A Historical Perspective (20) After Vijay Singh

The Manifesto for the Unity of Communist Revolutionaries

Arup Baisya

[The communist party will not be a 'separate' party; it will not have 'interests separate and apart from those of the proletariat as a whole; it will not establish 'sectarian principles', but it will quite simply be this real movement come to maturity, become manifest for itself and society as a whole. – Communist Manifesto by Marx and Engel.]

From a Marxist point of view, the development of capitalism was inseparable from the formation of the working class, whose exploitation made them not only the victim but, as the Communist Manifesto, famously puts it, the gravediggers of capitalism. But the experience of neoliberalism has generated two opposite phenomena that baffled the practicing Marxists as well as the communist revolutionaries. On the one hand, the organized workers’ movement is continued to be in retreat and numerically in decline ever since the defeats inflicted by Reagan and Thatcher in the first half of the 1980s, but on the other hand waves of protests such as movement around the Seattle in 1999 and Genoa in 2001, the campaign against Iraq war, occupation of town squares that spread in 2011 from Cairo across the Mediterranean and as far as Manhattan, Gilets Jaunes movement in France, peasant movement in India, etc have been developing across the globe. But, in the greatest systemic crisis bourgeois society has experienced since the inter-war years the working-class response was comparatively muted. But Marx and Engels saw the revolutionary process as the result of the contradiction between the productive forces and the social relations in which such development takes place; by concentrating workers in large-scale industries and urban centers, the emancipation of the working class is conquered by themselves and thus the entire humankind including the colonies is emancipated. The Russian revolution in 1917 established another dimension of that process of emancipation. This was based on the breaking of the chain of global capitalism at its weakest link and it was expected that the revolutionary upsurge of the working class would ring the death knell of capitalism at its core in the western world. But the history was written not following that expectation, rather within few years of the Russian revolution, by 1925, the revolutionary wave—especially in the western world, was inspired by the Russian revolution and disorder created by the aftermath of World War I—died down. Then the fulcrum of revolution shifted to the East in the backdrop of the anti-colonial movement and the revolutionary seizure of power occurred in 1949 in China, where many imperialist powers were operating and competing with each other, as peasant revolution with a nationalist united front against Japanese occupational force. But these events did not raise any doubt about the veracity of the communist manifesto because Marx saw the investment in colonies where the value of the labour-power and organic composition of capital are low; helps counteract the tendency of the rate of profit to fall. Moreover, he did not see the process of social revolution as the inevitable outcome of the contradiction between the productive forces and social relations. The class struggle and the role of the communist party in the backdrop of the capitalist crisis are intertwined with capitalism which is producing its own gravediggers.

