Comments on the Polemic Between Proletarian Path and Revolutionary Democracy on the Stage of the Indian Revolution

Hari Kumar

Today India is comparable to Italy in 1894, upon which Engels wrote to Filipo Turati. Marx described an 'incompleteness' of the bourgeois revolution. Engels applied this to Italy, where the bourgeoisie in power could not fulfill their revolution and faltered. Says Engels:

'In Italy.. The bourgeoisie.. after the national emancipation has neither been able nor willing to compete its victory. It has not destroyed the remnants of feudalism nor has it reorganised national production on the modern bourgeois pattern. Working people – peasants and workers – find themselves crushed on the one hand by antiquated abuses.. of feudal times and even by.. abuses inherited.. from antiquity (share farming, Latifundia in the South..); on the other hand by the most voracious taxation.. invented by the bourgeois system. It is a case where one may well say with Marx: 'We.. suffer not only from the development of capitalist production, but also from the incompleteness of that development'. The situation is bound to lead to a crisis. Evidently the Socialist Party, is too young, and too weak to be able to hope for an immediate victory of socialism'.1

The situation of India now is akin to this Italian picture painted by Engels at the turn of the century.

Revolutionary Democracy points out that India's colonial relationship with world capitalism, is 'intact' after 1947 with a 'deepening dependency on international capitalism'. Imperialism ensured 'pronounced survivals of tribe, caste, and feudalism' Revolutionary Democracy holds, that without heavy industry - any degree of capitalist industrialisation, leaves India still colonial/semi-colonial. So a democratic first stage of revolution is essential. The 6th Congress of Comintern was correct says Revolutionary Democracy, and M.N. Roy saw 'decolonization' imperialism 'divesting' its own colonies. Revolutionary Democracy concludes: the current stage is bourgeois democratic. Alliance agrees on the need for a first democratic stage; and that India is still dependent upon imperialism. We emphasise the need to take the peasantry towards the socialist revolution; and the unsolved National Question. But, Alliance disagrees with core analyses. Alliance does not agree that: the path from 1947 to today was steadily 'intact'; nor upon the correctness of the Sixth Comintern Congress; nor on the proposed primacy of heavy industry in determining the stage. For Revolutionary Democracy, Stalin viewed this as a defining part of colonial relations. We disagree. We also disagree, on the extent of heavy industry in India. Revolutionary Democracy's insistence on the primacy of heavy industry, contains the germ of an 'indefinite postponement' of the revolution tending to 'tail-ism' behind other classes. There is a tendency of Revolutionary Democracy to take the first 'Right deviation' noted by Stalin:

'An under-estimation of the revolutionary potentialities of the liberation movement... That is a deviation to the Right.. (with) danger of the revolutionary movement becoming debased.. By nationalists.'2

Revolutionary Democracy underestimates the degree of industrialisation and its prospects on the proletariat; and underestimates the penetration of capital into the countryside; and underestimates the 'discrediting' of Indian capitalists tied to imperialism – the working class can possibly abbreviate (not miss) the first stage.

For Proletarian Path the 'relations of production in industry and agriculture' and the industrial changes post-1947 ensure that 'the medium level of capitalist development is achieved by a 'series of quantitative changes bringing.. the overall qualitative change'. Also the land reforms of post-independent India 'changed production relations in agriculture'. The ruling classes completed the Prussian development with 'ruination of peasant masses, pauperisation and creating a group of rich peasants and well off middle peasantry'. Proletarian Path argue that three basic features of capitalist agriculture hold: production of surplus value and presence of wage labour; commodity production; conversion of agricultural surplus value into capital. Finally the semi-feudal features in Indian agriculture are all fundamentally related to 'poverty.. a precondition and a result of Capitalism'3, 'We do not deny the existence of .. debt bondage.. But the.. debt bondage cannot be.. described as semi-feudal'.4 Proletarian Path also holds the 6th Comintern Congress as correct. In summary Proletarian Path believes: that the stage is the socialist stage.

We disagree with the conclusion of Proletarian Path but agree 'there has been a significant series of change since 1947'. But if Lenin's view of the features of democratic stage of revolution hold, then we cannot be at the socialist stage. Lenin took as a determining feature, whether or not one could take the peasantry through as a whole:

'Our revolution is a bourgeois revolution as long as we march with the peasants as a whole... First...the 'whole' of the peasants.. against medievalism.. Then with the poor peasants.. and all exploited, against capitalism.. revolution becomes a socialist one..'5

If Proletarian Path says: 'We do not deny.. debt bondage among agricultural workers'6 or 'considerable incidence of share-cropping'7, then there are tasks left. Engels advised Turati in 1894 Italy a 'restepping' of stages: 'The Socialist Party is too young.. Too weak.. for an immediate victory of socialism.'8 The applies to the weak Indian Marxist-Leninist movement now. Significant feudal remnants are left. Democratic slogans will mobilise more peasantry. If the proletariat leads, a short transition between the stages results. Proletarian Path risks 'skipping' even a short interim stage – it risks taking the second deviation noted by Stalin:

