January 10, 2020

Draft Platform of Action - 1931

The Communist Party of India had come out with its Draft Platform of Action, while the Meerut trial was on and before the Meerut trial accused made their General Statement. Copies of the Draft were widely circulated at the Karachi session of the Indian National Congress in March 1931. The entire text of the Draft was published in the IMPRECOR, the journal of the Comintern. Basing itself on Marxism-Leninism, this Draft linked the success of anti-imperialist struggle, with the agrarian revolution and the abolition of all social inequalities. In this battle against imperialism, it called on all sections to join the freedom struggle. Given below are some excerpts from the Draft Platform of Action.

“AN agrarian revolution against British capitalism must be the basis of the revolutionary emancipation of India.
“In order to liberate the working class, the peasantry and the town poor from the hands of national reformism and direct their revolutionary struggle towards an anti-imperialist and anti-feudal revolution, the working class requires its own proletarian Communist Party. Communist Party of India is the party of the working class, the final aim of which is the achievement of socialism and ultimately of complete communism. The Programme of the Communist Party of India is totally different from the programmes and ideas of the other parties and groups, which are parties of the capitalist class and the petty bourgeoisie. While the latter are striving for the development of capitalism in India, the Communist Party is consistently and firmly fighting for a socialist path of development.
“Adopting these guiding principles, the CPI advances the following main objectives for the present stage of the Indian revolution:
    1. The complete independence of India by the violent overthrow of British rule. The cancellation of all debts. The confiscation and nationalisation of all British factories, banks, railways, sea and river transport and plantations.
    2. Establishment of a Soviet government. The realisation of the right of national minorities to self-determination including separation. Abolition of the native States. The creation of an Indian Federal Workers and Peasant Soviet Republic.
    3. The confiscation without compensation of all the lands, forests and other property of the landlords, ruling princes, churches, the British government, officials and money lenders and handing over for use to the toiling peasantry. Cancellation of slave agreements and all the indebtedness of the peasantry to money lenders and banks.
    4. The 8-hour working day and the radical improvement of conditions of labour. Increase in wages and State maintenance for the unemployed.
“The Communist Party of India will fight for these main demands which express the interests of the mass of the people and the achievement of which will create the conditions for and render possible for the development in the direction of the building of a socialist State of India.
“The Communist Party of India calls upon all the toilers to form a united front against the imperialists, the landlords, the money-lenders and the capitalists. The Communist Party of India calls upon the Muslim and Indian workers and peasants not to be tricked by the cunning provocative methods of the British government and the revolutionary native exploiters who set the toilers of different nationalities and religious beliefs against one another and provoke conflicts among them. The CP of India calls up on all the toilers, including the untouchables (pariahs) not to permit such disorganisation and splitting of the united revolutionary front of the oppressed who suffer equally at the hands of their own and British exploiters.
“The CP of India calls upon it supporters and organisations to develop mass revolutionary activities and struggle of the working class for their political and economic demands, mass refusal by the peasants to pay taxes, levies, rent debts, particularly in districts where there are large landed estates, thereby mobilising and preparing the mass of the toilers for revolutionary struggle against imperialism. The CP of India calls upon all class conscious workers and revolutionaries to assist in transforming individual strikes of the workers into a general political strike, as a resolute step in organising the revolutionary struggle of the mass of the people for independence….
“In order to develop mass revolutionary struggle and the political training of the people, the CP of India puts forward and fights for the following demands:
    1. Expulsion of the British troops.
    2. Immediate liberation of all political prisoners….
    3. Unlimited freedom of speech, conscience, press, meetings, strikes and associations for the toilers and abolition of all anti-popular and anti-labour laws (Trade Disputes Act, the prohibition of picketing, the regulations for the deportation of revolutionary workers, press acts, etc., etc.)
    4. The abolition of rank, caste, national and communal privileges and full equality of all citizens respective of sex, religion and race.
    5. Complete separation of religion from the State….
    6. The election of judges and officials and their recall at any time on the demand of the majority of the electors.
“The CP of India fights for:
    1. Limitation of the working day to 8 hours for adults and 6 hours for youth from 16 to 20 years. Introduction of the 6 hours working day in all harmful industries, including coal mining and free supply of milk and butter to the workers in these industries.
    2. Complete freedom of trade unions, demonstrations, picketing and strike.
    3. Equal pay for equal work for women, youth and man.
    4. Complete abolition of compulsory contract labour and systems of legal bondage of workers.
    5. A compulsory weekly rest period at full pay and paid annual holiday of 4 weeks for adults and 6 weeks for the youth.
    6. State insurance against unemployment, sickness, accident, industrial diseases, old age, loss of working capacity, orphanage and compensation for disablement.
“As a result of British imperialism in our country there are still in existence millions of slaves and tens of millions of socially outcast working pariahs (untouchables), who are deprived of all rights. British rule, the system of landlordism, reactionary caste system, religious deception and all the slave and serf traditions of the past throttle the Indian people and stand in the way of its emancipation. They have led to the result that in India in the 20th century there are still pariahs who have no right to meet with all the fellow men, drink from common wells, study in common schools, etc., etc.
“Only the ruthless abolition of the caste system….only the agrarian revolution and the violent overthrow of the British rule will lead to the complete social, economic, cultural and legal emancipation of the working pariahs and slaves.
“The CP of India calls up on all the pariahs to join in the united revolutionary front with all the workers of the country against British rule and landlordism.
“The CP of India fights for the complete abolition of slavery, the caste system and caste inequality in all its forms (social, cultural, etc). The CP of India fights for the complete and absolute equality of the working pariahs and all the toilers of our country.
“The toiling women of India are in a semi-servile condition under a double burden of the survival of feudalism, economic, cultural and legal inequality. The toiling women have no right whatsoever to determine their fate and in many districts of forced to drag out their existence in purdah, under the veil and without the right not only of participating in public affairs, but even of freely and openly meeting their fellow citizens and moving through the streets.
“The CP of India fights for the complete social, economic and legal equality of women. It fights for the complete abolition of night work for women and the prohibition of underground work for women (in the coal mines) and in all branches where work is harmful for females.
“The CP of India fight for leave of absence from work at full rates of wages two months before and two months after childbirth, with free medical aid and for the establishment of creches in all factories and workshops employing women at the expense of the employers.
“The CP of India fights for universal, free and compulsory education up to 16 in the national language of the pupil. Free feeding, clothing and supply of textbooks to children at the expense of the State. Introduction of vocational training for youths at the expense of the State and employers.”
While putting forward a correct programme, the Platform contained some mistakes and wrong notions. It called upon the toilers to form a united front against imperialism, landlords, the money lenders, and capitalists. Therefore, from anti-imperialist united front, it comes to formation of a front against imperialism, feudalism and capitalism. It is with this understanding that the Platform calls for the formation of Soviet power. These mistakes were corrected latter when the Party adopted a programmatic document in 1934.
However, as BT Ranadive stated: “Never before did India see such a revolutionary document directly addressing the problems of all sections of the Indian people and the immediate needs of the revolutionary struggle”.