The Kashmir Question and the Indian Left Today



Marxism, Stalinism and centrism on the national liberation struggle of the Kashmiri people



A Pamphlet by Michael Pröbsting, International Secretary of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 26 September 2019,


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In the past weeks we have published several articles and essays in which we elaborated our approach on the liberation struggle of the Kashmiri people as well as on questions of revolutionary strategy in India. As readers will be aware, India’s right-wing chauvinist Modi government abolished the formal autonomy rights of Muslim-majority province on 5 August and transformed Kashmir into a huge concentration camp. Since more than one and half months, people in Kashmir are locked up in their houses for most of the time and all communication means are cut. According to government reports, the authorities in Indian-Occupied Kashmir have arrested more than 4,100 people in the last few weeks.


For all these reasons Kashmir constitutes a central focus of the world situation and will continue to be one for the foreseeable future. It has become a second Palestine!


In the present pamphlet we will provide, after a brief summary of the RCIT’s position on the Kashmir question, a general outline of the Marxist understanding of social-patriotism. After that, we move to the focus of this pamphlet and examine the approach of a number of Indian left-wing parties and groups to the Kashmir question.


We cannot claim to have dealt with all Indian organizations understanding themselves as Marxists. There exist many dozens in this soon-to-be the most populous country in the world and there are surely many of which we are not even aware of. However, we think it is fair to say that we deal in this pamphlet with the most important left-wing parties as well as several of the smaller organizations. We would welcome contributions from or about other organizations with which we have not dealt here.


As we will see, it is possible to elaborate different categories of organizations on this issue. Some follow an unconcealed social-patriotic policy and simply deny the right of national self-determination for oppressed nationalities in India (including the Kashmiri people). Others accept such a right “in principle” but, in their concrete policy, do not apply it to the Kashmiri people. There is also another category of organizations which defend the right of national self-determination of the Kashmiri people but do not extend this into support for the ongoing liberation struggle of the Kashmiri people. And finally, we will also discuss the policy of forces which take a principled stand on the Kashmir question and, hence, support the liberation struggle.


Finally, we would like to point out that this pamphlet should be viewed in context with other works which we have published on India respectively Kashmir. In particular we want to draw attention to our economic analysis of Indian capitalism in which we elaborated its character as a peculiar semi-colonial regional or intermediate power. i Another relevant essay is dedicated to the systematic national and social oppression of various sectors of the society in capitalist India. ii And a third work which we consider as important background material is a recently published essay about the nature of the national liberation struggle of the Kashmiri people and why we advocate the slogan of “Azadi Kashmir”, i.e. the independence of Kashmir? iii


We look forward to hear the views of revolutionaries in India, Kashmir and the whole South Asia on the issues dealt with in this pamphlet. A thorough discussion of the questions of strategy and tactic of the liberation struggle are of primary importance not only for the comrades in the sub-continent but for all who dedicate their life to a socialist future!


1. Summary of the Marxist Position on the Liberation Struggle in Kashmir




Before we move to a critical examination of the position of the Indian left on the Kashmir question, we shall briefly summarize the approach of the RCIT and its comrades in South Asia. iv


Kashmir has been divided between India, Pakistan and China since more than half a century. While hardly any people live in the Chinese-controlled territory, about 6 million people live in the Pakistan-controlled sector (all of the Muslim) and another 14,5 million live in the India-controlled sector (of whom 68% are Muslims, most of the rest are Hindus).


As we have shown in another work, the people of Kashmir never had the opportunity to freely express their desire if they want to have their own state or to accede to one of the existing states. We consider all three states as occupying powers and support the struggle of the Kashmiri people to have their own, independent state. While this perspective is relevant for all three parts of Kashmir, it has become particularly urgent in India-Occupied Kashmir – the region where the majority of the Kashmiri people live. Here the workers and poor peasants launched an uprising in 1989 with mass demonstrations, general strikes and guerilla attacks. v


The Indian state tried to smash the uprising with the utmost barbarous repression. About 100,000 Kashmiris have been killed by Indian security forces. In addition, nearly 10,000 women have been gang raped by marauding bands of Indian soldiers. vi Already before the latest escalation, Kashmir has been the world's most militarized zones. The Indian state has stationed about 750,000 soldiers and police forces. And since 5 August, Delhi has sent an additional 50,000 Indian troops into Kashmir! This means there is roughly one Indian troop for every 10 Kashmiri Muslim citizen! vii


The RCIT has always opposed the division of Kashmir. The Kashmiri people are an oppressed nation and the program of national self-determination, as it was elaborated by the Marxist classics, fully applies to them. viii


We unconditionally support the national liberation struggle of the Kashmiri people against their oppression. We support the historic demand for independence of Kashmir which has become symbolized by the slogan “Azadi Kashmir”. Liberating all parts of Kashmir should result in the election of a Revolutionary Constituent Assembly in which delegates, elected and controlled by the people, should decide about the future. In our opinion, a free and independent Kashmir should be a country controlled by the workers and peasants and not by a small clique of capitalists and landowners. This is why we fight for a united, independent and socialist Kashmir!


As Marxists we combine such a slogan with the perspective of a voluntary Socialist Federation of South Asia. We think it is absolutely wrong for Marxists in South Asia to be fixated to keeping the current borders of the respective states. All these borders have been drawn in blood and are associated with mass expulsions and genocide. The socialist future for South Asia – a sub-continent with such a variety of nations and religions – can be only secured on the basis of absolute voluntariness. Hence Marxists must advocate the freedom of all oppressed nations to constitute their own state and, at the same time, call for the voluntary affiliation to a federation of all people of the region (with all rights of autonomy, local self-government, cultural rights, equality, etc.)


We are aware that the liberation struggle is currently led not by revolutionary socialist forces but rather by petty-bourgeois nationalist and Islamist formations. While we think that the strategies of these forces are wrong, we defend them against the Indian oppression. Likewise we defend forces like the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) against repression by the Pakistani state. In our opinion, the most promising road to freedom is the organized mass struggle of the workers, poor, and youth. No one should trust the empty rhetoric of the bourgeois governments of Pakistan and other Muslim countries. It should be remembered how they have all paid court to the Chinese Stalinist-capitalist dictatorship and denied its brutal oppression of the Uyghur people in Xinjiang / East Turkestan!


We consider the Kashmir question as highly important not only for democratic and socialist forces in Kashmir and Pakistan but also for those in India. It has become an acid test for the progressive forces in India because this issue is a key element in the ideology of Indian chauvinism. Whoever fails to support the Kashmiri liberation struggle is a prisoner of the bourgeois ideology of India’s ruling class. In other words, it is impossible for the Indian left to break ideologically and politically with the Indian bourgeoisie without supporting the cause of Azadi Kashmir. Unfortunately, the reaction of numerous parties of the reformist left in India after the Pulwama attack in February this year demonstrated that these forces are not able to consistently stand up against India’s ruling class.


On the other hand, it is also of paramount importance for the Kashmiri liberation forces to look for support and alliances with progressive forces in India. Given the relation of forces – 8 million people in Kashmir in a state of 1.3 billion people! – it is obvious that Kashmiri revolutionaries must not remain national-centered or limit themselves to collaborate with other forces in Pakistan (as important as this is). It is also crucial for Kashmiri revolutionaries to support the struggle of the workers, the poor peasants, the lower castes, and other oppressed nationalities in India and to link up with other liberation forces.


For these reasons and also because of the central location of the region in the centre between India and Pakistan, the cause of the liberation of Kashmir and the cause of the liberation struggle of the whole sub-continent are inextricably linked with each other. The liberation of Kashmir is only possible within a socialist federation of South Asia and such a federation is impossible without a free Kashmir. Not only this, we are convinced that the Kashmiri liberation struggle will play a crucial role in the whole process of struggle against capitalism and imperialism in South Asia!


The RCIT considers it as a major task in the current period to build a revolutionary party in Kashmir, Pakistan, India, and internationally. Only such a party can lead the liberation struggle of the working class and the oppressed people to victory and build a socialist future in South Asia! Furthermore, it is urgent to build an international solidarity movement of workers and popular mass organizations in support of the Kashmiri people.



2. What is Social-Patriotism?




As we briefly stated in the introduction to this pamphlet the majority of the Indian left-wing parties fails to side with the national liberation struggle of the Kashmiri people. Before we analyze the position of various forces in detail, we shall first briefly elaborate the Marxist definition of social-patriotism. At this point, we limit ourselves to a summary since we have dealt extensively in other works with the issue of the revolutionary versus the social-patriotic strategy in the struggle against national oppression and imperialist aggression. ix


In its most general sense, social-patriotism means an opportunist policy of a party failing to oppose its “own” capitalist oppressor state which is in conflict with an oppressed nation or with another oppressor state. A revolutionary party takes the side of an oppressed nation and works towards the defeat of its “own” capitalist oppressor state. In case of a conflict between two capitalist oppressor states revolutionaries will oppose both and utilize the situation in their country for the weakening and eventually overthrow of the ruling class. (In the Marxist tradition this strategy has been named Revolutionary Defeatism.) x


In contrast, social-patriotic forces refuse such an approach. Usually, they protest against “human rights violations” and support “democratic rights” of an oppressed nation. Likewise, they preach against war-mongering and raise pacifist slogans. But eventually, they opportunistically adapt to their “own” capitalist oppressor state by defending its territorial possessions respectively claims, by supporting its military defense against its enemies, etc.


The Marxist program of revolutionary defeatism and its critique of social-patriotism has been elaborated by Lenin and the Bolsheviks during World War I. In “Socialism and War”, a fundamental work of Marxism, they provided the following characterization of the opportunist adaption to the capitalist oppressor state:


Social-chauvinism is advocacy of the idea of “defence of the fatherland” in the present war. This idea logically leads to the abandonment of the class struggle during the war, to voting for war credits, etc. In fact, the social-chauvinists are pursuing an anti-proletarian bourgeois policy, for they are actually championing, not “defence of the fatherland” in the sense of combating foreign oppression, but the “right” of one or other of the “Great” Powers to plunder colonies and to oppress other nations. The social-chauvinists reiterate the bourgeois deception of the people that the war is being waged to protect the freedom and existence of nations, thereby taking sides with the bourgeoisie against the proletariat. Among the social-chauvinists are those who justify and varnish the governments and bourgeoisie of one of the belligerent groups of powers, as well as those who, like Kautsky, argue that the socialists of all the belligerent powers are equally entitled to “defend the fatherland”. Social- chauvinism, which is, in effect, defence of the privileges, the advantages, the right to pillage and plunder, of one’s “own” (or any) imperialist bourgeoisie, is the utter betrayal of all socialist convictions and of the decision of the Basle International Socialist Congress.xi


This program of revolutionary defeatism against all imperialist Great Powers does not only remain valid until today but has become very actual lately given the acceleration of the inner-imperialist rivalry with the decline of the U.S. and rise of China (and Russia) in the past decade.


However, as we have elaborated in our works, the transformation of the imperialist world order (in particular after World War II when most colonies became formally independent semi-colonial states) have resulted in the fact that the problems of national liberation struggles as well as of reactionary wars between semi-colonial states gave become relevant not only the imperialist Great Powers but also many other countries.


To give a few examples for such conflicts: there have been numerous national liberation struggles of oppressed nations against semi-colonial capitalist states (e.g. Kosova versus Serbia until 1999; the Kurdish minorities in Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq; the Arab minorities in Iran, Eritrea versus Ethiopia until 1993, the Yemeni people against the Saudi-led alliance since 2015, etc.) Likewise, there have been a number of reactionary conflicts or even wars between the ruling classes of capitalist semi-colonies (e.g. Iraq versus Iran after 1981; India versus Pakistan in 1947, 1965 and 1971; Greece versus Turkey, etc.).


For revolutionaries, the decisive issue for defining their tactics is the question if a given conflict is a war of liberation or a war of oppression. In order to determine the character of a conflict, Marxists have to analyze each case in its concrete totality, its different factors and their relationship to each other and elaborate out of this the correct tactical conclusions. As we noted somewhere else: “This is why a conflict or war has to be studied in all its aspects, with the general, fundamental, as well as its secondary, particular, characteristics. Such an approach must follow Lenin's dialectical method to study a thing or a process ‘from appearance to essence and from less profound to more profound essence.’” xii


In conflicts where an oppressed class or people fights against its oppression, revolutionary unconditionally support such a struggle. In conflicts between two reactionary camps, revolutionaries take a defeatist position against the ruling class on both sides. To formulate it in the words of Trotsky: “The revolutionary proletariat distinguishes only between wars of oppression and wars of liberation. The character of a war is defined, not by diplomatic falsifications, but by the class which conducts the war and the objective aims it pursues in that war. The wars of the imperialist states, apart from the pretexts and political rhetoric, are of an oppressive character, reactionary and inimical to the people. Only the wars of the proletariat and of the oppressed nations can be characterized as wars of liberation.xiii


The history of Marxism is full of struggles against social-patriotic support for this or that reactionary camp. The foundation of the Communist International in 1919 was, to a large degree, a result of the struggle of the Bolsheviks and the Zimmerwald Left against the social-chauvinist and social-pacifist majority of the workers movement during World War I. Trotsky’s Fourth International opposed all imperialist camps during World War II (Germany and its allies versus the US-UK-led camp) while at the same time advocating the defense of the USSR against Germany as we as of the colonies against all Great Powers.


In contrast, social democracy as well as Stalinism joined the camp of the Western imperialists at that time and betrayed the struggles of the workers and oppressed nations (e.g. the revolutionary struggles in Greece 1944-46, Italy and France in 1944/45, the Quit India Movement in 1942, Algeria 1945, the revolutionary situation in Vietnam in 1945, etc.)


Such a reformist and social-chauvinist policy has remained a trademark of Stalinism until this day. The support of the French PCF for austerity governments (1981-84 and 1997-2002) as well as for imperialist wars (against Serbia in 1999 and against Afghanistan in 2001) is just one of numerous examples. xiv Another example is its opposition against “too much immigration”. xv


However, as we have shown in other works, we can also observe an opportunist social-chauvinism of reformist and Stalinist forces in various reactionary conflicts in the semi-colonial world. Examples for this are the unqualified commitment of the Stalinists to “annihilate any foreign intruder who dares to attack Greece” and to “defend the sovereign rights of Greece” against Turkey as well as against the Macedonian people. xvi Another outrageous example is the Stalinists’ long-standing support for Serbia’s claim to occupy and colonialize the people in Kosova. xvii In all these cases, the Stalinists combined a platonic commitment to “Marxism-Leninism” and “anti-imperialism” with a very concrete support for their capitalist “fatherland” against nations oppressed by the very same “fatherland” or against its rivals.


As we will see, we have a very similar case with a number of reformist and Stalinist parties in India. Marxists have to fully comprehend the social-patriotic nature of these forces in order to understand the urgent need to build a new revolutionary party in South Asia in the struggle against such revisionism.



3. The Reaction of the Indian Left to Modi's Revocation of Kashmir's Special Status




When India’s right-wing government revoked Kashmir's special status on 5 August and imposed a state of emergency over the whole region, it provoked an outcry not only in Kashmir as well as internationally but also among the parliamentary opposition in India itself. Deputies of the reformist parties as well as of the Congress Party – the main bourgeois opposition force – gave rousing speeches against Modi’s coup. Deputies from the bourgeois Kashmir party PDP even tore up the constitution.


