Suggestions and Criticisms on the Draft Programme
and Policy Statement of the CPI, 1951


For Members only


No. 1


Suggestions & Criticisms


Issued by
Communist Party of India


3 Annas


The discussions in Moscow rejected the right wing views of PC Joshi as well as the ‘Trotskyite views of the B T Ranadive group. The views of Andhra Committee were severely corrected for having excluded the necessary role of the industrial working class in the revolution. After the discussions in Moscow on the question of the Party Programme and the Tactical Line the CPI leadership issued the Draft Programme and reworked the Tactical Line into an open draft document entitled ‘Statement of Policy’. These were circulated within the CPI in April 1951. This document shows the reactions of some sections of the CPI to the two draft documents.





[Criticism by Kerala POC]


The following note is the result of preliminary discussions by the Kerala POC of the Draft Programme of the CPI issued by the PB on April 24.


1.      Our discussions were based on the copy of the Draft Programme received at the Viswakeralam office. This copy contains many obscure passages and often sentences which have no meaning. It is quite likely therefore that our criticism, based as it is on such  a copy, may sometimes be misconceived or beside the point.


2.      Our opinion is that on the whole this document is satisfactory and gives us immense relief. It reflects the true idea of the LPPD editorial more than any other document till now issued by the Centre either jointly or otherwise. It thus carries us a long step forward in our political discussions.


3.      The Mountbatten Award, the policies of imperialism and Indian big bourgeoisie following the Award, their repercussions, political and economic, on different sections of the Indian people, the position at present of the Government of India—are all dealt with in a popular manner and on the whole correctly.


4.       The character of the revolution that is to take place in India is People’s Democratic. The state structure corresponding to it has been described in a manner suited to the present level and consciousness of our movement. In the Chinese Peoples’ Consultative Conference, the principle of democratic centralism has been openly proclaimed as the principle of state structure. Only such a state structure can carry out People’s Democratic Dictatorship. But in India it is not advisable to use that term although that principle has to be accepted. And the document puts it in a concrete and acceptable manner.


5.      In the economic sphere the document aims at the destruction of the imperialist big bourgeois monopoly, industrialisation and land reform. The programme sets forth land reform (land to the tiller), the raising of the standard of living of the working people, social insurance, living wage, etc.) and ending the competition of foreign capital (the confiscation and nationalisation of the capital of imperialism and under the signboard of Indian’ companies). This programme helps greatly to mobilise all sections of the people opposed to imperialism and feudalism.


6.      The policy of uprooting from the military, from industry and from the cultural sphere of all foreign imperialist influence, of quitting the Commonwealth, of building a firm alliance with our brother people of Pakistan and with all peace-loving, democratic powers, is the path of national independence and freedom.


These are the good points of the documents. But at the same time it also contains certain very grave defects. It introduces very serious opportunistic tendencies which if not corrected at once are likely to lead to all sorts of deviations.


7.      The LPPD journal carries several articles of Communist Parties all the world over defining the perspectives of revolution in their respective countries in the light of the national and international situation. In all these the clear warning is given of how American imperialism is going to enslave and is at present enslaving their peoples. The main enemy of the world peoples is American imperialism, the leader of the reactionary camp. Hence unless the spearhead of the anti-imperialist struggle is directed against America, the forces of peace, democracy, socialism and freedom cannot advance an inch.


8.      Lack of this outlook is a grave defect of this document. American imperialism was trying to penetrate into India .even while the war was on and afterwards (the honeyed words of America about Indian freedom, Chiang’s visit, etc.). American interests have come into close economic relations with a section of the Indian big bourgeoisie. Today they are making an open bid for influence. American influence is penetrating India in the guise of food-aid, loans for irrigation projects, etc.) There was formerly in India a sentiment of sympathy for America. Of course there has been a big change in this after the outbreak of the Korean war. This document does not even touch upon any of these things. In the last section there is a passing reference to the fact that America is the main enemy. Nothing more. The document most emphatically and outspokenly gives the slogan of confiscation of British capital and dismissal of British advisers, but is silent about American capital and American advisers. (It was only recently that concessions for opening a manganese mine in Orissa were given to America.) American imperialism is also utilising and penetrating through the French and Portuguese possessions in India. Immediate merger of these possessions in India should he demanded. This question also is ignored in the document.


9.       The failure of the document in this respect, that is, emphasising


British imperialism to the exclusion of American imperialism which receives only a passing reference, has two serious consequences:(i) failure to expose the sinister activities of American imperialists and their attempts at penetrating and enslaving this country; (ii) preparing the ground for American spies and agents to have a free play.


10.      The document does not seem to have taken into account carefully the objective situation in India. For instance, it has omitted to bring out the significance of the role played by the organisation of the Indian big bourgeoisie, viz., the Indian National Congress. Hence it ignores the machinations of. the Congress. The reactionary leadership of the ISP encourages these machinations as well as the machinations of American imperialism, through its anti-Soviet and anti-Communist propaganda and activities. This too the document has missed. This is a grave defect.


11.      The portion dealing with the present stage of the revolution is such as is likely to lead to deviations. The document says: “In the present stage of our development the Communist Party is not demanding the establishment of socialism in our country”. It is wrong to pose it like this. We must say that the Party’s ultimate aim is no doubt socialism, but that the present stage of revolution in India is People’s Democratic, India can attain socialism only through People’s Democracy and hence to raise the slogan of immediate socialism is to betray the People’s Democratic revolution and thereby to betray socialism itself.


