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Great Significance of Observing the Centenary of October Revolution.


1. The Communist forces the world over are observing the centenary of the October Revolution for a year starting from the 7th November, 2016 to 7th November next year for carrying forward the world proletarian socialist revolution by drawing lessons from it. The international Coordination of Revolutionary Parties and Organizations (ICOR) has also called for observing it internationally. These programs are being organized when the International Communist Movement (ICM) is passing through a critical period. It is generally accepted among the Marxist-Leninist forces that the communist movement started facing these severe challenges and setbacks from the time of the 20th Congress of the CPSU in 1956 when it embraced revisionist positions abandoning the socialist path utilizing subjective attacks on Stalin as a pretext. When the ICM and the Communist movement in different countries started confronting this crisis, the imperialist camp and its lackeys further intensified the counter revolutionary offensive against the revolutionary movement as a whole, which they had started from the time when the Communist Manifesto was published in 1848 as the platform of the Communist League. Marx and Engels had written in its beginning:“A specter is haunting Europe, the specter of Communism. All the powers of old Europe have entered in to a holy alliance to exorcise this specter”. When the ICM was facing crises and setbacks, especially after the disintegration of Soviet Union in 1991, these forces of the old world joined hands to ‘exorcise’ the Communist movement for ever in a more frenzied form, by screaming “end of history” and “socialism is dead”.

2. But with the beginning of this millennium, the situation has started changing though slowly. As imperialism in its neo colonial phase, and its lackeys have launched neo liberal policies to perpetuate their hegemony and plunder the world people and the natural resources in new, more barbarous forms, the major contradictions at international level became more intensified and numerous people’s movements started coming up against them in large number of countries. In short, once again the objective situation is becoming increasingly favorable for a new offensive by the revolutionary forces. This is the time when throwing away despondency, the communist forces have to start moving forward once again. The centenary celebrations of the October Revolution provide an excellent opportunity for taking stock of the past experiences and to prepare themselves to move forward throwing away old garbage and daring to seize the new opportunities. The Communist movement can take significant steps forward only by recognizing the setbacks suffered, finding the reasons for them, making concrete analysis of the present situation, and by developing its theoretical orientation and practice according to present realities, taking lessons from the positive and negative aspects of the past experiences.

3. It is in this context the importance of the Resolution on Launching Theoretical Offensive for Communist Resurgence adopted by the Tenth Congress of the CPI (ML) Red Star in 2015 should be viewed. It says: “What does such an offensive entail? (a) we have to undertake a thorough study and analysis to identify the causes of the collapse of the erstwhile socialist countries, especially Soviet Union and China; (b) we have to launch a vigorous ideological campaign to establish across society the superiority of communism over the present ruling system as well as against various alien tends; (c) we have to develop Marxism- Leninism on the basis of a concrete analysis of the concrete situation....” In the concluding paragraph it states: “...We must boldly seize the real questions before the people in today’s situation and must scientifically search out the solutions. We must unsparingly lay bare our own history, the history of the communists in India and all over the world...” It is based on this orientation we are trying to analyze the experience of the October Revolution and of the socialist construction in Soviet Union.

4. Nobody can obliterate the fact that it was the degeneration of the CPSU to capitalist path that led to the disintegration of the Soviet Union later. It was followed by the deviation of other socialist countries including China also to capitalist path. The Communist Parties of erstwhile socialist countries and the parties formed during the Comintern period in other countries degenerated to social democratic path or disintegrated. Though Marxist-Leninist parties or groups were formed in a large number of countries during the 1960s in the course of the struggle against Soviet revisionism, they soon came under left deviation and faced disintegration to numerous groups. While many of them have deviated to rightist positions, some are still persisting in the anarchist path. Not daring to confront the new realities and to develop their program and path accordingly, most of the other groups are facing liquidation. These developments have enormously helped the imperialist forces and their lackeys to launch an anti-communist offensive confusing large sections of people. This is a fact to be recognized and have to overcome.

5. While going through the history of the October Revolution in Tsarist Russia it can be seen that it was an arduous task to establish the revolutionary line there. While trying to do this, Lenin attacked the revisionists for completely neglecting the importance of ideological struggle. Exposing the counter-revolutionary character of this outlook, he said:”Without revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary movement. This idea should be insisted upon too strongly at a time like this when the fashionable preaching of opportunism goes hand in hand with an infatuation for the narrowest forms of practical activity...At this point, we wish to state only that the role of the vanguard fighter can be fulfilled only by a party that is guided by the most advanced theory” (What is to be done?)

6. While analyzing the theoretical struggle led by Lenin to establish the line and practice of October Revolution, first of all it should be recognized that this first successful revolution by the working class to capture political power and to establish a socialist state making a rupture from the imperialist camp itself took place at the culmination of the theoretical and practical struggles taking place in Europe and North America against the capitalist system from the time of its emergence. As the class struggle intensified between the working class and all oppressed sections on the one hand and the capitalist system on the other, utopian and anarchist tendencies had emerged weakening the efforts to develop the theory and practice of revolution in the new situation. It was in the course of this struggle Marxism emerged and the Communist Manifesto was put forward providing the basic orientation of the struggle to overthrow the capitalist system and to lead world proletarian socialist revolution forward. Following it a series of proletarian struggles broke out in West European countries, especially in the advanced capitalist countries, challenging the capitalist system. These reached a peak with the working class in Paris capturing power and establishing the Paris Commune in 1871.

7. Before that the French Revolution had established the ideological motifs of the modern capitalist societies through its famous slogan: “liberty, equality, fraternity” and laid the foundation for secularism and democracy based on universal suffrage. Advancing from them, the Paris Commune provided a path forward through its revolutionary practice. Evaluating the lessons of the Paris Commune, Marx wrote:“The direct antithesis to the empire was the Commune. The cry of the “social republic” with which the February Revolution was ushered in by the Paris proletariat did but express a vague aspiration after a republic that was not only to supersede the monarchical form of class rule, but class rule itself. The Commune was the positive form of that republic”. Though the Commune was soon suppressed brutally by the combined forces of the capitalist states, it had given a new fillip to the working class movement.

8. At the same time the capitalist system itself was undergoing vast changes with the emergence and domination of finance capital transforming capitalism to its monopolistic era, to the era of imperialism. The imperialist powers soon succeeded in dividing the world among them territorially under colonial system, subjecting the colonies, semi-colonies and dependent countries to various forms of ruthless exploitation. While this colonial loot helped them to tide over the cycle of crises the capitalist system was facing and to weaken the class struggle in their own countries by bribing a section of the proletarian leaders, the labor aristocracy, at the same time it led to intensification of the inter-imperialist contradictions for re-division of the world. It was soon creating the possibilities for the outbreak of the First World War (FWW).

9. When the Second International (SI), which was formed reorganizing the First International after the experience of the Paris Commune, discussed these new developments, there were different interpretations of them among the social democratic parties who were its constituents. Many of them including the leaders of the German party which was playing a leading role in it refused to see the transformation of capitalist system to its moribund form, imperialism, as a more reactionary one. Still in the Basle Congress they had agreed that if the FWW breaks out, instead of supporting the imperialist bourgeoisie of their own countries they should try to turn the World War in to a civil war led by the proletariat to capture political power. But as the War broke out in 1914, most of them including the leaders of the German party went against it. Preaching theories like ultra imperialism they joined the war efforts of the ruling classes of their own countries. This degeneration of the theoretical and practical positions of these parties led to the liquidation of the SI in effect. These parties degenerated to reformist positions. Social democracy itself became a pronoun for renegacy. Many sections of the RSDLP of Tsarist Russia also had degenerated to this reformist position abandoning the path of class struggle.

10. It was in this critical phase Lenin put forward a scientific analysis of the imperialist system in his famous work, Imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism, as a more barbarous stage of capitalist system and pointed out that the centre of revolution has shifted from the developed capitalist countries to the ‘weak links of imperialist system’ including Russia and to the countries under colonial domination. Defeating the reformist and anarchist positions, he made a concrete analysis of the conditions in the Tsarist Russia explaining the imminent possibility of proletarian revolution in the country. Based on this understanding he developed its theoretical basis, program and path, and successfully led October Revolution to victory in 1917, leading to the founding of the first proletarian state, Soviet Union, uniting all nationalities, which were subjugated under Tsarist Russia, based on the right of self-determination including the right to secede. Consistently teaching the Bolsheviks, or the majority in the RSDLP, to turn the imperialist WW in to a civil war uniting the working class, the peasantry and the army men who were returning from the war fronts, uniting all sections of the Bolsheviks under a common banner in spite of differences on tactical line, Lenin led the revolution to victory. The workers’ state withdrew from the WW and proceeded to build a socialist society. These were momentous developments, breaking Soviet Union away from the imperialist world system.

11. Soon after the founding of Soviet Union, frightened by it the warring imperialist forces ended the War. They entered in to a truce and united to launch a ferocious attack on the proletarian state, imposing total economic sanctions against it. They supported the counter revolutionaries in the country to sabotage it from within also. Mobilizing the working class and all revolutionary masses, the Bolsheviks succeeded in defeating these all round attacks and to launch the socialist construction. Upholding the spirit of proletarian internationalism, the international communist movement was reorganized by replacing the liquidated SI with the Third International or Communist International (CI) which was popularly known as Comintern. Under the leadership of Lenin it put forward the strategic line of the world proletarian socialist revolution which included the two streams of revolution: the people’s democratic revolution in the countries under colonial domination and socialist revolution in the imperialist countries. The salvos of October Revolution thus created conditions for the formation of Communist parties in large number of countries, very soon challenging the imperialist system and its lackeys everywhere. These were historic developments.

12. The newly born socialist state confiscated the properties of the capitalist and landlord classes, brought the industries under the leadership of workers’ soviets, implemented revolutionary land reforms based on the principle of ‘land to the tillers’ and took up the challenge of socialist construction mobilizing the masses in spite of the economic blockade of the imperialist forces and the backwardness of the economy of the pre-revolutionary Russia. It was a great task, which very soon advanced towards fulfilling the basic requirements including food, clothing, housing, healthcare, education and employment for all. Along with this, significant victories were achieved in carrying forward the task of modernizing and developing the industry and agriculture, transforming SU in to a modern nation. As a result, by 1930s when the whole imperialist camp was facing Great Depression and severe economic and political crisis, it did not affect the planned economy of the SU. While these great achievements were being realized through socialist construction, the Comintern extended full support to the national liberation movements in the Asian, African, Latin American countries.

13. When the Second World War (SWW) broke out, once again for the re-division of the world among the imperialist forces, evaluating it as an inter imperialist war, the SU kept away from it. But when the German Nazi forces attacked SU, the Soviet people succeeded in waging a historic resistance struggle and in defeating the fascist forces decisively. All these achievements inspired the world people, and the post SWW years show the emergence of a powerful socialist camp with national liberation movements developing in all the continents. By 1950s the world situation had turned so revolutionary that it looked like the socialist forces may overtake and defeat the imperialist forces once for all. These were momentous contributions of the October Revolution and the ICM should uphold these achievements and take lessons from these while observing the centenary of this great revolution.

14. But while upholding all these great contributions of the October Revolution which led to the spread of Marxism all over the world, the proletarian revolutions reverberating in all the continents leading to one third of the world population living in socialist countries, national liberation movements emerging and strengthening in a number of countries and powerful communist parties leading in a large number of countries like Indonesia, India etc by the beginning of 1950s, today the situation is drastically different. The capitalist roaders who had started gaining strength in SU and other former socialist countries, later led to their disintegration or degeneration to capitalist path. The national liberation movements went astray and almost all the countries formerly under colonial domination are reduced to neo-colonially dependent countries. Under the influence of right or left deviations including the formerly strong communist parties, the communist parties in almost all countries have disintegrated and divided in to many groups with no country having a powerful communist party strong enough to lead the present people’s upsurges with revolutionary orientation. Alien thoughts and reactionary, communal, caste, racist ideologies spread from imperialist headquarters and by reactionary think-tanks have become so powerful that the Communist ideology is under severe attack with many more counter-revolutionary deviations emerging from within the existing communist organizations themselves. So when we are celebrating the centenary of the October Revolution it is necessary to evaluate the history of the ICM with the perspective of finding out the reasons for the severe setbacks suffered by the once powerful movement. Such an evaluation should not to influenced by subjectivism or taken up to find fault with any individual, but to overcome them and to help the development of the Marxist theory and practice according to present conditions.

15. How to evaluate Soviet Developments: The October Revolution had frightened the imperialist powers so much that as already pointed out they hastened to arrive at a temporary truce and pooled their forces for a military encirclement and aggression against the nascent state. In this they could involve the defeated enemy class forces inside Russia also. As the revolutionary Soviet forces succeeded in defeating this attack, the imperialist camp imposed economic blockade to suffocate and destroy the socialist state. The formation of the Comintern was seen as a further threat and vehemently attacked by the imperialists. If this was the situation from 1919 onwards, the first half of the 1920s, especially the years after Lenin’s illness, saw a further intensification of these attacks. So, the challenge before the post- Lenin leadership was how to face this economic and military encirclement along with the ideological political attack by the enemy camp and to carry forward the revolutionary offensive initiated by Lenin.

16. In spite of the great contributions of the Soviet experience as pointed out above, the severe setbacks suffered by the socialist experience in Soviet Union openly from the time of the 20th Congress of the CPSU, set backs suffered by the ICM and by the anti-imperialist movement as a whole call for an evaluation of the pursuit of socialist construction, the approach towards the ICM and world revolution, and the waging of the ideological struggle both inside the Soviet Union and at international level. A serious discussion on the development paradigm pursued in the erstwhile socialist countries and whether they were basically different from the imperialist development perspective also needs scrutiny. The experience of the erstwhile socialist countries show that attempts to compete for surpassing the economic targets of the imperialist countries were increasingly visible among them. Similarly the question of developing the concept of dictatorship of the proletariat to reflect a more advanced form than the bourgeois democracy practiced in the capitalist countries was also a great challenge before these former socialist countries. How far it could be achieved and did the weakness in this field also led to the setbacks also call for a serious evaluation. This analysis also should extend to how much emphasis was given to super structural changes in the SU compared to the changes being made in the economic base. Already all these questions are taken up repeatedly, especially after the disintegration of the SU by many forces. More in depth studies are required so that they can help the future activities of the communist parties.

17. An evaluation of the Soviet experience shows that during the post- Lenin years the importance of the Soviets started to dwindle or they were not approached in the way Lenin did. As the Five Year Plans and collectivization of agriculture started, instead of experimenting how they can be carried forward through the Soviets, the influence of centralization increased in the name of improving efficiency, rather than increasing people’s participation. The Five Year Plan targets started getting decided with a view to overtake production figures of imperialist countries. Various studies have pointed out that probably the Stakhnovite movement of 1935 was almost the last effort to unleash people’s initiative in socialist construction. As the threat of fascist attack increased, and later when the attack did take place, in spite of calling for people’s initiative, the one sided emphasis on centralization went on increasing. Naturally, these developments led to bureaucratic tendencies gaining strength in all fields and the Soviets started disappearing in practice. Of course the loss of large number of experienced comrades, first during the resistance to imperialist aggression during 1919 to 1922 and later during the anti-fascist war, also should be taken in to consideration while evaluating the capitalist tendencies which were sneaking in at various levels.

18. From the lessons of Paris Commune Marx had pointed out that the process of developing democracy after the capture of political power by the proletariat and other oppressed classes cannot be seen in abstract. It is integrally linked to destroying the “the standing army and the police.” and the bureaucratic structure of the state and creating basically new ones in their place.. As the Commune did not last long it could not give any lessons on organizing production under it. But, in his studies about capital and how the capitalist system works, Marx had pointed out that the proletarians have to overthrow everything the bourgeoisie consider sacrosanct and to create new models in all fields. The Commune initiated this process. That is why he upheld it as the fore runner for the future. For him the proletarians after seizing power have to build revolutionary alternatives to what the capitalist system has created. That is why Lenin, based on the lessons of the Commune, proceeded to develop the Soviets, which had emerged in the course of revolutionary struggles in Russia, as the new form of the state. To ensure class line the proletarian state had to develop the trade unions according to new conditions and ensuring their role as a class in running the state. When the Soviets started increasingly disappearing in the name of various practical problems which were continuously coming up, as the role of the organised working class and other sections of the masses in running the state and wielding power went on decreasing, in spite of all socialist assertions the role of the bureaucratic sections in all fields went on increasing.

19. Evaluating the post-SWW world situation in the Problems of Socialism in the SU which was published in 1952 it is stated: the disintegration of the single, all embracing world market must be regarded as the most important economic sequel of the SWW and of its economic consequences.....the sphere of exploitation of the world’s resources by the major capitalist countries will not expand, but contract; that their opportunities for sale in the world will deteriorate, and that their industries will be operating more and more below capacity. That, in fact, is what is meant by the deepening of the general crisis of the world capitalist system”. Yes, it was a fact that a number of countries had broken away from the imperialist system and to that extent the imperialist control on their market had weakened or lost. But the imperialists were quick to make urgent moves including the adoption of the GATT agreement besides formation of the IMF and World Bank so that the damage done by the advance of the socialist camp could be restricted. Similarly through the neo colonial policies the imperialist camp very soon recuperated the losses to a great extent. It is the failure to make correct study of the post-War imperialist moves that led to such evaluations which did lot of damage to the development of the Communist movement challenging the neo-colonial offensive by the US led imperialist camp.

20. Again, it stated: “some comrades hold that, owing to the development of new international conditions since the SWW, wars between capitalist countries have ceased to be inevitable”. Stalin went onto explain why wars are inevitable so long as the imperialist system exists. While this assertion is in general correct, the transformation of the colonial policies to neo colonization had led to inter imperialist contradictions taking newer forms. The imperialists had abandoned by and large the territorial division of the world among themselves. In this situation, the possibility for inter-imperialist wars like the first and second world wars had receded. It is once again the failure to recognize these changes in the imperialist policies which led to mechanical interpretations of the new world situation.

21. In A Critique of Soviet Economy, Mao wrote: On the question of heavy industry, light industry and agriculture, the SU did not lay enough emphasis on the latter two and had losses as a result. In addition they did not do a good job of combining the immediate and the long term interests of the people. In the main they walked on one leg...Only technology was emphasized. Nothing but technology, no technical cadre, no politics, no masses. This too is walking on one leg...It mentions economics only, not politics. “It from first to last says nothing about the superstructure. It is not concerned with the people, it considers things, not people. Does the kind of supply system for consumer goods help spur economic development or not? It should have touched on this at the least. Is it better to have commodity production or is it better not to? Every one has to study this”. While dealing with the crucial question of developments in the economic base and superstructure on the one hand, and between the economic problems of Soviet Union and the attempts by the imperialist camp led by US imperialism to transform the imperialist plunder from colonial to neo colonial forms on the other are not dealt with. Or as the Soviets writings during the post-war years reveal, even while the imperialist system led by US imperialism was moving ahead fast with the transformation of its colonial forms of plunder to neocolonial forms, there was almost a total lack of understanding about it within the Soviet leadership. As a result the study of the economic problems of the Soviet Union were dealt in isolation, without taking in to consideration the momentous developments taking place around the world. Later in the article Ten major Relationships, also, while dealing with the problems faced by the socialist transition in China, Mao had pointed out the one sided emphasis given to industry in general and heavy industry in particular in the SU as one of its weaknesses. That in spite of these observations in China also these obstacles could not be overcome call for the importance that has to be given to such questions in the course of developing a socialist alternative to the capitalist system.

22. Proletarian internationalism: Lenin waged uncompromising struggle against the mechanical understanding put forward by Trotsky through his concept of ‘permanent revolution’ that without revolutions taking place at global level or in a number of imperialist countries it is futile and erroneous to go for socialist construction in a backward country like Soviet Union. Rejecting this view, Lenin, while emphasizing the primary importance to be given for world revolution, called for pursuing socialist construction in Soviet Union as a part of it. For him SU was only a base area for world revolution. Primary importance was given to waging uncompromising struggle for advancing world revolution. The fundamental task was to advance world revolution without which the survival of these socialist countries itself was impossible. It calls for serious evaluation whether after Lenin the priorities had started changing or not. Whether the importance to be given to interests of the world revolution was increasingly minimized and importance of socialist construction in SU was increasing given priority call for serious evaluation. In1938 in the 18th Congress of the CPSU, it was announced that the Soviet society no longer contained antagonistic hostile classes and that the exploiting classes have been eliminated. All those who raised different views were treated as enemies of socialism. The trials against them went on reducing the democratic space within the Party and the society as a whole. It led to growth of bureaucratic tendencies on the one hand and to lack of discussion on the theoretical questions to be taken up and debated on cardinal questions like the way the imperialist camp was moving and how the ICM should face the challenge including the problems of socialist construction in SU on the other.

23. Lenin envisaged Comintern as an international organization with the national parties as its contingents with a clear perspective of intensifying efforts for world revolution. As the international character of production was increasing under imperialist system, Lenin saw the international character of revolution also correspondingly increasing. But later whether the significance of Comintern as the cause of world revolution went on diminishing, whether many of the directives given by Comintern went against the concrete reality and interests of revolution in other countries etc call for serious discussion. Whether such directives led to conflicts of interests or to some parties taking erroneous positions with regard to the revolutionary struggle in their own countries calls for study. Because of the immense prestige the SU and CPSU had among other parties no open criticism took place at that time. Later it led to the erroneous conclusion by many parties that any international organization shall be like Comintern! As a result, even the dissolution of the Comintern in 1943 even without convening a meeting of its Executive Committee did not create any adverse reaction. Besides these developments have led to large number of existing organizations which call themselves as communist taking the stand that any effort to rebuild the Communist International will be harmful!

24. Failure to recognize the neo colonial offensive of imperialist camp: In continuation to the Atlantic Charter put forward in 1941, in 1944, the US imperialism which was coming to the leadership of the post-War imperialist camp had convened the Bretten Woods Conference of imperialist powers and think tanks. It put forward the Bretten Woods Agreement that launched the neo colonial tools like the IMF, World Bank and the United Nations Organization (UN). The nuking of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, formation of military alliances including NATO, imposing Zionist Israel over the Palestine land as the US out post in West Asia, the aggression against Korea, world wide attacks against national liberation movements and along with these the launching of so-called welfare state concepts based on Keynesian economic policies etc were part of this neo colonial offensive. The ICM failed to recognize the seriousness of this US led offensive by the imperialist powers. The international situation was evaluated in such a way that the imperialist camp was weakening and that was why it was engaged in war mongering. According to this evaluation, building peace movement against US war efforts was given top priority, instead of taking initiative to organize a revolutionary front against these US led imperialist moves.

25. As a result of these weaknesses, the SU became member of World Bank and UN. It recognized Israel. Even when it was not allowed to become member of the IMF, it could not understand how the imperialist camp was plotting to pursue its hegemonic ambitions in the post SWW conditions. The extension of the War time understanding with the imperialists to basically different post War situation led to harmful results. Such moves led to many of the West and South European parties first getting frustrated in their revolutionary efforts and then getting illusions about working with the rightist and social democratic parties, ultimately degenerating to revisionist positions.

26. The so-called ‘de colonization’ which meant transfer of power to the comprador classes in the colonial countries was part of the global neo colonial offensive to confront the challenge posed by the powerful socialist camp. The neo colonial offensive they launched was more pernicious and sinister than their colonial policies. The aggressive nature of the imperialist camp had only increased with their neo colonial offensive. At a time, when the US led forces were employing economic, technological, political and military offensive to confuse, ideologically disarm and militarily destroy the national liberation movements led by the Communist Parties or anti-imperialist nationalist forces, the pacifist approach taken by the ICM, in spite of the big leaps it could make by this time, ideologically and politically weakened the movement.

27. The basic reason for all these weaknesses was that the socialist forces could not develop the study of imperialism by Lenin made in 1910s according to the concrete conditions emerging during the post-SWW years. As a result, it could not put forward a theoretical analysis of the changes taking place in the strategy and tactics of the imperialist system using neo colonial methods, and could not develop its own strategy and tactics to confront it. It was in such a situation, the Soviet leadership failed to wage an in depth ideological struggle against the reformist positions advocated and pursued under the leadership of Tito in Yugoslavia which had degenerated to capitalist path almost openly. Even when the imperialists had succeeded in weaning away one of the countries were the people’s power was established, the Socialist camp could do nothing more than expelling it from the newly formed Cominform. What happened in the case of Yugoslavian leadership was a forerunner of what happened later in the SU and the other East European countries. The bureaucratic forces with capitalist orientation had already started dominating the party, the army and the state apparatus at all levels. They were waiting for Stalin’s death to peacefully usurp power and speed up the transformation of SU in to a bureaucratic state capitalist dictatorship.

28. The documents from the former Soviet archives that have come out after the disintegration of SU prove that by the early 1950s the bureaucratic forces had become so powerful that they isolated Stalin in his last days and soon after his death physically eliminated or removed from positions of power all those who were advocating the socialist path. After consolidating their position under the leadership of Krushchov, in the 20th Congress of the CPSU they violently attacked Stalin and came out with the revisionist positions that as “radical changes” had taken place after October Revolution Lenin’s teachings have become invalid and “peaceful transition’ to socialism is possible. This stand was further developed as “peaceful co-existence with and peaceful competition with imperialism, and peaceful transition to socialism” as the General Line of the ICM. Though it was strongly attacked by the CPC and a number of communist parties in the 1957 and 1960 international meetings of the communist parties, in its 22nd Congress in 1961 the capitalist roaders took more steps towards the transition of Soviet Union in to a social imperialist country (socialism in words by imperialism in action) and attacked the CPC like parties who did not follow their line viciously. While vast majority of the communist parties mechanically followed the Soviet revisionist line, the CPC, PLA of Albania like parties opposed it and the Great Debate followed in which the Marxist Leninists led by the CPC openly rejected the Soviet revisionist line. As pointed out by the CPC, instead of exposing and fighting against the neo-colonization speeded up by the US led imperialist camp, Soviets and the parties following them soon became apologists of neo-colonialism. As Krushchov was replaced by Brezhnov in 1964, the transition to social imperialism was speeded up, SU transformed from apologists of neocolonialism to executioners of neocolonial policies, colluding and contending with US imperialism for world hegemony. The Soviet state was transformed in to bureaucratic state capitalist dictatorship.