In addition, several left-wing figures – among them Kavita Krishnan from the CPI(ML) Liberation as well as Maimoona Mollah from the CPI(M) – visited Kashmir between 9-13 August where the spoke with a number of citizens. They published on 14 August a written report as well as a video report – both titled “Kashmir Caged”. This report was an important and progressive deed as it provided for the first time an insight into the extremely repressive condition for the people of Kashmir since the beginning of the lock down by the Modi government on 5 August. xviii


Several left-wing parties – the Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation, All India Forward Bloc and the Revolutionary Socialist Party – published a joint statement which we reproduce here in full.


Left Parties Statement: Dismantling the State of Jammu & Kashmir


Assault on India’s Constitution, Democracy & Federalism


The special provisions guaranteed by the Indian Constitution to the state of Jammu & Kashmir were the result of the princely state signing the instrument of accession to the Indian Union in the face of Pakistani invaders. By the current measures, the Modi government has completely negated the assurance made by the Indian government to the people of Jammu & Kashmir. This is an assault on federalism, a fundamental feature of the Indian Constitution.


The Indian union was formed on the basis of the unity of our people recognizing the immense diversities that exist, which is the legacy of our freedom struggle. Clearly, the RSS/BJP cannot tolerate any diversity and are converting Jammu-Kashmir and Ladakh as two separate centrally administered Union Territories.


This is a betrayal of all promises, repeated ad nauseam by the Central government over the years, of upholding Kashmiriyat, Jamhooriyat (democracy) and Insaniyat (humanism). The strengthening of the bonds of the people of Jammu & Kashmir with the rest of India can only be through the process of political dialogue with all stakeholders, as promised by the government three years ago. Instead, this undemocratic unilateral step will only deepen the alienation. This is harmful for the unity and integrity of India.


The Left parties call upon the people of India to strongly protest against these illegal and unconstitutional methods employed by the Modi Government. These are not issues confined to Jammu & Kashmir alone. They constitute an attack on democracy, federalism and the constitutional order.


The Left parties call for a protest day on August 7, 2019 all over the country.


Stop this Destruction of the Indian Constitution


Stop the Destruction of the State of Jammu & Kashmirxix


Furthermore, these parties organized several smaller rallies with banners, saying, “Stop making Kashmir into a prison,” “Restore Articles 370 and 35A!”, “Release all opposition leaders in Kashmir!”, “Do not play with Kashmir and the Constitution!” and “We Stand With The People of Jammu And Kashmir.” xx


This Joint Statement reveals already the approach of the parliamentary left, i.e. the reformist and Stalinist forces. Of course, it is to be welcome that they protest against Modi’s coup and the transformation of Kashmir into a huge concentration camp. But this is matter of course not only for every socialist but also for every democrat, human rights activist and even pacifist. Hitler also provoked the protest not only of communists but also of bourgeois politicians, liberal intellectuals and Christian philanthropies. And Trump racist provocations are strongly condemned by the establishment of the Democratic Party, CNN and the New York Times. In other words, it does not take too much to protest against Modi’s Hindutva chauvinist attack on the Kashmiri people.



4. Blatant Denial of the Right of National Self-Determination (CPI, CPI(M), SUCI(C))




As the Joint Statement of 5 August shows the reformist-Stalinist parties combine their protest against the revocation of Article 370 with a wholeheartedly affirmation of India’s Constitution and its official principles of democracy and federalism. Related to this they reproduce a myth which is essential for the Indian reformist Stalinism: “This is an assault on federalism, a fundamental feature of the Indian Constitution. The Indian union was formed on the basis of the unity of our people recognizing the immense diversities that exist, which is the legacy of our freedom struggle.”


We have pointed out in another essay that India has been a "prison house of nations and lower castes" since the very first hour of its existence. xxi The birth of India and Pakistan in 1947 was characterized by one of the worst genocides of the 20th century. More than fifteen million people were uprooted, and between one and two million were killed. On the basis of this tragedy the sub-continent became partitioned between Hindu-dominated India and Muslim-dominated Pakistan. xxii Various nationalities were integrated in the new states without any consultation of the people.


Kashmir is a prime example for such a violation of the most fundamental democratic rights. The Indian-Occupied part of Kashmir was integrated in the new state when the Maharaja Hari Singh, a thoroughly dissolute and corrupt Hindu autocrat, had to flee because of a local peasant uprising. He called the Indian Army to defend his rule and agreed to accede to India on 26 October. This created the pretext for India to send troops and to occupy the country. xxiii In this way Muslim-majority Kashmir became part of India. As noted above, India could keep the region under control only by imposing the most brutal form of state oppression. In other words, Kashmir is an internal colony of the Indian state. We note in passing, that this is also true for other oppressed nationalities in India (e.g. in the north-east of the country). xxiv


Unfortunately, the reformist Stalinist parties, which signed the Joint Statement, do not defend the fundamental right of the Kashmiri people for national self-determination. This is why the joint statement does not mention this right at all. It does not even mention the demand for a plebiscite which was requested by UN Security Council (Resolution 47, adopted on 21 April 1948) and to which the Indian government formally agreed – but, in practice, never allowed holding such a plebiscite to this day.


Instead, the goal of these reformists is to convince the Kashmiri people to change their mind and, instead of separating from India, to voluntarily remain part of the Indian state. (“The strengthening of the bonds of the people of Jammu & Kashmir with the rest of India can only be through the process of political dialogue with all stakeholders, as promised by the government three years ago. Instead, this undemocratic unilateral step will only deepen the alienation. This is harmful for the unity and integrity of India.”)


One could object that this is a short and joint statement and therefore might not reflect the full authentic views of the CPI or the CPI(M). However, this is not the case as numerous statements and programmatic declarations of these parties demonstrate.



Communist Party of India




In its own statement on the 5 August revocation announcement, the CPI, the smaller one of the two “Communist” parties in India’s federal parliament (Lok Sabha), does not go beyond the content of the Joint Statement. It limits itself to denounce Modi’s decision as “regressive moves which are unconstitutional leading to destroying the federal principles of the country.” xxv


In fact, the CPI has always denied the oppressed nationalities in India the right of national self-determination. It considers the “unity and integrity of India” as a sacred principle to which it is fully committed. Contrary to the real history of India, the reformist-Stalinist leadership of the CPI claims that India has been based on a “democratic-secular foundation”. Worse, it is proud of its historic record to have defended the “unity of the country” against “separatist forces”!


Such, for example, the CPI writes in its official history: “The CPI is second to none in fighting for the unity and integrity of the country threatened by separatist and divisive forces. The CPI has consistently championed the cause of the unity of the motherland, of all communities, minorities and ethnic groups inhabiting our vast and diverse country. (…) The noble ideas of ‘secularism’, of the democratic-secular foundation of our Republic, of the lofty humanism, brother-hood and equally of all people irrespective of their religious and other beliefs preached by our saints, sufis and other great thinkers, of the healthy traditions of our national movement, are being tenaciously defended today by the CPI and other left against communalism and fundamentalism of all brands, be it of the majority or the minority brand.xxvi


Since the reformist-Stalinist CPI views India as a “democratic-secular” state which it defends, it refuses to support any insurgencies of oppressed nationalities. Quite the opposite, it considers them as illegitimate and calls the government to bring them down – by negotiations, by smarter tactics or by force. Such states the CPI in an extensive policy document adopted at its XX. Congress in 2008 in a chapter in which it deals with the oppressed nationalities in the North East of India (Assam, Manipur, Nagaland etc.):


Insurgency in North East: The lack of any development in the north-east region of the country and mass unemployment of youths have led to deep frustration and sense of alienation from the national mainstream. This has given rise to a plethora of insurgent outfits. Some have in course of time degenerated into extortionists. Civic life and development activities have been badly affected. A few politicians are in league with these outfits. The causes have to be addressed and serious efforts to develop infrastructure in education, health services, communication, which provide local employment have to be undertaken. At the same time it has been proved that the Armed Forces Special Powers Act has not only failed to curb insurgency, but has actually generated more hostility towards the Centre. It must therefore be repealed and a more humane approach has to be undertaken. The government of India should make all efforts to initiate political dialogue with ULFA and other militant groups without any pre-condition. The experience of the MIZO Accord can be used for initiating dialogue with the militant groups as the issues involved are basically political and economic relating to the region. Myanmar and Bangladesh provide refuge to most of the insurgent outfits, who operate from bases across the border and retreat back there. Government must take up this problem with authorities of these countries, so as to wind up and eliminate their base camps.xxvii


When it deals with Kashmir in the same document, the CPI does not mutter a single word about the right of the Kashmiri people for national self-determination. Not in this document nor anywhere else will one find any mention of keeping the long-standing promise of a plebiscite of the Kashmiri people about living in the Indian state or not. Contrary, the CPI only calls for negotiations between “all political sections and parties” as well as “between India and Pakistan”.


Jammu & Kashmir: To arrive at a solution of the vexed Kashmir problem, it is necessary to have talks with all political sections and parties in the state, in addition to a dialogue between India and Pakistan. Such a solution should meet the aspirations of people of all regions of J&K, including the Pak-occupied region, besides being acceptable to both India and Pakistan.


Corresponding to such a bourgeois social-patriotic mindset, the CPI calls the state apparatus and the secret service to act effectively against “foreign terrorist”, especially those from Pakistan, the arch-enemy of India and hence of every Indian patriot (like the reformist-Stalinist CPI). Such states the CPI in the same political document: “Terrorist Threat: There is a dangerous spurt in terrorist attacks in several parts of the country. The Pak-based ISI is operating from across the borders of some of our neighbouring countries through several outfits. They have targeted major cities, mosques, temples, bazaars where people congregate, killing innocent people, trying to create panic and insecurity. Their sinister aim is to incite communal tension and riots. People have refused to fall victims to such incitements. Intelligence outfits in India have to exercise greater vigilance and coordinate their activities. Those responsible for terrorist acts have to be apprehended and punished. But caution has to be exercised so as not to harass common people in the Muslim community as a whole and not to violate human rights.


All this defence of India against “separatism” and “terrorism” is closely related with the deep social-patriotic attachment of the reformist-Stalinist CPI to the capitalist Indian state. Such the party states, in its official Constitution, its commitment to “patriotism”, defense of the “national unity and national integration” as well as its “true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India as by law established”!


Imbued with lofty idea of patriotism, the Communist Party of India upholds the independence and sovereignty of India, fights for national unity and national integeration and firmly opposes all disruptionist and obscuranist concsptions, communalism, revivalism, untouchability, casteism, religious intolerance and discrimination against and denial of equal rights to women and the Communist Party fights chauvinism and bourgeois nationalism. The communist party of India also firmly upholds the right of all sections of our society of our profess the faith of their choice and practice, but it shall not practice, but it shall not permit preaching of hatred gainst any religion. The Communist Party of India shall bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India as by law established and to the principles of socialism, secularism and democracy and would uphold the sovereignity, unity and integrity of India.xxviii


Surely, the ruling class of India can be assured that the reformist-Stalinist CPI will loyally serve its state as it did already for so many decades!



Communist Party of India (Marxist)




While the CPI(M) split from the CPI in 1964, the two parties never had any serious disagreements about the fundamental principles of defending the capitalist Indian state against liberation struggles of its oppressed nations (or against the peasant rebellions led by the Maoists) or against foreign enemies like Pakistan. Likewise they have always shared the strategy of alliances with bourgeois parties and forming joint governments with them. Unsurprisingly, the CPI and the CPI(M) have formed a close alliance since decades (they constituted the “Left Front” in 1989) and they usually act in consultation with each other. As mentioned above, both the CPI as well as the CPI(M) are affiliated with the loose Stalinist alliance called International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties (IMCWP) which has been initiated by the Greek KKE.


Let us look now how the CPI(M) reacted to the 5 August revocation announcement. While its statement is a bit more extensive than that of the CPI, it basically contains the same social-patriotic line which negates the right of national self-determination and praises India’s constitution and its “national unity” (irrespective if the people want it nor not!). In fact, the CPI(M) statement is even worse since it repeats the old Indian chauvinist lie that “the people of Kashmir had acceded to India in the face of invaders from Pakistan” – an insult to the historical truth as well as to the people of Kashmir who have never been allowed to express their opinion on the occupation by India in 1947!


The people of Kashmir had acceded to India in the face of invaders from Pakistan and a solemn commitment had been made to them by the Indian State to provide them with special status and autonomy which was embodied in Article 370. The Modi government has betrayed the people of Jammu & Kashmir by going back on this commitment. It is universally acknowledged that the unity of India lies in its diversity. The BJP-RSS rulers cannot tolerate any diversity and the federal principle. They are treating Jammu & Kashmir as occupied territory. Trampling on the Constitution, they are converting Jammu-Kashmir and Ladakh as two centrally-ruled Union Territories. This is the biggest attack on national unity and the concept of India as a Union of States. (…) The strengthening of the bonds of the people of Jammu & Kashmir with the rest of India should have been through the process of political dialogue with all stakeholders, as promised by the government three years ago. Instead, such an unilateral step will only deepen the alienation. This is harmful for the unity and integrity of India. The CPI(M) denounces these measures taken by the Modi government. They are illegal and unconstitutional. This is not an issue confined to Jammu & Kashmir alone, they constitute an attack on democracy, secularism and the Constitution itself.xxix


This statement is not an isolated case. It is part of the political DNA of Indian Stalinism to support and to spread the classic myth of Indian chauvinism that the Kashmiri people voluntary desired to join India in 1947. In a comprehensive document of its Central Committee on Kashmir, the CPI(M) states: The assault by the raiders from Pakistan was seen as a threat to the identity of the Kashmiri people and they rose against the raiders to defend their Kashmiriyat. India earned the goodwill of the people by going to their help. But the urge of the Kashmiri people to preserve their own identity and way of life in the face of continuous violations of the commitments made has been the root cause for the sentiment of “azadi” (i.e. the wish of the people to become independent of India! Ed.).” The same argument is repeated at the end of the same statement: “We have to highlight the fact that the people of the Valley had fought against the raiders from Pakistan and opted to join the Indian Union. xxx


However, even such social-chauvinists must admit that the Kashmiri people support the slogan of “Azadi Kashmir” and want to separate from India today. The same statement continues: “But the urge of the Kashmiri people to preserve their own identity and way of life in the face of continuous violations of the commitments made has been the root cause for the sentiment of “azadi” (i.e. the wish of the people to become independent of India! Ed.).


In another recently published declaration the CPI(M) is also forced to admit that the Kashmiri people hate the Indian state and don’t want to live any longer in this country. In its “Appeal to Citizens for a Secular United India”, the CPI(M) admit:But why is it that today almost the entire valley (this is the most populous part of Kashmir and the heart of the liberation struggle, Ed.) is aliented? Pakistan has undoubtedly played a role in funding and supporting separatist militancy, but that cannot explain the deep frustration of the youth in particular and their desperation.xxxi


As we see, the Indian Stalinists cannot refrain from putting a major responsibility for the popular resistance in Kashmir to the arch-enemy of the ruling class in Delhi – Pakistan. The same idea is repeated in the above mentioned CC statement of 2010: “The growing signs of alienation and the anger against the Indian State was fully utilized by the Pakistan-backed forces. (…) Infiltration of these hardcore militants and Kashmiri boys who had crossed over, provided the main strike force for militancy in the Valley. This was a period when Jammu & Kashmir was convulsed by terrorist violence by militants and counter-insurgency operations by the armed forces.xxxii


So what shall be done, according to the reformist-Stalinist CPI(M)? Its advise to India’s ruling class is to soften the repression, to negotiate more but, at the same time, to smash the “terrorists”. But granting the Kashmiri people what has been the classic Marxist position of national self-determination or, more concretely, a plebiscite about the status of the region? No way!


