July 10, 2022

Strengthen Unity, Defend Gains, March Ahead!

Below we reproduce the People’s Democracy editorial published on the 20th anniversary of India’s Independence.

Two decades of Congress rule since Independence are over; August 15 this year once more reminds the people that they have to rescue themselves and the country from the avaricious grip of Congress rule –the rule of the bourgeois-landlord clique.

Twenty years of Congress misrule in the interests of the bourgeois-landlord clique has not only ruined the people, sowing starvation, famine and unemployment among them; it has created a serious danger to our economic and political freedom by its heavy American borrowings for financing the capitalist path of development. Today India's freedom and independence stand in daily danger of compromise on every issue affecting national life – issues of foreign policy, issues of internal policies and economic development.

TWO decades of Congress rule, the rule of the bourgeois-landlord clique, have created an immediate danger to our independence and freedom; the Congress rulers helped by the reactionaries of the Jana Sangh and Swatantra Party are preparing for further betrayals.

Side by side with economic penetration and domination, the open attempts to blackmail and veto economic plans, the pressure on foreign policy issues, and the unashamed use of food for political purposes by the USA, there is hidden penetration and domination through the CIA and all its agencies many of which like the Congress for cultural freedom are patronised by the Congress and Swatantra leaders. There is bribing of civil servants and officials; American military officials have free access to our most strategic and confidential places. All the agencies are kept ready to take advantage of any favourable situation that may arise. Even the union government could no longer pretend that there was no danger. Recently it had to ask some members of the American and other foreign missionaries working in Assam to quit the country.

The foreign policy of the country is under constant pressure and the government is constantly yielding to it. Whenever American imperialism is involved, whether in Vietnam or West Asia – the government of India dares not condemn its aggression; it screens it while proclaiming lip sympathy for the victims of aggression.

The most despicable step it has taken in recent times is to snap all trade with the fighting Socialist North Vietnam while continuing its trade with the puppet stooge government of South Vietnam which is an enemy of its own people. All this is done to appease the American financiers though the union government is ashamed to own it and says that trade with North Vietnam has been stopped lest it might help people's China.

Impelled by its own selfish class interests and seeking to appease American imperialism, the government of India has embarked upon a policy of hostility to People's China – a policy which inflicts a burden of Rs 1000 crores on the people in the name of defence and which runs completely contrary to the interests of the country.

The people of India faced with outright starvation, loss of jobs, with famine and hunger – cannot forget this danger. In fact, this growing menace of American imperialism is one of the causes of their present plight and unless it is met they will not be able to save themselves and their country.


In the background of this danger the country witnesses one of the biggest economic crisis – the crisis of the bourgeois-landlord economy, reared in growing dependence on American imperialism. The fanciful Five-Year Plans have collapsed. The glib talk of take off stage, of self-sufficiency and self-reliance in which the Dange revisionists had joined till recently, has ended in dust. The country is too poor to utilise the miserable capacity existing in the newly built industries. They were built by depriving the mass of peasants and workers of their purchasing power, through deficit financing, high prices and high taxation. The nemesis has arrived. The industries cannot be run on the basis of a shrinking market, with the majority of population reduced to destitution. The limits of the capitalist path have been reached. As our programme states:

"Experience of the three plans demonstrates beyond a shadow of doubt that in the period of the general crisis of capitalism, particularly when it has entered a new acute stage, it is futile for underdeveloped countries to seek to develop along the capitalist path. The possibilities of such development are extremely limited. It cannot solve our basic problems of economic dependence and backwardness, of poverty and unemployment. It is incapable of ensuring fullest utilisation of the human and material resources of the country. It gives rise to ever-growing contradictions and is beset with imbalance and crisis. While it imposes unbearable burdens and inflicts misery on the common people, it gives them no hope of a better future and brings them into inevitable conflict with the capitalist path of development."     

Fifteenth August this year fully bears out this estimation of the Programme about the capitalist path and its limitations.

Not all the talk of independent economy indulged in by the revisionists and their mentors abroad has saved the capitalist path from exposing its bankruptcy.

It is not necessary to go into the whole story of Congress misrule and the growing sufferings of the people. The economic crisis, the raging famines, the food shortages, the mounting offensive against working class jobs and monstrous rise in unemployment, the rise in  prices and taxation – they are a testimony to the anti-people policies pursued by the Congress – the policies of compromise with landlords, of growing dependence on US imperialism – all in the interest of the capitalist path.