29. As the contention with US led imperialist camp intensified, though it could expand its neocolonial hold in many countries, the Soviet economy was facing increasing crisis. In the 1980s the sending of the military to Afghanistan and open fight with the Islamic jihadists fully supported by the US started draining the economy very fast, intensifying its crisis. With Gorbachov taking over in 1987, though the military was withdrawn from Afghanistan and the Glassnost-Perestroika line was put forward in the name of ‘opening up the economy and society’, the crisis only deepened further. In 1991 with the backing of US led imperialist powers Yeltsin could organize a coup, take over power, disintegrate SU and transform Russia in to an open capitalist power. The ICM has to take immense lessons from this counter revolution which was started in Yugoslavia in 1948 and repeated in the East European countries and later in China.

30. As SU and its contributions for socialist transformation against the capitalist system had inspired two generations all over the world, its disintegration and collapse, with the statues of Lenin getting pulled don by hooligans in Moscow streets created tremendous frustration among the masses. Imperilist camp did everything possible to intensify this frustration through wild propaganda about ‘end of history’ and ‘end of socialism’. This situation would not have become so serious if the Marxist-Leninist camp could wage an intensive ideological struggle against the degeneration taking place in SU and East European countries at least from the time of the 20th Congress of the CPSU in a more decisive and dialectical form.

31. But most of the communist parties formed during the Comintern period and which had great influence in many countries mechanically followed the Soviet revisionist line till its disintegration in 1991. Their remnants in different countries are still not prepared to rectify these mistakes. As far as the Trotskyist Fourth Internationalists were concerned, instead of putting forward any critical analysis of the degeneration taking place in SU they were continuing their mad attacks on Stalin whom they targeted as the main enemy. On the other hand, the so-called Stalinist school diametrically opposed to Trotsky mechanically asserted that everything was perfect till Stalin was alive and they even attacked Mao for his critical evaluation of some aspects of the socialist construction during Stalin’s period. But they had no explanations for the setbacks and had nothing to contribute towards the future program and path of revolution. Various trends emerging mainly in Europe like the Euro-Communist school or post- modernist schools also only added to the confusion.

32. Contrary to all these and struggling against them, the most developed position was taken by the CPC led by Mao who waged a Great Debate against Soviet revisionism and in continuation to the stand it had taken in the 1957 and 1960 international conferences of the communist parties put forward A Proposal Concerning the General Line of the ICM in 1963. It inspired the Marxist-Leninist forces who had started waging a theoretical struggle against the Soviet revisionist line in different countries. While a strong section in the CPC was trying to emulate the Soviet revisionist path, it waged uncompromisingly struggle against it and succeeded to remove these capitalist roaders from positions of power and to launch the proletarian cultural revolution as a form of class struggle within the socialist countries. But as left sectarian line got strengthened in the CPC by the time of its Ninth Congress in 1969, which soon opened the way for the emergence of a centrist line eventually leading to the domination of the capitalist roaders, this significant ideological political offensive also got weakened and disintegrated. The Marxist-Leninist parties and groups emerging in large number of countries fighting against Soviet revisionism and upholding the General Line document of the CPC also faced disintegration as they mechanically followed whatever was coming from the CPC as correct without trying to develop their own program and path based on the analysis of the newly emerging international and national situation. Amidst all these, in spite of the severe setbacks and disintegration suffered by the communist revolutionary forces who tried to pursue the line “China’s Path is Our Path” by early 1970s, the Maoists are still pursuing this line in more anarchist form contributing to the division and confusion among the communist forces in their own way. The emergence, development and disintegration of all these various schools and deviations from the camp of the communists were immensely utilized by the imperialists and their lackeys to intensify the attacks on the communist movement.

33. It is a fact that the setbacks suffered by the ICM during the last six decades compared to the great heights it had reached by 1950s have created extensive frustration and deviations among the communist forces and the masses of the people, especially the youth and students, the new generation. It is also a fact that in spite of recognizing this, most of the schools and tendencies including the various sections from the social democrats on one extreme to the anarchists on the other extreme are engaged in eulogizing their own deviations from the Marxist teachings and are in a self-satisfied delusion. These forces still refuse to recognize that during these decades the imperialist system has transformed its colonial forms of plunder and oppression to neo-colonial forms; it is imposing its hegemony in more sinister forms through finance capital which has become increasingly speculative, market forces, technological advances, armed interventions and hegemony of reactionary culture. They also refuse to recognize that it is the failure to analyze these changes and to develop the program and path of revolution according to the changed times that had led to the severe repeated setbacks suffered by the communist movement,

34. While observing the centenary of the October Revolution it is the task of the Marxist-Leninist forces to evaluate the basic reasons for this great setback and to develop the revolutionary theory and practice taking lessons from this objective evaluation and according to the changes that have taken place in the concrete situation from the time Lenin put forward his study on Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, The Central Committee of CPI(ML) Red Star has called for observing the centenary of October Revolution starting from the this year’s October Revolution Day on the basis of the efforts it has made from 1970s to make concrete analysis of the changes that have taken place during the post-SWW decades and to develop the theory and practice of the communist movement accordingly. Let us make these centenary programs as steps to further deepen and develop these efforts.
To say that all humankind aims at development is not to say anything at all. The statement naturally begs the question – what is development? We in the CPI (ML) have been talking, in the past few years, about a new paradigm of development. What do we mean?

The capitalist imperialist system talks about development in terms of GDP. This is a very misleading measure if development. For example, the GDP of India for 2010 grew at 8.81% (the same as the figure for Niger for the same year). However, Paraguay (at over 15%), Myanmar (over 10%), Ethiopia (over 10%), Burkina Faso (9.2%), Zimbabwe (9%) Turkmenistan and Argentina, all ranked above India. GDP measures only the growth of production of a country over the past year in its own currency. Thus if the GDP of India has grown by 8%, this is only in Rupee terms. It does not accomodate for the variation of the value of the currency. Furtfher, it only measures the volume of production as a whole Per capita GCP is the average GDP per citizen of each country. This itself is only an illusion. If one person earns Rs. 11 lakhs per month and 10 others earn almost nil, then obviously the per capita income is Rs. 1 lakh per month, which does not reflect reality at all. At best it is only a broad measure.

PPP (Purchasing Power Parity) is a method of measuring income not in terms of rupees or dollars or takas but in terms of what these rupees / dollars / takas can buy. A glass of milk or half a dozen eggs may cost Rs. 20 in India but $2 in the US. Now $2 is equal to Rs. 120. However, the Purchasing Power Parity of the rupee in regard to the US Dollar (as far as eggs and milk are concerned) is Rs.10 to a Dollar. PPP is calculated by taking into account many such essential and commonly used commodities. This is also sometimes used as a measure of income and production in economics. This takes care of variations in the relative value of the rupee to the dollar (or any other currency) and relates a persons income to his purchasing power.

Per capita income at PPP is a measure that measures the amount of material goods that, on average, a citizen of any country may enjoy. However, there are many shortcomings even in this method – it needs to be measured over time to reach a true approximation of reality as it is susceptible to sudden spikes and troughs but at the same time it needs to be adjusted for inflation over the said period of time. Even with all these adjustments, it only measures an average. This means that if the rich grow much richer very fast, this index will rise for a given country even though the plight of the majority who are poor may be deteriorating (as is happening in India in recent years).

However even with this system it does not take into account how many children are dying of hunger (India is leading in this – 42% of children under 5 are underweight, twice the proportion of sub-saharan Africa, among youth 48 percent are stunted, 20 percent wasted and 70 percent anemic). It does not take into account social problems like the caste system and patriarchy, which must be taken into account in any conception of development. It does not take into account political factors like democratic rights. Capitalist economists, till now have failed to develop a proper definition of development, leave alone a proper measure.

The UNDP (United Nations Development Project) has developed another method of calculating human development which it uses in its annual Human Development Report. Its progenitor, the Pakistani economist Mahboob Ul Haq was professedly searching for a number which would reflect not merely the "income" of any nation, whether per capita or by PPP but take into account other factors. Works of Dr. Amartya Sen were also taken into account to reach the final figure which relied on three main issues, life expectancy, enrollment in education and income. The composite of these three (the method of combining the three factors has changed slightly with effect from the 2010 report) is taken as the Human Development index of a country. Another similar index devised is the GDI (Gender Development Index) which is not to be read as a measure of Gender inequality by itself but only as a subtext to the HDI. This has also come in for its fair share of criticism. But none of these methods has been able to take sufficient factors relating to economic inclusion, to social questions and political rights. In fact, we may say that all of these measures of "development" have tried only to measure development within a capitalist context – the context of profit being the defining factor. None of these have been able to surpass this limitation.

One thing though, is that none of these indices of development have, as yet, factorred in the concept of "sustainability" or of the environment. Though today, most countries of the world have an "environmental impact assessment" required to be made before any development project can be put into place, no such universal measure of "environmental impact" has been devised or is in general use.

The socialist countries did a lot of work, both theoretical and practical on the question of "development". The concept of mere GDP growth was abandoned. When distribution and exchange was removed from the vagaries of the market, developing a closed distribution system and rationing, a large part of the more blatant inequalities visible in capitalist society were overcome. The soviet union developed the concept of a "planned economy" and of the five-year plans which were adopted even by most neo-colonial countries, at least in name. This was to control the unplanned and skewed growth under capitalism. However, under planning, the equilibrium with the environment and setting up of democratic systems are absolutely necessary. This alone will guarantee real development. As we shall see, it was the failure to sufficiently address these questions that led to the collapse of even such a planned economy.

The question of the environment is a question that Marxist Leninists all over the world are having a new look at in recent years. In our 9th Congress in 2011, we had held that the contradiction between Capital and Nature is one of the fundamental contradictions in the world at the international level. The Congress found it to be the 5th fundamental contradiction to be ranked along with the four other fundamental contradictions which had been accepted since the time of the Third International. With this, the Congress has accepted the contradiction between Capital and Nature to be at a level with the contradiction between Capital and Labour. This development cannot be greeted with mere incredulous wonder and deserves a serious discussion.

In Capital, Vol 3 itself, Marx wrote :

"From the standpoint of a higher economic form of society, private ownership of the globe by single individuals will appear quite as absurd as private ownership of one man by another. Even a whole society, a nation, or even all simultaneously existing societies taken together, are not the owners of the globe. They are only its possessors, its usufructuaries, and, like boni patres familias, they must hand it down to succeeding generations in an improved condition."

In 1875 Marx wrote a "Critique of the Gotha Program". This was a critique of the program that had been drafted by the United Workers Party of Germany of that time. In response to the Lasallean conception that "Labour is the source of all wealth and culture" Marx wrote :

"Labor is not the source of all wealth. Nature is just as much the source of use values (and it is surely of such that material wealth consists!) as labor, which itself is only the manifestation of a force of nature, human labor power. The above phrase is to be found in all children's primers and is correct insofar as it is implied that labor is performed with the appurtenant subjects and instruments. But a socialist program cannot allow such bourgeois phrases to pass over in silence the conditions that alone give them meaning. And insofar as man from the beginning behaves toward nature, the primary source of all instruments and subjects of labor, as an owner, treats her as belonging to him, his labor becomes the source of use values, therefore also of wealth. The bourgeois have very good grounds for falsely ascribing supernatural creative power to labor; since precisely from the fact that labor depends on nature it follows that the man who possesses no other property than his labor power must, in all conditions of society and culture, be the slave of other men who have made themselves the owners of the material conditions of labor. He can only work with their permission, hence live only with their permission. "

Not only does this equate nature and labour as the source of all wealth and of all culture but also gives a very important insight. Here Marx clearly states that the concept of man's ownership of nature lays the basis for the concept of capital's ownership of labour. It is this that is the basis for capitalism and the justification of profit.

So Marxism has always been concerned about nature as a very basic part of production and human life. But this is not all. It has always also been concerned between the balance between man and nature. Marxism has always correctly identified that man is nothing but a part of nature. In the Manuscripts of 1844 he has written :

"Physically, man lives only on these products of nature, whether they appear in the form of food, heating, clothes, a dwelling, etc. The universality of man appears in practice precisely in the universality which makes all nature his inorganic body--both inasmuch as nature is (1) his direct means of life, and (2) the material, the object, and the instrument of his life activity. Nature is man's inorganic body--nature, that is, insofar as it is not itself human body. Man lives on nature--means that nature is his body, with which he must remain in continuous interchange if he is not to die. That man's physical and spiritual life is linked to nature means simply that nature is linked to itself, for man is a part of nature."

It is in the same Manuscripts of 1844 that Marx has expounded on the concept of alienation which was to play an important role in his analysis of Capitalism. He had put forward that Capitalism destroys the link between man and nature and puts both in opposition to one another. The aim of capitalism becomes to establish supremacy over nature or even to wantonly exploit nature – accumulation for the sake of accumulation.

However, it will be wrong to say that Marx or even Marxism had foreseen the environmental crisis and had provided all the answers. Many of the impacts of the environmental crisis were not possible to have been seen in the times of Marx or even of those of Lenin, Stalin and Mao. There is a debate on today about whether capitalism is a "closed loop" system or not. This means, can capitalism consume all that it creates? This is clearly not the case. Here we refer not only to the realisation crisis leading to the crisis of overproduction, which was predicted by Marx but also to the waste produced. In Marx's time, most of the waste produced by capitalist enterprises were capable of being reabsorbed by nature – they were biodegradable. Today this is a rarity. One of the most virulent forms of waste is nuclear waste but this is not the only one. Carbon emissions, chemical and heavy metal waste are all leading to degradation of the environment where nature itself is being altered beyond recognition. One of the necessities of production and reproduction is that nature must be the medium on which labour operates. This requires nature to retain, at least for a considerable period of time, its qualities unchanged. If this itself changes, then the very basis of labour will be lost. No doubt, Marx's analysis is still the most apt in terms of explaining the nature of capitalist economy. However, it can be further refined to bring nature within its calculations as it has brought labour into them. There is already work on such refinements being done by persons like Dr. Peter Custer, among others. It is necessary for Marxist-Leninists also to take part in such development of Marxism.

There was some theoretical work done in terms of maintaining a balance between nature and production by Marxists. Notable is the speech given by Mao to the politburo of the CPC on 25th April 1956 called "On the Ten Major Relationships". In this he has stressed on the need to maintain a balance between Heavy industry on the one hand and light industry and agriculture on the other. While criticising the experience of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, he has called for increasing the proportion of investment in light industry and agriculture.

On the practical front, one of the first laws passed by the Bolsheviks upon coming to power in Soviet Russia in 1917 was on the nationalisation of land. This provided the basis for making large tracts of land over for conservation and for scientific study. On this basis, the Astrakhan Zapovednik, a large tract of land was declared a protected area. In 1921 the USSR decreed the law "On the Protection of Nature Monuments, Gardens and Parks". Many Zapovedniks were declared in the USSR. There were 15 by 1933 and finally 115 by 1995. However, it was Nikita Khruschev who criticised the system of Zapovedniks referring famously to the Altay Zapovednik where, in a film, a scientist was watching a squirrel gnawing at a nut.

Due to various reasons, many of which were indeed genuinely prompted by the capitalist encirclement, the general attitude towards nature as reflected in the five year plans from 1926 underwent a change. The NEP gave way to the Gossplan period of centralised planning. The stress was shifted from agricultural growth to almost a total concentration on the growth of heavy industry. Even in industry, the stress was clearly on the encouragement for the growth of producer goods rather than consumer goods. The growth of output of coal, iron ore, steel, oil, etc were such that the USSR was soon the top producer of the world in those goods. However, the attitude towards conservation of nature and of "balance" with nature changed subtly to human conquering of nature and "mastery" over nature

Engels had said in "The Part Played by Labour in the Transition form Ape to Man" in Origins of the Family, Private property and State :

Let us not, however, flatter ourselves overmuch on account of our human victories over nature. For each victory nature takes its revenge on us. Each victory, it is true, in the first place brings about the results we expected, but in the second and third places it has quite different, unforeseen effects which only too often cancel out the first. The people who, in Mesopotamia, Greece, Asia Minor and elsewhere, destroyed forests to obtain cultivable land, never dreamed that by removing along with the forests the collecting centers and reservoirs of moisture they were laying the basis for the present forlorn state of those countries. When the Italians of the Alps used up the pine forests on the southern slopes, so carefully cherished on the northern slopes, they had no inkling that by doing so they were thereby depriving their mountain springs of water for the greater part of the year, making possible for them to pour still more furious torrents on the plains during the rainy season... Thus at every step we are reminded that we by no means rule over nature like a conqueror over a foreign people, like someone standing outside of nature—but that we, with flesh, blood and brain, belong to nature, exist in its midst, and that all our mastery of it consists in the fact that we have the advantage of all other creatures of being able to learn its laws and apply them correctly.

This was clearly forgotten in the Soviet Union. The concept of development became a concept of catching up and defeating the West – the imperialist powers, with no emphasis on other social, pollitical and environmental factors.

No doubt, the Soviet Union was the only socialist country in the world at that stage. No doubt, it was being attacked by 14 different imperialist armies. No doubt, every pain was being taken to see that the Soviet experiment could be sabotaged. Even so, the attempt to gain mastery over nature came with its own cost.

We cannot lose sight of the fact that great economic advance was, in fact, created in the Soviet Union in that time. During the great Depression of 1929-30, the Soviet Union was the only country which not only did not buckle but, actually, advanced. It did get transformed from a backward agricultural economy to one of the greatest industrial and scientific powers in the world. Recently, a bourgeois economist traced Russia's (projected) share of the World's GDP from the 18th century till date. It was found that the only time when it outstripped its share of the world's population was during Stalin's reign. At the height of this time, the GDP reached almost 10% of the world's GDP, whereas the population was only about 4%.

But this is exactly the problem. Are we to go back to GDP to measure development? Was there not an unnecessary need to catch up with the West? Was a new path of development put into motion, or was this only the imperialist path of development with a difference – with a more equitable system of production, distribution and exchange? In short, is our grievance with imperialism only that it exploits men? Or also that it exploits nature?

When presenting his Report on the Fourth Five Year Plan to the Supreme Soviet in 1946, N.A. Voznesensky recalled the task which had been entrusted to him in 1941. The plan, he argued:

'envisages the completion of the building of a classless socialist society and the gradual transition from socialism to communism. It envisages the accomplishment of the basic economic task of the U.S.S.R. namely to overtake and surpass the main capitalist countries economically, as regards the volume of industrial production per head of the population' (Voznesensky,N.,'Five-Year Plan for the Rehabilitation and Development of the National Economy of the U.S.S.R. 1946-1950', Soviet News, London,1946, p.10.)

The Soviet Union of that time was home to many new scientific discoveries. But science also has a class bias. In the sense that science develops in a particular direction, which is determined by class interests. The science that developed was not about how to live in harmony with nature but was about how to gain ascendancy over nature. To given an example, the Zapodveniks were cultivated and their number even grew. But then there was a debate between the scientists about the type of experiments to be done in the Zapodveniks – the attempt to restore the steppes to their imagined prehistoric state gave way to untested silvicultural theories by which different types of plants were tried to be grafted onto different environments. Experiments in acclimatisation began to abound.

Thus we can see that there are two processes on at the same time. In one process, many acts of natural conservation were taken up. Strips of forest were planted to act as wind-breakers for growing grains on the steppes. Crop rotation was introduced. At the same time, slowly but steadily, under the pressure of catching up with the west, the trend was towards taming nature – building massive dams, growing wheat in Siberia, etc. Such projects did have good results for some time but ultimately they extracted their cost in terms of degradation of the environment.

But maintaining the balance with nature was not the only shortcoming in the socialist economic planning of that time, nor can it be. The question will obviously arise – who will decide as to what is the proper balance to be maintained. Here we can link the question of maintaining a balance with nature and the question of establishing democracy in economic planning. The people must be given all power. They alone can decide what is the correct balance with nature. Only the appropriate democratic systems can lead to the appropriate balance with nature.

The same process, of wantonly increasing production in a mad race to catch up with the west, also affected the development of democratic institutions. The Soviet system was introduced as a system for decentralising of power. We must remember that Lenin gave the slogan of "All Power to the Soviets" even when the Bolseviks were a minority in the Soviets and the majority of the Soviets were opposed to the Bolsheviks.

From the 1918 Constitution to that of 1924, of 1936 and of 1977, we can see a growth of centralisation of power. Though the word "Soviets" continued to be used to denote certain elected bodies, we must remember that the original soviets, first formed in 1905 were actually fighting bodies of the workers in their rebellion against the Tsar. Though formally, democracy kept being increased, in content, the real powers were soon in the hands of very centralised bodies.

In China in "On The Ten Major Relationships" Mao had talked of the need to maintain a balance between large industry on the one hand and small industry and agriculture on the other. However, by 1958, one of the major slogans had become "Man Must Conquer Nature". This slogan has continued even after the restoration of capitalism in China and had later been put forward by Jiang Zemin in 1994 during the inauguration of the Three Gorges Dam which was cited as a reaffirmation of this slogan.

To come to a conclusion we can say that without a doubt, both the USSR and China (and even other socialist countries) did put forward a new paradigm of development during the socialist phase. By democratising and socialising the system of production, distribution and exchange, great progress was achieved. Russia, China and other states were pulled out of the backward feudal systems in which they had languished since centuries and made into modern industrial societies. The decisions making process on production, distribution and exchange was made much more democratic. However, this was still not democratic enough. That is the main reason why, ultimately, the system ended up as a system to catch up with imperialism (and to catch up with the USSR in China to a great extent). This prevented it from becoming a radically different system of production, distribution and exchange which would have a form of sustainable development as its base. It is here, ultimately, that we find the root of the germ which led to the restoration of capitalism in both.

When we talk today of an alternative paradigm of development we mean the implementation of true democracy, leading to socialism, in the sphere of production, distribution and exchange. Today, in our country, we are, in fact, moving away from such democracy with each passing day. Take the rampant imposition of nuclear power plants, mines, ports, etc upon the people. Though there is a Panchayat Raj Act to pay lip service to democracy, in fact, the people of the areas to be "developed" are rarely consulted on the question of whether they want such nuclear plants or mines or ports. These are only foisted upon them. We have to develop newer and better methods of people's participation in decision making in production. Today in the age of the internet and with the communication and information "revolutions" this is more possible than ever before in many different ways.

Democracy requires knowledge. It requires fighting against all obscurantist ideas like religion, superstition etc. It requires fighting against the various biases that exist in society in the form of gender, caste, region, language, etc. Today, to an ever greater degree, imperialism uses all these biases for its own aims.

It is not our task to put forward a blueprint about what the new system of democratic decision making will be. That would itself be undemocratic. The new systems will develop in the process of struggle against the exploitation by imperialism. It is our task to be a part of the struggle of the people against such expolitation by imperialism and to expose the system behind that is the root of such exploitation. At the same time, we also have to expose the social democratic forces. Today, even the best thinkers within the CPI and CPI(M) talk only of "going back" to the welfare state and the tenets in our Constitution. This is idealism. History has never allowed anybody to go back. On the other hand, even such thoughts of restoring the democracy at least available during the welfare phase, is opposed by the top leadership of the CPI (M).

What we have to stress is that there can be no going back. We have to go forward to a system with greater democracy and a more robust sense of justice. We have to go to more equitable sharing of natural resources, not only with other humans but will the rest of nature. We can today only put forward broad principles for such a direction to a new paradigm of development :

1. More direct and proximate democratic processes for taking all decisions on production;

2. Free information to all including scientific papers in simple language being made available for all;

3. Fight against religion, superstition, etc. Fight against patriarchy, brahminism, regional and language hegemonism, etc.

4. Sustainable development is the only path – Man as a part of nature and not Man vs Nature as the basis of development.

All these will have to be further developed during the course of struggle. Of course, it is not being suggested that these principles will replace the socialist principles of development of abolition of private property and planned development. These are to be seen in addition to the socialist principles of development which achieved such success in the 20th century.
On the relation between base and superstructure

Alik Chakraborty and Sharmistha Choudhury

The term 'base and superstructure' and also the relation between the two are very important from the Marxist point of view. Social development cannot be analysed without understanding this relation. Thus it is imperative that every Marxist understands it well. Since the inception of Marxism, an overwhelming amount of confusion also encompassed this question. Particularly this debate cropped up in an extremely vigorous way after the great October socialist revolution. The development of the new state is related with the basic and superstructural change of society. And now it is so much important to grasp this because there are numerous ideas are encompassing us. Post modernist thought is one of these thought which actually divert our thought from the general law of development of the society into some individualistic approach. We will discuss all this in brief so that we can have a basic understanding of these subjects. Let us start from what is base and superstructure.

In several of Marx's writings the question has been thoroughly discussed. Hence we shall quote from The Preface to a Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy:

"In the social production of their life, men enter into definite relations that are independent of their will, relations of production which correspond to a definite stage of development of their material productive forces.

The sum total of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real basis on which rises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite form of social consciousness. (Emphasis added.)

The mode of production of material life conditions the social, political and intellectual life process in general.

It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness.

At a certain stage in their development the material productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production or – what is but a legal expression for the same thing – the property relations within which they have been at work hitherto.

From forms of development of the productive forces these relations turn into fetters. Then begins an epoch of social revolution.

With the change of the economic foundation the entire immense superstructure is more or less rapidly transformed.

In considering such transformations, a distinction should always be made between the material transformation of the material conditions of production, which can be determined with the precision of natural science, and the legal, political, religious, aesthetic or philosophical – in short ideological – forms in which men become conscious of the conflict and fight it out.

... We do not judge a period of transformation by its consciousness; on the contrary this consciousness must itself be explained from the contradictions of material life, from the existing conflicts between the social productive forces and the relations of production."

So the idea is that the economic relations of production in a society determine the forms of the state and social consciousness, or, more broadly, all social and ideological structures, such as law, politics, religion, education, art, etc. So, economy is the base and on this all ideological, social, cultural and legal structures are built.

In short we can say that base means the relation of production which develops independent of human will, while the necessary ideological, political, cultural and other structures conform with this base and form the superstructure of a society. There is no big debate over this explanation. The real debate concerns the relation between base and superstructure. There has been a lot of confusion among Marxists regarding the relation between these two since the time of Marx. In several letters Engels warned about this to their followers. From these letters we can get a clearer picture about this relation and the explanation too.

