LETTER

FROM THE ECCI

TO THE ALL-INDIA

CONFERENCE OF WORKERS' AND PEASANTS' PARTIES

 

EXTRACTS

2 December 1928

Meerut Trial, Exhibit P 334





The Communist International supporting everywhere the revolutionary movement of the toilers and the oppressed, through your organisation, albeit not part of our international body, sends its greetings to the workers and peasants of India now waging a heroic struggle against imperialist oppression and feudal reaction upon one of the most important sections of the world front. The victorious progress of this struggle demands in our opinion, above all, the creation of an independent class party of the proletariat, the uniting and raising of the isolated actions of the peasants to the highest political level, and the formation of a real revolutionary bloc of

workers and peasants, under the leadership of the proletariat not in the form of a united workers' and peasants' party, but on the basis of cooperation in deeds between the mass organisations of the proletariat on the one hand, and peasant leagues and committees on the other, for the overthrow of the imperialists and the destruction of the political and economic basis of colonial exploitation and slavery. The growing influence of the workers' and peasants' parties, and particularly the attendance of thousands of peasants at your provincial conferences, proved that the understanding of the necessity for this militant bloc is penetrating among ever larger masses of

toilers.

Your conference is taking place at a moment which may become the turning point in the history of the national revolution. The furious preparations of the British bourgeoisie for a new imperialistic slaughter, and the intensification of all forms of

colonial plunder and terror, place the peoples of India in a position from which there is no other way out, but open and

determined fight for the overthrow of the alien yoke. The revolutionary crisis in the country is maturing. In the strike movements various detachments of the working class (particularly the textile workers of Bombay) begin to come out as an independent force, conscious of the irreconcilability of its interests with imperialism and the chaffering bourgeoisie, and of its historic role as the champion of the national revolution. More painfully, and slowly, but with equal certainty, the

oppressed, ruined and disunited peasantry is entering the path of organised struggle.

Growing unemployment, ruin and hopelessness stir also the town petty bourgeoisie to revolutionary activity. The pent-up discontent of the masses, the despair, and the sublime hatred for the oppressors, is already breaking forth to transform these

isolated and defensive actions into an aggressive fight against British imperialism and its native allies; that is the fundamental task before your Conference.

The main obstacle to the victorious organised struggle against British imperialism and its feudal allies in the period of increasing terrorism and bloody repression is the influence of opportunist bourgeois nationalism. Each day brings and will bring fresh proof of the treachery of the bourgeoisie, of its cringing before imperialism, of its intention to bargain and to come to terms with the latter behind the backs of the toilers of India and at their expense. Lately this treachery has assumed the character of the most cynical toying with the slogan of 'independence' which the Swarajists now throw out to deceive the masses, now tuck away in their pocket (the Motilal Nehru Report), in order to penetrate into the Simon Commission through the back stairs, and now raise again in a distorted shape, simultaneously with the 'dominion status' slogan. However crude and downright dishonest this game may be, the penal regime and bloody repression of any exposing criticism, particularly Communist criticism, create a state of things under which the fraud of bourgeois nationalism still keeps its hold on a considerable section of the toilers. The struggle against this fraud compels you not only to determined and relentless exposure of the bourgeois treachery, but also through systematic everyday activity to bring home this exposure, to the masses of the workers and peasants. The experience of the last movement in Bardoli showed how great the danger is still that not only the bourgeoisie, but even the usurers who buy out the peasants' lands, find themselves able to subordinate the movement of the peasants and to utilise it for their own ends.

No declarations of readiness to combat opportunism have any revolutionary worth if there is no practical and actual proof of the waging of this struggle among the masses, and of the overcoming of the bourgeois influence in persistent every day

work.

The greatest danger to the organisation of the masses, to the creation of a revolutionary bloc of the proletariat and the peasantry and to the proletarian leadership in this bloc, consists not only in bourgeois nationalism as such, but comes from the organisations and groups of 'prominent' petty-bourgeois intellectuals actually influenced by the former 'Independence League'. The wavering and oscillating petty-bourgeois intellectuals of India are either tied up with the

system of landlordism and usury and preach a return to obsolete forms of precapitalist exploitation idealised by them, or they reflect the interest of capitalist exploitation being the agents of the bourgeoisie within the national movement. In

either case they deny the importance of the class struggle, and whilst claiming to be 'at the head' of the workers' and peasants' movement, they are fit in reality only to

behead it. The better elements alone of the petty-bourgeoisie intellectuals with a revolutionary frame of mind may rise to the proletarian class viewpoint, and become a positive factor in the national revolutionary struggle.

The 'Independence League' at least in its present shape in fact assists official Swarajism in its nefarious play with the slogans of 'independence' and 'dominion status'. Duly appreciating the very fact of the organisation of this League as proof that at the present time one cannot approach the masses without demanding independence and the overthrow of imperialism, your Conference at the same time cannot fail to disassociate itself from the confusion and twaddle which characterises

the advertised League platform with its lavish promises.

The masses must realise that all the talk of the organisers of the League in their platform about 'nationalisation' and 'socialisation' is an empty sound if in the same breath they recommend FOR THE PRESENT 'impartial board for arbitration with a view to making strikes and lockouts unnecessary' (platform of the Bengal Independence League)....

The masses want from the political leaders of the petty-bourgeoisie not words but revolutionary deeds. The more determined and outspoken your criticism, the sooner the League will either expose itself as the Left-wing of bourgeois nationalism, or having shaken off the politicians at the head, will join, for a certain period and within certain limits, the national-revolutionary camp (retaining, however, even in this case their incorrigible half-heartedness, chronic wavering, and inevitable confusion in the whole of their politics and tactics).