In the comprehensive CC 2010 statement mentioned above, the CPI(M) explicitly praised the Pakistani military dictator Musharraf for accepting that there should be no “plebiscite or redrawing of boundaries” (i.e. refusing the will of the Kashmiri people to separate from India)! “It also noted as positive, the announcement by President Musharraf that a plebiscite or redrawing of boundaries cannot be attempted. xxxiii


No, the CPI(M) insists that Kashmir must remain part of the Indian state, irrespective of the fact that its people want to separate. The central task, according to the Stalinist CPI(M) leadership, is to soften the resistance of the Kashmiris via some reforms. Basically, the party considers the constitution and the framework of the capitalist Indian state as fully sufficient to deal with the national questions. The problem, according to these social-patriots, is only that the ruling class did not implement the constitution! Characteristically, the following question seems to have never penetrated into the mind of the CPI(M) leadership: how can it be the case that it has been the very same ruling class which elaborated this Constitution, which implemented it over the decades and which, let us not forget this, has been repeatedly supported by these “Communist” parties?!


Consequently, the CPI(M) demands nothing else than simply keeping the old status of Kashmir and implementing the “spirit” of the Constitution. “Our Party has held the position from the 1970s that the erosion of autonomy within the purview of Article 370 has been harmful. We have seen the question of Jammu & Kashmir as a test case for Indian secularism and democracy. We have sought to situate the J&K problem in the framework of the Indian Union which can accommodate a special status for J&K which embodies the aspirations of the people. In successive Party Congresses, particularly from the 14th Congress in 1992, the Party has called for the provision of maximum autonomy to the state of Jammu & Kashmir so as to assure the people of Kashmir that their identity will be protected. We had also advocated that regional autonomy be provided to the regions of Jammu & Kashmir within the framework of this overall autonomy. As the 17th Congress Political Resolution pointed out, “Kashmir is not just a territorial dispute as far as the Indian Union is concerned. It is a test of the secular nature of the Republic and whether the commitment made to the Kashmiri people, who rebuffed the Pakistani raiders in 1947 and acceded to India will be fulfilled. (…) The consistent stand our Party has taken is that Jammu & Kashmir has a special status which was reflected in the adoption of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. At the heart of the matter lies how in letter and spirit its autonomy and special status can be restored. Our concept of maximum autonomy is built around the necessity for a political agreement, which should be acceptable to the people, whereby the state of Jammu & Kashmir would remain as part of the Indian Union but by fulfilling the commitment made to the state and the people in 1948.xxxiv


In its electoral manifesto published a few months ago, the CPI(M) demands various reforms while keeping Kashmir within the Indian state: “The CPI(M) is committed to: A political solution to the Kashmir problem based on maximum autonomy for the state based on the full scope of Article 370 of the Constitution; autonomous set-up to be created with the regions of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh being given regional autonomy; oppose all the attempts to remove or review Article 35 (A) of the Constitution. Urgently initiating a political process through a dialogue/talks with all concerned parties. Strong steps to be taken to prevent excesses by security forces against innocent people; ban use of pellet guns and other lethal weapons on protesters. Initiating Confidence Building Measures in Kashmir, by talking to all sections of the society and acting upon their genuine grievances. Ensure economic development of the state, focusing particularly on generating employment for the youth and reconstructing the damaged infrastructure. Complete withdrawal of AFSPA.” xxxv


Such a strategy of reforms is combined with the strong commitment of the reformist-Stalinist CPI(M) to fight against “separatism” and “terrorism” in Kashmir: “At the same time India is faced with the threat of terrorist attacks which have taken innocent lives and which threaten India’s security. In Kashmir in particular the incidents of terror attacks have seen a rise of 176 per cent in the last five years of the Modi regime. The cross border support for these terror attacks continues, the most recent one being the horrific attack in Pulwama taking the lives of 40 CRPF personnel. The entire country is unified against these terror attacks. The CPI(M) has been unequivocal in its fight against terror. In Kashmir, the CPIM) cadre has waged an extremely courageous struggle for upholding constitutional values for democracy and against separatist forces, at great risk to their own lives.xxxvi


As in the case of its twin – the CPI – the CPI(M) is proud of its historic record to defend the “national unity” of India against “separatist forces” (i.e. against liberation fighters of oppressed nationalities!). Such it states in its official program (adopted in 1964 and confirmed and updated in 2000) that “hundreds of its courageous activists sacrificed their lives” against the “separatists” all over the country! “The Party was in the forefront of the struggle to defend the unity of the people when threats arose to national unity in the form of disruptive separatist movements. Hundreds of courageous Party activists sacrificed their lives in the struggle against the separatist and divisive forces in Punjab, Tripura, Assam, West Bengal and Kashmir.xxxvii


As in the case of Kashmir, the CPI(M) is aware that various nationalities in the North-East are opposed to the Indian state. But instead of supporting those forces who fight for the rights of these nationalities, the CPI(M) denounces them as “extremists” who have to be defeated. Such state the same program:


The problems of national unity have been aggravated due to the bourgeois-landlord policies pursued after independence. The north eastern region of the country which is home to a large number of minority nationalities and ethnic groups has suffered the most from the uneven development and regional imbalances fostered by capitalist development. This has provided fertile ground for the growth of extremist elements who advocate separatism and are utilised by imperialist agencies. The violent activities of the extremists and the ethnic strife hamper developmental work and democratic activities.


In fact, as this quotes show, the CPI(M) denounces all guerilla movements of oppressed nationalities in India as “extremists” and “terrorists”. This becomes also evident from the following quote from a recently published CPI(M) pamphlet: “The BJP claims that Article 370 had bred separatism and terrorism in J&K. This is an entirely self-serving argument like that given for demonetisation. (…) Other States have also seen prolonged periods of terrorism. There was no Article 370 when Khalistani elements wrecked havoc through terror acts in Punjab. There was no 370 when large parts of the north east were wrecked by terror acts. There were and are political and economic circumstances which create grounds for terrorist groups and acts. The fact is that it is the erosion of autonomy under Article 370 and brutal suppression of democracy which sparked off the discontent and alienation that led to the rise of separatism and the growth of terrorism aided and abetted by Pakistan and the Pakistani-backed Islamist forces such as the Hizbul Mujahiddin and later the hardcore Pakistan-based terrorist groups like the Jaish-e-Mohammed and the Lashkar-e-Taiba.xxxviii


Consequently, in case of a conflict between such “separatist forces” and the Indian army, these Stalinists stand unconditionally on the side of the latter. This has been also evident after the Pulwama attack earlier this year when a Kashmiri guerrilla fighter launched a successful martyr operation against the occupation army and killed 40 soldiers. The CPI(M) leadership stated in a resolution at that time: “The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) strongly condemns the terrorist attack mounted on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama in Jammu & Kashmir. (...) The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) conveys its heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families of the personnel who laid down their lives in the line of duty. xxxix




Excurse: The CPI(M) as a Social-Patriotic Advocate of the Indian Army




At this point it is useful to provide another graphic example of the social-patriotic nature of the CPI(M) as exemplified in the party’s approach to India’s army. The leadership recently published a long essay in its theoretical journal about the need for reforms in India’s arms industry in order to make this capitalist state more self-reliant and stronger. Otherwise, as the CPI(M) leadership worries, how could India defeat its arch-enemy Pakistan?!


In its official Editorial, the party introduces the essay with the following remarks: “As several defence analysts have pointed out, Indian armed forces badly need modernization. ‘The Army has 68 per cent vintage, 24 per cent current and only 8 per cent state-of-the-art equipment. The accumulated deficit in weapons and ammunition is such that India would be strained to withstand 10 days of conflict, a weakness noted during the 1999 Kargil conflict and not changed much since.’ (…) Instead of strengthening domestic public sector units which have served the country all these decades to the best of their ability, this government has opened up this sector which will further undermine our self-reliant capacities so crucial in a sector important for our national security.xl


The essay itself details its advice for an effective modernization of India’s military forces: “In light of the above, this essay argues that the current policy framework for defence procurement, production and R&D needs to be completely overhauled, along with all its processes and institutional mechanisms. An explicit goal of maximizing technological self-reliance and indigenous development of defence hardware needs to be built in, with a strategically conceived long-term perspective and effective oversight mechanisms. In this, priority must be given to upgrading and revamping the existing massive infrastructure and R&D capability in the public sector, while planning the development of synergistically linked capabilities in competent private sector entities, so as to broaden the defence industry base. (…) It is high time, India moves in the right direction, and, for the long-term good of the nation and its armed forces, takes concerted steps to restore self-reliance to its rightful centrality in the defence procurement system. xli


Hence the CPI(M) journal advises India‘s ruling class to learn from Western imperialist states: “Instead, planned missions for military platforms and filling critical technology gaps are necessary, conceptualized with a long-term vision through institutionalized multi-stakeholder mechanisms. Institutional frameworks in the US, UK and France may serve as exemplars and for best practices. The historical disconnect in India between hardware procurement and the goal of self-reliance can also be overcome in this manner and must be built into such a mechanism.xlii


In other words, the CPI(M) serves as an adviser to “make India great and self-reliant again“so that it can become an imperialist power! What a splendid example of “Communists” who trample underfoot the very idea of anti-capitalism, anti-militarism and internationalism and who serve in fact as advisers for an aspiring capitalist intermediate power!




Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist)




Finally we will also briefly mention another orthodox Stalinist party – the Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist). While this party is much smaller than the CPI and the CPI(M), it has a long history and a certain regional base (particularly in West Bengal). It also has sometimes some regional and federal parliamentary deputies.


The SUCI(C) essentially shares the same social-patriotic approach on the Kashmir question like its two larger rivals. Albeit its statement on the 5 August revocation announcement is a bit more blatant in recognizing the reality of India’s state repression, these orthodox Stalinists share the understanding that Kashmir must remain part of India and the “secessionist forces” have to be be defeated:


It is to be recalled that at the time of transfer of power Kashmir, which was up till then an independent kingdom, was given option either to join India or Pakistan or to remain independent. At that time Pakistan invaders attacked Kashmir for occupation, established their rule over a part of Kashmir but larger part of Kashmir people led by nationalist leader Sheikh Abdullah voluntarily joined India on some conditions preserving certain rights of Jammu & Kashmir people which was incorporated as Article 370 in the Indian Constitution. Kashmir thus became an integral part of India. It was necessary on the part of the then Congress led Indian Government to develop Kashmir economically, socially, culturally and democratically to win over the Kashmir people to facilitate their full integration gradually with rest of the country. But Congress led Central Government instead of adopting those measures resorted to bureaucratically rule over Kashmir diluting Article 370 causing resentment among Kashmir people taking advantage of which Pakistan indulged in a proxy war against India and in its course gave all out support to those armed separatists and secessionist forces working within Jammu & Kashmir. Instead of rectifying its mistakes successive Congress Governments adopted ruthless suppression of Kashmir people which alienated a considerable section of the people of Kashmir and as its consequence further strengthened the hands of the secessionist forces. Under the circumstances when it was necessary for full implementation of Article 370 to win over Kashmir people, isolate and defeat Pakistan backed secessionist forces, this unilateral scrapping of Article 370 not only further alienates people of Kashmir but also will strengthen secessionist forces.xliii



Excurse: On the Background of Stalinist Social-Patriotism in India




We think that we have demonstrated sufficiently the social-patriotic nature of the main reformist Stalinist parties in India and its treacherous support for the capitalist state against the liberation struggle of oppressed nationalities. One might ask: what is the political fundament of such a full-fledged social-chauvinism?


As this is not the place to examine in detail the history of Indian Stalinism, we limit ourselves to identify several crucial factors. First and foremost, social-patriotism has always been part of the political DNA of Stalinism all around the world for many decades. We refer, to give just a few examples, to the full support of the “Communist” parties to Anglo-American imperialism during World War II which resulted, among others, in the CPI denouncing the anti-British popular uprising in 1942 (“Quit India Movement”) as a “fascist provocation”. xliv Likewise, we saw after World War II the Stalinist parties joining government with bourgeois and social democratic parties in order to consolidate the capitalist order (until the bourgeoisie did no longer need the Stalinists and kicked them out). Later, Stalinist parties repeated such support by joining bourgeois governments (e.g. in France 1981-84 and 1997-2002). We note in passing that, to take the example of the French PCF, the Stalinists supported, as such a governmental party, neoliberal austerity policy as well as imperialist wars (against Serbia in 1999 and against Afghanistan in 2001).


Other examples for the Stalinists support of bourgeois governments are the support of the PKI for Indonesia’s President General Sukarno (until the PKI was destroyed in 1965) or the support of the Iranian Tudeh party for the Khomeini regime (until it was smashed by the same regime in 1982). xlv


The traditional theoretical fundament for such pro-capitalist policy has been the Stalinist theory of “socialism in one country” as well as their stagiest theory of the revolution. Opposing the internationalist program developed by Lenin and the Bolsheviks and later defended by Trotsky’s Fourth International, the Stalinists declared that socialism, i.e. a prosperous society with a higher living standard for the population than capitalism can provide, could be built in a single country without the victory of the working class in other countries. This illusion was based on the belief that it was possible for “socialist” states to peacefully co-exist with imperialist states. It was only necessary that the working class succeeds in stopping the imperialist bourgeoisie from interfering and attacking the socialist countries. They ignored the fundamental truth, stated by Lenin and many other Marxists, that war is inevitable in capitalism and that the imperialists will never and can never peacefully co-exist with a workers state. Hence, the imperialists provoked World War II, the Korea War, the Vietnam War and the Cold War between the West and the USSR until the collapse of the latter in 1989-91. xlvi


From this followed that the foreign policy of the Soviet Union, and hence the policy of the Communist International, had to serve no longer the goal to internationalize the revolution, but rather to help building ”socialism” in Stalin’s USSR. xlvii As it is well know, the result of such a reformist conception was the global stabilization of capitalism, bureaucratic dictatorships in the Stalinist states and finally their collapse respectively their transformation in fully-fledged capitalist regimes (e.g. China, Vietnam, Cuba) xlviii


Likewise did the stagiest conception of the revolution result in numerous defeats for the working class. This theory was elaborated by the Stalinists in the later 1920s and became fully-fledged in the mid-1930s under the name “popular front”. According to this theory, the working class should seek an alliance with sectors of the bourgeoisie. It should focus – together with these bourgeois partners – to establish a non-socialist stage. This stage has been attributed with various names (“popular democracy”, “anti-fascist democracy”, “anti-monopolist democracy”, “new democracy”, etc). Whatever is the name, the essence is the same: in this stage the working class should not strive to take power. It should not employ any tactics which could endanger their alliance with sectors of the bourgeoisie. Only when this stage has been successfully established and such a non-socialist “democracy” implemented, only than the working class might strive for the next, socialist, stage.


