Statement of the Central Committee of the Communist Ghadar Party of India, 25th August, 2019
Standing on the ramparts of the Red Fort on Independence Day 2019, Prime Minister Modi promised to accelerate economic growth and make India a US$ 5 trillion economy over the next five years. He declared that “today the country has a very favourable environment for achieving economic success” and that “the fundamentals of our economy are very strong”. However, all available facts show that the Indian economy is caught in an all-sided crisis.
Production is slowing down and unemployment is at its highest level in 45 years. There is a slowdown or decline in investment, exports and bank credit. Company data for the April-June quarter show that the average rate of capitalist profit has declined.
One of the major reasons for production slowing down is that workers and peasants do not have enough money to purchase the commodities being produced. Growing unemployment, falling real wages of employed workers and decline in peasant incomes have all contributed to squeeze the purchasing power in the hands of the toiling majority of people.
Unsold stocks of commodities have piled up, prompting capitalists to cut back on production, throw workers out of jobs and postpone their investment plans. Production cut backs in the auto industry alone has led to an estimated 3,00,000 workers losing their jobs this year.
Exports are declining because of the worldwide stagnation in production and decline in international trade in recent years. World trade as well as Indian exports have suffered as a result of the US tariff war and economic sanctions against China, Russia and Iran.
Both the domestic and the international economic environment are clearly unfavourable for the Indian economy at the present time. Prime Minister Modi is hiding the truth and marketing dreams to keep the people deceived.
The Tatas, Ambanis, Birlas and other capitalist monopoly houses are desperately looking for ways to boost their profits and expand their wealth at a rapid rate, in spite of the unfavourable market conditions. They plan to do so by militarizing the economy, more aggressively capturing foreign markets by strengthening the Indo-US alliance and by intensifying the degree of exploitation of workers, robbery of peasants and loot of natural resources.
The Economic Survey of 2018-19, prepared by the Ministry of Finance, reflects the strategic thinking of the capitalist monopoly houses. It argues that the only way to achieve the target of a US$ 5 trillion economy in five years is through rapid export-driven capitalist growth. It argues that this can be achieved by attracting huge amounts of foreign capital to produce all kinds of commodities for the world market; and by India replacing China as the preferred source of supply of manufactured consumer products sold in the US market.
At a time when Chinese exports are being hit by the American tariff hikes, the Indian bourgeoisie thinks it can take advantage of the situation. Towards this end, they want the Central Government to suppress workers’ wages and take other measures to improve the “ease of doing business”.
On August 2, Parliament passed the Bill on Wages Code, setting the national minimum wage at just Rs. 178 per day, or about Rs. 5000 per month. This is less than half what was recommended by an Expert Committee of the Ministry of Labour a few months ago. The Expert Committee’s recommendation was in turn far below the level of Rs. 18,000 per month, which workers’ unions all over the country have been demanding for several years now.
In his speech on 15th August, the Prime Minister said, “The need of the hour is to recognise and encourage the wealth creators of our nation. They should receive more honour. … Those who are making efforts to create wealth, according to me, are an asset to the nation and must be empowered.”
By the term “wealth creators”, Prime Minister Modi means the capitalists and not the working people. He is propagating the idea that the Tatas, Ambanis, Birlas and other owners of capital are the creators of the nation’s wealth, and hence deserved to be honoured and “empowered” to keep pocketing maximum profits at all times. He is reflecting the distorted view and self-serving outlook of the capitalist class, of which he is a member and chief political representative.
In actual fact, it is the workers, peasants and other toilers who produce the annual social surplus, which adds to the accumulated wealth of India. Those who labour are the wealth creators, while those who own capital appropriate that wealth just because they own the means of production. They are the robbers of wealth, not its creators.
Fixing an abysmally low minimum wage serves the interests of capitalists to maximize the degree of exploitation of Indian labour. It constitutes further robbery of the real creators of wealth, so as to enrich the exploiting class. Far from lifting the economy out of crisis, suppressing workers’ wages will only aggravate the problem of inadequate demand for consumption goods.
