A Positive Programme for Indian Revolution
First Published : 1974
Publisher : C. G. Shah Memorial Trust
Transcription/HTML : Salil Sen for MIA, August, 2008
Public Domain : Marxists Internet Archive (2008). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit "Marxists Internet Archive" as your source.
1. The present Notes arise from Anikendra Nath Sen's criticism of the Programmes of the three Communist Parties operating in India that we reprinted from the Times of India, Sunday Supplement dated August 19, 1973. We indicated in our own previous comments on Sen's article (The Call, Sept. issue, P. 6) that, although he has pointed out quite a number of significant shortcomings in the ideological and political premises of the Programmes of the three CPs of this country, he did not point out the positive contents of a correct Marxist-Leninist programme in the present stage of Indian development.
2. It goes without saying that such a positive content can be imparted to our programme only on the basis of a correct understanding of the class character of the present-day Indian state and society, the relationship of the Indian state with imperialism-capitalism (i.e. with world of imperialist finance-capital in the advanced metropolitan countries) and internally with feudalism and national bourgeoisie (i.e., native or indigenous capitalist class) vis-a-vis the toiling sections of the Indian people. In other words, we have first to determine which class rules over the Indian state and wields political powers as the ruling class vis-a-vis the toiling people viz, the workers, the tillers of the soil or the working masses of peasantry, the toiling petty bourgeoisie etc.
3. No section of Marxist thought in India today would regard the state in India, in spite of universal adult franchise and a parliamentary democratic constitution, as a people's state where power belongs in any real sense to the whole people including the toilers. Marxists generally regard the present-day Indian state as the class state of the exploiting vested interests, the handful of upper classes. But they are not united on the question as to which of these classes represent the real rulers of India: are they represented by imperialism, pro-imperialist native comprador bourgeoisie and feudal landlords as the CPML contends ? Or else, is the ruling class of this country is represented by the Indian capitalist class as a whole, under the leadership of big bourgeoisie and partly under the influence of feudal elements also, as asserted by the CPI ? Or, is it the bourgeois-landlord class led by the big bourgeoisie, allied with feudal and semi-feudal landlordism and collaborating with foreign finance-capital in pursuit of the capitalist path of development, as the CPM contends ?
4. These are the three distinct views of the three separate Communist Parties operating in this country today. Besides, there is also a fourth Marxist view represented by the RSP which regards the present-day state in India as a bourgeois or capitalist state where the Indian bourgeoisie i.e, the indigenous national capitalist class of India wields political power. Power was transferred in 1947 to this class from the hands of British imperialism and not to the feudal princes or landlords. National economy and the politics of the country has come to be dominated since then mainly by the interests of this class, the new ruling class, the Indian bourgeoisie.
5. Other exploiting classes, viz., the native princes and feudal landlords became subservient to the Indian bourgeoisie as they were to British imperialism in the previous period. The princes were forcibly deprived of all political power long ago by British imperialism. But subsequently due to their own political exigencies in the colonial period, when the imperialist rulers were opposed to the industrial development in this country on modern lines and wanted to keep it mainly as a market for the manufactured goods made in Britain and as an exclusive source of raw materials for British industries, they felt the necessity of interposing a class of native vested interests, without any stake in modern industries or business, between themselves and the masses of the people as some kind of a political buffer. That is how British imperialism allowed feudal princedom and landlordism not only to survive ; but sustained it in various ways, although in complete subservience.
6. In the old colonial period colonial imperialism was opposed to the growth of any native industries because that would affect the market for manufactured British goods in India. Naturally this adversely affected the interests of the newly grown Indian bourgeoisie who wanted to take to the path of industrial development. That is how as a class the Indian bourgeoisie came to assume an oppositional nationalist role vis-a-vis British imperialism, while the feudalists, whose political power was already completely crushed, veered round to the support of imperialism (particularly after the defeat of Sepoy Mutiny). Because they were allowed by the British rulers to retain their right to exploit the peasantry and the tillers of the soil and their right to some parts of their old feudal pomp and outward regalia.
7. But the position completely changed after the first world war due to a number of objective historical causes, which brought about a change in the structure of vested interests of the British imperialists in India and helped the economic self-expansion of the Indian bourgeoisie as a class. This corresponded to the historical process of transition of old colonial imperialism to modern finance-capitalistic imperialism which wanted to invest their surplus capital to India, to industrialise India to some extent in order to find a field for their surplus capital and to draw the growing Indian capitalist class into junior partnership in the Indian market. All these factors facilitated a further growth and expansion of the native Indian capitalist class and soon they came to be admitted to a share of political power also, through successive instalments of political and constitutional reforms since 1919. This process reached its final culmination after the Second World War by the complete transfer of state power to the hands of the Indian bourgeoisie in 1947.
8. After transfer of power to the bourgeoisie the feudal landlords and princes did not disappear in a day. But they knew that they will have to adjust themselves to the political dominance of the nationalist bourgeoisie as the new ruling class wielding sovereign power and not to the dominance of British imperialism as previously. Economically also, they soon came to realise that they would be compelled to fall into line with the process of capitalist reconstruction and industrial development of the country on capitalist lines. As a matter of fact, old feudalism had started disintegrating long ago even in the British colonial period under the impact of money economy, bourgeois property laws and market processes. Really, throughout the 19th century and early 20th, old feudal landlordism was in the process of economic disintegration and its transformation into and fusion with capitalist landlordism proceeded fast apace. At the time of transfer of power and quite for a period afterwards most of the old feudal vestiges and old type of semi-feudal exploitation survived in the Indian economy. But that did not stop the process of embourgeoisement of the feudal landlords which started long ago; nor did it ever obstruct the rise of the Indian bourgeoisie as the economically dominant class in Indian society and state. The merger of Princely Indian States, abolition of landlordism and intermediary interests over agricultural land and the abolition of Privy Purses and special privilages of former princes arc nothing but steps in the direction of reformist liquidation of old feudalism by the new ruling class of India i.e., by the Indian bourgeoisie. The bourgeoisie accomplished this task not through a revolution, but characteristically through successive doses of reforms. No doubt this reformist process has enabled the old feudal proprietors to salvage much of the property rights and wealth by transforming these into liquid assets and investible capital. But that is only a consequence of the process of embourgeoisement of feudal elements of Indian society.
9. According to the RSP, the fact that the Indian bourgeoisie (as distinct from feudal landlords and Princes) occupies the position of the principal ruling class in India today, vis-a-vis the masses of toiling people, does not mean that there are no longer any feudal vestiges in Indian society and feudal type of exploitation has disappeared altogether. All that it means is that state policies are determined in India today in the main by the class interests of the Indian bourgeoisie and only that part of feudal or feudal-landlord economic interests are allowed to exist which subserve the dominant capitalist interests and do not contradict them. It also means (which would be apparent to all Marxists) that the bourgeois and capitalist mode of production and capitalist market exchanges, controlled by big-capitalist interests and operating through the prevailing capitalist-cum-state-monopoly-capitalist organisation of the Indian state, is the dominant and determining form of national economy today, although the degree and extent of capitalist industrial development still remains extremely low. From that point of view, India has not moved much ahead of its previous colonial backwardness inherited from British rule, although class and political correlations have changed consequent on the political transfer of power.