The basis of the popular front strategy is the delusion that there exist fundamental, antagonistic contradictions within the ruling class, i.e. between different factions of the bourgeoisie, which would allow the working class to create an alliance with one of these factions without subordinating its own class interests. Again, history has demonstrated that such a strategy ends in subordinating the working class to the interests of a sector of the bourgeoisie.


Leon Trotsky, a key leader of the socialist October Revolution in 1917 at the side of Lenin, warned against these Stalinist theories. He explained in his book on the permanent revolution: “It is precisely here that we come up against the two mutually exclusive standpoints: the international revolutionary theory of the permanent revolution and the national-reformist theory of socialism in one country. Not only backward China, but in general no country in the world can build socialism within its own national limits: the ‘highly-developed productive forces which have grown beyond national boundaries resist this, just as do those forces which are insufficiently developed for nationalization. The dictatorship of the proletariat in Britain, for example, will encounter difficulties and contradictions, different in character, it is true, but perhaps not slighter than those that will confront the dictatorship of the proletariat in China. Surmounting these contradictions is possible in both cases only by way of the international revolution. This standpoint leaves no room for the question of the ‘maturity’ or ‘immaturity’ of China for the socialist transformation. What remains indisputable here is that the backwardness of China makes the tasks of the proletarian dictatorship extremely difficult. But we repeat: History is not made to order, and the Chinese proletariat has no choice.xlix


Trotsky also warned about the danger of the popular front strategy. He emphasized that the working class must struggle independently of the bourgeoisie (without excluding specific joint actions with sectors of the petty-bourgeoisie or even, in a semi-colonial country, the bourgeoisie itself against imperialism and its lackeys). Instead of the popular front, Marxists argue for the formation of a united front of mass working class and oppressed organizations to mobilize actions against imperialism and the bourgeoisie. Such a strategy calls for sharply criticizing reformist forces with which the united front tactic is adopted whenever the reformists betray the class struggle.


Trotsky characterized the question of the popular (people’s) front as “the main question of proletarian class strategy”: “The question of questions at present is the People’s Front. The left centrists seek to present this question as a tactical or even as a technical maneuver, so as to be able to peddle their wares in the shadow of the People’s Front. In reality, the People’s Front is the main question of proletarian class strategy for this epoch. It also offers the best criterion for the difference between Bolshevism and Menshevism. For it is often forgotten that the greatest historical example of the People’s Front is the February 1917 revolution. From February to October, the Mensheviks and Social Revolutionaries, who represent a very good parallel to the ‘Communists’ and Social Democrats, were in the closest alliance and in a permanent coalition with the bourgeois party of the Cadets, together with whom they formed a series of coalition governments. Under the sign of this People’s Front stood the whole mass of the people, including the workers’, peasants’, and soldiers’ councils. To be sure, the Bolsheviks participated in the councils. But they did not make the slightest concession to the People’s Front. Their demand was to break this People’s Front, to destroy the alliance with the Cadets, and to create a genuine workers’ and peasants’ government. All the People’s Fronts in Europe are only a pale copy and often a caricature of the Russian People’s Front of 1917, which could after all lay claim to a much greater justification for its existence, for it was still a question of the struggle against czarism and the remnants of feudalism.l


Like its sister parties around the world, Indian Stalinism has also throughout its history loyally implemented this reformist popular front strategy. It always orientated towards building an alliance with the bourgeois Congress Party as the representative of India’s “national bourgeoisie”. In its program adopted in 1951, the CPI called for a “broad alliance with the national bourgeoisie”: “Our Party calls upon the toiling millions, the working class, the peasantry, the toiling intelligentsia, the middle classes as well as the national bourgeoisie interested in the freedom of the country and the development of prosperous life to unite into a single democratic front in order to attain complete independence of our country, the emancipation of the peasants from the oppression of the feudals, improvement in the life of all working people, to bring about a major forward stride in our agriculture, a major forward stride in our national industry and secure the cultural advancement of our


The Stalinists continued to identify the Indian bourgeoisie and the Congress Party with “anti-imperialist patriotism” and the defence of the country’s independence throughout the whole time. In 1970, on the centenary of the birth of Lenin, the CPI published a book called “Lenin and India”. In one of the contributions the CPI leader S. G. Sardesi wrote: “It was the organisers and leaders of nation freedom movement, the politically conscious people of India that took friends and supporters abroad, that took pride in India’s nationhood as the basis of its right to national independence (...) The main point is that India’s anti imperialist patriotic movement and its spokesmen and ideologies, one and all spoke of Indian national movement, of national unity and awakening of national perspective, and so on. And the main organised expression of this consciousness became the Indian National Congress (…) The problem, which the rising Indian bourgeoisie in different parts of the country faced, was not for them being strangulated, or ousted from the home market. It had to be captured not by one group of the Indian bourgeoisie from another but by all of them from the dominating, oppressing British bourgeoisie. Under the given conditions, it was historically both natural and inevitable that the Indian bourgeoisie, irrespective of language, should seek to build a common national movement.lii


Likewise, it called in a key policy document from 1953 the “liquidation of feudalism” (instead of the rule of the capitalist class) as the main objective for which the party proclaimed to build “a broad-based nationwide united front of all anti-imperialist classes (including the national bourgeoisie).” liii


As a result of this strategy, the CPI formed various electoral alliances with the Congress Party on regional levels. In Kerala for example it formed an alliance with the local Congress Party which helped it to constitute a government against the rival Stalinist CPI(M) in 1970. liv


This strategic orientation towards an alliance with the “national bourgeoisie” even went so far that the CPI supported the Congress Party government of Indira Gandhi when the latter declared the state of emergency in India in June 1975. This state of emergency lasted for nearly two years and resulted in mass arrests of many opposition politicians and the censorship of the press. Nevertheless, the CPI proclaimed that the action was "necessary and justified”! lv


The CPI suffered a split in 1964 which resulted in the formation of the CPI(M). While the latter initially opposed the party’s strategic orientation towards alliances with the Congress Party, it soon replicated the same strategy by forming alliances with other bourgeois forces. Later, it dropped its opposition altogether and adopted the same strategic orientation towards the Congress Party.


Like the CPI, the CPI(M) has a long record of supporting bourgeois government (like the UPA government in 2004-08 led by the Congress Party lvi) or by governing regional states. The most prominent example for the later is its domination of West Bengal which it ruled via the “Left Front” from 1977 to 2011. During this period the party not only suppressed peasant rebellions but increasingly collaborated with imperialist monopolies. It dispossessed peasants whose land was then handed over to multi-national corporations, while unleashing the police and its own party thugs against those who fought back. Unsurprisingly, this provoked massive protests and the CPI(M) lost power in the elections of 2011.


We note in passing that both the CPI as well as the CPI(M) are affiliated with the so-called International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties (IMCWP), a loose Stalinist alliance that was initiated by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) in 1998. lvii


While the popular frontist strategy of the CPI was certainly initiated in the 1930s by the directives of Stalin it would be mistaken to reduce it simply to the leadership subordination to Moscow. If that would have been the case one could have expected the CPI(M) to break with such a reformist orientation. And the CPI would have had no reason to continue this strategy after the collapse of the USSR in 1991. However, as a matter of fact, both “Communist” parties continued their arch-opportunist policy until this day – as the example of Kashmir demonstrate so shamefully.


What are the reasons for this? Again, at this point we have to limit ourselves only to a brief overview. First, it is crucial to understand that the CPI’s strategic orientation to an alliance with the ruling class resulted in a deep integration of the Stalinist into the bourgeois state apparatus. Years and decades of participation in regional governments have led to a thorough bourgeoisification of these parties. To put it simply, the bureaucracy of the two parties have been allowed by the ruling class to join the feed trough of power and they have become fully addicted! This is an international phenomenon as one can see with numerous social democratic parties.


Secondly, there are some specific features of Indian Stalinism which seem to us important to understand. There has been hardly any other capitalist state in the world which had some form of alliance with the Stalinist USSR for such a long period! India played a central role in the USSR’s foreign policy from more or less the beginning of India’s existence in 1947 until the collapse of the USSR in 1991.


For the Stalinist bureaucracy, the criterion to judge a political force as progressive or reactionary was pretty simple: what is its attitude toward the leadership of the Soviet Union? Hence, when Hitler had an interest in making a deal with Stalin, he became an objectively progressive force. At that time, Hitler’s enemies were considered as “reactionary”. Naturally, this ended when Hitler attacked the USSR in 1941. From now on, Hitler’s enemies were Stalin’s friends. lviii Later, the same policy was continued. When de Gaulle opposed some aspects of Washington’s foreign policy in the 1960s and withdrew from some NATO institutions, Moscow advised the PCF to deploy a more friendly policy towards the government in Paris. And, we note as an aside, the French Stalinists saved the de Gaulle government through its reactionary policy of demobilization of the masses in May 1968! lix


Mao Zedong repeated the same method. After he broke with Moscow he became friend with then U.S. President Nixon. Soon Beijing would collaborate with Washington against “social-imperialist Russia”. Likewise since China had conflicts with India, the military dictatorships in Pakistan became “progressive forces”.


Stalin’s approach has been pointedly formulated by one of his key associates in 1949: “As Zhukov so candidly put it in his June 1949 report to the Academy: "The progressive character of this or that social movement, the revolutionary or reactionary nature of this or that party at the present time is determined by its attitude toward the Soviet Union . . . therefore, the controversy as to what stage the colonial bourgeoisie begins to play a reactionary role can be solved only under the circumstances when an answer is given to the main question." lx


As Britain and the US lent some support to Pakistan, the Indian bourgeoisie was open to some form of alliance with the Moscow. Later this alliance was strengthened when China – a key rival of India’s ruling class – broke with the USSR.


For all these reasons, Moscow pushed the Indian Stalinists to view India and its ruling class as a progressive force. Everything had to be opposed which would have weakened this ally of the “fatherland of socialism”. Hence, movements of oppressed nationalities (like the Kashmiri) were to be opposed as they would only have weakened India – Moscow’s ally – and strengthened its rivals.


All these helped to foster the image of India as a “progressive state” and hence intensified the identification of India’s Stalinists with “their state”. This was also supported by various clever propagandistic moves by India’s ruling class like. For example, Indira Gandhi amended the constitution in 1976 and inserted the characterization of the Indian state as “socialist”. Hence, up to this day, the Indian Constitution starts with a preamble: “WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC … lxi


We note, as an aside, that this fact is highly telling for two reasons. First, the amendment to introduce the word “socialist” into the Constitution was adopted in 1976, i.e. in the midst of the authoritarian rule of the capitalist government of the Congress Party during the state of emergency. Secondly, it demonstrates how little the meaning of such empty phrases is when we have an extremely right-wing government in India which rules the country since a number of years without being hampered in any way by such a constitution. Let this be a lesson to those who claim that the ideological self-description of a party or a state should be relevant for Marxists in characterizing such forces!


For all these reasons, the social-chauvinism of the Indian Stalinists always had a peculiar character. They opposed the Hindutva chauvinism of the BJP which perspectives for non-Hindu minorities are limited to expulsion, forced conversion or total subjugations. The social-chauvinism of the Stalinists has a different character. It is “secular” and “enlightened”. The national minorities can keep their specific identities but they must accept to remain as minorities in a Hindu-majority state. All this is justified by claiming that this would be necessary for the “anti-feudal” and “anti-imperialist” struggle.


We see the same Stalinist logic in other cases. The Moscow bureaucracy deported the Chechens and Tatars in 1944 by claiming that they were “agents of German fascism“. The Stalinists justified the Serbian occupation of Kosovo because this was “a stronghold of jihadists and drug-dealers.” The KKE justifies the defence of the “Greek fatherland” because Turkey represents “NATO imperialism” (ignoring the fact that Greece itself is a member of NATO) and “Islamism.” However, while the ideological justifications might differ, the results are in essence the same: an oppressed nation is forced to remain part of a state which is strongly rejects!


Finally, we want to point out a historic parallel. We have repeatedly emphasized the similarity of Kashmir and Palestine. There is also a similarity in the field of ideology. Right-wing Zionism has been always full-blown racism against the “filthy Arabs” with the desire to drive them off. Left-wing Zionism, as it has been advocated by Maki (Israel’s Communist Party) and other forces, strongly opposes these ultra-racists. However, they insist that there must be a Jewish state in historic Palestine in which the Palestinians remain a minority and those millions who have been expelled in the past have no right to return. lxii All this is combined with socialist phrases and cheers for internationalism! The Indian case is pretty similar with the BJP resembling the right-wing Zionists and the Indian Stalinists the left-wing Zionists.


In summary, we think that there are several general as well as some country-specific reasons why India’s Stalinists are such staunch patriots of its capitalist state.



5. Platonic Acceptance of Right of National Self-Determination and Opposition to “Separatism” (CPI(ML) Liberation, WSP)




In this chapter we will deal with forces which are do not share the blatant social-chauvinist rejection of national self-determination of the Kashmiri people. However, as we will show, these forces limit themselves to a pure platonic support for this right and in effect lend support to the social-patriotism quiet similar to the Stalinist main parties with which we dealt before.



Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation




The Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation (CPI[ML] Liberation) Liberation is one of the signatory parties of the Joint Statement of left-wing parties on the the revocation of Article 370. It would exceed the limits of this pamphlet to deal with the history of this organization. In brief, the CPI(ML) Liberation is one of a number of organizations which resulted from the splitting process of the historic CPI(ML). This party was founded in April 1969 as a result of splits and fusions of forces – around the All India Coordination Committee of Communist Revolutionaries – which broke with the CPI(M) two years before because of its left-reformist line.


The CPI(ML) – whose most prominent leaders where Charu Majumdar, Kanu Sanyal and Jangal Santhal – was a significant left-wing split with a mass basis in a number of states. It played a leading role in armed uprisings of poor peasants (“Naxalbari”; from this derives the name “Naxalites” which is often used for India’s Maoists). However, the party soon splintered into numerous groups. This was, on one hand, the result of the severe repression (Charu Majumdar, for example, was killed in prison by the police in 1972, Kanu Sanyal spent seven years in jail). On the other hand, the Maoist movement was riven with many severe differences (annihilation line – mass line – protracted people’s war; boycott of parliamentary elections out of principle?; work in trade unions?; etc.). These differences and splits often took the form of physical violence and mutual killings. lxiii


There exist still a number of different organizations coming from the CPI(ML) tradition. A number are small splitter groups, others however play an active role in mass movements and struggles. Among the latter are the CPI(Maoists), with which we will deal below, and the CPI(ML) Liberation. The latter claims to have 100,000 members and has deputies in state legislative assemblies of Bihar and Jharkhand as well as in panchayats (local councils) of Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, and Punjab. It had also for some time a single deputy in the Lok Sabha (federal parliament). lxiv


The CPI(ML) Liberation has overcome a lot of the ultra-left deviations which were characteristic of the Maoist movement. However, this resulted not only in the willingness to cooperate with other forces but also in the accelerating opportunistic adaptation to reformist politics. An example for this is the fact that the CPI(ML) has followed the reformist Stalinist parties in its popular front policy of support for the bourgeois Congress Party against the BJP. In an interview earlier this year, Kavita Krishnan, a member of the Politburo of the CPI(ML), stated the party’s approach quiet clearly. When asked about the tactics of the party at the elections in April-May, comrade Krishnan answered: “The CPI-ML is contesting 22 seats [across 10 states]: 4 in Bihar; 3 each in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab; 2 each in West Bengal, Jharkand, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu; and 1 each in Puducherry and Uttarkand. We are calling for a vote for opposition candidates against the BJP: the priority is to defeat the BJP, especially in Bihar and Jarkhand. We are working very hard in the seats we are contesting … and in other seats … to support candidates from other parties against the BJP. In the seat of Arrah [in Bihar state], another opposition party, the Rashtriya Janata Dal, has made a gesture of leaving that seat for us … We have reciprocated by saying we will not put up a candidate against them in the seat of Pataliputra. It would have made a lot of sense for the anti-BJP alliance to have included the CPI-ML, but it pointedly kept the CPI-ML and other left parties out, even at the cost of weakening the possibility of candidates defeating the BJP. lxv


The consequence of this statement is quiet evident: since “the opposition” is the UPA alliance led by the Congress Party, this means nothing else but the support of the CPI(ML) Liberation for one of the two main parties of India’s capitalist class. As Krishnan says in the interview her party even tried (unsuccessfully) to join the alliance with the Congress Party! This position is the Indian version of supporting Clinton against Trump and of supporting Democratic Party candidates against Republicans. It is the classic Stalinist popular front policy!