Presenting the Union Budget for 2019-20 on 5th July, the Finance Minister announced measures to further open up insurance, airlines and retail trade for foreign capitalists to penetrate. Ignoring the united opposition of the working class to the privatisation program, the Budget proposes an unprecedentedly high target for receipts from the sale of public assets to private companies. The privatisation of Indian Railways is being pursued openly, with a 100-day program. Air India is once again being prepared for strategic sale to some private company or consortium of Indian and foreign companies.
India's peasantry are caught in a terrible crisis. Big monopoly capitalist trading companies, Indian and foreign, who control the market for agricultural produce, have been driving peasants into ruin, by keeping the purchase price of farm produce at the lowest possible level. The government has refused to fulfil the long standing demand of the peasantry for fixing remunerative price for all agricultural produce. It has refused to establish public procurement mechanisms to ensure that the peasant receive remunerative prices. Peasants are faced with complete insecurity of livelihood, not only as a consequence of recurring calamities like floods and drought, but because of the market being dominated by private trading companies.
The measures announced by the Finance Minister to further open up retail trade to foreign companies will drive many more peasants and small businesses to ruin.
The economic measures aimed at boosting capitalist profits at the expense of the working class and peasantry have been accompanied by an all-round escalation of state terrorism and communal persecution.
Parliament has passed the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act Amendment Bill. It is a legislation that allows the central government to brand individuals as terrorists, without the need to produce any evidence.
State terrorism has reached an unprecedented level in Jammu & Kashmir. Thousands of additional central troops were deployed and all communication lines were cut prior to the Parliament decisions on Kashmir on 5th August. Jammu & Kashmir has been split into two union territories against the will of the people and by forcibly silencing them.
Escalation of state terror in Jammu & Kashmir was initially justified by claiming that there was a serious threat to national security, suggesting that some intelligence had been gathered about an impending terrorist attack before Independence Day. On 5th August, the truth was exposed. The motive underlying the deployment of additional troops and imposition of a communication blackout was not to protect the people from any terrorist attack. It was to prevent the people from expressing their opposition to the unilateral decision of the Central Government to eliminate the formal special status of J&K, split and downgrade it to two union territories, so as to bring this region completely under the control of New Delhi.
In addition to the brutal suppression of the people of Kashmir, accusing them of being “Islamic terrorists” and “Pakistani agents”, the central government is carrying out a country-wide propaganda campaign accusing “foreigners” of stealing our people’s jobs, land and other precious resources. The exercise of creating a National Register of Citizens, which was recently carried out in Assam, is now to be scaled up to the whole country. People of Islamic faith are being burdened with the onus of presenting documentary evidence that they are Indian citizens, failing which they will be sent to live in concentration camps.
Home Minister Amit Shah has declared that his government will identify illegal immigrants living on every inch of the country’s soil and will deport them, as per international law. It is similar to the racist offensive of the Trump administration in the US against immigrants from Islamic countries.
In June, shortly after being sworn in, the government hosted the visit of the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo. At a joint press conference held in the last week of June, External Affairs Minister Jaishanker announced that both India and the US have agreed on a policy of zero tolerance for “cross border terrorism”. In return for its support for Indian warmongering and “surgical strikes” on Pakistan, the US is demanding India’s support for the unjust American offensive against Iran.
The Indian big bourgeoisie is dragging the country along a path of rapid militarization and participation in unjust wars of conquest, in alliance with the US and under the banner of fighting “Islamic terrorism”. The aim is to consolidate the position of India as undisputed dominant power in South Asia, expand the markets and spheres of influence of Indian capitalists abroad, and for India to join the elite club of big powers that dominate the world.
Militarization means that an increasing share of wealth produced by Indian workers and peasants will be consumed for non-productive and destructive purposes, so as to fulfil the imperialist ambitions of the capitalist monopoly houses. Strengthening of a military-cum-strategic alliance with the US means to increase the danger of war in South Asia as well as the danger of India getting involved in unjust wars in other regions.
