Draft Party Program to Finalize at 12th Party Congress (24th to 29th Sept 2022)
Dear comrades and friends.
The draft Party Program is given below, which is to be discussed and finalized in the 12th Party Congress of the CPI(ML) Red Star to be held from 24th to 29th September 2022. We are publishing this draft for comments and suggestions to further develop it. We are making this draft available to maximum number of revolutionary masses also for their opinions. All these suggestions and amendments sent by the well-wishers of the Communist movement shall be presented to the Party Congress and explained. Our effort is to make it a program of all who wants a system change in our country.
With revolutionary greetings to all of you and expecting your response,
K N Ramachandran, General Secretary, CPI(ML) Red Star, New Delhi, 24th December, 2021.
(Draft Party Program of the CPI(ML) Red Star put forward by the Central Committee of the Party for discussion at all levels in the party, and among party sympathisers and friends, and to be finalized by the 12th Party Congress from 24th to 29th September, 2022.)
Party Program (Draft)
1.1 The Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Red Star is the advanced detachment of the working class of the country. It upholds Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought as its ideology and guide to action according to the concrete conditions of India. Upholding proletarian internationalism, and struggling against both revisionist and left adventurist tendencies in the communist movement, CPI (ML) Red Star strives to build up the Communist Party uniting the Communist Revolutionaries (CRs). It devotes itself to lead the working class, the peasantry and oppressed peoples of India in their struggle for liberation from the stranglehold of both imperialism and the Indian ruling classes allied with the former. The Party is committed to complete the People’s Democratic Revolution and advance towards Socialist Revolution for establishment of a society where there is no exploitation or oppression.
1.2 Communist movement in India has a century-old glorious history of leading many struggles of the workers, the peasantry and the oppressed and toiling people, during the colonial and post-war neocolonial periods. However, barring isolated cases, the communist movement in general failed to establish its leadership over these struggles. During the colonial days, though the Party took the initiative for putting forward the slogan of full independence, since its early years in the 1920s, it could not come to the leadership of the anti-imperialist freedom movement on account of many strategic and tactical mistakes. Most important among them was the mechanical approach towards the concrete evaluation of the Indian society, which led to the failure to establish the leadership of the working class in the national liberation movement as called by the Communist International. More specifically, it failed to recognize the historically determined integral link of India’s unique caste system with the class formation in Indian sub-continent. Hence the Communist Party could not carry forward class struggle and struggle for abolition of caste as interrelated processes.
1.3 Following many inner-party struggles, though the Communist Party of India could adopt its first Party Program, Tactical Line and Policy Statement in 1951 for advancing the People’s Democratic Revolution (PDR), due to the right-opportunist line that began to dominate within the party by then, the CPI soon deviated from it. The degeneration of Soviet leadership to revisionist path by the time of its 20th Congress of the CPSU in 1956 and its influence over the CPI leadership aggravated this deviation. In this situation, the inner-party struggle intensified, leading to the 1964 split in CPI, and formation of CPI (M). But the latter, unable to make a break from the revisionist positions, and due to mechanical approach on international and Indian issues, also started pursuing the ruling class politics as manifested through the policies that it pursued in the state governments in Kerala and West Bengal since early 1967, under its leading role .
1.4 This was the context when, in continuation of the fierce ideological struggle against the neo-revisionism of CPI(M), that the CRs launched Agrarian Revolution based on land to the tiller culminating in the Naxalbari Uprising in May 1967. It led to the formation All India Coordination Committee of Communist Revolutionaries (AICCCR) and of the CPI (ML) with Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought as guiding ideology in April 1969. But on account of the influence of left adventurist and sectarian positions that dominated the Communist Party of China (CPC) at that time, the Program of CPI (ML) as adopted in 1970 Congress failed to make an objective evaluation of the postwar neocolonial transformation under imperialism, as well as the concrete Indian situation. This led to erroneously equating Indian situation to that of pre-revolutionary China, and to dogmatically upholding the ‘semi-colonial, semi-feudal, protracted people’s war line’. In spite of many sacrifices, due to the erroneous understanding of the international and national situation and influence of left adventurism together with intensification of state repression, the movement could not advance along the path of PDR/NDR; and by 1971 the CPI (ML) started disintegrating in to many groups.
1.5 Following these setbacks, there were many efforts to reorganize the Party from the perspective of rejecting the left adventurist line and adopting mass line. Especially after the revocation of the Emergency in 1977, there were many efforts by the different streams of the CR forces for unity, at a time when the international and national situation was undergoing fast changes, including China’s degeneration to capitalist path after Mao’s death. It was in the midst of the ideological-political struggle going on among the CRs, that the Central Reorganization Committee (CRC) was formed in 1979. Recognizing the very fast neo-colonial transformation taking place in India, especially the vast changes in agriculture on account of Green Revolution (GR)-induced capitalist penetration, it resolved to make a concrete study of it in its First All India Conference of 1982. This study presented in a plenum in 1985 led to ideological, political, organizational divisions and to the formation of CPI (ML) Red Flag in 1987. In the ensuing decade, the process of achieving more ideological clarity on initiating international unity of the ML forces, caste and ecological questions, building up class/mass organizations, utilizing all forms of struggle including parliamentary struggle as part of class struggle, etc., led to expansion of the organization and merger with a section of DSS in Karnataka by 1990 and with many groups and individuals from other states. Though repeated discussions were held with almost all major CR organizations for unity during this period, as some sort of ideological stagnation had set in among them, no breakthrough could be achieved. It was in this situation that, in continuation of a series of discussions held with CPI (ML) (Kanu Sanyal), the Sixth All India Conference in 2003 decided to merge with it based on a Unity Resolution as adopted in the 2005 Unity Conference, in spite of major differences on questions of Program and Path of Revolution. It resolved to settle the differences through another Unity Conference to be held in a time-bound manner. But as there was no progress in resolving the differences and for holding the Unity Conference in a mutually agreed manner, this experiment failed and ended in January 2009.