Nor is it necessary to retell the history of firings and lathi-charges, of imprisonments and massacres – that stamp out the Congress regime as one of the most oppressive regimes that ever ruled India. These methods continue today. The Congress government has gone back on its plighted word to withdraw the Emergency; it continues its armed suppression of Mizos, its repression of the people of Kashmir and the people of Nagaland. The Mizos are being treated exactly as the British treated the Malays or the frontier tribes in India; as the Americans treat the South Vietnamese.


How have the people reacted to this Congress havoc with their liberties – with their economic livelihood, with the danger to freedom engendered by Congress policies? There has been a considerable change in the situation during the last year. Between 15 August 1966 and 15 August this year, the people have struck repeated blows against the seemingly impregnable fortress of the bourgeois-landlord rule – the Congress party, and have started the process of its disintegration which is getting accelerated speed with every new turn in the situation.

In the first place, as a result of the big mass struggles of the last two years –struggles fought in the midst of raining bullets, of brutal police terror and atrocities – the people were able to inflict an electoral defeat on the Congress in many states and drastically reduce its strength at the centre. This has led to the formation of alternative ministries in a number of states – ministries of different hues and colours.

The setbacks received by the Congress directly in a few states accelerated the process of Congress disintegration, leading to defections from its ranks and collapse of its ministries. The result is that today in a majority of the states there are non-Congress ministries, with a precarious Congress majority in one or two other states and at the centre itself.

Notwithstanding the electoral illusions of the people, these hammer-blows struck at the Congress were the direct results of mighty mass struggles in some states, and of rising discontent against Congress rule in other states. That is why there are different types of non-Congress governments in different states. The most outstanding achievements of the people are the West Bengal and Kerala ministries where the Left parties – with our Party as the biggest single party and force –predominate.

In Tamil Nadu, the DMK ministry holds sway. In Orissa and Madhya Pradesh the reactionary right parties, the Swatantra and Jana Sangh, with the direct support of the ex-princes, have formed ministries. In the Uttar Pradesh ministry the Jana Sangh and defecting Congressmen play a predominant role; in Bihar the Raja of Ramgarh's followers, other defecting Congressmen and the Jana Sangh set the pace, notwithstanding the strength of the SSP, and in Punjab combination of the Santh Akalis, Jana Sangh and right revisionists have formed the ministry.

These different combinations represent the different levels of consciousness of the people and the different proportions of the strength of the democratic movement and our Party.


While they show that all over India Congress strength is rapidly dwindling, they also show that replacement of the Congress by advanced democratic forces is not taking place simultaneously and evenly everywhere. On the contrary, alternative parties of the bourgeoisie and landlords-strongly flavoured with feudal reaction and pro-Americanism – are taking the field in a number of states, thus cheating the masses.

The ruling Congress gentry, therefore, sees the main danger not in these parties of the right but in the ministries of the Left, where our Party has a predominant position. It concentrates its full energy and fire on the West Bengal ministry and especially our Party.

A grim class struggle is going on in West Bengal with the bourgeois-landlord clique, the Congress, the Jana Sangh, the Swatantra, the national leaderships of the SSP and PSP all directing their fire against our Party, utilising every issue from Naxalbari to gherao.

The economic crisis demands that there should be total suppression of the people and that mass retrenchment of workers should be enforced at the point of the bayonet. Our Party and the ministry bar the way. Hence an acute crisis created by the electoral reverse of the Congress in this strategic state.

But West Bengal's problem is only an integral part of the general struggle against bourgeois-landlord rule, a part of the people's struggle against it. The question that arises is, how are the various parties that formed the United Front during and after the elections against the Congress discharging their responsibilities towards the developing struggle?

Struggles cannot be hushed just because a democratic ministry has been formed. It is a fatuous and reactionary idea that asks the people to wait upon ministerial pleasure to get their problems solved. The resistance of the vested interests, the bureaucrats and the whole steel frame cannot be overcome without the constant pressure of the mass movement from below and only reactionaries can oppose it. Without this no democratic ministry can survive. It is of course correct to state that the two wings must move in unison so that the masses can deliver a blow at the vested interests by utilising the strategic position in the ministry. In West Bengal, the mass initiative is developing along correct lines though opposed by certain parties in the United Front.