10. Likewise, the fact that the Indian capitalist class i.e., the Indian bourgeoisie is the ruling class in an independent India vis-a-vis the Indian masses and the toiling people, does not imply that foreign imperialism no longer wields any influence over the policies of the Indian state. In considering the nature and extent of foreign imperialist influence over independent India the changes in the economic relationship between metropolitan imperialist countries and their former colonies and semi-colonies must be borne in mind very clearly. Firstly, imperialism exists in the world today not in the form of older colonial imperialism but in the most advanced form of finance-capitalistic imperialism. Finance-capitalistic domination of big powers does not require the direct subjugation of territories overseas. It can operate even though the countries that it exploits happen to be formally independent and sovereign. This is really the basis of the subtle methods of modern neo-colonialist imperialism. Neo-colonial imperialism not only adapts and adjusts itself to the political independence of its former colonies and semi-colonies, in many cases they go out of their way to take the initiative in granting such independence. Whatever resistance there was in the minds of diehard old colonialists in the imperialist countries has now exhausted itself in fighting battles against the rising nationalist mass upsurges in all colonial and dependent countries.
11. Most imperialist powers have now come to realise that their changed economic interests no longer require the direct political subjugation of weak and backward countries and to keep the latter as privileged markets for the sale of finished consumers' goods manufactured in the metropolitan countries and as exclusive sources of raw material supplies. The principal interest of metropolitan countries in the present century has increasingly come to take the form of investment of their surplus capital overseas in the colonial and underdeveloped countries and sale of capital goods, machinery and equipments and technical know-how required by the latter and to earn super-profits thereby. This is the second important fact that we must take into account to assess the changed role and influence of imperialist countries over the newly independent colonial and semi-colonial countries. The advanced imperialist countries have now mostly come to accept the need for industrial development of the colonial part of the world. It is for this reason that they have been compelled to recognise the political necessity of formal political independence of the colonial countries. Because the recognition of their. independent statehood satisfies the nationalist aspirations of the colonial people including the colonial bourgeoisie and makes it easier for the advanced metropolitan countries to do business with them.
12. In the current historical period after the close of the Second World War the imperialist metropolitan powers have, therefore, increasingly come to accept the necessity of recognising the formal political independence of the colonial countries (although many amongst them violently opposed the idea for a considerable period) and to welcome expansion of industries and economic development in these countries on a capitalist basis. Because they can, in that case, profitably participate in the process through increased financial investments, sale of capital goods manufactured by themselves, sale of technological know-how etc. The recognition of the right to political independence and sovereign statehood of the colonies is thus nothing but the political outcome of the changes in the economic relationship of advanced metropolitan countries with the underdeveloped world in the former colonies and semi-colonies. This is the essence of the historical change-over from older colonialism to the modern and subtler form of neo-colonialism. The independence of India and of other Asian and African countries which we have witnessed during the past two and half decades after the close of the last war have flowed from this historical process. The process itself has no doubt been accelerated by the phenomenal national upsurge that swept the colonial world in Asia and Africa since the war ended. But the fact that the basic structure of the economic and financial interests of metropolitan imperialist countries had become radically transformed made the political change-over from older colonialism to the new and subtler form of neo-colonialism (on the basis of the recognition of the independent national statehood of the former colonies) more or less inevitable. Imperialism in its latest neo-colonial phase primarily seeks to mobilise native capital (and of necessity native capitalists) in the former colonies and semi-colonies under its own aegis, for the capitalist development of these countries rather than to oppose a capitalist industrial development in them as they would invariably do in the older colonial period in the 19th or early 20th century. If that is secured, they do not want to oppose the industrial and economic development of these countries.
13. The third important thing to remember in this connection is the fact that the native capitalist class of these countries remain of necessity relatively weak in regard to their independent financial and technological resources. The emergence of the former colonies and semi-colonies into political independence and the installation of the national capitalist class (and allied vested interests which in some cases are the native feudal elements) into sovereign political power do not immediately remove the economic backwardness that they inherited from colonial days. The economic infra-structure, industrial and technological base, capital accumulation—all fall far short of the minimum requirements of industrialisation of their countries. Hence they are forced, inspite of their formal political independence, to enter into relations of financial and diplomatic dependence on advanced finance-capitalist countries. The nature and extent of this dependence varies in proportion to the strength of independent financial and industrial base of the native capitalist class and their political maturity. It depends also to a large extent on the division and economic and political rivalries subsisting between the bigger imperialist powers and the possibility of newly independent capitalist countries in the former colonial countries (the so-called Third World) taking advantage of these.
14. It should also be noted in this connection that the existence of very powerful socialist powers like the USSR (with a dozen or so of pro-Soviet socialist bloc countries allied to it) and of the People's Republic of China has acted as a great help to the nationalist bourgeoisie of the newly independent countries in the former colonial world (Third World). The world is no longer unilaterally dominated by the metropolitan imperialist countries alone. The readiness and ability of the socialist countries to offer effective financial and economic help on competitive and advantageous terms (as compared to the imperialist countries) for building up the industrial strength of the Third World countries, even on a capitalist or bureaucratic state-capitalist basis, greatly increase the bargaining power of the national bourgeoisie of these countries. The socialist countries are also in a position to offer effective military and armaments help as well to these countries. Really, the bi-partisan and multipartisan division of the world between the various bigger world powers, imperialist or socialist, has been the basis of the policy of 'neutrality and non-alignment' of the newly independent bourgeois national states (as all students of Nehru line in India's foreign policy since the early '50s know very well). But economic help preferred from the 'socialist' countries has not enabled the newly independent states to meet all their development requirements or dispense with financial and technological assistance from the advanced metropolitan imperialist countries like the USA, Great Britain, West Germany and Japan. The objective fact of the economic and financial weakness of the former colonial countries and their dependence on the metropolitan imperialist countries cannot be imagined away. The capacity of the socialist countries, though significant enough both politically and economically, do not meet the needs of the latter fully. Moreover, there is always the preference of the native capitalist class of newly independent capitalist countries of the Third World for development assistance from advanced capitalist and metropolitan countries, if the terms do not prove too onerous. All these factors make for a continuance of a relation of financial and diplomatic dependence on the part of the newly independent states of the former colonial countries, including India, upon the metropolitan imperialist powers. But as stated above, this relationship operates within the framework of formal political independence and sovereign statehood of the former colonial and semi-colonial countries. This is no longer contrary to the changed economic interests of the metropolitan countries nor it is opposed by the latter.
