Working people must organise to end their powerless condition
Delhi has been without a state government for the past four and half months. The legislative assembly has been kept in “suspended animation” ever since the Aam Aadmi Party government resigned. Executive power is in the hands of the Lieutenant Governor, who reports to the President of India, who in turn is bound to act according to the advice of the central Cabinet headed by the Prime Minister.
If those elected by the people are unable to form a government, should it not be the people who elected these representatives, who should decide on the next step? It should be, but it is not so in the existing system. The people of Delhi are not having any say in whether or when fresh assembly elections should take place. It is a decision that is entirely in the hands of the central executive. The party in power at the centre can time the elections according to its own convenience.
The situation in Delhi once again reveals that the existing system and process of representative democracy is fundamentally flawed. The fundamental flaw is that sovereignty is not vested in the people.
The Constitution of India is based on the British bourgeois principle of “parliamentary sovereignty”. Sovereignty, the power to decide for all, is vested in the central parliament. Within the parliament it is concentrated in the hands of the Executive, headed by the President who is bound to follow the advice of the Cabinet headed by the Prime Minister. Certain powers are devolved from the centre to the states, and when a state legislative assembly is suspended, power moves back to the centre. In other words, residual power is vested in the central executive. These constitutional provisions are designed to ensure that decision-making power remains in the hands of the bourgeois class.
The fact that residual power is vested in the central executive ensures that supreme power is held firmly in the hands of the capitalist class headed by the big monopolies at all times, including when there is no elected government in place.
When exactly each round of elections are held, at the centre and in the states, which parties and individual personalities get promoted in the major TV channels, and what kind of manoeuvers and secret deals are hatched in the process of government formation – all these are decided by the bourgeois class and its trained and trusted politicians. Supreme power is wielded by this minority class.
The working class, peasantry, artisans and other self-employed and small propertied classes and strata have no say in decision-making. Their role is confined to the polling day. Once they have cast their votes, they have no say in what happens afterwards.
The entire electoral process, starting from the selection of candidates for election, is dominated by parties backed by big money power. Working people are asked to choose among candidates they do not know or do not approve. Once the votes are cast, our role ends completely. We are compelled to hand over all power into the hands of the elected representatives, with nothing left in our own hands. Our fate becomes dependent on decisions taken by parties representing different sections of capitalists.
In the existing system, elections serve only to sort-out inter-bourgeois contradictions and to change the management team whenever the ruling class chooses, in order to fool the people and more effectively push the same agenda. It is a democracy for the capitalist class and a brutal dictatorship over the toiling masses.
The working class and broad masses of people need a new system of democracy in order to end their powerless condition and to reorient the economy to fulfil their needs. We need a system which would be a democracy for the toiling majority and a dictatorship over the exploiting minority.
A key requirement of the new system of democracy is that sovereignty must be vested in the people and not in the central parliament. This means that the toiling majority of people must have the right to select candidates for election. They must not be at the mercy of the decisions of political party leaders. When they vote, people must not hand over all power to those who get elected. They must hold on to the right to recall the one they elected at any time, as well as the right to initiate legislative and policy proposals, and the right to approve the most important decisions through referendum. Most importantly, they must have the right to amend or re-write the Constitution.
Communist Ghadar Party of India, which is a political party of the working class, is opposed to the domination of the political process by political parties, to the exclusion of the broad masses of workers and peasants. We believe that the duty of a modern political party is to enable the will of the majority to prevail, and not to act as a gatekeeper of power, keeping the vast majority of people out.
Communist Ghadar Party calls on the working men, women and youth of Delhi to refuse to be silent spectators and to escalate the struggle for real solutions to the burning problems. Let us strengthen our unions and organisations, as well as people’s committees in residential areas and other places. Let us become a powerful political force, united around the program to reconstitute the Indian Republic and reorient the economy to ensure prosperity and protection for all!