The much trumpeted goal of a $ 5 trillion economy by 2024 is a declaration that economic policy is going to remain capital-centred, oriented to fulfil the greed of monopoly capitalists, Indian and foreign. There is no proposal, no real intention to reorient the economy to fulfil the growing material needs of the population. In short, “development for all” is a complete fraud, an empty slogan to deceive the people.
Prime Minister Modi wants the people to repose faith in him, allegedly because he has only the country’s interest in mind. On 15th August, he swore that his heart beats for the 130 crore Indians and their wellbeing.
Historical experience shows that no matter who is the PM and how his or her heart beats, the agenda is set by the capitalist class, headed by the monopoly houses. It is they who decide which party must be entrusted with the task of implementing and marketing their agenda at any particular time.
In the early decades after independence, the big capitalists relied on the Congress Party, headed by Nehru, to market the lie that a secular and socialistic society was being created. They realised that the majority of Indian people aspired for socialism. Hence the Tata-Birla plan to develop state monopoly capitalism was dressed up and presented by the Congress Party as a plan to build socialism. It is the same ruling capitalist class which is today relying on the BJP as the most suitable vehicle for aggressively pursuing its imperialist aims.
For the first three decades after gaining political independence, the big capitalists followed a policy of protecting the home market from foreign capitalist competition, by charging high import duties and restricting foreign investment to only a few selected sectors.
Those were times when the world was divided between the rival camps headed by the US and Soviet Union. India developed economic and cultural relations with both the camps. The Indian ruling class manoeuvred and bargained with both the superpowers, to get the best deal for itself.
By the middle of the 1980s, the big capitalists of India recognised that in order to grow into a global imperialist power, they needed to capture foreign markets and open up Indian markets for foreign capital. Towards that goal, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi gave the call for modernization and globalization of Indian capital.
When the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1991, major and abrupt changes took place on the world scale. The bipolar division of the world came to an end. A new period began within the epoch of imperialism and proletarian revolution, a period in which the tide of revolution has turned to ebb. It is a period in which the US is on an aggressive drive to establish a uni-polar world under its undivided domination.
Since 1991, successive governments in New Delhi have taken steps to implement the program of so-called economic reforms prescribed by the World Bank and the IMF. Indian big capitalists have made use of trade liberalisation to expand their markets and spheres of influence abroad, even as Indian markets have been opened up for foreign capitalists to penetrate.
Many Indian monopoly houses have emerged as major exporters of capital in recent decades. They have invested their capital in numerous countries in Asia and Europe. The Tatas, Ambanis and other monopoly houses have started earning more profits from their investments abroad than from within India.
The period 1991-2008 witnessed rapid expansion in the volume of international trade in goods and services. Indian exports increased from 7 percent of total annual production to about 20 percent. The most rapid growth took place in the export of services, especially computer software and IT-enabled services, targeted largely at the US market.
The US is the largest market for both goods and services exported from India at this time. It accounts for about a quarter of the total value of India’s exports. It accounts for nearly 60% of India’s export of software and IT-enabled services. A major section of the big capitalists of our country are dependent on continued access to the US market at any cost. This is a factor that is being used by the US imperialists to strengthen their influence over the Indian state.
Until 1997, external agencies like the World Bank were permitted to discuss policy issues only with the Central Government. Starting in 1998, the World Bank was permitted to discuss policy issues directly with selected states and extend loans to them in support of policy reforms. This opened the door for Anglo-American and other imperialist powers to influence policy and politics at the state level.
The US has developed into a major source of foreign capital inflow into India. In the previous period, the main form of foreign capital inflows consisted of official bilateral “aid” as well as loans and credits advanced by multilateral agencies like the World Bank. In the present period, there has been a quantum leap in the level of foreign capital inflows, largely in the form of foreign direct investment (FDI) and foreign portfolio investment (FPI) by privately owned companies, banks and other financial agencies.
The Anglo-American imperialist influence over Indian affairs operates through multiple channels. In addition to the official channels such as USAID, IMF and the World Bank, it also operates through a variety of NGOs, research foundations, think tanks, Indians hired as chief executives of American multinational companies and big banks, etc. It has by now become the accepted practice for American trained Indian intellectuals to be selected for the positions of Governor of the Reserve Bank of India and Chief Economic Adviser to the Government of India. The Anglo American imperialists have their claws deep into all the institutions of the Indian state, including Indian intelligence agencies, the top echelons of the bureaucracy, and the political parties of the ruling class.