15. It will not be difficult to understand in the background of these facts why direct and indirect influences from metropolitan centres of finance-capitalist should continue in a country like India despite political independence and sovereign statehood. It has to be noted that imperialist powers no longer seek to bring newly independent Third World countries like India under direct political subjugation and under the older type colonial exploitation. They resort to the subtler form of neo-colonial domination of the economy of these countries by seeking to draw the native ruling capitalist class into some kind of partnership (through economic and military alliances of diverse sorts) and to carry on their exploitation through the latter. They do not, therefore, aim at the overthrow or ouster of the ruling capitalist class of these countries and other allied vested interests from political power. If a particular government in any of these countries proves to be inconvenient to them, they may seek to have it replaced by a more pliable one. But they do not want to liqulidate the independent political existence of that state or country or set up their own rule. They may seek to prop up a puppet regime. But that is not always possible. The native ruling classes operating politically under the facade of national sovereignty and independent statehood provide the best possible security for the vested interests of foreign finance-capitalists operating in their country. This does not clash with the political interest of the ruling capitalist class of these countries also. For they always solicit financial and technological assistance from advanced finance-capitalist countries. Even when such assistance is given on rather onerous terms it leaves enough scope for the self-expansion of the native ruling capitalist class on the basis of a sharing out of the market for investments between the two groups — the ruling native capitalists and foreign finance-capitalists. Foreign finance-capital steps into those sector of national economy the development of which are clearly beyond the capacity and strength of resources that can be mobilised by the native capitalist class. Petroleum industry, heavy machine building, fertilisers and petro-chemicals are instances of some vital sectors of the national economy of India in which foreign finance-capital have sizable investments and control; although in all these sectors the weight of Western imperialist powers is often sought to be counterbalanced by inviting rival socialist bloc financial and technological assistance from USSR and its allies.
16. As a matter of fact, neo-colonialist imperialism of this type is not a new phenomenon altogether. Lenin pointed out long ago in his classic analysis of imperialism, with particular reference to the cases of Argentiana and Portugal of his days and their relationship with great powers like Britain and Germany that—
"financial-capital is such a great, it may be said, such a decisive force in all economic and in all international relations, that it is capable of subjecting and actually does subject to itself even states enjoying the fullest political independence."
He also pointed out in that connection that in the historical epoch of finance-capitalist imperialism, the division of the world is not only between two groups of countries: "those owning colonies and colonies" ; there are "diverse forms of dependent countries", "transitional forms of state dependence" i.e., countries, which officially are politically independent, but are in fact, enmeshed in the net "Of financial and diplomatic dependence" (Imperialism; Selected Works, Vol. I, Part, 2 Pages 517 and 522). Lenin thus laid in fact the theoretical foundation of the Marxist theory of neo-colonialism. It is not, therefore, correct to say—as Anikendra Nath Sen does that Imperialism wears a 'new look' to-day, that it has changed from blatant colonialism to neo-colonialism, wearing 'a new .and changed guise' which is something different from what Lenin or Mao (?) envisaged. This shows an insufficient understanding of the Leninist theory of imperialism on the part of Sen.
17. The complexity of the world situation and the internal rivalry and competition of the great powers belonging to different social systems, imperialist-capitalist and socialist, have increased unprecedentedly since Lenin's days. The crisis of world imperialism has become much more profound and deeper. Not only imperialist-capitalist powers but socialist powers like the USSR and China are also torn by internal divisions and contradictions. Far-reaching changes have taken place in the international correlationship of class forces and states in the post-Second World War period. New independent nation states have emerged in the former colonial and semi-colonial parts of the world during the past two and half decades. Some of the former colonial and dependent states have also come under socialist rule where the toiling people led by their national Communist parties hold power. Naturally under these circumstances imperialism is no longer that powerful as it was in the days before the First World War and the Great October Socialist Revolution of Russia in 1917. In the period following on the close of the Second World war power of world imperialism has decreased further. We now live in a divided world—divided between finance-capitalist big powers like the USA, West European powers like France, the UK, West Germany combined in the European Common Market and Japan and mighty socialist powers like the USSR and China. Many independent countries and nation states have emerged in the former colonial world whose people want to assert their right of national freedom vigorously. The national bourgeoisie (sometimes allied to native feudal upper class elements) have come to power in these countries. Finance-capitalist big powers want to win over the ruling national bourgeoisie of the newly independent Third World states to their side. The ruling classes of the Third World are, however, not so powerless today. They are in a much better position now (than in the epoch before the First World War) to bargain with the big powers and to assert their independence. Neo-colonialist imperialism is forced to operate today through the capitalist ruling classes of the newly independent Third World States, through their willing acquiescence. India as a Third World country under bourgeois rule is no exception to this general pattern.
18. Imperialist influence percolates through the capitalist ruling class who holds power. If we want to fight against imperialism or neo-colonialist influences in India we have to fight against the ruling Indian bourgeoisie through whom these influences infiltrate and operate in this country. The idea of forming any kind of anti-imperialist united front with the national bourgeoisie with a view to fight foreign imperialism is clearly out of place from an objective historical and political point of view. For imperialism does not hold ruling power in this country but the native capitalist class....
19. Those Marxist circles who imagine that there is some kind of basic class contradiction between foreign finance-capitalists operating in India and the national bourgeoisie deliberately shut their eyes to the fact that foreign finance-capitalist interests could have no footing in this country today against the wishes or deliberate policies of the ruling capitalist class. Whatever vested interests foreign imperialism may have in India today are politically protected by the ruling bourgeoisie and their government.
20. From the RSP point of view, a correct appraisal of the class character of the present-day state in India (since independence) can only begin from an unreserved and unhesitating recognition of the fact that state power i.e., the ruling power vis-a-vis the masses of the people—the vast majority of whom are propertyless toilers in the fields or factories, in industrial and trade establishments, in offices, and in agriculture, whether in the country-side or in the cities and urban areas—is in the hands of the Indian capitalist class, the native Indian bourgeoisie. In this sense, the CPI definition of the class character of the Indian state given in their amended Programme of 1968 is an improvement over the previous wobbly definitions in 1951 which tended to exaggerate the imperialist and feudal domination over the Indian state and inclined to regard India as a near-colonial, or semicolonial country. The 1951 Programme of the CPI characterised the Congress Government of India as "the government of landlords and princes and the reactionary big bourgeoisie collaborating with the British imperialists" and as a "government pledged to the protection and preservation of parasitic landlords and the wealth of princes" and "to the protection and preservation of foreign British capital in India". It also asserted that 11even the industrialists, manufacturers and traders are hit by the policies of this government which is in the grip of monopoly financers, landlords and princes and their British advisers working behind the screen". Because this Programme had the imprimatur of being drafted by CPSU theoreticians in Moscow for the old CPI and was reported to have been given a look-over by Stalin himself and also by Suslov, reflected more or less the current assessment of the CPSU leadership of the Indian bourgeoisie as '-satellites' of the US and British imperialism in the context of the cold war of early '50s. This assessment came to be changed only after the Government of India started adopting its famous non-aligned and neutralist stand since the time of the Korean War towards the close of 1951. The latest CPI Programme (as amended by the 8th Congress of the Party in 1968) merely states obvious facts of Indian politics, as they are, in the following terms :
"The state in India is the organ of the class rule of the national bourgeoisie as a whole, in which the big bourgeoisie holds powerful influence. This class rule has strong links with landlords ".