1.6 In this situation, the All India Special Conference was held in 2009 November. The Conference adopted four documents, viz., International Situation and Our Tasks, On Character of Indian State, On Principal Contradiction, and Path of Revolution. On the basis of analysis of international and national developments, these documents characterized Indian state as neo-colonial, and adopted the Path of PDR/NDR for India. The adoption of these documents led to further developments in the ideological, political, and organizational line. This was reflected in the merger with CCR (ML) from Bengal, a delegation of which had attended the 2009 Conference as observers, and with whom unity discussions were initiated soon.
1.7 The Ninth Congress of the Party convened in 2011 adopted a Party Program that basically altered the 1970 Party Program of CPI (ML). It enabled the Party to consolidate itself as CPI (ML) Red Star. Adoption of the contradiction between capital and nature as the fifth major contradiction at both international and national levels, formation of Caste Annihilation Movement based on the understanding regarding the integral link between class struggle and struggle against caste system, and further theoretical understanding on neo-colonialism were the advancements in the 2011 Party Program. It contributed to the development of the organization and paved the way for unity with the CPI (ML) Red Flag in Bengal, which was formerly part of the CPI (ML) New Democracy, and with the MLC, AP, which has consistently fought against the neo-revisionist line of the CPI (M) and upheld the Naxalbari Uprising under the leadership of Comrade Kolla Venkaiah. Many comrades and sections from different streams also joined this process. The Tenth and Eleventh Congresses of CPI (ML) Red Star held in the context of mounting corporatization and advent of neo-fascism added more clarity to the Party’s ideological-political orientation.
2.1 After Second World War, the hitherto colonial forms of plunder pursued by imperialism were transformed into neo-colonialism led by US imperialism. Neocolonial forms of plunder and domination have been qualitatively different from those under colonialism. In the absence of direct territorial control over erstwhile colonial, semi-colonial and dependent countries, necessary political, economic, military and cultural arrangements for the uninterrupted global expansion and hegemony of finance capital came into being. The UN and Bretton Woods Systems, MNCs, and Funding Agencies, NATO-like military agreements, and establishment of military bases controlled by US imperialism, the supreme arbiter of the neocolonial world, ensured strengthening of imperialism’s uninterrupted interests at a global level. Unlike the colonial phase when finance capital made use of feudal-pre-capitalist relations, capital expansion under neo-colonialism was mainly made possible through the superimposition of capitalist relations in countries under neo-colonial dependence.
2.2 US imperialism had started preparations for this neocolonial initiative since the beginning of the 1940s even when the Second World War was going on. But the International Communist Movement (ICM) at that time could not grasp the gravity of this transformation. The dissolution of the Comintern in 1943 and the absence of any initiative to form an alternative to it, were its manifestations. Though the Cominform formed in 1947 could identify the neocolonial strategy of imperialism, Khrushchev dissolved it in 1956. Together with his revisionist interpretation of the peaceful transition to socialism, Khruschev characterised neo-colonialism as a weakening of imperialism. However, putting forward the strategic line of the ICM through the Great Debate, the CPC led by Mao Zedong came forward exposing this whitewashing of neo-colonialism by Soviet leadership that started traversing the capitalist path by then.
2.3 Characterizing Soviet revisionists as “apologists of neo-colonialism”, and analysing the intensified post-war penetration of finance capital into Afro-Asian Latin American countries, CPC interpreted neo-colonialism as a “more pernicious and sinister form of colonialism”. However, in spite of concretely situating postwar transformation of colonialism into neo-colonialism, as far as the available documents reveal, there had been little efforts on the part of CPC to unravel the strategy and tactics of imperialism in the neocolonial phase. On the other hand, as part of the ascendancy of left sectarianism in the CPC during the Cultural Revolution, along with the idea of a weakened imperialism, the erroneous conceptualization of ‘Soviet social imperialism’ as the bigger evil than US imperialism was also put forward, imparting immense harm to the ideological-political line of the ICM.
2.4 At the same time, even as US-led imperialism launched its multidimensional neocolonial offensive, in spite of all its weaknesses, there was the presence of a powerful progressive stream of socialism led by Soviet Union and national liberation movements in the immediate postwar years. The consequent ideological-political offensive on the part of the ICM compelled US-led imperialism to envisage a policy of welfare state as an ideological weapon against socialism during this period. But when the imperialist crisis on account of the accentuation of the contradictions of capital accumulation resurfaced in the 1970s in the form of stagflation, taking advantage of the ideological-political setbacks of the ICM, imperialism abandoned the welfare state policies and embraced neoliberalism.
2.5. Under neoliberalism, application of the latest developments in technology enabled imperialism to have an unprecedented expansion in money-spinning corporate-speculation on the one hand, and an internationalisation of production including a new global division of labour leading to a super-exploitation of the international working class. Along with the intensified plunder of labour, neoliberalism also witnessed a mad rush for the plunder of nature leading to ecological crisis of horrific proportions, whose manifestations including massive displacement of people from their habitat and consequent refugee crisis are already self-evident. The emergence of COVID-19 pandemic which is a turning point in human history, is also recognised as the latest outcome of corporate intrusion in to nature giving rise to newer zoonotic viruses.
2.6. Even though the imperialist crisis has intensified further leading to a shift in neocolonial policy towards neoliberalism, the international situation is still that of imperialism and proletarian revolution. Neoliberal globalisation of the past decades has intensified all the major contradictions of imperialist world system such as: the contradiction between imperialism and the oppressed nations and peoples, the contradiction between capital and labour, the contradiction among imperialist countries and monopoly groups, the contradiction between imperialist system and socialist forces, and contradiction between capital and nature, the last one being adopted at the Ninth Congress of CPI (ML) Red Star in 2011. Among these five major contradictions, the contradiction between imperialism on the one hand, and oppressed peoples and nations on the other continues as the principal contradiction at the international level.
2.7. During the first two decades of the 21st century, using the latest advancements in frontier technologies including digitisation, imperialism has resorted to further reorganisation of the accumulation process and a restructuring of both productive and speculative spheres. Consequently, finance capital has subjected every sphere of social activity including corporatisation of agriculture resulting in unprecedented global inequality and wealth concentration, poverty, unemployment and ecological destruction. More particularly, even as labour productivity is fast growing, real wages are going down leading to super-exploitation of workers everywhere. Meanwhile, the 2008 imperialist crisis has given rise to concomitant changes in the political superstructure as manifested in the emergence of neo-fascism in many countries targeted against workers, peasants, women, ethnic, racial and religious minorities, immigrants, refugees and other oppressed, together with the elimination of all hard-earned democratic rights and unleashing of corporate capital on all aspects of social life.