In a letter to J. Bloch, Engels explained in a masterly way: "According to the materialist conception of history, the ultimately determining element in history is the production and reproduction of real life. Other than this neither Marx nor I have ever asserted. Hence if somebody twists this into saying that the economic element is the only determining one, he transforms that proposition into a meaningless, abstract, senseless phrase. The economic situation is the basis, but the various elements of the superstructure — political forms of the class struggle and its results, to wit: constitutions established by the victorious class after a successful battle, etc., juridical forms, and even the reflexes of all these actual struggles in the brains of the participants, political, juristic, philosophical theories, religious views and their further development into systems of dogmas — also exercise their influence upon the course of the historical struggles and in many cases preponderate in determining their form. There is an interaction of all these elements in which, amid all the endless host of accidents (that is, of things and events whose inner interconnection is so remote or so impossible of proof that we can regard it as non-existent, as negligible), the economic movement finally asserts itself as necessary. Otherwise the application of the theory to any period of history would be easier than the solution of a simple equation of the first degree." (Engels to J Bloch : 1890)

In this letter Engels clearly stated that the economic situation is the basis and the various elements such as political forms etc. form the superstructure. He stated that the economic situation is ultimately the determining factor (emphasis added), not the only determining one. All superstructural elements have a determining role in every social change. But the change depends on the ultimate change of the economic situation. So there is a dialectical relation between base and superstructure. Not only does change in economic basis influence superstructural change, at the same time superstructural change also influences economic change. Both base and superstructure have a determining role in social change, but base has the ultimately determining role.

So Engels further said, "We make our history ourselves, but, in the first place, under very definite assumptions and conditions. Among these the economic ones are ultimately decisive. But the political ones, etc., and indeed even the traditions which haunt human minds also play a part, although not the decisive one. The Prussian state also arose and developed from historical, ultimately economic, causes. But it could scarcely be maintained without pedantry that among the many small states of North Germany, Brandenburg was specifically determined by economic necessity to become the great power embodying the economic, linguistic and, after the Reformation, also the religious difference between North and South, and not by other elements as well (above all by its entanglement with Poland, owing to the possession of Prussia, and hence with international political relations — which were indeed also decisive in the formation of the Austrian dynastic power)."

As we know in this planet through evolution humans became the highest developed and conscious compared to all other animals. Humans make their own history. So naturally the conscious role of humans in the development of civilization is inevitable. Without that we cannot even think of civilization. So according to the Marxist point of view production and reproduction of real life is ultimately the determining element of history. From this perspective economy creates the real foundation of human society. As Marx said in the Preface of A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, "the economic structure of society forms the 'real basis' on which 'rises a legal and political superstructure'." Some people create confusion over whether the 'base' is the economy or the forces of production or the relations of production. As we know, the contradiction between productive force and production relation plays a key role in changing society. So we can say that that neither productive force alone nor production relation or others forms the base. The base is the sum total of all of this. So Engels clearly stated that economic situation is the base. And superstructure is, according to Engels, "political forms of the class struggle and its results, to wit: constitutions established by the victorious class after a successful battle, etc., juridical forms, and even the reflexes of all these actual struggles in the brains of the participants, political, juristic, philosophical theories, religious views and their further development into systems of dogmas all of these form the superstructure of the society."

The question of the relation between base and superstructure has become a complex and debatable issue since the time of Marx and Engels. Essentially Marx had to establish its relation to fight against all anarchists and pseudo-socialists. In the time of Marx and Engels all such thinkers were trying to establish the law of social change by evading the basic contradiction within society. So Marx had to establish that the change of society takes place independent of human will. The resolution of the contradiction between productive forces and relation of production causes social change. So he formulated that: "In acquiring new productive forces, men change their mode of production; and in changing their mode of production, in changing their way of earning a living, they change all their social relations. The hand mill gives you society with a feudal lord; the steam mill society with an industrial capitalist." (The Poverty of Philosophy)

A good example can be seen in Engels's book Anti Duhring. Duhring's opinion regarding social change was basically metaphysical. He stated that social change basically depends on force. According to Engels, Duhring's opinion "starts from the principle that the political conditions are the decisive cause of the economic situation and that the reverse relationship represents only a reaction of a second order ... so long as the political grouping is not taken for its own sake, as the starting-point, but is treated merely as a stomach-filling agency, one must have a portion of reaction stowed away in one's mind, however radical a socialist and revolutionary one may seem to be. {D. K. G. 230-31}" (Anti-Duhring)

Against this Engels said, "That is Herr Dühring's theory. In this and in many other passages it is simply set up, decreed, so to speak. Nowhere in the three fat tomes is there even the slightest attempt to prove it or to disprove the opposite point of view. And even if the arguments for it were as plentiful as blackberries, Herr Dühring would give us none of them. For the whole affair has been already proved through the famous original sin, when Robinson Crusoe made Friday his slave. That was an act of force, hence a political act. And inasmuch as this enslavement was the starting-point and the basic fact underlying all past history and inoculated it with the original sin of injustice, so much so that in the later periods it was only softened down and "transformed into the more indirect forms of economic dependence" {D. C. 19}; and inasmuch as "property founded on force" {D. Ph. 242}, which has asserted itself right up to the present day, is likewise based on this original act of enslavement, it is clear that all economic phenomena must be explained by political causes, that is, by force. And anyone who is not satisfied with that is a reactionary in disguise."

Engels analysed the cause of the enslavement of human by human with the help of that example which was actually in Duhring's book to establish that the cause of enslavement of human by human is based on force. How did Crusoe come to enslave Friday? According to the story of Robinson Crusoe, Crusoe had a sword. So Duhring reached the conclusion that by the sword Crusoe enslaved Man Friday. Then Engels said, "But let us look a little more closely at this omnipotent 'force' of Herr Dühring's. Crusoe enslaved Friday "sword in hand" {D. C. 23}. Where did he get the sword? Even on the imaginary islands of the Robinson Crusoe epic, swords have not, up to now, been known to grow on trees, and Herr Dühring provides no answer to this question. If Crusoe could procure a sword for himself, we are equally entitled to assume that one fine morning Friday might appear with a loaded revolver in his hand, and then the whole "force" relationship is inverted. Friday commands, and it is Crusoe who has to drudge. We must apologise to the readers for returning with such insistence to the Robinson Crusoe and Friday story, which properly belongs to the nursery and not to the field of science — but how can we help it? We are obliged to apply Herr Dühring's axiomatic method conscientiously, and it is not our fault if in doing so we have to keep all the time within the field of pure childishness. So, then, the revolver triumphs over the sword; and this will probably make even the most childish axiomatician comprehend that force is no mere act of the will, but requires the existence of very real preliminary conditions before it can come into operation, namely, instruments, the more perfect of which gets the better of the less perfect; moreover, that these instruments have to be produced, which implies that the producer of more perfect instruments of force, vulgo arms, gets the better of the producer of the less perfect instruments, and that, in a word, the triumph of force is based on the production of arms, and this in turn on production in general — therefore, on "economic power", on the "economic situation", on the material means which force has at its disposal."

In this manner Engels repudiated Duhring's theory of force and established that force is the midwife of a new society. And that force is also applied on the basis of political economy. Force can be applied under the condition of the contradiction between productive force and the relation of production.

Marx and Engels had to fight tremendously against those types of views which denied that the ultimately determining factor is economy. So there was a trend to downplay or even ignore the superstructural factors for changes of society and regard the economic cause as only determining factor. Engels admitted that also. He said in the letter to Bloch, "Marx and I are ourselves partly to blame for the fact that the younger people sometimes lay more stress on the economic side than is due to it. We had to emphasise the main principle vis-à-vis our adversaries, who denied it, and we had not always the time, the place or the opportunity to give their due to the other elements involved in the interaction." However, at the same time he also stated, "History is made in such a way that the final result always arises from conflicts between many individual wills, of which each in turn has been made what it is by a host of particular conditions of life. Thus there are innumerable intersecting forces, an infinite series of parallelograms of forces which give rise to one resultant — the historical event. This may again itself be viewed as the product of a power which works as a whole unconsciously and without volition. For what each individual wills is obstructed by everyone else, and what emerges is something that no one willed. Thus history has proceeded hitherto in the manner of a natural process and is essentially subject to the same laws of motion. But from the fact that the wills of individuals — each of whom desires what he is impelled to by his physical constitution and external, in the last resort economic, circumstances (either his own personal circumstances or those of society in general) — do not attain what they want, but are merged into an aggregate mean, a common resultant, it must not be concluded that they are equal to zero. On the contrary, each contributes to the resultant and is to this extent included in it."

Engels even censured his contemporary disciples for going to practice without understanding of theoretical approach. He said, "Unfortunately, however, it happens only too often that people think they have fully understood a new theory and can apply it without more ado from the moment they have assimilated its main principles, and even those not always correctly. And I cannot exempt many of the more recent "Marxists" from this reproach, for the most amazing rubbish has been produced in this quarter, too..."

In spite of repeated warnings by Engels, his contemporary fellow intellectual comrades who later became authorities of Marxism like Kautsky, Plekhanov etc. could not comprehend the actual relation between base and superstructure.

After the death of Marx and Engels a mechanical view of history came to be regarded as 'Marxist' orthodoxy. It was the period when Marxism spread all over the workers' movement in Europe and also in America. At that time leaders of the Second International like Karl Kautsky also succumbed to such type of mechanical idea. For him, "historical development had inevitably produced each mode of production in turn – antiquity, feudalism, capitalism – and would eventually lead to socialism. There was an inevitable ... adaptation of forms of appropriation to forms of production." (Karl Kautsky, Economic Doctrine of Karl Marx) He also said, "The direction of social development does not depend on the use of peaceful methods or violent struggles. It is determined by the progress and needs of the methods of production. If the outcome of violent revolutionary struggles does not correspond to the intentions of the revolutionary combatants, this only signifies that these intentions stand in opposition to the development of the needs of production." That means to him revolutionary movements cannot alter this pattern of development. So the task of revolutionary socialists under modern capitalism was not to try to cut short the historical process, until capitalism was ready to turn into socialism. Although Lenin developed his concept regarding Party and the significance of political struggle with the help of Kautsky's earlier formulation, yet his later formulations like the one quoted above led him to decline to revisionism and be unable to understand the significance of seizure of power in Russia by the Bolsheviks.

Very close to Kautsky's formulations were those of the pioneer Russian Marxist, Plekhanov. He held that the development of production automatically resulted in changes in the superstructure. There is no way human endeavour can block the development of the forces of production. (Emphasis added) 'Social development' is a 'process expressing laws. The final cause of the social relationships lies in the state of the productive forces.' 'Productive forces ... determine ... social relations, i.e. economic relations'. (Plekhanov, Essays in Historical Materialism)

The abovementioned statements of Kautsky and Plekhanov are directly contradictory to what Engels stated. Engels clearly said "...............Thus there are innumerable intersecting forces, an infinite series of parallelograms of forces which give rise to one resultant — the historical event." And "Thus history has proceeded hitherto in the manner of a natural process and is essentially subject to the same laws of motion. But from the fact that the wills of individuals — each of whom desires what he is impelled to by his physical constitution and external, in the last resort economic, circumstances". Clearly, according to Engels, development takes place not automatically with the development of productive forces. Rather, there are innumerable factors accruing in society which obviously influence and alter the economic condition. We know that the socialist revolution cannot happen without superstructural change at first. At a certain stage of development of production, productive forces come into conflict with the relation of production and the change of the relation of production becomes inevitable. In that situation if political development of society is compatible with this contradiction then that change takes place. This political development is ultimately dependent on the economic situation but is not automatically created through economic situation. Political / ideological movement and the position of all forces active in society create this condition along with the economic conflict or situation. So, the objective situation and subjective preparation both are determining factors for every social change. But the 'theory of automatic development' confined the leaders of the Second International to the economic struggle only and they took the line of waiting eternally for the majority of workers in society to come forward before going for socialist revolution. Stalin pointed out correctly in his book Foundation of Leninism, "...concerning the conditions for the seizure of power by the proletariat. The opportunists assert that the proletariat cannot and ought not to take power unless it constitutes a majority in the country. No proofs are brought forward; for there are no proofs, either theoretical or practical, that can bear out this absurd thesis.

Let us assume that this is so, Lenin replies to the gentlemen of the Second International; but suppose a historical situation has arisen (a war, an agrarian crisis, etc.) in which the proletariat, constituting a minority of the population, has an opportunity to rally around itself the vast majority of the labouring masses; why should it not take power then?"

History has proved this every time. If economic situation is favourable for social change but political preparation has not matured then revolution cannot take place. We know that the world situation was favourable for socialist revolution at the time of the First World War but the revolution was successful only in Russia. Why? It was not only because economic crisis had broken over Russia, but also because at the same time there was a revolutionary party capable of leading the proletariat. These two aspects together were capable of breaking the weakest link of imperialism in Russia and primarily the superstructural change took place, that is political power was seized. The same happened at the time of the Chinese revolution also. After the Second World War there was a possibility for revolution in many colonial and semi-colonial countries. A good example is India itself. But the political and ideological factors were responsible for the failure of those revolutions. We know that if the Communist Party of India hadn't mechanically followed the line of people's war at the time of Second World War at that juncture history may be different.

So we can say that historical materialism does not see human activity as a passive reflection of the economic situation. Human activity can also change the economic course of society.

Economic determinism was properly fought out by Lenin at the time of the great October Revolution and the revolutionary movement went ahead defeating economism, opportunism, pacifism, liquidationism and like trends at that time. But when the revolutionary movements were to some extent on a down curve and in the eve of socialist reconstruction in USSR, such mechanical trends came back again in the communist movement. There was a pressing need in Russia for rapid development of productive force within a short time to develop socialist reconstruction and to save revolution. Bolshevik Party under the leadership of Stalin boldly faced this challenge and made great headway in socialist construction. But while emphasising the development of production, there came another tendency – that superstructural change will automatically happen with the development of productive forces and change with the changing production relations. But it is not easy to drive away human practices of thousands of years. So there must be a conscious effort to change cultural, ideological and political relations continuously. It is a continuous process. We know that revolution is a continuous process which has to change not only production relations, but also the entire superstructure. Though Stalin never said or wrote that superstructural change is not necessary – he only said that development of production and productive force is a necessary condition for socialist construction – yet he failed to adequately spot the danger of development of bureaucracy in the superstructure that came with the speedy development of productive forces. For speedy development of productive forces some bureaucratic development could not be avoided in a country like Russia but those problems were not sufficiently addressed and could not be resolved afterwards. At the same time there was a problem to develop the form of state so that it transcended the bourgeois state in all respects. Regarding the question of democracy, active participation of people in the state activity was not properly dealt with at that time and also after the victory in the Second World War. It was in this lacuna that Krushchev was able to capture state power on the behalf of the exploiting class just by capturing the leadership of the party and state. This phenomenon needs greater discussion elsewhere. We have only mentioned it here to show how important the understanding between relation of base and superstructure is. Mao Tse Tung also tried to resolve these problems in the course of the Chinese revolution. He also noted that the overemphasis on economic development in USSR and problems of Stalin's thought regarding this. He criticized Stalin's view regarding economic problems of USSR. On this question he mentioned that the superstructural question had not been properly addressed. He said, "Capitalism leaves behind it the commodity form, which we must still retain for the time being. Commodity exchange laws governing value play no regulating role in our production. This role is played by planning, by the great leap forward under planning, by politics-in-command. Stalin speaks only of the production relations, not of the superstructure, nor of the relationship between superstructure and economic base." (Concerning Economic Problems Of Socialism In The USSR)

Mao made some developments regarding this question. The call of Cultural Revolution was also a step forward. But still this problem was not adequately resolved. The relation between ideology, politics and economy and in short base and superstructure is a very big question in our contemporary situation also. Many problems in the communist movements have cropped up due to lack of proper understanding of this problem. In intellectual sphere there are numerous postmodernist thought are making hindrance to develop revolutionary thought and the thought which depend on class struggle. With the declining of communist movement these thoughts have encompassing not only reactionary intellectuals but progressive intellectuals also. These thoughts are actually negate the basic laws of development of society and developed a pragmatic individualistic attitude to analyse the social development. For that they primarily negated the actual relation of base and superstructure. For instance let us talk on the structuralist and post sstructuaralist notion. There are many problems in understanding and practice to comprehend the relation between form and content, class and caste, class and gender etc. In cultural movement there developed two extreme trends. One is that form is the most important thing and content is secondary and another is content is everything form is nothing. Between the relation of class and caste there has evolved the same problem. Once there was the understanding that through the class struggle caste, gender and other problems would be automatically solved. That is extreme and erroneous. Another extreme is that caste struggle is primary and sometimes the faulty notion that in Indian context class is caste has also cropped up. On the question of gender also this problem is very much prevalent. There is an overt and covert notion within the communist movement that gender discrimination will automatically be abolished through the abolition of class. Such notion results from the failure to realize that the movement against gender discrimination can also influence and speed up class struggle and in that sense it is a part of class struggle too. These types of mechanical attitude are very much prevalent in the movement. So we have to give proper attention to comprehend the dialectical relation between base and superstructure.
1. Introduction

The fundamental concepts of Marxist political economy are evolved from Marx's own analysis of the specific historical character of capitalism as a social system that follows feudalism and precedes socialism. To this day nobody, including his vehement opponents, has challenged Marx's stature as the most powerful and yet the most scientific analyst and critic of capitalism. By applying the laws of dialectics and the theory of knowledge including that of historical materialism developed by him to the analysis of political economy, Marx infused the specific social content that was completely drained off from economic theory by bourgeois economists of his time. While the latter always argued in terms of the harmony of interests under capitalism, Marx's conception of the whole economic and social life in terms of a conflict of interests arising from the private ownership of the means of production enabled him to foresee such fundamental and irresolvable issues under capitalism such as unemployment, antagonistic conditions of distribution, under-consumption, periodic crises, etc., much earlier than his contemporaries.

However, political economy (or economics as we know it today) had already become a branch of knowledge in the seventeenth century itself during the bourgeoisie's struggle against feudalism. In the period of mercantile capitalism, the bourgeois economists confined their attention to trade and money circulation. Later, bourgeoisie's struggle with the feudalism for economic and political supremacy convinced them that the decisive sphere of political economy was production. Gradually, bourgeois economists abandoned treating the sphere of circulation and trade as the main source of wealth accumulation and began to see it in production. This immensely contributed to the development of political economy. For instance, the founders of bourgeois political economy, Adam Smith and David Ricardo (classical economists), the direct predecessors of Marx in political economy took the production of material wealth as their subject. As such, they were also compelled to recognize the decisive role of cooperation among people in the creation of wealth, which led them to attach great significance to the division of labour in society. But they were unable to reveal the historical character of production process as they could not penetrate in to the essence of the process of production and considered capitalist production an eternal and natural form of production. They confused social phenomena that reflected the economic relations among people with the relationships between things that enter into production. For instance, by capital they understood not the relation between people in the process of production, but the tool or implements used. This confusion of social relations with things created vagueness in understanding political economy itself.

2. Revolution in Political Economy brought about by Marxism

It was left to Marx, along with Engels, to overcome this bourgeois limitation and evolve a truly scientific approach to political economy. Backed by the philosophy of understanding the historical process, and applying the method of dialectical and historical materialism, Marx penetrated into the subject-matter of political economy and revealed the laws of economic life. He showed that the process of production is a contradictory unity of two aspects: a) the relationship between people and nature; b) the relations that people enter into when they interact with nature. But to reach this conclusion, Marx had to make a detailed analysis of the labour process itself.

In the simplest sense, labour process is the conscious and purposeful activity of people directed to modify and adapt natural object to their needs by employing means of production which includes:

Objects of labour, i.e., natural substances on which people act. A raw material is an object of labour that has already been subjected to labour and is intended for further processing;

Instruments of labour, i.e., the things that people place between themselves and the objects of labour and with the help of which they exert a direct effect on the objects of labour. In a broader sense all material conditions of work including land, machines and infrastructural facilities are also instruments of labour.

The means of production and the labour power of people setting them in motion compose the productive forces, which always exist and function within a definite set of production relations. The main productive force is the labourer whose conscious action is the decisive element. The productive forces reflect the relationship between people and nature.

In the production process, people have to enter into relations with one another or into relations of production. In order to produce, people must have means of production, which may belong to individuals, or to groups of people, or to society as a whole. Those who own or control the means of production also own what is produced. The relations among people in the production process are determined primarily by who owns the means of production. Thus, according to Marx, ownership of the means of production underlies the social relations between people at all stages of social development. In the early stages of the evolution of society, the productive forces were extremely primitive and people could only use the means of production collectively. Later, when it became possible to use means of production on an individual basis by a single person, private property in the means of production emerged. And when the means of production reached such a level of development that the whole production process took on a social character, the need arose to establish social ownership of the means of production.

Marx and Engels were the first in history to demonstrate that there are specific social relations directly connected with the production process. These relations of production which is integrally linked up with the sum total of human relations constitute the essence of Marxist political economy. The historically determined definite economic relations that establish in the process of material production inevitably influence the social, political and cultural processes. At the same time, those relations among people apart from those directly connected with production are taken up by other branches of science such as culture, sociology, anthropology, law, etc. and by other natural and technical sciences; but relations of production in terms of their interconnection with productive forces are exclusively studied by political economy. At the same, it should be reiterated that the production relations are not confined solely to the relationships between people directly engaged in production. While production plays the determining role, it is closely interconnected with distribution, exchange and consumption as a single process of social reproduction and hence the institutions and arrangements connected with them also come under the scope of political economy. However, in the ultimate analysis, distribution, exchange and consumption depends on the mode of production and the corresponding social relations under which production takes place

3. Mode of production

Marxist political economy always analyses production relations in their interconnection with the productive forces and visualizes their most effective use through appropriate transformation in the former. In a nutshell, unity of and struggle between the productive forces and the relations of production defines the mode of production which predetermines the whole structure of society. According to Marx, the contradiction between the productive forces and the production relations sets the stage for a leap of the mode of production to another stage as this contradiction is the motive force of social transformation. In his preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, while unraveling the materialistic interpretation of history, Marx vividly explains the crucial significance of the mode of production in social transformation thus:

In the social production which men carry on, they enter into definite relations that are independent of their will; these relations of production correspond to a definite stage of development of their material powers of production. The sum total of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society—the real foundation on which rise legal and political superstructures and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness. The mode of production in material life determines the general character of the social, political, and spiritual processes of life. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but, on the contrary, their social existence determines their consciousness. At a certain stage of their development, the material forces of production in society come in conflict with the existing relations of production, or—what is but a legal expression for the same thing—with the property relations within which they had been at work before. From forms of development of the forces of production these relations turn into their fetters. There begins the era of social revolution. The changes in the economic foundation lead sooner or later to the transformation of the entire immense superstructure. In studying such transformations, it is always necessary to distinguish between the material transformation of the economic conditions of production, which can be determined with the precision of natural science, and the legal, political, religious, artistic or philosophic—in short, ideological forms in which men become conscious of this conflict and fight it out. Just as one does not judge an individual by what he thinks about himself, so one cannot judge such a period of transformation by its consciousness, but, on the contrary, this consciousness must be explained from the contradictions of material life, from the conflict existing between the social forces of production and the relations of production. No social order is ever destroyed before all the productive forces for which it is sufficient have been developed, and new superior relations of production never replace older ones before the material conditions for their existence have matured within the framework of old society. Mankind thus inevitably sets itself only such tasks as it is able to solve, since closer examination will always show that the problem arises only when the material conditions for its solution are already present or at least in the course of formation. In broad outline, the Asiatic, ancient, feudal and modern bourgeois modes of production may be designated as epochs marking progress in the economic development of society. The bourgeois mode of production is the last antagonistic form of the social process of production—antagonistic not in the sense of individual antagonism but of an antagonism that emanates from the individuals' social conditions of existence—but the productive forces developing within bourgeois society create also the material conditions for a solution of this antagonism. (Moscow edition, 1970, p.21)

Marx's interpretation of the mode of production does neither mean any kind of economic determinism in which the technique of production determines everything else nor that people are exclusively motivated by economic considerations. It only implies the real foundation on which the legal, religious, cultural and political superstructures are built up. For instance, under capitalist mode of production, the labour- capital relation, its most characteristic feature, is expressed in the form of exchange relations which is as important as the technique of production. Including this, when the existing property relations and the legal and political superstructure become fetters of production, they must be changed through a forcible social revolution.

A crucial point to be stressed in this context is that when Marx put forward the materialistic interpretation of history and the mode of production analysis ranging from primitive communism to capitalism, he was very critical of mechanically applying the same to non-European social formations and always upheld the cardinal importance of the objective historical analysis of the concrete situations in each social formation. It was in relation to this understanding that he devised the renowned analytical category, Asiatic mode of production, taking special note, especially, of the role of caste in the social formation of South Asia. In his books, German Ideology, Poverty of Philosophy, A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, Capital (mainly in Volume 1) and in his articles in New York Daily Tribune pertaining to India, Marx has taken special attention to mention on the Asiatic mode of production with reference to caste as sufficient proof of his approach of warding off any mechanical approach or the so called euro-centrism while applying Marxist theory.

4. The Capitalist Mode of Production

Countries which had gone through classical capitalist development are those where transition from feudalism to capitalism took place through bourgeois revolutions. Starting from the fourteenth to the seventeenth centuries, the foundations of feudalism were shaken by many violent peasant uprisings in the countries of Western Europe. The bourgeoisie who began to lead the struggle of the peasants and urban poor against feudal oppression since the seventeenth century effectively utilized the results of the revolutionary gains in its own class interests and substituted capitalist exploitation for feudal oppression, though vestiges of serf exploitation of peasants continued in many capitalist countries.

Capitalist relations of production took shape over a long time in the womb of the feudal system. During the later stages of feudalism, along with the techniques of agriculture, craftsmen's tools and methods of processing raw materials improved. The use of iron plough and other metal tools necessitated great changes in the methods of smelting and working iron. The invention of the compass and of geographical maps had produced a real revolution in shipping and navigation. The invention and spread of paper making and printing accelerated the development of culture along with exchange and trade. Further, evolution of the social division of labour and growth of production led to strengthening of economic relationships between various regions of a country and the growth of national markets. And, the development of navigation and foreign trade laid the foundation for the formation of the world market.

