Anti-Autocratic Front

[Excerpts from the Political-Organisational Report adopted at the Third Party Congress, Dec.1982.]

The present situation of India, which is giving rise to a revolutionary crisis, is also marked by a parliamentary and constitutional crisis. The Indian constitution and parliamentary democracy in India were by no means the result of any bourgeois democratic revolution and so never had the vitality of bourgeois democracy. However, to whatever extent the facade of democracy might have been maintained in relatively peaceful periods, in times of strain it was thrown overboard and utilised in the interests of the ruling party. At present when the Indira autocratic clique has reduced these institutions to a mockery and is even proceeding towards a presidential system, bourgeois intellectuals and bourgeois opposition parties are making a great hullabaloo. It appears that the entire orientation of democratic struggles of the Indian people is to safeguard the sanctity of bourgeois constitution and bourgeois parliament. Various brands of alternatives are being peddled, everyone is claiming that he alone is capable of maintaining the sanctity of the constitution and parliament. The CPI(M) revisionists have also come up with their brand of national alternative based on the governments run by them and have named it Left and Democratic Front. In the Vijaywada Congress held this year, they declared, "The struggle for the building and realisation of Left and Democratic Front starts in conditions in which neither the CPI(M), nor the working class is accepted by others as the leading force. They are accepted as important partners and equal partners only. With the growth of the unity of these forces and the struggle for the realisation of the programme put forward, the weight and influence of the working class will certainly increase but this will be a far cry from the leadership of the working class which is achieved under a quite different correlation of forces." This clearly reveals that the CPI(M) has entirely discarded the programme of people’s democracy led by the working class which is a ‘far cry’ to it and in the name of the transitory stage of ‘Left and Democratic Front’, what it advocates is safeguarding the ‘purity’ and sanctity of the bourgeois constitution and parliamentary democracy. For this purpose it proposes to form governments with opposition parties not as a leading force, rather as an equal or, at least, important partner.

We, of course, will always oppose any attack by autocratic forces on any democratic right of the people, even nominal or formal ones, but any transitory phase towards people’s democracy can be termed transitory only if it helps the masses cast away illusions of parliamentary democracy. Even the participation of communists in bourgeois parliaments is meant to break it from within and not to safeguard and strengthen it. It is evident that the CPI(M)’s transitory phase is transitory towards submerging itself in the ocean of parliamentary democracy and is the renunciation of people’s democracy. And this formulation, on which it is at one with the CPI with only minor differences, brings about the unity of the two parties’ concepts of People’s Democratic Revolution and National Democratic Revolution via the Left and Democratic Front. On other matters of foreign policy, the CPI(M) has already traveled back to the CPI’s line and with LDF, major differences on tactical line are also removed. That is why the two parties, with the expulsion of Dange, were never so close as today.

Under these conditions, communist revolutionaries of India should resolutely hold high the banner of people’s democracy and devise the forms and methods of advancing towards this goal. In the present situation, when many non-party forces are coming up and a widespread urge and struggle for democracy is developing even on the part of bourgeois intellectuals, it is the duty of the Party of the proletariat to come forward with its banner of ‘National Alternative’ in forms and slogans which are acceptable to, and capable of uniting, the broadest sections of the democratic forces. Definitely such a forum must be mainly extra-parliamentary, depend on people’s struggles for its expansion, consolidation and victory and must only include the social forces of democratic revolution, i. e., the working class, peasant classes, intellectuals and progressive sections of the bourgeoisie. This front will also make adjustments with parties and mass organisations of the bourgeois opposition in democratic struggles without, however, joining with them in a single programme-based front. Such scope for adjustment may also be there with certain individuals in these parties as well as with some of these parties on particular issues of anti-imperialist struggles. Revolutionary Marxist-Leninist and other revolutionary parties and organisations, democratic mass organisations and patriotic-democratic individuals will be the component parts of this front. This front must include the democratic-patriotic sections of Indian people living abroad, must support their struggles against racial and other discriminations and through them must also widely propagate abroad every anti-democratic act and repression on the people of India.

