International correspondence: The emergence of a new communist regroupment in India

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The proletariat's effort to come to conscious­ness is necessarily expressed in the constant emergence of groups, minorities, that organize to take part in the development of this effort throughout the class. The more the class strug­gle develops, the more consciousness ripens in society's entrails, the more numerous are the elements and groups that emerge. The appearance of a new grouping in India, within the framework of the fundamental principles of the proletarian struggle in our epoch, is an expr­ession of this permanent tendency within the proletariat to arrive at an awareness of its revolutionary being, and of the present maturation in class consciousness.

This group has taken the name of Communist Internationalist[1] and has just published the first issue of a bulletin that aims to participate in "the clarification and regroup­ment of elements and individuals in search of revolutionary clarity." We are publishing here the basic principles that define the group for the moment.

The fact that this group has emerged in India is a striking demonstration of the proletariat's unitary nature as a worldwide class, defending the same interests and engaged in the same fight, whatever the diversity of the conditions in which it lives, Even if the proletariat of the under-developed countries lives in conditions of national and international isolation such that it is unlikely to be able to unleash the dynamic of the world revolution[2], it is none­theless a totally integral part of the world working class. Revolutionary minorities are the product of the class' worldwide historical being. This is why the proletariat's revolu­tionary minorities are not immediately depend­ent on the experience of the proletariat in the countries where they exist, and can appear in under-developed countries. The ICC is itself an expression of this: its oldest section was born in Venezuela.

As the reader will realize, the ICC's positions have been a crucial factor in the clarification of the group in India. In particular, they have made it possible for the group to tie itself to the class' historical experience: the experience of the Internationals and the Left Communists. Without this tie, and a critical understanding of the class' historical experience, no revolutionary group will be able to take root.

The break with leftism

The ICC's positions have served as a pole of clarification for the elements of this group, which has been engaged since 1982 in a more or less confused process of breaking with a Mao­ist group[3]. Our positions have helped them to take this process to its conclusion and to make this break complete - a precondition for any positive evolution towards communist posi­tions. Many of the ICC's analyses have helped them, but we want to emphasize the touchstone, of this real break: the national question.

In the under-developed countries, the bourgeoi­sie's most important mystification, which finds an echo in the wretched situation of the popula­tion and the proletariat, is nationalism, in all its forms, against ‘imperialism'. The national bourgeoisies of the under-developed countries plundered by the great powers try to use this slogan to create a unity of discontent. Look at Poland, where the proletariat has repeatedly fought magnificent battles, and remember the strength of anti-Russian nationalism. In Latin America during the 1970s, ‘yankee imperialism' was one of the great themes of confusion used by leftists, defending ‘national liberation struggles'. In India, the idea of the ‘oppres­sed nation', with all the national divisions that this relatively recently constituted state is shot through with, weighs very heavily. The myth of the ‘Indian nation', ‘independent' of the great imperialist powers, is the spear­head of the bourgeoisie's mystifications serv­ing to hide the characteristics of our epoch - the impossibility of any national independence or development - and the proletariat's real enemy - the worldwide and the national bourgeoisie.

The ‘national question' is not new: it has posed the workers' movement a lot of problems, and led it into plenty of mistakes[4]. The Commu­nist Internationalist group's understanding that the proletarian terrain includes the break with all forms of nationalism is one of the major criteria that today allow us to salute its emergence as an expression of the proletariat, as a communist grouping.

Sadly, certain groups of the revolutionary move­ment - Battaglia Comunista and the Communist, Workers' Organization - do not share the same clarity as the new energies emerging from the class struggle. In their press, they give us news of an Indian group, the Revolutionary Proletarian Platform (RPP); the comrades of Communist Internationalist have this to say about the RPP:

"We think that (the RPP's) efforts to break with leftism are not blocked: in fact they have never begun (... ), on the national ques­tion, they have not even tried to break with the fanatical nationalism of their parent organization. For them, the slightest inter­nationalism is an aberration. Developing their hysterical attack against the ICC's positions, in their Hindi press, they put forward the ideas of ‘socialism (as a ‘first stage' of course) in one country', ‘proletarian natio­nalism', and other perfectly leftist positions (...). The CWO's enthusiasm and its relations with the RPP and the UCM only show the CWO's confusion." (Letter, 1.4.85)

On this question, BC and the CWO justify their concessions to ‘national movements' by ... the ‘national' specificities of the under-developed countries[5]; they don't realize that by doing so, they are playing the game of one of the most dangerous mystifications in the under-developed countries - nationalism. And in the end, they themselves become its plaything. But BC and the CWO don't want to believe us. The ICC, they say, is indifferentist, wants a pure prole­tariat, is out of touch with reality ...

This is the strength of the new Communist Internationalist group. It is a concrete, emin­ently real argument against BC/CWO's justifica­tions of their opportunism towards the leftism of the RPP, UCM, and co. The arrival of new forces on communist positions strengthen the whole proletarian milieu, not only in numerical terms, but also as a concrete, practical argumentation.

Perspectives

As we have said above, the political clarity of elements who have separated from leftism, and gone through a process of evolution from this starting-point, depends on a clear break with their past and especially on understanding the bourgeois nature of leftism. In the advanced capitalist countries, the major mystification that must be unmasked in leftism is above all the question of partiamentarism and increasingly of unionism. In the under-developed countries, it is first and foremost nationalism.

