Conversion of Parliamentarism to

Social Fascism:

An Indian Experience


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The state is a special organization of force; it is an organization of violence for the suppression of some classes. The question of the state and its overarching roles in the present stage of world capitalism are crucial questions of Indian revolution. Lenin castigated the people and the parties swearing by Marxism but always evasive of the character of the state in real life. He wrote disgustingly. "This (Marxian) definition of the state has never been explained in the prevailing propaganda and agitation literature of the official Social-Democratic parties. More than that, it has been deliberately ignored, for it is irreconcilable with reformism, and is a slap in the face for the common opportunist prejudices and philistine illusions about the "peaceful development of democracy".1

The rise of capitalism and the capitalist system soon after bestowed upon the state the power of sole monopolizer of coercive sanctions and physical and human resources. The constitution making exercise gave the state two fundamental rights of eminent domain and police power. For the struggle for democracy as well as the felt-need of a safety-valve to diffuse the tensions the state arranged out-doors and windows as elbow-room for individual in the Lockean sense. Here lies the difference between the modern state and the states in the earlier stage. The acceptance of groups, classes, communities, etc. as legitimate entities within the national boundaries is symptomatic of leaving a space for contest in various forms but the state as such was projected as incontestable. The so-called society – centred state policy approach as made by Mill and later pluralists, emphasized the need and scope of free competition of groups and classes without endangering the state itself. The so-called view of the welfare state preferred in the 1930s and particularly in the post World War II, conceded the primitive role of the state as dispenser of justice, relief and for the betterment of the masses along side its regulative role over the people. Maintenance of this regulative role implies the power over family, trade union, revolting classes, ethnic groups, etc. simultaneously with the savage power of marshalling of armaments, weaponry and armed forces.


Revisionism in India has assumed dangerous dimension. The CPI(M) the main culprit in the game of electoral polities and grabbing the springheads of money has turned into social fascists. Its polities of compromise with the ruling classes and bowing to the MNCs, World Bank and other foreign agencies along with ruthlessness to put down any voice of protest with the barrel of guns smacks of its naked character of social fascism. It officially uses the name of Marx and Lenin who fought for the emancipation of the proletariat and other deprived sections in the world, and thus tarnishes the image of those great thinkers and dedicated practitioners. The whole party machinery is devoted to creating an illusion that the existing system can be used to serve the deprived masses in India. Its role as a social fascist has been exposed like daylight when its cadres accompanied the paramilitary forces to torture, to arrest, to spy on the revolutionary peasants and even molest the peasant women in Midnapur, Bankura, and Hoogly in 2002-2003. The recent panchayat polls and the ghastliness of terror creating, murderous gangs of the CPM not even sparing the ‘Left’ Front partners, the RSP and Forward Block, have actually established the fact that instead of decentralization of powers, panchayats can be the most suitable means of the state to spread corruption at grassroots. The villages are the arenas of class struggle and revolutionaries concentrate on developing bases there. The fascist fangs of the CPM are not only poised against revolutionaries and would be revolutionaries, such fangs are simultaneously poised for grabbing money pouring in from various national and international sources in order to buy up criminals and others for the smooth running of the party machinery.

The decades of revisionists’ taste for power in the class society rotten to the roots and the shameless propagation of using India’s parliamentary "democracy" for facilitating movements of the people prove it beyond an iota of doubt that parliamentary revisionism using Marx’s name is the main danger for the revolutionary movement in India. It is ludicrous to preach the polities of using this parliamentary machinery when polling figure itself, even if rigging and all such measures are taken into account, shows a steady downturn for the lack of interest of a big chunk of electorates in the very casting of votes. And one can perceive the disillusionment of general masses with the existing parties, yet many of them cast their votes for the absence of powerful alternative. We have to establish this alternative to the people by developing resistaince movement and revolutionary power centers.

Added to this material arrangement, the state develops and strengthens its ideological apparatus concealing the hidden aspects behind all constitutional rights of freedom and equality. The ideology of the state and its organic intellectuals play a profound role in stabilizing the existing system through multifarious ways in order to diffuse the tensions and win the support of the masses. So along with the overt threat of coercion and actual coercion the modern state has been greatly successful in winning the consent of the people through its vast ideological arrangements, institutions like legislative bodies, judicial system, educational institutions, media, political parties, etc. And when the powerful political parties with communist party signboards plunge into the accommodative process of diffusing the discontent of the masses with semblance of protestations on this or that issue the state becomes the actual gainer as its legitimacy stands vindicated: as if all grievances, problems, discontents, revolting tendencies can be solved within the boundaries of the existing state.

This cushioning effect is eminently materialized by the social–democratic parties in the modern states. The CPI and then the CPI(M) are credited with this tremendous task in this sub-continent called India. In the Communist Manifesto Marx and Engles boldly referred to the spectre of communism reigning in Europe. After so many years of this famous optimism the CPI, CPI(M) like parties can justly claim with profuse pride: we have cast communism into a mould which is capitalist and feudal-friendly. We can help crush revolts of the masses standing faithfully by the side of the state and we can also proudly hijack the programme of the militant struggles to the safe corridors of legislative assemblies and the parliament.