2.8. One of the most striking international developments in the 21st century is the emergence of China as a leading imperialist power, second only to the US. After the death of Mao Zedong in 1976, China was also subjected to capitalist restoration. The consequent replacement of the People's Republic with bureaucratic state monopoly capitalism, and its integration with imperialist finance capital eventually transformed China into an imperialist power effectively contending with US imperialism with specific geopolitical interests. China's advantage as a low-wage manufacturing hub of the world and its relative mastery over many frontier technologies have enabled it to carve out neocolonial spheres of influence competing with western imperialist powers, especially the US. And its efforts to encroach into global markets for goods, for capital export, and cut-throat competition for sources of raw materials have brought China into sharp contradiction with the other imperialist powers, especially US imperialism.
India from Past to the Present
3.1 Our country India, inhabited by around 1.4 billion people, is one of the biggest countries in the world. It is a multi-national, multi-ethnic, multi-lingual and multi-religious country with vast diversities and complexities. It has a great past with an ancient civilization called Indus Valley Civilisation on the banks of Sindhu dating back to around 6000 years. At the same time, Neolithic civilizations were predominant across the vast landmass of southern India. The Indus Valley Civilization, the discontinuity of which has led to many hypotheses, was followed by another civilization called the Vedic Civilization which reshaped the entire socio-political history of the North and Central India. In spite of many ruptures, the legacy and continuation of the Vedic Civilization have been decisive in determining the course of Indian class struggle.
3.2 Initially, the Vedic Civilization was a classless one. However, with the development of productive forces and consequent surplus production, class division also began to emerge. Based on the unique feature of Indian society, classes appeared as Varnas, and class division took a specific form called varna division. Thus, varna struggle emerged as the form of class struggle in ancient India. In the later Vedic period, the Brahmins and the Kshatriyas emerged as the ruling classes in the vast land mass of the country. As opposed to this ruling section, another combination made up of Vaisyas and Shudras also emerged. The people belonged to this latter combination were the real producers and the toiling masses of the country. The State system firmly founded in this class division that emerged during the later Vedic period replacing the Shabha and Samiti, erstwhile political organizations of the Aryans, continued for around five hundred years.
3.3 The end of this period that coincided with the fall the Mauryan rule was marked by the advent of Manuvadi or Manu-ist State. This new ruling system paved the way for institutionalization of the varna-division and its transformation into Caste system. The Manu-ist law rooted in the Manu-ist ideology of the Manuvadi State considered all women as Shudras. This fierce patriarchal ruling system that emerged in ancient India continues even today without any change in its essence. As a result, caste struggle and gender struggle have been developing as two integral aspects of Indian class struggle from the very beginning.
3.4 The arrival of Sultanate followed by the Mughals since the middle-ages brought many changes; but they never touched the caste-based social fabric of the country and in no way altered the basic course of Indian class struggle. However, towards the latter half of the Mughal rule in India, the coming of the guild system and robust mercantile capital that laid down the base for indigenous capitalist development led to the emergence of widespread money economy and a centralized state power.
3.5 Meanwhile, colonial domination over India started since the mercantile days. Though the colonialists as represented by the East India Company tried to alter the specific political-economic system as suited to its plunder of India; it was very particular from the beginning not to interfere with the millennium-old caste system here. The Zamindari system was superimposed with the Permanent Settlement Act of 1793 entrusting perpetual ownership right of land to landlords, and denying even occupancy rights to the real tillers of the soil. Along with the Mahalwari and Ryotwari systems in which land revenue was collected from farmers by government agents, the Zamindari system, first introduced in Bengal, became the dominant feudal form of land relations that formed the social basis of colonialism over India.
3.6 The First War of Indian Independence in 1857 was the culmination of a series of uprisings and revolts by Indian people against colonialism that started with the Portuguese; which ultimately led to British East Company’s domination over India. These innumerable struggles that spread across the length and breadth of Indian subcontinent starting with the Battle of Plassey were led not only by native rulers but also by peasants, tribal people, and by artisans against destruction of agriculture, by domestic industries and livelihood, against forcible revenue and tax collection and oppression by colonialists.
3.7 After the brutal suppression of the First War of Indian Independence, Britain pursued a policy of consolidation of the caste-feudal agrarian relations by transforming the local kings and feudal lords as their faithful allies. Learning lessons from the anti-British unity in the First War of Independence, the post-1857 British policy was one of ‘divide and rule’, mainly based on Hindu-Muslim communal polarisation. During the flourishing years of British industrial capitalism, all efforts were made to transform India as a source of raw materials and a market for finished British goods by destroying traditional and infantile native Indian industries through trade and tariff policies. Consolidation of British colonial administration including military and police over India together with building up of railways, posts and telegraph, monetary system, banks and credit institutions and infrastructures led to the subordination of everything to British colonial interests. The merchant class which was promoted as the intermediaries and middlemen later got transformed in to the comprador bourgeois class who served to integrate Indian economy with the British colonial system. Through the introduction of English education system, a comprador bureaucratic class capable of serving the colonial state apparatus also was developed. A minor section of the lower castes, who were so far denied education, also got limited access to modern education.
3.8 The suppression of the First War of Indian Independence and shift from Company rule to direct rule by British government witnessed a surge in people’s upsurges including revolts of adivasis from various parts of India. Influence of modern education and bourgeois democratic ideas led to the emergence of renaissance and social reform movements and spread of political consciousness against colonialism throughout the country. It was in this context that Indian National Congress was formed with the involvement of colonialists as a safety valve to contain and divert people’s fury against colonial administration. Even the emerging comprador bourgeoisie, big landlord class and bureaucratic sections had their sway over the Congress. In spite of all these, it gradually became an arena for the national movement against the colonial rule. And, the Congress started spreading its influence all over the country. But its class character prevented Congress from unleashing the revolutionary zeal of the masses against the colonial rulers. It was satisfied with ‘dominion status’ within the British Common Wealth.