The Communist Internationalist group has carried out this break and adopted the proletariat's fundamental positions in the period of capita­lism's decadence, The perspectives for discussion to clarify communist positions that they adopt in their declaration, the aim of regroup­ment with emerging revolutionary elements, and the orientation towards intervention in the class struggle - stated, and already concretized in two leaflets on events in India( the assass­ination of Indira Gandhi, then the elections) - are characteristic traits of a true expression of the proletariat. As they say themselves, these comrades still have some ground to cover in developing a complete coherence. But their appearance is a new contribution to the historic struggle of the proletariat, a step towards the formation of its world party, in the perspective of coming class confrontations. For our part, we will contribute with all our strength - as we have done since our beginnings - to the clari­fication and regroupment of emerging revolutio­nary forces.

We salute Communist Internationalist!

ICC

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"What we stand for"    

After decades of counter-revolution, the world-wide resurgence of the proletariat began in the1960s with the reappearance of the open crisis of decadent capitalism. Since then, on the one hand, capital has been hurtling down the abyss of deepening crisis and, on the other, the struggles of the working class have become more and more fierce and conscious.

In a perspective opening towards world proletarian revolution political expressions of the class, its revolutionary minorities, have emerged and continue to emerge. These groups are products of the effort of the class to become conscious; and this has been true at an even more rudimentary level with regard to our own efforts.

Although there is a long tradition in India of heroic struggles of the working class, these were the thrusts of the world-wide resurgence of the class that started pulling down the mask of Stalinism and smashing the myth of Russian-Chinese socialism. In the reflection of these struggles of the class, under their direct and powerful impact, some elements here (including ourselves) tried to shake ourselves free of leftism, of Stalinism-Maoism (Naxalbari) and to take the first tentative steps towards communist positions. Unlike Europe where newly emerging revolutionary elements and groups had the treasure of analyses of Left Communists to fall back on, our initial efforts were the result merely of proletarian instincts.

But simple class instincts are not enough. For the development of these initial efforts, it was essential that they were firmly based on the solid ground of long historical experience of the class and its synthesis - marxism. The analyses of the ICC have been of great help to us in this direction.

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These efforts have convinced us that a communist position can only start from a firm rejection of capitalist currents like Stalinism, Trotskyism and Maoism, and by linking up with the rich heritage of the First, Second and Third Internationals.

But again, this is not sufficient. We are living in the epoch of capitalist decadence, which had only recently begun in 1917-18. All its implications for proletarian tactics were not yet clearly understood. But today, after an experience of 70 years, these cannot be overlooked without abandoning communist positions.

By 1914, the capitalist system had entered its phase of decadence because of the saturation of world markets. The tendency towards state capit­alism developed in all countries to keep this decadent capital alive. The state started taking on a bloated, monstrous form, absorbing and int­egrating all spheres of life within itself. In this process, the monstrous, capitalist state integrated all the old reformist organizations of the class within itself and turned them into its own appendages. All the old tactics regarding unions, parliaments, fronts and national liberation lost their proletarian character.

Positions of the Left (fractions) of the Third International represented the initial efforts to reject old tactics in the light of changed conditions and to adopt new ones in their place. Afterwards, with the degeneration of the Russian Revolution and of the Comintern, the Left Fractions not only fought against the Stalinist counter­revolution and, later, its Trotskyist supporters but deepened their understanding of the counter­revolutionary character of unions, parliamentary activity, frontism, national liberation and of all nationalism by a profound analysis of the decadence of capitalism and developed their tac­tics accordingly.

We feel that the experience of the last decades has demonstrated the correctness of these posi­tions again and again. It is our firm conviction that keeping these positions in view, understand­ing and assimilating them is essential for any fruitful intervention in the struggles of the class.

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Our efforts have been geared to this end for some time. We have tried to understand the experience of the class between its first great revolution­ary wave and its resurgences in the ‘60s, and to assimilate its lessons. We have had valuable help from the ICC's analysis in this effort also.

But this is not a one-time effort. This is a long and continuous process. This bulletin is aimed towards keeping this process going and to carry it forward on a higher and broader basis. Therefore, we would like to have a debate on the long historical experience of the class with the emerg­ing revolutionary elements, with a view to draw­ing lessons from the experience for the current struggles of the class. We commit ourselves to keep the pages of this bulletin open for elements and groups adopting communist positions and inter­ested in holding an honest debate on them.

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But this work of understanding the experience of the class and of learning lessons from it is not, in itself, our aim. As revolutionaries, our aim is to enrich our understanding of communist positions, to put our defense of these positions on a firm footing and to base our interventions in the class on them. In fact, most important for us is this intervention, to make it fruitful and through it to reappropriate to the class all the lessons of past experience so that, by assimil­ating them, the class could realize all the poss­ibilities latent in its present and future str­uggles.

All this necessitates systematic and organized effort. In view of the decisive role of revolutionaries in the struggles of the class it is essential that debates of the bulletin be directed towards helping the elements and individuals in search of revolutionary clarity, and towards developing a point for their regroupment. The bulletin will keep this extremely important aim constantly in view.

We have mentioned the important contribution of the ICC in our development towards communist pos­itions. Even though our positions are a result of our efforts to understand and assimilate the an­alyses of the ICC, we think it necessary to clar­ify the form of our current relations with the ICC.

In spite of being sympathetic towards the ICC, this bulletin is not, in any way, a part of the ICC's publications or of its organizational framework. The bulletin itself bears all political responsibility for the idea express in its pages.

Communist Internationalist



[1] Address: Post Box no. 25, NIT Faridabad 121001, Haryana State, India

[2] See the article ‘The Proletariat of Western Europe', IR 31.

[3] In a forthcoming issue, we will publish an article on these comrades' evolution and the lessons of their experience.

[4] See the article in this issue ‘Communist and the National Question' part 3, as well as IR 34 and 36.

[5] See ‘The Formation of IBRP: Bluff of a regroupment' in IR 40-41.