12.      Nehru’s foreign policy is described as spurious. It is not the correct way of putting it. We must show the duality of Nehru’s foreign policy, assess it at its real worth in developing the peace movement and expose those aspects of it which are opposed to peace and national independence and which are pro-imperialist. The Party must adopt the line of exposure best suited to create public opinion in order to force the hands of Nehru to take steps for friendly alliance with China and Russia and for protecting India’s interests. The growth of the peace movement and powerful anti-British, anti-American propaganda are factors helping this. To ignore the penetration of American imperialism and to expose Nehru’s foreign policy negatively as spurious will result, we feel, in indirectly encouraging the American machinations. Hence we are of the opinion that the understanding and outlook and method of exposure contained in this passage should be corrected.


        The influence of American imperialism is increasing in India through its native agents, the big bourgeoisie, we must expose it thoroughly.


      Show up the weaknesses of Nehru’s foreign policy. Show how it helps Anglo-American domination in India and sacrifices Indian interests.


      Thus show how even Nehru’s opposition to war and atom bomb and friendship with China will founder.


13.       We must also emphatically declare that People’s Democratic India will establish a firm alliance with People’s China and the Soviet Union. The age-old friendship with China, geographical affinity and the common traditions of anti-imperialist struggle are well established facts. The People’s Democratic revolution in India is of course closely bound up with the revolution in Britain. The friendship of People’s Britain will be of immense help to us also. Even in that perspective, the slogan of firm friendship and alliance with China will not be wrong. The omission to emphasise strong friendship with China together with the omission to expose American aggression has led to the blunting of the anti-imperialist edge of this document. That is positively dangerous.


14.      The paragraph dealing with the question of how the Indian big bourgeoisie suppresses the development of different nationalities by using partition, is not clear. To say that Hindi is the language of one province is not true. It is as the commercial language of the Marwari-Gujerati monopolists that Hindi is imposed upon other nationalities. It is also as the servitors of these big bourgeois-feudal rulers that officials belonging to one nationality are imposed upon another nationality, thereby deliberately fanning quarrels. Not to bring out these facts sharply is to fail in exposing the big bourgeois tactics.


15.      To state in a loose manner that Ceylon is a part of India, that its economy is complementary to that of India, etc., is wrong. What that passage in the Draft Programme which deals with Ceylon actually purports, is not clear to us. That a free India must have friendly relations with Ceylon is true. But from the way in which the relations between India and Ceylon are stated in the document it would seem although the CPI is moved by imperialistic motives towards Ceylon. The peoples of India and Ceylon must unite today in the struggle against America and after the attainment of freedom must cooperate as free peoples in the interests of both countries.


16.      Another thing. The relations between India and Ceylon are not on a par with the relations between India and Pakistan. The feelings and sentiments of the people, the common life through the centuries, the historical associations thereby engendered, cultural relations, the family connections between thousands of families in both the Punjabs and Bengals—all these bestow a special quality upon India-Pakistan relations. This cannot be said of relations with Ceylon. The document however deals with both these together.


17.     When dealing with land reform, abolition, of feudal levies and of slave labour, should have been emphasised. That is missed. The question of assuring a fair price to the producer for agricultural products is also ignored. This will not help to cement the anti-feudal alliance of all the peasantry.


18.     An emphatic and clear declaration that religions will be protected in People’s Democratic India should be included in the Programme.


19.      In like manner there should be a declaration with regard to women’s right to equality.


So far is the Kerala POC’s unanimous opinion about the Draft Programme. Separate notes will be put in by those who have other points about which there was no unanimous agreement in the POC.


[May 14, 1951.]





[Communists working in CR]


1.      The CR comrades have had a preliminary discussion on the Draft Programme and the Statement of Policy. They will hold further more detailed discussions on these very important and historic documents. Here we are setting down our first reactions.


2.      The two documents resolve the differences and controversies on vital issues which so long kept the Party virtually in a state of paralysis and even isolated it from the masses owing to the wrong policies pursued.


Now, for the first time, in clear-cut terms, the aims and objects of our revolution have been stated; the basic class alliances, the strategy, defined; and the correct path, the tactics, outlined. The understanding given is, in its essence, fundamentally new and will enable us to go forward. avoiding the costly errors—both Left and Right— of the past.


Today the Party has a line, which we did not have for the last year and a half with such disastrous results. The possibilities thus open out for re-activising and reuniting the Party in the process of understanding, implementing and enriching the new line on the basis of concrete experience.


This will demand of us utmost initiative and alertness; persistent efforts to raise our ideological level; a readiness to self-critically examine our past activity and learn from it; free and frank discussions, in a disciplined manner, to fully grasp the implications of the new line; raising questions and doubts unhesitatingly for clarification; making suggestions, pointing out what we feel needs amending or correcting.


3.       In what direction have we to make a break from our old understanding?


a)    Nature of our Revolution: It has now been unambiguously stated that India is still a semi-colony, tied to British imperialism, with the interests of foreign capital and parasitic landlords and Princes protected, the development of national industries thwarted. Thus, the first phase of our revolution will be anti-imperialist and anti-feudal.


b)      From this it follows that our approach to the national bourgeoisie must change. After the Second Party Congress, the thesis was put forward that the bourgeoisie as a whole had gone collaborationist and become the spearhead, the leader, of the attack on the popular forces. Therefore, it had to be fought as Enemy No. 1. Later, it was thought that it was the big bourgeoisie which had gone over and a united front with the middle bourgeoisie was visualised.


