MIA: History: ETOL: Documents: FI: 1938-1949: World War II declarations
To the Workers and Peasants of India
Manifesto of the Fourth International
September 26, 1942
Adopted: September 26, 1942
First Published: September, 1942
Source: Fourth International, New York, Volume III No.10, October 1942, pp. 296-301.
Author: Felix Morrow (according to Robert Alexander’s History).
Transcribed/HTML Markup: Daniel Gaido and David Walters, December, 2005
Public Domain: Leon Trotsky Internet Archive 2005. You can freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Marxists Internet Archive as your source, include the address of this work, and note the transcribers & proofreaders above.
Workers and Peasants of India:
The Fourth International, the World Party of the Socialist Revolution, joins with you in the struggle for the national liberation of India. The sections of the Fourth International throughout the world are rallying to the defense of the Indian struggle against the imperialists who are attempting to drown it in blood.
We have taken upon ourselves the task of rousing the workers and agricultural toilers of all continents to help the masses of India win their freedom. While the Second and Third Internationals—the reformists and the Stalinists—are aiding Churchill by condemning the present struggle of India, the Fourth International comes forward as the firmest supporter of the Indian fighters for freedom. We brand as an agent of imperialism any labor leader who opposes India’s struggle for independence.
India and the Fourth International
The struggle of India, China and the other colonial and semi-colonial countries of the East for national independence, must be supported by every worker. As we stated in our thesis, War and the Fourth International (1934): The struggle of the colonies “is doubly progressive: by tearing the backward peoples out of the Asiatic system of production, particularism and foreign bondage, it strikes powerful blows at imperialism.” At the Founding Conference of the Fourth International (1938) we stated in our program: “Some of the colonial or semi-colonial countries will undoubtedly attempt to utilize the war in order to cast off the yoke of slavery. Their war will be not imperialist but liberating.” This characterization applies fully to India and China today. During the first period of the present war, the Emergency Conference of the Fourth International, in its Manifesto on the Imperialist War and the Proletarian Revolution (May 1940), declared: “By its very creation of enormous difficulties and dangers for the imperialist metropolitan centers, the war opens up wide possibilities for the oppressed peoples. The rumbling of cannon in Europe heralds the approaching hour of their liberation.” In the same Manifesto, taking note of Gandhi’s statement that he refused to create difficulties for Britain during its severe crisis, we said: “AS if the oppressed anywhere or at any time have ever been able to free themselves except by exploiting the difficulties of their oppressors!”
Since then Gandhi and a section of the Indian bourgeoisie have been compelled by events and the pressure of India’s masses to declare a civil disobedience campaign. Considering such an eventuality, Leon Trotsky, the founder of the Fourth International, wrote on the eve of the war in his Open Letter to the Workers of India (July 1939): “In the event that the Indian bourgeoisie finds itself compelled to take even the tiniest step on the road of struggle against the arbitrary rule of Great Britain, the proletariat will naturally support such a step. But they will support it with their own methods: mass meetings, bold slogans, strikes, demonstrations and more decisive combat actions, depending on the relationship of forces and circumstances. Precisely to do this the proletariat must have its hands free. Complete independence from the bourgeoisie is indispensable to the proletariat, above all in order to exert influence on the peasantry, the predominant mass of India’s population. Only the proletariat is capable of advancing a bold, revolutionary program, of rousing and rallying tens of millions of peasants and leading them in struggle against the native oppressors and British imperialism.”
These conceptions of the Fourth International on the nature of India’s coming revolution have been proven correct by the test of events. The best of the Indian revolutionists began to realize this during the last few years, and workers’ parties and groups of India and Ceylon came together in March 1941 to lay plans to launch an Indian section of the Fourth International. Succeeding in drawing into the new party still other groups, on the basis of a draft program, the Bolshevik-Leninist Party of India was formally launched in May 1942—on the very eve of the present struggle. Led by fighters tested in the vile prisons of British imperialism, our Indian section is wholeheartedly supporting and participating in the present struggle. We are confident that the lessons of events will bring them forward as the accepted vanguard of the workers and peasants of India.