Marx saw the colonial expansion from the point of view of movement and investment of capital and Lenin subsequently described imperialism as the latest form of capitalism. But when the East India Company set its foot in India for international trade, many other trading nations also built trade relations with India. Between 1709 and 1717 the Dutch and English East India companies together shipped into Bengal cargoes averaging 4.15 million rupees in value annually, 85 percent of which was silver. Before the Mughal era, only Gujarat possessed a reliable and stable silver coinage, based on the high volume of maritime commerce that had attracted silver coins from the Middle East ever since the early centuries AD. Other Indian regions, lacking extensive silver mines of their own and not enjoying Gujarat’s volume of overseas trade, relied on other media for their coinage, such as copper, gold, billion, cowry shells. All these changed in the late sixteenth century. The Indian economy being largely self-sufficient, to purchase Indian goods Europeans had to export silver, one foreign item that the Mughals lacked and wanted, apart from war-horses. Before the advent of European power, the rationality based on a legal system that may be considered as the harbinger of modernity was exhibited. The merchant wealth expanded, new market centers were established, boosting development in both agrarian and market when pioneers in Bengal used cash to mobilize labour for transforming these jungles into arable fields for the cultivation of crops. As merchant wealth expanded, new market centers were established, boosting development in both agrarian and manufacturing sectors. Land used was greatly intensified, as happened when pioneers in Bengal used cash to mobilize labour for transforming dense jungle into arable fields for the cultivation of food crops. (Eaton: 2020). The mercantile community was a social area where the theoretical hierarchies of caste as envisaged in Brahminical ideology were often upset, for trade was regarded as low in Brahminical reckoning, whereas traders were frequently wealthy. (Romila Thapar: 2014). British colonial economy can be divided into different phases. The first, ‘mercantilist’ phase, from 1757 to 1813, was marked by direct plunder and the East India Company’s monopoly trade, functioning through the ‘investment’ of surplus revenues in the purchase, often at arbitrarily low prices, of Indian (primarily Bengal) finished goods for export to England and Europe. By the Charter Act of 1813, the monopoly of the East India Company had been put an end to, and private traders of free merchants were permitted under special license to trade lawfully. As a result, the Charter Act happened to be the death blow for native industries. The Industrial Revolution in England dramatically changed the whole pattern of trade, and the years from 1813 to 1858 saw the classic age of free trade industrial capitalist exploitation, converting India rapidly into a market for Manchester textiles and a source of raw material, uprooting her traditional handicrafts – a period when ‘the home-land of cotton was inundated with cotton’. Thus Industrial Revolution in England turned out to be evil for Indian native cotton and other industries which had to now fight the competition from British imported machine-made goods. India was now converted into a reservoir of cheap raw materials like cotton, tea, indigo, coffee, etc. while British merchants and their industries prospered in this course. India had to suffer losses on all accounts. Indian handicraft industries were ruthlessly killed in this process. The War expenses during First World War raised debt on India from Rs. 100 million on 31st march 1914 to Rs. 7,810 million by 31 March 1923. The deindustrialization of India occurred due to the originally mercantilist drain had therefore become closely associated with the process of exploitation through free trade and with the structure of British Indian finance capitalism. During the second half of the nineteenth century, India had to import most of the machinery and cotton products. ( Monopoly in the marketplace and monopoly over the most advanced production process are related but distinct phenomena. The monopoly over the market is a secondary factor that affects the division of surplus value between competing capitals. Monopoly over the most advanced production techniques also results in above-average profits for innovating firms; such forms of monopoly are constantly being created and destroyed by competition in each branch and sphere of production, but should only be called monopoly where insurmoun-table barriers stand in the way of other capitals adopting those more advanced techniques, thus locking in their higher-than-average profits.

Marx’s formulation on the colonial question became visible when the initial phase of mercantile relations and primitive forms of accumulation through destruction of indigenous craft economy—including the owners of the means of such craft production was displaced and repressed—was over. The term Industrial revolution which was popularized by Arnold Toynbee reached its peak during the period 1760 to 1840, though the capitalist relation emerged much before industrial relations. The main features involved in the Industrial Revolution were technological, socio-economic, and cultural. The use of iron and steel, new energy sources of fuels and motive power, the invention of new machines, factory system which entailed the increased division of labour and specialization, development of transportation and communication and increased application of science to industry, etc were the main features of Industrial revolution. The loot of raw material from India through the destruction of Indian craft expedited the manufacturing of finished goods in Lancashire’s textile Industry. But the industrial revolution was the result of the development of capitalist relations in the English countryside, not its cause. The critical transformation of social property relations, in Marx’s account, took place in the English countryside, with the expropriation of direct producers. In the new agrarian relations, landlords increasingly derived rents from the commercial profits of capitalist tenants, while many small producers were dispossessed and became wage labourers. Marx regards this rural transformation as the real ‘primitive accumulation’ not because it created a critical mass of wealth but because these social relations generated new economic imperatives, especially the compulsions of competition, a systematic need to develop the productive forces, leading to new laws of motion such as the world had never seen before. (Ellen Meiksins Wood: 2013). The specific precondition of capitalism is a transformation of social property relations that generates ‘laws of motion’ which was born in a particular time of history in a particular space and that’s why it must go away with history. So the real movement of capital for colonial subjugation of India started when capitalism matured in Britain to give birth to monopoly due to capitalist competition in search of the geographical area where the organic composition of capital is low. This organic composition was mandated to be low as the capitalist development in India was arrested due to exploitation of Indian wealth by the occupational force and the East India Company’s policy to transform the potentialities of the agent of capitalism into intermediaries of British for revenue collection. Bengal’s permanent settlement was such a cruel way how the British transformed the changing dynamics of feudalism into neo-feudalism as described by Ranajit Guha. In this background, the British started investing in India in the 1850s in cash-crop production for export, for developing Railway communication for integrating market and transportation of cash crops, and for generating capitalism. Capital moves to that part of the earth where capitalist relation takes birth but with a low organic composition of capital i.e., a vast swathe of the populace is under the influence of feudal or pre-capitalist relations of productions. This was the time of Indian history when Mao’s formulation of ‘erosion and retention’ of feudal relations during the period of colonial subjugation was applicable in India. But the anti-colonial movement and the subsequent freedom in 1947 have changed the trajectory of global domination of imperialist capital and set the new capitalist dynamics of neo-colonialism.