The understanding which now emerges is that the bourgeoisie—big and. small—as a class, has not gone over and can be made to play a positive role. It has not to be fought as a class, though small sections of it. may be collaborating with imperialism.


c)      It has been emphasised that the axis of our democratic revolution will be the agrarian revolution, making the struggle of the peasantry of prime importance. For the achievement of this, actions of the peasantry alone are not enough. Joint actions of the working class and the peasantry are necessary. “The leadership of the working class is not realised only through the working class leadership of the peasant struggles but actually, in deeds through the working class boldly championing the demands of the peasantry and coming to the assistance of the peasant struggles through its own action.”


d)      One of the most significant contributions of the documents is to correct the two mistakes of the past: (i) regarding the working class actions alone as important (described as the Russian path); (ii) regarding the peasant actions alone as possible (described as the China path).


The path now defined for us is neither, but a combination of the two—a grand alliance of workers and peasants in action — the path of Leninism, applied to Indian conditions.


The core of our National Democratic Front will be worker-peasant alliance, with the working class leading in action the struggle of the peasantry’ and of the whole people and assuming the leadership of the liberation struggle.


e)       The futile controversies over immediate armed struggle or not, which derailed the Party so long, over violence or non-violence, have been set at rest. It is the people who decide the forms of struggle; therefore, no form of struggle in which the people participate is ruled out. “All action of the masses in defence of their interests to achieve their liberation is sacrosanct.”


f)      The Statement of Policy gives a sharp warning against individual and squad terrorism, which was being advocated by a section of the Party and whose practice was discrediting the Party, as being alien to Marxism for the simple reason that in it the masses are not in action, it leads to passivity of the masses and, therefore, harms the revolution.


g)      In regard to the assessment of the present situation, important corrections have been made which will enable us to steer clear of both sectarian and reformist mistakes.


On the one hand, it is made clear that though the crisis of the Government is deep, it is not yet thoroughly isolated, with the people ready to rise in revolt; conditions of civil war do not yet obtain in the country, nor is Fascism already installed in power or inevitable. • Failure to see this would lead us to adventurism, to giving slogans ahead of the consciousness of the people, of the degree of their preparedness for struggle. It would lead to neglecting the fight for civil liberties for which broad sections can be mobilised, refusing to participate and take advantage of the elections, refusing to do the day-to-day tasks of running and building mass organisations.


On the other hand, it would also be wrong to come to the conclusion that the people are retreating, reaction is on the offensive and that, because the popular forces are disunited, we should abjure all militant actions. Such an appraisal of the situation will lead to betrayal of the masses, because the crisis is deepening, people getting fast disillusioned and big struggles are looming ahead, which the Party must lead, overcoming the weakness of mass organisations and the disunity of democratic forces.


h)      While it is true that supporting the positive steps of Nehru’s foreign policy has enabled the peace movement to mobilise broader sections of the people against the Anglo-American warmongers, it has to be recognised that there has been a failure (at least by CR) to sufficiently expose this policy as inconsistent and dishonest.


Features of this policy—such as recruitment of Gurkha troops in India to crush the liberation struggle of the Malayan people, the facilities granted to the imperialists to transport war material to Viet Nam through India, the sending of the medical mission to Korea, refusal to vote for the declaration of America as the aggressor in Formosa which directly aid the war-makers have not been systematically campaigned against, though they have been referred to now and again.


4.      The above are the major points on which, in the opinion of the CR comrades, we have to revise our earlier understanding.


In the CR we have tended to forget that India is yet tied to British imperialism, we have not shown the British capitalist hold over our economy, we have not exposed British imperialism and its aims as different from .American imperialism though acting with it against the Peace Camp.


Again, we have not sufficiently stressed the key task of achieving agrarian reforms as the main link in winning our national freedom, solving the food crisis, industrialising the country. We have not explained the need for worker-peasant alliance as the core of the Democratic Front.


We have not, for want of proper study, taken a positive approach towards the national bourgeoisie, showing how India’s industries are being denied scope for development, taking up such questions as difficulties of raw materials and markets, of importing machine tools, foreign competition, etc.


The CR comrades will make the general understanding contained in the Draft Programme and the Statement of Policy as the basis for their work and will review in detail the past issues of CR in the light of the new understanding.


5.       However, there are a number of points on which clarification is needed. It is surprising that the Party has not yet issued any detailed document for its members or written articles to explain the various points of the Draft Programme, stating how exactly the new understanding arises, what are its implications, applying it to different fronts, etc. It is over six weeks now’ since the Programme was issued and explanatory articles or documents on it should be immediately released. Some of the points which we think should be clarified are:


A)       Class Composition of the Government: While, in the main, the present Indian Government is pledged to the protection of foreign British capital and the interests of the landlords and the Princes, certain sections of Big Business also benefit from it. But how exactly are we to characterise this Government in our agitation and propaganda?


The Draft Programme seems to have a number of definitions some of which appear to be contradictory. Thus, in Section 2, it is stated:


“...because it was a Government already pledged to the protection and preservation of foreign British capital in India, to protection of the parasitic landlords and the wealth of the princes...


According to this definition, only the imperialists and the feudals benefit from this Government.


But Section 6 says something different:


“...This Government which is totally in the grip of monopoly financiers, landlords and Princes and the foreign British advisers working behind the scenes.”


At the start, this Section says that “Even the industrialists. manufacturers and traders are hit by the policies of the Government”, but later, a distinction is made between the small industrialists and traders and the big monopolists.