The British Raj Must Be Overthrown
Events have demonstrated irrefutably that British imperialism will never agree to the national independence of India. If Britain grants the “demand” of so-called “friends of India” for renewal of negotiations between the All-India Congress and the British government, it will produce nothing more than did the gigantic fraud of the Cripps Mission. The brutal statement of Churchill in the House of Commons on September 10 should have made it clear to everyone that his policy remains what it was in January 1930 when he said to Parliament: “Sooner or later you will have to crush Gandhi and the Indian Congress and all they stand for.”
British imperialism will agree to new negotiations only if it feels that its repressions are failing of their purpose of destroying the nationalist and workers’ movement of India. Such negotiations and any resulting “compromise” would be designed only to give British imperialism a breathing-space in which to prepare more efficacious measures for crushing the Indian workers and peasants. That was precisely the role of the Cripps negotiations, initiated when Singapore and Malaya had fallen and Britain’s armed power in the East was broken; the negotiations gave Churchill time to send new troops and arms to India for the repressions now taking place. The second reason for the Cripps negotiations was to create the illusion that Britain was willing to give India its freedom—an illusion which is still strong enough to delude large sections of the American and British working class which would otherwise be sympathetic to India’s fight fm freedom. The Congress leaders aided Churchill in spreading this illusion by their participation in the private negotiations with Cripps. New negotiations would give a new lease on life to this dangerous illusion.
It is absurd to plead with Britain not to make in India the same ’’mistake” as in Burma and Malaya. The British rulers know what they are doing. British imperialism is fighting this war in order to maintain its empire; to lose control of India permanently would be losing the war. As in Burma and Malaya, Britain’s ruling class would prefer to surrender India to Japanese invasion, with the hope of reconquering it, than to lose India forever to the national independence movement. This essential fact must be understood by every worker throughout the world.
British imperialism could not exist, once India was lost to it forever. “If we lose India the Empire must collapse— first economically, then politically,” Lord Rothermere wrote in his newspapers on May 16, 1930. During the debate on the 1935 constitution, Churchill made a trans-Atlantic radio address to explain to America “why England cannot afford to give up India,” because “two out of every ten Englishmen depend on India.” The myth that British imperialism has been relaxing its exploitation of India is disproved by the simplest facts. In 1911, British investments in India constituted 11 per cent of its overseas holdings; by 1937 its Indian holdings had grown to 25 per cent of British overseas investments. Moreover, in addition to the huge profits from these “investments” (booty squeezed out of India and then “invested” there), much of the funds flowing annually to London from India come from direct political control (payments for British troops, Indian government orders for supplies, Viceroy-guaranteed bond payments, civil service salaries and pensions, etc.). Both types of loot would be ended by national independence for, whatever pledges for continuing to pay the British might be made by a bourgeois nationalist government, the overwhelming needs of the impoverished masses of India would soon put a stop to such blackmail payments.
How Britain drains India is indicated by the fact that the “public” debt of India has increased about 10 per cent every year during the past 80 years, while the national income, on the other hand, has grown only at the rate of 1 per cent per year. This pillage of India is the backbone of British imperialism. Without it British capitalism would be doomed. If a relatively slight contraction of Britain’s foreign markets after the First World War produced the political crisis which reached its climax in the General Strike of 1926, the loss of India would undoubtedly produce socialist revolution in Britain. Under no conditions will the British ruling class voluntarily agree to relax its stranglehold on India, for no ruling class ever agrees to give up its basis of existence.
Beware of American “Mediation”
Illusions about American imperialism can be just as dangerous as those about British imperialism. Yet the All-India Congress leaders for many years have looked to Washington for support. They either misunderstood or ignored the fact that American imperialism wished to end British political control of India only in order to replace it by the equally imperialist penetration of dollar-imperialism. The India League in the United States, representing the Congress Party, pays little attention to the genuine sympathy for Indian independence already existing among large sections of the American working class, and instead concentrates on “friends of India” in Washington and the bourgeois press.