The US policy is to support the ruling class of any country that agrees to align itself with its drive towards a uni-polar world. Those governments which resist American pressure face the threat of destabilization, disintegration or military aggression.
There are many instances of the US organising to destabilise the political situation in our country. The most recent instance is the anti-corruption movement which caught the limelight in 2011-12.
The US had been full of praise for the Manmohan Singh government until serious disagreements emerged on the nuclear liability law to be enacted. The US leadership also took offence at the awarding of defence contracts to Russian and other non-American firms. They were annoyed with the Manmohan Singh government for dragging its feet over strengthening Indo-US military partnership. All of a sudden, the American Time magazine had Manmohan Singh on its cover calling him a "non-performing reformer".
The US covertly sponsored the anti-corruption agitation launched at that time which was targeting the Manmohan Singh government. This was evident from the massive coverage in the international media, and in the warning issued by top officials of the US administration to the Indian government to desist from using force to suppress this agitation.
The US imperialists wanted to use the anti-corruption agitation as a tool to destabilize the situation and pressurize the Indian ruling class. However, by covertly supporting the formation of a political party called Aam Aami Party, and co-opting this party into the state machinery by organising for its victory in the Delhi state elections, the Indian ruling class managed to neutralise the threat of destabilisation. At the same time, the BJP headed by Narendra Modi took on the mantle of anti-corruption crusader, with covert American support.
For the first time in history, the US President was invited as the Chief Guest to a celebration of Indian Republic Day in 2015. It was a symbolic act that conveyed the message that India has decisively broken out of the old framework of “non-alignment”, and has no hesitation in embracing the US as a partner. Since then, agreements have been signed to allow Indian military bases to be used by the US global war machine for rest and refuelling services and for a common communication system to be used by the armed forces of the US and India.
There is unmistakably the hand of Washington in organising a landslide victory for the BJP in 2019. The US imperialists are calculating that a BJP government headed by Modi, re-elected for a second term, is best suited to consolidate the role of India as a reliable ally of their worldwide anti-Islamic, anti-social and warmongering offensive to establish a unipolar world under their dictate.
The US imperialists have waged numerous unjust wars and wrecked entire nations in the name of fighting against “Islamic terrorism”, with the aim of establishing American domination in the oil rich region of west Asia. The American rulers view China, Russia and Iran as together posing the main danger to their aim of dominating Asia and the whole world. They want India to be their ally in their efforts to contain China, weaken Russia, isolate Iran and prepare for more wars in the name of fighting Islamic terrorism.
American agencies are playing a major role in the incitement and financing of “pro-democracy” mass protests in Hong Kong. They are providing financial and propaganda support for separatist movements in Xinchiang within China, and Baluchistan within Pakistan, which are both located on the route of the One Belt One Road initiative of China.
To ensure India’s allegiance, the US imperialists have supported India’s efforts to join the nuclear club. They have recruited India as a member of an anti-China alliance including Japan and Australia, in the name of QUAD, aimed at strengthening American domination over the Indo-Pacific region.
The decision to end the special status of Jammu & Kashmir and split it into two union territories reflects the interest of the ruling class to assert that India is the undisputed dominant power in South Asia. It is aimed at preventing any external mediation between India and Pakistan regarding the Kashmir dispute. Using the fact that the US is keen on cultivating India as its ally, the Indian big bourgeoisie has acted swiftly to gain international support for its claim that the whole of Kashmir, including the part occupied by Pakistan, belongs to India.
The relation between the American and Indian ruling classes is shaped by the fact that they have common interests as well as areas of conflict. There is both collusion and contention between them. They collaborate to advance their common interests, such as to contain the rise of China as the dominant power in Asia. Their interests clash over the issue of India wanting to ensure its energy security by diversifying its source of oil and gas imports; and wanting to ensure that it can buy sophisticated weapons from various countries, particularly Russia. The US wants India to be dependent on itself for its energy needs. It wants India to stop purchasing weapons from Russia. India and the US also have contradictions over Pakistan.