3.9 Amidst the ruin of indigenous and traditional industries, the emergence of modern industries and growth of service sectors had led to the growth of the working class and the trade union movement by the last decade of 19th century. The 1907 Indian textile workers’ strike got international attention, even applauded by Lenin. The October Revolution gave new impetus to working class and national liberation movements all over the world. It had its repercussions in India too. Formation of Communist Party and emergence of Khilafat movement enthused the anti-colonial movement and the demand for full independence became the rallying point, compelling even the Congress to adopt it. First half of the 1920s also witnessed the advent of reactionary RSS with its servitude to Britain and close proximity to Fascism and Nazism from the very beginning. The 1920s also saw emergence of different revolutionary streams like the one led by Bhagat Singh. Ambedkar as the leader of the untouchables came to the political arena and publicly burned the Manusmriti which the RSS later suggested as India’s Constitution.
3.10 The decades that followed saw a surge in working class and anti-feudal struggles. Many of these struggles led by the Communists were influenced by Comintern’s guiding principles of PDR in the colonial, semi-colonial and dependent countries. The document “Draft Platform for Action” prepared by CPI in 1930 which put forward a clear perspective on the anti-imperialist and people’s democratic tasks including concrete approach towards abolition of caste, should be seen in relation to this. During the 1930s, there remained a cordial relation between the Communists and Ambedkar and both jointly participated in many workers struggles till the late 1930s.
3.11 However, the CPI leadership failed to develop a concrete understanding of the comprador character of the emerging big bourgeoisie, who under the fostering care and economic protection of the colonial rulers made fabulous wealth accumulation by that time. The mechanical approach of evaluating India’s caste system as a super-structural phenomenon and failure to grasp how it was interwoven with India’s social formation made the Communist Party incapable to lead the struggles of both the working class and the oppressed, and thus to establish its leadership in the independence struggle. It was like surrendering theleadership of the Indian people’s struggle for liberation from colonial oppression to Congress and Muslim league. Its mechanical approach to Quit India Movement also did immense harm. Though the CPI led the militant Telengana-Tebhaga-Punnapra-Wayalar struggles and played an active role in Naval Revolt against British colonialism, no effort was there to rectify the past mistakes.
3.12 In the context of the postwar situation when qualitative transformations were taking place at global level based on the US-led imperialist strategy of ‘de-colonisation’, British imperialists succeeded to communally divide the Indian sub-continent into two countries with formal political independence. But the CPI again failed to grasp this transitional nature of power transfer under the transformation of imperialism’s colonial phase to neocolonial phase. Its June 1947 Resolution hastily characterized the Mountbatten Plan as an opening up of “new opportunities for national advance”. However, in December, in continuation of the Cominform Resolution of September 1947, it interpreted the situation as transfer of political power to “imperialist feudal-bourgeois combine”. The Party Documents formulated in 1951 reflected this class position. Later, the 1956 Fourth Congress of CPI that accepted the Khruschevian prognosis of “weakening of the camp of imperialism”, made a turn around and adopted the formulation of “political independence of India”.
3.13 After the 1947 transfer of power, the Congress government representing the interests of comprador bureaucratic bourgeois-big landlord classes serving imperialism opened the country for the penetration of foreign capital from all imperialist countries on a larger scale. While refusing to implement the land reforms based on "land to the tiller" as promised during the independence struggle, it went for top-down land reforms including abolition of Zamindari system and went for cosmetic land ceiling laws leading to a change in old feudal land relations. In effect, in the main, the land reforms implemented did not make land available to the peasantry, the tillers of the soil, but it enabled erstwhile zamindars and feudal landlords to transform themselves into capitalist farmers and a new agricultural bourgeois class who acted as the basis for implementing GR in the ensuing period. It paved the way for opening up of agriculture for the entry of finance capital, new agricultural technologies and inputs and agribusiness market forces. As a result, the erstwhile colonial policy of utilising feudalism as the social base lost its relevance in the neocolonial phase of imperialism.
3.14 In conformity with the postwar Keynesian welfare state policies practiced by imperialism at the global level, under Nehruvian policies the Indian regime also pursued a policy of state-led development, public sector and welfare measures. However, following the re-appearance of imperialist crisis in the form of stagflation in the 1970s, and consequent abandonment of Keynesian welfare state and embrace of neoliberalism, the Indian state also started moving towards neoliberal policies especially after the Emergency. During the post-Cold War phase since 1990s, when neoliberalism spread to the whole world through liberalisation-privatisation-globalisation, the Indian state too formally abandoned Nehruvian policies and started pursuing IMF-World Bank-WTO diktats in all spheres. State’s role as an initiator of development and welfare-provider gave way to its neoliberal role as a corporate-facilitator. MNCs and Indian big bourgeoisie, the former’s junior partners are offered extremely liberal labour and tax regulations together with full freedom to plunder the environment and loot natural resources.
3.15 The three decades of neoliberalism in India since1990s, in conformity with its inherent logic of maximum corporate wealth accumulation within the shortest possible time, has led to a ballooning of the speculative financial sphere and a relative stagnation of the productive economy including de-industrialisation. Vast majority of the working poor and partially employed are forced to depend on the expanding informal and unorganised sectors devoid of all erstwhile hard-earned rights by working class. Almost half of the people still subsist on agriculture and allied sectors. All imperialist-controlled frontier technologies including digitisation are used to subject workers to super-exploitation and pushing down real wages by depriving their collective bargaining power. Its outcome has been horrific levels of wealth concentration, inequality, unemployment, poverty and corruption with its cultural ramifications including all round criminalisation of society. While the country’s wealth and income are increasingly concentrated among the growing number of billionaires along with unprecedented wealth repatriation outside by MNCs and stashing away of national wealth in foreign tax havens, India remains home to the biggest chunk of the poorest and most deprived people in the world.