“Allocation of capital issues, raw material, transport, import and export licences, etc. is carried out by the bureaucrats in the Government machinery in such a way as to hit the small industrialists and traders and benefit the big monopolists in league with the banks and syndicates of foreign firms.”


Sections 10 and 11 define the Government as follows:


“...this Government of landlords and Princes, this Government of financial sharks and speculators, this Government hanging on the will of the British Commonwealth, the British imperialists ”


this Government of landlords and Princes and Big Business, collaborating with the British imperialists.


Section 16 describes the present rule as “landlord-capitalist rule.” Similarly Section 17 calls the present State a “landlord-capitalist State, tied to foreign imperialist interests—mainly British.”


To avoid confusion, it is necessary to have a precise characterisation of the present Government. Which capitalist sections are collaborating with the imperialists?


B)      Nationalisation of Key Industries: This demand has figured in our earlier programmes. It figures in the programmes of the Left parties also. Even the Congress, at its Karachi session, had adopted it. Our present Programme, however, drops it. It is true that it is necessary to explain the anti-imperialist and anti-feudal character of our revolution and our concern for the development of national industries, but the demand has already become popular among, radical sections, and a proper explanation for dropping it is necessary. Also what happens to the industries and the businesses of collaborating section of the bourgeoisie? Are they, at least, to be nationalised?


C)   Is it strictly correct to say that at this stage, foreign manufacturers “pursuing dumping policies”, are flooding our country with cheap goods (as is stated in the Programme under the section entitled “In the Field of Industry and the Labour Problem”?) The common experience would seem to be that, owing to high import duties, etc., foreign goods are quite expensive.


The concrete manner in which Indian industries suffer from foreign competition needs to be properly worked out.


D)      What exactly is meant by a Police State? Section 9 of the Programme says:


“On the top of all this comes the fact that this tottering Government in order to keep itself in saddle, faced with the rising discontent of the masses, suppresses all civil liberties of the people, outlaws political parties and groups, bans trade unions and other people’s organisations, imprisons thousands of workers, students, men and women in prisons and concentration camps. The supreme ruler becomes the police official and the bureaucrat, helped by the local Congress leader and landlord in the whole countryside. No wonder that to maintain such a Police State, the burden of taxes increases and more than 50 per cent of the State Budget is spent on military and police ”


Will not the conclusion be drawn from this that we already have Fascism in India—an understanding which is repudiated in the Statement of Policy?


E)      Hindi is not the language of one province (as is stated in Sec. 14 of the Programme); it is spoken in U.P., Bihar, parts of C.P., E. Punjab, Rajasthan, etc. Also, while we oppose the imposition of any language as an obligatory language on other nationalities and stand for equality of all languages, shall we not advocate making’ Hindi or Hindustani the most commonly understood language—as the language for the inter-provincial intercourse replacing English?


F)   Section 19 of the Programme reads:


“Faced with these facts, the Communist Party of India feels it its duty to come to the aid of the people and to outline the practical tasks, the practical programme which the Communist Party of India upholds and which should be put into effect by the working class of India if they wish to come out of the deadlock into which they have been forced by the present Government, if they wish to attain their freedom and happiness.” This paragraph, to say the least, appears to be badly drafted. Is it only now that we are coming to the aid of the people? Further, the whole posing smacks of a patronising approach making the Party as something apart from the working class, sermonising from above— the Party has given the line and it is for the working class to accept it or not!


G)      We do not advocate the immediate building of Socialism because of the backwardness of our economy, which is still basically feudal and colonial, and as such we cannot skip the democratic stage of the revolution. But para 2 of Sec. 19 of the Programme adds another reason, viz., the weakness of mass organisations of workers, peasants and toiling intelligentsia. Is this correct? For even if we are able at a later stage to overcome this weakness, as we must if we have to accomplish the democratic revolution, our immediate objective will not alter. It would be wrong to give the slogan of building Socialism once the mass organisations become strong till we have overthrown feudalism and imperialism.


H)       Foreign Policy: There seems to be a difference in approach on India’s foreign policy in the Draft Programme and the Statement of ’Policy. From the Programme it would appear that this policy is wholly reactionary. We are “not interested” in the “spurious play” between peace and war, the “suspicious play” between the two camps, the flirting with the U.S.A.—all this facilitates the struggle of aggressors against the peace-loving countries. From this understanding the task that naturally emerges is to expose the Government’s foreign policy as a policy of manoeuvre; we cannot take advantage of any steps taken by it which may appear to be for -peace as essentially such steps are dishonest and help British imperialism or facilitate the game of the aggressors.


How then do we explain the support which has been given by international Communist leaders to some of the steps taken by Nehru ? Did not, for instance, India’s refusal to support the branding of China as an aggressor help the peace camp? Have not some of the war plans of the imperialists being upset because of the Nehru Government’s stand? For example, the New Times (No. 21. dated May 23, 1951) states:


“But the heaviest blow to British and American diplomacy was the refusal of Nehru’s Government to join the aggressive (Pacific) bloc. For, as the Indian National Herald pointed out, a Pacific Pact without India would be equivalent to an Atlantic Pact without Britain.” (Page 5.)


The Statement of Policy does recognise, even though indirectly, that even this Government may take some steps for preserving peace which we must support. It also calls Nehru’s foreign policy as inconsistent, and not wholly reactionary.