Over India as a whole, the problem is once again a problem of organising and unleashing struggles in defence of the interests of the people; of organising campaigns to rouse the people to the danger to our freedom arising from growing American domination. The people have started shedding their earlier illusions that any non-Congress ministry – the Swatantra and Jana Sangh or the coalition ministries of UP and Bihar – will effect a radical change in their conditions. These ministries announced a popular programme of demands but have done nothing to implement it. On the other hand, they are enforcing will of the vested interests openly.

And apart from this, one of the most important problems is to isolate not only the Congress but also the other right parties – the Jana Sangh and Swatantra – which are being groomed as the responsible opposition parties, as the alternative to the Congress. The democratic movement, the working class movement will be guilty of the grossest type of opportunism if it does not warn the masses that alternative parties of the same exploiting classes are exploiting their discontent to smuggle themselves into power.

But where do the Left parties stand in relation to these questions? Are the electoral alliances and understandings that inflicted a number of defeats on the Congress being carried forward to meet the new needs of the situation? Are the alliances that made the earlier mass struggles and electoral victory possible being carried forward in the background of the post-election situation?

No amount of cursing the Congress for the present state of affairs will be of any use for the movement unless these questions are answered.

Here lies the real weakness of the situation. In the first place, a number of Left parties in the country do not see the American danger; at the first sign of governmental propaganda about China they swing to join the Congress to raise the Chinese bogy. While some parties have no doubt begun to talk about the American danger, while the revisionists have changed their tune – though Dange virtually forgot to mention American imperialist penetration as one of the main causes of the crisis in his recent report to the AITUC – it must be noted that a large number of Left parties do not take the American danger seriously.


Secondly, parliamentary opportunism has become manifest in a number of parties; otherwise, how can you explain the right revisionists joining hand with the Jana Sangh and not-very-progressive Congressmen – opportunist Congressmen – in ministries which continuously violate the given pledges to the people? These people who the other day were prepared to support the Congress against the Jana Sangh and Swatantra, are now prepared to support the latter and are not ashamed to form ministries in collaboration with them. They are now discovering changes in the Jana Sangh and are even certifying that the Jana Sangh is becoming anti-American.

By collaboration with these parties they are only hindering the process of unmasking them and are only helping the bourgeois-landlord gang to stabilise another party of its own. And it is these same gentlemen that are giving the slogan of a coalition at the centre, which, according to them, does not debar these parties from participating in it.

Similarly, the SSP and PSP are revealing themselves to be guilty of the same opportunism. The SSP leadership, no doubt, played a significant role in the pre-election mass struggles and did much to unleash them in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. The PSP consistently betrayed them and even now feels more at home with the Congress, Jana Sangh and Swatantra than with the Left.

The national leadership of the SSP is echoing all the slanders of the Congress against our Party in West Bengal. It has opposed gherao and is siding with the landlord interests in Naxalbari and actively demanding persecution of the peasantry. The same tactics are pursued by the PSP leadership which also demands stern measures against the peasantry.

How can a man call himself socialist and object to a representative of the government employees being appointed on the Pay Commission? Yet this reactionary stand is being openly taken by some of these gentlemen in West Bengal.

The national leadership of the SSP does not find it difficult to carry on its coalition with the Jana Sangh and Congressmen in UP and with the Jana Sangh and Raja of Ramgarh in Bihar. That is how it reveals its opportunism and its real class character.


The deepening crisis, the menace to our independence, the electoral advance – all these demand that the various participants in the ministry come back to their former outlook. Our Party correctly regards the ministries as weapons of mass mobilisation for securing further victories for the people. In the coming period the country will see decisive battles. They will require the full strength of the people, all their unity and the unity of class organisations. It is for the people to see that there are no defectors, no traitors in their ranks. The followers of all the parties that are in the democratic ministries, the followers of all the parties that formerly led the mass struggles, must demand that at this critical hour the people and the Left parties must stand united. They must particularly call to order the national leaderships of the SSP and PSP whose tactics only help the Congress to undermine the West Bengal ministry.

It is the duty of the people to protect their unity, the gains of the previous period and march ahead. August 15 this year shows that the Congress is in complete disarray, it shows that the masses have delivered telling blows against the main party of the bourgeois landlords.

At the same time it show that the unity of popular forces is being undermined by some parties from within; that some of these are joining hands with other reactionary parties who represent the same class interests as the Congress.

It shows that while the offensive against the masses is increasing, while the danger to our freedom grows, the Congress is trying to upset popular unity and ministries with the aid of its agents. Only the vigilance of the masses can frustrate these conspiracies, strengthen the unity of the democratic forces so that they are ready to face the next stage of the struggle.

(August 13, 1967)