The party’s position on the national liberation struggle in Kashmir is another clear example for its reformist degeneration. In its statements on Modi’s revocation of Article 370 the CPI(ML) Liberation refrains from any commitment to, or even mentioning of, the Kashmiri’s right of national self-determination. Instead it calls to fight for a “democratic and federal India”. While briefly dealing with Kashmir’s accession to India in 1947, it doesn’t mutter a word about the fact that this was an occupation against the will of the people! Even worse, they praise Sheikh Abdullah, a key figure in promoting Kashmir’s accession to India at that time (“the tallest leader of Kashmir”)! lxvi


In short, what we can see in the party’s reaction to the 5 August event is a very similar line to the larger reformist Stalinist parties – not accidental given the strategic collaboration with the CPI and CPI(M) at elections and other fields since years. Let us look now to the relevant programmatic documents of this party and, after this, to its practical conclusions.


In its program, the CPI(ML) Liberation recognizes the fact that there exist various forms of national oppression in India: India is a land of several nationalities and ethno-lingual groupings. Growing economic and cultural interaction and mutual assimilation backed by decades of unity forged in the course of anti-colonial freedom movement and anti-imperialist and democratic struggles have lent a unified Indian face to the multinational mosaic of our society. But this process of evolution of people's unity suffers from pronounced regional disparities and a policy of blatant discrimination and relentless suppression on the part of the chauvinistic and over-centralised Indian state as witnessed most glaringly in Kashmir and the Northeast. Various nationalities and national minorities are, therefore, pushed into prolonged struggles for various forms and degrees of self-determination. Apart from brutally suppressing these aspirations and struggles, the state also resorts to divide-and-rule manipulations and counter-insurgency manoeuvres, fomenting narrow ethnic and fratricidal clashes and sustaining an environment of relentless violence and insecurity for innocent civilians.


As part of its program for democratic revolution, the CPI(ML) Liberation states the need to “… organise, support and unite with the struggles of oppressed nationalities for the right of self-determination, of religious minorities for religious and cultural freedom, and of tribal communities and other indigenous people for dignity, equality and justice. lxvii


If one reads this statement carefully, one will recognize that while it mentions algebraically the “right of self-determination” the program does not mention a single time explicitly the “right to separation and to form an independent state”. This is not accidental as a long theoretical article on the national question written by one of its leaders reveals.


This article confirms the formal support of the CPI(ML) Liberation to the right of national self-determination. “Our programme recognises the right of the nationalities for self-determination including the right to secede. It also calls for national unification and visualises a federal India with maximum possible autonomy for states. lxviii


This quote already reveals that the party promotes the “national unification of a federal India”. In order to support his case, the author presents a rosy picture of the emergence of India and its character. “In 1947 when the national unification was achieved it was by abolishing the feudal principalities and on the basis of creating conditions for capitalist development. Hence this historical step forward was not opposed by any nationality in a significant way. But after more than four decades of capitalist development this distorted process of capitalism itself has created new inequalities, discrimination and oppression of the nationalities. Hence the nationalities question is back on the agenda on a qualitatively new and higher plane with a qualitatively different content. So the argument that the nationalities question has already been fully solved in 1947 itself is grossly out of place. The Indian bourgeoisie was not so weak as in the case of many other newly independent Third World countries. Though certain regional sections were relatively stronger initially they were effectively assimilated subsequently. The Indian big bourgeoisie derives its forces from almost all major nationalities and even from among the small national minorities the elites are periodically assimilated into the power structure. In India the state is not dominated by one nationality and there is no oppression by a single or a group of nationalities over others. The central presence of the political and bureaucratic elites from the Hindi-speaking regions in the political process sometimes creates resentment and alienation among other nationalities but this cannot be interpreted as full-scale national oppression. In fact, some of the more developed regions of India are lying outside the Hindi belt.


As we see, the CPI(ML) Liberation admits that there are some problems and some cases of discrimination. But basically, the party claims that when the creation of India in 1947 took place, “national unification was achieved” and it “was not opposed by any nationality in a significant way”. This in itself is, to put it diplomatically, a miracle given the fact that many millions were killed and expelled from their homeland at that time! And, according to the CPI(ML), the Indian troops invading Kashmir where not an occupation force!


Conveniently the CPI(ML) Liberation also provides a theory why a possible consequence of the implementation of the right for national self-determination, i.e. the creation of a separate state, would serve imperialism and, hence, has to be opposed by Marxists of the ruling nation in a semi-colonial country.


Real self-determination, as distinct from the formal right, is a long process, especially in the era of imperialism, and call for overthrow of imperialism and establishment of socialism. Secession, under certain conditions, may well be replacement of one form of national oppression by another. Secession of one nationality from a weak (semi-colonial) nation at the instigation of a strong (imperialist) nation is hardly a resolution of the national question. It is more of a Balkanisation. Under conditions of imperialism, strong national unity, i.e. unity of all nationalities and a strong centre, even if there is some degree of internal imbalance, are inevitable for a Third World country to stand up to imperialism and these are backed by the patriotic consciousness of the people. Under such conditions a separatist demand in total insularity from the general democratic struggles of the masses but where there is a blatant intervention by the imperialist forces has the least chance of winning the support of the broad masses of other nationalities.


This is a carefully formulated theory for justification of social-chauvinism concealed as “anti-imperialism” and “patriotism” of a semi-colonial country. Let us examine this statement more closely.


Real self-determination, as distinct from the formal right, is a long process, especially in the era of imperialism, and call for overthrow of imperialism and establishment of socialism.” Yes, but this is true for all democratic and social demands. Achieving equal rights for women is certainly not a goal easier to achieve. Does this mean that Marxists should not strongly fight for all rights for women because they cannot be fully realized without the overthrow of imperialism and the establishment of socialism?!


Secession, under certain conditions, may well be replacement of one form of national oppression by another.” This is a classic argument of social-chauvinists! This is the arguments of the Zionists including their Stalinist supporters why one should not support the struggle of the Palestinian people for a single state in historic Palestine. The same with the struggle of the Irish people in the British-occupied North.


Secession of one nationality from a weak (semi-colonial) nation at the instigation of a strong (imperialist) nation is hardly a resolution of the national question. It is more of a Balkanisation.” Well, yes, there can be such circumstances. But as we are living in the real world, let us discuss this issue concretely! Could it be the case that the CPI(ML) Liberation invents this “argument” because it has been a long-standing claim of Indian Stalinism that US imperialism supported the Kashmiri liberation struggle in order to weaken “progressive” India (and friend of the USSR)?! Unsurprisingly, these Stalinist social-chauvinists didn’t change their position after 1991 when the USSR collapsed. Today, when everyone can see that U.S. imperialism spits on the national rights of the Kashmiri people, these Stalinists invent other excuses why they continue their social-chauvinist stand!


The next sentences reveal the centrepiece of the CPI(ML) Liberation social-chauvinist theory. “Under conditions of imperialism, strong national unity, i.e. unity of all nationalities and a strong centre, even if there is some degree of internal imbalance, are inevitable for a Third World country to stand up to imperialism and these are backed by the patriotic consciousness of the people. Under such conditions a separatist demand in total insularity from the general democratic struggles of the masses but where there is a blatant intervention by the imperialist forces has the least chance of winning the support of the broad masses of other nationalities.


So, Marxists in India (or any other semi-colonial country) should not worry if there are “some degree of internal imbalance” in such a state (one can see that the author desperately wants to avoid talking about the existence of national oppression). This is, according to the CPI(ML) Liberation unavoidable in order to wage a successful anti-imperialist struggle! This is the classic Stalinist schema which was used to justify the mass deportation of ethnic minorities like the Crimean Tatars and Chechens by Stalin’s regime in the 1940s (resulting in the death of hundreds of thousands of people). It has been repeated by various other regimes since then. As we did already see, the CPI and CPI(M) also used the very same logic when they claimed that behind “Kashmiri separatism” stands the Pakistani state and behind the Pakistani state stands U.S. imperialism.


When the CPI(ML) Liberation raises the problem of the “separatist demand in total insularity from the general democratic struggles of the masses” they basically mean that as long as “the broad masses of other nationalities” do not support such a “separatist demand“, it can only serve “a blatant intervention by the imperialist forces”. Hence, conveniently, the CPI(ML) Liberation is obliged to oppose the “separatist demand“ of the Kashmiri people in the name of “anti-imperialism”!


The CPI(ML) Liberation author clearly indicates such an approach when he deals with Kashmir. “Of all cases, it is only in Kashmir the basis for separatism appears to be strong, primarily because of the centre’s handling of the Kashmir question and the ruthless war it is waging against the Kashmiri people now. The historical factors as well as the external interventions are also important there. Though in principle we are in favour of the self-determination of the Kashmiri people we don’t consider separation a practical proposition now. Not only the military defeat of the Indian state out of the question. But an ‘independent’ Kashmir, sandwiched between the two hostile powers, Pakistan and India, and vulnerable to the US designs in an area of strategic importance cannot remain really independent. Since their struggle for independence is going to be a long drawn affair, in all probability it will be a protracted low-intensity conflict trapped in a political deadlock. But what is shocking about the struggle is its utter insularity from other democratic struggles in India. There are numerous forces in India who outrightly condemn India’s war in Kashmir even if they don’t support separatist demand and the nationalist forces in Kashmir virtually have no dialogue or cooperation with them. The ultimate guarantee for the self-determination of Kashmir or its independence is the victory of the revolutionary-democratic forces in India and the lasting solution to the Kashmir question can be found only within a democratic confederation of the peoples of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Kashmir.


This means, in other words, an independent Kashmir could only serve U.S. imperialism. Hence, the Kashmiri people should wait with independence until “the victory of the revolutionary-democratic forces in India”. Furthermore, it is the Kashmiri’s fault that they are isolated from the Indian left because they “virtually have no dialogue or cooperation with them”. So the CPI(ML) Liberation locates the failure of support with the forces of the oppressed nation instead with the forces of the oppressor nation which refuse to support the oppressed nation! What a shame for self-proclaimed Marxists!


Hence, it is only camouflage when the CPI(ML) Liberation author polemicizes against “the opportunist left, led by CPI(M), [which, Ed.] completely went over to the position of national chauvinism of the bourgeoisie”. It is certainly true when he writes: “On ‘National Unity and Integrity’ (…) Under this slogan they also try to maintain the highly centralised character of the Indian state and to continue with the high degree of concentration of economic and political powers in Delhi. Through this slogan they whip up the national chauvinism and try to further legitimise their hold on the rest of India. Ironically enough, the CPI(M) is at one with BJP in sharing this position of the Congress(l) and the Indian ruling classes. In fact, one of the most important features of the CPI(M)’s opportunism is their going over to this position of the ruling classes and this is one of the fundamental areas of difference between our two parties. lxix


But, as we could see, above, the CPI(ML) Liberation is only rhetorically more left-wing than the CPI(M). In its tactical conclusions and its practice, it shares the same social-patriotic line!


The party provided a very illuminating example for its profound social-chauvinism a few months ago after the Pulwama attack when a Kashmiri guerrilla fighter killed 40 Indian soldiers. As we elaborated in an essay, large parts of the Indian left reacted with unrestrained social-patriotism to Modi’s war-mongering. lxx


This was especially true for the CPIML (Liberation). It fully joined the patriotic wave of “standing with our soldiers”. It not only sent party teams to the families of the soldiers but even organized “candle marches ... to pay tributes to the soldiers”! It reported, in an article under the subtitle “CPIML Mourns Soldiers, Fights Hate”: “The CPIML organised several condolence meetings for Pulwama soldiers in different parts of the country. Candle marches were taken out in different states to pay tributes to the soldiers and a minute’s silence was observed in several party meetings and programmes. Party leaders in West Bengal and Bihar visited the bereaved families of the soldiers from the state. Condolence meetings were also organised in several places. lxxi


Of course, the individual soldier is not the real enemy – these are the generals and the ruling class. But it is ridiculous to present an army as “victims” which in reality is acting as an occupation force in Kashmir! Revolutionaries have to say that the best and most effective way to save the lives of soldiers is the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the Indian army from occupied Kashmir!


In addition, the CPI(ML) Liberation adapted the classic reformist approach of appealing to the ruling classes of India and Pakistan to “ensure lasting peace” and “step up diplomatic efforts to prevent terrorism”. Such wrote the CPI(ML) Liberation: “A war between two nuclear-armed countries like India and Pakistan, however limited or short-lived, portends grave danger to the people of India, Pakistan, and the whole of South Asia. We, the people of India, do not want another Pulwama. Neither do we want another war between India and Pakistan. We therefore call upon the governments of India and Pakistan to exercise restraint, stop the situation from escalating and step up diplomatic efforts to prevent terrorism and war and ensure lasting peace across the India-Pakistan border. We appeal to the peace-loving people of both countries to reject the competitive jingoistic clamour in their respective media and strengthen the prospects of peace. lxxii


What a nonsense to appeal to the ruling classes of India and Pakistan which have launched three wars against each other and which, in the case of India, has slaughtered an estimated 100,000 people in Kashmir since 1989!


In summary, the CPI(ML) Liberation reveals, behind its self-proclaimed “Marxism-Leninism” and its formal commitment to the heritage of Charu Majumdar, the thoroughly reformist program of social-patriotism!



Workers Socialist Party




Let us now deal with another organization which is very different from the CPI(ML) Liberation: the Workers Socialist Party (WSP). In contrast to the ex-Maoists, this organization is not a party but rather a small grouplet. It also understands itself as “Trotskyist”. Nevertheless it is worth dealing with this group since it is a prime example how adaption to social-patriotism can lurk behind the mask of ultra-leftist fake-internationalism.