With the growth of foreign trade and expansion of world market, craft production was not in a position to satisfy the growing demand for commodities. This greatly accelerated the stratification of petty producers and the transition to large-scale capitalist production based on the exploitation of hired labour. Lenin showed that the transition from domestic and handicrafts industry to capitalist production in the towns mainly took place in two ways: 1. A few so called masters among the craftsmen grew wealthy and became capitalist entrepreneurs, while the bulk of the craftsmen, journeymen and apprentices were deprived of the means of production and became wage workers. 2. Merchant capital after subordinating craft industry and ruining it, transformed into industrial capital. In brief, the process of merchant becoming entrepreneur and craftsmen becoming wage earners transformed mercantile capitalism into industrial capitalism. In agriculture too, a similar process of disintegration led to the development of capitalist relations in countries like Britain. That is, the growth of commodity production and development of money relations speeded up the differentiation of peasantry into several subcategories. While majority became impoverished and ruined, a small emerged as kulaks or rich peasants or usurers who became owners of big farms and big money lenders, paving the way for the emergence of capitalist agriculture in the womb of feudal system.

All these processes that led to the emergence of capitalism were summed up by Marx through what is often called the primitive accumulation of capital. Its essence was the forcible expropriation of peasants' farms by big landlords transforming the former into proletarians or wage workers, wealth accumulation in the hands of a few by depriving the majority of the means of production, plunder of colonies, slave trade and so on, which according to Marx was accompanied by brutal coercion inscribed "in the annals of mankind in letters of blood and fire." (Capital, Vol. I, 1975, p. 669)

5. Basic Outline of Marxist Political Economy

The preliminary Marxist edifice of political economy based on Marx's analysis of the capitalist system may be drawn as follows.

1. The Labour Theory of Value. In simple terms, according to Marx, the labour embodied in a commodity appears as its value. Value is the social content inherent in all commodities that allows us to equate them. Commodities as the products of human labour are produced for the market. When two different commodities are exchanged, the same amount of abstract (general) human labour is exchanged.

2. Socially Necessary Labour. In determining the exchange value of a commodity, only socially necessary labour counts. Labour is socially necessary when it is of average skill and intensity, uses modern instruments of production, and produces a commodity which is in demand. Along with 'present' labour, 'past' labour needed to produce the raw materials and the machines used in commodity production is also socially necessary.

3. Labour and labour power. After making a distinction between labour and labour power, Marx pointed out that often the value created by labour or value of the product of labour is much greater than the value of labour power(wage), the latter being equal to the labour time required for the production of the means of subsistence of the worker including food, clothing, medicine, shelter, etc., which also is socially necessary. The worker's ability to create a value greater than that of his labour power through the labour process is the result of the development of the productive forces of society. Under capitalism, like any other commodity, labour power itself has become a commodity being bought in the market at a price. According to Marx, labour power becomes a commodity under two conditions: 1.The worker must be personally free and have the right to freely dispose his own labour power; 2.The worker must be deprived of the means of production and means of existence and therefore be compelled to sell his labour power. These conditions exist in capitalism.

4. Surplus value. The difference between the value of labour and the value of labour power is defined as the surplus value. For instance, a capitalist who has bought 8 hours (whole day's) labour pays a wage equal to 2 hours labour which is the exchange value of labour power in the market. But the exchange value of commodities produced by the labourer is equal to 8 labour hours. That is, the labourer produces 6 hours worth of commodities over and above the commodities and services needed to cover his means of subsistence. This is the surplus value, the source of profit for capitalists. The capitalists can realize surplus value only by entering into the sphere of commodity circulation or exchange relations in the market, constantly buying means of production and labour power and selling commodities produced. In the preface to the first volume of Capital, Marx wrote that the ultimate aim of his work was to lay bare the economic law of modern society which is the law of surplus value. He said: "Production of surplus value is the absolute law of this mode of production."

5. Constant capital and variable capital. The value of a commodity consists of three parts: constant capital, variable capital and surplus value. Constant capital is the value of whatever part of the machinery that is used up in the production process (depreciation) and of the raw materials. This part of a commodity's value is called constant capital because it remains constant and does not produce surplus value for the capitalist. Variable capital is the value of labour power used; it is called variable capital because it produces surplus value. In other words, that part of the capital which the capitalist advances for the purchase of labour power increases in magnitude in the labour process creating surplus value. In Capital, constant capital is symbolized by c, variable capital by v and surplus value by s. Thus the total value of a commodity equals c+v+s.

6. Rate of surplus value. The rate of surplus value or the rate of exploitation is the ratio of surplus value to variable capital (s÷v). Only a part of the whole labour day (8 hours) is needed to produce the means of subsistence for the labourer. If this part is assumed to be 2 hours, the rate of exploitation s÷v is 6÷2×100=300 percent. According to Marx, to determine the degree of exploitation of labour power, the surplus value must not be related to all the capital (money) advanced by capitalists, but to the variable capital alone as only it produces surplus value. Under capitalist mode of production, the degree of exploitation or rate of surplus value increases in accordance with the development of productive forces and deterioration in the conditions of work.

7. Organic composition of capital. The organic composition of capital is the ratio of constant capital to variable capital (c÷v). Due to technological advancement, the organic composition of capital undergoes a continuous change in favour of constant capital, leading to continuous increase in the degree of exploitation.

8. Profit and rate of profit. The capitalist driven by profit motive spends money (M) on labour, transforms labour into commodities(C), and sells these commodities for a larger amount of money (M'). The difference between M' and M is the surplus value, the result of exploitation. The rate of profit is the ratio of surplus value to total capital [s÷(c+v)]. As the equation implies, the rate of profit is determined by the rate of exploitation (s÷v) and by the organic composition of capital (c÷v). By reducing the labour time required for the production of workers' subsistence, the capitalists can increase the rate of profit. The usual methods for this are lengthening of the working day and introduction of new machinery.

9. Falling rate of profit. Since the organic composition of capital undergoes a continuous change in favour of constant capital (which does not produce surplus value), the rate of profit must have the tendency to fall as only the variable part of total capital produces surplus value. This is an inherent contradiction of capitalism

10. Effect of machinery on the rate of exploitation. The increasing application of machinery and technology increases the rate of exploitation, because it now takes less time to produce labourers' means of subsistence; besides, these means can now be earned by several members of the family as the new technology permits the use of even workers of slight physical strength. Technology also helps the capitalist to lengthen the labour day and to increase the intensity of work.

11. Reserve army of labour. One important effect of technological advancement and the increasing application of machinery to production is the growth in unemployment and underemployment making substantial portion of the labour superfluous. Marx called it the reserve army of labour. It enables the capitalist to exert a continuous downward pressure on wages and to increase the rate of exploitation.

12. Antagonistic conditions of distribution. According to Marx, the social character of production and the private nature of its appropriation inevitably lead to a reduction in the consuming power of the masses to the minimum. That is, the productive power of the economy finds itself at variance with the narrow basis of consumption. In other words, overproduction and underconsumption as dialectical opposites are manifestations of the antagonistic conditions of distribution leading to crises as integral to capitalism.

13. Periodical crises and breakdown. Change in the organic composition of capital in favour of constant capital, growth of the reserve army, underconsumption, etc., leading to contraction of the market will accelerate the tendency of the rate of profit to fall. Smaller capitalists are eliminated and capital is concentrated in fewer hands and increased rate of exploitation raises profits for the surviving capitalists. This follows a period of increased accumulation and increased demand for labour power. But rising wages cut again into the surplus value and the vicious circle of downtrend repeats on a higher and more intensified level. As the proletariat grows, real wages and standard of living fall amidst shrinking of the capitalist class or concentration of wealth in a few hands. The condition is ripe for an overthrow of the existing property relations or the antagonistic conditions of distribution that turn into fetters of production through a social revolution led by the proletariat.

6. Imperialism and Development of Marxist Political Economy by Lenin

Marx's analysis of capitalism had taken place in the era of so called industrial capitalism before it has run its full course. However, while dealing with the capitalist issues such as underconsumption, realization crisis (inability to realize surplus value), etc., Marx was fully aware of the fact that capitalism could not sustain within the boundaries of a nation. For instance, when the Communist Manifesto puts the question, "How does the bourgeoisie get over these crises?", an implicit reference to imperialism is there. For, the answer to that question points to "the quest of new markets" outside the nation. On account of the antagonistic conditions of distribution, since the total social product cannot be disposed of within the country, surplus can be realized only through conquering foreign markets. During the industrial capitalist era itself, the colonial strategy was in conformity with this capitalist necessity. To be precise, capitalism was born and developed as a world system from the very beginning and the whole course of capitalist development is influenced by this inherent tendency. Marx being the first to unravel the laws of motion of capitalism was very emphatic in pinpointing this aspect. He said: "The specific task of bourgeois society is the establishment of a world market, at least in outline, and of production based upon this world market." (Marx and Engels, Correspondence 1846-1895, International Publishers, New York, 1934, p. 117)

However, by the last quarter of the nineteenth century and at the turn of the twentieth century, fundamental changes took place in the political economy of capitalism. The new phenomena in the development of capitalism required an exhaustive analysis from the position of Marxism. It was in the process of this task that Lenin, Continuing the works of Marx and Engels Lenin took up this task and formulated the political economy of imperialism as a guide to the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat. Lenin said: "Imperialism emerged as the development and direct continuation of the fundamental characteristics of capitalism in general. But capitalism became capitalist imperialism only at a definite and very high stage of its development, when certain of its fundamental characteristics began to change into their opposites, when the features of the epoch of transition from capitalism to a higher social and economic system had taken shape and revealed themselves all along the line. Economically, the main thing in this process is the displacement of capitalist free competition to capitalist monopoly." (Unless otherwise stated, all the quotations in this section are from Lenin's Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism)The process in the formation of monopolies and transition to imperialism is explained by Lenin thus: "1) 1860-70, the highest stage, the apex of development of free competition; monopoly is in the barely discernible, embryonic stage. 2) After the crisis of 1873, a lengthy period of development of cartels; but they are still the exception. They are not yet durable. They are still a transitory phenomenon. 3) The boom at the end of the nineteenth century and the crisis of 1900-03. Cartels became one of the foundations of the whole economic life. Capitalism has been transformed into imperialism."

Lenin's definition of imperialism incorporating its essential five characteristic features is already well-known: "1) the concentration of production and capital has developed to such a high stage that it has created monopolies which play a decisive role in economic life; 2) the merging of bank capital with industrial capital and the creation, on the basis of this "finance capital" of a financial oligarchy; 3) the export of capital as distinguished from the export of commodities acquires exceptional importance; 4) the formation of international monopolist capitalist combines which share the world among themselves; and 5) territorial division of the whole world among the biggest capitalist powers is completed. Imperialism is capitalism at that stage of development in which dominance of monopolies and finance capital has established itself; in which the export of capital has acquired pronounced importance; in which the division of the world among the international trusts has begun; in which the division of all territories of the globe among the biggest capitalist powers has been completed." All these features are only different forms of the basic characteristic of imperialism - the domination of monopolies. Therefore, imperialism is monopoly capitalism. This transition from competitive capitalism to monopoly capitalism or imperialism was prepared by the whole course of development of the productive forces and production relations of capitalism.

The major scientific and technical discoveries and inventions that took place by the second half of the nineteenth and early twentieth century significantly speeded up the process of concentration of production in different lines of industry. The discovery and practical applications of new methods of making steel, the invention of new types of metal-working machine tools, hard alloys, new types of prime movers such as steam turbines, internal combustion and diesel engines, motor vehicles and later aero-planes and the industrial application of electricity revolutionized production. These advances in production techniques gave rise to structural changes in industry so that light industries, following organic changes in the composition of capital, gave way to heavy industry. The new productive forces necessitated large-scale production. The introduction of new means of production called for larger amounts of capital than even the biggest capitalists had at their disposal. To be successful, the capitalists had to use other people's capital on credit. This led to the development of joint-stock form of company ownership by which a few capitalists could control and manipulate the hard-earned income and savings of the vast majority of working people in the country. Thus the operation of the law of concentration of production led to a small number of big and very big undertakings coming to occupy dominant position in each line of production in every developed capitalist country.

As enterprises became larger, competition became fiercer and more complex. The enormous costs involved in competition between major capitalists, the loss of profit, the risk of ruin and difficulty in marketing pushed the big capitalists into agreements and alliances. Cartels, syndicates, trusts, and groups became the forms of monopoly associations for buying raw materials and other inputs of production, to set monopoly prices, and extracting monopoly super-profits. Lenin noted that competition now meant unprecedentedly brutal suppression of enterprise, energy, and bold initiative and the substitution of "financial fraud, nepotism, servility on the upper rungs of the social ladder". Secret agreements of a few giants against the rest became the order of the day instead of open competition. Thus imperialism is a dialectical unity of two opposites; monopoly and competition. Monopolies dominate the economy, but far from eliminating competition, they make it fiercer and more complex and alter its form. As Lenin emphasized, monopoly oppression and exploitation of the broad masses of people "becomes a hundred times heavier, more burdensome and intolerable."

Monopolies also develop and spread in other spheres of the operation of capital. Lenin wrote: "We shall only have a very insufficient, incomplete, and poor notion of the real power and the significance of modern monopolies if we do not take into consideration the part played by the banks." Thus concentration of production in industry initiated similar processes in the banking sphere. Large industrial, commercial, railway and other undertakings were unable to invest their free resources in small banks, since the authorized capital of the latter was not sufficient to guarantee the safety of large deposits, and small banks did not have adequate resources to grant credit to large undertakings. The position of the big banks in the economy, therefore, strengthened while that of small banks weakened. Thus the concentration and centralization of banking had led by the end of the nineteenth century to the same result as in industry. Lenin noted: "Among the few banks which remain at the head of all capitalist economy as a result of the process of concentration, there is naturally to be observed an increasingly marked tendency towards monopolistic agreements, towards a bank trust." At the same time, industrial monopolies were not content to remain as passive partners of giant banks. They also became the co-owners of the banks, which was made simpler by the banks becoming joint-stock enterprises. Many major industrial monopolies set up their own banks and established personal links with the monopolist banks in which they were most interested, introducing their own directors on to the supervisory councils and boards of these banks. The result was a close interweaving of bank and industrial capital.

Thus coalescence or interweaving of the capital of major banking monopolies with that of industrial monopolies led to the emergence of what Lenin called "finance capital". Consequently, it is monopoly industrial capital merging with monopoly banking capital. With the formation of finance capital, a financial oligarchy also emerged in imperialist states. Composed of a small group of financial magnates that dominates the economic and political life of imperialist states, this financial oligarchy began to control the home and foreign policy of them. The financial oligarchy grows in strength through their expanding connections with the state apparatus and its numerous organs dealing with home and foreign affairs.

Imperialism is the universal system of the domination of finance capital and the export of capital is one of the ways in which it exercises this domination. Of course, export of capital from one country to another had been there in the pre-monopoly stage of the development of capitalism, but it began to play a role of paramount importance in international economic relations only under imperialism. To quote Lenin: "Typical of the old capitalism when free competition had undivided sway, was the export of goods. Typical of the latest stage of capitalism when monopolies rule, is the export of capital." Lenin viewed the export of capital in relation to the general laws governing the development of capitalism into imperialism. In the monopoly stage advanced capitalist countries experience an enormous "super abundance of capital." This "surplus" of capital was relative as it could have easily been used to develop a number of backward industries and even agriculture which, according to Lenin, "today frightfully lags behind industry everywhere". Lenin writes: "As long as capitalism remains what it is, surplus capital will be utilized not for the purpose of raising the standard of living of the masses in a given country, for this would mean a decline in profits for the capitalists, but for the purpose of increasing profits by exporting capital abroad to the backward countries. In these backward countries, profits are usually high, for capital is scarce, the price of land is relatively low, wages are low, raw materials are cheap. The possibility of exporting capital is created by the fact that a number of backward countries have already been drawn into world capitalist intercourse; main railways have either been or are being built, the elementary conditions for industrial development have been created, etc. The necessity of exporting capital arises from the fact that in a few countries capitalism has become "overripe" and (owing to the backward stage of agriculture and the impoverished state of the market) capital cannot find a field for "profitable investment".

Usually, the fields into which capital is exported are rather government-guaranteed loans for various kinds of public works, railroads, public utilities, exploitation of natural resources and trade. The activities and spheres to which capital is exported are such that they do not compete with commodity exports from the capital-exporting imperialist country. Capital export therefore leads to a very one-sided or lop-sided 'development' of the economies of backward countries. Though if at all a native bourgeoisie emerges, being tied in several ways to the imperialist bourgeoisie it is incapable of developing native industries on account of formidable obstacles. At the same time, the destruction of handicraft industry by cheap manufactured imports from imperialist countries drives a larger proportion of native population on to the land. The interests of broad masses of people are sacrificed to the needs of capital in imperialist countries. In brief, under monopoly capitalism the right conditions had been established for export of capital and all-round financial exploitation of the people of the world by a handful of imperialist states and their monopolies.

Another aspect pinpointed by Lenin is the concentration and centralization of production. The concentration of production has reached such a degree that a significant share of total world production in most important lines of industry is concentrated in the hands of the biggest national monopolies. This has become the rule in a number of industries such as steel, oil, railway, automobiles, electricity, metallurgy, etc. Once a few monopolies in different capitalist countries begin to play the decisive role in the production of any particular commodity, competition between them becomes particularly fierce and destructive. At the same time agreements between them became possible and a tendency develops for international monopolies to be formed, which consolidates their dominance of the world capitalist market. As Lenin said, "this is a new stage of world concentration of capital and production, incomparably higher than the preceding stages."

According to Lenin, this trend inevitably moves to the formation of international monopolies or super monopolies. The export of capital and the expansion of the foreign economic links and spheres of colonial influence of the biggest national monopolies, resulting in the internationalization of capital and economic relations, played a vast role in laying the foundations of the development of international monopolies. The first international monopolies had developed in the most highly concentrated branches of production in the 1860s to 1870s, but they became a typical feature of capitalism only at the turn of the century. Based on available figures, Lenin penetratingly analyzed their rise and showed that their formation and economic division of the world, was one of the most important features of imperialism. He noted 40 such international monopolies in 1897 whose number rose to roughly 100 in 1910. The outcome of the domination of these international monopolies is stagnation and decay. Monopolies cut production, limit trade and keep important scientific inventions and discoveries secret. The international unions of monopolists, Lenin said, actively push the governments of imperialist countries into military conflicts. Immediate post-world war I history has proved this evaluation of Lenin as correct when the international alliances of monopolies collaborated in putting Germany's arms industry back on its feet thereby helping the ascendancy of fascism leading to World War

7. Change in the Nature of Crisis and Response to It

According to Marx, economic crises lie in the very essence of the capitalist mode of production and the process of accumulation, i.e., appropriation of surplus value. But the forms in which crises manifest differ according to concrete conditions. The necessary conditions for crises were created in the formative stage of capitalism with the emergence of commodity production as the general form of the production of material wealth where money has been converted into capital. Marx has vividly explained how the contradiction between money and commodity, disruption between the acts of purchase and sale, gap between receipts and payments, etc. culminate in the irresolvable contradiction between production and consumption under capitalism. The development of these contradictions and disproportions inherent in capitalism results in the expansion of production coming to a halt and then leading to a fall, and finally a crisis. Often starting as a marketing crisis, the capitalist crisis hits trade, industry, agriculture, and the monetary and credit system. According to Marx, capitalism can only develop cyclically, i.e., by way of continuous alterations between periods of increasing production and periods of decline and stagnation. Every crisis gives capitalists the opportunity to intensity exploitation of workers by reducing wages and dictating worse conditions of work. At the same time, every crisis prompts capitalists to introduce cost-reducing new technologies, techniques and organization of production and renewed capital investment. However, since such cost-reducing avenues are accessible only to the big capital, successive crises lead to concentration of production and capital in the hands of big capitalists. In sum, a crisis dictates the need for renewed capital investment, which ensures the way out of the crisis and simultaneously creates the material prerequisites for the next crisis. Marx had pointed out how crises form the "material basis" for the starting point of new capital investment and next turnover cycle under industrial capitalism. (Capital, Vol. II, p. 189)

But as Lenin analyzed, the nature of capitalist crisis itself has undergone basic changes under imperialism. Finance capital or imperialism, as Lenin unraveled, was the outcome of an intense process of concentration and centralization of capital following the prolonged economic recession of the last quarter of the nineteenth century. From then on, together with industrial capital accumulation, financiers began to play the dominant role and a larger share of the profits from production started flowing to finance capitalists. The outcome was a relative decline in production and an upward trend in prices and rising levels of speculative profit. On account of this growing trend of financial speculation, and stagnation in production and employment relative to pre-monopoly capitalism, crises under imperialism have assumed fundamentally new features. The deep seated depressive forces that had been implanted with the advent of imperialism though could be camouflaged for a time through World War I, the crisis violently came out in the form of the Depression of the 1930s. Based on his study on imperialism, in a Letter sent to the Executive Committee of the Comintern in 1920, Lenin could predict this chronic and irreversible crisis of imperialism as the "dissolution" and break-up of the whole system of imperialist world economy (Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 35, p 451).The Great Depression was an altogether different experience in the entire history of capitalism as the process of capital accumulation itself came to a standstill. This world economic crisis that began in 1929 as the worst and most destructive in the history of capitalism for the first time exposed its vulnerability as a socio-economic system. It shook the very foundation of imperialist system itself. No part of the world where imperialist finance capital had penetrated could escape from the Depression. No doubt, the source of this stagnation, idle capacity and unemployment, though inherent in capitalism in all stages of its developments, has become intense in the imperialist stage on account of the enormous power of monopolies to control wages and prices in their favour, totally eroding the consuming power of the masses, ultimately resulting it altogether difficult to realize the surplus value. Apart from the exploitation of working people at the level of production, the social consuming power of the toiling masses is further reduced through monopoly practices in pricing and in the sphere of circulation, leading to greater concentration of income and wealth in the hands of the super-rich. The ultimate cause of the crisis is this rigging of the whole system in favour of the financial oligarchs at the expense of the broad masses.

Until the Depression, contrary to the analysis of Marxist political economy, bourgeois economists had been resolutely clinging to their assertions that unemployment and stagnation were temporary aberrations. But the Depression exposed the vulnerability of imperialist economic foundations laying bare the internal logic of finance capital that unemployment and stagnation are the normal conditions of imperialism. As a response to the ideological bankruptcy of bourgeois ideologues who were upholding the state's role as that of a "night-watchman" (see, Engel's statement in " Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy"), and questioning the orthodoxy of laissez-faire economics that upheld capitalism's ability to adjust itself, Keynesianism evolved as a variant of bourgeois political economy in the imperialist epoch. According to Keynes, the laissez-faire mechanism was incapable to generate adequate "effective demand" and eliminate unemployment by itself. Therefore, he suggested government intervention as one of the decisive means of increasing the general level of employment. Instead of increasing the production of mass consumption goods, Keynes' preference was for investments in heavy industry, especially arms production. In actual practice, what occurred was an attempt to stimulate the imperialist economy through militarization using Keynesian prescriptions. But the expansion of armaments industry advocated by Keynes could have been carried out only at the expense of the working people and curtailment of civilian production leading to a further lowering of consumption, growth of unemployment and deepening of economic crises. More precisely, arms production and militarization withdraw enormous material and labour from social production. From a Marxist perspective, military production and the maintenance of armed forces ultimately represent non-productive waste of part of the social product. In a nutshell, adoption of state intervention led to the strengthening of what Lenin called state monopoly capitalism. According to Lenin, state monopoly capitalism combines the strength of monopolies and that of the imperialist state into a single mechanism whose purpose is to enrich the financial oligarchy, suppress the working class and toiling masses and launch aggressive wars to maintain the capitalist – imperialist system. The first practical application of Keynesianism which called for a redefinition of the role of the capitalist state in the economy was the New Deal in America. In the postwar period it became exemplified in the so called welfare state with its enlarged economic and social functions culminating in the repudiation of laissez-faire capitalism. But Keynesianism succeeded only in keeping the recessionary trend in abeyance for a time and could not alter stagnation and unemployment emanating from the internal logic of finance capital as identified by Lenin. As such, in spite of state programming and regulation of the economy, massive diversion of resources from civilian production to war oriented manufacturing, massive avenues of global plunder through neocolonisation, etc,. all leading to an apparent boom euphemistically called 'golden age' for the capitalist-imperialist system until the early 1970s, the imperialist crisis that appeared in the 1930s in the form of the Depression had started bouncing back with intensified vigour in the 1970s in the form global stagflation. This prompted imperialism to resort to a shift in the capital accumulation process through neoliberalism.

8. Soviet and Chinese Experience

Marx clearly envisaged a period of revolutionary transformation from capitalism to communism. This period referred to as socialism corresponds to a period of political transition in which the state becomes an instrument of the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat. In contradistinction to communism, socialism is characterized by the fact that the labourer is still rewarded in proportion to his contribution. She is no longer exploited but instead receives an earning in proportion to the labour rendered. And since different labourers contribute differing quantities of socially necessary labour, incomes will differ under socialism. Marx said: "In a higher phase of communist society, after the tyrannical subordination of individuals in the division of labour and thereby also the distinction between manual and intellectual work, have disappeared,... all the springs of social welfare are flowing more freely, along with the all-round development of the individual, then and then only can the narrow bourgeois horizon of rights be left far behind and society will inscribe on its banner: " From each according to his capacity, to each according to his need." (Critique of the Gotha Program, p. 31) In spite of this prediction, since Marx's major concern was with the political economy of capitalism immediately preceding the revolution, he could not develop the political economy of socialism. Marx envisioned socialism as a society that comes into the world out of the womb of capitalism bearing its birthmarks, and it may even be suggested that major organs of socialist economy such as the "socialization" of production are complete before the act of birth. And the society has to move to a higher phase to overcome the "narrow bourgeois horizon."