The front must also learn to skillfully utilise the contradictions among the ruling classes, to project itself as an alternative against all sorts of bourgeois and revisionist combinations and within the front, the Party of the proletariat must always be consistent in fighting liberal-bourgeois tendencies to make the front a non-political one, a routine or parliamentary one, a front of social reform, of unprincipled compromises with sections of ruling classes etc. and provide it a clear direction towards militant mass struggles and the ultimate goal of seizing political power.

Originally, we had the idea of building a front with forces other than workers, peasants and petty bourgeoisie only after building at least a few areas of red political power. For, areas of red political power are the concrete manifestations of worker-peasant unity. However, in practice things turned out differently. We have not been able to build up or maintain areas of red political power, but for 15 years the Party of the proletariat has been conducting battles to this end and now we find that two trends, two objective facts leading to the same democratic goal have emerged. On the one hand, there are the areas of resistance struggles of the peasantry — more or less stable — the areas where red terror is exercised over the class enemies, in certain pockets of Bihar and perhaps Andhra; and many such areas were built up elsewhere but either they perished or suffered setbacks and are in the process of reorganisation. On the other hand, there is a trend of democratic movements of vast sections of the Indian people, movements coordinating various sections of the people and even of nationwide character. Take the case of the 19 January strike, or even the recent Bihar Press Bill. Has it not become an all-India issue? Not only journalists but all other sections of the people are raising voices against this Bill. They are doing so because they feel that it is an attack on freedom of expression. Today the press is censored, tomorrow nobody will be allowed to speak. And hence this trend of democratic urge, of democratic struggles. Now there are opposition parties, revisionists and selfish people who will try to divert these movements. And therefore the proletariat must step in. For 15 years, it has been with the peasants, organised and led them in revolutionary struggles which were unprecedented in breadth and scale and today it maintains areas of resistance struggle. And therefore these two trends must be combined. There must come up an all-India people’s front basing on the areas of resistance struggle.

Why should this front base itself on the areas of resistance struggles? Because such areas of resistance struggle are built up only on the basis of radical agrarian programme and without a radical agrarian programme there can be no proletarian leadership. Moreover, these areas of resistance struggle should serve as a model for united front work. ...

Some people ask what these intermediate forces are. By intermediate forces we mean those who are intermediate between us and the ruling classes. In different forms and forums they are organised as petty-bourgeois leaders of the working class, nationality leaders, civil libertarians, bourgeois intellectuals, even some religious and oppressed caste leaders etc. It is quite natural that they will vacillate; sometimes they may come to us, sometimes may even send telegrams to Indira Gandhi. Now, how are we to be blamed for that? We have already said that they are intermediates. They have non-party ideas. What is this ‘non-party idea’? This is an anti-socialist bourgeois idea as Lenin says. And communists will fight this idea. Still non-party organisations are there and truly speaking, the whole of the democratic revolution from appearance will bear a non-party stamp — a front stamp. But within it the struggle between proletarian and bourgeois ideas, between parties inside and outside will go on and that will determine the essence of the matter. The Party will maintain its independent areas of struggle and also work within the front.

Now it is true that this front is based on resistance struggles and its expansion and development will help develop armed struggle and base area building. But how will this front proceed, in what form will it develop? What are its laws of development? On this question, we are in the midst of experiments. Initially, we have built up a front with certain sections of communist revolutionaries and intermediate forces from many parts of India. This is a great achievement for a small Party. In contrast to the CPI(M)’s tactics of forming governments in states, this front should come up with its slogan of people’s government — the slogan of a genuine democratic republic. The time many come when this front may have to advance the slogan of a provisional revolutionary government to convene a constituent assembly based on popular representation. The question of provisional revolutionary government brings forward the question of insurrection. Through organising insurrections from above, the Party plans to combine class struggle from both below and above. In this context comes the question of utilisation of parliamentary elections. The election question at a certain time may be linked up with insurrection and then you will be forcing elections on the government. In other times, when there are no prospects of slogans for a constituent assembly and provisional revolutionary government getting popular for a long time, you may think of utilising elections, while in other prospects you should not.