The 22nd of April this year marks the beginning of the 150th year since the birth of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, the foremost theoretician and practical leader of social revolution in the 20th century.
As the world economy staggers from one crisis to another, with devastating consequences, Lenin’s thought is indispensable to figure out what is actually happening. His analysis of imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism, remains the indispensable guide to deal with the present crisis of world capitalism.
All over the world, people are disgusted with the various forms of bourgeois democracy in so-called republican states. They are not satisfied with their so-called representatives who get elected with the backing of enormous money power.
Comrade Lenin, in his famous work called The State and Revolution, reaffirmed the Marxist conclusions about the State. He clearly exposed the fact that the various forms of rule in capitalist societies, ranging from monarchies to modern republics, were all in essence a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. They were different forms of rule by an exploiting minority.
The Great October Socialist Revolution in 1917, led by the Bolshevik Party headed by Lenin, gave a practical demonstration to the oppressed peoples of the world that the rule of capitalist exploiters can be brought to an end. It showed that the kingdom of labour can be created by the efforts of the working people themselves.
Lenin applied the Marxist theory of scientific socialism to analyze the concrete conditions that prevailed in the opening years of the 20th century. He noted the abrupt changes that had taken place on the world scale. Capitalist competition had developed to the stage of monopolistic competition. The capitalist system had reached a stage in which parasitism is at an unprecedented level. Everything productive and healthy gets squeezed out by an all-powerful and dominant financial oligarchy.
Lenin noted that the whole world had been divided up between a few imperialist and colonial powers. Each of them could further expand their sphere of influence only through a re-division of the world.
Lenin characterised imperialism as a stage when the contradictions of capitalism are brought to the point of resolution. He predicted that inter-imperialist conflict will repeatedly drive society towards destructive wars. Whatever justification the warring states may concoct, the motive underlying imperialist wars is the attempt to re-divide the world among the wealthiest exploiters and robber barons. Peace can be brought about and safeguarded if and only if the proletariat rallies all the oppressed and takes political power in hand, so as to break away from the imperialist chain and carry out the transition from capitalism to socialism.
Following the overthrow of the Tsarist regime in Russia in February 1917, Lenin wrote in his famous April Theses that "owing to the insufficient class-consciousness and organisation of the proletariat", the revolution had placed power in the hands of the bourgeoisie. For the aims of the revolution to be achieved – including land, peace and bread – power has to pass into the hands of the proletariat, allied with all the toiling and oppressed strata of the population.
Lenin stood up boldly and fought against numerous so-called Marxist pundits of his time, who scoffed at his idea that Russian workers and peasants were capable of becoming the rulers of their country. He stuck to his theoretical conclusions and led all Russian communists in the work of convincing the working people that it is possible and necessary for them to take power in their hands.
The Bolshevik Party, headed by Lenin, nurtured and developed the invention which the revolutionary masses had given birth to, namely, the Soviets of Workers' Deputies. The Soviets became an instrument and mechanism for the revolutionary workers, soldiers and peasants to participate actively in collective decision-making and setting their common agenda.
Lenin characterised the parliamentary system as being retrograde as compared to the soviet system. He elaborated the content and form of the new State that must replace the overthrown Tsarist monarchy. In terms of class content, it must be the dictatorship of the proletariat and not of the bourgeoisie. In terms of its form, it must not be a parliamentary republic but a republic of Soviets. He summed up these conclusions with the call: "All Power to the Soviets!"
Analysis of the conditions in India today, guided by Leninist thought, leads to the conclusion that none of the burning problems can be solved as long as the existing parliamentary Republic of the Indian Union remains intact. Even the most hallowed institutions of this Republic, including the Supreme Court, stand completely discredited today. People must not be fooled by the slogan being promoted by various capitalist parties – namely, to save democracy.
The existing political system, which is thoroughly discredited and stinking, must not be saved. It must be replaced by an entirely new system. In Russia, Soviet democracy emerged as the new system in which the masses of people, led by the proletariat and its party, wielded political power.
The most urgent task facing the masses of Indian people is to put an end to the rule of the capitalist class, headed by the monopoly houses. Political power has to come into the hands of the working class and toiling peasants, who are the producers of India’s wealth. Only then can the economy be reoriented towards fulfilling human needs instead of fulfilling capitalist greed. Only then can our society be liberated from the multiple layers of oppression and enslavement. Only then can India become independent of the imperialist system.
Political power cannot pass into the hands of the proletariat and its allies through the existing system of parliamentary democracy and its electoral process. Workers, peasants, women and youth need to develop their own alternative organs of power, as was done in Russia 100 years ago. We have to fight for a superior system of democracy in which we, the working people, enjoy decision-making power and not merely the right to vote.
To apply Leninist theory and tactics to deal with the present situation means to nurture those innovative forms of organisation that the revolutionary masses have already given birth to in our country.
There is need to nurture and develop the workers’ unity committees that have emerged in several industrial hubs. There is need to build and strengthen worker-peasant committees in rural areas. There is need to nurture and develop the committees for political empowerment of the people, which have emerged in numerous urban and rural localities. Such organs need to be developed as the embryo of the new State that must replace the existing State.
We must patiently and persistently work to smash all illusions about the existing parliamentary Republic. We must smash all illusions about so-called "less evil" parties of the bourgeoisie. We must expose the erroneous notion of defending the "secular foundation" of this State and its Constitution, which are in fact communal and corrupt from top to bottom.
Indian society needs a revolution that will overthrow the rule of the capitalist class, eliminate all remnants of feudalism and colonialism, liberate the country from the world imperialist system and open the path to the construction of a self-reliant socialist economy.
We need a modern democratic State, which is a voluntary union of the diverse peoples of India, and in which sovereignty is vested in the people and not in the Parliament or in the President or the Cabinet. We need a political process in which all adults actually enjoy equal right to elect and be elected, to hold accountable as well as to recall those they elected and to initiate proposed changes in policies, laws and rules.
The situation calls on all communists to unite in the course of carrying out the practical political work of building organs of united struggle and collective decision-making among the workers, peasants, women and youth. We must unite in the effort to build and strengthen the unified leadership of the working class in one single vanguard party.