However, these conditions envisaged by Marx were seldom met in Russia when Lenin, applying his thesis of "uneven development" and the "theory of weakest link", led the October Revolution in 1917, thereby qualitatively developing Marxism of the imperialist epoch and clearly refuting academic Marxists who saw the first socialist state as a violation of the basic tenets of Marxism. Obviously, Russia was a backward agrarian country and the hopeful conviction at that time was about simultaneous revolutions in other countries breaking the chain of imperialism and ensuring the conditions for the feasibility of Russian revolution. Since the expected revolutions were not forthcoming, more effort was required for establishing socialism in one country, and continuation of this relative emphasis in the long-run led to deviation from the dialectical link between the universal and particular character of proletarian revolution. In the context of mounting external aggression and counter revolutionary moves within, though not an economic success, war communism became indispensable for the survival of the Soviet economy. Though the entire circumstances surrounding the first socialist experiment had been severely unfavourable , it was the painstaking efforts by Russian revolutionaries under the theoretical and practical guidance of Lenin that ensured Soviet Union's continued existence. Individualized character of production in a peasant economy coupled with lack of coordination between agriculture and industry among other things necessitated a partial return to profit motive including the operation of commodity production, law of value, etc. as a temporary expedient leading to NEP which could be evaluated as the only option available then to increase production to the point where central planning could begin after a few years.

As Mao Tsetung, in his A Critique of Soviet Economics (Monthly Review Press, New York, 1977), has pointed out, planning in Soviet Union was a sincere attempt to replace the bourgeois law of value by "the law of planned proportional development and state planned economy." Along with the abolition of law of value, commodity production, etc., Stalin could be seen emphasizing the cardinal need of "abolition of the anti-thesis between town and country, and between mental and physical labour and elimination of distinctions between them", etc., in Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR (Foreign Language Press, Peking, 1972) which Mao developed through his well-known article On the Ten Major Relationships (Selected Works of Mao Tsetung, Vol. V, pp. 284-307). In Chapter 9 of his above quoted book, Stalin's analysis on the international importance of bringing out a Marxist Textbook on Political Economy taking the experience of Soviet Union into consideration is of particular relevance in this context. Here, while criticizing the mechanical approach of Soviet economists like Yaroshenko who still tries to imitate and transplant Marx's method of analysis developed with reference to capitalist societies and that begins with the unraveling of commodities to Soviet Union, then a socialist country, Stalin refers to the need of developing Marxist political economy according to the concrete conditions of socialism. Upholding Stalin, Mao said: "In capitalism, the social nature of production and the private nature of ownership is a fundamental contradiction. Marx began with commodity and went on to reveal the relations among people hidden behind commodities. But under socialism, on account of the establishment of public ownership of means of production and since labour power is no longer a commodity, the relations among people are no longer hidden behind commodity relations. Hence political economy in a socialist society cannot be studied beginning with commodities"(A Critique of Soviet Economics). But within a span of time, usurpation of Khrushchevian revisionism made all such initiatives mentioned by Stalin totally redundant.

At the same time, even when upholding Stalin's positive interventions to develop Marxism-Leninism including Marxist political economy, Mao minced no words in criticizing him for not keeping "politics in command" while dealing with political-economic questions. An oft-quoted criticism of Stalin by Mao is the overemphasis on the development of productive forces in Soviet Union in disregard of the importance of changes in the superstructure. Regarding socialist industrialization and agricultural collectivization that took place in Soviet Union, Mao had a different perspective. For instance, after October Revolution, the viewpoint among Soviet leaders was thus: "The transition from capitalism to socialism will be more difficult for a country the more backward it is." Mao's response: "Actually the transition is less difficult the more backward an economy is, for the poorer they are the more the people want revolution." And instead of the practice of "material incentives" pursued in Soviet Union, Mao emphasized on "spiritual inspiration from political ideology", and for Mao philosophical knowledge was indispensable for those who deal and write books on political economy.

9. Setbacks in Developing Marxist-Leninist Political Economy

In spite of such positive interventions by Stalin and Mao, we are constrained to note on a relative stagnation in the development of political economy along Marxist lines after Lenin. The drawback pertains to the inability or failure to develop Marxist political economy according to the concrete conditions of socialism, i.e., during the transitional period from class society to classless society on the one hand, and in relation to imperialism's transformation from colonialism to neocolonial phase on the other. The theoretical lacunae connected with the absence of developing Marxist-Leninist political economy during the transition from socialism (where the principle is "from each according to his ability, to each according to his work") to communism (where the principle is " from each according to his ability, to each according to his need") provided fertile ground for the emergence of bureaucratic tendencies which could unfold into full-fledged state capitalism with the ascendancy of Khrushchevian revisionism in the 1950s. This became more apparent in the postwar neocolonial phase of imperialism. To be precise, it was Lenin's analysis of imperialism and the theorization on the evolution of finance capital as the most valid category which has contributed to the development and enrichment of Marxist political economy in the colonial phase of imperialism. Obviously, the strategy of revolution put forward by Lenin in the era of imperialism is also based on his study on the global operations of finance capital (or rather the whole process of capital accumulation) including his thesis on the uneven development of capitalism that the front of capitalism will be pierced where the chain of imperialism is the weakest.

However, the postwar neocolonial phase of imperialism has been a qualitatively different situation. At the political level, though socialist advancement was surging ahead during the immediate postwar period, a Marxist political economy perspective on the epoch-making neocolonial offensive unleashed by US led imperialism was conspicuously absent during this time. In Chapter 5 of the Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR, though Stalin along with the Cominform documents of the period could be seen taking political positions on US imperialism's new offensives such as the Marshall Plan, serious drawbacks occurred in concretely evaluating the political economy of the new phase of imperialism. It was only in the early 1960s that, as part of the Great Debate, the CPC under the leadership of Mao Tsetung could put forward a Marxist-Leninist perspective on neocolonialism in the well-known document Apologists of Neocolonialism. By that time even a nationalist leader like Nkrumah could bring out more detailed studies on neocolonialism (Kwame Nkrumah, Neocolonialism, the Last Stage of Capitalism, Thomas Nelson& Sons, London, 1965).

Though the political economy perspective on neocolonialism put forward by CPC was inspiring to the revolutionary forces, rather than developing and reinforcing the Marxist theory and practice against US led imperialism, the CPC used it primarily as a polemical weapon against Khrushchevian revisionism. Consequently, there was no effort on the part of CPC to situate neocolonialism as a qualitatively new phase of imperialism and unravel the laws of motion of finance capital or the capital accumulation process under neocolonialism on Marxist-Leninist lines. With the ascendancy of left sectarianism led by Lin Biao and with the erroneous evaluation of "imperialism heading for total collapse and socialism advancing towards world-wide victory," the idea of a weakened imperialism got rooted in CPC leading to the abandonment of any further study on the political economy of neocolonialism by it. Following the death of Mao Tsetung in 1976 and with the open embrace of capitalist path by CPC, all the fundamental questions pertaining to imperialism's neocolonial plunder altogether vanished from its agenda.

Meanwhile, there has been a spurt in academic studies on imperialism's postwar phase by scholars from different persuasions such as "dependency school", "critical theory", "neo-Marxism", "post-colonialism", etc., that attach widely different interpretations on the neocolonial phase of imperialism. The hallmark of such studies, to be precise, is a basic departure from the core of Lenin's theory of imperialism including his analysis of the political economy of finance capital on the one hand, and an antipathy towards the Marxist conception of class, state, exploitation, and so on.

10. Conclusion

Today a basic understanding of the concrete manifestations of neocolonialism, the present phase of imperialism, from the perspective of Marxist-Leninist political economy is indispensable for developing class struggle and move towards people's democratic revolution. From the time of the 1982 First All India Conference of the then CRC-CPI (ML) onwards, the Party has been of the view that among other things, the global setbacks suffered by the ICM are inseparably linked up with the lack of a concrete understanding on neocolonialism and the laws of motion of finance capital in the postwar phase of imperialism. It is to rectify this drawback that the CPI (ML) has initiated a political economy study of neocolonialism along with its Ninth Congress in 2011. Based on this, a paper on Imperialism, Colonialism, Neocolonialism (The Marxist Leninist, Issue-12, July-September, 2012) was presented in the first Party School held in 2012. The present paper on Marxist Political Economy shall be read along with that paper on Imperialism, Colonialism, Neocolonialism for a more comprehensive picture on political economy.


Explanatory Notes By KN Ramachandran



1. A new revolutionary objective situation is emerging all over the world with the dawn of the 21st century. Two decades before, when the Soviet Union disintegrated, the US imperialists and their allies and their lackeys were celebrating the 'demise of socialism' and 'end of history'. They were predicting that the 1950s like situation when the 'east wind of socialism' was challenging the'west wind of imperialism' will never emerge again. But within a decade the situation has started changing. Once again the capitalist-imperialist system was in severe crisis, with the neo-liberal regime which had replaced the crisis ridden Keynesian recipes from the 1970s itself confronting unprecedented crises. In spite of all remedial measures possible within the ruling system being tried, with the 2008 meltdown in US the crisis has become more severe and is spreading all over the imperialist countries as well as in all the countries under neo-colonial plunder. As the imperialists and their lackeys are intensifying efforts to shift the burden of the crisis to the shoulders of the working class and the oppressed nations and peoples, the working class in the imperialist countries and the oppressed nations and peoples are coming out more and more powerfully to challenge the ruling system. It has created once again an objective situation favourable for a revolutionary wave to sweep all over the globe. The upsurges against the imperialists and their lackeys during the last one decade underline this sharp change in world situation. Similar is the case in India also. But what is lacking in these countries is a Bolshevik style party surrounded by class/ mass organizations with millions of members capable of leading these upsurges to seizure of political power under the leadership of the working class. So the cardinal task before the Indian working class and its vanguard party, the CPI(ML), is to practice the ideological-political line of the 2011Ninth Congress firmly and build the party with all India influence capable of leading the People's Democratic Revolution to victory

2. The Ninth Congress of our Party held in November 2011, 41 years after the Eighth Congress of 1970, adopted a new Party Program and Path of Revolution. The Party Program upheld the historic significance of the ideological struggle waged against revisionist lines of CPI and CPI (M) by the Communist Revolutionaries and of the Naxalbari uprising leading to the formation of the CPI(ML). At the same time, the Ninth Congress rejected the erroneous evaluation of the character of Indian state and society and the sectarian Program and Path of Revolution adopted by the Eighth Congress. Making clean break with them, in continuation to the position taken from its first All India Conference of 1982 which was continuously developed during last three decades, the Ninth Congress analyzed the transformation of the colonial phase of imperialist plunder to neo-colonial phase and the vast changes it has made in the agrarian relations and mode of production in the country under neo-colonial domination following the transfer of power in 1947. The Party Program stated: Rejecting parliamentary cretinism and the line of sectarianism and individual terrorism, upholding path of revolutionary mass line, it resolves to utilize all forms of struggle and organizations to mobilize the working class and all revolutionary classes and sections for a massive countrywide people's uprising to overthrow the Indian state and to seize political power. The path of Revolution explains the political and organizational tasks to be taken up to realize this goal.

3. The most important task to be taken up for pursuing this Path is the building of a Bolshevik style Party organization with countrywide influence, surrounded by class and mass organizations, capable of mobilizing and politicizing the vast masses of people, including building and strengthening the united fronts from tactical to strategic level, capable of uniting all spontaneous and organized people's movements coming up around the country. As the CPI(ML) was under sectarian influence right from its beginning, it had abandoned the task of party building with all India perspective and strengthening of committee system, and had rejected the organization of class/ mass organizations as a 'highway to revisionism'. As sectarian influence continued to haunt the movement even after its disintegration to many groups, none of these groups could effectively take up these organizational tasks for a long time as they continued to pursue the erroneous political line. Still it is the case with most of the remaining groups. In the name of keeping the party underground, Bolshevik style building of party and class/ mass organizations, revolutionary mass propaganda through regular publication of party papers and depending on the masses for party fund are not pursued. Fighting against these tendencies, for more than last two decades our organization is trying to build Bolshevik style party surrounded by class/ mass organizations based on the new ideological and political orientation put forward. Regularization of party membership, levy system, mass fund collections, regular publication of party organs and other pamphlets etc along with building of class and mass organizations at all India level were taken up. As a result, the countrywide development of the party and class/ mass organizations has taken place to a certain extent. Besides the regular publication of the central organs in English and Hindi, the party organs are published by almost all the state committees in different languages. The class/ mass organizations also have started publishing their quarterly organs at least in English and Hindi almost regularly. Campaigns for their distribution also are started. But considering the enormity of these tasks and the development of the class struggle at all India level, in a vast country like India having more than 125 crores of people with all its complexities, different languages and culture and uneven development, what is achieved so far is only a small beginning and lot more have to be done in coming days to make the party capable of capturing the political power and advancing towards socialist revolution. It is with this perspective the Central Committee has decided to include the task of building Party and class/ mass organization as one of the important subjects for study in the Party Schools during 2013.

4. After the formation of the Third or Communist International or Comintern in 1919, in its Third Congress in 1921, it had put forward the Guidelines on the Organizational Structure of Communist Parties, on the Methods and Content of their Work. The more than a century and half long experience of the international communist movement has shown that right opportunist, revisionist and alien tendencies gain dominance in a Communist organization when anti-working class, anti-revolutionary or reformist ideas start establishing influence within the leadership. Similarly adventurist, anarchist, or sectarian tendencies gain dominance when the leadership is influenced by petti-bourgeois world outlook, which leads to lose faith in the masses. It is by uncompromisingly struggling against both these deviations, Lenin developed the Marxist theory and practice of Bolshevik style party building in the concrete conditions of the imperialist era, proceeding to develop the CPSU, to lead the October Revolution to victory. The Third International or Communist International (Comintern), was soon formed based on the principles of proletarian internationalism. The Comintern in its Third Congress put forward the Thesis on the Organisational Structure of the Communist Parties, the Methods and Content of their Work in 1921, the Bolshevik concepts based on the experience gained in the process of developing the political line and the organizational concepts of the CPSU which had made the victory of October Revolution a reality under the guidance of Lenin. The Communist / Workers parties were formed around the world at the call of the Comintern based on these political and organisational concepts. It was under the leadership of the CPSU and these parties a great leap forward in the international Communist movement (ICM) took place leading it to a position of great strength by early 1950s.

5. But following the Second World War when leaderships of these parties failed to grasp the vast changes brought by the imperialist camp in its form of exploitation and dominance during its transformation from colonial to neo-colonial phase, various weaknesses started creeping up among them, deviating them to the capitalist path. As the content of the Marxist-Leninist revolutionary orientation was lost, these parties by and large turned in to bureaucratic organizations pursuing the capitalist path.

6. Marxist-Leninist organisations were formed in a number of countries rebelling against the revisionist lines of these Parties by 1960s. The Great Debate documents, including the Proposal Concerning the General Line of the International Communist Movement and the Nine Comments on the important points of debate during that period put forward by the CPC under the leadership of Mao Zedong had raised hopes of reorganization of the ICM on a new footing. But though the Marxist-Leninist forces led by Mao could defeat the right opportunist line within the CPC for the time being by launching the proletarian Cultural Revolution, the left adventurist sectarian line spearheaded by Lin Biao came to dominance in the CPC by the time of its 9th Congress in 1969, based on an erroneous analysis of the present era of imperialism and proletarian revolution, that 'a new era has dawn when imperialism is facing total collapse and proletarian revolution advancing to worldwide victory'. It advocated that the character of state and society in the Afro-Asian- Latin American countries is semi-colonial, semi-feudal and path of revolution is protracted people's war, similar to pre-revolutionary China. Failing to recognize this deviation, almost all of the newly emerging parties including CPI (ML) soon went under the influence of this sectarian line. Almost all of them mechanically pursuing the 'Chinese Path', abandoned the path of concrete analysis of the conditions in their own countries and the Bolshevik concepts about the organisational structure of the Communist Parties and their methods of work. Soon all of them succumbed to the adventurist/sectarian line. After the severe setbacks and disintegration suffered by them as a result, most of them claimed that they are going through a process of rectification. But almost all of them are still pursuing anarchist lines or other forms of sectarian path, refusing to make a concrete analysis of the vast changes that have taken place during post-Second World War decades.

7. In this situation, the central challenge before the Marxist-Leninist parties is two-fold: to develop the ideological-political line according to the concrete conditions of today when imperialist forces, especially US imperialism, are intensifying neo-colonisation to unprecedented levels, and to take up the organisational structure of the Party and the methods of work learning from the basic concepts of Comintern positions. It is in this context, the 1921 Comintern thesis become relevant for developing the organisational structure and methods of work of the Party. Both these aspects should be given utmost importance by the whole Party. So, soon after the All India Special Conference of 2009, this Comintern document was sent to all the SCs and SOCs for study.The task before the Marxist-Leninist parties is to assimilate these principles put forward by Comintern, developing them according to the concrete conditions of today and putting them to practice according to the concrete conditions of their own countries. It is with this perspective these Guidelines of the Comintern adopted in 1921, the Organization of Agitation and Propaganda Work by Sections of the Comintern adopted in 1925 and the Resolution on the Organization and Structure of Communist Fractions in Trade Unions adopted in 1926 are put forward as the study material for all comrades along with explanations and suggestions for their implementation in present concrete conditions.


(Adopted at the 24th Session of the Third Congress of the Communist International, 12 July 1921)

I. General Principles

1. The organization of the Party must correspond to the conditions and the purpose of its activity. At every stage of the revolutionary class struggle and in the subsequent period of transition to socialism – the first step: in the development of a Communist society – the Communist Party must be the vanguard, the most advanced section of the proletariat.

2. There is no absolute form of organization which is correct for Communist Parties at all times. The conditions of the proletarian class struggle are constantly changing, and so the proletarian vanguard has always to be looking for effective forms of organization. Equally, each Party must develop its own special forms of organization to meet the particular historically-determined conditions within the country. But there are definite limits to national variations. Proletarian class struggle varies from country to country and according to the stage of the revolution, but the similarity in the conditions of struggle is of decisive importance for the international Communist movement. This similarity serves as a basis for the organization of all Communist Parties. It follows that we must develop and improve the existing Communist Parties, not try to replace them with new model Parties or invent absolute organizational forms and ideal statutes.

3. The bourgeoisie still rules over much of the world and so most Communist Parties and also the Communist International as the united party of the world revolutionary proletariat have to fight it. In the coming period the centrally important task for all Parties is the overthrow of the bourgeoisie and the seizure of power. Accordingly, all the organizational work of the Communist Parties in the capitalist countries must be directed towards establishing organizations which can guarantee the victory of the proletarian revolution over the ruling classes.

4. Leadership is a necessary condition of any political action and is a vital factor in the present most important struggle in world history. Organizing the Communist Party means organizing Communist leadership for the period of the proletarian revolution. The Party itself must have good leadership if it is to lead well. Our basic organizational task is therefore to create an organization and to educate the Communist Party under the guidance of its experienced bodies to be the effective leadership of the revolutionary proletarian movement.

5. To lead the revolutionary class struggle, the Communist Party and its leading bodies must possess great fighting power and at the same time the ability to adapt to the changing conditions of struggle. Successful leadership presupposes, moreover, the closest contact with the proletarian masses. Unless such contact is established the leaders will not lead the masses but, at best, only follow them. The Communist Party organizations are to achieve organic contact with the masses by practicing democratic centralism.

Explanatory Note

a. These general principles provide the guidelines for the functioning of the Communist Party. In this part as well as in the coming paragraphs the Communist International is presented as the united party of the world proletariat, based on the Constitution of Comintern. Later, as many Communist Parties started developing as leading parties in their countries, the necessity for transforming the founding principles was felt, though it was not given any formal shape. As the re-organisation of the Communist international is initiated, recognising the increasing international character of the Proletarian World Socialist Revolution, with the founding of the ICOR, it is organized more as an international forum of the Communist Parties.

b. It should be noted that in spite of presenting Comintern as the united party of the world proletariat, this General Principles call on each party to apply the basic guidelines according to the concrete conditions of their own countries and "each party to develop its own special forms of organization to meet the particular historically-determined conditions within the country". It is the failure to do so which leads to mechanical copying of the lines of other parties without making the concrete analysis of the conditions of one's own country.

c. In 1917 the Soviet Union had broken away from the imperialist world. That is why in para-3 it is stated that the bourgeoisie still rule over much of the world. With the degeneration of erstwhile socialist countries to capitalist path, this situation has changed. Today imperialism and its compradors and lackeys are ruling all over the world. This change in the concrete world situation should be noted.

d. In the large number of countries under neo-colonisation, the imperialist system is intensifying its plunder through the state apparatus led by the comprador bureaucratic bourgeois - landlord classes. In order to seize political power, the state which serves imperialism should be overthrown with the working class organized as the leader of the revolution, building worker-peasant alliance, along with uniting all other revolutionary classes and sections. It calls for building the party at all India level and to spread its influence through the network of class and mass organizations.

e. The General Principles emphasises: Organizing the Communist Party means organizing Communist leadership. So while building the party and class/mass organizations the importance of developing the leadership at all levels should be specially emphasized. Leadership means not individuals, but the collective leadership of the committees at each level. Special attention should be given to develop the committees as the collective leadership.

f. Special attention should be given to organize the committees at all levels, holding their regular meetings, maintaining their minutes, ensuring reporting to the top and to lower committees, discussion of ideological-political line and its implementation in each committee, ensuring the democratic functioning of the committee, combating all manifestations of liberalism and fighting against all manifestations of bureaucratic tendencies. The concept of organizing the communist leadership should not be seen as a static one, but should be developed continuously according to the concrete needs. When communist parties with great experience like CPSU and CPC have degenerated to bureaucratic, capitalist parties, this aspect should be given great significance.

II. On Democratic Centralism

6. The democratic centralism of the Communist Party organization should be a real synthesis, a fusion of centralism and proletarian democracy. This fusion can be achieved only when the Party organization works and struggles at all times together, as a united whole. Centralization in the Communist Party does not mean formal, mechanical centralization, but the centralization of Communist activity, i.e., the creation of a leadership that is strong and effective and at the same time flexible.

Formal or mechanical centralization would mean the centralization of 'power' in the hands of the Party bureaucracy, allowing it to dominate the other members of the Party or the revolutionary proletarian masses which are outside the Party. Only enemies of Communism can argue that the Communist Party wants to use its leadership of the proletarian class struggle and its centralization of Communist leadership to dominate the revolutionary proletariat. Such assertions are false. Equally incompatible with the principles of democratic centralism adopted by the Communist International are antagonisms or power struggles within the Party.

The same divisions emerged in the old organizations of the non-revolutionary workers' movement as had existed in the organization of the bourgeois state: the division between the 'bureaucracy' and the 'people'. Under the paralyzing influence of the bourgeois environment a separation of functions occurred; formal democracy replaced the active participation of working people, and the organization was divided into the active functionaries and the passive masses. Even the revolutionary workers' movement has nit entirely escaped the influence of the bourgeois environment and the evils of this formalism and division. The Communist Parties must overcome these contradictions once and for all by carrying out a systematic on-going plan of political and organisational work and by making many improvements and changes.

7. The transformation of a mass Socialist Party into a Communist Party must be more than a transfer of authority to the CC which leaves the old order otherwise unchanged. Centralization should not just be agreed in theory; it must be realized in practice. All Party members must understand how centralization positively strengthens their work and their capacity to fight. Otherwise the masses will see centralization as a bureaucratization of the Party and will oppose any attempts to introduce centralization, leadership and firm discipline. Anarchism and bureaucratism are two sides of the same coin.

Formal democracy by itself cannot rid the workers' movement of either bureaucratic or anarchistic tendencies because these in actual fact result from this type of democracy.

All attempts to achieve the centralization of the organization and a strong leadership will be unsuccessful so long as we practice formal democracy. We must develop and maintain an effective network of contacts and links both, on the one hand, within the Party itself between the leading bodies and the rank and file of the membership and, on the other hand, between the Party and the proletarian masses outside the Party.

Explanatory Note

a. Comintern principles provide excellent guideline to put in to practice the principles of democratic centralism. But the experience of the parties in the Comintern during its existence from 1919 to 1943 and thereafter shows that there were serious weaknesses in putting these principles in to practice. Often either 'formal democracy' or 'one sided emphasis on centralism' was in dominance. The weaknesses in strengthening inner-party democracy and in developing inner-party struggles also contributed towards the weaknesses shown by Parties in developing the concrete analysis of the changes taking place at international and national level and in developing the ideological political line accordingly.

The weaknesses of the Communist Parties who seized political power in developing proletarian democracy in the socialist countries fighting against and going against the constraints of bourgeois democracy also should be evaluated in this context. Assimilating these experiences, the Party should uphold the dialectical relationship between democracy and centralism. Centralism based on democracy should be the guiding principle. Inner-party democracy should be developed at all levels providing opportunity for inner party struggle.

b. Though the CPC called for utilizing the two line struggle within the Party to deepen the inner party struggle, instead of achieving the concentration of the correct ideas, it was soon utilized for usurping the leadership of the Party as was seen the 8th, 9th, 10th Congresses when Mao's line was reduced to a minority line. It eventually led to the usurpation of power by the capitalist roaders through military coup in 1976. The experience of the split in the CPI in India when the followers of the Soviet revisionist line succeeded to impose their control and of CPI(M) in which the minority line usurped leadership also should be seen in this context.

It is of primary importance that proletarian democracy should be practiced at all levels and centralism should be based on it. Our Party Constitution is drafted taking this principle as the basis. The regular study and practice of the Party Constitution, and its development according to the needs of advancing the democratization to higher levels should be an important part of party life.

III. On the Communists' Obligation to Work

8. The Communist Party must be a labour school of revolutionary Marxism. Close links between the various Party bodies and the individual members will be forged through day-to-day work in the Party organizations. Few members of the legal Communist Parties are taking a sufficiently active part in the day-to-day work of the Party. This is the major shortcoming of these Parties and an obstacle to their steady progress.

9. There is always a danger that the workers' Party will go no further than adopting a Communist programme: that it will merely accept Communism in the place of its old doctrine and replace its anti-Communist officials with Communist ones. But the adoption of a Communist programme expresses only the desire of the Party to become Communist. If the Party fails to carry out Communist work and if the mass of its membership remains passive, the Party will not have fulfilled even the minimum obligation placed upon it by its acceptance of the programme. The most important requirement is that all members should at all times participate in the day-to-day work of the Party.

The art of Communist organization consists in involving everything and everyone in the proletarian class struggle, effectively dividing Party work among Party members and organizing members to draw the broad proletarian masses into the revolutionary movement. It also means being always in a position of leadership over the entire movement, a position which the Party wins not by force but by the authority it derives from its great energy, ability, experience and flexibility.