How much these American bourgeois “friends” are worth was shown when the Cripps negotiations fell through. A veritable conspiracy of silence suppressed the Congress side of the story while the American radio and press adopted the lies of Cripps. American government support of Churchill against India was openly indicated on July 23, when Secretary of State Hull’s speech—obviously directed at India—told the colonial peoples that they must first support the war and thus “by their acts show themselves worthy” of post-war “freedom.” American government and press support was undoubtedly one of the major reasons why Churchill was encouraged to refuse the tiniest concession to India.
During the first five weeks of the British White Terror against India which began on August 9, Washington continued its policy of full support to Churchill. The American press and radio during this period echoed every British slander against the Indian struggle. It was only when it became clear that the British were failing to crush Indian resistance that Washington changed its tactics, privately urging Churchill to open new negotiations with the Congress leaders. Washington hoped that new and lengthy negotiations would quiet down India. But Washington remains, fundamentally, the supporter of Churchill in India; any illusion that pressure by Roosevelt on British Indian policy will benefit India’s masses can be fatal to Indian independence. It is absolutely false to think that Roosevelt, if Britain agrees to his mediation, will be an impartial judge between the contending forces in India. On the contrary, we can predict in advance that in that case Washington will conduct a mock trial ending in a decision in favor of Britain and its native agents.
The American radio and press continue to report “news” from India in terms mainly favorable to the British. The occasional news-story or editorial which is critical of Churchill’s policy remains at the same time hostile to the All-India Congress and the struggling masses, and thus is aimed to support the idea of American mediation. These criticisms of Churchill are also designed to dissociate the United States from responsibility for Churchill’s White Terror in India and thus attempts to save the tattered Prestige of the “United Nations” in the eyes of the colonial masses of Asia, Africa, and Latin America who are wholeheartedly favoring the Indian struggle. But for every word of criticism of Churchill uttered by the American bourgeoisie, there are a thousand words against India’s struggle for independence.
The Treacherous Role of Stalinism
Unlike Britain and the United States, the Soviet Union is fighting a progressive war; every worker is duty-bound to support the Soviet workers’ state against imperialist invasion. While doing so, however, the workers of India must understand that there is a basic distinction between the Soviet Union and Stalin. Do not for one moment trust your fate to the Stalinist bureaucracy! Within the Soviet Union the Kremlin regime has wiped out the Soviet democracy of the days of Lenin and Trotsky and does not permit any voice to the masses; Stalin’s conception of the defense of the Soviet Union is bureaucratic, interested in preserving his own reactionary rule, and without a trace of internationalism. Stalin would in no way encourage a revolution in India, for such a revolution would inspire the masses of the Soviet Union to come forward with their own demands against Stalin. The actions of Stalin’s hirelings show his hostility to the Indian revolution: the Soviet press says not a word in defense of India’s struggle, while the Stalinist press in England, America and elsewhere is condemning your struggle on the ground that it “interferes” with the war efforts of the United Nations.
The Communist parties in England and America are telling the workers that they should not support your present struggle for independence. The Communist parties, which are merely agents of Stalin’s anti-internationalist foreign policy, are saying that everything must be subordinated to the war effort of the “democracies.” While they condemn the All-India Congress for its civil disobedience campaign, the Stalinists do not utter a single word of criticism of Jinnah and the other agents of British imperialism who are sabotaging Indian independence! And they propose to “solve” the conflict in India by appeals to Roosevelt to act as mediator. The events in India have once again laid bare the treachery of Stalinism.
Chinese sympathy with the Indian struggle is so widespread that even Chiang Kai-shek must give lip-service to it; but he does so only to divert it into the channel of proposing U. S.-Russian-Chinese mediation. Do not forget that it was with the approval of Churchill that Chiang came to India last spring! Chiang rules as a ruthless dictator in China, and has no sympathy with your democratic aspirations. Fearing the workers and peasants of China, he crushed the Chinese revolution in 1927. It is precisely because he destroyed that revolution and its mass strength that Japan was able to attack China. His friendship with Nehru and other Congress leaders does not mean that Chiang is a friend of the Indian revolution; on the contrary, those who can remain friends with Chiang show thereby that they are not above doing to the Indian revolution what he did to the Chinese revolution.
If Stalin and Chiang Kai-shek were to act as mediators of the Indian situation, they would be certain to hand down a decision acceptable to Churchill and Roosevelt. Thus the masses of India can expect no help from the “democracies,” and from the Kremlin and the Chungking government.
