Friday, 17 February 2017

The Peasant Revolt of Telangana and the Stalinist CPI

-Rajesh Tyagi/5.4.2014 
Translated by: Anurag Pathak/ 17.2.2017

In the infinite series of counter-revolutionary crimes, committed by Stalinists in the last century, the Telangana peasant revolt (1948-51), that appeared in the mid of the last century, was an important link. 

First, pushing the unarmed youth and peasants to confront the armed forces of the capitalist state, in the name of 'revolutionary upsurge', and then running away leaving them in the lurch, the opportunist leadership of the CPI, during the Telangana struggle, had been acting directly under Stalin’s command, whose sole aim was to nourish the interests of Kremlin’s nationalist bureaucracy, at all costs.

Telangana period takes-off with ‘Ranadive thesis', presented by the CPI in it’s Calcutta congress. The thesis had reversed the ‘People’s War’ thesis of PC Joshi which had been in operation from 1941-1948. This ‘People’s War thesis' of  PC Joshi, was in no way a recipe for the war of workers and toilers upon the British rule, but complete surrender in favour of the British rule under the garb of  defence of the Soviet Union.

Driven by this capitulationist policy of ‘people’s war' directed by Stalin and the Comintern under him, CPI had betrayed the revolutionary struggle against British colonialism and joined hands with British rule. Guided by this thesis, the CPI, not only supported the military expeditions of the British colonialists and participated in military recruitment but also did the spy duty for the colonial government during WWII. Just before getting murdered by Stalin, the great Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky was appealing to workers and peasants in India that their first and foremost task was to wipe out the British rule through a proletarian revolution. At the same time, the CPI, under the command of Stalin, had continued since 1941 to support the British regime, in name of ‘People’s War'. The CPI supported the Mountbatten Plan proposed by the British, passing it off as ‘freedom’, through which the Indian and British capitalists were to divide the power among themselves in 1947, and approved of the communal partition of the Indian sub-continent.

The ‘People’s War' thesis, promoted in the name of PC Joshi thesis was not authored by Joshi, but was dictated by the Kremlin under Stalin and served only the national bureaucratic interests of Kremlin. Based on collaboration with liberal-bourgeois, this ‘People’s War' policy in itself was the other end of Stalin's counter-revolutionary line, that in August 1939 had led to Stalin’s war-pact with Fascist Hitler with whom Stalin had formulated the masterplan to swallow the whole of the Europe through joint military expeditions. Joint invasion of Stalin and Hitler upon Poland was the part of this war pact. But Stalin’s friend Hitler had different plans: to swallow whole of the Europe along with Russia, too. After betrayal by Hitler and sudden attack on Russia itself, Stalin, in the name of ‘People’s War' ordered the communist parties of the world to form an alliance with liberal-bourgeoisie against the Fascists.

Because of this ‘People’s War' thesis, Stalin, not only signed war pacts with Britain, France and America but also forced the communist parties in the colonies of these imperialist countries, to abandon the anti-colonial struggle inside the colonies and instead to cooperate with the colonial governments.  To appease these imperialists, Stalin in 1943, dissolved the Comintern, the world party of the international proletariat. Collaborating with one camp of the imperialists against the other, Stalin was calling the shameful campaign in defence of national-bureaucratic interests of Kremlin, a ‘People’s War’ and using the communist parties of the world as a bait, was directing them to sacrifice the revolutionary movements in the colonies under control of British and French Imperialists.

As a corollary to this policy of Kremlin, based upon total derogation of Proletarian Internationalism, in India, the CPI, became servile to the British colonial power that had hanged Bhagat Singh and his comrades and had crushed the revolutionary movement mercilessly, and betrayed the revolutionary movement.  Applied worldwide, this policy did not belong to PC Joshi but to Stalin, PC Joshi was only echoing the same.

This policy of Stalin, actually was based on the policy document, ‘Dutt-Bradley thesis’, prepared by Stalin himself and presented by the British Communist Party (CPGB) in June 1941. ‘Dutt-Bradley thesis', criticized the policy of CPI ongoing from 1931. as ultra-leftist, adventurist and narrow and was proposed to make national-fronts with national-bourgeoisie. Because of this line, CPI instead of fighting  against the bourgeois Congress, got stuck to it. ‘Dutt-Bradley thesis' was a plain re-reading of ‘Dimitrov thesis' prepared under Stalin’s dictates and presented to the sixth congress of the Comintern.

In WWII, Stalin tried his best to keep the alliance with British, French and US imperialists . In the conference of foreign ministers of US, France and Britain, held in March-April 1947, Kremlin expressed its bright hope that with the end of WWII, the Soviet collaboration with US, Britain and France would not come to an end but would get strengthened. But after the extinction of Fascist camp, now US, British and French imperialists were not prepared for it. The imperialists had started violating the war-pacts of Yalta, Potsdam and Tehran achieved during the WWII.

Forced, Stalin again took an about-turn and mingling the national interests of Kremlin with that of ‘world revolution’, with the hand of a crook, got chanted a new thesis by his stooge Andrei Zhdanov on behalf of the CPSU, in the opening session of Comintern in September 1947. According to ‘Zhdanov thesis’, time was again ripe for decisive struggle over the world, against Capitalism.