Lenin asserted that capitalism has entered its monopoly stage and thus focus shifted to the domestic and international rivalries of giant monopolies, to their political interaction with various capitalist states, and the antagonism and conflicts between these states themselves. Lenin does not theorize imperialism concerning the law of value and to the rising organic composition of capital or the tendency of the rate of profit to fall whereas his economic analyses of the development of capitalism in Russia, which are firmly based on the categories of Capital. How, then, can we achieve a theoretical concept of monopoly that is firmly based on the categories of Capital? For Lenin, monopoly signifies the concentration of capital into giant corporations, the merging of financial and industrial capital, and both of these with the state. The imperialist’s monopoly power manifests itself in monopolistic control of markets, of advanced technology, of the state and military power, and so on. In capitalism evolution, especially since 1980, has provided TNCs with ways to capture surplus-value extracted from workers in low-wage countries without having to export their capital to those countries, which is why arm’s-length outsourcing is now an important source of profits. The defining feature of the neoliberal era is the large-scale shift of the production process to low-wage countries. One long century later, the large-scale outsourcing of production of workers’ consumption goods to low-wage countries has become a prime means of lowering the value of labour-power in the imperialist countries or of containing its rise. (John Smith: 2016). In imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, Lenin argued that “the export of capital, one of the most essential bases of imperialism.

Marx’s assumption of the equality of proletarians within a national economy is predicted on the free movement of labour, free to sell its creative power to the highest bidder. At an international level, these essential attributes of the proletarian condition are massively restricted by immigration controls and by racism and segregation experienced by Southern workers in imperialist nations. A huge section of the working class in the Global South has been rendered superfluous by the inability of modern production methods to soak up enough labour to prevent rising unemployment, and this alone, even before the much harsher labour regimes and political repression prevalent in low-wage countries exerts a powerful force that makes the price of their labour-power fall below its value. Marx says, “As far as capital invested in colonies, etc., is concerned, the reason why this can yield higher rates of profit is that the profit rate is generally higher there on account of the lower degree of development, and so too is the exploitation of labour, through the use of slaves and coolies, etc.” Outsourcing reduces both constant capital and variable capital as direct responsibility for the exploitation of wage labour has been outsourced, the surplus-value captured by the outsourcing firms is generated by living labour in the remote locations where production now takes place. As both constant and variable capital outsourced by the farm is very small, the rate of profit becomes huge. (John Smith: 2016).

There are two aspects of imperialist capital in underdeveloped countries. One is the domination of the state power apparently represented by the native bourgeois and feudal classes but actually subservient to the imperialist corporate capital, the other is the hegemonic control in social relations of production due to the operational unity of imperialist capital with a higher organic composition of capital and the lower organic composition of capital in under-developed or developing countries. The first aspect of domination operates in an identitarian framework for primitive accumulation and the second aspect operates in a class framework for establishing the hegemony of the capital. These two mutually inclusive dimensions continuously interact with each other and are in constant motion. This process also creates and recreates the space for the development of capitalism from below as the monopoly imperialist capital strives for both cheap labour and productivity of labour. Thus this process breaks the chain of erosion and retention of feudal relations to make room for the capitalist social relations to be a dominant feature. The process operates in a combined and uneven developmental framework that sets capitalism as a global system. The green revolution in agriculture and the policy of land reform was undertaken to feed the toiling masses who were caught in a situation of food insecurity, but it simultaneously served the interest of imperialist capital for supplying technological equipment and other inputs for agricultural production. The areas beyond the influence of the green revolution were also witnessing the development of capitalism from below because the dynamism of capitalist relations is such that the inchoate form set in motion tries to be a dominant feature by destroying and remoulding all other existing relations, generating such energy that breaks the inertia of idle and static minds to consume the use-value. The law of motion is such that it sets the ground for intense contradiction for the own demise of imperialism. The entire period of neo-liberal restructuring for accumulation of capital through labour-arbitrage has accentuated and deepened this contradiction. The ongoing peasant uprising is inherently an uprising against the imperialist corporate capital for its further penetration and hegemonic control of India’s agricultural landscape.