The Struggle against Japanese Imperialism
As for the “independence” promises of Japanese imperialism, the Fourth International endorses the warning words of our Indian comrades:
"The Bolshevik-Leninist Party of India warns the masses not to trust the fraudulent promises of the Japanese imperialists any more than the deceptive offers of the British imperialists. Just as much as the first task of the Chinese masses is to overthrow Japanese imperialism, the first task of the Indian masses is to overthrow British imperialism. This is the best example we can set the soldiers of the Mikado to turn their arms against their own imperialist masters, the best way we can persuade the thousands of deluded Burmans who are fighting alongside the Japanese army, to join instead with us in the mighty struggle to free India and Burma of all imperialisms. This is the best way we can contribute to the real defeat of Japanese imperialism and the victory of the struggle of the Chinese masses.”
India—Weakest Link in the Imperialist Chain
The revolution of India’s workers and peasants against British imperialism will find international allies, if only the struggle is carried on with firm determination. Not in the government buildings in Washington and London, Moscow and Chungking, Tokio and Berlin, but among the workers and peasants of the world are the allies of the Indian revolution.
Proletarians of India! It is within your power to assume today the glorious role that the workers of backward Czarist Russia achieved in 1917. Amid the darkness of the third year of the first imperialist world war appeared the red star of the Russian revolution. The Russian workers then appeared terribly isolated in a world of enemies, but to their aid came the oppressed masses of the world. The guiding star of the Russian revolution inspired the uprisings of the masses in Germany, Austria and Hungary and the awakening of the great masses in all Europe, in Africa and Asia. As Russia mum the weakest link in the imperialist chain in 1917, so India is today! Just as in 1917, the breaking of the weakest link today will inspire a series of revolutions which, in turn, will come to the aid of the Indian revolution against the imperialists.
And this time, if our revolutionary will is firm enough, the revolution everywhere will go on irresistibly to permanent victory over all the imperialists! The very fact of your revolutionary struggle in India today is proof that the new wave of revolutions will be far more extensive and deeper than that which arose out of the First World War. During 1914-1918, Asia suffered the peace of the graveyard; all the imperialist powers with holdings in Asia (Britain, United States, France, Portugal, Japan) were united in preserving “order” in Asia. The Indian bourgeoisie and the All-India Congress, instead of utilizing Britain’s difficulties in Europe, supported the war; the “pacifist” Gandhi helped Britain recruit Indian soldiers and raise war loans; hundreds of thousands of Indian soldiers were slaughtered in the Gallipoli and other campaigns as British cannon fodder. Thanks to “peace” in Asia and the servile aid of the Indian bourgeoisie, Britain went through the First World War without serious difficulties in India.
How different is the situation this time—different altogether in favor of the Indian revolution! At the very beginning of this war, the Indian masses forced the Congress Ministries to resign in protest. Now the Indian workers and peasants have compelled the Congress to declare the civil disobedience campaign. Meanwhile, the imperialists are fighting among themselves in Asia, with no end to their war in sight. Now is the time for India to win its independence! Break the weakest link in the imperialist chain and the peoples of the world will follow and join with you!
The New Spirit of the British Workers
Nor need you fear that the British soldiers constitute an insuperable obstacle to the overthrow of British imperialism. There is a new spirit growing among the British workers and soldiers! The British government tries to conceal this from you, but it is nevertheless a fact—a fact of deadly significance to British imperialism.
In England today the overwhelming majority of the workers are already deeply distrustful of the Churchill government, The British capitalists would not be able to rule at all except with the help of the British Labour Party leaders. After two years of this capitalist-Labour coalition government however, the workers are discontented not only with the capitalist ministers but also with the “Labour” ministers. Despite anti-strike laws and imprisonment, despite frenzied appeals from the Labour leaders, the workers in England are more and more taking to strike action and thus directly coming into collision with the government. The British defeats in the Far East, which were a consequence above all of the refusal of the colonial masses to fight and die for their oppressors, have opened the eyes of the English workers as never before to the evils of imperialism. The British workers sincerely want an alliance with the masses of India. They are now learning that such an alliance is impossible so long as Churchill or any capitalist government rules Britain. They are beginning to realize that British exploitation of India is finished, whether through Japanese invasion, American displacement of Britain in India, or through a successful Indian revolution. It is infinitely better for the British workers that there be a successful Indian revolution than that India should fall under Japanese or American domination. Moreover, the disintegration of the British Empire is posing to the British workers as a life-and-death question the necessity of a workers’ government in Britain which would cooperate with a free India and other workers’ governments and non-imperialist countries in putting an end to all imperialisms, fascist or “democratic.”