'The second deviation lies in an over-estimation of the revolutionary potentialities of the liberation movements and in an under-estimation of the liberation movement and in an under-estimation of.. an alliance between the working class and the revolutionary bourgeoisie against imperialism.. a deviation to the left.. fraught with the danger of the Communist Party becoming divorced from the masses converted into a sect..'9

Alliance agrees on the importance of heavy industry (See previous Alliances.10, 11, 12 But the relevance of heavy industry to this discussion as argued is strained. Demarcating features of colonial development, from Lenin and Stalin, do not invoke heavy industry. The reader will ask: 'What about this quote from Stalin then, that Revolutionary Democracy reminds us of?' Stalin seems to see India in relation to heavy industry:13

'India as everyone knows, is a colony. Has India an industry? It undoubtedly has. Is it developing? Yes it is. But the kind of industry developing there is not one which produces instruments and means of production.'14

But Stalin in talking well after the 1917 proletarian revolution in 1926 of how to direct resources in the USSR. For socialist development Stalin plumps for heavy industry to 'Ensure the economic independence of our country'15 Stalin discusses methods the USSR might use to achieve heavy industrialisation. Stalin rules out plunder of colonies (the British way); he rules out the German path (indemnities from war); and he rules out the old Russian method (bondage and semi-colonial status). That left only one way:

'To find funds for industry out of our own savings, the way of socialist accumulation.'16

Is 'soviet accumulation'- the only acceptable way for communists to achieve the creation of a heavy industrial base? If so, it means that the goal of achieving adequate heavy industry is never realisable, by a semi-dependent country until after the socialist revolution. If so, by Revolutionary Democracy's definition - irrespective of other considerations, the democratic stage always will be unfinished in colonies before proletarian dictatorship. This logic ofRevolutionary Democracy, leads to never launching the socialist revolution because a heavy industrial base would most likely never be finished under imperialism. Revolutionary Democracy believes that the stage of revolution is only decided within the framed question of: 'Have the tasks of the national democratic revolution been fully completed or not?' We are in a further dilemma. Let us ask Revolutionary Democracy: What national democratic revolution other than the Bolshevik revolution ever completed its democratic tasks? For Lenin, only the socialist revolution completed the 'democratic' tasks:

'The bourgeois-democratic revolution is always completed only by the 'revolutionary democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry?'17 'We solved the problems of the bourgeois-democratic revolution in passing as a 'by-product' of the main and real proletarian-revolutionary socialist work'.18

Does Revolutionary Democracy justify this elevation of the heavy industrial base to a defining principle of the stages of revolution, upon one quote from Stalin, spoken about USSR socialist industrialisation? Can only socialist accumulation create a heavy industrial base? If so, does this not introduce an academic closed-loop 'circularity', a self-fulfilling prophecy – a paralysis? We cannot embark upon the socialist stage without heavy industry, yet under imperialism, this heavy industry cannot develop.

Stalin refers elsewhere to India, and differentiated colonial and semi-colonial countries in 1925, into 'three categories of colonial and dependent countries', based upon the numbers of proletariat. Stalin does not mention heavy industry or light industry or light industry only how much industry there is:

'Firstly.. Morocco.. has little or no proletariat, and are industrially quite undeveloped. Secondly countries like China and Egypt which have under-developed industries and have a relatively small proletariat. Thirdly countries like India.. capitalistically more or less developed and have a more or less numerous national proletariat.'19

In general terms, Stalin advised communists in such colonial-type countries to 'line up with the revolutionary elements or the bourgeoisie'.20

Stalin advises against a Leftist deviation:

'The second deviation lies.. in an underestimation of the.. alliance between the working class (of a colonial type country) and the revolutionary bourgeoisie against imperialism.. That is a deviation to the Left.' 21

We must then create a linkage with a 'revolutionary bourgeoisie'. But does a revolutionary bourgeoisie exist in India today? In the pan-Indian state we do not believe so. In this absence the proletariat may seize leadership of the first stage, moving uninterruptedly to the socialist stage. This does not inform Revolutionary Democracy's presentation of the question. Stalin answered the question 'At what stage of the revolution are we at?' - assessing which allies had deserted the revolution? The strength of the proletariat un-nerved and dissuaded even the revolutionary bourgeoisie:

'In India.. the national bourgeoisie has split up into a revolutionary part and a compromising part.. the compromising section of the bourgeoisie has.. struck a deal with imperialism. Fearing revolution.. concerned more about its money bags.. this section of the bourgeoisie is.. forming a bloc with imperialism against the workers and peasants of its own country'.22

So in 1925, the 'moneybag' section of the Indian bourgeoisie had already reneged. Stalin advised that the tasks of the Indian proletariat were:

'The revolution cannot be achieved unless.. fire must be concentrated on the compromising national bourgeoisie.. In.. India it is a matter of preparing the proletariat (as).. leader of the liberation movement.. The task is to create an anti-imperialist bloc and to ensure the hegemony of the proletariat. This bloc can assume.. the form of a single Workers' and Peasants' Party".23

The current stage is a democratic stage, but this staging does not depend upon a lack of heavy industry. This 'primacy' of a heavy base is a mechanical interpretation, leading to Revolutionary Democracy downplaying and potentially delaying the revolutionary potential.