The long neoliberal restructuring from the 1980s has dismantled the organized working class in large factories. The emerging situation gave birth to two extreme divergent trends. The mainstream practicing communist parties who have been functioning within a reformist framework for long, though emphasizing working-class struggle, have discovered the TINA (there is no alternative) factor in the here and now and became the proponent of making some compro-mises with neoliberal policy. This has become imperative emanating from a desire to cling to power in some states by any means with an alibi to pursue welfare policies in a tacit understanding with the central power where the bourgeois parties rule the roost. CPIM has been advocating such a line from the 1980s when Jyoti Basu’s Bengal Government discovered the TINA factor. The other extreme trend of practicing communist ideology redefined the agency of change, at least in practice, from working-class to caste-identity. The caste-identity question always plays a vital role in Indian politics. Caste is a class in feudal relations of production. The staticity of mindset hindered a section of them to visualize the laws of motion that the inchoate capitalism in developing countries set to become the dominant characteristics surpassing and remoulding all other social relations which lack the vital energy as these are fixed in time and bounded by space. The contradiction between imperialist capital and the capital of neo-colonies is not unidirectional. Their interactions continuously define and redefine the principal contradiction and the principal task of the revolutionaries, the formulaic version once set cannot articulate the changing objective reality and the focus of revolutionary task for all time to come. The caste and identity struggle for democratic sharing of power gathered momentum during the 1980s and this was challenged by the counter-identitarian movement from a reactionary dimension of Hindutva. The Babri Masjid demolition in 1992 was the watershed moment to announce the defeat of the democratic orientation of the identity struggle. The petit-bourgeois leadership of the caste and identities has been incapacitated by the emergence of large-scale wage workers within the bounds of caste and identities. This petit-bourgeois class has been gradually co-opted within the overarching reactionary Hindutva identitarian movement and this ensured the rise of BJP into power. But the emergence of new wage-workers as a universal class has bemused many left protagonists to consider this class as an agency of radical change as Marx wrote the Communist Manifesto when the workers of the large industrial sector in urban centers appeared in the historical scene. But Marx mentioned the appearance of wage workers along with the development of capitalism as a countervailing force and as an agent of change in his other writings, not about a particular form of the working class. It is true that we still don’t know how these disparate unorganized workers dispersed in space can transform themselves from class-in-itself to class-for-itself. But the militant movement that has been surfaced in many parts of the world gives some indications that they are destined to rise to the occasion. It becomes more prominent when capitalist-roaders are envisaging another capitalist restructuring when neo-liberalism not only failed to mitigate the capitalist crisis but also deepened the crisis further, especially when the pandemic situation has disrupted the global value chain. In this transitional phase, both the trends of reformism and culturalism have reached to its logical end. Both find themselves in the cul-de-sac and remain as prisoners of indecision till the Bourgeois gives them a new lease of life through another phase of restructuring.