3.16 Since the ascendance of the RSS-led neo-fascist Modi government in 2014, neoliberal-corporatisation pursued since the 1990s took a more far-right turn. Modi regime abolished the more than six-and-a-half decade-old Planning Commission, India’s last remnant of state-led development. To whiten the huge unaccounted money holdings with the most corrupt corporate billionaires, Demonetisation was superimposed in the guise of a surgical strike against corruption. It sucked out whatever left in the arteries of common people. By denying cash, the life-blood of the informal sectors and daily transactions, it led the economy to a paralysed state. This was followed by the GST that deprived the State governments of their Federal right of resource mobilisation and shifted the tax burden on to the shoulders of common people, even as Indian corporate tax rates were brought down to the lowest level in the world. To cap it all, the Modi regime carried out one of the biggest disinvestment programs, a euphemism for sell-out of the whole public sector to both foreign and Indian corporates at throw-away prices. And corruption, as an inalienable component of neoliberal corporatization, has permeated to all layers of the ruling system.
3.17 To eliminate the remaining hurdles in the way of unfettered penetration of corporate capital, the corporate saffron-fascist regime replaced the 44 labour laws that existed in India with four Labour Codes taking away all democratic rights of workers including lengthening of the labour-time from 8 hours. An outcome of strengthening neoliberal policies over the years has been rapid growth of the unorganised/informal workers who now constitute around 95 percent of the 52 crore Indian working class. All erstwhile environmental regulations that stood in the way of corporate plunder of nature were taken away. New Educational Policy -2020 (NEP-2020) was promulgated to facilitate corporatisation and saffronisation of education. And through the three draconian laws in relation to agriculture, that led to world’s historic and most prolonged Farmers’ Struggle, everything connected with agriculture ranging from farming, land ownership, agriculture marketing and even the country’s food security are brought under the stranglehold of corporate agribusiness companies displacing peasants from land and agriculture. The advent of COVID-19 pandemic and the most stringent and coercive lockdown that followed in the context of the complete transformation of the Indian state as a facilitator of corporatisation had led India to a historic deindustrialization, unemployment and economic contraction even as the speculative spheres are ballooning. Even amidst this crisis, the Indian State enjoys the support of major section of the upper middle class and corporate media.
3.18 Meanwhile, internationalisation of production and global integration of finance capital have enabled many of the emerging Indian corporate billionaires to become junior partners of MNCs even while retaining their comprador dependence on imperialism in relation to technology and market. The Indian State’s policy decisions, both domestic and foreign, are still subject to the diktats of neocolonial-neoliberal institutions. This has its political ramifications. In the context of changes in inter-imperialist contradictions and shifting global balance of power at the international level together with cut-throat competition among various imperialist powers for market, raw materials and avenues of investment, the Indian state has also acquired substantial capacity to bargain with imperialists. With the dissolution of the Soviet bloc followed by post-Cold War neoliberalism, as junior partner of US imperialism and as its strategic ally, Indian state has also displayed its expansionist designs in South Asia, that too within the broader framework of its neocolonial dependence on imperialism.
3.19 All round corporatisation and superimposed capitalist relations, instead of eliminating feudal remnants and values, have merged with the latter, have led to a strengthening of reaction in more barbaric forms. The corporate-saffron fascist regime is propping up all obscurantist, feudal, casteist and patriarchal offensives in new and intensified manner. Consequently, Dalits, adivasis, women and minorities are subjected to still more oppression. In particular, integrating with corporatisation, casteism and untouchability reinforced by Brahminical ideology and culture have become omnipresent including even in institutions of higher education and scientific research. It calls for an uncompromising struggle for the annihilation of caste as one of the most crucial tasks of democratic revolution. Abolition of all the patriarchal institutions and structures that are flourishing under the patronage of Indian state and society is another decisive task of democratisation.
3.20 Meanwhile, the abandoning of Nehruvian State-led development and transformation of the State as corporate-facilitator have led to an accentuation in the inherent contradictions and tensions in caste-ridden Indian society. The Mandal Commission Report that came in the 1980s had recommended land reforms, reservation and ensuring of social justice to improve the pathetic situation of oppressed lower-castes. However, instead of implementing them, the ruling class parties were trying to utilise it in accordance with their caste-based vote-bank politics. And the saffron forces that always upheld the Brahmanical Manuvad line and hence being vehemently opposed to Mandal recommendations, counterpoised the Mandir issue against it, resulting in acute caste polarisation and caste-hatred in society. It was by taking advantage of the consequent socio-political turmoil that conceptualisations like “economic reservation” "creamy layer" were brought forward diluting the very concept of caste-based reservation. Together with this, downsizing of the public sector and growth of private corporate sector have further curtailed the scope of reservation as a democratic right of the oppressed castes.
3.21 The advent of neofascism in India led by RSS, the longest running and biggest fascist organisation in the world, is also coterminous with the emergence of neoliberalism. Taking advantage of the Emergency of mid-1970s in the context of the political-economic instability and aggravation of contradictions in the country, RSS came to the limelight and replaced Jan Sangh with BJP which became India’s biggest political party within a short span of time. Effectively utilising the facilitating role of the soft-Hindutva approach of the Congress and the neoliberal situation, through a long drawn-out process beginning with the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992, BJP rule during 1998-2004, Gujarat Pogrom in 2002, and the ascendance of Modi regime in 2014 and followed by the thumbing victory Modi.2 in 2019 election, the RSS succeeded in establishing its full-fledged fascist regime in India.
3.22 As its manifestation, all the constitutional, institutional and administrative structures are being saffronised to suit this fascist transformation. Forcible integration of Kashmir into Indian Union through abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution, construction of Ram Temple at the very site of Babri Masjid, making Muslims as second class citizens by amending the Citizenship Act and through a series of steps directed at saffronisation of education and culture, and undermining all Federal provisions of the Indian Constitution, RSS is now moving towards its ultimate goal of establishing a majoritarian Hindurashtra. Superimposing a pan-Indian homogenizing drive over multinational, multilingual, multicultural, multi-ethnic and multi-religious essence of India and rejecting all values of modernity including rational-scientific thinking, fostering the cult of tradition and obscurantism, treating dissent and disagreement as treason, and targeting communists and progressive-democratic forces, and above all uncompromisingly integrating itself with corporate finance capital, the RSS-led BJP regime has become a typical neo-fascist one.