Like the CPI(ML) Liberation, the WSP formally adheres to the principle of national self-determination. “Opposing the military oppression and forced annexation of Kashmir to New Delhi, we thus support unconditionally the right to self-determination of all Kashmiri people, without discrimination of caste, creed, religion or community, habiting the territory of Kashmir. And support the right to self-determination up to secession from Indian territory. lxxiii


One feels reminded to the Latin philosopher Boethius of the late fifth and early sixth centuries to whom the quote is attributed “si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses” (“If you had been silent, you would have remained a philosopher.”) But the WSP could not leave it with this general statement but felt it necessary to elaborate its program for Kashmir in more detail. Not a good idea! As a result, its progressive general principle becomes thoroughly corrupted by its concrete analysis and tactics.


First, the WSP violently denounces the Kashmiri struggle for national independence. “However, we tell the truth to workers and toilers of Kashmir. No secession, no establishment of azad Kashmir, is going to change anything for the working and toiling people in Kashmir. The regime of bourgeoisie of Lahore or Srinagar would be no different from that of the regime under New Delhi. Secession is no solution! lxxiv


So, according to these sectarian fools, it would not make any difference to the Kashmiri people if they are occupied by nearly a million Indian soldiers or not! Everything is bourgeois, everything is equally bad. How simple the world can be for the ultra-leftists!


While rejecting rival claims of Indian and Pakistani bourgeoisie over Kashmir as bogus, we also reject the call of sections of Kashmiri bourgeoisie for ‘azadi’ of Kashmir. The statelet that Kashmiri local bourgeoisie, led by organisations like Hurriyat Conference or Jamat-e-Islami, proposes to establish, cannot promise anything to the working and toiling people of Kashmir. World bourgeois, as a whole has become counter-revolutionary long back in history and so the nation-states under it. These national states, old or new, cannot address the aspirations of working people. Any new nation-state founded on bourgeois foundations, would be more deformed than before and would render nothing progressive. (…) The movement of ‘Azadi’ of Kashmir, led by local bourgeoisie, is thus thoroughly reactionary movement. lxxv


As a matter of fact, this claim of the WSP is nothing but silly nonsense! The local bourgeoisie in Kashmir does not lead or even support the struggle for national independence. That would be also rather surprising. Usually, the bourgeoisie wants to make profit. The Kashmiri bourgeoisie makes it business since many decades within the Indian state. Does the WSP really suggest that these businessmen risk their profits and selflessly dedicate themselves to the struggle against the occupation force?! That would be the first time for a capitalist class in modern history! However, in the real world, the Kashmiri bourgeoisie is primarily represented by the Jammu & Kashmir National Conference (NC) and the Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) – two parties which have always collaborated with the Indian state and which distanced themselves from the struggle for independence.


However, in order to strengthen its case – let us rather say its myth – of the reactionary character of the Kashmiri independence struggle, the WSP claims that this struggle would rather serve the imperialist Great Powers. “The bourgeois in South Asia is largely divided in three sections over the issue of Kashmir. The section led by New Delhi, wants to keep Kashmir annexed to Indian territory, in its stranglehold and under its domination. The rival section led by Lahore, knowing well that it is engaged in mission impossible, contends for Kashmir with an ostensible purpose to annex it to Pakistan. Then comes the local bourgeoisie in Kashmir, having its own political aspirations to rule and thus stakes in the issue. It demands ‘azadi’ for Kashmir, i.e. an independent Kashmir, under its own rule. Needless to say that all of these three sections of bourgeoisie are closely bound-up with imperialist camps in the world. Despite all demagogy, their role and purpose is nothing else than to act as necessary link between world market and Kashmir to assist in exploitation of its natural and human resources and raise their own bills for the service. Both India and Pakistan are closely linked with rival Imperialist camps. While India has drawn closer and closer to the military bloc of NATO led by US, Pakistan is embracing the rival bloc led by China and Russia. This proximity of the two countries to heavily armed imperialist powers, threatens Kashmir, for its geo-political location in Asia, to become a battleground for this imperialist rivalry in near future. lxxvi


Leaving aside that it is a gross oversimplification to reduce the rivalry between the ruling classes of India and Pakistan simply to a proxy conflict between U.S. and Chinese imperialism (of course, this component is a factor but not the primary one), it leaves the question open: which imperialist camp stands behind the Kashmiri independence movement?! Unsurprisingly, even the WSP can not answer this question as it is simple a totally foolish claim!


Consequently, every struggle not dedicated to the socialist revolution in South Asia must be opposed according to these ultrrrraleft “Marxists”: “The task before the Kashmiri workers and toilers is thus not to fight to secede from or join this or that Union or even to create an independent statelet, but to fight for socialist revolution in South Asia that would overthrow all bourgeois regimes in quick succession to each other. To do this, the Kashmiri Proletariat must decisively reject the sectarian agendas that support the rival territorial claims of sections of bourgeoisie over Kashmir or advocate balkanization of territories. At the same time, it must also reject the reactionary communal partition of 1947 and in tandem with other sections of South Asian proletariat must launch a fight for reunification of the Indian Sub-Continent into a Socialist Union as part of the broader struggle for establishment of the United Socialist States of South Asia, through a working class led revolution from below. This revolution in South Asia, is integral to the World Socialist Revolution. lxxvii


These ultra-leftists don’t understand an inch of the Marxist conception of a democratic struggle as part of the process of permanent revolution. Lenin, in his polemics with ultra-left opponents of the national liberation struggles at his time, made it very clear that the struggle for national rights – like for all democratic demands – is part of a comprehensive revolutionary program. Marxists must not “wait” for a socialist revolution in order to support a national liberation struggle (which usually takes place under a non-revolutionary leadership) but rather support such democratic struggles and try to win the masses for a socialist perspective.


In the second case, this assertion is incomplete and inaccurate, for not only the right of nations to self-determination, but all the fundamental demands of political democracy are “possible of achievement” under imperialism, only in an incomplete, in a mutilated form and as a rare exception (for example, the secession of Norway from Sweden in 1905). The demand for the immediate liberation of the colonies, as advanced by all revolutionary Social-Democrats, is also “impossible of achievement” under capitalism without a series of revolutions. This does not imply, however, that Social Democracy must refrain from conducting an immediate and most determined struggle for all these demands—to refrain would merely be to the advantage of the bourgeoisie and reaction. On the contrary, it implies that it is necessary to formulate and put forward all these demands, not in a reformist, but in a revolutionary way; not by keeping within the framework of bourgeois legality, but by breaking through it; not by confining oneself to parliamentary speeches and verbal protests, but by drawing the masses into real action, by widening and fomenting the struggle for every kind of fundamental, democratic demand, right up to and including the direct onslaught of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie, i.e., to the socialist revolution, which will expropriate the bourgeoisie. The socialist revolution may break out not only in consequence of a great strike, a street demonstration, a hunger riot, a mutiny in the forces, or a colonial rebellion, but also in consequence of any political crisis, like the Dreyfus affair, the Zabern incident, or in connection with a referendum on the secession of an oppressed nation, etc. The intensification of national oppression under imperialism makes it necessary for Social-Democracy not to renounce what the bourgeoisie describes as the “utopian” struggle for the freedom of nations to secede, but, on the contrary, to take more advantage than ever before of conflicts arising also on this ground for the purpose of rousing mass action and revolutionary attacks upon the bourgeoisie. lxxviii


All this is, of course, completely alien to the pseudo-Marxists of the WSP. However, at some point they also realize that it is not sufficient to console the oppressed people of Kashmir with the socialist federation of South Asia in the distant future. So, they present their own “transitional program”. And this program is worth quoting in full: “As a transitional political program to achieve the aforesaid strategic aims, the proletariat and the youth in Kashmir and outside, must present their demands:


1. All armed interventions and hostilities in Kashmir must stop forthwith.


2. All armed forces be withdrawn from Kashmir.


3. All black laws in the region must be annulled forthwith.


4. Kashmir be declared a peace zone and kept under international observation.


5. Plebiscite/ Referendum be conducted under international observation in entire Kashmir.” lxxix


Even the most determined opponent of the WSP could not have invented a more pathetic program in order to discredit this group! Typically for so many very “rrrrevolutionary” groups who denounce every real mass struggle as “bourgeois” and “pro-imperialist” and who limit themselves to propagandizing the socialist paradise, the WSP becomes arch-vulgar petty-bourgeois pacifist when it tries to elaborate a concrete program for the tasks today!


Fighting for national liberation means, for our “revolutionary Trotskyists”, … calling for a ceasefire! Furthermore not only the Indian army … but also the guerrilla fighters should withdraw (because the WSP considers them both as equally reactionary)! And how could a “peace zone” (Mahatma Gandhi seems to have risen from the dead!) be guaranteed and a free plebiscite take place? By … stationing “international observers”, in other words by imperialist forces! Who else could provide such “international observers”? Usually it is the United Nations, a lackey of the imperialist Great Powers, which is proving such “international observers”. It is rather unlikely that Liechtenstein and Botswana could provide powerful “international observers” in order to keep peace!


One can hardly imagine a worse confusion and caricature of Marxism! Unfortunately it is such groups which have no other function than to discredit the name of Trotskyism in India!


In conclusion, we point out that it is no accident that the WSP and its bizarre mixture of ultra-leftism and social-patriotism are internationally promoted by another pseudo-Trotskyist grouplet – the so-called "Liaison Committee of Communists". This is a group with a similar combination of ultra-leftism (e.g. attacking the RCIT for defending bourgeois democratic governments against right-wing coup d'états) with vulgar social-patriotic somersaults (e.g. opposing “open borders” for migrants and calling for “workers” immigration control in the U.S. and New Zealand). lxxx As the saying goes: here comes together what belongs together! lxxxi



6. Acceptance of Right of National Self-Determination but Refusal to Support Liberation Struggle (Radical Socialist, CWI, Revolutionary Democracy)




There are several smaller organizations in India which reacted in a better way to Modi’s revocation of Article 370. In their statements immediately reacting to the 5 August event, they stated explicitly that they defend the right of national self-determination of the Kashmiri people. However, they refrain from openly supporting the liberation struggle of that oppressed nation.



Radical Socialist




We start with the “Radical Socialist” – a small group that is affiliated with the so-called “Fourth International” which follows in the tradition of Michel Pablo and Ernest Mandel. lxxxii This organization expressed in its statement that it does not only reject the reactionary attack of the Modi government but also added: “We strongly oppose the kind of exclusivist, culturally racist and militaristic nationalism that is being generated and of course reaffirm the right to full political self-determination by the oppressed people of Kashmir. lxxxiii They also demanded, in another declaration issued in 2016, among others: “Repeal the Armed Forces Special Power’s Act, Stop all forms of violence including sexual violence, De-militarise Kashmir, (…) Affirm the right to self determination.lxxxiv


While such a statement in support of the right to national self-determination should be matter of course for Marxists, in practice this is not the case we have seen in the previous chapters.


However, we cannot refrain from pointing out also the glaring weaknesses of the RS on the issue of the Kashmir question. As we have elaborated in another essay some months ago, the comrades have reacted in a shameful way to the Pulwama attack. They joined the chorus of the chauvinists denouncing the Pulwama attack as “terrorist” and stated that this act “deserves the strongest condemnation. As in all cases of terrorism our sympathies and condolences are with the loved ones, families, relatives and friends of the victims. lxxxv Fortunately, they did not organize “candle marches“ as the ultra social-patriots of the CPI(ML) Liberation did!


Furthermore, they also repeat the reactionary equation of the Indian army and the “terrorists” (i.e. those Kashmiri militants who fight with arms against the Indian occupation). As a positive alternative they also raise silly slogans of petty bourgeois pacifism (we here the echo of the “civil society!): “The solution of Kashmir lies with the people of Kashmir, not with India and Pakistan. The people Kashmir on both sides must be the one who decided the fate of Kashmir. A consultative process from both sides must start now. The armies of both countries from both parts of Kashmir must be withdrawn. A civilian solution to a civilian issue must be ensured by the civilians and not by any army means or through a bunch of terrorists, state sponsored or otherwise. (...) There is no military solution of Kashmir. lxxxvi


These sentences might be music in the ears of UN human rights lawyers or academic intellectuals. But they are useless phrases in the ears of the Kashmiri masses fighting for freedom!



Committee for a Workers' International




The CWI has been a significant international organization claiming to stand in the Trotskyist tradition. It suffered recently a severe split with two wings claiming to represent the continuity of the CWI. lxxxvii The CWI group in India – the New Socialist Alternative – went with the current around Peter Taaffe. It published – together with some CWI supporters in Pakistan – a longer statement on Modi’s revocation of Article 370 with which we will briefly deal at this point.


The CWI statement correctly recognizes that “India is a prison house of nationalities.lxxxviii They also recognize accurately the failure of the reformist Stalinist parties: “It is significant that various regional parties and the so-called left parties have come forward to oppose the attack on Kashmir. However, their opposition is also very limited. Historically, both ‘Communist’ parties – the CPI and CPI (M) - have opposed the nationality rights of the Kashmiri people. Article 370 was what they defended as it is part of the Indian constitution. They never stood for the right of the Kashmiri people to decide despite that right being included in the initial pact of 1947.


The Indian CWI section also states unambiguously: “We, as socialists, stand for the right to self-determination of the Kashmiri people.” And they raise the slogan of a “socialist Kashmir and a socialist confederation of the sub-continent”.


All this is highly positive – particularly if one compares it with other organizations in India! However, we must point out that the CWI evades taking a clear and unambiguous stand in expressing support for the ongoing liberation struggle of the Kashmiri people. This is not accidental but in line with the historic tradition of the CWI. It failed numerous times to take the side of semi-colonial countries attacked by imperialism (Argentina 1982, Iraq 1991 and 2003, Afghanistan 2001, etc.) as well as that of oppressed nations fighting for freedom – claiming that the leaderships of these nations are “reactionary”. Its support for a “socialist” Israeli state, at the side of a Palestinian state, (which means nothing but accepting the results of Zionist occupation) is an example for the logical consequence of such an adaption to social-chauvinism. lxxxix



Revolutionary Democracy




Finally, we want to mention briefly a group called Revolutionary Democracy. In contrast to the other two groups in this chapter, it has nothing to do with Trotskyism. In fact, it is an arch-Stalinist organization in the tradition of Hoxahism. It is not necessary to repeat our fundamental differences as Trotskyists with such Stalinists.


Revolutionary Democracy is an organization only to a limited degree as it bears more the characteristics of a study circle which publishes a thick journal twice a year. Among the material it publishes are both uncritical appraisals of Stalin and the “good old times” as well as interesting and informative documents.


In reaction to the Modi’s revocation of Article 370 Revolutionary Democracy published a joint statement together with Pakistan Mazdoor Mahaz. Like other declarations it denounced the decision of the Indian government and demanded its immediate withdrawal. What is remarkable about this resolution is that, in contrast to all the other declarations mentioned in our pamphlet until now, it explicitly states its solidarity with the struggle of the Kashmiri people: “We stand in solidarity with the people of Jammu & Kashmir, and wish to assure them that we stand by them in their resistance.xc True, for authentic Marxists such a statement is a matter of course. But, as we have seen before, hardly any socialist organization in India dares to say so in public!


Unfortunately, Revolutionary Democracy seriously dilutes the value of its statement when it includes also the call: “We appeal to the international community to stand with Kashmiris in this time of hardship.” This is, similar to the case of pseudo-Trotskyist WSP with which we dealt before, a barely concealed call to the imperialist Great Powers or its United Nations to intervene in Kashmir. Such a demand is unworthy for revolutionaries and anti-imperialists!