Does the transformation of identity question in India amidst the rising disaffection of the global citizens on the existing system indicate the beginning of a new age of revolution? Politically, once the peasantry reached the threshold of activity, nothing is more certain than that something has to be done to meet its demand. If the revolutionaries do not attract the peasantry to their side, the reactionaries do. The disaffection of the unorganized working class both in the urban and rural landscape is ubiquitous. The strike movement is once again raising its head both in the organized and unorganized sectors. But these movements are yet to cross the threshold of reformism. Most of the old guards of trade union leadership are economically rhetorical but politically benign. The historian Romila Thapar asserted, Identities have to be created, as they are not inborn. Here the historian has to trace the history of the creation of an Identity, and then see how the created concept plays a historical role. This is in some ways parallel to the role of memory in history. Memory is also constituted, and more so, collective memory, that is so often introduced into historical thinking. (Romila Thapar: 2014). Eaton described how identities were formed in pre-colonial history. He wrote, the rising social status resulting from participation in India’s military labour market also drove new cultural identities, as in the case of Kumbi farmers of Maharastra becoming Marathas, Gujarati pastoralist becoming Rajputs, or Jats of Eastern Punjab becoming Sikhs. All these cases indicate how cultural identities were never fixed or immutable, but contingent upon, and shaped by, larger processes specific to a particular historical context. (Eaton: 2020). The appearance of wage-workers in the entire landscape of India as a universal class reshaped the class-identity question in India. The struggle for democratic decentralization of power to instill a sense of belonging within the diverse communities and empowerment of the people is now contingent upon the working-class emancipation and workers-peasant alliance. This question of emancipation is primarily important as class analysis based either on property or power—though each of the categories throws light on certain aspects of social reality—does not entirely define the Marxist concept of the struggle for change. Both earlier version of the Marxist class based on property and the post-Marxist’s claim on Power belongs to the Marx’s original definition of class as the process of producing and distributing surplus labour. The capitalist class may or may not simultaneously hold property and wield power. E.P. Thompson’s definition of class as a matter first and foremost consciousness befittingly defines the Marxist sense of class. It connotes a revolutionary agenda to take the driving seat for a radical transformation of society. This necessitates two things, one is the unity of revolutionary forces to emerge as a formidable subjective force and the other is the articulation of a revolutionary programme to achieve unity of all social movements for expediting the emancipation of the working class on a premise where the emancipation of working-class is conquered by themselves. An outline of such a programme can be drawn from the perspective of capitalist domination and hegemony in a neocolonial setup.

It is better to start with women’s questions because women workers are doubly exploited both at the workplace and at the home place. Engels wrote to Marx on March 9, 1847, if it were not the French women, life would not be worth living. (Engels to Marx: March 9: 1847). On the question of women’s liberty, two positions are primarily held. According to a mainstream left opinion, the question of women’s liberty need not be dealt with separately, because the working-class movement by itself will resolve this issue, formation of women’s organizations is needed only to ensure the participation of women in the overarching workers’ movement. The contrary view held by a section of feminists emphasizes that women should get separately organized without being mingled with the working-class movement. The extravagant claim of the advocates of these two streams of thoughts can be interpreted as the theoretical impasse in the overall social and workers movements because these two thoughts do not take the family as the basic unit of social relation into consideration. However, feminist consciousness shows how women came together to articulate previously unspoken but increasingly powerful discontent, and in so doing created at the same time a movement and a theory that radically disrupted the gender relations of previous generations. But if the family labour and social labour are not considered intertwined within the ambit of the law of value and expropriation of surplus-value, the importance of formulation of the programme on women’s labour and women’s liberty within the essence of social and workers’ movement is undermined. In the backdrop of rising social and working-class movement, Gramsci’s ‘good sense’ rooted in our actual experience must articulate the question of women’s liberty within the ambit of mass movement as against the hegemonic ‘common sense’ which tells us how things are supposed to be and what we supposed to think, feel and do. In any recent movement in India, the participation of women is significant. The strike of seventy-five thousand strong members of ASHA workers in Maharastra certainly invigorates the women workers to fight for the rights of their own volition. The struggle for the right to health with a revolutionary orientation of establishing use-value instead of exchange value in the health sector should incorporate this women’s struggle for their emancipation to a higher plank of consciousness. Both the concept of autonomous women’s front and the appendage of working-class struggle thus get defeated in a revolutionary programme. What do such skewed concepts mean in real terms? The general epistemological propositions that are the socially necessary forms of thinking of an epoch are those in conformity with the socially synthetic functions of that epoch. The exchange nexus of capitalism as a global system compels the dominant thinking to reside on the socially synthetic function of second nature which is actually rooted in the relations between humans as social categories but misconstrued the relations between commodities as real. This misconstrued notion develops the concept either of autonomy or as appendage without real existence. Every economic crisis is an object lessons of the truth that production and consumption are disrupted to the degree that the exchange nexus fails. The more the exchange nexus fails, the more the crisis is deepened. This necessitates the revolutionary agenda to be pursued vigorously and to achieve the radical reconstruction of society; the unity of revolutionary forces becomes a pre-condition. The pre-capitalist division of caste within the category of women is very much present, but it has become contingent upon the division of working women and non-working women and the division of men and women in family structure that has changed capitalist relations of production.