10. A Communist Party, in order to ensure that its members are really active, must demand that they give all their time and energy to Party work. Then it will have a really active membership. Besides commitment to Communist ideas, membership of the Communist Party obviously entails formal admission, preceded in some instances by a period of candidacy, regular payment of membership dues, subscription to the Party paper, etc. But the most important condition of membership is that members participate on a day-to-day basis in the work of the Party.

11. For the purpose of carrying out day-to-day work each Party member should belong to a smaller working group: a committee, commission, board, group, fraction or cell. This is the only way Party work can be correctly allocated, carried out and supervised.

It goes without saying that members should attend the general meetings of their local organizations; it is not wise for legal Parties to try to substitute meetings of local representatives for these general meetings. All Party members must attend these meetings regularly. But this is by no means all. The proper preparation of these meetings and intervention in workers' meetings, demonstrations and mass actions presupposes work by smaller groups or by individuals delegated for the purpose. The vast amount of work that has to be done can be examined carefully and organized properly only by smaller groups. Unless all members are divided among a large number of working groups and participate daily in the work of the Party, even the most militant efforts of the working class to further the class struggle will lead nowhere and the requisite concentration of all revolutionary proletarian forces around a united and strong Communist Party will be impossible.

12. Communist cells must be formed to carry out the day-to-day work in the various spheres of Party activity: house-to-house agitation, Party schools. group newspaper reading, information services, liaison work, etc.

Communist cells are the basic units for carrying out the day-to-day Communist work of the Party in the factories, trade unions, workers' co-operatives, military detachments etc – wherever there are a few or more Party members or candidate members. When the number of Party members in a factory, a union etc. is large, fractions are organized, whose work is supervised by the Communist cell. Should it be necessary to organize a broadly-based opposition fraction or to take part in the work of an already existing fraction, the aim of the Communists must be to win a leading position through the work of their own separate cell.

The question as to whether the Communist cell should openly declare its Party affiliation is something that has to be decided in each individual case by a careful study of the dangers and advantages of each course of action.

13. The introduction of universal labour conscription and the organization of small working groups is particularly difficult in the mass Communist Parties. Results cannot be achieved overnight. Great patience, tact and energy are required.

It is particularly important that reorganization should be carried out very carefully from the start and should be preceded by a general discussion of the question. It would be very easy, of course, simply to divide up the members of the organization into small cells and groups according to some formal scheme and order them to take part in the general day-to-day Party work. But such a beginning would be worse than no beginning at all for Party members would soon become dissatisfied and disillusioned with the new method of work.

It is particularly recommended that the leading Party body hold a detailed preliminary discussion with those Party members who, as well as being committed and sincere Communists, are also good organizers and have a good knowledge of the general situation in the workers' movement in the country's main centres; on the basis of its findings the leading Party body can work out in detail the basic principles of the new method of work. Next, the instructors, organizers or organizing commissions should prepare the plan of work at the local level, elect the first group leaders and launch the campaign. Then the organizations, working groups, cells and individual members must be given specific tasks to perform that are clearly appropriate, useful and within their capabilities. If necessary, the Party should give a practical demonstration of how to tackle the job. In this case it is important to focus attention on the mistakes which are particularly to be avoided.

14. The reorganization should proceed one step at a time. The local organizations should not be in a hurry to organize too many new cells and working units at once. Party members should be allowed to see from experience that individual cells organized in large factories and unions are functioning correctly and that in other areas of Party work the working groups which deal with information, communications, house-to-house agitation, the women's movement, paper distributions, the unemployed, etc. are already organized and more or less established. 'The old forms of organization should not be blindly destroyed before the new organizational apparatus has begun to take shape.

However, Communist organizational work must always be directed as firmly as possible towards its main goal. This places great demands not only on every legal Party, but also on every illegal one. Until such time as a broad network of Communist groups, cells, fractions and working groups is established in all the centres of proletarian mass struggle, until the Party is strong and sure of its aims and until all its members participate in the day-to-day revolutionary work and accept participation as normal practice, the Party must not let up on its organisational work.

15. The leading Party bodies must not fail to be in constant and firm control of this basic organizational work and must give it a consistent direction. This requires a great deal of effort on the part of those comrades who direct the Party bodies. The Communist Party leadership is responsible not only for making sure that all comrades have work to do, but for assisting and directing this work systematically and with a practical understanding of the matter at hand. They must be familiar with the specific conditions of work and watch for mistakes. They must use their experience and knowledge to improve methods of work, always keeping the aim of the struggle in view.

16. All Party work is practical or theoretical struggle, or preparation for struggle. Up until now specialization in Party work has been organized in a very unsatisfactory manner. There are entire areas of very important work in which, if anything has been done, it has been quite by chance. The special struggle of the legal Parties against the political police is one example. Another is the training of Party comrades, which as a rule is conducted haphazardly and so superficially that large sections of the Party's membership are ignorant of most of the Party's important decisions – even of the Party programme and the resolutions of the Communist International. All Party organizations and all working groups of the Party must educate their members on a regular and systematic basis so that a higher level of specialization is possible.

17. One of the duties of the Communist organization is to make reports. This applies to all organizations and organs of the Party and to its individual members. Regular general reports must be made at frequent intervals and special reports when specific Party tasks have been carried out. It is very important that reports are presented systematically and become a firmly established tradition of the Communist movement.

18. The Party makes a regular quarterly report on its activity to the leading body of the Communist International. Every Party organization must present reports to the committee immediately above it (for example, local organizations present monthly reports to the appropriate district Party committee).

Each cell, fraction and working group must present a report to the Party body which supervises it. All members must report approximately once a week to the cell or working group to which they belong, and to the Party body which has given them a particular assignment, on the progress of their work.

Reports must be made at the first convenient opportunity. The report can be made orally, unless the Party or Party body specifically requires a written report. Reports should be concise and to the point. The person receiving the report is responsible for the safe-keeping of information that cannot be made public and also for ensuring that reports are communicated without delay to the relevant directing Party organ.

19. These Party reports should not, of course, deal only with the activity of the person delivering the report. They must also mention any observations that have been made during the course of the work which are relevant to the struggle, particularly if these might lead to changes or improvements in future activity. Party members should suggest how those shortcomings that have come to light during their work can be overcome. The Communist cells, fractions and working groups must discuss all the reports presented to them and presented by them. Discussion of reports must become customary practice.

Cells and working groups must see that individual members and groups of members regularly examine and report on the activity of rival organizations, particularly petty-bourgeois workers' organizations and above all the organizations of 'socialist' Parties.

Explanatory Note

a. In this section, the question of developing Communists' organisational and practical activities is explained in detail. Wherever reporting to the Communist International is mentioned it should be treated as reporting to the Party Central Committee.

b. As far as the tasks and methods of functioning of the Party Committees from the Central Committee to State Committee to District Committee to Area (Tahsil/Block) to Local Committee to Branch Committee are concerned, they are well explained in the Party Constitution. Regular functioning of the committee system including the method of their formation, their responsibilities, their method of functioning, reporting from top to bottom and bottom to top etc are also explained in the Party Constitution. The first and foremost task is to maintain and strengthen this committee system. There should not be any compromise on this question.

c. The Comintern directive repeatedly emphasises the importance of developing the day to day activities of the Party members and committees. It should be implemented from the leading committees themselves to lower levels without any compromise. The activities of all these committees in Party building and developing class/mass organisations, including the work distribution and developing practical struggles should be planned in such a way that the principle of day to day work is strictly put in to practice as the most important part of the task of Party members at all levels.

d. Our SCs/SOCs and the DCs are comparatively weak and the area / local/ branch committees are still not formed in most of the areas. Necessary attention is not given to formation of Local Committees at Gram Panchayat /Town/Municipal corporation ward level and to the formation of branch committees below them. Wherever they exist, their day to day functioning is not given emphasis. So the first point to be emphasised is to form the Local Committees and Branch Committees and strengthen the Party organisation from below. Through day to day functioning and strengthening the relation with the working class and other revolutionary classes/sections should be emphasised. Only by starting from organising and developing the Local Committees, the local level united fronts under working class leadership as local centres of political power can be promoted in line with the Soviets in Russia and People's Communes in China. When the Local Committees are developed and local level united fronts start functioning, in a revolutionary situation such local centres can be transformed as centres of political power by the revolutionary masses under the guidance of the party committees. Only in this manner the 'civil society' like concepts of the ruling classes, the influence of NGOs at grass root level and similar efforts by the ruling class parties, religious/caste organisations can be exposed and defeated .

e. Under the Local Committees the Party Branches should be formed at the level of gram panchayat wards/villages/neighbour hoods/factories/enter-prises etc. Generally all the Party Branch committee members may be part-timers. Day to day activities of them as members of the grass root working group should be discussed and worked out for regular implementation. According to concrete conditions, the party fractions should be formed in industrial and service enterprises, among government employees, factories, etc under the appropriate party committees. They provide "the closest contact with the proletarian masses".

f. As explained in: Resolution on the Organization and Structure of Communist Fractions in Trade Unions adopted in 1926, which is given below, formation of Party fractions is a basic task, which was long neglected under the influence of sectarianism. It should be given primary importance along with the formation of Local committees and Party Branches. Only in this way "all members (and candidate members) of the party at all times start participating in the day to day work of the party". As the functioning of the class/mass organizations develops, their committees at various levels up to village or ward committees, factory committees, shop level committees, school/institute/college level committees of students etc, should be formed. In all these committees, Party fractions should be organized. The members of these fractions or units even while being active in respective class/mass organizations, should be politically prepared for the study and discussion of Marxist-Leninist classics, party documents and organs, developing new contacts and increasing members in the fractions or units, house to house campaigns, sale of party publications, active participation in the anti- imperialist, anti-state struggles etc.

g. This section of the Comintern document also focuses on building the party cells which we have amended as party cells and fractions at all levels on the basis of Organization of Agitation and Propaganda Work by Sections of the Comintern adopted in 1925 and the Resolution on the Organization and Structure of Communist Fractions in Trade Unions adopted in 1926. In conformity with this fractions should be organised at all levels in the class/ mass organizations. Through them day to day functioning of the Party can be developed at grass root levels to politicise and mobilise the masses. Party committees at all levels should discuss the question of formation of party fractions at all levels. All party committees and fractions should be educated about linking all activities, how trivial or local they may be, with the Path of Indian Revolution, or revolutionary orientation should be put in the forefront and all activities should be linked with it.

h. Fraction formation should be taken up at two levels. The first level is forming fractions in the trade unions affiliated to the TUCI and in other class/mass organisations under the political leadership of the party, at various levels. While the fractions are formed at central, state, district, area and local levels, they should be led by the respective party committees. Regular fraction work should be started at all levels so that the relation between party and class/mass organisations can be developed in a healthy manner. In spite of repeated discussions and instructions, the weaknesses in developing fractions and fraction work are still persisting. They should be resolved.

i. The second level fraction work is related to formation of fractions in various trade unions of workers and employees in industries, service sectors, government departments, in security services etc where unions or organizations led by the Party led class/mass organizations do not exist. Preference should be given to building these fractions in the core sectors like railways, roadways, shipping, sea/ air ports, mines, various police and security services etc. In most of these cases in the present situation these fractions cannot be disclosed and should function in underground manner.

j. Taking railways, roadways, banking, insurance, postal , telegraph, etc for example, already the party members may have contacts with workers and employees in these sectors were trade unions affiliated to central unions like CITU, AITUC, INTUC, HMS, BMS etc. are in leadership and trade unions affiliated to TUCI are not functioning. Utilising these contacts formation of as many fractions as possible should be started, keeping their existence secret. In due course these fractions in each sector can be linked together. The aim should be to create a net work of fractions in this manner which can consciously work towards influencing the politics of the leadership or wage struggles for changing compromising policies of the leadership. The CC and SCs/SOCs should give importance to this task. Communists' dedication to work for revolution through active involvement in day to day activities to politicise and mobilize the masses continuously should be put into practice energetically.

k. Communist party is the vanguard of the working class. In the present situation when the number of workers is increasing rapidly and presently their number is more than 200 millions, the working class is not only the leading class of revolution, but its importance in fulfilling the tasks of revolution is increasing day by day. In order to prepare them to shoulder this historic responsibility, the organization of party fractions among them according to concrete conditions should be given utmost importance. Similarly conscious efforts should be made to link the working class with the numerous spontaneous and party led mass upsurges taking place.

IV. On Propaganda and Agitation

20. In the period prior to open revolutionary insurrection, revolutionary propaganda and agitation is one of our most important tasks. For the most part, however, this work is still prepared and carried out in the old-established formal manner and is limited to occasional interventions in mass meetings, without any special attention being given to the actual revolutionary content of speeches and pamphlets. Communist propaganda and agitation must take root in the proletarian milieu. It must grow out of the actual life of the workers, their common interests and aspirations and, above all, their common struggle.

The most important aspect of Communist propaganda is its revolutionary content. The slogans and the positions taken on concrete questions in different situations must always be carefully considered from this standpoint. The Communist Parties will not be capable of adopting the correct position on every question unless the full-time propagandists and agitators and all members of the Party are given a thorough and continuous political education.

21. The main forms of Communist propaganda and agitation are as follows: verbal propaganda on an individual level, participation in the trade-union and political workers' movement, and the Party press and Party literature. Every member of a legal or illegal Party must in some way be regularly involved in this activity.

Propaganda at the individual level must above all take the form of systematic house-to-house agitation by groups specially established for the purpose. In areas where the local Party organization has some influence, every house should be visited. In large towns specially organized street agitation with posters and leaflets can often have good results. In factories and offices the cells or fractions must carry out well-organized agitation on an individual level, combining this with the distribution of literature.

In countries where there are national minorities the Party must see that enough attention is given to agitation and propaganda among the proletarian sections of these minorities. It goes without saying that agitation and propaganda must be conducted in the minority languages and appropriate Party bodies must be established to carry out this work.

22. In those capitalist countries where the large majority of the proletariat still lacks a revolutionary consciousness there must be a constant search for more effective methods of work. Propaganda must be adapted to the understanding of the workers who are not yet revolutionary but are beginning to be radicalized, and must make the revolutionary movement comprehensible and accessible to them. Communist propaganda and Communist slogans must be capable, whatever the situation, of fostering the hesitant and unconscious aspirations – still influenced by bourgeois ideology, but nevertheless revolutionary – which the proletariat develops in its struggle against bourgeois traditions.

At the same time Communist propaganda should go beyond the present demands and hopes of the proletarian masses which are limited and vague. It is on the basis of these demands and hopes that we can build and develop our influence and bring the proletariat to understand and sympathise with Communism.

23. Communist agitation amongst the proletarian masses must be conducted in such a way that the militant proletariat recognises that our Communist organization is both courageous and far-sighted, and a loyal and energetic leader of the workers' movement.

To win this recognition the Communists must take part in all the day-to-day struggles and all the movements of the working class, and defend the workers in every clash with the capitalists over the length of the working day, wages, conditions of work, etc. The Communists must study carefully the conditions in which workers live; they must help the workers understand the problems that face them; focus their attention on the most flagrant abuses of their rights; assist them to formulate precise and practical demands; foster class solidarity and the awareness of their common interests and common cause as members of a national working class, which forms in its turn part of the world proletarian army.

It is only by means of such day-to-day grass-roots work and by constant and full commitment to participation in all the struggles of the proletariat that the Party can become a truly Communist party. Only in this way will it mark itself off from the obsolete Socialist Parties whose activity is confined to abstract propaganda, recruiting work, talking about reforms and exploiting the 'possibilities' of parliament. The conscious and principled participation of all members of the Party in the daily struggles and clashes between the exploited and the exploiters is a necessary pre-condition not only for the seizure of power but, even more, for the realisation of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Only by leading the working masses in the day-to-day struggle against the attacks of capitalism can the Communist Party become the vanguard of the working class, learning in practice how to lead the proletariat and prepare for the final overthrow of the bourgeoisie.

24. Communists make a grave mistake if they stand back passively, are scornful of or oppose the day-to-day struggle of the workers for small improvements in the conditions of their life on the grounds that they have a Communist programme and that their final goal is armed revolutionary struggle. However limited and modest the demands for which the workers are willing to fight, this must never be a justification for the Communists to stand aside from the struggle. Our agitational activity should not give the impression that we Communists stir up strikes just for the sake of it and approve of any kind of rash action. On the contrary, we must earn the reputation among the militant workers of being their most valuable comrades-in-arms.

25. The Communist cells and fractions in the trade-union movement have often proved in practice unable to cope with the simplest of their immediate tasks. It is very easy, but not at all helpful, always to preach only the general principles of Communism and then adopt a negative position of vulgar syndicalism when concrete questions are posed. Such a practice only plays into the hands of the leaders of the scab Amsterdam International.

A study of the real content of every question should determine the revolutionary position taken by the Communists. Instead of resting content, for example, with a theoretical and principled opposition to all wage agreements, the Communists should fight the actual provisions of the agreements put forward by the Amsterdam leaders. Anything that hinders proletarian militancy must be condemned and vigorously opposed; and, as is well known, the capitalists and their Amsterdam assistants are trying to use wage agreements to tie the hands of the militant workers. It is clearly the duty of the Communists to explain this to the workers. However, as a general rule, the Communists can expose the capitalists most effectively by counter-posing a wage agreement which does not tie the workers.

The same position can also be taken, for example, on mutual aid and other trade-union benefit organizations. Fighting funds and benefit funds to support workers on strike are in themselves very valuable. It would be incorrect to object on principle to the raising of such funds. It is not these methods of struggle themselves, but the way they are applied and the use to which the Amsterdam leaders put the funds, that contradict the revolutionary class interests of the workers.

As regards sickness benefit schemes etc., the Communists could, for example, demand the abolition of the contributory system, and of all the conditions that restrict the voluntary benefit system. If some members of the benefit system still wanted to insure themselves against illness by paying contributions we should not simply forbid them to do so as our reasons would be misunderstood. We would first have to conduct a great deal of propaganda work at the individual level to free members of petty-bourgeois aspirations.

26. In the struggle against the social-democratic and other petty-bourgeois leaders of the trade unions and the various workers' parties there is no hope of achieving anything by persuasion. The struggle against them has to be organized with great persistence. It can only be waged successfully by depriving the leaders of their followers and by showing the workers the real role the social-traitor leaders play at the beck and call of the capitalists. Therefore, when the opportunity arises, these leaders should be put in a position where they have to show their true nature; then a vigorous attack can be launched against them.

It is by no means sufficient just to label the Amsterdam leaders 'scabs'. Practical examples of how they sell out the workers must constantly be found. Their activity in the trade unions, in the International Labour Organisation of the League of Nations, in the bourgeois ministries and administrations, their right-wing speeches at conferences and in parliament, the attitudes expressed in their numerous lulling articles in hundreds of papers and, in particular, the hesitancy and reluctance they show in preparing and conducting even the smallest campaigns for wage increases and improvements in working conditions – all this provides the Communist with daily opportunities to expose in simply formulated proposals and resolutions and in clear speeches the unreliable and right-wing activity of the Amsterdam leaders, who do indeed deserve to be called 'scab' leaders.

Cells and fractions must conduct a systematic practical struggle. The Communists must not be put off by the lower-level trade-union bureaucracy, who often have good intentions but who, not being strong enough to put them into practice, use the statutes and resolutions of union congresses, or the directives of the central administration, as excuses not to act. Communists should stick firmly to their chosen course of action and always demand that the lower-level bureaucrats give definite answers to their questions, say what they have done to eliminate the obstacles hindering the struggle and whether they and the members of their unions are ready to fight openly to remove these obstacles.

27. The fractions must carefully prepare in advance the interventions of Communists in the meetings and conferences of the trade union organizations. Suggestions, for example, must be drafted, speakers and orators chosen, and capable, experienced and energetic comrades put forward as candidates (for union positions).

In the same way the Communist organizations through their agitational groups must carefully prepare their interventions at workers' public meetings organized by opposing parties, as well as at election meetings, demonstrations, working-class political festivals, etc. If the Communists are themselves organizing an open workers' meeting, large groups of agitators should, wherever possible, work together, both before and during the meeting, following an agreed plan of action. In this way the meeting will have maximum impact.

28. Communists must learn how to draw the unorganized and politically uneducated workers into the Party's permanent sphere of influence. Our cells and fractions must persuade these workers to join the trade unions and read our Party press. Other working-class organizations can be used to spread our influence: consumer co-operatives, disabled ex-servicemen's organizations, educational unions and study groups, sports associations, theatrical groups, etc. Where the Communist Party has to work illegally, Party members can take the initiative in organizing such workers' organizations – including sympathisers' organizations – outside the Party, but only with the agreement and under the supervision of the leading Party bodies. The organizations of Communist youth and of women may also arrange courses, literary evenings, excursions, festivals and picnics, which can interest working-class people who have previously been indifferent to politics in the life of the Communist Party, and should later link these people firmly with the organization and draw them into useful Party work (the distribution of leaflets, Party literature etc.). By actively participating in the general movement these workers will find it easier to overcome their petty-bourgeois attitudes.

29. In order to win the semi-proletarian layers of the working population to the side of the revolutionary proletariat, the Communists must use the conflicts between these layers and the large landowners, the capitalists and the capitalist state and, by conducting a continuous campaign of propaganda, dispel the mistrust these intermediate groups have of the proletarian revolution. This may be a long-term project. The semi-proletarian layers will have more confidence in the Communist movement if the Party takes a sympathetic interest in their day-to-day needs and, without asking for favours in return, provides them with information and assistance in overcoming difficulties which are small in themselves but otherwise could not be surmounted, and if, at the same time, it draws them into special associations designed to further their education. Communists must work cautiously, but must never relax their efforts to counter the influence of organizations and individuals that are hostile to Communism but are respected by the poor peasants, domestic servants and other semi-proletarian elements in the locality. They must show that the enemies who are close at hand and known to the working people from their own experience as exploiters are representatives of the whole criminal capitalist system. Communist propaganda and agitation must take up any day-to-day events which reveal the discrepancy between ideals of petty-bourgeois democracy and the 'legal state', and make the point forcibly and in language accessible to all.

Local organizations in rural areas must carefully divide the work of house-to-house agitation among their members and make sure that all villages, estates and individual houses in the area are reached.

30. As regards propaganda in the armies and navies of the capitalist states appropriate methods must be sought for each separate country. Anti-militarist agitation of the pacifist variety is extremely harmful. It only assists the bourgeoisie to disarm the proletariat. The proletariat opposes on principle all military organizations of the bourgeois state and of the bourgeois class and fights consistently against their influence. Nevertheless these institutions (army, rifle clubs, territorials, etc.) can be used to further the military training of the workers in preparation for the revolutionary struggle. This means that intensive agitation must be directed not against the principle of military training for young people and workers, but against the military regime and the autocratic rule of the officers. Every opportunity of getting weapons into the hands of the proletariat must be exploited as vigorously as possible. The rank and file must be made aware of the class antagonisms underlying the material privileges of the officers, the insecure social position of the ordinary soldiers and the rough treatment meted out to the rank and file. The agitation carried out among the soldiers must make clear to them how closely their whole future is bound up with the fate of the exploited class. At a time of growing revolutionary ferment, agitation for the democratic election of all commanding officers and sailors and for the establishment of soldiers' Soviets can be very effective in undermining the foundations of bourgeois class rule. Careful and vigorous agitation has to be conducted against the special troops employed by the bourgeoisie in the class war and in particular against its armed volunteer bands. The Communists must choose the right moment to undermine morale and encourage the break-up of the ranks, wherever the social composition and conduct of the troops indicates that such a campaign might be successful. When these troops are all of the same class as, for example, in the officers' corps, they must be denounced before the whole population so that, becoming the objects of universal hatred and scorn, their discipline crumbles and their cohesion evaporates.

