June 14 Letter

An Anniversary And...

Harsh Thakor

Communists in this part of the globe have good reasons to celebrate 50 years since the Chinese Communist Party wrote their letter to the USSR on' Proposals on general line of the International Communist Movement.' This letter has historical significance as it was the turning point in the great debate. It was written in reply to the letter of the USSR in March, 1963. It made a concrete evaluation of the world situation and the threat of revisionism with mastery of Leninist theory. Today the International Communist Movement is infactuated by revisionism of a huge range of trends be it amongst revisionist parties or within the revolutionary camp itself. Some term India a neo-colony (CPI(ML) led by K N Ramchandran), others capitalist, (Communist League of India factions) etc and thus reject the concept of New Democratic Revolution. Since 1963 there have been a huge turn of events with Enver Hoxha of Albania turning against Mao, reversal of Socialism in China and the collapse of erstwhile USSR, which ended the cold war. In the early 1980's the revolutionary camp in India was affected by the concept of theory of three worlds of Deng Xiaoping which was rejected by Bob Avakian, Abimael Guzman, Shansmu-guthan and Harbhajan Sohi. These revolutionaries refuted the revisionist thesis of the Deng Xiaoping regime. In 1988 the Liberation group went to the extent of upholding the erstwhile USSR as Socialist.

The concept of ne-colonialism compounded by the K N Ramchandran led CPI(ML) group is baseless when it is not any single nation that has economic hegemony over India and is a combined onslaught of imperialist countries.This trend contradicts the 1963 CCP proposal programme and distorts it.

One must commend intellectuals like the late R S Rao who upheld India's characterization as semi-feudal and semi-colonial. Any strides the Indian Communist movement has made is because of its understanding that India is not a fully developed capitalist society. The author has visited Punjab recently and discovered the monopoly of money-lenders on the poor agricultural labourers and the expropriation of land in courts from poor peasants who sell their land at 10 times less than their actual value rate. Sadly there is no front of intellectuals who can combat this thesis propounded by the intellectuals who term India as capitalist. In the recent Maruti Suzuki Workers agitation the workers needed the support of the peasantry to support their agitations. They proved their cultural ties to the peasantry in the villages. No doubt, there has been significant capitalist development but after losing their jobs the workers of Maruti would turn to their lands in the villages. (The author thanks G N Saibaba for this information) True there are much more machinery than China in the 1940s and a far more developed urban infrastructure but it is still the big landlords who have the bargaining power and dictate the price of goods in the market. A great politician-landlord nexus exists with so many big landlords still existing. In a fully developed capitalist society land-grabbing by corporate firms as it happened in India would not occur nor such merciless impact of commission agents in Punjab.No doubt there have been significant changes with globalization and greater onslaught of imperialism which has combined a united attack with feudalism as never before. Ironically how many industrial workers have been displaced from their jobs and gone back to the villages to cultivate their lands!

Quoting Professor R S Rao, 'In the Indian context, it is not just the lack of a democratic process and the corresponding institutions but capital's use of the pre capitalist processes and institutions like religion, caste, region, hierarchy, that merit one’s attention... It is not that factory inspectors need to be appointed but that they have to be above caste considerations.... Capital, when it frees labour, gives anonymity to labour. But capital in the Indian context takes away anonymity and puts the labels of religion, caste, and creed. The resulting process is the division among the working class and the division among poor peasants and agricultural labourers, on an extra economic basis.... Capital exists without its corresponding superstructure. Hence we have capital without capitalism.' (ibid., p. 89)

After an extensive study of the data generated by the Farm Management Surveys and reviewing the debates among economists on the extent and nature of capitalist development in Indian agriculture, R S Rao concluded that there was a widespread non-capitalist sector in which productivity and investment seemed to bear an inverse relation to the size of the holding - thus the larger the holding the lower its efficiency and accumulation. This he attributed to the feudal agrarian relation. On the other hand the capitalist sector identified, not through the size of the holding but through the labour hiring criterion broke this inverse relation between holding size and capitalist productivity. 'Given a high level of commodity production leading to a dominant position of capitalism in agriculture, the inverse relationship gives way to a positive relationship. Further it was observed that in such a village the process of differentiation reaches a high level. The above clearly suggests the existence and further the exploitative efficiency of capitalism in Indian agriculture.' (ibid., p, 54)

Quoting Jaswantha Rao of T N Reddy memorial trust:
As T Nagi Reddy explained in his statement "India Mortgaged", the bourgeois and landlord government of India has taken to the path of gradual transformation of landlord latifundia into bourgeois economy, with all its plans for the supply of seeds, fertilizers, use of pesticides, mechanization of agriculture, extensive funneling of state loans into the landlord economy with the help of immense aid from the international finance. As Lenin has explained this evolution into bourgeois-Junker-landlord eco-nomy, condemns the peasants to decades of most harrowing expropriation and bondage.

