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Once More: Opportunism on India

(October 1942)

From The New International, Vol. VIII No. 9, October 1942, p. 283.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

In the September issue of The New International we gave our reply to Felix Morrow and the Cannonite publication Fourth International, which had accused us of “criminally slandering” the Congress Party of India and refusing to recognize its “leadership” in the present struggle.

As a fitting – and, in our humble opinion, devastating – commentary upon the opportunist Morrow position of uncritical support to the Congress, we quote from the May 1942 Transitional Program of the Bolshevik-Leninist Party of India (section of the Fourth International).

Hence the Indian situation not only demands that the Indian proletariat advance by all the means within its power its own class struggle against capitalism, imperialist and native alike. It is also imperative that the proletariat should participate actively in the wider national political’ movement, with the aim of wresting the leadership of the anti-imperialist struggle from the hands of the reactionary native bourgeoisie ...

The necessity to participate in the national political movement does not, however, in the least imply a policy of mass affiliation (individual or collective) to the Indian National Congress which, though predominantly petty bourgeois in composition, is completely dominated and led by the Indian bourgeoisie and functions as the servile instrument of its class policies ... The Bolshevik-Leninist Party therefore characterizes the Indian National Congress as the class party of the Indian bourgeoisie, and falls upon the workers to place no trust whatever in the Congress or its leaders. This does not of course absolve the Bolshevik-Leninists from the task of doing fraction work (of course, in all cases under strict party discipline) within the Congress, as also in other political mass organizations ...

Nor does the Bolshevik-Leninist Party follow a sectarian policy with regard to such activities of the Congress as are progressive. It will discern the progressive acts of the Congress and support them, but critically and independently, without confounding its organization, program or banner with the Congress for a moment. “March separately, strike together” must be the watchword of the policy of the Bolshevik-Leninist Party in relation to all progressive actions under the aegis of the Congress as well as to every oppositional and revolutionary action undertaken by other political organizations in India. At the same time the Bolshevik-Leninist Party must put forward its own slogans, foresee the inevitable betrayals of the bourgeois and petty-bourgeois leaders, warn the masses against them, and thus gain the confidence of the masses on the basis of their revolutionary experience. (Our emphasis. – H.J.)

Note how carefully they pose the question: we shall discern and support concrete progressive acts of the Congress Party; unlike the Morrow manner which demands, “Yes or no, do you support the Congress?” To this projected strategy of the Indian Fourth Internationalists, we have nothing to add. It is Trotsky’s colonial revolutionary strategy.

But behold the joke of jokes! The above flagrant violation of Morrow’s “strategy” on India (along with an introduction by the editor – the same Morrow) is published in the October issue of Fourth International! Does Morrow agree or disagree with this strategy? His introduction is silent. He will not reply to us; but the revolutionists of India will demand an answer from him!

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