Both Revolutionary Democracy and Proletarian Path see 1947 as pivotal. Before World War I India was a source of raw materials, a free tariff market for British manufactured goods, and military support.24 But imperialism preferred the entry of money-capital exports not goods into India. This required a local expenditure of imported capital on Indian industry. Contradictions with British home industry grew. But finance capital predominated,25 and the Indian Tariff was passed by the 'Fiscal Autonomy Convention' of 1919. This spurred the use of Indian owned capital;26 by mid-1948, Indian houses held more than 85% of the equity in colonial managing agencies.27 Vice-Roys Hardinge and Chelmsford, wanted industry in India, to keep India self-sufficient in war.28, 29 Balances of Indian-British trade swung with Indian import substitution, favouring India.30, 31 Tariffs sheltered Indian industry,32 until British industrialists forced a rescindment in 1932. Still, by 1939 interpenetration of British and Indian capital was marked.33, 34 Indian capital moved from a mercantile phase to an industrial phase. Sections, such as the Birlas, challenged British imperialism. The British partition attempted to retain a hold on India.35

Revolutionary Democracy rejects the relevance of post-1947 changes. Yes, India remains dependent and retarded. But its bourgeoisie did try to overcome dependency by 'stealth', eschewing revolution. Revolutionary Democracy agrees, money for some industry was obtained, by squeezing the people.36 Revolutionary Democracy agrees, the Nehru-led bourgeoisie planned an independent economy, a heavy industry, citing the 1953 secret note of Nehru to Industry Minister T.T. Krishnachari.37 The Bombay Plan, tried to 'plan' India, after the British 'transfer' G.D. Birla and J.R.D. Tata, argued to restrict foreign technical dependency.38 Other strategies of the Indian bourgeoisie were: pit imperialism against on another; deficit financing; using the state sector to build capitalist industry; and using selective heavy industry imports to acquire technology. The strategy could not break imperialist grips. But they tried! Revolutionary Democracy is 'voluntarist' - as if Indian bourgeoisie did not try hard enough: 'Indian capitalists did not follow up the possibilities offered for the production of the means of production by the camp of neo-imperialism.'39 But the Indian bourgeoisie went as for as they could. Lenin points out that in the 1917 Russian revolution the bourgeoisie first got the chance to rule 'as a class'.40

But the Indian bourgeoisie have ruled 'as a class' since 1947. In India now, only the proletariat can clear away remaining tasks. Its first tasks will complete the incompleted democratic tasks in a very short sweep. Revolutionary Democracy seems unclear on the short-livedness of this phase for the late 20th century proletariat. The ever narrower room for the world's national bourgeoisie to play progressive role in national liberation. Imperialism is so much stronger now, that the revolutionary bourgeoisie have less room to manoeuvre in, with less role on the revolutionary stage.41

What did the Post-1947 period achieve?

1. Over 1965-1985, Direct Foreign Investment (DFI) was considerably less than previously.42

2. A fall in percent of overall assets owned by State and private enterprises, in 1962-1982.43

3. A growth of Indian state owned investments over 1951-80, versus private sector.44, 45

4. Government restrictions on the inflow of foreign investment, so that they were allowed only to acquire technology.46

All this suggests genuine attempts to restrict foreign capital in India by the Indian National Congress after 1947. Revolutionary Democracy cite figures from 1989. By 1989 a new faction of the Indian bourgeoisie was in power. The fall of 'the Gandhis' led to 'opening India's markets' - a victory of compradors. Debt as per cent of GNP, over 1970-1986 was low for India: 1. 1%-1.6%. (China was 0.9 in 1986; Algeria moved from 0.9 to 8.7; Argentina 5.0 to 6.8%, Brazil 0.9 to 4.1 etc).47

What industrial base is there now? Revolutionary Democracy asserts that the industrial base of India is not well developed. Marxist-Leninists must explain their statistics. Not all data support Revolutionary Democracy. Proletarian Path cites other figures:

'48.7% of the factory workers are concentrated in factories with over 500 workers.'48