But the Statement of Policy does not assess how important Nehru’s role has been in preserving peace. R.P. Dutt, for example, has attached great significance to it. The CPGB Programme even calls India a “peace-loving State.”


In his reply to a question by CR, RPD stated:


“The indications of divergence, even though still hesitant and limited, of Premier Nehru and the India Govt, representatives from the reckless aggressive war policy of the MacArthur-Truman-Attlee bloc in Eastern Asia, are a very important development of the present international situation.”




“Supporters of Peace in India, while welcoming every step towards disentanglement of India from the Anglo-American war bloc, will press forward with unsparing rigour for the further steps which are necessary in order that India shall fulfil a firm and consistent peace policy,”


In his “Notes of the Month” in Labour Monthly of November, 1950, R. P. D. wrote:


“Today the alignment of India, even under the Government which was set up by imperialism to serve as its satellite and protege, can no longer be counted on by the Anglo-American bloc, and has taken under the overwhelming pressure of popular national anti-imperialist feeling, the first hesitant steps towards association with China and the Soviet Union in opposition to the latest decisions of the Anglo-American bloc on Korea and on the Acheson Plan for wrecking the United Nations.”


Nehru’s foreign policy has undoubtedly aroused a great deal of interest all over the world, some of his concrete steps have been hailed as helping to preserve peace. It is very necessary, therefore, that a proper assessment of India’s foreign policy should be made in order to avoid both extremes of under-estimation and over-estimation which will lead us to Left or Right mistakes. The Draft Programme and the Statement of Policy have not attempted any such assessment without which a correct approach cannot be determined.


I)    Struggle For Peace: The section on the struggle for peace in the Policy Statement is unsatisfactory, it does not emerge from an analysis of the present international situation, which is missing from the Programme also. The struggle for peace cannot be made, real unless an awareness of the great danger of war is there. The Statement of Policy makes a general formulation, which is true for all times, that “the ruling classes, in order to preserve their power, will be ever ready to embroil us, the people, in a war, so that we may give up our war against them.”


How the Anglo-American imperialists, specially the American, are desperately driving towards war, seeking to extend the Korean war to other parts of Asia and attack China—without such an analysis a vigorous struggle for peace cannot be conducted.


It is also essential that India’s place in the plans of warmongers be studied in detail—to what extent .India is fulfilling that role, how the imperialists are plotting to drag us into war. This will make the fight for peace real to us. It will also enable us to assess correctly Nehru’s foreign policy.


Since no analysis of the international situation is there, the major task before the world peace movement today, viz., the collection of signatures to the Appeal for a Pact of Peace is not even mentioned as one of the tasks of the partisans of peace in India.


Further, lack of such an analysis makes our struggle for liberation as something apart from the world-wide struggle for peace.


J)       Fight against American Imperialists: American imperialism today has become the greatest menace to mankind. It is madly driving the world to war. It is the spearhead of world reaction. It is threatening the independence of all countries. It is extending its influence in India also. But the Programme and the Policy Statement do not lay down any tasks of fighting American imperialism.


Further, the CPGB Programme visualises a joint strategy for the countries of the British Empire not only against British imperialism hut also against American imperialism. This is how R.P.D. explains it:


“The fight of the peoples of the Empire for national independence can no longer be seen in isolation as a fight against British imperialism alone, as in the days when British imperialism was the dominant and most active world imperialist Power. It is now a fight against the bloc of Anglo-American imperialism in which American imperialism is the most powerful and aggressive world imperialist force and British imperialism is the junior partner.


“American imperialism seeks to draw into its orbit the Dominions, specially Australia, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa, to win increasing economic and political influence in India, Pakistan, Ceylon and Burma, to penetrate the colonial empire and to gain the upper hand in the Middle East. The fight of the peoples of all these countries for their national independence is necessarily a fight, not only against exploitation and domination by British imperialist interests and their local allies, but equally against penetration and domination by American imperialism and its local backers. This fight requires close association and cooperation for victory, not only in the winning of national independence but also after liberation in preserving that national independence from American imperialist aggression.”


The stand of our Party in regard to this important aspect needs to be clarified.


K)       Indo-Pak Relations: The basis on which friendly relations between India and Pakistan can be established and a Peace Pact signed, has not been indicated either in the Programme or in the Statement of Policy. To say: “Still less is India interested in the wrangling in which the Indian Union and Pakistan are engaged and which is not counteracted on the part of the present Indian Government”, as the Programme does, cannot solve the problem. Also, we are interested in these wranglings insofar as they have to be counteracted as they embitter the relations between the countries.


In this connection, the question of Kashmir, which is the biggest single factor standing in the way of Indo-Pak friendship and which the imperialists are exploiting for more direct intervention in our affairs, should also have been taken up and a democratic solution suggested.


L)       Past Policies: The Statement of Policy only acknowledges the mistakes before the Second Party Congress— “the reformist policy pursued by the former Party leadership.” What about the sectarian and adventurist policies pursued after the Second Party Congress which did inestimable damage to the Party and the movement and which created misgivings in the minds of the people about the Party. A frank admission of these mistakes would help us to reforge our links with the masses.


Secondly, to dismiss the period before the Second Party Congress in the way it has been done would amount to ignoring the achievements of that period. Does the sentence quoted above apply only to the period immediately preceding the Second Congress or to the entire period under Joshi’s leadership? Vague generalisations may well lead to harmful results.