This new atmosphere among the British workers is also true of the British soldiers, most of whom come from the working class. The British soldiers everywhere are intensely discussing political questions—something unprecedented in the history of British imperialism. Among the British soldiers in India and Ceylon are large numbers of trade unionists and politically-minded workers; many of these already believe in the socialist future of humanity. Many of them are veterans of bitter strike struggles against the British capitalists. To the extent that the British workers and soldiers are supporting the British war machine, they are doing so in the mistaken belief that the British government is really fighting against fascism. The soldiers you see came to India net to fight you but believing that they were coming to smash Nazism and Japanese totalitarianism. In India their eyes have been opened to things they never knew before. They have seen in what poverty and oppression you are kept by British imperialism and they do not wish to be responsible for your misery.
The murderous British officers are ordering you to be shot down; but the British soldiers do not want to fire at you and, despite the threat of iron military discipline, they will not shoot, if they can find an alternative. You can show them that there is an alternative! Imperialist propaganda has dinned into their ears the myth that you are not fit to rule yourselves, that only the “martial races” among YOU can fight. YOU can disprove that propaganda by showing your determination to fight to the death for your freedom. Remember that in Russia in 1917 even the Cossacks refused to fire as soon as they saw that the great masses were determined to overthrow the oppressors! So it will be in India when, by your firmness and by fraternizing with them, you find your way to the ears and hearts of these British workers in uniform.
Revolutionary Methods versus Congress Methods
We write from afar, and much that is happening in India is hidden from us by the British censorship. Nevertheless it is clear that the workers and peasants of India during the last few weeks have made gigantic efforts to throw off the British yoke, and are ready to make even greater efforts. When we read the whining speeches of the zamindars and capitalists in the Central Legislative Assembly, asking Britain to be more reasonable, we know that these agents of the British are frightened because the great wave of mass struggle may sweep them away along with the British.
But it is also clear to us that the heroic efforts of the workers and peasants are not being utilized to get the best results. Invaluable energy is wasted, there are needless victims, because there is no general staff and no real plan for the struggle.
The insufficiency of the present methods of struggle in India flows from the false theory of the Congress leaders. They have the aim in this civil disobedience campaign, as in that of 1930-34, to create sufficient “deadlock” so that the British will be compelled to open new negotiations on the basis of the Congress demand for independence. But that means that the Congress is asking the British to agree to independence! This theory is absolutely false. NO amount of “deadlock” will ever get the British to agree to independence. The British imperialists would rather drown all India in blood than concede it freedom.
The “deadlock” theory of the Congress does not express the aspirations of the workers and peasants. It expresses the outlook of those who, in the end, want to make a partnership with the British rather than to see the workers and peasants overthrow the British Raj. It expresses the attitude of the capitalists and zamindars in the Congress leadership and not of the four anna members.
Workers and peasants of India: Beware of those on whom the British yoke sits gently! Those who toil like beasts of burden and who hunger—they are the only ones who can be trusted to throw off the foreign yoke. But those who live in great mansions which rival in splendor the palaces of the British capitalists, who pay 1,000 rupees for a seat at Congress meetings—they do not find the British yoke very galling! Their quarrel with the British is a dispute between partners concerning the division of the spoils; a Birla, a Rajaj, want the right to exploit the Indian workers and peasants without sharing so generously with the British as they now must.
Even now, as they dispute with the British, these rich Congressmen and their political agents lock fearfully behind them at the struggling workers and peasants. They fear above all that the masses will take into their own hands the destiny of India, and that the demand for independence will then mean concretely not only political freedom but also economic freedom. To prevent this, they have imposed upon the masses in the Congress the inadequate method of “deadlock.” To make even more certain that the movement for independence will not get out of their hands, they have attempted to impose upon it the non-violence doctrine of Gandhi.