India has already cut down oil imports from Iran, to avoid offending the American ruling class. It has given up its long standing position of supporting the Palestinian people’s struggle for national rights; and is building a strategic relationship with Israel. When Iran sent its top diplomat, Foreign Minister Zarif, to India after the present government was sworn in, Prime Minister Modi refused to meet him. Soon after the Iranian diplomat left, the Government of India tested a surface-to-air missile produced jointly with Israel. These were clear signals being sent by India’s leaders to their “strategic partner”, the United States of America. India’s longstanding friendship with Iran is being sacrificed for the sake of becoming a trusted American ally.
The ruling class of our country is counting on US support to achieve its own imperialist aims. International experience has shown that the US has never been a reliable ally of any other country in the world. The US imperialists make and break alliances to suit their own self-interest. They support this or that country as long as it serves their hegemonic aim. They have no hesitation is wrecking that very same country once it has exhausted its potential to be of use to them.
In the present period, the US imperialists organised religious and sectarian violence to break up Yugoslavia, a country which it had supported as an ally in the past. They carried out the aggression and occupation of Iraq and the toppling of the regime of Saddam Hussein, who they had earlier supported and incited to attack Iran. They have imposed sectarian divisions on the Iraqi people and turned their country into a permanent war zone. They have wrecked their long-time ally Pakistan, by turning it into a base for training various terrorist groups to be used in west and central Asia.
Given the track record of the US, it is the height of folly for the Indian ruling class to rely on American support to achieve its own aims. For India to become a reliable American ally means to become a partner in criminal imperialist wars. It is inimical to the interests of the Indian people. It is against the interests of all other nations and peoples who are fighting against US domination.
By far the biggest and most harmful lie that is propagated among our people on a daily basis is that the Indian state and its Constitution are secular and democratic; and that the people elect the government of their choice. “People have elected the Modi government; so let it do its job in peace” – this is the message being conveyed by numerous film stars and other prominent personalities on TV these days.
The official propaganda about the Indian state is at complete variance with the historical reality that its executive, legislative and judicial institutions are all a legacy of colonialism. The institutions which the British established, to divide and rule over all the peoples of this subcontinent, have been retained intact and further perfected by the ruling class of post-colonial India. These include the armed forces, the bureaucracy, the laws, courts and elected bodies at central and state level, all of which defend the economic system of exploitation and plunder.
The preamble of the Indian Constitution gives the impression that people are the supreme decision-makers. However, the reality is that this Constitution empowers the Cabinet to decide on behalf of the entire people. The recent decision to downgrade and split up Jammu & Kashmir, for instance, was taken unilaterally by the Cabinet and then declared to be in the best interests of all. Such unilateral actions, backed by the most powerful economic interests, have legitimacy under the existing Constitution.
The Constitution recognizes that every adult citizen has an equal right to vote. However, the laws and rules governing the electoral process are designed to ensure that only parties which have the backing of the capitalist class can win elections. The owners of capital are divided into numerous factions and political parties. Elections are used by such parties to keep people divided and diverted from the real source of their problems. Selection of candidates and poll alliances between such parties are all made on the basis of religion and caste.
Different sections of the propertied minority compete to wield the executive power. They dominate the entire political process, including candidate selection, electoral campaigning, government formation, enactment of laws and adoption of policies.
Just because crores of people cast their vote, the impression is created that people have elected the government of their choice. However, life experience over the past 72 years shows that elections in the existing system do not reflect the will of the people. It is not the people who determine the outcome of elections.
The vast majority of people have only the limited role of choosing which party of the capitalist class should run the government and manage the system of exploitation and plunder. Candidates are selected by the leaders of rival political parties. People are asked to choose between candidates they do not know or trust. Once they cast their vote, people have no control over their elected representative. They have no say in what the government does and whose interest it serves.