Marx’s critical analysis shows the contradictions inherent in the development of productive forces within capitalism, thus disclosing the new spaces of resistance emerging within the system. Marx’s view of the permanent role of the methods of “primitive accumulation,” moreover, points to the fact that expropriation and state violence do not only continue alongside exploitation, they are also deeply shaped by it. The antagonism between wage labour and capital is a global, gendered antagonism in which struggles over wages, working conditions, and the working day is organically linked to struggles over dispossession, social reproduction, ecology, imperialism, and racism. Not only, for Marx, is every movement that puts forwards the demands of the working class as a class a political movement, but support for the demands and struggles of its most oppressed sections is also crucial for the advancement of the working class as a whole. It is actually here, on the terrain of struggle that the deeper unity between production and reproduction comes to light when diversity becomes solidarity, strength, and political radicalism. Here the movement of women as the most oppressed section becomes crucial.

Here comes the agenda of the first nature of metabolic unity of labour and nature. The synthetic second nature of exchange has so far been successful in hiding the metabolic drift and destruction of climatic balance. The climate crisis which is part and parcel of the capitalist crisis has now become apparent. In a developing country like ours, the real danger comes in the form of accumulation through displacement which is undertaken not only to plunder natural wealth but also to create cheap labour. The resistance against such primitive accumulation is the dominant form of struggle against imperialism. Marx described real primitive accumulation as the immediate cause of the birth of capitalism because without devaluation of peasantry, women, nature, etc capitalist value cannot be created.

The peasant struggle is always an important question in a neocolonial and developing country like India. But for formulating a programmatic- strategic goal for the movement to achieve, it is imperative to dwell on the history of the agrarian transitions and peasants revolts in India. In many countries like China, England and Germany the historical peasant uprisings had achieved the certain goal of specific changes in statecraft or legal and economic status. But Indian peasants’ revolts exhibited a remarkable deficiency on this count.

The historian Irfan Habib in his book ‘Essays in Indian History’ said, “The peasants might fuel a zamindar's revolt (Marathas), they might rise in a locality (the Doab), or as a caste (Jats), or as a sect (Satnamis, Sikhs), but they fail to attain a recognition of any common objectives that transcended parochial limits”. But on the cause of the deficiency, he cogently delineates, “The caste divisions in Indian society, the immense gulf between the peasantry and the ‘menial’ proletariat, and the deeply rooted authority of the zamindars all probably have had a part in determining this result. Still, it has to be admitted that no last word can be said on so complex a matter as the role of the peasants in a civilization”.

In this era of capitalist globalisation, big monopoly capital not only extracts rent only through its control over markets but also by establishing private property rights over land, forest and water. Rent is also extracted by exercising private property rights over knowledge, science, technology, and agricultural inputs after these have been transformed into marketable commo-dities. Capitalist rent stipulates that capital dominates non-capitalist sectors and uses such dominance to extract part or whole of the surplus produced by them as rent. In analyzing the development of capitalism in Russia, Lenin highlighted Mr Postnikov’s proposition that the number of people working including the hired labourers and the implements of production diminishes as the size of the farm increases. Contract farming which has already been implemented in many areas of Indian agricultural production has been endorsed as the main policy drive of the Government in power by promulgating the farm act 2020. This, in turn, transforms a large section of peasants into workers who cannot be absorbed in industry and becomes the source of a reserve army of cheap manual labour. The commercial transformation of agriculture under the control of monopoly capital causes further deflation of income of the vast rural masses to ensure super-profits from the export of agricultural commodities and may lead to a situation of starvation due to the dismantling of the state-regulated distribution system of food grains for food security of the Indian masses. The peasant revolts were the bedrock on which the national movement for freedom from colonial rule emerged. What will be the fate of the present peasant uprising is entirely dependent on the consciousness of the peasantry, the broader unity of Indian masses under the leadership of the working class, and how the future reconstruction of the society is visualized within the garb of emerging socio-political situation. To achieve a fundamental change in the condition of peasants and for a radical change of social relations of production, a futuristic programme needs to be evolved to free the country from the ruling corporate exploiter class. The struggle for a radical change of social relations of production simultaneously includes a transformation of agricultural production on a cooperative basis and the empowerment of rural masses.