M)        Attitude towards Bourgeoisie and Petty-Bourgeoisie: The Statement of Policy confines itself mainly to the need to build working class-peasant unity. It is certainly important to lay utmost emphasis on this. But a positive approach towards the other classes, which will constitute the United National Front is also necessary. Nowhere in the Statement of Policy, for example, has the national bourgeoisie been mentioned as having a place in the National Front. Nor is the petty-bourgeoisie regarded as having a role to play. Of course, they are there, indirectly, by implication, as corning under anti-feudal, anti-imperialist forces. But that is not enough.





[Bihar Comrades]


A meeting of the thirty leading Kisan comrades of Bihar, held on 2nd to 4th July, 1951, discussed, among other things, the Draft Programme and Policy Statement of the Party, as adopted and released by the PB and the CC. The meeting hailed the publication of these documents as documents of historic significance in the life of the Party and the country which have assessed anew and formulated the fundamental tasks of the People’s Democratic Revolution in India and laid down the basic guiding lines of the Party’s policy to achieve these tasks. The meeting noted the unifying role that these documents were already playing inside the Party and expressed the hope that they will enable the Party to overcome its internal crisis, unify and consolidate its forces and take its honoured place at the head of the national democratic forces struggling for freedom, democracy and peace.


While basically agreeing with the documents, a number of questions, confusions and different views were expressed in course of the discussion.


1.      One of these points is the formulation that the “experience has led them to the conclusion that the Government of the National Congress that rose to power on the basis of the heroic struggles of the masses, was installed there by the consent of the British imperialists and our country” (pp. 3-4, Draft Programme). It was argued that so far as the existing consciousness of the people in Bihar is concerned, it will be wrong to ascribe to their experience that the Congress Government “was installed there by the consent of the British imperialists.’ No doubt the people have learnt out of their own experience that the Congress Government is the Government of the rich—the Zamindars. the Tatas and Birlas. But they continue to hold illusions that the British have gone, that the Congress had driven out the Britishers, that the foreign rule has ended and an Indian Government, has been established, though it is equally bad. To say that the people have learnt out of their own experience that the Congress Government, has been installed by the British imperialists is an over-estimation of the popular consciousness and an under-estimation of the capacity of Congress leaders to do freedom demagogy. But despite this overstatement the slogan of replacing the Congress Government corresponds to the present consciousness of the masses.


2.     A few comrades suggested to formulate the aim of the Programme differently. Instead of stating that “In the present stage of our development, the Communist Party is not demanding the establishment of Socialism in our country”, they suggested to state that the present stage of our development does not permit the building up of Socialism and Communism, the maximum programme of the Communist Party. Its present programme is the minimum programme “for the present stage of our development which aims to create the prerequisites for building Socialism.


3.      The point on which maximum confusion prevailed and questions and differences were voiced in the discussion was regarding confiscation and nationalisation of capital. Firstly, two interpretations were put to this programme as formulated in point No. 46 of the Draft Programme. One interpretation was that it means confiscation and nationalisation of British capital only. The other interpretation was that it means confiscation and nationalisation of not only foreign capital but also Indian big business capital if the latter is interested in the concerns owned by the British “under the signboard of Indian companies.”


Some comrades expressed the opinion that the programme should also include the confiscation and nationalisation of the capital of the collaborating sections of the big business. Some comrades expressed the opinion that the programme should also include the confiscation and nationalisation of the capital of the monopolist sections of the bourgeoisie. A third opinion on it was that the programme should clearly lay down the confiscation and nationalisation of all key industries. Yet another opinion was to specifically mention the confiscation and nationalisation of American capital also.


4.      Certain suggestions were made by some comrades in the discussion of the programme of agrarian reforms.


Firstly, the programme should specifically mention that the Zamindars’ land will be handed over to agricultural labourers also.


Secondly, peasant proprietorship will be established.


Thirdly, rent system will be abolished and the system of graduated income tax will be established.


Fourthly, along with the programme of improving old and building new irrigation system, the programme of harnessing rivers, protecting from floods and building bunds should also be incorporated.


5.      The next point on which questions were raised is the unity of Kisan organisations. It was pointed out that the task of TU unity has been stressed in the Policy Statement but why has not the task of KS [Kisan Sabha ed.] unity been laid down?


6.       Different interpretations were put to the formulation: “rebuild the mass peasant organisations, basing ourselves firmly on the agrarian workers and poor peasants.” Discussion of this formulation brought out the differences on the question of separate organisation of agricultural labourers. . One view is in favour of separate organisation of agricultural labourers affiliated to the KS. Another view is against setting up separate organisation of agricultural labourers immediately.


7.      Confusions were also voiced and contradictions were pointed out by some comrades regarding the formulations made about the foreign policy of Nehru Government in the Draft Programme and Policy Statement.


8.       Discussion of the Policy Statement revealed a general opinion that the specific features of Indian path as distinct from the Russian and Chinese path should be more clearly and concretely brought out in the Policy Statement.


The meeting decided to ask the POC to refer the above-mentioned points to the CC for clarification and explanation. It also made the demand that the CC should make available explanatory notes, articles and reports to fully explain the Draft Programme and Policy Statement.








The Uttar Pradesh Committee of the Communist Party of India hails the Draft Programme as a valuable Marxist document of great historic importance which by defining in clear terms the aims and objectives of Indian revolution in its present stage has facilitated the task of uniting and mobilising the democratic forces of the country.






The Draft Programme, basing itself not on some abstract and general principles but on analysis of concrete objective situation and existing co-relation of class forces both nationally and internationally, corrects all the major sectarian and reformist deviations prevailing inside the Party and gives correct solutions to the most important problems of our revolution.