3.23 In conformity with the conspicuous international trend towards intensified plunder of nature by corporate-speculative capital under neoliberalism, India also has been witnessing unprecedented ecological devastation during this neoliberal phase. At the instance of global corporates and their Indian junior partners, all laws and regulations in India pertaining to environmental protection are being taken way one by one. The latest EIA amendment, that legalizes the corporate violation of hitherto restrictions on ecologically sensitive and fragile areas and massive displacement of people from their habitat, is the most notorious among them. An essential component of the so called “ease of doing business” and “investor-friendly” measures taken to attract foreign capital is the import of ecologically harmful and toxic industries and dumping of obsolete nuclear plants in the country. At this critical juncture, when the whole issue of ecology and environment is inseparably linked up with the operation of corporate capital, the initiative for a development paradigm in harmony with nature has become the indispensable component of people’s democracy and socialism.
Stage and Path of Indian Revolution
4.1 Under the camouflage of ‘de-colonisation’ when the colonial phase of imperialism was transformed into a qualitatively new phase of neocolonialism, as explained in Chapter 2, this shift was conditioned upon the unabated multidimensional expansion and hegemony of global finance capital. It resulted in a shift from Indian comprador bourgeoisie’s unilateral dependence on Britain to its multilateral dependence on world imperialist system led by US. The transformation from colonial mode of production in accordance with logic of imperialist capital also necessitated the abolition of zamindari system paving the way for penetration of capitalist relations in agriculture through such policies as GR, along with continuation of many pre-capitalist relations.
4.2 Together with this, the adoption of Nehruvian state-led development paradigm enabled the Indian state to have a whole set of infrastructures and service sectors coupled with research and development in the public sector while in the main depending on imperialism for capital and technology. When socialist Soviet Union degenerated to a social imperialist superpower and the inter-imperialist contradictions between US and Soviet Union intensified through Cold War, this contradiction was reflected in the Indian ruling classes too. Often, this inter-imperialist contradiction was utilized by the Indian State for maneuvering and bargaining between the two super-power blocs till the 1970s. With the onset of neoliberalism, this background enabled Indian big bourgeoisie to transform as junior partner of US imperialism and as its strategic ally and regional power in South Asia. It also facilitated the Indian big corporates who could make fabulous wealth appropriation through neoliberal accumulation to expand its overseas activities collaborating with MNCs.
4.3 The political ramifications of the Indian State’s transition from an initiator of development during welfare capitalism to a corporate facilitator under neoliberalism and its further intensification with the advent of corporate-Saffron fascism have made the entire constitutional and parliamentary framework a mere edifice devoid of its bourgeois-democratic content. Parliament has become a spectator as the pro-corporate-neo-fascist laws and strategic decisions are passed in haste without debates or subjecting to consultation and the scrutiny by appropriate parliamentary committees. Policy decisions pertaining to strategic issues are taken in corporate-bureaucratic board-rooms while the executive and corporate-nominated bureaucrats bypass elected bodies from central to local levels. All instruments of administration including military, security forces and police backed by draconian laws and special powers and supported by corporate media are unleashed on protestors, political dissenters, striking workers, nationalities, minorities and all oppressed including dalits and adivasis. All democratic rights are being snatched away. Though outward manifestations of bourgeois parliamentary democracy are there, in essence, entire mechanism of state power is under the firm grip of corporate-fascist regime collaborating with imperialist capital.
4.4 In this context, the corporate big bourgeoisie and bureaucratic class collaborating with imperialism and as perpetrators of neoliberal policies in India are the biggest enemies of Indian people. Together with the huge wealth accumulation and in the process creating horrific levels of inequality and poverty in India, the super-rich among the Indian corporates as junior partners of imperialism also make financial gains in other countries too. They are the biggest obstacle for an independent, sustainable and people-oriented development of India.
4.5 Linked up with the big bourgeois-bureaucratic class is the corporate agribusiness landlord class, who has become a deadly force on account of corporatisation of agriculture. Closely integrating with the imperialist economy, and as junior partners of global agribusiness MNCs, this emerging section facilitates subjugation of the entire agriculture ranging from land, agriculture inputs, procurement and marketing encompassing both wholesale and retail trade to the diktats of international capital.
4.6 The fast penetration of corporate capital into agriculture and allied sectors is making the survival of Indian farmers difficult. Not only the middle peasants and those below, but even the rich peasants who cannot compete with agribusiness MNCs, and their Indian counterparts are forced to oppose the latter. Even though the rich farmers have many contradictions, in varying degrees, with the middle, lower and landless peasants and agricultural workers who form the vast majority in the agriculture, corporate forces have become the principal enemy for Indian agriculture today, as is evident from the historic farmers’ struggle.
4.7 Neoliberal corporatisation and growing integration of India with global capital and superimposition of imperialist-dictated policies in agriculture, industry, trade and services have brought forward the contradiction between the national bourgeois sections and corporate capital in manifold ways. In spite of their existence being intertwined with the dominant corporate-bureaucratic bourgeois class in general, their contradiction with the latter has become an increasing trend under intensifying corporatisation. With the development of the struggles of the working class, peasantry and the oppressed, the possibility of those sections with a national bourgeois character joining the revolutionary movement will increase.
4.8 The petty bourgeoisie, including the middle peasants, because of its size and class character is a significant class with the possibility of being a dependable ally of the revolution. The lower middle class which constitutes a major part of it, which may be called its left wing, is facing ever-intensifying pauperisation and misery under corporatisation. Consequent on far-right polices, large sections of this class have pauperised and fallen to the level of poor workers. This class can be won over to the cause of revolution through politicisation and appropriate organisational interventions.
4.9 The landless, poor peasants and agricultural workers including the dalits, adivasis, and oppressed sections, who are also the real tillers of the soil and confined mainly to agriculture and related activities, and having a life of subsistence, constitute almost half of the population. Due to agricultural corporatization and corporate land grab, those displaced from agriculture and the countryside are forced to migrate to urban centers and joining the ranks of slum dwellers and informal workers, and hence a large component of the Indian work force. Concrete political-organisations interventions are needed to organise them.
4.10 The Indian working class forms one of the largest contingents of international proletariat, vast majority of them in unorganised/informal sectors. The new division of labour that is superimposed using advancements in technology including digitisation has accentuated this informalisation, as more and more sections of the workers in the organised sector are pushed in to the unorganised sector and to the stature of bonded labourers through contract labour and casualization. India’s caste system, vast diversities and unevenness are effectively used by the ruling regime to break the unity of the working class.