Yet other sources conflict with Revolutionary Democracy. Vanaik: over 1956-1976 capital goods rose from 4.71% to 16.76% against consumer goods falling from 48.3% to 27.83%. Ahluwalia shows a rapid growth rate in capital goods and basic goods until the 1960s when, true – there was a fall compared to consumer goods.49, 50 Ahluwalia argues that the 'protected' environment against foreign competition, allowed industrialists to rely on an increasingly old fashioned technology.51 Imperialism ensured poor terms of trade, so India's share in world exports for both traditional colonial stuffs (e.g. cotton textiles, foodstuffs) and manufactured goods fell. From 1965-1973, the compound growth rate for India's manufactured exports to the world was only 8.6% per year; compared to Yugoslavia at 15.2% through Singapore, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, to Korea at 50.3%.52 To summarise: These data conflict. But, heavy industry was not insignificant.

On the passage from feudalism to capitalism in agriculture since Proletarian Path cites Lenin, we question the reluctance of Proletarian Path to accept Lenin's conclusions, for a Russia pre-1917, and its implications. Passage from feudalism to capitalism in agriculture, is an 'either-or' dichotomy: 'Either the old landlord economy, bound.. to serfdom is retained and turns slowly into purely capitalist 'Junker' economy. The basis of the final transition from labour-service to capitalism is the internal metamorphosis of the feudalist landlord economy. The entire agrarian system becomes capitalist and for a long time retains feudalist features. Or, the old landlord economy is broken up by revolution, which destroys all the relics of serfdom and large and ownership in the first place. The basis of the final transition from labour service to capitalism is the free development of small peasant farming, which has received a tremendous impetus as a result of the expropriation of the landlord's estates in the interests of the peasantry. The entire agrarian system becomes capitalist, for the more completely the vestiges of serfdom are destroyed the more rapidly does the differentiation of the peasantry proceed.53

There are semi-feudal remnants in the countryside, but Revolutionary Democracy should note Lenin argues that the forms of land ownership do not prevent capitalism in the countryside. In 'New Data on the Laws Governing the Development of Capitalism in Agriculture', Lenin points out the variety of forms that capitalist penetration into agriculture can take:

'In Volume III of Capital... Capitalism creates for itself the required forms of agrarian relationships out of the old forms, out of feudal landed property, peasants commune property, clan property etc.. Marx compares the different methods by which capital creates the required forms of landed property..'54

Proletarian Path argues Lenin showed three 'basic factors' to characterise capitalist relations in agriculture:

1) Employment of wage-labour and the appropriation of surplus value; 2) Commoditisation of the products of peasantry and thereby the market relation; 3) Extended reproduction in agriculture.. transformation of surplus value into capital..'55

Proletarian Path must agree that Lenin saw a rapid onset of capitalism, expressed in Russian agriculture by:

a) Dispossession of peasant masses and the creation of a rural proletariat working for wages;56 b) The growth of the industrial masses;57 c) The increasing commoditisation of agriculture;58, 59, 60 d) The role of rural capital-transformation of rural surplus into capital.61

We must therefore ask Proletarian Path - If this is so, that Lenin's analysis was that capitalism had penetrated into agriculture, how did he still advocate the first stage was democratic? and why is it different from now in India? Alliance's answer to the first question is the extent to which the communists can pull peasants behind the proletariat; the answer to the second question is that it is not!

Proletarian Path and Revolutionary Democracy support the 6th Communist International (CI) Congress as Marxist-Leninist, Alliance does not. Revolutionary Democracy rebuke Proletarian Path as descended from 'M.N. Roy'. Strange! For Roy, remained a Stalinist,62 and was a different calibre from Evgeny Varga, a revisionist63 given the Lenin Prize by Khrushchev in 1954, who equated Stalin with Hitler! Yet Revolutionary Democracy cites Varga against Roy and Proletarian Path! True - Roy tended to ultra-leftism early on asserting that by 1857 India has no 'vestiges of feudalism'.64 But Lenin 'Warned (Roy) against wishful interpretation of facts.'65 Roy rejected Trotsky, when Trotsky attacked Stalin over China.66 And in India, Roy's practical line in general correctly followed Lenin.67 Roy worked with the 'best' nationalist elements,68 arguing the working class should take over the leadership.69 British Secret Service saw him as their biggest enemy.70 Somehow the ECCI leadership did not agree. At the Fifth CI Congress in 1924, ECCI wanted a primary direct relation with the Indian National Congress. Roy saw this as an over-reliance on the nationalists, limiting workers' independence.71 Roy criticised Zinoviev and Manuilsky for right deviationism, and argued against them invoking the Second Comintern Theses stating:

'We must.. invest.. to organise all peasants and exploited people into soviets.. to establish the closest possible link between the communist proletariat.. and the revolutionary peasant movement in the East..'72

Stalin agreed with Roy's interpretation.73

Stalin remarked to D.Z. Manuilsky:

'You mention differences with Roy, who underscores the social aspects of the struggle in the colonies... I should say that there are certain places in the resolution of the Congress which I do not agree with, precisely from the standpoint of the social aspect.. I believe that the time has come to raise the question of the hegemony of the proletariat in the liberation struggle in the colonies such as India, whose bourgeoisie is conciliatory (with British imperialism) and victory over whom i.e. over the conciliatory bourgeoisie is the main condition for liberation from imperialism... It is necessary to smash the conciliatory national bourgeoisie, i.e. to wrest the worker and peasant masses from its influence in order to achieve genuine liberation from imperialism... the national bourgeoisie.. is afraid of a revolution and prefers a compromise with foreign imperialism to the complete liberation of their country from imperialism. In order to smash this bloc.. it is a question of preparing the proletariat for leadership of the liberation movement in. India, and to push the conciliatory national bourgeoisie out of this honourable post. The greatest shortcomings of the Congress Resolution.. is that it does not take this new decisive aspect in the situation into account..'74

With Stalin's comment, the resolution and attacks upon Roy were dropped. At the next Plenum of the ECCI, the CI swung to Trotsky's line. At the 6th Congress, Roy was excoriated, and later expelled from the CI in 1930. The Congress was dominated by Otto Kuusinen, later openly revisionist. Lenin had said that: 'Communists.. support bourgeois liberation movements.. when they are really revolutionary.'75

Stalin sharply distinguished between the 'Compromising wing' of the bourgeoisie of a colonial-type country (i.e. the comprador) and the 'revolutionary wing' (i.e. the national bourgeoisie):

'In.. India the.. national bourgeoisie had split up into a revolutionary and a compromising party.'76

The 6th Comintern Theses, pays lip service to this. But the real content of the 6th Comintern Theses is that no section of the bourgeoisie can be a significant ally of the workers and peasants:

'The national bourgeoisie is incapable of offering any serious resistance to imperialism. The national bourgeoisie has not the significance of a force in the struggle against imperialism.'77

The political conclusion is that the national bourgeoisie is fundamentally a counter-revolutionary force in relation to the national-democratic revolution. If so, could one work with this bourgeoisie? Obviously not, according to the CI; and in the report Kuusinen attacked the successful WPP:

'It is necessary to reject the formation of any kind of bloc between the Communist Party and the national-reformist opposition (in a colonial-type country-Ed).'78

'Some comrades considered the advisability of 'labour and peasant parties'... this form is not to be recommended.. It is.. easy for these parties to transform themselves into petty bourgeois parties.'79

The 'some comrades' included Stalin who favoured these parties in the colonial-type countries:

'A revolutionary bloc of workers and peasants and the petty bourgeoisie.. can assume the form of a single party, a WPP, provided.. this distinctive party.. represents a bloc of two forces – the Communist Party and the party of the revolutionary petty bourgeoisie.. In.. India.. a revolutionary anti-imperialist bloc.. can assume.. the form of a single WPP party... bound by a single platform.'80, 81

Kuusinen's attack on the WPP agreed with Trotsky in June 1928, who submitted to the congress this:

'Stalin advanced the formula of 'Two-class WPP'.. it is.. A thoroughly anti-Marxist formulation'82

Kuusinen alleged the WPP retarded the CPI and carried out 'hardly any work' among the peasantry.83 In reality, the WPP were extremely successful during the strikes in 1928. The 10th Plenum reiterated another Trotskyite line, and called for 'Soviets Now.'84 The CI instructed CPI militants to break off rank and file contacts with the Congress.85 The ultra-Left turn devastated the CPI and the mass WPP. With police action, it set back the revolution in India.

The theoretical attack on Roy, focused on so-called 'decolonisation'. In 1927, the ECCI set up a special commission to examine 'decolonisation.'86 M.N. Roy was instructed to prepare a draft resolution on the matter, designed to discredit him.87 In his report to the 6th Congress, Roy identified a new phenomenon. Revolutionary Democracy inadequately relies on Varga's mea culpa to beat Roy.88 Kuusinen attacked Roy (and the CPGB) saying Roy through imperialism would self-destruct.89 Roy pointed out the CI asked him to use the term 'decolonisation' and Roy denied it meant in any way that British imperialism was about to play dead:

'As is evident from the passages quoted by Kuusinen I used the term 'decolonization' (Within inverted commas, because it is not my creation) in the sense that imperialist power is undermined in India creating conditions for its successful revolutionary overthrow. India is a colony of the classical type. She will never cease to be a colony until the British power is overthrown by revolutionary overthrow... To deduce.. that the British bourgeoisie will willingly 'decolonize' India is simply absurd.'90

But Roy pointed out the new developments:

(a) British capitalist crisis had led to a decreased inflow of British exports into India;91 (b) The volume of capitalist investments in India from Britain was beginning to decline; (c) There was a resultant adverse balance of British trade of 'very large dimensions'; (d) Britain was 'obliged to write off a considerable portion' of the diminishing Indian profit; (e) India's exports to the Britain were declining; (f) An increasing amount of India's exports were going elsewhere; (g) Indian bourgeoisie invested heavily in American securities, alarming British bourgeoisie.