For all these reasons it is only to a limited degree justified to put Revolutionary Democracy in this chapter. In positive contrast to the Radical Socialist and the CWI, it states support for the liberation struggle of the Kashmiri people. In negative contrast to those, it calls the “international community”, i.e. the imperialist Great Powers, to intervene in Kashmir.



7. Supporters of the Liberation Struggle (Communist Party of India (Maoist))




In this last pre-chapter we want to deal with another party – the Communist Party of India (Maoist). Again, this is not the place to examine in detail the history of Indian Maoism. Sufficient to say, that the CPI(Maoist) – also popularly known as the “Naxalites” (see above) – has been the result of a fusion process of numerous groups which came out of the splintering process of the CPI(ML) mentioned above. The most important components of this fusion process were the CPI(ML) People's War and the Maoist Communist Centre of India which merged in 2004. xci


The CPI(Maoist) has become a major force since then. It has launched a guerilla struggle and possesses mass influence in the so-called "Red Corridor" – the states of Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh in the South-East of the country. Figures of its strength vary but it is said that they have between 10,000 and 25,000 cadres and many more organized supporters. While their influence has receded in the last years (similar to all other left-wing parties), it certainly retains a significant strength and mass base. xcii


According to an opinion poll by The Times of India, a major bourgeois outlet in the country, 58% of the populace in the Maoist-dominant areas of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Orissa said that Naxalism had actually been good for their area! xciii Even the bourgeois state has to admit the mass influence of the Maoists. An Indian author in the journal of the Combating Terrorism Center at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point – certainly not suspect of Maoist sympathies – wrote some years ago about the reasons for the popular support for the Naxalites:A more specific reason is resentment at the local exploitative power configurations – whether feudal landlords, land-expropriating state governments, or extractive corporations – that continue to dominate and suppress the lower castes and aboriginal tribes that reside in these areas and constitute the Naxalite support base.xciv


It is telling that in 2006, then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh named the Maoist insurgency “the single biggest internal-security challenge” the country has ever faced. He would repeat the same warning in the succeeding four years. xcv This was, we note in passing, the very same government which was supported in parliament by the Stalinist “Communist” parties CPI and CPI(M)! In short, the CPI(Maoists) is a serious force with a certain mass base – in contrast to various ultra-left armed groups which existed in Western Europe in the past decades.


There can be no doubt that the Maoists have thousands of dedicated militants in their ranks who participate in the legitimate struggle of the poor peasants and in particular the Adivasi, the indigenous peoples. Clearly, revolutionaries have to defend the Maoists against the repression of the Indian state.


Nevertheless it would absolutely wrong to ignore the series of fundamental differences which we have with Maoism. Leaving aside our different historical appraisal of the regimes of Stalin and Mao Zedong (which we consider as bureaucratic dictatorships on the fundament of a degenerated workers state), we think that a focus on the armed guerrilla struggle is absolutely wrong. Instead we think that the priority should be mass work – within and outside of the existing workers and popular mass organizations; legal where possible, illegal where necessary. While the Maoists reject the application of the united front tactic to reformist parties, we think such a tactic is important. While they advocate always a boycott of the election, we think that participation for tactical reasons is legitimate. Finally, while we advocate the strategy of permanent revolution, the Maoists subscribe to a variation of the stagiest theory – calling for a New Democratic Revolution and only at a later stage for a socialist revolution. xcvi In addition, we have also various differences on issues of the international class struggle.


Having said all this criticism, we shall also state the points of the Maoists’ policy which we strongly appreciate. This is particularly relevant for the national question in general and the struggle of the Kashmiri people in particular. The CPI(Maoists) has published several statements and posters in reaction to Modi’s revocation of Article 370. Most of them are in Hindi or Telugu language. However, one statement has already been translated and published in English. In this statement the party not only calls for mass struggles against the Modi’s attack. It also states what the Stalinist reformists ignore or deny: “The ruling Hindu fascist Modi-Amit Shah-Mohan Bhaagavat clique in the centre took the opportunity of its strength in the Lok Sabha and withdrew the special status to the state of Jammu-Kashmir to suppress with iron heel the struggle of the people of Kashmir that has been going on for the past 70 years with the democratic aspirations of right to self-determination with the objective to achieve ‘Kashmir freedom’ and terribly violated the Constitution of the country. This is nothing but another aggression of Kashmir. The Central Committee of our Party severely condemns the bill. The government shamelessly justified this measure stating that Jammu-Kashmir is an integral part of India, that India has right not only on Jammu-Kashmir but also on Pak Occupied Kashmir and that the Indian government has the right and ‘efficiency’ to make an act on Kashmir. It is a historic fact that Kashmir was never a part of India before 1948. Like the earlier central governments the Modi government also is making futile attempts to hide the fact. For this purpose it also kept aside he resolutions that the United Nations made with the approval of India and Pakistan on the Kashmir issue that – status quo must be maintained in India, Pakistan, border of China and in Kashmir; LOC must not be violated; and hold plebiscite and take a decision on Kashmir. xcvii


As we see that CPI(Maoists) acknowledge the obvious truth that Kashmir has been denied its right of national self-determination since 1947 and that India has no right to occupy it. (We leave aside here that we do not consider the Modi government as “fascist” but rather as extremely right-wing chauvinist.)


This statement reflects the position of the CPI(Maoists) of supporting the struggle of the Kashmiri people for independence. Ganapathy, the party’s General Secretary, made this explicitly clear in an interview published in 2013:


Question: What is your party’s response to the recent deluge of people’s movement in Kashmir and the repression carried on by the government armed forces on it? What is your solution to the Kashmir issue?


Answer: Kashmir people have been fighting for their independence and right to self-determination for the past sixty years. Countless atrocities, massacres and violence are being perpetuated by the Indian government to suppress this struggle. More than 80,000 Kashmiris have been murdered. (…) Our Party strongly supports the just movement of the Kashmiri people. Their demand for ‘Azadi’(independence) and right to self-determination is fully justified. Kashmir belongs to Kashmiris. It has never been an integral part of India. Neither India nor Pakistan has any right on it.


Our party condemns this horrible repression on the Kashmiri people in the most serious terms. Indian people should condemn in one voice the government massacres continuing in Kashmir. Our party is making it clear that without doing this, it is not possible to effectively fight back or defeat the ruthless offensive of the ruling classes on the fighting people of India. Our party is concretely putting forth the following demands to resolve the Kashmir issue.


1. The massacres by the Indian government’s armed forces in Kashmir should be immediately stopped!


2. Withdraw paramilitary and military forces from Kashmir immediately!


3. Immediately annul the AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act) which authorizes the military to indiscriminately kill people!


4. Conduct plebiscite in Kashmir and let the Kashmiris decide their future on their own!


5. Release all political prisoners unconditionally! xcviii


In more general terms, the CPI(Maoists) elaborated their view on the national question India in its official program. In contrast to nearly all other forces mentioned before, they take a much more principled stand in the national question of India. The program states clearly and unambiguously:


India is a multinational, multi-lingual country comprising many cultures. These nationalities and tribes are going through different stages of their development. On the nationality question, imperialism has always adopted the policy of using the developed nationalities as their instrument to retard the development of other undeveloped or developing nationalities and to eliminate their identity and thereby to continue their exploitation and oppression. In India too, the ruling classes, subservient to imperialism, had transformed the country as a prison-house of nationalities under the so-called slogan of "unity and integrity" of the country. It is in such a context that the ongoing nationality struggles in various parts of the country today are advancing by assuming various forms including armed struggle. The struggles of the Kashmiri, Naga, Assamese, Manipuri and other nationalities in north-eastern region are already going on by assuming the armed form. The people of these oppressed nationalities are not only fighting for their identity but also for the just cause of achieving their honourable right of self-determination, including the right of secession and the demand for secession. Nationality question, in the final analysis, is a matter of class question. In this light, the nationalities' struggles can achieve genuine liberation only as a part of the larger struggle directed against the Indian ruling classes and the imperialist predators advancing under the leadership of the proletariat towards completing the New Democratic Revolution. Our party must unequivocally support these nationalities struggles. It must also resolutely oppose the vicious attempt of the Indian ruling classes to suppress these movements with their military might. It must also oppose the attempts of the Indian ruling classes to impose Hindi and English or any other language on the nationalities unilaterally. The right of self-determination including, and up to, the right of secession, must be firmly upheld and highlighted in all circumstances. Our party must also uphold and highlight the standpoint that final and genuine solution of the nationality question lies with the establishment of new federation of people's democratic republics after completely smashing the present centralized state machinery, representing and protecting the interest of imperialism and feudalism.xcix


If we leave aside the issue of the stagiest theory, this is a perfectly principled statement on the national question in India. It stands far above the opportunist programs of the CPI, CPI(M), CPI(ML) or of such bizarre sects like the WSP.


Various opponents, like the CPI(ML) Liberation, accuse the CPI(Maoists) of opportunism towards petty-bourgeois nationalist movements. We are not in a position to judge on this criticism. However, even if this criticism would be correct, one has to make a qualitative difference between opportunism to the nationalism of an oppressed nation and the opportunism to the nationalism of an oppressor nation! The latter, as it is practiced by the reformist Stalinists, is nothing but social-patriotism and support for an oppressor regime. This is much worse than opportunist adaption to the nationalism of a people which is fighting against its oppression. Of course, we repeat that the latter opportunism is also wrong from the viewpoint of Marxist internationalism. But it would be utterly wrong to equate these two forms of opportunism!











8. Concluding Remarks




We hope that this pamphlet has been useful in providing readers with an overview of the positions of the most significant self-proclaimed Marxist parties in India on the Kashmir question. The conclusion of our study is that revolutionaries in India have to fight against a strong tendency of social-patriotism which exists amongst a number of these parties. In this, Indian revolutionaries face a similar challenge like revolutionaries in many other countries.


We repeat that it is impossible to act as a revolutionary force in India without providing unconditional support for the national liberation struggle of the Kashmiri people against their oppression. Any organization which refuses such support proves to be incapable to swim against the bourgeois stream of chauvinism.


The Kashmir question will become even more important in the period ahead as it is nearly inevitable that a new mass Intifada and another wave of armed guerilla activities will erupt. The Hindutva-chauvinist Modi government will certainly react with even more hatred and brutal state repression. This will be a key test for every progressive force in India! One must not forget which position many organizations took after the Pulwama attack in February 2019. At that time, many left-wing organizations shamefully capitulated to the chauvinist public opinion which was carefully manipulated by the ruling class. Authentic revolutionaries in India must energetically fight against such a wave of social-patriotic capitulationism!


To put it bluntly: Indian revolutionaries must desire to smash the Indian state which is a huge prison house for the workers and poor peasants, the lower casts, the Adivasi, and the oppressed nationalities. They must not seek to defend it like the reformist Stalinists are doing!


Many Indian socialists might be disheartened by the electoral success of the BJP and the wave of publicly displayed chauvinism. However, we think that the Modi government is escalating its policy of Hindutva racism exactly because it is aware that India will enter soon a period of economic and social crisis. Such an accumulation of contradictions will provide revolutionaries with new opportunities. It will result in disappointment of significant layers of plebeian Hindu supporters with the Modi government. Now is the period to prepare politically and ideologically for the struggles ahead!


We look forward to open a dialogue with revolutionaries in India, Kashmir, Pakistan and the whole South Asia on the issues dealt with in this pamphlet. The RCIT strongly welcomes a thorough discussion of the questions of strategy and tactic of the liberation struggle. If there is general agreement, revolutionaries should not hesitate to establish systematic collaboration in order to advance the building of an authentic Communist Party!


Only such an authentic revolutionary party can organize a successful struggle for a united, independent and socialist Kashmir! Only such a party can integrate this struggle into the comprehensive program of fighting against all forms of exploitation and oppression. India is a huge prison house for the workers and poor peasants, the lower casts, the Adivasi, and the oppressed nationalities. A revolutionary party must act as a people’s tribune – as Lenin advocated in “What Has To Be Done” in 1902 – uniting the struggles of all these groups into a single liberation struggle. c The overall perspective should be the struggle for the socialist revolution leading to the creation of a voluntary Socialist Federation of South Asia.


This is why it is urgent now to undertake now systematic efforts to unite authentic revolutionaries and to build such a revolutionary party in Kashmir, Pakistan, India, and internationally! Only such a party can lead the liberation struggle of the working class and the oppressed people to victory and build a socialist future in South Asia! The RCIT calls all revolutionaries to join forces and to work with us together for this goal!









i See chapter 5 in our pamphlet by Michael Pröbsting: The China-India Conflict: Its Causes and Consequences. What are the background and the nature of the tensions between China and India in the Sikkim border region? What should be the tactical conclusions for Socialists and Activists of the Liberation Movements? August 2017,


ii Michael Pröbsting: India: A Prison House of Nations and Lower Castes (On the Reasons for Modi’s Coup in Kashmir). Essay on the social and national contradictions of Indian capitalism and the rise of Hindutva chauvinism, 16 August 2019,


iii Michael Pröbsting: Revolutionaries and the Slogan of “Azadi Kashmir”. Should Marxists advocate the independence of Kashmir? 13 September 2019,


iv We have collected the RCIT’s statements and articles on Kashmir in a special sub-section on our website: Our statement on the latest escalation by the Indian Modi government can be read here: India: Defend the Kashmiri People against Modi’s “Israel-Style” Attack! India’s ultra-chauvinist BJP government abolishes decades-old autonomy rights of Muslim-majority province, 6 August 2019,


v On the early phase of the insurrection see e.g. Edward Desmond: The insurgency in Kashmir (1989-1991), in: Contemporary South Asia, Vol. 4 (1995), No. 1


vi India revises Kashmir death toll to 47,000, November 21, 2008 /; see also: Murtaza Solangi: Pakistan’s Kashmir Narrative Is Falling Flat. How Might That Change? September 10, 2019; Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) and Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS): Torture. Indian State’s Instrument of Control in Indian administered Jammu and Kashmir, 2019; Human Rights Watch: Rape in Kashmir. A Crime of War (1993); Binish Ahmed: Call the crime in Kashmir by its name: Ongoing genocide, August 8, 2019,


vii Shubh Mathur: This Time, the World Is Watching in Kashmir, August 22, 2019


viii For an overview of the Marxist conception of national self-determination of oppressed nations see e.g. Yossi Schwartz: The National Question. The Marxist approach to the struggle of the oppressed people, August 2019, as well as chapter 1 in Michael Pröbsting: Revolutionaries and the Slogan of “Azadi Kashmir”.


ix See e.g. the following books by Michael Pröbsting: Anti-Imperialism in the Age of Great Power Rivalry. The Factors behind the Accelerating Rivalry between the U.S., China, Russia, EU and Japan. A Critique of the Left’s Analysis and an Outline of the Marxist Perspective (Part 3 and 4), RCIT Books, Vienna 2019,; World Perspectives 2018: A World Pregnant with Wars and Popular Uprisings. Theses on the World Situation, the Perspectives for Class Struggle and the Tasks of Revolutionaries (Chapter II), RCIT Books, Vienna 2018,; The Great Robbery of the South. Continuity and Changes in the Super-Exploitation of the Semi-Colonial World by Monopoly Capital. Consequences for the Marxist Theory of Imperialism (Chapter 12 and 13), RCIT Books, Vienna 2013,


x A summary of the program of revolutionary defeatism can be read in this document of the RCIT: Theses on Revolutionary Defeatism in Imperialist States (8 September 2018, An extensive elaboration of this question can be found in the above mentioned book Anti-Imperialism in the Age of Great Power Rivalry.