The last but not the least question of building revolutionary movement is the question of state and democracy. The struggle for democracy is also contingent upon how the emancipation of wage-workers is conquered by themselves. An outline of the essence of democracy was drawn by Marx in Gotha Programme after the working class discovered the new form of state in Paris Commune. But in India, the form of evolution of bourgeois constitutional democracy has its historical specificity, the four-tier Panchayat system along with Garm sabha or Gram Sansad is one such institutional form that has immense potentialities for democratization and democratic participation—Gram sabha or Gram Sansad has its historical roots in Indian civilizational past. The bourgeois democracy uses such an institutional form of devolution of power in its truncated form to ensure central control to serve the ruling class interest in specific social relations of production. This institutional form takes shape in a motion of change due to the protracted conflict between ruling class corporate-bureaucratic interest and people’s interest—this implies the struggle for people’s dominant empowerment and change of production relations for establishing working-class hegemony go side by side and are intertwined. The mainstream left in India consciously or unconsciously failed to visualize the intricacies of two intertwining factors of class domination and hegemony for leading the class struggle and as a result, the ruling class, when in deep crisis, become successful in their attempt for diminution of the content of democracy of the institutional form this class themselves have developed under people’s pressure. This deviation in left practice sometimes happened by design as in the development of party society in Bengal by destroying the efficacy of Gram Sansad, the institutional form of empowerment of rural masses the left front Government created and then restricted its functioning and also simultaneously in the left-variety of gradual neoliberal policy pursuit. More is the psychological distance between mental and manual labour, easier for the ruling class to dismantle democracy. The left trade union practice based on labour aristocracy and prioritisation of mental labour over manual labour also built the psychological make-up of the intellectual labour to imbibe the fascist ideology of the Sangh Parivar. The ideological vacuum created by the practicing left through their continuous policy retreat and retreat from class struggle combined with a corporate ruling class interest in a deep economic crisis ensured the rise of fascist forces. The Marxist epistemological proposition is that the socially necessary forms of thinking of an epoch are those in conformity with the socially synthetic functions of that epoch and this synthetic function is derived from the commodity exchange relations. Marx says of Hegel in regards to the dialectic that the relations must be inverted to discover the rational kernel within the mystical shell. Through a constant process of emerging consciousness through struggle, the intellectual labour undergoes an ideological journey inverting and redefining the relations for working-class emancipation. The division between the labour of head and hand stretches in one form or another throughout the whole history of class society and economic exploitation. (Alfred Sohn-Rethel: 1978)

On the question of fascism, Dimitrov also categorically mentioned that every country has its characteristics and historical specificities. But Dimitrov’s general formulations on fascism were quite correct. He said, “Comrades, millions of workers and toilers of the capitalist countries ask the question, how can fascism be prevented from coming to power and how can fascism be overthrown after it has been victorious? To this, the Communist International replies, The first thing that must be done, the thing with which to begin is to form a united front, to establish unity of action of the workers in every factory, in every district, in every region, in every country, all over the world. Unity of action of the proletariat on a national and international scale is the mighty weapon which renders of the working class capable not only of successful defense but also of successful counter-attack against fascism, against the class enemy.” He further reiterated, “We are not historians divorced from living reality; we, active fighters of the working class, are obliged to answer the question that is tormenting millions of workers: Can the victory of fascism be prevented, and how? And we reply to these millions of workers: Yes, comrades, the road in the way of fascism can be blocked. It is quite possible. It depends on ourselves, on the workers, the peasants, and all working people!” (Georgi Dimitrov: 1938). What are the chief causes of the instability of the fascist dictatorship? Fascism undertakes to overcome the disharmonies and antagonisms within the bourgeois camp, but it makes these antagonisms even more acute. Fascism tries to establish its political monopoly by violently destroying other political parties. But the existence of the capitalist system, the existence of various classes, and the accentuation of class contradictions inevitably tend to undermine and explode the political monopoly of fascism. Gramsci categorised fascism as a passive revolution. It implies the rise of fascism is primarily built on the premise of retreat of the left revolutionary politics for active revolution. Every anti-systemic movement and movement against any form of oppression is fundamentally anti-fascist and revolutionary. But its success depends on the process of building the widest possible unity of all social movements for a direction of struggle and the unity of revolutionaries for the emergence of new ideas.

To paraphrase the communist manifesto, it can be reiterated that the revolutionaries will not have interests separate and apart from those of the wage-workers vis-à-vis masses as a whole, it will not establish ‘sectarian principle’, but it will quite simply be this real movement come to maturity, become manifest for themselves and society as a whole.

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Vol. 54, No. 14-17, Oct 3 - 30, 2021