Pakistan: Prospects for revolutionary class struggle - Introduction

Our goal – socialism, our way – the revolution,

our instrument – the revolutionary party!


An Action Program for Socialist Revolution by the Revolutionary Workers Organisation (RWO), April 2012


Pakistan’s peoples are haunted by poverty, child labour, wars and catastrophes. Responsible for this misery are not the toiling peoples. It is the greedy, corrupt ruling classes of both Pakistan and of the imperialist powers who together exploit and oppress the workers, peasants and national minorities to enrich themselves.


The workers, peasants and national minorities – i.e. the overwhelming majority of the over 180 millions in Pakistan – are bearing the terrible consequences of the capitalist misery. In Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa members of the oppressed minorities are killed or disappear on a daily basis. 73% of the population lives on less than US $2 a day – i.e. the official poverty line defined by the United Nations – and nearly one fifth has to survive with even less than US $1 a day. Nearly half of Pakistan’s population is food insecure and 48% of the children are undernourished. Workers are exploited mostly in the informal sector where labour rights and collective bargaining does not exist. On the countryside a handful families concentrate the agrarian wealth in their hands while the huge majority of the rural population does not possess any land and their labour is squeezed by the landlords up to the extreme. For the huge majority of the women live is daily struggle for survival. But while they work – in employment or at home – as much as men if not more they have no economic independence and are often victim of physical violence.


Pakistan’s misery is no exception. It is not the specific corruptness of the politicians and landlords in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi. We can see a similar picture all over the world. The misery of Pakistan is part of the misery of the world. The causes are the same. It is rooted in the capitalist system which rules our world since centuries. Capitalism is in a cul-de-sac. (1) It is in death agony. It has nothing to offer. It must be overthrown. In Pakistan and around the world.


But capitalism will not collapse by itself. The ruling capitalist class can only be overthrown by a socialist revolution led by the working class in alliance with the poor peasants and the urban poor. Contrary to the illusionary daydreams of various left-wing forces (like Lal Khan’s The Struggle/IMT or the Labour Party Pakistan) the socialist revolution will not be a process of peaceful transformation but an armed insurrection of the working class and the oppressed masses. There are also various Stalinist and Maoist parties who mistakenly believe that a stable democracy can be achieved without abolishing capitalism, that a bourgeois democratic revolution can succeed without a socialist revolution. This is nonsense! Real democracy is only possible under the rule of the working class and this has a successful socialist revolution as its precondition.


Such a revolution cannot and will not happen spontaneously. It must be organised. Organised by a revolutionary working class party. A party based on the lessons and experiences of the Bolsheviks who organised under the leadership of Lenin and Trotsky the first successful seizure of power of the workers and peasants. (2)


In fact the workers, peasants and oppressed nationalities have demonstrated repeatedly that they are willing to fight for their freedom. The Revolution in 1968-69 was a heroic uprising of the workers, peasants and youth – defeated only because of the shamelessly betrayal of the Bhutto-PPP and also various Stalinist and Maoist forces who either uncritically supported the PPP or denounced it as a CIA conspiracy. The oppressed Baloch nation has risen up five times since 1948 to achieve independence. The heroic workers strikes at PTCL, KESC, the power-loom workers or the Lady Health Workers in recent years, the marches of the landless peasants and the lawyer’s movement in 2007 which gave rise to the student movement – they all showed that the spirit of resistance is alive.

But what is missing is a Bolshevik party – a well organized combat party for revolution which is rooted amongst the working class. As long as we have not archived the formation of such a party all the heroic struggles of the masses can not successfully win liberation.


No fundamental question of mankind – economic disaster, environmental catastrophes, war etc. – can be solved on national terrain but only in the international arena. Pakistan’s misery is inseparable linked with the misery of world capitalism. The tragic partition of the subcontinent in 1947 was caused by British imperialism in collaboration with the Muslim League and the Indian Congress party. The interest squeeze caused by the huge debts to foreign imperialist capital is a permanent burden on the economy and the US-“war on terror” marks life in Pakistan more and more dangerous. There is no national solution for Pakistan’s problems. The only solution is a successful revolution which starts in one or more countries and spreads internationally.


Our goal is a socialist society. Under socialism the economy is in the ownership of the society and not of individuals. It is planned according to the needs of the people and a sustainable development to improve the living conditions of all people. It does not function for the accumulation of profit. Decisions are made in councils assembling the workers, peasants, youth in the enterprises, the urban districts, the villages, the schools etc.. Based on these decisions the toilers elect delegates on a local, regional, national and finally internal level and by this form the foundation of a workers and peasant republic. All people will have enough to eat. No oppression against women, national minorities, youth etc. will be tolerated. In such a society people have the full right to practice their religious believes. But state and religion are separated and the law is derived not from the Sharia but from the interests of the working people.


Our socialism has nothing to do with the caricature of socialism created by the Stalinist dictatorships in the USSR, Eastern Europe and China which are unfortunately still hailed by various “Communist” and “Workers’ and Peasants’” Parties. Neither has it any similarity with the authoritarian capitalist regime of Bhutto in the 1970s which is still advocated by the left wing in the PPP.


This is why we need a party for socialist revolution in Pakistan and internationally. A party based on the working class and fighting for the liberation of all oppressed.


Building such a world party – the Fifth Workers' International – is the goal of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) and this is why the Revolutionary Workers Organisation (RWO) is its Pakistani section. We base ourselves on the international Program of the RCIT. This national Action program for Pakistan is a concretisation of the revolutionary method to the conditions of our country. If you share our goals – join us!


(1) A dead-end street

(2) The Bolshevik Party was the revolutionary party in Russia. Formed in 1903 (initially as a faction inside the Russian Social Democracy, than as an independent party) under the leadership of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin they organised the working class vanguard. In 1917 they won the majority of the proletariat and organised the armed insurrection (October Revolution) which lead to the first successful formation of a Workers and Peasant Republic. Leon Trotsky joined the Bolsheviks in 1917 and quickly became the second most important leader after Lenin. In particular Trotsky built the Red Army which successfully defended the young Soviet Union against the allied armies of the imperialist powers and the bourgeois counterrevolution in the Civil War 1918-21. Lenin and Trotsky played a leading role in the foundation of the Third, Communist International in 1919. After the dead of Lenin in 1924 Trotsky became the leader of the Left Opposition against the bureaucratic counter-revolution under the leadership of Stalin. After his expulsion of the Communist Party and the Soviet Union he continued his struggle for revolutionary Marxism. This led to the foundation of the Fourth International which continued the revolutionary tradition of the Communist International. He was at the forefront of the revolutionary struggle till his murder by a Stalinist agent in 1940.


Chapter 1: Pakistan - a semi-colonial capitalist country run by a ruling class of landlords, industrial and financial barons and the military officer caste and dominated by imperialism