Explanatory Note

a. This whole section dealing with Propaganda and Agitation is more relevant for launching the revolutionary offensive today than when it was drafted almost a century ago. Compared to the situation then, the communist movement is confronting presently many times more severe challenges, ideologically, politically and organizationally. The role of creating public opinion in capturing political power by the working class was repeatedly stressed from the initial years of international communist movement. As the working class and the masses under their leadership have to be aroused for the capture of political power, it is vital that the influence of pre-capitalist, capitalist ideas, culture and social traditions and habits are fought and defeated and they are imbued with the revolutionary ideas.

b. If the Paris Commune was a dress rehearsal for proletarian revolution, the October Revolution had asserted that it is possible for the proletariat to capture power and to advance socialist transformation of the society along with shouldering tasks of proletarian internationalism. Great strides were made by the CPSU including the founding of Comintern and supporting the national liberation movements. By 1950s the communist movement and the national liberation struggles were on an upswing and one-third of the world population was living in socialist countries. But very soon the ICM started facing continuous reversals. The erstwhile socialist countries have degenerated to capitalist path and almost all communist parties have disintegrated or turned in to bureaucratic social democratic parties. Transforming its plunder and hegemony from colonial to neo-colonial phase, the imperialist system has intensified its loot and domination manifold in all fields, from economic to socio-political to theoretical fields. It is utilizing all degenerate ideas, religions, caste/race system, culture etc for this purpose. It is utilizing post-modernist, identity politics, like ideas to emphasize that no alternative to imperialism is possible. Imperialist funded NGOs, 'civil-society groups', comprador intellectuals are organized and used for this purpose. A plethora of anti-communist ideas are spread like 'the age of socialism is over', 'end of history' etc. In short, the ICM is confronting the severest ever challenges, unprecedented in its history. In such a situation, the significance of ideological struggle against all alien ideas and creating public opinion for proletarian revolution have become extremely important.

c. In spite of these grave challenges, all those communist parties which were tailing the Soviet revisionist path, even while raising red flag and calling themselves communist, have degenerated to apologists of 'neo-colonialism' and are implementing the 'neo-liberal policies' wherever they get opportunity to share power within the reactionary ruling system. All those parties which opposed Soviet revisionism and upheld 'Chinese path', mechanically clinging to analysis of the state and society in their country as 'semi-colonial, semi-feudal' and path of revolution as 'protracted people's war', refuse to make concrete analysis of the vast changes taking place in the country as part of the momentous developments at global level and to develop the party program and path of revolution accordingly. In spite of the severe setbacks and disintegration faced as a result of these, most of them still refuse to change their approach, and cling to their old positions in one form or other. Many others, repeating the Trotskyist, Enver Hoxhaist like analyses or refusing to recognize the transformation of imperialist hegemony from colonial to neo-colonial phase are interpreting the changes taking place in the countries under neo-colonial plunder as 'independent' capitalist development and stage of revolution there as 'socialist', ignoring the growing hegemony of imperialist forces in new forms. Many of them belonging to all these deviations are compromising with NGOs' and 'civil society' like concepts. As a result, they have abandoned the need for the ideological struggle against all alien trends, thereby contributing to the intensification of the counter-revolutionary theoretical offensive against working class movement by the imperialists and their lackeys.

d. Till the disintegration of Soviet Union and degeneration of China to capitalist path, most of the Marxist-Leninist classics and many progressive publications were available at book stalls and were published and propagated by the left parties. But presently Marxist literature is not at all available except at very few book stalls in cities of traditional left strongholds. CPI, CPI(M) like social democratic parties very rarely publish Marxist classics. As the erstwhile Marxist-Leninist organizations have fragmented or do not recognize the significance of Marxist education, do not publish even their organs regularly or any Marxist classics in local languages. So except for those who are proficient in English language and use online/internet facilities, Marxist literature is practically unavailable. This is happening when the imperialists, their lackeys and various reformist trends have intensified the publication of counter-revolutionary literature and are intensifying anti-communist propaganda through the print and electronic media. In this situation, the Party central and state committees should give great importance to publication field. It includes: (a) regular publication of party organs in all languages as frequently as possible, their mass distribution through party squads and regular group reading and discussion of materials published in them; (b) translation and publication of all party documents, other party publications and Marxist classics and their mass distribution; and (c) organizing publication centres and book stalls for this purpose and ensuring their efficient functioning.

e. As one of the most important aspect of party building, the politicization of party cadres, members and fraction members should be taken up. As a part of this, party schools should be developed at central, zonal, state and district levels regularly with centrally decided agendas and publication of study material in all languages. Along with the holding of the committee meetings at all levels regularly, some time should be devoted in as many meetings as possible to discuss international and national developments, and materials published by central and state organs. The question of establishing permanent party schools where batches of party members are given regular party education also should be given attention to.

f. Creating public opinion as an important part of the revolutionary offensive calls for mass revolutionary propaganda. It involves: (a) Regular selling of party literature and Marxist classics among the masses by propaganda squads including party cultural squads, giving short speeches, presenting revolutionary songs and other methods suitable for local conditions; (b) Ensuring that as many party members as possible, leading cadres of class/ mass organizations, party fraction members and party sympathizers are made regular subscribers of central and state organs; (c) organizing as many public meetings, street corner meetings, village meetings, conventions, seminars etc as possible regularly to explain party's approach to all important political developments; and (d) organizing central, state, district, area and local level party jathas to propagate party's political line and to mobilize support for agitations and mass movements launched by the party. In this manner a continuous and intensive political campaign should be organized to propagate the politics of revolutionary seizure of political power. All party members should be invariably involved in these campaigns.

g. Fighting against parliamentary cretinism and boycottism, participation in elections at all levels should be developed as an integral part of class struggle, utilizing it for mass political propaganda. Based on the party's election manifesto, an intensive campaign should be organized to take the politics of 'people's alternative' and the people's democratic program explained in Party Program to the masses. Along with other forms of propaganda, door to door propaganda and canvassing should be effectively practiced so that party' relation with working class and peasant households increase continuously.

h. Wherever possibilities exist or as party's membership and mass base start increasing, regular agitation-propaganda squads (agit-prop squads as during October Revolution) including political orators and cultural activists who present line along with street dramas and songs should be organized in increasing numbers so as to go to all areas of mass upsurges, to propagate party's political line and to link all mass upsurges with revolutionary movement.

i. What is mentioned above are only some of the regular practices of past revolutionary movements. According to present conditions these practices of mass political propaganda should be developed continuously so as to intensify the efforts for creating public opinion to seize political power through countrywide mass uprising led by the working class.

V. On the Organization of Political Struggles.

31. For a Communist Party there is never a situation in which political activity is impossible. Organizational strategy and tactics must be developed so that Communists can take advantage in an organized manner of every political and economic situation and of every development.

However weak a Party is, it can always turn big political events or large-scale strikes which shake the entire economic life of the country to its advantage by organizing and carrying out systematic and practical propaganda. If a Party decides upon such a course of action, it should enthusiastically involve all its members and all sections of the Party in the campaign.

The Party above all must make use of every contact it has established through the work of its cells and workers' groups to organize meetings in the areas where political feeling or the strike movement is strongest. At these meetings Party orators must explain how the Communist slogans point the way to overcoming the difficulties. Special working groups must be set up to make careful and detailed preparations for these meetings. If the Party cannot call its own meetings, suitable comrades must speak at the general strike meetings or at the meetings attended by the militant workers, and must take a leading part in the discussion from the platform and from the floor.

If there is a possibility of winning over the majority or a significant part of the meeting to support for our ideas, the Communists should try to put them across in clearly worded and well-argued proposals and resolutions. In the event of such a resolution being passed, the Communists must try to get the same or similar resolutions either passed or at least backed by a strong minority at all meetings held in the same locality or in other localities involved in the same movement. In this way we shall unite the proletarian layers over which we have an influence and induce them to recognize our leadership.

The working groups which take part in the preparation and organization of such meetings must get together subsequently to discuss briefly a report for the leading Party committee and also to draw lessons for future activity from the experience and the mistakes that have been made.

Depending on the situation, we can get across our action slogans to the sections of workers most concerned by using posters and small-format leaflets or by distributing a more detailed leaflet that explains Communist ideas and shows how they are linked to the problems at hand and the slogans of the day. Specially organized groups are needed to ensure the effective use of posters and to choose the right place and the right time to stick them up.

When leaflets are being distributed inside the factory or at those places outside the factory where the militant workers congregate – in town centres, at traffic junctions, employment offices, stations etc. – someone should, wherever possible, give a short but convincing talk which can be understood and appreciated by the working masses who are being drawn towards the movement. Detailed leaflets should be distributed whenever possible, but only in factories, meeting halls, blocks of flats and other places where workers can be expected to read them carefully. Apart from conducting intensive propaganda, Communists should at the same time be intervening in all trade-union and general factory meetings where the issues at stake are being discussed. Our comrades should themselves organize meetings or be certain to co-operate with others in organizing such meetings and providing suitable speakers. Our Party newspapers must devote a lot of space to discussing these workers' movements and defending them with careful arguments. The entire organizational apparatus of the Party must allocate a certain period of time in which it will work unhesitatingly and unstintingly to further the movement's cause.

32. Protest actions require a very flexible and selfless leadership which does not lose sight of its aim for a moment and is capable of deciding when the protest has won the maximum gains or when there is a possibility of intensifying the campaign by organizing mass stoppages or even mass strikes. The anti-war demonstrations during the last war showed us that even when demonstrations are unsuccessful a genuine proletarian fighting party, however small and however greatly persecuted by the authorities, must not ignore issues that are of great urgency and importance and are bound to become increasingly relevant to the masses.

Street demonstrations should rely on the big factories for their main contingents. Our cells and fractions must prepare the way by systematically conducting oral propaganda, distributing leaflets and creating a favourable atmosphere for their ideas. Then the leading committee must call a meeting of Party representatives in the factories and the leaders of the cells and fractions to discuss and decide upon the best date for the demonstration, the time and place of assembly, the slogans, the publicity needed and the time the demonstration will begin and end. The demonstration must be stewarded by a group of well-briefed and capable Party workers who have organizational experience. Party workers must be placed at regular intervals in the crowd of demonstrators so that Party members can keep in contact with one another and regularly receive the necessary political instructions. If such a flexible and politically organized leadership is set up there will be more chance of organizing a second demonstration or using the demonstration to start a broad mass campaign.

33. Communist Parties which are already fairly strong and possess sufficient mass support must use the broad campaigns to put a final end to the influence that the social-traitors still have on the working class and persuade the majority of the working masses to recognize Communist political leadership. The way the campaign is organized will depend on the existing political situation and whether the state of the class struggle makes it possible for the Party to take up the leadership of the proletariat or whether the period is one of temporary stability. The composition of the Party will also have a decisive influence on the organizational methods of action adopted.

For example, the United Communist Party of Germany, which has recently become a mass Party, used the so-called "Open letter" to win wider layers of the proletariat than it had been possible to win by working in the individual districts.

In order to expose the treachery of the workers' leaders in this epoch of growing impoverishment and class conflict, the Communist Party has demanded that the other mass proletarian parties show where they stand. They must make it clear to the proletariat whether they are ready to join the Communist Party in the fight for a crust of bread and against the obviously deteriorating living conditions of the proletariat, and whether they are prepared to throw into the struggle those mighty organizations over which they say they have command.

Wherever the Communist Party initiates such a campaign, it must conduct the necessary organizational preparation in order to win a response from the broad masses of the workers. All factory fraction members and all trade-union officials who are Party members must carefully prepare their interventions at the factory and trade-union open meetings and raise the question of the Party's "Open letter", explaining how these "letters" put forward the fundamental and relevant demands.

Leaflets, handbills and posters must be skillfully distributed amongst sections of the masses which are sympathetic to the aims of the movement and whose support the cells and fractions want to win for the "Open letter". During the campaign our Party press must carry daily articles (short or more detailed) which discuss the different aspects of the movement and its problems. The organizations must provide the press with a continuous stream of up-to-date and suitable material and must make sure that the editors continue to reflect the progress of the fight in their pages. The Party fractions in parliamentary and local councils should also be used systematically in the political struggle. They must raise the question of the campaign in the manner laid down in the Party directives. Their resolutions in parliament and in the factory councils must act to centralise the disparate actions and the various groups who are taking up the issue. The broad movement thus formed transcends individual trade-union interests and puts forward several of the main basic demands which can be fought for by the joint efforts of all the organizations in the area. In such a campaign the Communist Party will prove itself to be the real leader of the militant proletariat. The trade-union bureaucracy and the Socialist Parties on the other hand, by their opposition to the broad organized movement, will compromise themselves ideologically, politically and organizationally.

34. If the Communist Party is attempting to gain the leadership of the masses at a time when political and economic conflict is leading to mass action and struggle, it is not necessary to advance a series of demands. Instead, the Party can appeal directly to the members of the Socialist Parties and trade unions not to shrink from the battles against their poverty and their increasing exploitation at the hands of the bosses even if the bureaucratic leaders are against action. For only by fighting can a complete catastrophe be avoided. The various Party bodies, and in particular its daily press, must constantly emphasise and demonstrate that the Communists are prepared to take part in any and every struggle of the impoverished proletariat and that in the present tense situation they will take every opportunity to assist all the oppressed. The Communist Parties must demonstrate day in, day out that without a fight the working class can never hope to win a tolerable standard of living and that even though this is the case the established organizations are attempting to avoid or prevent working-class struggles.

The factory and trade-union fractions must explain repeatedly to their fellow-workers at meetings that the paths of retreat are closed, and stress that the Communists are ready for battle and prepared to make sacrifices. The organizational unit which has developed out of conflicts and campaigns is a most important factor. The cells and fractions of the unions and factories which have been drawn into the struggle must not only maintain permanent organizational links with each other, but must also rely on the district committees and the central administration to arrange for officials and Party workers to join the movement immediately and work with those in struggle to extend, strengthen, centralise and unite it. The Communist Party's main task is to discover and draw attention to the elements which the different struggles have in common so that, where necessary, a political programme of united action can be proposed. As the struggle develops and becomes widespread. it will be necessary to create unified bodies to lead the struggle. Should the bureaucratic strike leaders abandon the struggle prematurely, well-timed efforts should be made to replace them with Communists, who can give the struggle a firm and decisive leadership. Where the co-ordination of various individual actions has been achieved, the aim should be the creation of a common leadership, in which, wherever possible, the Communists should occupy leading positions. If adequate organizational preparation is made, it should not be difficult to create a common leadership, using the trade-union and factory committee fractions, general factory meetings and, in particular, mass strike-meetings.

If the movement assumes a political character as a result either of the internal dynamic of its development or of intervention by the employers and government authorities, it may prove possible and essential to elect workers' Soviets. In such a case, Communists must start to conduct propaganda and make organizational preparations. All Party bodies must place great emphasis on the fact that the working class can only achieve its real liberation by means of organizations such as the Soviets, which have arisen directly out of the struggle, and by fighting hard and independently of the trade-union bureaucracy and its fellow-travelers from the Socialist Parties.

35. Communist Parties which have reached a certain level of organization and in particular those which are large mass parties must always be ready to launch broad political campaigns and back them with organizational measures. When demonstrations, mass economic struggles and other campaigns are under way, it must always be remembered that the organizational experience gained in these campaigns will steadily and surely lead to increasingly firm links with the broad masses. The experience of the most recent and most important campaigns should be discussed and debated at broadly-based conferences attended by officials, Party workers and also delegates from the large and medium-sized factories, so that an improved communications network can be organized through the factory representatives. Close links based on mutual trust between the various levels of Party workers and the factory delegates are the best safeguard against premature mass action and the best guarantee that campaigns will be on a scale appropriate to the circumstances and the level of Party influence.

Unless the Party organizations maintain close contacts with the proletarian masses in the large and medium-sized factories, the Communist Party will not be able to conduct large-scale mass action and genuinely revolutionary campaigns. One of the reasons for the premature ending of the revolutionary rising that took place last year in Italy, [The last instance of mass proletarian self-assertion before Mussolini's March on Rome] reaching its height with the factory occupations, was undoubtedly the treachery of the trade-union bureaucracy and the inadequacy of the political party leaders. However, another reason was the complete lack of politically educated factory delegates interested in Party life, who could have maintained organizational links between the Party and the factories. For the same reason, the large miners' strike which took place in Britain this did not have as much influence on political events as it could have had. [In March 1921, the British government ended the wartime control of the mines. The private owners immediately cut the pitmen's wages. When the miners resisted they were locked out. Unemployment had already soared well over the million mark and there was general unrest throughout industry. The miners called for a general strike and the government prepared a middle-class Defence Force. On 'Slack Friday", 15 April, the Triple Alliance backed down. By the end of June, the pitmen accepted defeat.]

Explanatory Note

a. During the formation period, the Comintern was entirely consisting of European Communist/ Workers parties. Most of them were functioning in the capitalist imperialist countries. So it is natural that the documents prepared during this period and even in the later period even after some of the Communist Parties from the colonial/semi-colonial/ dependent countries in other continents also became its members, were by and large Euro-centric and city oriented in nature. Though the Path of Revolution pursued by our Party also calls for capturing political power by organizing countrywide mass uprising led by the working class, this limitation of this document should be taken in to consideration while applying it in conditions like India, which is presently a country under neo-colonisation, in the stage of People's Democratic Revolution. If these documents are studied and applied with this basic understanding, they will provide immense help in building the party and in making it capable of developing day to day work towards completion of the PDR and advancing towards socialist revolution.

b. As the Communist revolutionaries in our country are influenced by the concept of protracted people war for last four decades, the efforts to mechanically copy it in Indian conditions have led to the belief that the countryside can be liberated through area wise seizure of political power, and one day the guerrilla army shall march forward and liberate the cities. By trying to mechanically copy this path of revolution which succeeded in the unique conditions of China where the CPC had retreated to Chingkang Mountains in 1927 with an army of many tens of thousands split away from the Kumintang army and in a basically different world situation, already the CR forces in our country have suffered grievous losses. Still the anarchist Maoist groups are persisting in this line which should be exposed and defeated.

c. As a result of the influence of this line, building of class/mass organizations and making conscious efforts to politicize and mobilize the working class as the leader of revolution and peasantry and other revolutionary classes and sections as its allies, developing day to day activities throughout the country including the cities involving the party in all the struggles of the proletariat and other revolutionary classes and sections, and taking advantage of every political and economic situation in an organized manner and of every development were neglected or not given due importance. Even after the degeneration of the erstwhile socialist countries to capitalist path the importance of mass line and of educating the masses to assimilate and defend socialism is not given the primary importance it calls for.

d. This document is giving guidance to work among the working class through fractions and other details about transforming every struggle coming up to big political movements. According to concrete conditions, and extending this method of work to the peasantry for developing agrarian revolution according to present conditions, and to other revolutionary sections, this orientation should be applied in our country.

e. Gaining leadership of the masses in the course of these mass struggles is needed to form Soviets or people's communes or local centres of people's political power. The experience during the numerous mass movements getting strengthened against the SEZs, against displacement from the land in the name of so-called development projects, during the struggles to capture land under land struggle committees, in the slum movement etc taking place all over the country shows that if the party and class / mass organizations can establish their leadership over them, immense possibilities for developing embryonic forms of Soviets or People's panchayats exist. Presently it is difficult to reach this stage due to the weakness of the party leadership in these areas. This question should be seriously discussed by the SCs/SOCs and ways of strengthening the party in these areas so that ­­­­­­­ these embryonic forms of people's political power can be developed combating the 'civil society' like concepts advanced by NGOs and government agencies to confine people's struggles within the boundaries of existing social system.

f. The discussion in para. (35) should be translated to conditions in our country and put in to practice. At the same time this discussion should be extended to mobilising and politicising of other classes/sections, especially the peasantry for agrarian revolution according to the present situation. Launching broad-based political campaigns and backing them with organizational measures should be given priority to advance towards mass uprisings. Once again this is possible, as noted in this para, only if due importance is given to persist in the struggle against alien trends and linking the struggle to develop the revolutionary movements. Presently when increasing number of spontaneous mass upsurges are breaking out at many places, some of them massive as the recent uprising in Delhi following the gang rape of a girl on 16th Dec. 2012 shows, the party committees should develop capability to interfere effectively and influence them politically. The experience so far gained by participating in different anti-nuclear movements like the one in Jaitapur, anti-POSCO movement, slum movement in Bhubaneswar, agrarian movements in Raichur should be evaluated and developed.

VI. On the Party Press

36. Constant effort must be made to develop and improve the Communist press. No paper can be recognised as a Communist organ unless it is subject to Party control. This principle must be applied, within reason, to all Party publications, i.e., journals, papers, pamphlets etc., but control has to be exercised without affecting adversely their academic, propagandistic or other content. The Party must be concerned more with the quality than with the quantity of papers. The first priority for every Communist Party is to have a good and, wherever possible, daily central paper.

37. A Communist paper must never be run as a capitalist business in the way bourgeois papers and often the so-called "Socialist" papers are. Our papers must be independent of the capitalist credit institutions. Skilful use of advertising can substantially assist a paper's finances – provided the Party is a legal mass party – but it must not lead to a paper becoming dependent on the large firms that place advertisements. Our papers will establish their authority by the uncompromising position they take on all proletarian social questions. Our papers must not try to satisfy the 'public's' desire for sensation or light entertainment. They must not heed the criticisms of the petty-bourgeois authors and virtuosos of journalism or seek an entree to these literary circles.

38. The Communist paper must concern itself first and foremost with the interests of the exploited and militant workers. It must be our best propagandist and agitator, the leading advocate of the proletarian revolution.

Our paper must aim to gather the valuable experience of all the members of the Party and disseminate this experience in the form of guide-lines so that Communist methods of work can be constantly revised and improved. Experiences must also be shared at meetings, attended by editors from all over the country; this exchange of opinion will also bring about maximum consistency in the tone and direction of the entire Party press. In this way the Party press and each individual paper will be effective organisers of our revolutionary activity.

Unless the Communist papers and in particular the main paper are successful in their efforts to centralise and organize, it will scarcely be possible to achieve democratic centralism or an effective division of labour within the Communist Party and the Party will be unable to fulfill its historic task.

39. The Communist paper must strive to become a Communist undertaking, i.e., a proletarian fighting organization, an association of revolutionary workers, of all its regular contributors, type-setters, printers, administrators, distributors and sellers, and of those who collect local news, discuss and edit the material in the cells, etc.

A number of practical measures are required in order to make the paper a fighting organization and a real Communist association.

Each Communist should have close links with the paper for which he or she works and makes personal sacrifices. The paper is the Communist's daily weapon which has to be constantly steeled and sharpened in order to be effective. Communist papers can only survive if Party members are prepared to make substantial and regular financial and material sacrifices. Members must see that the papers have a steady supply of funds for their organization and improvement until such time as the legal mass Parties achieve a position of strength and stability enabling them to exist independently and themselves offer the Communist movement material support.

The Communists must be more than just lively canvassers and agitators for the paper; they must be useful contributors. Everything that happens in the Communist fraction of the factory or in the cell, any event of social or economic importance, whether it be an accident at work or a factory meeting, the ill-treatment of apprentices or the factory's financial report, must be communicated to the paper as quickly as possible. The fractions in the trade unions must collect all the important decisions and measures adopted by union meetings and union secretariats and any information on the type of activities our enemies are engaging in and send them to the paper. The round of meetings and the life of the street give the alert Party worker the opportunity to observe and critically evaluate various minor details which can be used in the paper to demonstrate clearly even to the workers who are indifferent to politics that we are in touch with their daily needs.

The editorial board must handle with particular care and feeling the reports on the life of working people and on workers' organizations, which can either be published as short articles to show that the paper is close to the life of working people or used as practical examples to illustrate Communist ideas – this is the best way to make the principles of Communism comprehensible to the broad working masses. Wherever possible, the editorial board must at suitable times hold discussions with the workers who visit the editorial office, listen to the hopes and complaints they draw from their experience of life's hardships, note them down carefully and use them to make the paper more vital.

Under the capitalist system, it is true, none of our papers can become a perfect Communist working association. But even in the most unfavourable circumstances it is possible to organise a revolutionary workers' paper. The paper of our Russian comrades, Pravda, for the years 1912 and 1913 is an example of this. It represented a highly active organization of conscious revolutionary workers from the important centres of the Russian Empire. These comrades jointly edited, published and distributed this paper, most of them financing it from their own wages. The paper gave them what they wanted and what their movement needed at that time; it was an experience which is still of benefit to them today in their work and struggle. Members of the Party and many other revolutionary workers could look on such a paper as 'their own'.

40. Contributing to Party election campaigns is an integral part of the work of a militant Communist press. When the activity of the Party is focused on some definite campaign, the Party paper must devote not just its leading political articles but as much space as necessary to the campaign. The editors must draw material in support of the campaign from all sources and design the paper's content and format so that this material can be presented in the most effective way.

41. Subscriptions for our papers must be collected very systematically. During periods when workers are joining the labour movement or when political or economic events are disrupting social life there are good opportunities for winning readers and the Communists should be able to make the best of them. When any large strike or lockout openly and energetically defended by the paper comes to an end, Communists should immediately persuade those who were on strike to take out individual subscriptions to the papers. Not only must Communists distribute subscription forms and carry out propaganda amongst the Communist fractions in the factories and trade unions during a strike but, wherever possible, they must develop a militant agitational campaign, visiting the homes of the workers who participated in the struggle.

It is also essential that after any political election campaign which has aroused the interest of the working masses in politics, special groups be set up to visit homes in the working-class areas.

At times of potential political and economic crises which affect the broad working masses through high prices, unemployment etc., Communists must make skilful propaganda around these issues. They must do everything in their power to obtain from the trade-union fractions detailed lists of the workers organised in trade unions and use them to approach these workers individually to win subscribers. Experience has shown that the last week of the month is the best time for this kind of canvassing work. Any local group that has not tried during this period at least once in a year is letting a good opportunity slip by.

Paper-sellers should not miss a single workers' meeting or demonstration; they should sell subscriptions before, during and after the event.

The trade-union fractions must sell papers at all meetings of the cells and the factory fractions as well as at the general factory meetings.

42. Party members must also defend the paper against its enemies. All Party members must also defend the paper against the capitalist press, exposing and criticising the way it distorts and suppresses information.

We must get the better of the social-democratic and independent socialist press by a constant offensive, which should not however degenerate into a petty polemic. The many examples from everyday life must be used to show up the disgusting attempts to smooth over the manifold social contradictions. Our fractions in the trade unions and other organisations must do all they can to liberate the members of the trade unions and other workers' organisations from the misleading and harmful influence of the social-democratic press. Our campaign to win subscribers by both house-to-house and factory agitation must involve a direct attack on the press of the social-traitors.

Explanatory Note

a. Though this document was drafted almost a century ago, as already pointed out, as the details and conclusions are drawn from the revolutionary experience, especially of Russia during the revolutionary years, this section is very self explanatory.

b. In present times when imperialists and their lackeys are utilising the press and publications as a whole, the media as a whole, as one of their most important tools to confuse and control the masses, the role of the Communist press to effectively combat them has increased manifold. It is also all the more importance as even the religious forces are having numerous publications and TV channels to divert the masses from the revolutionary path through their obscurantist and revivalist propaganda.

c. This section should be studied at all levels and all party committees should fulfil their responsibilities to publish and propagate the Communist press most effectively. With out giving full significance for the communist media as a whole the revolutionary campaign cannot be led forward. The concrete steps to be taken up for developing the party press are already explained while explaining the relevance of Propaganda and Agitation under Section 1V.

VII. On the General Structure of the Party Organization

43. In extending and consolidating the Party organization, the actual economic and political patterns and the network of communications the area exhibits should be given more consideration than any conventional geographical criteria. The chief emphasis should be on main cities and the centres of large-scale industry.

When a new Party is being formed, there is often the temptation to start immediately extending the network of Party organizations across the whole country, even though the forces at the Party's disposal are limited and widely dispersed. Consequently the Party is less able to recruit members and, though it may manage to create a highly developed bureaucratic system in the space of a few years, it will not even succeed in building up a firm base in any of the country's main industrial towns.

44. Maximum centralization of Party activity will not be achieved by constructing a schematic, hierarchical system of leadership with a large number of Party organizations, each one subordinate to its superior. The aim is for every large town which is a centre of economic and political life and of communications to have an organizational network extending over the economic and political area around the town. The Party committee in the regional capital, as head of the Party organization, must direct all the organizational and political activity in the district and maintain the closest links with the mass of working-class Party members who live in the main town.

The district organizers, elected by the district conference or the Party district congress and confirmed in office by the Party's CC, must play a regular part in the Party life of the regional capital. Party workers from the massin town must constantly reinforce the Party district committee, which provides the political leadership, so that close contact is maintained between it and the broad mass of Party members in the regional capital. As the forms of Party organization develop further, it is essential to work towards a situation where the leading Party district committee assumes political leadership in the town. The leading Party committees of the district organizations, along with the Central Committee, will provide real leadership of the Party organization as a whole.