He further explained that, "this is what we are witnessing in our country today. The excruciating pain which the rural economy today is undergoing - the forceful eviction of small peasants and tenants, the growth of concentration of land, increase in the number of agricultural labour, the growing hegemony of upper castes over lower castes—are all symptoms of this growing disease." He called upon Communist Revolutionaries to firmly oppose this transformation of Feudal Landlordism by supporting the fighting peasantry for the total liquidation of Feudal Landlordism.

The developments in later decades proved that TN was correct. During this period, the industrial base of the Indian society had been widened through the adoption of public sector as the leader. As clearly observed by Marx in his writings, once the capitalist relations were introduced in a country like which has all the potential to develop into a capitalist country, nothing could stop the reproduction of these capitalist relations. This gave rise national bourgeoisie mainly in the form of small scale industry. But imperialism with its strangulating hold on the Indian state had been either destroying these rising capitalist relations through uneven competition or adopting them to serve its monopoly interests. Numerous instances can be quoted here how the imperialism amalgamated the indigenous industries or destroyed them. Suffice it to say that as a result the Indian national bourgeoisie could not be able to grow beyond certain stages and assert it in terms of its class interests. Thus the emerging capitalist relations in the industrial section were always remained in a deep crisis, living at the mercy of Indian big bourgeoisie and imperialism. On the other hand, the big bourgeoisie continue to be comprador in nature through myriad arrangement in the form joint ventures, technical and financial collaborations. Even though the value of assets and investments by the big bourgeoisie grew phenomenally, their dependence on imperialism also grew proportionally.

In the first half of 1980 decade, the Indian economy faced a severe all-round crisis and the Indian ruling classes turned to imperial powers to extricate them from the crisis. The imperialist financial institutions—World Bank and IMF—started dictating restructuring of Indian economy so as to increase the imperialist plunder many times. The loan taken from the IMF was paid back by the Indira Gandhi government not because the Indian economy had turned around but because of remittances made by the Indian workers toiling in gulf countries. While this was tom-tom as the success of the policies that were implemented, the crisis forced the Indian government to prostrate before their imperialist masters and PV Narasimha Rao's government embarked on the New Economic policies as designed and dictated by imperialism.

The New Economic Policies had turned the agriculture into economically unviable activity for the poor and middle peasants. Some of these measures are hiking the rates of electricity, fertilizers and irrigation water. The effect of these set of policies was immediately felt by the vast peasant masses. The deep rooted malaise got expressed in the form of suicides by the peasants. The depth and extent of the crisis can be gauged by the very fact that the total number of suicides by farmers surpassed one and a half lakh in the span of 8 years. Yet the Indian ruling classes and their political representatives were undaunted in their pursuit of the policies dictated by imperialism and started exhorting the virtues of implementation of second stage of economic reforms, particularly in agriculture, second stage of green revolution. This makes it clear that it was a deliberate policy and not an aberration. The aim of this strategy was to implement a set policy that turns the Indian agriculture into an appendage to the imperialist economy. The Indian agriculture shall produce to meet the commercial needs of the agribusiness MNCs and not to meet the needs of the Indian people. By pauperizing the poor and middle peasants through economic levers, the ruling classes intend to push the peasants into contact and/or corporate farming which in practice degrade the peasant to tied producer or farm land supervising the cultivation on behalf of the MNC. The slogan of intensive cultivation and mechanization of agriculture which led to green revolution and the country into an intractable crisis, continues to hold the field with addition of genetically modified seeds which are designed to perpetuate the dependence of agricultural production upon the MNCs for inevitable use of inputs. Thus the penetration of imperialist capital into agriculture will take place with full force.

The effect of these policies has led to the concentration of land in the hands of neo rich sections that amassed wealth by siphoning off the public funds. This concentration is not of the nature of capitalist relation. The land is being increasingly leased out to the peasants at exorbitant rent, which is nothing but extra economic coercion because otherwise land is not available to the peasant who had no other way of employment. The increasing number of rent farming indicates this.

The failure to follow the Chinese line contributed to the drift towards revisionism in Vietnam and Cuba. In fact Ho Chi Minh never completely endorsed the Chinese 1963 line remaining neutral. Che Guevera although practised armed struggle failed to differentiate between the line of Socialist China and USSR.

Finally the trends of the New left have to be rejected tooth and nail whether it be Louis Althusser, Charles Bettleheim. Jean Paul Sartre or Alan Badiou. Bettleheim's faulting of Soviet Society under Lenin itself claiming that the Proletariat did not seize power and his failure to demarcate Kruschevite revisionism from Stalin have to be refuted. The other concept that the Cultural Revolution fought against the Leninist party leadership and structure by Badiou has to be refuted even further. In recent times some intellectuals talk of merging 'mass line' with 'radical democracy'. 'This is erroneous as it undermines the vanguard role of the party.

Vol. 46, No. 1, Jul 14- 20, 2013

Your Comment if any