The RSP regards this definition as far more correct than the position adopted by the old CPI in 1951.
21. Anikendra Nath Sen finds fault with the CPI definition of India as a capitalist state on three counts. Firstly, 'it underplays the role of imperialist involvement'. According to Sen the very reference made in the CPI Programme itself to the expansion of non-banking foreign private investments in India from Rs. 256 crores in 1948 to Rs. 800 crores in 1967, clearly proves imperialist 'involvement' in the policies of the Indian state. Secondly, the CPI definition also disregards and underestimates the domination of monopoly houses, both native and foreign, over the country's economy. Sen points out that the CPI Programme also mentions the fact that in the capital assets of the corporate private sector in India amounting to Rs. 3000 crores, two houses (Tata and Birla) alone control Rs. 600 crores (this has now risen to nearly Rs. 900—1000 crores according to latest figures—Editor). If this is taken together with the refusal of the Government of India to nationalise foreign trade and some vital lines of production dominated by native and foreign monopolists, despite the need for capital resources to finance the country's development, it would clearly show to what extent foreign and native Indian monopoly-capitalist interests still continue to dominate the national economy of India. How in the face of these facts can we properly characterise India as a 'capitalist country'—asks Sen. Really speaking, Sen thinks the figures relating to the disproportionately large holdings of foreign (imperialist, neocolonialism and native monopoly houses in the total holdings of the corporate private sector indicate something more than 'mere influence' of the big bourgeoisie over the Indian state; it is nothing short of domination. The definition of the class character of the Indian state as a 'capitalist state' as given by the CPI Programme, he concludes, is in contradiction to the facts cited in the body of the CPI Programme. Evidently, Sen seems to imply that there is a difference between the notion of a 'capitalist state' as the organ of the class rule of the national bourgeoisie as a whole and a state dominated by foreign and native monopoly-capitalists. But is it a fundamental difference from the point of view of the social class character of the state and of the basic relations of production represented through the state ? Is not a monopoly-capitalist state a capitalist-state as well, in its relations vis-a-vis the workers and the toiling people ? The third fault that Sen finds with the definition of the class character of the Indian state in the CPI Programme is that neither this definition nor the CPI Programme fully explains why despite the legal abolition of statutory landlordism' by the Congress Government, some of the worst features of semi-feudal exploitation, such as rack-renting, extra-legal undertenancies and ten-ancies-at-will, share-cropping etc. are still widely prevalent in India. The CPI Programme asserts that in agriculture the main aim of the Congress legislation (i.e., of the land-laws made by the ruling bourgeois party) has been to replace semi-feudal relations and forms of production by capitalist forms of production, yet the actual fact is that it does not prevent the persistence of feudalism in land relations in the countryside. The implication is that besides imperialism and monopoly-capitalism, feudalism also continues to dominate the economy of the country. How can we then regard the state in India as a capitalist state —that is the main theoretical implication of Sen's criticism of the CPI Programme.
22. Sen, however, does not indicate, neither in qualitative nor in quantitative terms, how far these objections of his against the so-called underassessment by the CPI of the roles of foreign and native monopoly capital over the Indian economy today, would call for a basic change in the definition of the class character of the Indian state as given in the CPI Programme. The RSP is quite prepared to recognise that world imperialism i.e., the leading financial-capitalist powers of the West (as represented by the member-countries of the so-called Aid-India Club like the USA, Britain, France, West Germany, Japan, Canada etc.) exert considerable influence on policies of the ruling Indian capitalist class. The economic and financial dependence of the Indian capitalist class on the imperialist-capitalist powers is a fact. The mutual inter-relations of the two parties would surely indicate considerable 'involvement' of foreign imperialism or neo-colonialism with the policies of the Indian state. The RSP also recognises like Sen that sometimes this 'involvement' or 'penetration' is 'imposed from above' by the 'imperialists' (to employ terms used by Sen) and, therefore, represent something more than mere 'compromise' between the two sides as between equals. The Indian bourgeoisie are often compelled because of the weakness of their economic position to deviate from a policy of absolute economic independence. As a matter of fact, no capitalist state in these days can be absolutely independent or follow a policy of complete autarchy. Mutual dependence and collaboration based on international division of labour and international exchange is the general rule in the capitalist world. But in an exchange between unequals, the weaker party has to submit to the stronger one. But that does not necessarily signify imperialist domination of the weaker capitalist state by the stronger and more powerful state.
23. There is no doubt that looked at from the global point of view, Indian capitalism is very much a 'junior partner' of world imperialism as Sen points out towards the end of his article. But the crucial question here is—which class wields the ruling power in India today vis-a-vis the Indian masses in the Indian state and not what is the extent of imperialist 'involvement, 'penetration' or 'influence' over the policies of the Government of India. According to the RSP, the state power (the ruling power, political power) in India today is in the hands of the native capitalist class and not in the hands of foreign imperialists. Whatver may be the degree of 'influence' or 'involvement ' or 'contral' foreign imperialist powers enjoy in India today, that is mediated through the government of the Indian capitalist class, through the Indian national bourgeoisie who wield sovereign ruling power in India. Foreign imperialism, i.e., the big finance-capitalist powers of the world are often in the vantage position to dictate their own terms to India, because of the dependence of the relatively weaker capitalist class of India (because of its relatively weak financial and technological base) on the former. But though relatively weaker, the Indian capitalist class still is able to hold out and hold its own against one imperialist power or the other, by utilising the internal contradictions, conflicts and rivalries between the big powers amongst themselves. In the present epoch, the Indian national bourgeoisie can also fall back on the support of the ' socialist' powers in order to counter the imperialist big powers. In this way India and other newly independent but weak capitalist states are able to defend their independence and national sovereignty. On the world arena the Indian capitalist class is (Sen is quite correct in pointing out) very much a 'junior partner' to imperialism; but 'a partner' nevertheless, who is allowed 'some freedom of movement' in Africa and South-East Asia. Would this have been possible if it did not have independent state power of its own (with its own sovereign state and organ of class rule, its own government) in India itself? If that fact is recognised, that is the fact of independent and sovereign statehood for India, the question—which class wields ruling power— automatically comes up and the answer to that question becomes obvious. Certainly it is not any foreign power. It cannot be the Princes and landlords who were propped up by the British rulers. With their imperialist patrons gone they are no longer in a position to dominate. It can only be the new ruling class, the Indian capitalists, the Indian national bourgeoisie led by the Congress, with whom the British rulers bargained and to whom they transferred power.