It is obviously not essential for the boundaries of the Party district to coincide with the geographical boundaries of the area. What is important is that the Party district committee should be able to supervise equally efficiently all the local organizations in the district. If this is not possible, then the district must be divided in two and a new Party district committee created.

In the larger countries the Party naturally needs to have several general liaison bodies to unite the Central Committee with the various district committees (provincial bodies, regional committees, etc.), and the district central authority with those of the various local organizations (regional or divisional bodies). In some circumstances it may certainly be advisable to give a leading role to one or another of these liaison bodies (for example, to the main organization of a fairly large town with a big Party membership). But, as a general rule, it is wise to avoid such decentralisation.

45. The Party as a whole is under the leadership of the Communist International. The directives and resolutions of the central bodies of the International which concern the affiliated Parties are sent 1) to the Central Committee of the Party or 2) through the CC to the central body which is in charge of some special activity or 3) to all Party organizations.

The directives and resolutions of the International are binding on the Party and also, it goes without saying, on each Party member.

The policies and the current activity of the Party are directed by the International through its two 'bureau. The smaller leading body regularly calls general meetings of the central leading body of the Party at which important resolutions of decisive significance are issued. During the elections to the central body of the Party, attention must be paid to the wishes of the organizations in the various parts of the country and to any suitable suggestions made by any of them, so that the centre has an exact picture of the general situation and the stage of development of the Party, its morale and fighting capacity. For the same reason, serious tactical disagreements which surface during elections to the central body should not be ignored; on the contrary, they must be discussed by the central body, of which able representatives of the minority view must be members. However, the smaller leading body must as far as possible share the same ideas so that it is able to give the Party a firm and reliable leadership, backed up not only by its own authority, but also by a sizeable and even a strong majority on the central leading body. The larger membership of the central Party body will, for one thing, enable the legal mass Parties in a short period of time to ensure that the mass of Party members have absolute trust in their CC and observe strict discipline in their relations with it. Moreover, the Party will be able to diagnose and cure more rapidly any ailments and weaknesses which full-time Party workers may develop. This makes it possible in part to eliminate in a rational way the growth of disease in the Party and obviates the necessity of curing it at future Party congresses by surgical methods, which could have catastrophic consequences.

Explanatory Note

a. As already pointed out this section and the entire document was drafted on the basis of the understanding of the organizational structure of the Comintern. This principle was questioned later. So the Communist International is reorganized not be an international party, but as a co-ordinating centre or a forum of the Communist parties in which decisions are taken based on consensus. The CC of respective parties shall decide the revolutionary line and give leader ship to put it into practice. So even when the Comintern is reorganized its guiding principles should be re- defined so that the politics and current activities of the parties are not directed by it, and that the international centre will not have the right to call general meetings of the CC of a party. The second part of this para dealing with the functioning of the CC can be applied in the concrete conditions of each country. The founding document of the ICOR reflect this approach and the re-organization of the Communist International should be taken based on this.

b. As already pointed out these guiding principles were drafted mainly based on the revolutionary experience of Russia. There the population was concentrated in few cities which were also the main industrial centres. But the situation in India is basically different. Ours is a vast country with 125 crores of population dispersed in a number of states which have different languages and culture.

46. The central leadership of the Party (Central Committee or the Enlarged Central Committee) is responsible to the Party Congress and the Executive Committee of the Communist International. The Central Committee and the smaller leading organ are usually elected by the Party congress, but if the congress considers it expedient, it may instruct the central body to elect from its own membership a narrower leading organ consisting of members of the Political and Organisational bureaus.

Explanatory Note

Here again the section that the CC is responsible to the Executive Committee of the Communist International (ECCI) may be deleted. This para as well as paras from 47 to 51 should be applied as explained by the provisions in the Party Constitution.

47. Each leading Party committee must organize an effective division of labour enabling it to supervise Party work as fruitfully as possible. Special leading bodies may prove essential in many areas of work (propaganda, distribution of papers and periodicals, trade-union work, work amongst women, political Red Cross work, information and liaison work, etc.). Each special leading body is subordinate either to the central leading body or to the Party district committee.

The leading Party district committee and, ultimately, the central leading body of the Party controls the activity and the correct functioning and composition of all the committees subordinate to it. All members who are full-time Party workers are directly responsible to the Party committee. It may be advisable to rotate Party members who hold positions (editors, propagandists, organisers, etc.) between different jobs and towns, provided this does not interfere too much with the work of the Party. Editors and propaganda workers must also take part in regular Party work as part of some working group.

48. The central leadership of the Party and the Communist International are at all times entitled to demand comprehensive reports from all the Communist organisations, from their bodies as well as from individual members. The representatives and delegates of the central leadership are entitled to attend all meetings and sessions with a consultative voice and the right of veto. The central Party leadership must always have delegates available so that it can provide district and area bodies with instructions and information on political or organisational matters, not only through circulars or correspondence but also through verbal communication by its representatives.

The Central Committees and all district committees must have revision commissions, which are made up of tried and experienced Party comrades and which have the job of controlling funds and auditing accounts. At certain fixed times they must report to the Extended Central Committee.

Every organisation and every Party organ as well as every individual Party member has the right at any time to communicate proposals, comments or complaints directly to the central Party leadership or the International.

49. The directives and decisions of the leading Party bodies are binding on subordinate organizations and on all individual members.

The obligation and responsibility of the leading bodies to guard against leading comrades neglecting their duties or abusing their rights cannot be fully expressed in a formal manner. In illegal Parties, for example, their formal responsibility is less, but their obligation to take note of the opinions of other members of the Party, to try to receive reliable information regularly and make their decisions after considered and comprehensive discussion is that much greater.

50. In their public appearances members of the Party are obliged to act at all times as disciplined members of a militant organisation. If there are disagreements on the correct method of action on this or that question, these should, as far as possible, be settled in the Party organisation before any public activity is embarked upon and the members should then act in accordance with the decision made. In order that every Party decision is carried out fully by all Party organisations and Party members, the largest possible number of Party members should be involved in discussing and deciding every issue. The different levels of the Party apparatus must decide whether any given question should be publicly discussed by individual comrades (in the press, in pamphlets), in what form and to what extent. If the decision of the organisation or leading Party body is in the view of certain other members incorrect, these comrades must not forget, When they speak or act in public, that to weaken or break the unity of the common front is the worst breach of discipline and the worst mistake that can be made in the revolutionary struggle.

It is the supreme duty of every member of the Party to defend the Communist Party and above all the Communist International against all enemies of Communism. Anyone who forgets this or goes so far as to attack the Party or the Communist International in public must be considered an enemy of the Party.

51. The statutes of the Party must be drawn up so that they do not serve as a barrier to the development and growth of the Party.

The decisions of the Communist International must be carried out without delay by all those Parties affiliated to it, even in those cases where the requisite changes in the existing statutes and Party decisions can only be made subsequently.

Explanatory Note

a. That the chief emphasis should be on main cities and the centres of large scale industry was the analysis made in the context of pre-Revolutionary Russia and the West European countries. On the contrary taking the reversals in 1927 when the city based party organization was brutally suppressed in the then concrete conditions of China, CPC gave chief emphasis to the vast rural areas where 95% of the population of then China was. As a result of mechanically copying the Chinese path the CR organizations in India gave one sided emphasis to rural areas. But in the concrete conditions of present India a "walking on two legs" policy should be followed. While giving importance to organizing the working classes, the leader of the PDR, in the main cities and centres of large scale industries, emphasis should be given to mobilize the revolutionary sections of the peasantry for agrarian revolution under working class leadership and based on worker-peasant alliance.

b. The CPI (ML) is rebuilt not as a new party .The Communist movement has nine decades of history in India, which had practically extended its influence to almost all districts in the country. So unlike what is stated in this para about new parties, emphasis should be given for uniting all genuine communists all over the country and re building the party at all India level as fast as possible. The difference in the concrete conditions while the documents was issued by Comintern and present times should be concretely analysed while applying it.

c. The Party organizational structure developed in the concrete conditions of India and the inter-relation among various party committees are well explained in the Party Constitution. While assimilating the emphasis given to the district committees in the para, they should be made active under the leadership of the SCs/SOCs as explained in the Constitution. The main emphasis should be to transform the entire party committee system into a well oiled machine, like an organic system capable of leading the revolutionary struggles in every situation.

VIII. On the Combination of Legal and Illegal Work74

52. The day-to-day life of every Communist Party changes in accordance with the different stages of the revolutionary process. Essentially, however, every Party, whether legal or illegal, should aim at the same type of Party structure.

The Party must be organized so that it can adapt itself quickly to changes in the conditions of struggle.

The Communist Party must develop into a fighting organization, capable on the one hand of avoiding open encounters with the enemy which has superior forces, and on the other hand of taking advantage of its opponents' difficulties and attacking where an attack is least expected. It would be a great mistake for the Party organization to stake everything on an uprising, on street fighting or on the spontaneous response of the masses to their extreme oppression. Communists must prepare for revolution in all situations and always be ready to fight, since it is often almost impossible to know in advance when the movement will grow and when there will be a period of calm. But even when it is possible to forecast struggles, the signal rarely comes in time to allow for alterations to be made in the Party organization, since such changes in the situation usually occur very swiftly and often completely unexpectedly.

53. Legal Communist Parties in capitalist countries have, as a whole, not yet grasped fully how seriously they must work to prepare the Party for the revolutionary insurrection, the armed struggle and the illegal struggle.

If the Parties are not preparing for illegal work; they assume that they will be able to operate legally for a long period of time and adopt structures that meet only the requirements of the day-to-day legal struggle.

The illegal Parties, on the other hand, are often not sufficiently skilful at seizing opportunities to engage in legal activities that can build a Party organization which has real contact with the revolutionary masses. In such cases Party work tends to amount to a Sisyphean labour performed by ineffectual conspirators.

In both cases improvements need to be made. Every legal Communist Party must be organized so that, should it have to go underground, it is ready and capable of continuing its struggle. In particular, it must be prepared to respond to outbursts of revolutionary activity. Every illegal Communist Party, in its turn, must make good the opportunities provided by the legal workers' movement, so that by working hard it becomes the organizer and the real leader of the broad revolutionary masses. The direction of both legal and illegal work must always be in the hands of a single Party centre.

54. Both the legal and illegal Communist Parties often understand illegal Communist organizational work to be the creation and maintenance of a closely knit and exclusively military organization, isolated from other aspects of Party work and organization. This is undoubtedly a mistaken view. In the pre-revolutionary period our military organizations must be built primarily by general Communist Party work. The Party as a whole must become a military organization fighting for revolution.

When isolated revolutionary military organizations are set up prematurely, they tend to become demoralised and break up because there is no directly useful Party work for them to do.

55. It is of course vital that during any important campaign an illegal Party protect its members and its organizations from discovery and be careful not to give away their identity through membership lists, careless collection of dues or careless distribution of literature. The illegal Party is unable to use open forms of organization for conspiratorial purposes in the way the legal Party does. But it can learn to make increasing use of these methods.

Every precaution must be taken to prevent suspicious or unreliable persons joining the Party. The methods to be used will depend to a considerable degree on whether the Party is legal or illegal, whether it is in a period of growth or of stagnation. One method which has had favourable results in some places and in certain circumstances is the system of candidature, according to which persons wanting to join the Party are first accepted as candidates on the recommendation of one or two Party comrades, and are only adopted as full members if they carry out successfully the Party work assigned to them.

The bourgeoisie will inevitably send spies and provocateurs into the illegal organizations. These elements must be countered with great care and patience.

One method of combating alien elements is the maximum combination of legal and illegal work. The best test of who is sufficiently reliable, brave, conscientious, energetic and skilful to be trusted with illegal work, and of the kind of illegal work they are most suited to is an extensive period of legal revolutionary work.

The legal mass Party must prepare thoroughly to meet the unexpected, to arm itself and adapt itself to illegal work (for example, it must hide addresses with care, develop the habit of destroying correspondence, learn to preserve necessary documents, educate people in conspiracy, etc.).

56. Consequently, our general Party work must be conducted so that the roots of a fighting organization meeting the needs of the given stage of the revolution are developed in good time. It is particularly important that the administration of the Communist Party should keep these requirements constantly in view and as far as possible try to form a clear idea of its tasks before the revolution begins. Such a picture can never, it is true, be absolutely complete and precise, but that should never be an excuse for ignoring this important aspect of Communist organizational leadership.

For even a well-organized Party can find it extremely difficult to change its orientation in a period of open revolutionary struggle. The political party may have only a few days to mobilise for military activity. Not only the Party, but also its reserves, organizations of sympathisers and even the unorganised revolutionary masses, may have to prepare for action in this short time. In such a situation the formation of a regular Red Army is out of the question. Victory must be won without the assistance of a previously organized army; victory must be won by the masses alone, under the Party's leadership. The most heroic struggle may therefore prove useless if our Party has not organized itself for such an eventuality.

57. The revolutionary central leadership bodies have often proved incapable of carrying out their tasks. During a revolution the proletariat can make great strides forward with its grass-roots organizational tasks, even while disorder, uncertainty and chaos reign at headquarters. Sometimes the most elementary division of labour is lacking. The communications network is usually particularly badly organised, becoming more of a burden than an asset and one which no one can rely on. If secret postal and transport facilities, secret hide-outs and printing presses are operating where they are needed, this is usually quite coincidental. An organized opponent can initiate provocative action with every chance of succeeding.

Unless the leading revolutionary party has set up its own special apparatus to deal with these organizational tasks, this kind of chaos is inevitable. Military intelligence demands special training and knowledge, as does counter-intelligence work to combat the political police.

A system of secret communication can function reliably and efficiently only if it has been in regular operation for a long time. In all these spheres of special revolutionary activity, every Communist Party needs some secret preparations, if only on a small scale.

In most cases a system may be established legally, provided the type of apparatus that may need to be created is kept in view: for example, an underground apparatus organizing postal and courier services, transport, accommodation, etc. can be developed by the careful distribution of legal leaflets and also legal publications and letters.

58 The Communist organizer must from the outset think about the future historic role that each member of the Party will play as a soldier of our militant organization at the time of the revolution. Thus the organizer will place workers in that Party section and give them that work which best corresponds to their future position and role in the struggle. The work must be useful in itself and essential to today's battle, not merely an exercise which the activist does not understand. It must prepare the workers for the major tasks that win face them in tomorrow's final struggle.

Explanatory Note

In present conditions when our Party is mainly functioning openly utilising all legal facilities, it is necessary that the points regarding the link between and the difference in legal and illegal work explained in this section are assimilated in proper spirit, without surrendering to any alarmist positions. Then only each Communist organizer and the Party as a whole can be prepared for the historic role of completing the task of the PDR and advancing to the socialist revolution by preparing the Party to face all eventualities.



(Submitted by AGITPROP Department of the ECCI , Extracts from Inprekorr, v, 34, p. 514, 12 March 1925)

[In endorsing these rules at its meeting on 3 April, the ECCI emphasized the need for ideological training of the party membership; its resolution said, in part: 'The enlarged executive, while directing the attention of all sections to the decisions of the agitprop conference held in connection with the executive meeting, underlines the following current tasks in this field:

1. An end must be put to the passive attitude of sections hitherto towards the question of the party training of the entire party membership. . . .

2. 'For the theoretical training of the basic party cadres, every party centre must establish a central party school, with a two to nine months course, according to the practical possibilities. . . . The agitprop department of the ECCI must promote and support these schools in every way.

3. 'The enlarged Executive approves the plan to organize international party courses in Moscow, and instructs the presidium to see that work begins in this school in the autumn of the present year. . .

4. ' The steadily growing interest of the broad working masses in the economic and cultural life of the Soviet Union, and the continuing campaign of calumny in the bourgeois and reformist press, make it necessary to devote special attention to supplying correct and comprehensive information about conditions in the Soviet Union. . . .

5. All sections are obliged to maintain the closest contact through their agitprop departments with the agitprop department of the ECCI.]


1. For the unified conduct of party agitation and propaganda work in all its forms, verbal as well as printed, every section of the Comintern, regardless of the party's influence or the political conditions in which it works, must have an agitprop department attached to its central committee.

2. Instructed by the CC of the party, the agitprop department works out the entire plan of party agitation and propaganda in their various branches, and supervises the execution by all local party organizations of Congress and CC decisions concerned with these questions.

3. The CC appoints one of its members to take charge of the work of this department.

4. The head of the department works with an agitprop commission, consisting of four to eight members appointed by the CC, the head acting as chairman. The commission carries out all preliminary work on general agitprop questions, drafts the plan of work for the department. . . . The commission meets regularly, at least once a week.

5. In order to maintain contact with other departments of the CC, and with organizations related to the communist party, and to bring uniformity into their work, representatives of the organization department of the CC, of the women's secretariat, of the young communist league, of the red sports organization, the International Red Aid, and others will be attached to the commission. Care should be taken in appointing the commission to see that comrades concerned with educational work in the trade unions and co-operatives are included. . . .

6. In allocating functions within the agitprop commission the department should bear in mind the following three chief spheres of work: (a) agitation work among the masses;

(b) work concerned with propaganda or party education; (c) the political periodical press.

The commission may set up special sub-commissions to coordinate the work in these three fields. Their composition, and the choice of a responsible head of each sub-commission, is determined by the agitprop commission and must be ratified by the CC of the party. They may include comrades who are not members of the agitprop commission.

7. In sections which have not yet developed very far, it is enough to form a small agitprop department, consisting of a head of department and a commission of three (including the head), without any sub-commissions. A sub-commission for the press should be set up only where the party press is already well developed or where good opportunities are open for our comrades in the trade union press. . . .

8. It is desirable that two or three leading party members should receive regular pay for this work, so that they can devote all their time to it.

9. The entire work of the agitprop department of the CC must be carried out on the basis of a thorough study of the working experience of all local party organizations. If it issues a circular or directives, the department must see that the instructions really are carried out. . . .10. About twice a year the CC should call a meeting to discuss general questions of the agitprop department (or its sub-sections), to be attended by members of the department and the agitprop leaders of the most important district and local committees, as well as the agitprop organizers of the three to five largest factory cells. . . .


11. Agitprop departments shall also be attached to the district committees, on the same lines as the CC department, but on a smaller scale....


12. One member of the presidium or bureau of the local committee must be appointed to take charge of the entire agitation and propaganda work of the area, for which he is responsible to the local committee. . . .

13. For all the preparatory work there will be an agitprop department consisting of the leader mentioned in para. (12) and a commission of five to seven members. One of these must be a member well versed in the theory of Marxism-Leninism, who will be in charge of all propaganda (party education) work in the area. ... At the meetings of this commission the cell agitprop organizers shall report on their work and take part in discussing and deciding general questions of the commission's work. . . .

14. All decisions of the agitprop commission which have a general character must be endorsed by the presidium or bureau of the local committee. . . .

15. At least once every two months the committee shall call a meeting of the secretaries and agitprop organizers of the factory cells and area party committees, to hear the report of the department and discuss agitprop work,

16. The agitprop department of the local committee must send regular reports to the central party agitprop department. . . .

D. Factory Cells

17. From the very beginning of the work to organize factory cells it is necessary to give great attention to the agitation and propaganda work of the cell among the working masses of the factory.... One member of the cell shall be appointed agitprop organizer to take charge of the work and supervise the execution of all decisions.

18. It is the job of the agitprop organizer to:

(a) draw up a list of members of the group suitable for agitprop work;

(b) organize a group to study the party programme and party tactics;

(c) organize individual agitation among non-party workers, in the first place those who sympathize with the party;

(d) organize agitation meetings;

(e) organize party participation at meetings called by trade unions and other bodies;

(f) organize the distribution of party liter.

Explanatory Note

The CC should work out a guideline for developing the Agitation and Propaganda groups at different levels and supervise their overall functioning. Even while the CC is developing this guideline the task of developing this group according to the concrete conditions should be left to the SCs/ SOCs because of the diversities among them in a vast country like India with uneven development and many complexities. Presently our Party committees have not developed to the level of organizing highly advanced agitprop groups. So presently the task of their organization and supervising the functioning can be left to the executive committees of SCs and DCs. Their functioning and further development according to regional conditions should be constantly reviewed along with the development of party membership and committee system.



(Passed by the Second Organization Conference and endorsed by the Sixth ECCI Plenum, 11 March 1926 Inprekorr, vi, 65, p. 986, 29 April 1926.)

The following instructions embody the principles on which the structure of communist fractions should be based. The varied structure of trade unions and the varying levels of development of communist parties make it necessary for the CI sections to determine their own methods by adapting these instructions to the particular conditions of their countries.

I. The Role of Fractions

Communist members of a trade union and of its organizations (executive, Conference, Congress, etc.) are obliged to unite in a fraction and to perform active fraction work. Communist fractions are to work energetically to bring the majority of the trade union members under their influence. They will be the more successful in this the more devotedly, intelligently, and vigorously they look after the interests of these members, the better they understand how to defend the proletarian class interests and to combine, in all spheres and on every occasion, the struggle for immediate demands with the struggle for the aims of the working class. Communist trade union work is carried on within the framework of the constitution and decisions of the union.

II. Party and Fraction

Party members must realize that fractions are not the foundation of the party and that they can therefore take decisions referring only to their special field of activity. The success of fraction work depends on the unity, determination, and discipline of all fraction members. It is not the individual fraction member, often not even the fraction as a whole, but the communist party in its entirety which is held responsible by the broad working masses for the activity of communist fractions and every utterance of a communist fraction member. The party committees determine the political and tactical line of communist fractions, give them instructions and directives, and supervise their work. Important fraction work must be discussed by the trade union department of the committee in the presence of representatives of the fraction. Serious differences of opinion between trade union department and fraction are to be resolved by the party committee in the presence of fraction representatives. Decisions of the committee are to be unconditionally carried out by the fraction. Failure to do so is a breach of discipline. Candidates for all trade union congresses, conferences, and executives are to be nominated by the fraction leadership and require endorsement by the appropriate party committee. If necessary the party committee may itself nominate candidates.

The relevant party committee is at all times entitled to amend or annul decisions of the fraction, and to dismiss or appoint fraction committees or leaders. In such cases an explanation must be given to the fraction members. Within the limits of general party instructions, the fraction decides internal questions and current work. Party committees should not interfere unnecessarily in the daily work of the fraction, but should grant it all possible freedom of action and initiative. Fraction committees are obliged to report regularly to the relevant party committee or relevant department, and to the fraction committee next above it in rank.


Communist trade union work is carried out in factories by the cells, and in trade union bodies by the fraction. Trade union fractions do not operate in the factory. . . .The cell committee guides and supervises the activity of communist trade union officials in the factory. It must arrange for the nomination in factory trade union elections of comrades who carry out trade union work in the factory on the instructions of the cell. There is as a rule no direct contact between the fraction committee and the cell. Communication is carried on via the party committee. . . .

At the local level

1. All communist members of a trade union branch form a fraction in that branch.. . .

2. All communists in a trade union body (executive, union committee, etc.) form a fraction. The communist fraction in the local administrative centre of a union acts as the committee for the communist fractions of the branches within that area. . . .

3. All fraction members shall be called together for a fraction meeting whenever necessary, but in any case before every trade union meeting, to discuss the execution of the instructions given by the appropriate party committee. If, for objective reasons, it is impossible to lay down the attitude of the fraction beforehand, the instructions of the fraction committee are binding on the entire fraction at the trade union meeting. Whatever the circumstances, comrades must always speak and vote as one.

4. If in any city the union branches are organized in a local council with communists among the committee, they shall form a fraction which shall act as the committee for all fractions in the branches represented in the council. . . .

At the District Level

1. Communist members of trade union district committees form a fraction. This fraction also acts as the committee for all fractions of the branches of that union in the district. . . .

2. If the district unions are organized into a district trade union council, communists on that council form a fraction which serves at the same time as the committee for all fractions in the area covered. It works under the direction and control of the corresponding district party committee (trade union department). The district party committee may also communicate direct with the district fraction committees of the individual unions. . . .

At the National Level

1. Communist members of the national executive committee of each union form a fraction, which is in charge of the work of all fractions in that union. . . .

2. Communist fractions in the national executive committees are subordinate to the communist fraction of the executive of the trade union federation. The latter works under the direct guidance of the central committee (trade union department).

The CC may also treat directly with the fractions in the union national executives.. . .

Fractions in Unions of Different Tendencies

If in one industry there are unions of different tendencies (red, Amsterdam, syndicalist), fractions are to be formed in each of them, in accordance with their structure. Similarly, fractions should be organized in company trade unions of the Christian, Hirsch-Duncker, fascist, and other varieties.

To this end party organizations must try to recruit members of these unions to the party. In order that the fractions shall act in a planned and uniform fashion when the occasion arises, the relevant party committee (trade union department) shall when necessary call together the fractions or fraction committees in these different unions for joint consultation...

IV. Fractions at Conferences and Congresses

Party committees, working through their trade union department and fraction committee, must make preparations (selection of delegates, draft resolutions, etc.) for trade union congresses, conferences, and delegate meetings. They must convene fraction meetings before these assemblies open, and guide and supervise communist work when they are in session. For the duration of these conferences and congresses, the fraction elects a bureau to deal with current work; the fraction bureau, working under the guidance of the relevant party committee, bears full political responsibility for its work to that committee.

A uniform attitude and the strictest discipline of all communists at these meetings is particularly necessary, since the broad working masses follow their course most attentively and hold the communist party responsible for the utterances of individual communists.

V. Fractions and Oppositions.

Every fraction must maintain contact with the non-communist oppositional elements in the trade unions. Meetings and discussions should be held with these sympathizers to enable a joint and united stand to be taken when the occasion arises.

Explanatory Note

So far we have only made nominal advance in the fraction work. Based on the experience of CPSU and other European parties, the details about party fraction work at different levels are explained in this document. Drawing what is required from it, the party committees from CC level to lower most level should take up this task without any delay. The experience gained and practical problems faced should be constantly reviewed so that this important task can be developed fast.


The Communist movement in India has a history of almost a century after the salvos of October Revolution in Russia brought Marxism-Leninism to the people of India who were engaged in the national liberation struggle against the British colonialists. It is a complex and chequered history.