If the masses of India were to limit their struggle within the confines of “deadlock” and non-violence, they could strive for a thousand years and still not win their freedom! Fortunately, even from afar we see that the masses are striving to go beyond the boundaries which the Congress leadership has attempted to impose. Neither the workers’ strikes nor the peasant struggles are being waged in the conservative spirit of the Congress leaders.
The workers and peasants of India have achieved a great deal by their spontaneous pressure on the Congress leadership. There would not now be a civil disobedience campaign, if the decision had been left to the Congress Committee. On May 20, 1940, Nehru said: “Launching a civil disobedience campaign at a time when Britain is engaged in a life and death struggle would be an. act derogatory to India’s honor.” Nehru never changed his mind—the workers and peasants forced him to embark on this civil disobedience campaign. Even after the Cripps Mission, Nehru said on April 12, 1942: “We are not going to embarrass Britain’s war effort in India.” It was not Nehru, therefore, who initiated a struggle which has produced the great strikes in the war industries! As for the rest of the Congress leadership, it was literally driven by the masses into the civil disobedience campaign.
So much the masses have achieved by pressure on the Congress leadership. But that pressure has not been able to change the inadequate methods of struggle advocated by the Congress. Nor would any amount of pressure be able to transform the Congress leadership into real revolutionists. They remain what they have always been. It is not enough for the masses to disregard the methods of the Congress leadership. They must be replaced with revolutionary methods, with a revolutionary plan, and with a revolutionary leadership.
National Liberation through the Agrarian Revolution!
National liberation can be won only through the agrarian revolution. The great driving force of the Indian revolution, as of the Russian revolution, is the agrarian crisis. The great mass of the peasantry is incessantly striving to throw off the three-fold oppression of government taxation, the landlord’s rent, and the usury of the moneylender. THE ABOLITION OF LANDLORDISM and THE LIQUIDATION OF AGRICULTURAL INDEBTNESS—these are the only slogans which can rally the peasantry to smash imperialism and its native agents. But the peasantry, although numerically so enormous, is dispersed over the countryside. History testifies to the fact that peasant rebellions cannot succeed, unless they are supported and led by a powerful class in the cities.
That class cannot be the bourgeoisie, with its close social and economic ties with the zamindars. And the Congress is the party of the bourgeoisie. The Congress leadership shows its bourgeois and zamindar character by the fact that it rebuked the peasants when they ceased to pay rent during the civil disobedience campaigns of 1920-22 and 1930-34. This time, too, the Congress Working Committee resolution of July 15 calls for a civil disobedience campaign without making a single proposal to lighten the rent and usury burden of the peasantry—not to speak of abolition of landlordism!
It is clear, then, that only the industrial proletariat can lead the peasantry in the revolution. As Trotsky wrote in 1939 to the workers of India: “The alliance of workers and poor peasants is the only honest, reliable alliance that can assure the final victory of the Indian revolution.”
The working class of India is fully capable of assuming the leadership of the Indian revolution. The specific weight of the Indian proletariat far exceeds that of the Indian bourgeoisie, and to its weight must be added its rich experience of political and trade union struggle since 1917. The Indian proletariat enters the revolution with the tremendous advantage of having before it the example of the Russian revolution, which was also led by a proletariat in a predominantly agricultural country.
What form will the alliance of the workers and the peasants take? The most democratic form possible—a vast network of committees elected directly by the toilers, with new elections whenever the masses desire it.
For Democratic Committees of Struggle!
In every factory, every work-place, every chawl, the workers must elect their own committees, to act on behalf of the workers in all matters where their lives, livelihood or other interests are endangered. Only if the workers are led by their own committees can they protect themselves, not only against British imperialism, but also against the treachery of the many Congress and trade union officials who are certain to capitulate to the British Raj. Such committees among the workers in the cities will, in turn, inspire the creation of village committees elected by the peasants to lead their struggles. These committees will unite all the toilers regardless of their political views, and in them all political parties can democratically compete for the allegiance of the masses while the work of the committees goes on. The war has brought the soldiers into the midst of the civilian population, and when the workers and especially the peasant committees are established, they will likewise inspire soldiers’ committees in the Indian army—for the Indian soldiers are peasants in uniform. A network of these workers’, peasants’ and soldiers’ committees is the only sure way to mobilize the great masses for the struggle for national liberation from the yoke of oppression.