At the same time, CPI took an accidental and spontaneous turn. Criticising the line advocated by PC Joshi, ‘Ranadive Thesis’ was put forward in 1948, calling for the Telangana Peasants’ Revolt in India. The CPI that only yesterday had supported the ‘Mountbatten Plan' in June 47, the communal partition of India under it in August 47 and had accepted the power sharing arrangement of August 47 as ‘freedom’, took a somersault to chant the virtues of ‘Zhdanov thesis’. ‘Ranadive Thesis' was again nothing but simple and plain re-reading of ‘Zhdanov Thesis'. First and second chapter of ‘Zhdanov thesis’ was copied word to word. ‘Ranadive Thesis' was in no way based on concrete understanding of India's and world's political scenario, but was copy of ‘Zhdanov thesis'. The great theorist of CPI were only swallowing the vomit of Stalin! According to the ‘Ranadive thesis' the political equation of the world had undergone a sea change with the end of WWII.

If in 1941, the PC Joshi's line was the only revolutionary Marxist-Leninist line, now ‘Ranadive line' was the only revolutionary Marxist-Leninist line.

The actual intention of bureaucracy behind ‘Ranadive Thesis' was not to foment the revolutions, but to pressurise the national-bourgeois governments to enter into agreements with Kremlin. Following this line, once again the communist parties started taking up strike struggles in France, Britain and US and mounting pressure upon national bourgeois in colonies to join the Soviet camp.

Nehru's government till now was emulating Britain in British Commonwealth. It needed a push towards the Soviet camp. The Telangana peasants struggle had the potential to do this and it did it!

Criticising the PC Joshi's line as opportunist, right-reformist and petty-bourgeois revisionist, the CPI in follow-up to ‘Ranadive Thesis', but without any concrete analysis and preparation, called for the armed struggle in Telangana. ‘Ranadive Thesis' claimed that the illusions among the people in system of bourgeois have shattered and it is restive for a change!

In follow up to ‘Ranadive Thesis', PC Joshi and his followers were expelled from party organs, and the isolated peasant squads were fielded in front of the army, armed with modern weaponry.

Unarmed peasants and youth fought with indomitable courage against the Nizam and his rulers till Nehru on the recommendation of his Home-Minister Patel sent the armed forces to suppress the revolt. These forces brutally suppressed the revolt. More than fifty thousand men, women and children were sacrificed in this struggle. Despite this, the revolt continued for 3 years.

The Nehru government, trapped in Telangana, was now ready to maintain good relations with Kremlin. Soviet Ambassador in India, Vaisinsky, the old Menshevik who had issued warrants against Lenin and Trotsky in July 1917 and had prosecuted Bolshevik core in fake Moscow Trials on dictates of Stalin, congratulated Nehru for adopting Indian Constitution, that was based on bogus 1935 government of India Act and arranged a feast in his welcome. In return, India recognised ‘People’s republic of China’ and declared herself as ‘non-aligned’. Stalin's aim was now fulfilled. Now, Telangana struggle was of no use to the Kremlin bureaucracy.

Stalin, by taking another about-turn, returned back to ‘Dimitrov line'. ‘Ranadive Thesis' was now criticised as a left deviation. Under directives of Stalin, a new policy was formulated for British Communist Party, under the “British road to Socialism”, that stated clear that the road to revolution in all countries now would not go through armed rebellions but through peaceful parliamentary struggles and the Communist Parties were instructed to seek the democratic and progressive sections among the national bourgeoisie and to make alliances with them.

After myriad sacrifices in Telangana struggle, the workers, peasants and the youth were told that the ‘Ranadive thesis' was a leftist deviation from Marxism-Leninism and on a return back to bourgeois parliamentarism, the same has been corrected.

In fact, the Stalinist bureaucracy, in opposition to the program of proletarian internationalism and world socialist revolution, was toeing to a nationalist policy whose sole purpose was to preserve the power in Kremlin at any cost, including sacrificing the vital interests of the world revolution.

Telangana’s failure, was also the failure of that path which was promoted as ‘China’s Path'. The misconceived notion of ‘Chinese Path’ that assigns the central role in the revolution of backward countries to the partisan, disintegrated peasantry while pushing down the urban proletariat to fringes, runs against the strategic lessons of the October Revolution. Peasantry, despite being in whatever great numbers in a country, can never rise on a national scale into a power, independent and sufficient for a revolution. It can only exercise it’s political role either under the leadership of bourgeois or the proletariat. 

Secondly, it remains miles away from that close proximity to the nervous system of capitalism, that is essential to disperse the economic and political system of capital. Innumerable socio-economic layers, among which the peasantry remains divided, support or oppose the revolution, taking different attitudes to it, in different times and in different parts of the world. Above all the peasant and the village, depend directly upon the city. That’s why, to destroy the power of the national bourgeois, the rural organisation of peasantry is totally inadequate and peasants, can march to revolution against the power of capital, only under the leadership of the urban proletariat.

Neglecting these characteristic features of peasant movement, Stalinists turn away from the lessons of October Revolution and, prepare the road to destruction of the revolutionary movement.

The brief history of Telangana’s peasant struggle, is the history of failures of its Stalinist leadership, one after the other. Telangana neither was, nor is the way. In reality, Telangana needed to be led to the path of October Revolution. This meant, a bitter political struggle against the Nehru government centered around the key cities like Delhi, Bombay and Madras, which would have been supported by dozens of peasant movements like Telangana, from all sides. But the bogus policies of Stalin and the Kremlin under him, the revolutionary movement got suffocated and its sad demise took place in the feet of national-bourgeoisie where its dead corpse is lying still.

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