4.11 Politicisation and mobilisation of Indian working class and transforming it as leader of revolution is the primary task of the Communist Party in its march towards capturing of political power. It begins with the building up of the People’s Democratic Front based on the worker-peasant alliance uniting with the middle classes and the national bourgeoisie which is a vacillating ally. This will replace the existing reactionary State with the People’s Democratic State paving the way forward completing the tasks of people’s democracy and move towards socialism which in essence comprise both the stage and path of Indian revolution.
4.12 The present main contradictions in India are to be analysed from this perspective. Today the major contradictions are:
The contradiction between neoliberal imperialism and the people;
The contradiction between capital and labour;
The contradiction between capital and nature;
The contradiction between the corporate-big landlord classes and the broad masses of the peasantry; and,
The contradiction among the ruling classes.
And the principal contradiction has transformed into:
The contradiction between the alliance of imperialist-corporate bureaucratic bourgeois-landlord classes on the one hand and the broad masses of people on the other.
4.13 The resolution of the principal contradiction is inseparably linked up with the resolution of the other antagonistic contradictions. In the neo-fascist context, the anti-fascist people’s front led by the Communist Party composed of the working class, the peasantry, and all exploited and oppressed should be capable of tactically utilizing the contradictions among various sections of the ruling classes in its march towards capture of political power. It means combining the countrywide struggles of the working class with the revolutionary agrarian struggles and fulfilling the task of agrarian revolution according to concrete conditions, combining all other forms of struggles with it. Upholding the path of revolutionary mass line, and utilizing all forms of struggle and organizations,the party should take initiative 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.
Program of People's Democracy
5.1 The People's Democratic State will be a Union of States representing different nationalities. It shall be distinguished by a Constitution based on Federal Principles upholding their linguistic, ethnic and cultural rights and aspirations. Such a Constitution will be drafted by a Constituent Assembly to be elected on the basis of universal suffrage, representing the workers, peasants, oppressed peoples and democratic sections from the people’s committees at all levels. It shall guarantee democratic rights of people and that of all democratic organisations, including their right to express their views, to get organized for their rights and to participate in the democratic political process.
5.2 Such a Constitution will be based on the principle of all powers to the people, with the power being transferred to the various committees of the workers, peasants and oppressed people that emerge from the revolutionary struggle at all levels from the local to the national level. It shall provide for the right to recall the elected representatives at all levels to ensure their accountability and shall do away with the separation between the executive and legislative powers. Officials at all levels including judiciary and administration shall be elected, and subject to the control and supervision of the people.
5.3 The President of the Union shall be elected by the People's Congress at the level of Union and States and shall function according to the rules and policies framed by the People's Congress. The People’s Democratic State will have a People’s Army linked with production and serving people’s interests. Police and security forces of the present ruling system shall be replaced by the people's militia under local administration with people’s empowerment as its orientation.
5.4 The People’s Constitution shall provide for the confiscation of all imperialist-corporate capital, land and assets held by MNCs and corporate forces. It shall ensure the development of cooperative and public sectors at all levels and the social ownership of all means of production so as to facilitate the transformation towards socialism.
5.5 The People’s Democratic State shall liquidate country’s debts owed to imperialists and scrap all unequal treaties or agreements with imperialist countries and agencies which are against people's interests. It shall withdraw from neo-colonial institutions such as IMF, WB and WTO and will put an end to all speculative and imperialist funded activities in the country. It will strive for equal, fraternal and friendly economic and international relations and shall free the country from all forms of imperialist exploitation, interference and bullying.
- 6 It shall confiscate all enterprises and properties of Indian junior partners of imperialism and that of bureaucratic bourgeois class, and the corporate crony capitalist so as to bring them under social control. In view of the multidimensional impact of the spectacular growth in speculation over production which is inseparably linked up with the decay of corporate capital today, the People’s Democratic State shall take appropriate measures to wipe it out. It shall root-out all avenues for corruption and mafia activities from top to bottom. It shall get back the money stashed away in foreign tax havens by the corrupt. It shall confiscate the unaccounted wealth holdings in mutts and religious institutions. Economic offenders shall be dealt with according law.
5.7 All forms of corporatisation of agriculture shall be ended forthwith. Implement revolutionary land reforms based on "land to the tiller". Abolish all pre-capitalist relations in agriculture. Plantations and farms owned by foreign and Indian corporates shall be taken over and brought under public or cooperative ownership and farming according to the concrete situation. Abolish all forms of bonded labour and usury and intermediaries in agriculture. Agriculture shall be developed to ensure national food security and self-reliance with appropriate linkage with other sectors and with the perspective of biological and ecological conservation.
5.8 Implement six hour working day and five day week progressively in all sectors. Redefine need-based minimum wage and implement it. Ensure employment for all and assure minimum wage for all involuntarily unemployed. End contract and bonded labour in all forms. Ensure right to organize, collective bargaining and hold strike as the democratic rights of the working class.
5.9 Implement comprehensive national industrial policy. Develop healthy and balanced relation among heavy, medium and small industries, and between urban and rural regions and avoid unevenness in development across the country. Encourage indigenous scientific research and development to move away from dependence on foreign technology. Develop the service sector including banking, insurance and credit institutions with its proper linkage with agriculture and industry and prevent all types of speculative businesses. Develop infrastructural projects taking the overall interests of the people and country in to consideration.
5.10 Ensure universal public distribution system, free and compulsory education, healthcare for all, housing and employment for all. Develop a comprehensive sports policy and implement it with people's participation. Develop a people's cultural policy. Hitherto experience of the socialist countries’ degeneration to capitalist path teaches that, the struggle to revolutionize the culture, the mode of thinking and uphold revolutionary social values should be taken up from the pre-revolutionary period itself and developed under the proletarian democracy.
5.11 Abolish all draconian laws. Ensure democratization of the administration and society at all levels. Ensure people’s privacy subject to collective common good. Abolish death penalty from the statutes.