Roy cited Lenin's critique of Kautsky, who maintained colonies were only raw material suppliers:

'The theory that colonies can serve the interests of imperialism only and exclusively as the source of raw material corroborates Kautsky's definition of imperialism as the annexation of agricultural territories by advanced capitalist countries, a definition severely criticised by Lenin'92

British imperialism, argued Roy, was trying to rescue itself.93 The British were going to make a 'junior partnership' with the Indian bourgeoisie in a Dominion status replacing direct colonial status.94 Roy was prescient in diagnosing British policy, and the transition of India from colony to Dominion:

'The new imperialist policy implies a gradual 'decolonisation' of Indian.. So that India might develop from a 'dependency' into a 'dominion'. The Indian bourgeoisie instead of being kept down will be conceded participation.. under hegemony of imperialism. From a backward agrarian colonial possession India will become a modern industrial country-' a member of the British Commonwealth of free nations'. India is in a state of 'decolonisation'.95

Roy's political sense explains a great deal of subsequent history. Varga, disagreed.96 But as Roy points out, Varga previously endorsed Roy's position. Varga knew the British were renegotiating tariffs, of the Ottawa Summit of August 1932. Lenin pointed out such types of changes were part of the fabric of imperialism itself, creating industry in the colonies:

'Exporting capital to the backward countries.. (where) profits are usually high.. greatly affects and accelerates the development of capitalism in those countries (where) profits are usually high.. greatly affects and accelerates the development of capitalism in those countries to which it is exported.. expanding and deepening the further development of capitalism throughout the world.'97

Roy also saw that Lenin had identified a new phenomenon-moving 'unpleasant' and toiling labour, out to the colonies where the 'black races' would do it:

'Lenin.. Approvingly quoted.. from Schulze-Gaevernitz's book. 'Europe will shift the burden of physical toil- first agricultural and mining, then of heavy industry-on the black races and will remain itself at leisure.. thus paving the way for the economic and later the political emancipation of the coloured races'98

Marxist-Leninists might ponder whether Roy was correct in divining these changes.

We ask the comrades of Proletarian Path and Revolutionary Democracy to correct us. We are frankly puzzled that: Proletarian Path accepts Lenin on development of capitalism in Russia, but cannot accept its lessons might apply now in India. We are puzzled that Revolutionary Democracy upholds Kuusinen and the call for Soviets in 1929; and the destruction of the Workers and Peasants Party. We are puzzled that Revolutionary Democracy appears to believe that nothing of note has happened in Indian industrial development since 1947, and their central theory of 'heavy' industry.

This article is a résumé of an article entitled 'Upon a Recent Polemic Concerning the Stage of the Indian Revolution' published in the Canadian journal Alliance (No. 28, January 1998). A photocopy of the full issue is available from this journal. Money orders for Rs. 40/- may be made out to The Manager, 'Revolutionary Democracy'.