The experience of all revolutions shows that the peasantry is inevitably deceived and defeated if it acts without the alliance and the leadership of the proletariat. In explaining to the peasantry the need for the workers' and peasants' bloc it is not

difficult at the same time to explain to them, upon the grounds of the severe experience of the Indian revolution, the need for the leadership of the proletariat in this bloc. The Indian proletariat has demonstrated to all the toilers that it represents the most revolutionary force in the country; it has shown that it will stop at nothing in this struggle neither in the town nor in the village, that it marches and will march, in the front rank of the fight against British imperialism, feudalism, and the reformist bourgeoisie. The proletariat is helping and will help the peasantry which has been thrust by imperialism into a singular condition of humiliation, disunion and barbaric exploitation, shrouded in the falsehoods of religion, caste and nationalism, to organise its force and to break the shackles of slavery, bondage, land hunger, and imperialist and feudal oppression. The leadership of the proletariat, as the more

concentrated, united, enlightened and hardened section of the toilers in this struggle, will secure the victory to the workers' and peasants' bloc. It is extremely important to demonstrate to the peasants in deeds and practice the significance of a fighting

alliance with the proletariat in their everyday struggle, already now.

The organisation of the workers' and peasants' bloc is based upon the common interest of the workers, peasants, and the town poor, in the fight against imperialism and feudal reaction. Nevertheless, it does not eliminate the class differences, and

therefore, it does not imply by any means the fusion of the workers and peasants into one PARTY. In the Great October Revolution the proletariat gained the following of the peasantry of all the nations which inhabited the former tzarist Russia just

because it was organised into the independent Bolshevik Party, into a Party armed with the Marxian-Leninist theory, irreconcilable to petty-bourgeois waverings, disciplined, self-sacrificing, capable of screening itself underground from the blows of the tzarist terror, at the same time never ceasing to take advantage of all the legal possibilities. The Indian proletariat, we feel sure, will follow this path.

The Indian proletariat will be the champion of the national revolutionary fight and lead to victory the peasantry, the town poor, and all the toilers, if it organises and consolidates its vanguard—the Communist Party, which will educate the working masses in the spirit of a clear and unmistakable class policy, in the realisation of the need for tremendous sacrifices in order to overthrow imperialism and bourgeoisie.

The existing (only on paper) Communist Party of India, since it does not show any signs of revolutionary life, has no grounds to consider and even call itself Communist, although there are individual Communists among its members. Under the conditions of imperialist terror, by the feeble organisation of the Indian workers and the bullying of the reformist trade union bureaucrats, the task of building a genuine Communist Party will be considerably facilitated if at the same time broad

revolutionary organisations of the workers are formed with the active participation of Communists, or a broad Left wing created in the trade union movement upon the platform of consistent class struggle. . . .

 

In the work among the peasants the task is to pass from general slogans and to draw in the peasants to the real revolutionary struggle in the defence of the everyday interests of the masses. Your organisations cannot afford to wave aside even seemingly backward manifestations of the anger of the peasantry.

You must endeavour in every manifestation of this kind to discover its revolutionary substance and to transfer it to a higher level of class-consciousness. In view of the tremendous variety of forms of land tenure in India, and the multitude of forms of pre-capitalist and semi-feudal bondage, the best way to embrace the peasant movement in the various districts and localities is to organise from below peasant leagues led wherever possible by agricultural labourers and poor peasantry proved in the fight. It is necessary, not only in words, but in deeds, to endeavour to raise the isolated actions of the peasants to the level of an agrarian revolution. Under the

slogans of abolition of every form and vestige of feudalism and semi-feudalism, of confiscation of the land of Zemindars, usurers, priests and its transfer to the use of the toiling peasantry while securing in the first place the interest of the poor peasants, the agrarian revolution has been and remains the pivot of the nationalrevolutionary struggle in India. . . .

 

Concerning organisational forms, your Conference will have to discuss the question of separating the workers' organisations from the peasants' organisations, so that the former be ensured a clear-cut and consistent class development, and the latter the full embracing of the struggling peasantry. Provincial workers' and peasants' parties, after an appropriate distribution of their branches and members upon this class basis, are bound to develop in the future into revolutionary mass organisations of the workers on the one hand, into peasants' leagues and committees on the other, which in turn will strive to gain the leadership inside existing peasant

bodies or will build new peasants' organisations. The periodical conferences and meetings of these mass organisations, called from time to time, should constitute one of the forms expressing the militant bloc of the worker and peasant masses. If your conference accepts this point of view, it will put before itself the question of forming a Committee for the coordination of the activities of the local workers' and peasants' organisations, having in mind chiefly their independent revolutionary development upon the class basis.

The Indian toilers, in their hard struggle, are nearing the fulfilment of their great historic task. The proletariat now organising its forces can rely on the support of the peasantry, of the poor of the towns, and of all the oppressed and exploited of India for whom there is no salvation except as the result of the triumphant revolution. It can rely upon the support of the proletarians of all lands and of the oppressed peoples throughout all the world. We appeal to your Conference to wage a determined fight against waverings and backslidings, to criticise grave opportunistic blunders, to work out the revolutionary tactics for the forthcoming fights, to pass to such forms of organisation which, as international revolutionary

experience has proved, open the possibility for winning the masses to the cause of the Revolution.

 

Comintern

III. International