24. It is obvious that when Sen pleads for the recognition of 'the existence of imperialism in India' he is not clear in his own mind which sense imperialism continues to exist in this country ; whether imperialism still exists as the ruling power in this country or in any other sense. To say that it still exists as the direct ruling power would be contrary to patent facts. On the other hand, to deny the existence of imperialist (neo-colonialist) influence in India altogether, in however disguised and indirect form that influence may be operative, would also be contrary to facts. When, however, we consider the state in India, as it exists today, there is hardly any scope for doubt that it is a class state of the Indian national bourgeoisie, the native Indian capitalist class. But that is not to deny that this ruling class in India (the Indian national bourgeoisie) is often subject to imperialist neo-colonialist influence of the bigger imperialist, finance-capitalist powers to a greater or lesser degree, depending on circumstances. But that sort of imperialist 'influence'. or 'involvement' does not make India a colonial or semi-colonial state ruled over by foreign imperialism and its native satellites (the big bourgeoisie, feudal princes and the like). It remains and continues to be a capitalist state, ruled over by the Indian national bourgeoisie whatever may be their weaknesses: and inconsistencies. The struggle of the revolutionary proletariat and the toiling peasantry and of other sections of the toiling people led by the proletariat must be politically, and strategically directed necessarily against the power of this class over the Indian state, directed towards its overthrow, to the seizure of state-power from its hands and to bring that power in the hands of the toiling people led by the working class. In other words, the struggle must assume the character of anti-capitalist political class struggle directed towards the overthrow of capitalist rule and capitalist state power. Somehow or other Anikendra Nath Sen evades that basic issue.
25. When the CPI Programme states that the big bourgeoisie 'holds powerful influence' in the Indian state, or the CPM Programme (1964) states that the present Indian state is 'the organ of the class rule of the bourgeoisie (and landlords) led by the 'big bourgeoisie', these statements about the influence of the 'big bourgeoisie' over the Indian state signify nothing but what is only too obvious under any capitalism and is known to every Marxist student of capitalism. In every capitalist state, the big bourgeoisie, the monopoly-capitalists and finance-capitalists, are bound to have the predominant influence. This 'influence' or 'leadership' of the big bonrgeoisie over the Indian state and its policies, however, does not alter the basic (capitalist) class character of the state ; nor does it render it a state of the big bourgeoisie and monopolists as something distinct, basically different from a 'capitalist state'. A monopoly-capitalist state dominated by the big bourgeoisie is, from the point of view of its economic and social class relations, nothing but a capitalist state. Inspite of the domination of the big bourgeoisie and monopolists over state policies in India and the clear trend towards the development of state-monopoly-capitalism, India cannot be said to be a monopoly-capitalist state in the same sense as the USA, Great Britain, France, West Germany or Japan are. But its overall capitalist class Character can hardly be in dispute. When we characterise the Indian state as the organ of the class rule of the Indian capitalist class, it does not mean that the capitalist class as a whole conducts the affairs of the state by taking some kind of collective policy decisions sitting together. To take that view would be much too simplistic. For things never happen that way in a capitalist society or for the matter of that in any class society. It simply means that basic policies of the state do not go against the collective interests of the capitalist class as a whole. It is the general law of capitalism that in a capitalist state and economy the bigger capitalists, who represent larger concentration of money power and capital power, eventually dominate over the state and its economic policies. That is the inexorable law of capitalism and capitalist class rule. Because of internal contradictions of capitalism, there are always conflicts of sectional interest between big capitalists, middle capitalists, smaller capitalists and the petty-bourgeoisie, clashes of interest of traders and businessmen with big business in every capitalist country. But neither the inevitable tendency towards concentration of capital and big capitalist domination, nor the internal contradictions and conflicts of interest between the big capitalists (monopoly capitalists) and the other capitalists, undermine or alter the overall capitalist class character of the state in India. Qualitatively and historically, economically and sociologically, the state in India is a capitalist class state and nothing but that. The native big bourgeoisie exercise predominant 'power', 'influence' and 'leadership' over the Indian state today, only on the historical premise of sovereign statehood, the premise of India having become a fully independent capitalist class state, since 1947. There would have been no necessity to reiterate and emphasise this obvious fact, were it not for the attempts of the CPI, the CPM and CPML (despite its tactical extremism) to confine the working class movement to some kind of 'democratic' model, and to circumscribe it to a democratic historical or strategic goal, instead of clear-cut anti-capitalist socialist goal, on the plea of implicit big bourgeois, feudal and foreign imperialist domination over India imported through the backdoor.
26. More or less the same sort of analysis as given in the foregoing paragraphs concerning foreign imperialist influence India would be equally pertinent in regard to the continuance of feudal vestiges in the Indian economy under capitalist rule. The fact that India emerged in 1947, as an independent capitalist nation-state, from its previous colonial status under British imperialism, does not indicate that the agrarian economic structure of the country became capitalised overnignt. Under colonial rule feudalism was first worsted militarily, shorn of all political and military power by the imperialist British bourgeoisie. But subsequently, for policy reasons, partly economic and partly political, British colonial imperialism allowed and even fostered the growth of a hierarchy of feudal relations in the countryside, in the land system and agrarian economy in general. But imperialist rule in India, it should be clearly noted, was also historically premised upon the introduction of bourgeois property relations and of exchange, on monetary economy, contractual land relations etc. (between the feudal owner and his tenant). All these could not but profoundly affect and transform the land system. The agrarian land relations that British colonial rulers introduced in India on this basis, took more and more the character of a hybrid capitalist landlordism resting on a variegated hierachy of tenancy rights and customs, from contractual rent-paying capitalist tenant-farming down to semi-contractual tenancies-at-will and share-cropping, rather than the character of old type of absolute feudalism of mediaeval days. Considerable archaic feudal type appurtenances remained. But under the increasing impact of money economy and commodity production these tended to become transformed into contractual monetary payments and exactions to be made by the tenant to the landlord. The tenant cultivator on his part increasingly demanded security of tenure and property right over the land he held on condition of fulfilling his side of the contract. This was the basis of successive tenancy rights legislation in the British period. Even tenancy-at-will and share-cropping came in course of time under the influence of this process. It has also to be noted here that even the system of share-cropping in a capitalist background (e.g., the Metayer system of East Europe in the 19th century) has a 'capitalist' characteristic about it. As every student of Marxist economic theory knows, share-cropping is nothing but a transitional form of tenancy evolving from original feudal landlord-tenant relationship in semi-feudal and backward capitalist countries to the tenancy system characteristic of capitalist landlordism of modern times under the impact of capitalism and monetary economy. In such a country, instead of capitalist landlordism and capitalist tenancy farming (on the basis of largescale scientific agriculture with modern farm machinery), the trend is more towards development of petty-peasant proprietorship and persistence of hybrid semi-feudal, semi-capitalist land relations including share-cropping. This is bound to happen, as Marx pointed out, in countries where the degree of development of industrial capitalism have been inadequate and where rural population preponderates. In such countries 'while capitalist relations may generally prevail, it is nevertheless but relatively, little developed'. The persistence of semi-feudal land relations in capitalist India today after independence and the process of transition of India's agrarian economy from feudalism to capitalism in the British colonial period and in the post-independence period has more or less followed the course charted by Marx in the later decades of the last century.