5.12 The People’s Democratic State shall take concrete steps for the abolition of the inhuman caste system. Eradicate all forms of untouchability, caste-oppression and caste-discrimination from all spheres of life. All caste-practices and reactionary institutions should be suppressed and the perpetrators of such crimes shall be punished. Ensuring caste-based reservation till the wiping out of all caste-discriminations along with required affirmative actions for uplifting the Dalits and oppressed castes and priority to them in land-distribution based on the principle ‘land to the tiller’, along with appropriate administrative and cultural interventions.
5.13 Stop all forms of gender discrimination. Abolish patriarchy in all its manifestations and stop religion and caste-based oppression on women. Stop all forms of discrimination and attacks on women at work places. Stop female infanticide. Ensure women's equality in all fields, property right to women and equal pay for equal work. All women shall be employed in socially productive labor. In the place of the patriarchal, religious-caste-based family system, the People’s State shall ensure conjugal life of partners irrespective of gender, based on mutual love, respect and consent.
5.14 Guarantee protection of all children. Ensure children’s education and healthcare, both mental and physical, and abolish all forms of exploitation of children including child labour. Ensure the protection of senior citizens in all respects.
5.15 Ensure right of self-determination for all nationalities. The People's Republic shall strive for unity of peoples of various nationalities not by force but by their voluntary consent and based on federal principles. Settle the Jammu and Kashmir and Northeast questions based on the right of self-determination to all nationalities. Ensure education in mother tongue as a fundamental right of people together with equal treatment for all languages and cultures by the Union of States.
5.16 Abolish all forms of exploitation and oppression of adivasis. Protect their right over the natural resources. End their displacement in the name of development projects. Establish adivasi autonomous councils wherever required with full powers and democratic rights.
5.17 Ensure genuine secular character of the state structure. Abolish all discriminations based on religion and protect the religious minorities. End all efforts by religious fundamentalist forces for communalization of the society. Prevent mixing of religion with state affairs and political life of the country. Stop religious institutions from entering public domain like education, healthcare and such other fields. Evolve secular, democratic and progressive common civil code as part of democratization of the society. Religion should be dealt as a private affair of the individual. The People's Democratic state shall strictly implement the secular principle of separation between state and religion.
5.18 The People’s Democratic State shall ensure a development paradigm that is in harmony with nature. In view of the immense harm already inflicted on the ecology of earth by corporate capital, concrete plans should be worked out to protect environment and to avoid an ecological catastrophe. It shall strive for a pro-people, pro-nature and sustainable development paradigm.
5.19 Implement secular, gender-friendly, democratic and scientific education accessible to all. All hitherto corporate-saffron moves in the direction of corporatization and saffronisation of education should be reversed forthwith. It is duty of the People’s Democratic State to provide universal, free, uniform and compulsory education for all children in their mother tongue, and ensure facilities for higher education to all. Abolish all elitist schools and those controlled by religious-casteist forces and stop discrimination in the field of education.
5.20 Develop people's democratic and gender-friendly culture fighting against the influence of feudal and imperialist cultural values. Promote scientific outlook in all fields. As imperialism and its lackeys are utilizing their influences in the superstructure to subjugate people to their plunder and hegemony, the relevance of a Cultural Revolution based on hitherto experience of the former socialist countries as a continuous process should be given great significance, especially in the context of many existing pre-capitalist values, and capitalist restoration in all these socialist countries.
5.21 Based on equality and peaceful co-existence, establish friendly relations in all fields with the neighboring countries. Resolve all boundary disputes through friendly negotiations.
5.22 Uphold proletarian internationalism. Strive for the unity of the Marxist-Leninist parties at international level. Unite with all progressive and anti- imperialist forces all over the world and strive to establish fraternal relations with the revolutionary forces against imperialism, especially US imperialism, and its lackeys. Actively struggle against US led aggressions and barbaric hegemonic moves creating havoc everywhere.
5.23 Stand in solidarity with people all over the world in the struggle for democracy and socialism. As several institutions and agencies built up during the post-Second World War period including the UNO are serving as the tools for intensification of neo-colonial plunder and hegemony, the People's Democratic Republic should initiate moves to progressively build up alternative international centres of People's Democratic and Socialist countries based on the principles of proletarian internationalism.
Conclusion: Complete the Tasks of PDR, and Advance Toward Socialist Revolution!
6.1 CPI (ML) Red Star puts forward its updated Party Program for completion of PDR and advancing towards Socialist Revolution in India at a time when neoliberal imperialism confronted with severest crisis is shifting its whole burden to the shoulders of world people. As its manifestation, on the one hand the contradiction between capital and labour has further intensified, while on the other, the contradiction between capital and nature is reaching the level of an environmental catastrophe, even as all inherent contradictions of imperialism are accentuating. However, though the objective conditions are thus most favourable for revolution, the subjective forces of revolution, the International Communist Movement in general, and the revolutionary parties in all the countries are facing serious ideological-political setbacks and reverses.
6.2 In India too, in spite of leading many great struggles, during the colonial period and in the postwar neocolonial phase, due to its failure to make a concrete analysis of Indian situation, the Communist Movement could not put forward a correct program and a path of revolution. Though the ideological struggle during 1964-67 leading to the Naxalbari Movement could settle account with revisionism, due to the influence of left adventurism, the CPI (ML) failed to develop the Program and Path of Revolution based on a concrete analysis of the Indian situation. Even at this critical juncture when far-reaching changes including the ascension to power of the neo-fascist saffron regime has taken place in India, the ideological-political weakness and confusion among the Left forces continues to be a hindering factor to develop the appropriate revolutionary line and organizational consolidation. However, as the situation worsens, many communist revolutionary sections are coming closer towards a concrete understanding of the Indian situation and develop PDR accordingly.
6.3 In this context, the draft Party Program put forward by CPI (ML) Red Star based on concrete analysis of the Indian situation integrally linking the struggles at the realm of class, caste and gender will enable the polarization of all Communist Revolutionaries and the building up of a powerful Communist Party at the all India level. It shall help to speed up the historic task of reorganization of the Communist movement at all India level, providing a new fillip to advance towards the completion of the People's Democratic Revolution and march forward to Socialist Revolution, for the realization of the socialist transition to communism.
(Draft Party Program of the CPI(ML) Red Star put forward by the Central Committee of the Party for discussion at all levels in the party, and among party sympathisers and friends, and to be finalized by the 12th Party Congress from 24th to 29th September, 2022.)