After describing August 1947 change and the illusions it created, the Programme gives a brilliant analysis of the experience of various classes and consequent development in the consciousness of the people and points out:


A.      That freeing of our peasant economy from the shackles of feudalism and industrialising the country is the greatest need of the hour and what the revolution has to destroy in its present stage is nothing but imperialism and feudalism.


B.      That the grand alliance of workers and peasants, forming the core of anti-imperialist united front led by the working class, will be the main weapon of the revolution.


C.       That British capital is the main enemy which must be isolated for attack and which must be expropriated, and that we must not only differentiate between Indian capital and British capital but also between British capital and capital of other foreign countries in this respect.


D.      That all sections of peasantry including rich, peasants are ground down as before and” our main task is to hand over landlords’ land to the peasants without compensation.


E.       That in the present stage of our revolution the entire big bourgeoisie cannot be said to have gone over permanently to the camp of imperialism, and that it is a section of the big bourgeoisie which is collaborating with imperialism at present.


F.     That Nehru Government is totally in the grip of monopoly financiers, landlords and princes and their foreign British advisers working behind the screen and as such is pursuing an extremely reactionary policy hitting all sections of the people.


G.       Though the Nehru Government in certain circumstances plays upon Anglo-American contradictions to its own advantage, it essentially carries out the foreign policy of British imperialism.




Thus the Draft Programme does not only reject the basically wrong, sectarian and adventurist line of the CC but also corrects the understanding of those who on main points were rightly criticising the CC.


A.      The June CC, forgetting that the whole of peasantry’ is ground down as before, wrongly differentiated between various sections of peasantry, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, by preaching that worker-peasant alliance and the hegemony of the proletariat did not need the physical participation of the working class, completely undermined the basis of this alliance.


The Draft Programme not only corrects this sectarian and Narodnik understanding but places an altogether new emphasis on the significance of workers’ and peasants’ alliance.


B.       The June CC not only permanently excluded the whole of big bourgeoisie from anti-imperialist united front but made a present of considerable sections of middle bourgeoisie to the enemy.


The Draft Programme corrects the understanding of the whole Party regarding the role of big bourgeoisie by pointing out that sections of it, mainly industrial, have an oppositional role.


C.      The Draft Programme corrects a very serious mistake of the entire Party which was forgetting that British capital and not American capital is the main enemy of Indian people.


D.      The Draft Programme corrects the understanding which demanded nationalisation of all key industries by clearly pointing out that at present confiscation and nationalisation of British capital alone is the task.


E.      It corrects the deviation of that section of the Party which forgot the essential reactionary character of Nehru Government along with the deviation of another section which regarded Nehru Government a puppet Government, having no mass base and incapable of exercising any independent pressure to its own advantage.




The Draft Programme does not confine itself only to the statement that the present stage of our revolution is People’s Democratic revolution and the present Government is to be replaced by a Government of People’s Democracy based on a coalition of all anti-imperialist and anti-feudal classes. It elucidates as to what shall be the form of state structure under People’s Democracy, how would people exercise their sovereignty and what policies the new Government would adopt towards various classes and their problems, and thus places a mighty weapon in the hands of the Party for the mobilisation of all sections of the people.




The Draft Programme, though basically correct in all formulations, needs a few elucidations, clarifications and amendments:


A.      The Programme should give a clear reply to the question how the world democratic forces concretely help Indian liberation struggle and what is the significance of the latter for the final victory of world democracy. The relation between the world struggle for peace, democracy, and freedom and socialism, and the struggle for India’s liberation should be clearly brought out in our programme.


B.      Ours is an ancient country with a rich cultural background. Imperialists with the help of all the reactionary forces of the country are trying to stifle and strangulate our cultural advancement.


The Programme must not only point this out but should explain how we propose to rescue our best cultural traditions from the stranglehold of imperialist and feudal reaction and develop and carry forward our rich heritage, defeating all the enemies of our culture.


C.      In order to ward off any sectarian and adventurist interpretation of the Programme, following amendments be made in the draft:


      In Section (2) “has led” should be followed by “and is leading” so that the impression may be removed that what the Draft wants to point out is not the process and the direction but the accomplished fact.


     Along with a clear exposition of the essential character of Nehru’s foreign policy, an equally clear exposition of all the causes which cause inconsistencies in his foreign policy is necessary.


[June, 25, 1951.]





[A Bengal Unit]


The unit while supporting the Draft Programme and the Policy Statement issued by the P.B. in the main, raises the following questions for clarification. We appeal to the P.B. to clarify the points mentioned later so that it be possible for us to take part fully in the discussions properly.


(1)      In introducing our phase of the revolution the Draft Programme on page 14, line 4, states: “In view of the backwardness of economic development of India and of the weakness of mass organisations... .socialist transformation of our country... The question arises to the inclusion of the words of the weakness of mass organisation, etc.’ Can the weakness of mass organisations be one of the main factors in determining the phase of revolution? If India had strong mass organisations led by the Party, the economic development being still backward, could we raise the slogan of establishing socialism in India?


If in an economically developed capitalist country the mass organisations be weak, will the slogan of establishing socialism in that country be inopportune? What will be the phase of revolution there?


(2)      What were the main weak points in the political thesis adopted at the Second Party Congress? If it be not stated clearly, there is every chance of committing the same mistakes again.