27. [It would be instructive for all students of Indian agrarian economy to study closely the whole Part IV in the 3rd Volume of Marx's Capital which deals with Capitalist Ground Rent (Chapters XXXVII to XLVII) and specially the last Chapter (Cha. XLVII) of this Part which deals with the 'Genesis of Capitalist Ground Rent'. An acquaintance with the general lines of Marx's classic analysis of this topic would enable us to understand correctly why 'despite the legal abolition of statutory landlordism, some of the worst forms of semi-feudal exploitation, such as subletting or leasing at exorbitant rents and sharecroping' are still widely prevalent in this country — the question which seems to have confounded Anikendra Nath Sen and many others of his way of thinking (the CPM to some extent and the CPML). They seem to think that because feudalism or semi-feudalism prevails in India, 'imperialism and semi-feudal landlords have a far greater hold' on the Indian state apparatus, than follows from a characterisation of the state apparatus as a purely capitalist one. This sort of confusion really arises from a total lack of acquaintance with Marx's original theoretical and historical analysis of the genesis of capitalist land system and capitalist ground rent.]
28. Indian agriculture has been in transition towards capitalist or bourgeois land relations from a long disintegrating feudalism (the disintegration started as soon as British imperialism introduced bourgeois property relations and bound India securely to the capitalist world market, through the ties of money and commodity exchange). This transition predicates the existence side by side of largescale modern capitalist farming, kulak property, petty-peasant property, various semi-feudal forms of rent paying tenancies-at-will, share-cropping, and so on. Persistence of semi-feudal undertenancies is also due largely to the disproportionate pressure of population on land. But one thing is certain, that feudalism—feudal princedom and landlords —no longer dominates over the Indian state apparatus today,, whatever may be its influence on this or that aspect of capitalist land reforms. The state apparatus and the economy as a whole including agrarian economy are dominated today by the Indian capitalist class who have come on the top as the rulers of the country since transfer of power in 1947. This new ruling class is set on introducing capitalist reforms in the land-system and on its, embourgeoisment ('bourgeoisfications', 'capitalisation'), introducting forms of property and limitations on it which facilitate capitalisation to an increasing degree and compels agrarian system to serve the overall needs of the ruling Indian capitalist class and the capitalist market.
29. The CPM's relatively greater emphasis on the role of the landlords side by side with the bourgeoisie, without adequately clarifying the fact that these 'landlords' are not old type feudal landlords with absolute rights over land, but are really capitalist or kulak landowners (transformed from the earlier hybrid type of semi-feudal landlordism instituted by the Britishers), actually leaves the way open for according greater ideological and political significance to anti-feudal and democratic tasks of the Indian revolution (at the cost of anti-capitalist and socialist class-struggle tasks) which the CPM Programme actually proceeds to do in terms of People's democratic revolution.
30. The Programmes of the three 'Communist' Parties of India, inspite of their tactical differences on certain political and tactical issues share one common feature between them ; they all proceed from the major political premise that, although the direct political rule of British imperialism over India has ended and the native Indian capitalist class has come to power in air independent and sovereign national state (that is India today), the national bourgeois democratic revolution of the country yet remains to be completed. This is so, in their opinion, because of the inherent weaknesses of the Indian bourgeoisie as a class-because of its relations of dependence on imperialist powers, also because of its tie-up with native feudal interest. The Indian capitalist class emerged into national independence and sovereign statehood from a colonial status on an inadequately developed capitalist economic base in a backward, semi-feudal country subjected to colonial imperialism for 200 years. As such, in their opinion, the native capitalist class is inherently incapable of utilising is state power in order to carry through the positive tasks of the national or anti-imperialist bourgeois democratic revolution. The very weakness of its position as a class in that respect compels it to adopt a compromising attitude vis-a-vis world imperialism and native feudalism at every step. It has no other choice but to surrender willingly to the demands of big imperialist powers and native feudal interests instead of liquidating them. It cannot, therefore, unloosen imperialist stranglehold on the economy of the country; nor can it put an end to feudal vested interests in land relations. That is why foreign monopoly—capital still enjoys a protected and privileged position In "free" India's economy. That is why feudal and semi-feudal landlord interests are allowed to carry on their exploitation over the poor peasantry and share-croppers in rural areas and are given compensation by the Congress Government for the abolition of their landlord rights. If we proceed from these premises, it will not be difficult to follow why all the three Communist Parties think that the principal tasks of bourgeois democratic revolution remain incomplete in India, inspite of national independence and sovereign statehood. The weak and inconsistent and always prone to compromises with imperialist and feudalist vested interests, the Indian bourgeoisie are, in their view, constitutionally incapable of carrying through the democratic tasks to their logical conclusion and that is why "bourgeois democratic revolution of India necessarily remains unaccomplished even today. If one accepts these theoretical premises, one has to come automatically to the conclusion that, in the present phase of Indian development, the immediate political objective of the Indian revolution must be defined not in terms of overthrowing capitalism or effecting socialist transformation of Indian society, that is to say not in terms of a socialist working class revolution, but in terms of completing the tasks of bourgeois democratic revolution. Only when the historical stage of bourgeois democratic revolution is finally completed, it will be time to think of the socialist revolution. We cannot in the present stage of Indian development prematurely skip over the democratic stage and go over to the socialist stage ; nor can we talk of carrying out and completing the unfinished democratic tasks in course of the socialist revolution. That would be nothing but sheer adventurism and ultra-left opportunism. That is the rationale behind CPI's political slogan, National Democratic Revolution, and that of the CPM's People's Democratic Revolution.
31. Anikendra Nath Sen seems to regard both these slogans viz, that of NDR and PDR full of vital flaws and theoretical inconsistencies. But he does not indicate how he himself would like to define the tasks of the present phase of Indian revolution: whether he would define them in terms of completing the incomplete tasks of the bourgeois democratic revolution or in terms of working for and towards a working class revolution against the ruling capitalist class. The manner in which he criticises the CPM conception of People's Democracy seems to indicate that he is somewhat sympathetic to the notion of 'non-capitalist path of development' as formulated by the 1960 Moscow Declaration of 81 Communist Parties and which the CPM accepts. He finds it inconsistent on the part the CPM to reject the notion of non-capitalist development through national democracy, in view of its adherence to the 1960 Declaration (the undivided CPI as a whole accepted this Declaration; the CPI-CPM split is a later development). But he rejects at the same time the CPI notion of sharing power With the bourgeoisie in National Democracy as sheer opportunism. The theoretical questions that Sen raises in the context of his criticism of CPM's People's Democratic Revolution shows that he is far from having any decisive opinion about the precise class character of the Indian state and the tasks before the Indian revolution: whether India is 'an embryonic capitalist state' requiring the completion of the capitalist revolution', or whether in India 'both feudalism and capitalism have to be removed at one stroke.' The way these questions are posed and are left unanswered, clearly shows that Sen does not know his own mind. He finds both the CPI and the CPM stand 'inconsistent' and 'nebulous' and their politics 'opportunist'.