  1. Engels' Letter to Turati, January 26th 1984, in 'Selected Correspondence', Marx and Engels, Moscow, 1955, pp. 443-444.
  2. Stalin, 'Tasks of University of Peoples of East'; Works, Vol. 7, Moscow, 1954, pp. 152-154.
  3. Proletarian Path Inaugural Issue, 'On The Stage of the Indian Revolution', 1992, Calcutta., p.77
  4. Loc. cit.
  5. Lenin, V.I. 'Proletarian Revolution and Renegade Kautsky' (Nov. 1918); Selected Works; Vol 3, Moscow, 1971; pp. 128-9. Cited by J.V. Stalin, 'Foundations of Leninism' (April 1924), ibid, p. 105.
  6. Proletarian Path 'Inaugural Issue' November 1992: 'On the Stage of the Indian Revolution', p.77.
  7. Ibid., p. 79.
  8. Engels to Turati, ibid; 'Selected Correspondence', pp. 444-445.
  9. Stalin 'Tasks of University of Peoples of East'; ibid, p. 154.
  10. Alliance 16, July 1995: 'Red and Green Politics: Environment, Industry and Peasantry'.
  11. Alliance 12, January 1995: 'Chechnya-Oil and The Divided Russian Capitalist Class.
  12. Alliance 14 1995, W.B. Bland 'Restoration of Capitalism in USSR' Alliance 17, 1995: 'Vosnesensky and Varga'.
  13. From 'Economic Situation and Policy of the Party', Works, Vol. 8 Moscow, pp. 123-156; April 18th 1926.
  14. Ibid, p. 128.
  15. Ibid, p. 129.
  16. Ibid. p. 131.
  17. V.I.Lenin 'Letter on Tactics', Selected Works; Volume 6, London, 1946, p. 33.
  18. V.I. Lenin: 'Fourth Anniversary of October Revolution' in ibid., p. 503.
  19. J.V. Stalin, 'Political Tasks of The University of the Peoples of the East', May 18, 1925, Vol. 7, Moscow, 1954, p. 148.
  20. J.V. Stalin, 'The Results of the Work at the 14th Congress of the RCP (B)', in ibid. pp. 108-9.
  21. J.V.Stalin, 'The Political Tasks of the University of the Peoples of East,' ibid., p. 154.
  22. Ibid., p. 150.
  23. Ibid, p. 151.
  24. Tomlinson, B.R. 'The Political Economy of the Raj', 1914-1947, Surrey, 1979, p. 27.
  25. Markovit C: 'Indian Business, and Nationalist Politics 1931-39', Cambridge, p. 49.
  26. M. Kidron, 'Foreign Investment In India', London 1965, p. 10.
  27. D.J. Encarnation, 'Dislodging Multi-nationals. India's Strategy in Comparative Perspective', Ithaca, 1989, pp. 57-8.
  28. Cited by Kidron, p. 13 from A.R. Desai 'Social Background of Indian Nationalism', p. 98.
  29. Tomlinson, B.R., op.cit., p. 58.
  30. Ibid., p.45.
  31. Ibid, p. 45.
  32. Markovit, op. cit., p. 49-50.
  33. D.J. Encarnation, op.cit., p.58.
  34. B.R. Tomlinson op.cit., pp. 55-6.
  35. Alliance 5, October 1993, 'On National Revolution in Colonial Type Countries India. Distortion of Leninist Line By Comintern,' Toronto.
  36. 'On the Stage of the Indian Revolution', Revolutionary Democracy, Vol. II No. 1, April 1996, p. 57.
  37. Nehru J.L. Letter of 9.11.1953; cited byRevolutionary Democracy, April 1996, p. 54.
  38. Cited Encarnation, op. cit., pp. 28-9.
  39. Revolutionary Democracy, Vol II, No. 1, April 1996, p. 55.
  40. Lenin, op. cit., p. 480.
  41. See Alliance 25,January 1997: 'How Khrushchev Distorted Struggles in the Colonial World-Alliance with Titoite Revisionism and International National bourgeoisie.' Toronto.
  42. D.J. Encarnation, op. cit., p. 11.
  43. Ibid. p. 35.
  44. Ibid., p. 38.
  45. Ibid., p. 92.
  46. Ibid., pp. 63-4.
  47. Achin Vanaik; 'The Painful Transition-Bourgeois Democracy in India', London, 1990, Table 2, p. 281.
  48. Proletarian Path, 'On Stage of the Indian Revolution' op.cit., p. 18., Source: Indian Economic Year Book.
  49. I.J. Ahluwalia: 'Industrial Growth In India - Stagnation in the Mid-Sixties', Delhi 1985, p. 20.
  50. Ibid., p. 168.
  51. Ibid., p. 108.
  52. Ibid., pp. 116-118.
  53. Lenin, 'The Development of Capitalism in Russia' 'Collected Works', Vol. 3, p. 33.
  54. Lenin, 'The Agrarian Programme of Social Democracy in the First Russian Revolution 1905-07', in 'Lenin on the USA', Moscow, 1967; from: Vol 13; pp. 275-76, p.40.
  55. 'Marxist Methodology and the Current Stage of the Indian Revolution', Moni Guha, Revolutionary Democracy, September 1997, Volume III, No. 2, p. 38.
  56. Lenin, 'Development of Capitalism in Russia' op. cit., p. 174.
  57. Marx 'Capital' Volume 3; p. 177 cited by Lenin; 'Development of Capitalism' op.cit.,
  58. Lenin, 'Development of Capitalism',op.cit., p. 156.
  59. Ibid., p.172.
  60. Ibid., pp. 154-156.
  61. Ibid., pp. 185-186.
  62. M.N. Roy: 'The Death of Stalin', The Radical Humanist, Vol. 17, 1953, pp. 121, 132.
  63. See Alliance Issue Number on Varga's revisionist economics.
