minister Modi also promised to reduce income inequality and bring development and jobs for all. However, more and more people can see that this BJP-led government has only continued with the same anti-social program in the service of the monopoly houses. In the name of reform, it has passed laws to deprive workers of their rights. It has persisted with measures to liberalise agricultural trade, landing peasants and farmers in deep debt and heightened insecurity. It has taken steps to accelerate the privatisation of Indian Railways and other public services, including education and health care. It has opened up many more sectors for foreign capitalist companies to invest and super-exploit cheap Indian labour.
Congress Party accuses the BJP of running a “suit boot ka sarkar”, meaning a government in the service of the Tatas, Birlas, Ambanis and other super-rich monopoly houses. BJP accuses the Congress of being a party led by one corrupt family. The truth is that both these parties defend and facilitate monopoly capitalist loot and plunder and cynically use religion and caste in their narrow interest. The entire system is in the service of a super-rich minority to divide and rule over the toiling majority. These parties are but alternative management teams for the capitalist class headed by rapacious monopoly houses.
Not only the principal parties in Parliament but all arms of the State, including the executive, legislative and judicial machineries, are corrupt from top to bottom. Under-the-table payments are an inherent part of the mode of operation of the state machine.
Unable to provide any solution to the burningeconomic problems of the people, the ruling class resorts to communal and sectarian violence, persecution of minorities and oppressed castes, as well as jingoist propaganda and “surgical strikes” against Pakistan.
Everyday some innocent person or people are attacked and killed somewhere in the country. Sometimes it is in the name of cow protection. At other times it is in the name of fighting “Islamic terrorists”, or “love jihad”.People fighting for their rights, for justice, for an India free from exploitation, oppression and discrimination of all kinds, are branded as “anti-nationals” and “terrorists”. They are murdered, tortured, or jailed.
It is becoming increasingly clear that the capitalist class is unfit to remain the ruler of society. This class can rule only by bringing the most backward and barbaric elements from our past, from pre-colonial and colonial times, to keep the people divided and diverted.
What is the way out? How can the present disastrous course be halted? What is the path forward? This is the burning question in the minds of all sections of the people who are in struggle today.
The anti-colonial struggle against the British in India faced two possible paths forward – the path of revolution and the path of compromise. Hindustan Ghadar Party, formed by workers and peasants, represented the revolutionary path. It had the political aim of overthrowing colonial and imperialist rule and establishing the rule of workers and peasants. The Congress, Muslim League, Hindu Mahasabha, RSS and other parties and organisations of the capitalist and landlord classes represented the path of compromising with the colonial and imperialist system. They were opposed to making a complete break with the imperialist system. They worked to replace the rule of the colonialists with the rule of the Indian bourgeoisie,in alliance with the imperialists and all the backward forces within the country.
Today, too, there are only two possible paths in front of us. One is to follow the path of the Ghadaris. This means to fight for a clean break with the imperialist system and the entire colonial legacy, and lay a new foundation for Indian society. It means to unite the working class and all the oppressed masses around the political aim of replacing the rule of the bourgeoisie with the rule of workers and peasants. The other path is to compromise with the existing system, to search for some so-called alternative within this system, in the form of a so-called secular front or anti-corruption front. In other words, it means to defend the rule of the bourgeoisie and its state, in the name of “defending the Constitution”.
The problems that Indian society faces today have their root in the fact that the transfer of power in 1947 was not a clean break with the colonial-imperialist system. It was a compromise deal that was implemented in the midst of organising a communal Partition. The Partition was accompanied by the slaughter of over 15 lakh men, women and children and mass displacement and forced migration of over 10 million people.
As a result of the compromise between the Indian bourgeoisie and imperialism, post-colonial India has been a continuation of the past, with Indian elite taking the place of the white men in command. India and Pakistan waste enormous resources on hostile activities against one another. The economic system of exploitation and plunder continues to wreak havoc in the lives of the toiling majority of people. The same old political system, based on the concepts of trusteeship, parliamentary sovereignty, eminent domain and other ideas of the British imperialist bourgeoisie,continues to operate in independent India.
The 1950 Constitution of India was for the most part a reproduction of the 1935 Government of India Act passed by the British Parliament. The traitorous big bourgeoisie decided to continue with the colonial institutions of power in independent India and justified them on the basis of the same theories that the colonialists advanced. The result is that everything backward from the past is continuing and becoming worse. Every election campaign brings religious and caste identity to the fore. Now there is even talk of the gotra of this or that leader, and the caste identity of Hanuman!
Both Congress Party and BJP are committed to the continuation of the existing state machinery and methods of rule inherited from British colonial times, Both defend the capitalist system and the ever growing imperialist plunder. Both use the colonial tactics of divide and rule.
BJP organizes communal attacks and sectarian divisive politics in the name of “Hindu pride” and Indian nationalism. Congress Party practices the same kind of politics under the banner of Secularism and Indian nationalism. The truth is that both these parties represent the same class interest. They are committed to the same anti-national and anti-social program.