There is a legal limit on campaign spending by individual candidates; and the Election Commission is supposed to monitor their spending. However, there is neither any limit nor any monitoring of the massive amounts spent by political parties backed by Indian and foreign capitalists. As a result, there is enormous inequality between the candidates of such parties and all other candidates. It is an extremely uneven competition. Thousands of crores of rupees are spent by the monopoly houses to ensure that one or the other of their trusted parties gets to form the government.
The 2019 Lok Sabha elections are said to be the most expensive election organised anywhere in the world. Total spending is estimated anywhere between Rs. 50,000 crore and Rs. 1,00,000 crore (US$ 7-14 billion). More than half the total expenditure was on the BJP’s campaign.
An open letter written by a group of retired government officers on 3rd July highlights the blatantly partisan role of the Election Commission, in favour of the incumbent party in power. It points out that even the announcement of election dates was deliberately delayed, to enable Prime Minister Modi to complete the inauguration of a number of projects. In states where the BJP had little support, the elections were held in a single phase. In states where it faced tough competition or was likely to gain seats, the polling was held in several phases.
The TV news channels owned by big capitalist corporations played a major role in portraying the Congress and other opposition parties as the old and corrupt parties, while promoting the BJP as the champion of a new India.
The American multinational company called Facebook, which owns Whatsapp, worked closely with the Modi campaign. It supplied the data and access required to reach unprecedented numbers of people. Crores of people were sent messages on their mobile phones on a daily basis. Tailor-made messages were targeted at specific groups based on their religion, caste, past record of whatsapp messages, history of internet use, etc.
Elections in this system are used to select that party and leader who can most effectively fool the people and implement the agenda of the big capitalists at any particular time. Elections are also used to settle conflicts within the capitalist class. The most dominant and wealthiest members of the class generally assert their leadership and install a regime of their choice. External imperialist interests also play a role.
The role played by Anglo-American agencies in the 2019 elections has ensured the formation of a government which is best suited to develop India as a strategic ally and partner of the US in its so-called war against Islamic terrorism. Indian and foreign monopoly capitalists have used enormous money power, modern technology, TV and social media, a well as manipulation of electronic voting machines, to bring about the victory of BJP with an absolute majority.
In India and on the world scale, multi-party representative democracy is getting increasingly exposed as a political process designed to maintain the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, headed by super-rich monopoly capitalists. This is one of the major characteristics of the present political situation.
At the head of a continental country in a strategic location, the Indian ruling class has always entertained ambitions of emerging as a mighty industrial and military power in Asia one day. Towards achieving this ambition, it has used the state created and left behind by the British imperialists to build up its military-industrial might. It has expanded its wealth by exploiting and plundering the land and labour of all the peoples within the Indian Union.
By now, the Indian economy has become the seventh largest capitalist economy of the world. Indian monopoly houses have become major exporters of capital. They are aiming to make India the third largest economy of the world as soon as possible. They have decided that the only way to achieve this aim is to ally with the US to weaken China, militarise the economy and emerge as a dominant power in Asia.
In collaboration with the Anglo-American imperialists, the Indian ruling class has organised the re-election of the BJP with absolute majority in the Lok Sabha, and almost absolute majority in the Rajya Sabha. It is relying on the BJP government headed by Modi to take measures to further open up to foreign capital and further orient production for export markets, so as to accelerate the growth of Indian monopoly capitalists in spite of the present economic crisis.
The imperialist agenda of monopoly capitalists is being implemented by escalating state terrorism in the name of fighting “Islamic terrorism”, by enacting laws to criminalise all dissent and by stepping up jingoistic propaganda and warmongering against Pakistan.
Indian society is being dragged along an adventurist and extremely dangerous course. Democratic rights are being blatantly attacked. The interests of workers and peasants are being compromised, and national sovereignty is being compromised, all for the sake of fulfilling the imperialist aims of capitalist monopoly houses.
It is a course that will increase the dependence of the Indian economy on foreign capital and foreign markets. It will increase the degree of parasitism of the economy, with a rising share of resources being deployed unproductively, for enhancing armed might rather than the wellbeing of the population. It will increase the danger of India getting embroiled in unjust wars waged with imperialist aims.