  64. M.N. Roy, and Abani Mukherji, 'Indian In Transition', Geneva, 1922, p 17.
  65. M.N. Roy, 'Memoirs', Bombay, 1964, p.522.
  66. See Communist League, 'M.N. Roy Report-Part Two', London, 1977.
  67. Roy: 'How To Organise Working Class Party' 1926, 'Selected Works' ed. S. Ray, Delhi, 1988, Vol. 2, pp. 546-547.
  68. Overstreet and Windmiller, 'Communism In India' Berkeley, 1960.
  69. Roy to S.A. Dange, November 2nd and December, 19th, 1922 in Adhikari, Vol. 1, ibid., p. 595 and Vol. 2. p. 98.
  70. Overstreet and Windmiller, p. 148, citing police intelligence. From 'India and Communism'. p. 164.
  71. Overstreet and Windmiller, op. cit., pp. 70-1.
  72. Roy op. cit., Volume II, Delhi, 1988, p. 293.
  73. Sibnarayan Ray citing: 'Strategy and Tactics of the Communist International In The National and Colonial Countries', 'In The Comintern and the East: The Struggle for the Leninist Strategy and Tactics in National Liberation Movements', Ed. R.A. Ulyanovsky, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1979, pp. 169-170.
  74. Stalin to Manuilsky on Fifth Comintern Proposed Resolution; cited Ray; Delhi 1988, ibid., pp. 282-283.
  75. Lenin, Report of the Commission on the National and Colonial Question, op. cit., Vol. 10, p. 241.
  76. J.V. Stalin: 'The Political Tasks of the University of the Peoples of the East', in Works, Volume 7, Moscow, 1954, pp. 149-150.
  77. 'Theses on the Revolutionary Movement in the Colonies and Semi-Colonies, 6th Congress CI, in International Press Correspondence, Vol 8, No. 88, December 12th, 1928, pp. 1666, 1667; See also 'Comintern and National Questions - Documents of Congresses' - Issued By Communist Party of India, 1973, pp. 84, 90.
  78. Theses, Inprecor, ibid., p. 1668; or: CPI Printing from 1973, p. 93.
  79. O. Kuusinen, 'Report on the Revolutionary Movement in The Colonies and Semi-Colonies, 6th Congress, CI' In: 'Inprecor', Volume 8, No. 70, October 4th, 1928, pp. 1230-1.
  80. Stalin, 'Political Tasks of the University of the Peoples' of the East" Vol. 7; Moscow, 1954, pp. 149, 150-1.
  81. 'Theses on the Revolutionary Movement in the Colonies and Semi-colonies', 6th Congress CI, Inprecor. Vol 8, No 88, December 12th, 1928, p. 1671 and CPI edition, Delhi, 1973, op. cit. p. 104.
  82. L. Trotsky: 'Summary and Perspectives of the Chinese Revolution', In 'Third International after Lenin', London, 1974, pp. 162-3, 171.
  83. Kuusinen: 'Report on the International Situation and the Tasks of the CI', 10th Plenum ECCI, In 'International Press Correspondence' Vol. 9, No. 40, Aug 20th, 1929, p. 847.
  84. 'Theses on The International Situation and the Tasks of the CI', 10th Plenum ECCI, in J. Degras (ed): 'The Communist International: 1919-1943: Documents', Volume 3, London, 1965, p. 45.
  85. Young Communist International: 'Open Letter to All Young Workers and Peasants of India', in 'International Press Correspondence,' Vol. 10, no.2, January 9th, 1930, p. 25.
  86. G. Luhani, Speech, 6th Congress CI, in 'Inprecor' Vol 8, no. 78, No.8, 1928, p. 1472.
  87. M.N. Roy and B. Varnik: 'Our Differences', Calcutta, 1938, p. 31.
  88. Revolutionary Democracy 'A Critique of the Contemporary Adherents of the Views of M.N. Roy, Evgeny Varga and Leon Trotsky on the Current Stage of the Revolution in India', Vol III No. 2, September, 1997, p. 51.
  89. Kuusinen, 'Revolutionary Movement in The Colonies' 1928, In 'Documents of the History of the Communist Party of India', Ed. Adhikari, Delhi, 1982, p. 477.
  90. M.N. Roy; 'On the Indian Question in the 6th World Congress', in 'Selected Works', Ed. S. Ray op. cit., p. 178.
  91. Ibid. pp. 180-196.
  92. Roy; ibid., p. 199.
  93. Roy; 'On Indian Question', ibid., p. 182, 186.
  94. Roy; 'On Indian Question in the Sixth World Congress' In S. Ray, 'Selected Works', Vol. 3, ibid, p.187.
  95. M.N. Roy cited by O.Kuusinen 'Report on the Revolutionary Movement in the Colonies', 6th Congress CI in Inprecor. Vol 8. no. 68, Oct 4th, 1928. p. 1226; Also see in Adhikari, Volume IIIC; op. cit., p. 478.
  96. Cited in Communist League; 'M.N. Roy Report, Part 2', p. 40 from 'Economic and Economic Policy in the Fourth Quarter of 1927', Inprecor, Vol 8. No. 15, March 14th, 1928, pp. 292-3.
  97. Lenin; 'Imperialism-Highest Stage Capitalism', New York, 1970, pp. 63-5.
  98. Roy; ibid., p. 179; from 'Imperialism' New York, 1939.

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