(3)     In characterisation of the class nature of the Nehru Govt, the Draft uses different words in different places, viz.—


(a)     “...this Government of landlords, Princes, big business collaborating with British imperialism...” (page 8, para 2).


(b)     “...landlord-capitalist State tied to the foreign imperialists, mainly British” (page 13, para 1).


(c)      “...Govt, run by the landlords and profiteers” (page 13, para 1).


(d)     “...Govt, which is totally in the grip of monopoly financiers, landlords, princes and their foreign British advisers” (page 5, para 3).


Summing up all these characterisations will it be right to say that it is a Govt run by the landlords, princes, big business, monopoly financiers, capitalist profiteers — tied to the British imperialists, the underlined words to be affixed to every word from big business to profiteers?


(4)     The Programme nowhere states of confiscating the capital of ‘big business’—collaborating with the British imperialists. Why? Does it indicate that the big business—collaborating with foreign imperialists, mainly British—has got an oppositional role to play?


We do not think so. If we characterise the Govt, as mentioned above, it seems to us that the big business or capitalists—tied to the foreign imperialists—can have no interest in the industrialisation of India. This section is our enemy because it does not and cannot fight feudalism and foreign imperialism. So why be shy of raising the slogan of confiscating the capital belonging to this section of big business and monopoly financiers?


(5)     Why complete silence on the question of the penetration of American capital in India? We understand that the exploitation by the British capital is real. Yet we think that the masses should have been forewarned about the American capital also.


(6)      The Programme states of the reconstitution of the Provinces on the basis of common language—but it does not touch the question of Bengal and the Punjab. What will be our attitude towards the slogans of ‘United Bengal’ and ‘United Punjab’?


(7)      Under the sub-heading “Agricultural Problem” ’the Programme nowhere states clearly and explicitly that the land will be taken from the landlords without any compensation. Why?


(8)       Under the sub-heading “Industrial Problem” we nowhere find the programme of nationalising the basic industries. By basic industries we mean mines, power, communications. We think that any centralised people’s govt cannot and must not leave these things in the hands of individual owners. We do not think that the consciousness of the Indian people is so low that this programme cannot be realised by the People’s Democratic Govt.


(9)   Why no programme of initiating the State sector of industry?


(10)      The Programme nowhere gives promise to the small manufacturers and industrialists of its assistance. We think that this section will be our ally.


(11)      We do not clearly understand what the term “Progressive Income Tax” really means.




[Prem Sagar Gupta, Delhi]


Basic formulations in the Draft Programme are correct and I accept them unreservedly. But there are certain points which I would like to raise.


1)      Para 6: “Allocation of Capital Issues” is not in operation in India. We have what is called the “Control of Capital Issues”, which also does not apply to Companies to be floated with an Authorised Capital of less than 5 lakhs. In practice, however, the bureaucrats do manage to informally suggest to the entrepreneurs coming to them to go and contact their favourite big capitalists first and see if they are interested, but there is no formal thing as Allocation of Capital Issues.


This should be amended appropriately.


2)      Para 7: Re: the Schemes of “Reconstruction.” What is stated in the Draft is that all are foundering except those that “feed war purposes”. Facts on this point are needed. Practically all hydro-electric schemes are no doubt foundering, but what is necessary to show is the relation to war purposes of those schemes that are going ahead.


3)      Para 18: The word “revolt” used in this para evidently is used as a noun and not as a verb. Its meaning should be made clear by adding the word “their” before “revolt” so as to read “their revolt”.


4)    In the field of Industry and the Labour Problem: In the introduction to this section, it is stated that the foreign Governments pursuing dumping policies flood the country with cheap goods. This is not true. So far as one can see there is no dumping of goods in our country. What our manufacturers suffer from is the foreign competition as such and not dumping.


The words “dumping policies” should be appropriately changed so as to convey the reality of competition alone, as indicated earlier in para 8.


5)       On Foreign Policy: Para 12: The only reason given for Nehru speaking up against the Atom Bomb etc., is the pressure of the people. That I believe is oversimplification. There are various other factors which play upon Nehru sometimes taking up such stands. His own class interest is one. Fear of the most aggressive war-maniacs is there. Rise of China in the East. Then, another factor must be taken account of, namely, the disintegration in the imperialist camp as a result of the blows of the people’s armies on the imperialist armies, inflicting crushing defeats on them, and the consequent isolation of the most aggressive warmongers. It is not’ accidental that Nehru’s pro-peace stand on China and ‘ Korea came on two occasions when the North Korean armies and later the Chinese Volunteers were rapidly pushing back the American armies, threatening them with complete wipe-out.


Comrade RPD in his “Notes” in November Labour Monthly has enumerated three factors. The problem cannot be simplified merely by saying that Nehru does this under pressure of the people.


The analysis of the Programme that Nehru plays between the war camp and peace camp, and also bet ween America and Britain, does explain the fact that arising out of the manoeuvres. Nehru can take stand sometimes which is against Britain and pro-America or against the war camp as such and in favour of the peace camp. The analysis does explain Nehru’s stand on China and Korea, etc. The very play assumes such possibilities. But this aspect should be categorically stated in the Draft Programme, else the formulations as put at present are likely to be misinterpreted and even a wrong abstract understanding got. The implication of the ‘‘play” should be categorically stated.


First printed: august 1951


Printed by Jayant Bhatt at the New Age Printing Press, 190-B, Khetwadi Main Road, Bombay 4 and published by him for the Communist Party of India, Raj Bhuvan. Sandhurst Road, Bombay 4.

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