For the past 71 years, India has been following the path of compromising with imperialism, the path of increasing integration with the crisis-ridden world capitalist system. The ruling Indian bourgeoisie colludes and contends with the US and other big powers in pursuit of its own imperialist aims. The working class, peasants and other working people have not gained anything from this course. There is nothing to gain from continued capitalist rule. There is no justification for defending the existing Constitution which legitimises a political power that defends the exploitation and oppression of our people and plunder of our country.
We, the workers, peasants, women and youth, have nothing to gain by defending the existing State, the existing political power, which does not defend our rights. We have everything to gain from fighting for the vision of the Ghadaris – that is, to lay a new foundation for Indian society, a new political power, a new State committed to ensure prosperity and protection for all. The new state must be based on a new Constitution that respects and guarantees human rights and democratic rights, including national rights within the Indian Union. We need a new human-centred orientation for the economy, replacing the existing inhuman capital-centred orientation.
We must fight for a Constitution that enshrines the modern definition of rights – which is that rights exist objectively, independent of anyone’s will, and it is the duty of the State to guarantee that they are never violated. Every human being has rights by virtue of being human. Human rights include the right to conscience as well as the right to secure livelihood. Every adult citizen of India has equal political rights by virtue of being an adult citizen. Every nation and nationality has its specific rights, as do women, salaried workers, etc. All such rights must receive constitutional guarantee. The State must be held accountable for protecting them.
Way back in 1857, Indian people of all religions and castes had united and proclaimed: Hum hain iske malik, Hindustan Humara! (India belongs to us, We are her master!) The Ghadaris and their successor organisations in the early decades of the 20th century further developed the vision of the new India that had emerged in 1857.
The British colonialists used everything backward and oppressive from our past, along with their deceptive methods of divide and rule, to prevent the birth of a new India. They built a communal State, preaching secularism while covertly sponsoring religious chauvinists of all varieties who spread communal hatred on a daily basis. They also established a process of elections, through which elites from propertied classes and selected castes were accommodated in the provincial legislative bodies. They sponsored the formation of political parties of different sections of propertied Indians, who would participate in elections and seek to be accommodated in the colonial State. This entire system and political process is continuing in independent India.
Neither Congress nor BJP wants to upset this system of elite accommodation because it suits their interests. Most importantly, it suits the interests of the monopoly capitalists who finance these parties.
The call to “defend the Constitution” is a call to defend the existing State of capitalist dictatorship and imperialist plunder. Does the threat to human and democratic rights come only from the BJP? No, it comes from the existing State being an organ of rule of the capitalist class headed by the monopoly houses. BJP is only one of the preferred parties of the monopoly houses, while Congress is another.
The call to “defend the Constitution” is a call of the Indian big bourgeoisie. It is aimed at diverting the working class and toiling masses from the aim of establishing workers and peasants rule. We communists must expose this nefarious aim of the ruling class. We must follow the path of the Ghadaris and their successor organisations,such as the Hindustan Republican Association, who openly rejected the constitutions and laws of the colonisers. We must boldly put forward the alternative to the existing system and political process of bourgeois democracy. The alternative to bourgeois democracy is proletarian democracy – a system and political process designed to ensure that the will of the toiling majority of people prevails. We must rally the working class and all the oppressed people around this alternative and ensuring that our collective will overpowers the will of the exploiting minority.
We must fight for a system and political process in which sovereign decision-making power is vested in the people. The executive must be accountable to the elected legislative body, which in turn must be accountable to the people.The path forward lies in the working class, peasants, women and youth uniting around the program for the Navnirman of India.
Providing jobs for all those who are willing to work is not an impossible goal. It is possible to achieve provided economic decisions are taken out of the hands of private profiteering corporations and brought under the control of the working people. This is what the Ghadaris and their followers meant when they envisioned the nationalisation of railways, steel, banking and other commanding heights of the economy.
The crisis affecting the peasants in our country cannot be solved along the path of capitalist competition and increasing domination of monopoly companies. It can be solved only by establishing public control over agricultural trade. Public funds need to be invested, in irrigation, cold storage and other essential needs of agriculture. A universal public procurement system must be built, covering all agricultural produce and guaranteeing stable and remunerative prices for the tillers of the land. Agriculture can and must be made more productive by encouraging peasants to cooperate rather than compete with one another. Cooperation must be developed to create large-scale collective farms, in which modern technology can be used for the benefit of all members of the collective.
One of the most harmful lies being propagated among the Indian people today is that the United States is our strategic ally, a dependable friend, while Pakistanis and Bangladeshis are portrayed as our worst enemies.
Is it not a good thing if people who want to go from India to Pakistan on a religious pilgrimage are allowed to do so easily? By finding fault with the Pakistan government even when a friendly initiative is taken, such as the Kartarpur Corridor, the Government of India is taking an extremely narrow-minded and arrogant stance. It is not acting in the best interests of the peoples of South Asia and of peace in this region.