32. It also needs to be pointed out here that Sen lacks a precise scientific notion about the concepts of a 'capitalist state' and a 'capitalist revolution'. When he asks: whether India is an 'embryonic capitalist state' he forgets that an 'embryonic' capitalist state can be nothing other than a feudal state within the womb of which, commodity production and capitalism first appear as embryos. If capitalism appears only in embryonic form we cannot yet call the state a 'capitalist' one. If capitalism has appeared in India in an embryonic state only, to a Marxist it would imply that the social development of India is still in the pre-capitalist and pre-democratic stage. In that stage the task is to move forward to the goal of a democratic and capitalist revolution (for anti-feudal and anti-colonial social transformation). There can be no question in this phase of completing the 'incomplete' democratic revolution or capitalist revolution. We can speak of 'completing' the democratic revolution only when democratic revolution is already under way but remains incomplete. The real question which Sen seems to have in his mind here seems to be: whether democratic and capitalist development in India remains incomplete and whether the real task is or is not, to complete that development, i.e., to complete the democratic (and capitalist) revolution. The second question that he has in mind should be taken to mean: whether the survivals of feudalism and imperialist presence which persist in this country because democratic revolution still remains incomplete, can be liquidated now or only in course of the development of the socialist revolution and the overthrow of capitalist state power. That is the implication of the so-called thesis of 'one stroke revolution' ('to remove both feudalism and capitalism ') to which he refers here.
33. In order to find out the correct Marxist answer to these questions in the Indian context, we must acquaint ourselves with the precise Marxist-Leninist understanding of the tasks of the national bourgeois democratic revolution. What actually is the role of national bourgeois revolution in history in general and in a country like India ? Bourgeois democratic revolution historically signifies the whole complex of social, economic and political-cultural transformations that took place in Europe in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. It is the bourgeois democratic revolution that overthrew feudalim and feudal landlord system, the absolutist feudal monarchy; it unshackled agriculture and the peasant population (the cultivator of land) from the trammels of feudal landlord exploitation, of serfdom and petty-peasant farming under a landlord-dominated natural economy of mediaeval times. It historically opened up the possibility for the development of modern capitalism both in industry and agriculture ; it organised commodity production and exchange on national and international scales which, in their turn, led to the development of national states and national markets on the basis of capitalist relation of production and exchange and eventually to the capitalist world market on the basis of capitalist national economies and international geographical division of labour and exchange. The political leadership for this democratic revolution was furnished by the newly grown merchant and capitalist classes from the cities, the bourgeoisie and their intellectual representatives. It is called a bourgeois democratic revolution because it moves on the basis of and within the limits of bourgeois private property relationships ; its moving cries 'liberty,' 'equality' and 'fraternity' never transgress private property rights and the rights of the private individual as a citizen and owner of private property. As a matter of fact, the social and historical goal of the bourgeois democratic revolution is to free private property of the capitalist class from feudal bonds, the individual citizen and the peasant from servitude to his 'lord' and to open the way for the fullest development of capitalism based on private initiative and market transactions. Politically, it has a national and popular aspect as well. It lays the foundation of the national state on the basis of national market. By overthrowing the power of the absolute monarch and landowning feudal aristocracy, it seeks to bring power into the hands of the people, the common citizens, in the hands of the nation as a whole, as distinguished from the aristocratic landowning minority. It asserts the right of the nation, the people ('nation' in Latin languages means 'people', in German language 'volk', in English 'people') as against the handful of feudal landlords, the notibility and monarchs. In Europe this revolution was accomplished through an alliance of the bourgeoisie (the newly arisen capitalist class) and the peasantry led by the bourgeoisie.
34. Translated to the Asian and African context, in the background of modern imperialism and of imperialist domination of most of the Asian and African countries by the western imperialist powers, the bourgeois democratic revolution assumed a new aspect in which the national and anti-imperialist (anti-foreign rule) features acquired a greater prominence, although anti-feudal and democratic, popular aspects remained no less significant. The anti-imperialist, national revolution of the peoples of the colonial and subject countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America, regarded historically from the socio-economic point of view, is nothing other than the bourgeois democratic revolution of these countries. Because, in all these countries feudal exploitation and feudal and semi-feudal types of land-ownerships were inextricably bound up with foreign imperialist domination ; imperialism acted as a halter on the process of modern economic development of these countries, delayed their industrial development and the development of a native capitalist class. Anti-imperialist popular mass struggles in these countries for national independence and the right of national self-determination, therefore, play the some historical role in the social development of these countries, as the classical bourgeois democratic revolution did in Europe. For these national struggles against foreign imperialist rule were actually the beginning of the bourgeois democratic revolution in these countries. Their aim was more or less the same viz., to liberate the masses of the people from foreign imperialist thraldom (which took the place of absolute monarchy), feudal reaction and domination of pro-imperialist native comprador bourgeoisie i.e., native merchants and businessmen who acted as agents for colonial imperialist exploitation.
35. The crucial and most fundamental question of fact and theory that we have to ask ourselves in the context of the present discussion, in order to correctly define for ourselves the tasks of Indian revolution in the post-independence phase are as follows :
I. Which class or classes wield state power (political ruling power) in India now after the withdrawal of imperialist rule from the country and its attainment of national independence and sovereign statehood ?
If the answer to this question is that, it is the Indian national bourgeoisie, the capitalist class of this country, that has come to power in the new state (which is the considered view of the RSP and is also the view taken in the CPI and the CPM Programmes with certain important qualifications), then a second question arises.
II. Whether this withdrawal of British imperialism from India and the attainment of political independence by this country can be equated in any sense with the accomplishment of the socio-historical process of bourgeois democratic revolution in India ?
Historically, national bourgeois democratic revolution of India could be considered to have been accomplished when the following political and social objectives were reached, viz (i) the overthrow and liquidation of foreign imperialism (ii) national self-determination of the Indian people and establishment of democratic political rights of the people (iii) liquidation of feudal and semi-feudal relationship in land and agriculture, and (iv) creation of conditions for a capitalist industrial and economic development of the country. Can we regard these aims to have been materialised to any extent because of the withdrawal of British rule and the installation of the native capitalist class to ruling power in an independent India and if so, to what extent ?
36. The crucial question here is not whether all the above-mentioned tasks of the bourgeois democratic revolution have been completely fulfilled and have been consistently carried forward to their logical conclusions. The RSP holds the view that these tasks have not been completely or consistently fulfilled, because the bourgeois democratic social and political transformations were not accomplished in a revolutionary way, through the overthrow of imperialism by the popular mass forces and seizure of political power through revolutionary mass struggle ; these transformations were actually brought about and mediated by a political deal between British imperialism and the bourgeois leadership of the national movement. That is why those transformations were not carried out consistently and completely. We have, however, to judge here whether the withdrawal of imperialist British rule from this country, the coming of the Indian national bourgeoisie to sovereign political power in an independent national state and the political and nodal transformations that have come in the country on the wake of independence and bourgeois rule (parliamentary democracy based on adult popular franchise, abolition of Princely States and their merger into the democratic republican body politic, land reforms directed to wards abolition of old landlord rights and the establishment of a capitalist rich peasant economy in agriculture based on peasant-proprietorship holding land directly from the state and the steps that have been taken towards an accelerated capitalist development of the country through so-called 'mixed economy' and state-capitalism), amount to a completion of the major tasks of the bourgeois democratic revolution in the country. They may have been completed in an imperfect manner, through the process of reforms and not in a revolutionary jump or stroke. They may have been overlaid with hangovers from the colonial past. But I he real question that faces us here is whether they have been completed in the main or we have still to work for achieving those goals.