As soon as possible, delegates from the various committees in each locality must come together to centralize and coordinate their work. In turn, delegates from the localities must form regional bodies and, finally, there must be an All-India Council of Workers’, Peasants’ and Soldiers’ Delegates. Against such a powerful network, uniting the hundreds of millions of toilers of India, the British Raj will never prevail! It was under the leadership of just such a network that the Russian revolution marched to victory!
For the Constituent Assembly!
Through these committees India will be welded together as a united nation, including also the people of the Native States. The committees have an irrefutable answer to any claim by the British Raj, Jinnah’s so-called Moslem League, the Hindu Mahasabha or anyone else, that the struggle for independence is not supported by the overwhelming majority of India’s people. The question can be decided democratically by a CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY, elected by universal suffrage of all men and women over 18!
Neither the British nor the native capitalists and zamindars dare to submit the issue to the election of a Constituent Assembly; on the contrary, they will move heaven and earth to prevent its creation. Only the successful revolution of the workers’, peasants’ and soldiers’ committees against the British Raj and its native allies can guarantee the establishment of a Constituent Assembly.
The Industrialization of India!
The agrarian revolution will open the way to the complete reorganization of agriculture. But a century of imperialist rule has systematically destroyed the native handicraft industries, and has forced so many hundreds of millions into agriculture that the first task is to draw scores of millions off from the land into industry. Furthermore, the revolution will not be content to till the soil by primitive methods; large-scale farming necessary after the revolution requires modern agricultural implements. Hence the reorganization of agriculture is impossible without INDUSTRIALIZATION of India.
In the Tata steel and iron plants, in the great munitions industry recently established in Bihar, the Indian workers— including peasants of yesterday—have shown how quickly they learn the skills of modern mechanization. Industrialization will wipe out the centuries of poverty. Industrialization will put an end to all the inherited evils of the past, creating not only hitherto undreamed-of standards of living for the Indian masses, but also bringing to all the scientific outlook on life. Not the loin-cloth and spinning-wheel of Gandhi but the dynamo and tractor are the symbols of India’s future!
A Workers’ and Peasants’ Government!
Industrial development is so imperative for India that it must not be permitted to proceed at the snail’s pace and with the anarchy and wastefulness of capitalism, including native Indian capitalism. Industrialization must proceed with the speed and on the scale that only a Workers’ and Peasants’ Government can make possible, as was shown by the Five Year Plans of the Soviet Union.
Moreover, India can look forward, not to the isolation in a capitalist world which was the fate of the Soviet Union for twenty-five years, but to socialist cooperation with the Soviet Union, with a regenerated China, Burma and Indo-China, and with the Socialist United States of Europe which will undoubtedly come out of the ashes of this war. Glorious indeed is the future of India and of all Asia!
For the Bolshevik-Leninist Party!
To march firmly toward this future, to carry out their revolutionary tasks, the workers of India require a general staff. They need their own vanguard party, a party which is really their own, independent of control by the Congress or the Stalinists.
There is such a party in India today! It is the Bolshevik-Leninist Party, the Indian section of the Fourth International. It is a party built on the firm foundations of the teachings of Marx, Lenin and Trotsky. It is a party which knows how to connect India’s great struggle with the struggle of the workers and oppressed peoples of the whole world. It is a party which offers the workers and peasants of India the only program which can lead them to the successful overthrow of British imperialism.
Workers and Peasants of India! Rally around the Bolshevik-Leninist Party! It will lead you to victory over British imperialism and its native agents!
Workers and Peasants of India! Be assured that on all the continents of the world the sections of the Fourth International are defending your struggle, exposing the lies of the imperialists and rallying the workers and peasants to your side.
September 26, 1942
INTERNATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
(World Party of the Socialist Revolution)
Last updated on 2.2.2006