xi G. Zinoviev / V. I. Lenin: Socialism and War (1915) ; in: LCW Vol. 21, pp. 306-307


xii Michael Pröbsting: Dialectics and Wars in the Present Period. Preface to Rudolf Klement's Principles and Tactics in War, June 2017, Lenin’s quote is taken from: V.I. Lenin: Conspectus of Hegel’s Book The Science of Logic. Section Three: The Idea (1914); in: LCW 38, p.221


xiii Leon Trotsky: Declaration to the Antiwar Congress at Amsterdam (1932), in: Writings 1932, p. 153


xiv For more on this see e.g. Michael Pröbsting: The Great Robbery of the South (Chapter 13)


xv Michael Pröbsting: French Stalinists Join the Bandwagon of Anti-Migrant Demagoguery, 24.09.2019,


xvi See on this e.g. Michael Pröbsting: Stalinist Chauvinism: The Example of the Greek KKE. Is “Defending the Sovereign Rights of Greece” against Turkey and Macedonia Legitimate? Marxist Internationalism versus Bourgeois Social-Chauvinism, 12 November 2018,


xvii See on this e.g. Michael Pröbsting: Stalinists Support Serbian Expansionism against Kosovo Albanians. Another Example of the Flirt of Stalinist Parties with the Plague of Arch-Reactionary Chauvinism, 13 December 2018,


xviii CPI(ML) Liberation: Kashmir Caged, 14 August 2019,


xix Left Parties Statement: Dismantling the State of Jammu & Kashmir. Assault on India’s Constitution, Democracy & Federalism (the signatory parties are: Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation, All India Forward Bloc, Revolutionary Socialist Party), August 5, 2019,



xxi Michael Pröbsting: India: A Prison House of Nations and Lower Castes (On the Reasons for Modi’s Coup in Kashmir). Essay on the social and national contradictions of Indian capitalism and the rise of Hindutva chauvinism


xxii See on this e.g. D.N. Panigrahi: India's partition. The story of imperialism in retreat, Routledge, New York 2004; Joya Chatterji: Bengal divided. Hindu communalism and partition, 1932-1947, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1994; Joya Chatterji: The Spoils of Partition. Bengal and India, 1947–1967, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2007; Bidyut Chakrabarty: The Partition of Bengal and Assam, 1932–1947, RoutledgeCurzon, London 2004; Sugata Bose and Ayesha Jalal: Modern South Asia: History, Culture, Political Economy, Oxford University Press, Delhi 1997 (Chapter 16 and 17), Lal Khan: Partition: Can It Be Undone? Crisis of the Subcontinent, Wellred Publications, London 2001, William Dalrymple: The Great Divide - The violent legacy of Indian Partition, The New Yorker, June 29, 2015 Issue,


xxiii See on this e.g. Gowher Rizvi: Nehru and the Indo‐Pakistan rivalry over Kashmir 1947-64, in: Contemporary South Asia, Vol. 4 (1995), No. 1


xxiv For more on this see Michael Pröbsting: Revolutionaries and the Slogan of “Azadi Kashmir”. Should Marxists advocate the independence of Kashmir? 13 September 2019,


xxv CPI Condemns the Decision of Central Government on Jammu & Kashmir, August 05, 2019



xxvii CPI: Political Resolution, XX.CPI Congress 2008 March 23–27,



xxix Communist Party of India (Marxist): Jammu & Kashmir: Murder of Democracy & Federalism, August 5, 2019,


xxx CPI(M): On the Jammu & Kashmir Issue, CC Resolution (Adopted at the Central Committee Meeting, November 19-21, 2010), in: Marxist (Theoretical Quarterly of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)), Vol. XXXV, No. 2, April-June 2019, New Delhi 2019, p. 61 respectively p. 71. Another example for such spreading of this Indian chauvinist foundation myth is the following quote from another recently published CPI(M) pamphlet: “Pakistan with the help of the British, organised armed groups from the North- West Frontier Province to invade Kashmir. These raiders fought through area after area, committing atrocities, looting the local population both Hindu and Muslim and reached the outskirts of Srinagar. It was at this stage that the peoples militia led by heroic leaders of the then National Conference, mobilised to fight back the invaders. They defended Srinagar at tremendous sacrifice and the loss of hundreds of lives of Kashmiris. Hari Singh, his relatives and nobles fled to Jammu. It was only then that he wrote to Mountbatten asking for help from the Indian army. This was possible only if he acceded to India and it was in these circumstances, under the pressure of the people’s resistance, that he signed the Instrument of Accession on October 26, 1947. The Indian army landed in Srinagar, and with the help and support of the people of the valley drove the invaders out. They stopped only at the Uri border under pressure from the British, who still had a role in the Indian Army. The United Nations got involved. Pakistan army continued to occupy one third of the State. The issue of plebiscite was accepted. And the Kashmir “dispute” was born.” (CPI(M): Fraud on Constitution. Kashmir Betrayed, A CPI(M) Publication, August, 2019, p. 4)


xxxi CPI(M)’s Appeal to Citizens for a Secular United India (2019), p. 8


xxxii CPI(M): On the Jammu & Kashmir Issue, CC Resolution (2010), pp. 63-64


xxxiii CPI(M): On the Jammu & Kashmir Issue, CC Resolution (2010), p. 69


xxxiv CPI(M): On the Jammu & Kashmir Issue, CC Resolution (2010), pp. 68-69


xxxv Communist Party of India (Marxist): Election Manifesto, 17th Lok Sabha 2019, p. 19


xxxvi CPI(M)’s Appeal to Citizens for a Secular United India (2019), p. 3


xxxvii Communist Party of India (Marxist): Programme (Adopted At the Seventh Congress of the Communist Party of India, 1964; Updated at the Special Conference of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in 2000.), p. 3


xxxviii CPI(M): Fraud on Constitution. Kashmir Betrayed, A CPI(M) Publication, August, 2019, pp. 9-10


xxxix CPI(M): Condemn Terrorist Attacks in Jammu & Kashmir, February 14, 2019,


xl Editor’s Note, in: Marxist (Theoretical Quarterly of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)), Vol. XXXV, No. 2, April-June 2019, New Delhi 2019, p. 4


xli Raghu: Defence Procurement Today. Threat to Self-Reliance and Strategic Autonomy, in: Marxist (Theoretical Quarterly of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)), Vol. XXXV, No. 2, April-June 2019, New Delhi 2019, p. 18 respectively p. 56


xlii Raghu: Defence Procurement Today, p. 52


xliii SUCI (Communist): Scrapping Article 370 and reducing Ladakh and Jammu & Kashmir as Union Territories trampling down all democratic norms, 6.8.2019,


xliv See on this e.g. Charles Wesley Ervin: Tomorrow is Ours: The Trotskyist Movement in India and Ceylon, 1935-48, Social Scientists' Association, Colombo 2006 (in particularly chapter 4)


xlv See on this e.g. Rex Mortimer: Indonesian Communism under Sukarno: Ideology and Politics, 1959–1965, Equinox Publishing, Singapore 2006; Rex Mortimer: The Downfall of Indonesian Communism, in: Socialist Register Vol. 6 (1969), pp. 189-217


xlvi For more on this see e.g. Michael Pröbsting: Anti-Imperialism in the Age of Great Power Rivalry


xlvii A more detailed elaboration of the Trotskyist theory of the Stalinist states can be read in Leon Trotsky: The Revolution Betrayed (1936), Pathfinder Press 1972. The RCIT and its predecessor organization have analyzed Stalinism – a fester on the workers movement – on numerous occasions. Our analysis is summarized in chapter II in Michael Pröbsting’s book: Cuba‘s Revolution Sold Out? The Road from Revolution to the Restoration of Capitalism, Vienna 2013, See also Yossi Schwartz: Was the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen a Deformed Workers State? August 2015, as well as LRCI: The Degenerated Revolution: The Origin and Nature of the Stalinist States,


xlviii We have analyzed the restoration of capitalism in various places. See e.g. the above mentioned book Cuba’s Revolution Sold Out?; see also chapter VI (dealing with capitalist restoration in North Korea) in Michael Pröbsting: World Perspectives 2018: A World Pregnant with Wars and Popular Uprisings. Theses on the World Situation, the Perspectives for Class Struggle and the Tasks of Revolutionaries, RCIT Books, Vienna 2018,; concerning capitalist restoration in China we refer to Michael Pröbsting: The Great Robbery of the South (Chapter 10).


xlix Leon Trotsky: The Permanent Revolution (1929), Pathfinder Press, New York 1969, p. 255


l Leon Trotsky: The Dutch Section and the International (15-16 July 1936), in Writings of Leon Trotsky (1935-36), p. 370 (emphasis in original)


li Programme of the CPI, Adopted in the Third Congress at Madurai (1951), in: Documents of Communist Movement in India, Vol. VII, Published by Salilkumar Ganguly, National Book Agency Private Limited, Calcutta, p. 300


lii Quoted in Lal Khan: Partition: Can It Be Undone? Crisis of the Subcontinent, Wellred Publications, London 2001, p. 194


liii CPI: Tactical Line (1953) in: V. B. Karnik: Indian Communist Party Documents 1930-1956, Democratic Research Service, Bombay 1957, pp. 72-73


liv See Ouseph Varkey: The CPI-Congress Alliance in India, in: Asian Survey, Vol. 19, No. 9 (Sep., 1979), p. 882


lv Ouseph Varkey: The CPI-Congress Alliance in India, p. 883


lvi See on this e.g. Saubhadra Chatterji: When CPI(M) had a ‘pact’ with Congress in 2004, Hindustan Times, April 22, 2018,


lvii On the KKE and the IMCWP see the critique in our book Anti-Imperialism in the Age of Great Power Rivalry (Chapter XXIV.)


lviii A number of books have been published about the Stalinist policy in the period of the Hitler-Stalin Pact. A number of documents have been published in Raymond James Sontag and James Stuart Beddie (Ed.): Nazi-Soviet Relations, 1939-1941. Documents from the Archives of the German Foreign Office, Department of State, 1948. Many documents of the Stalinist parties in this period have become public only after 1989. Many of them have been collected in the German-language book: Bernhard H. Bayerlein. Der Verräter, Stalin, bist Du! Vom Ende der linken Solidarität 1939-1941. Komintern und kommunistische Parteien im Zweiten Weltkrieg, Aufbau Verlag, Berlin 2009; another documentation is: J.W.Brügel: Stalin und Hitler. Europaverlag, Wien 1973. See also: Bisovsky, Gerhard, Hans Schafranek und Robert Streibel (Ed.): Der Hitler-Stalin-Pakt, Verlag: Picus Verlag;, 1990.


lix See on this e.g. an essay which was published by our predecessor organization: “Everything was possible” – France, May 1968,


lx Robert H. Donaldson: Soviet Policy Toward India. Ideology and Strategy, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1974, p. 93


lxi The Constitution of India [As on 1st December, 2011], Government of India, Ministry of Law and Justice, New Delhi 2011, p. 1


lxii See on this e.g. Yossi Schwartz: Palestine and Zionism. The History of Oppression of the Palestinian People. A Critical Account of the Myths of Zionism, April 2019,

Yossi Schwartz: Israel's War of 1948 and the Degeneration of the Fourth International, and; Michael Pröbsting: On some Questions of the Zionist Oppression and the Permanent Revolution in Palestine, and


lxiii For a historic overview of the first phase of Indian Maoism see e.g. Asish Kumar Roy: The spring thunder and after: A survey of the Maoist and ultra-leftist movements in India, 1962-75, South Asia Books, Calcutta 1975


lxiv A sympathetic but informative report about a CPI(ML) Liberation Congress has been published by the ex-Trotskyist “Socialist Alliance” (former DSP) in Australia. (Sue Bolton: Indian left party insists: 'Stop corporate plunder!' May 7, 2013


lxv Susan Price, Kavita Krishnan: Indian elections: the challenges of unseating a racist, April 12, 2019, Green Left Weekly Issue 1217,


lxvi CPI(ML) Liberation: Stand with Kashmir, Fight for Federalism and Democracy, August 2019,; CPI(ML) Liberation: Restore Articles 370 and 35A! Release all opposition leaders in Kashmir! Do not play with Kashmir and the Constitution! 5 August 2019,; 'Stand With Jammu And Kashmir' Protests All Over India,; CPI(ML) Liberation: Kashmir Caged, 14 August 2019,


lxvii The Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation: The General Programme,


lxviii For this and all other quotes from this essay see: B Sivaraman: Nationality Question in India, Apr 4, 2015,



lxx Michael Pröbsting: Kashmir: Social-Patriotism Among the Indian Left. On the opportunistic adaptation of various “Stalinists”, “Trotskyists” and “Maoists” to the chauvinistic wave in the wake of the latest conflict between India and Pakistan, 02 March 2019,



lxxii Central Committee of the CPI(ML) Liberation: No More Pulwama! No More War between India and Pakistan!

27 February 2019,


lxxiii Rajesh Tyagi: Running Sore of Kashmir and the Fight for Revolution in South Asia! Workers' Socialist Party, 20.3.2016,


lxxiv Rajesh Tyagi: Running Sore of Kashmir and the Fight for Revolution in South Asia!


lxxv Rajesh Tyagi: Running Sore of Kashmir and the Fight for Revolution in South Asia!


lxxvi Rajesh Tyagi: Running Sore of Kashmir and the Fight for Revolution in South Asia!


lxxvii Rajesh Tyagi: New Delhi’s Surgical Strike upon Kashmir is a Reckless Push to its Roadmap to a Hindu Rashtra and Big Power Ambitions in Asia! Workers' Socialist Party, 13.8.2019,


lxxviii V. I. Lenin: The Socialist Revolution and the Right of Nations to Self-Determination – Theses (1916), in: LCW 22, pp. 145-146


lxxix Rajesh Tyagi: New Delhi’s Surgical Strike upon Kashmir is a Reckless Push to its Roadmap to a Hindu Rashtra and Big Power Ambitions in Asia!


lxxx For our critique of the LCC’s social-patriotic approach on immigration control see the following articles of the author of these lines: Patriotic “Anti-Capitalism” for Fools. Yet Again on the CWG/LCC’s Support for “Workers’” Immigration Control and Protectionism in the US, 30.5.2017,; The Slogan of “Workers’” Immigration Control: A Concession to Social-Chauvinism, 27.3.2017,; A Social-Chauvinist Defence of the Indefensible. Another Reply to the CWG/LCC’s Support for “Workers’” Immigration Control, 14.5.2017,


lxxxi For a comprehensive critique of the LCC see: RCIT: It is Time to Break with a Wrong Method! Open Letter from the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) to the Members of the Liaison Committee of Communists, July 2015,


lxxxii For our critique of the history and tradition of Pabloite/Mandelite “Trotskyism” see the book of our precursor: The