37. We have already noted above that both the ("PI and the CPM regard the present-day state in India as the 'organ' of the class rule of the capitalist class in 'alliance' with landlords or with strong 'links' with landlords and led by the big bourgeoisie (or under their 'powerful influence'). Whatever may be the qualifications introduced in the specific definition preferred by either party, the predominatingly bourgeois or capitalist class character of the new ruling power that has replaced imperialist British power is recognised. The political independence of the country and its sovereign state-hood is also recognised ; pursuit of an independent and non-aligned foreign policy by the new bourgeois rulers, liquidation of Princedom and old type feudal landlordism and creation of conditions by the new state which favour the capitalist class and monopolist big bourgeoisie In the industrial sector (through the policy of 'mixed economy' and 'state capitalism') and introduction of the new form of kulak or capitalist landlordism in the rural areas in place of old feudal or semi-feudal landlordism are also recognised by these two parties. In that case, can we not regard that the major historical tasks of the bourgeois democratic revolution (in the sense of democratic social transformation through reforms) have been accomplished, in the main, although not fulfilled completely Whether they have been fulfilled' in a really 'complete and through going manner' is a question of degree only.
38. The CPML has a different assessment of the national political situation in India. They more or less seem to be of the view that India continues to be under the reactionary rule of imperialism and feudalism and comprador bourgeoisie under the facade of political independence. They compare the Indian situation with the pre-revolutionary situation in China before 1949 and want to carry out an anti-imperialist, anti-feudal and anti-comprador New Democratic Revolution (i.e., against the pro-imperialist anti-national capitalist class but not against the national capitalist class) through armed struggle and guerrilla warfare by forming bases of armed people's power in rural areas and then capturing power in the cities by surrounding them by armed liberation forces from the countryside, in the Chinese fashion. The CP and the CPM lay more stress in the present phase on completing the unfulfilled tasks (to the extent they remain unfulfilled) through a National Democratic or a People's Democratic Revolution. The common point in the political and theoretical formulations of these 3 parties thus do not basically overstep the limitations of a bourgeois-democratic revolution, although they are agreed that the democratic revolution which they have in view will not be led by the national bourgeoisie like the classical bourgeois revolutions of Europe. It will rather be led by the proletariat in alliance with the peasantry and the national bourgeoisie and the petty-bourgeoisie (CPM) or by these classes with leadership shared between the proletariat and the national bourgeoisie (CPI). The CPM and the CPML view on the question of the leadership of the democratic revolution are closer to some extent; for both reject the CPI notion of sharing leadership or power with the national bourgeoisie in a National Democracy. But all the three parties are agreed that the immediate tasks of the Indian revolution in the present phase cannot be defined in terms of a socialist revolution or the overthrow of capitalist rule and establishment of a socialist state based on the power of the proletariat and toiling peasantry led by the proletariat or the working class.
39. All the three parties hark to the thesis of two stage revolution i.e., to complete the anti-imperialist and anti-feudal bourgeois democratic revolution in the first stage and to proceed to the socialist revolution in the second stage in order to carry out the socialist economic and social transformations. All the three parties assert, of course, that there is no Chinese Wall between the democratic and socialist stages and that the revolution will be continuous; the democratic revolution will develop into or pass into (i.e., become transformed into) the socialist revolution depending on the organisational and political preparedness of the working class in alliance with the peasantry and other sections of the toiling people. But there cannot be and skipping over of the historical stage or completing the two stages of revolution, democratic and socialist, in one stroke, as Anikendra Nath Sen would put it.
40. According to the RSP the whole reference to the thesis of a two stage revolution in the present-day Indian context is entirely out of place, in view of the fact that the principal tasks of bourgeois democratic revolution have been accomplished in the main though not completely, cent per cent. We have noted above what are those tasks that have been completed. The power of foreign imperialism has been replaced by that of the National bourgeoisie by the process of transfer of power in 1947. India has become an independent national state enjoying sovereign freedom and the right of the people for national self-determination has been established. The native Indian capitalist class and its leadership have opted for a democratic parliamentary form of government based on universal adult franchise and representative political institutions. That is to say that the political system has been democratised although purely in the bourgeois fashion. The Princely order and the British instituted system of hybrid feudal landlordism (a mixture of absolute feudal landownership and Capitalist landlordism) has been eliminated through merger (of Native States and then integration) through various measures of land reform. A system of rich capitalist farming based on peasant proprietorship has been instituted. But the old landlords have been given huge compensation and even the new land laws have not completely eliminated all vestiges of feudalism. Above all, the ruling Indian capitalist class has taken to the path of an independent capitalist development. But because of its dependence on imperialist finance-capital of advanced metropolitan countries for financial and technological help, it is often forced to resort to various compromises about national economic policies vis-a-vis these countries and in its diplomatic stances from time to time. Its independence of imperialist powers and nonalignment in foreign policy is not always consistent. But these limitations on the democratic transformation of the country and the incompleteness and inconsistencies of the bourgeois economic and social transformations are due to the fact, already noted above, that this whole process was brought about by a political deal between Imperialism and the National Bourgeoisie of Inndia. Because of this fact, the bourgeois democratic revolution was brought about in a characteristically halting and half-hearted manner and many of its tasks were not completely fulfilled in the first bounce. But for that reason we cannot shut our eyes to the objective historical fact that ruling power in the Indian state is today in the hands of the Indian capitalist class (however we may interpret the political interrelationship between the various sections of the capitalists among themselves and between them and the new kulak capitalist landowners who are the major beneficiaries of bourgeois land-reforms in this country in a state of bourgeois democracy.
41. These facts make several conclusions logically inevitable :
(1) the unfulfilled or unaccomplished tasks of the democratic revolution cannot be fulfilled (or completed) without dislodging the ruling bourgeoisie from state power and that is why an anti-capitalist political revolution comes on the historic order of the day;
(2) this anti-capitalist class revolution can be carried through only by the Indian proletariat in alliance with the toiling peasantry, toiling middle classes, the urban semi-proletariat, toiling intelligentsia and so on, led by the proletariat and its conscious political vanguard, the revolutionary proletarian party;
(3) this revolution must put an end of the control and ownership of the ruling capitalist class over the decisive means of production i.e., put an end to private property and the capitalist-controlled system of state capitalism and go over to socialism.
42. In other words, we have to envisage the positive tasks of a PROLETARIAN SOCIALIST REVOLUTION which has been put on the historical order of the day by the coming of the Indian capitalist class to power in the Indian state after the withdrawal British imperialism.
1. Reproduced from "The Call" Volume XXV. Nos. 2, 3, 4. October, November and December 1973.
2. The Call was the organ of the RSP, and its editor was the then General Secretary, Tridib Chauduri.