Historical facts show that US imperialism is the principal state sponsor of terrorism in the world. The US uses terrorism as a tool to keep India and Pakistan at loggerheads. Whenever there is any move, from either side, towards peaceful and friendly relations, the CIA organizes a terrorist attack on Indian soil, by one or another of its “assets” based in Pakistan. The Indian rulers immediately start screaming against Pakistan and break off any dialogue or friendly initiative from either side.
The US is deliberately destabilising Pakistan at this time. It wants to sabotage the China-Pak economic corridor. The Indian rules are collaborating with US geo-political tactics. They are repeating the lies of US President Trumpto prove that Pakistan is allegedly the main sponsor of terrorism in this region.
Anglo-American imperialism has always been and remains the sworn enemy of the peoples of this subcontinent. They want to keep the people of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh divided and fighting against each other. In all our countries, the US imperialists are stoking up sectarian conflicts. They are working to destabilise and wreck all the countries of the region.
The people of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan are our comrades, our brothers and sisters. We were all part of one struggle to end British colonial bondage. We must never forget that the ghadaris of the Hindustan Ghadar Party organised soldiers, peasants and youth from Peshawar and Lahore in present day Pakistan to Chittagong and Dhaka in present day Bangladesh. We must never forget that the first free government of independent Hindustan was set up by the Hindustan Ghadar Party in Kabul, Afghanistan. The rulers of Afghanistan fully supported the liberation struggle of our people against British colonial rule.
The Indo-US strategic alliance poses a serious threat to all the nations and peoples of South Asia. It is a roadblock to the possibility of pursuing peaceful constructive relations with Pakistan and otherstates in the region, as well as with other Asian states.
The hand of friendship extended by the American rulers cannot be trusted at all. Pakistan is a glaring example of the harm that comes to any country that becomes a trusted US ally.
The rulers of our country are pursuing an extremely dangerous foreign policy. We communists need to unite and play an active and leading role in mobilising workers, peasants, women and youth in our country against the dangerous Indo-US strategic alliance.
The cause of peace requires a complete reorientation of the foreign policy of our country. India must develop friendly relations and political unity with Pakistan, Bangladesh and all other states in this region, so as to keep out the US and other foreign powers from violating the national sovereignty of any country in South Asia.
Colonial rule ended 71 years ago, but none of the problems facing our society have been resolved. The exploitation and plunder of India by Indian and foreign capitalist monopolies is growing from bad to worse. The remnants of feudalism continue to oppress our people. Caste discrimination and oppression continues unabated. So does the oppression of women. The nations, nationalities and peoples constituting India continue to face discrimination and oppression. It is the capitalist system, and the state that defends this system, that is perpetuating all these problems. The rulers continue to incite communal passions so as to divide the people and perpetuate their rule.
No problem will be solved unless the rule of the bourgeoisie is ended, and replaced with the rule of workers and peasants. India needs to make a clean and complete break with the capitalist-imperialist system. The revolutionary conclusions of the Ghadaris retain their complete validity today. It is necessary to make a clean break from the present state and its institutions, which are a colonial legacy. It is necessary to lay an entirely new foundation for India.
The path charted by the Ghadaris beckons all communists and all patriotic people of our country.
The Ghadaris called on all Indians to unite, irrespective of religion, language, region, or any other consideration. They called for unity around the aim of overthrowing colonial rule, and establishing a new India free from all forms of exploitation and oppression. We communists must unite and lead the struggle of the working class and all the exploited and oppressed people towards such anew India for which the Ghadaris fought and laid down their lives.
The Ghadaris took an irreconcilable stand against the state of the exploiters and oppressors. They set their political aim as nothing less than the establishment of a new state and a new system free from all forms of exploitation and oppression. Following the path of the Ghadaris, we must expose and oppose all illusions about the existing state of the bourgeoisie and its constitution. We must unite around the aim of establishing a state of workers and peasants.
It is not just communists who are interested in a new India, free from exploitation and oppression. There are many other progressive and democratic forces who are also fighting for the same aim. People are yearning for a new India wherein no one will be discriminated against on the basis of religion, caste, language, gender or race. .
Like the Ghadaris did a hundred years ago, we must boldly present the alternative to the existing capital-centred economic orientation. We must put forward the revolutionary alternative to the existing system of democracy, in which decision-making power is concentrated in the hands of a tiny minority of exploiters. We must present the vision and program to establish a new State and economic system geared to ensure prosperity and protection for all.
On the occasion of the 38th birth anniversary of the Communist Ghadar Party of India, let us all reaffirm our pledge to fight for the restoration of communist unity around the aim of establishing workers and peasants rule in India!
Let us reaffirm our pledge to build and strengthen political unity of all the people around the program for the Navnirman of India!
Let us build and strengthen our party, as an instrument of communist unity and of consistent revolutionary leadership of the working class and all the oppressed!
The path of the Ghadaris is the path to the liberation of India from all forms of exploitation and oppression! Let us continue to boldly march on this path!
Long live the Communist Ghadar Party of India!