To trek down the path of history, in England the Social Democratic Federation started in 1885 by mostly defection of men and women of the earlier Socialist League who threw themselves into the fray of parliamentary action. It also had its object of collective ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange managed by a democratic state. They also wanted palliative or temporary reforms of the ills of the existing society. In the same line Fabian societies emerged after 1882 and they developed a good following against Marxism. George Bernard Shaw became one of its key figures. Such societies preaching Fabian socialism were basically meant for legislative or administrative measures in favour of collectivist theory of state and municipal action for social reforms. Like the Social Democratic parties the Fabian socialists too believed in the path of gradualism towards a socialist system using the existing Parliamentary democracy 2. The present Labour Party of England is also a successor to this Fabian society. The dangerous culmination of this so-called socialist party is reflected in the warmonger’s role of Tony Blair as the Labour Party Prime Minister in the recent Iraq aggression.

Accommodative "Left"

A revisionist approach, or in other words evading any revolutionary struggle, was the hallmark of the CPI. The First Party Congress held in Bombay in 1943 declared, "the supreme task before our people is the defence of the motherland" in the "closest co-operation with the people of the United kingdom defending their independence and freedom against the fascist axis …"3 It is curious to note that the CPI in the whole period before the Transfer of Power since the outbreak of — World War II accused the bureaucracy of all wrongdoings and cleverly evaded the colonial power as such. It even invoked the Party cadres to ensure British victory: "In the threatened areas, communists must offer organized co-operation of the people through their mass organization and party units to the British or Indian troops for offensive as well as defensive preparation."4 This avoidance of attacking the colonial state and even holding out unstinted support to the British army stemmed from the pure social democratic position of rejecting the struggle for smashing the state machinery and setting up of a revolutionary state.

The Tebhaga Struggle in Bengal and the Great Telengana struggle broke out rejecting the right opportunist positions of many in the CPI leadership. The withdrawal of particularly the Telengana armed peasant struggle brought to the limelight the topsy-turvy of most of the CPI leaders. It should however be mentioned here that despite the extreme adventurist position of the Randive-led CPI in the second Party Congress in 1948 voices were raised for "complete severance from the British empire and full and real independence," "self determination to nationalities including the right to secessaion. A voluntary Indian Union, autonomous linguistic provinces" "abolitions of princedom, landlordism without compensation," etc.5 The Randive line ended in Randive’s ouster from the post of General Secretary of the CPI and ultimately the leadership of the party was grabbed by the people more interested in parliamentary politics.

The withdrawal of the Telengana struggle relieved the CPI leadership from the trauma of armed struggle. A.K. Gopalan, who later became a brain behind the CPI(M) programme and decision-making ordered the "fighting partisans to stop all partisan action to mobilize the entire people for an effective participation in the ensuing election to rout the Congress at the polls."6 It is noteworthy that the CPI leadership, despite plunging into electoral politics, did not altogether stop raising some of the genuine demands of the people. But the earlier bold announcements were steadily climbing down with the acceptance of parliamentary politics.

The prospect of winning elections so much obsessed the CPI that since the first general elections it increasingly put in all efforts at parliamentary politics. The extended plenum of the C.C of the CPI held from 30 Dec.1952 to 10 January 1953 boastfully declared, "The entire party went into election campaign" immediately after the all-India party conference held in October 1951 and "Not only party members but tens of thousands of supporters and sympathizers plunged into the election campaign …"7 In the same Plenum reference was made to the colossal burdens on all sections of the people "including industrialists and merchants and other class of common people."8 The above clearly included all the industrialists among the people, and thus the CPI leadership’s sliding down with greater involvement in parliamentary politics paved the way for its extremely rightist revisionist policy in later days.

The Soviet Communist Party’s topsy-turvy after the death of comrade Stalin in 1953 provided the handle to the majority in the CPI leadership who had already done the necessary spade work for parliamentary politics. The 3rd Party Congress held at Madurai in 1953-54 acclaimed the "significant" role played by the Indian government "In a number of important international issues."9 As is common place in parliamentary politics it also eulogized that government on certain other policies.

After the 20th Congress of the CPSU the revisionist leadership of the CPI got emboldened by Khrushchev’s political thesis of "fundamental social change" in a number of "capitalist and former colonial countries" through "winning a stable parliamentary majority backed by a mass revolutionary movement" of the proletariat and other working people.10 It is worthy of mention that one third of the delegates in the Palghat Congress was in favour of ‘general united front with the Congress.’ The CPI by then was apparently divided into three main factions, the rightists, leftists and centrists with the rightists predominating. The Telengana model of parallel power established through protracted armed struggle was by then an event of the past and consigned to the back burner. The Namboodripad led ministry in Kerala in 1959 provided the alternative model of peaceful transition to socialism endorsed at the 1958 Amritsar Party Congress. It is an irony of history that many of the present CPI(M) leaders criticized the Kerala model at that time.

If the 4th Party Congress decisively changed the course of CPI history by its overtly pro-government slant, the 5th Congress in 1958 showed the complete metamorphosis of the CPI leadership shedding all overtly anti-state, anti-government policies of the 1946-50 period. The CPI led Kerala Government under Namboodiripad’s leadership was projected as "the single biggest event in our national political life." The assumption of power through elections by the CPI ministry in Kerala appeared as a model and justification of the revisionist stand of the Amritsar Party Congress policy, about the possibility of peaceful transition to socialism.


1. V. I. Lenin, The State and Revolution, chapter II, In Marx Engels Lenin, On the dictatorship of the proletariat, progress Publishers, Moscow, 1984, P. 202.

2. M. Beer, The History of British Socialism, George Allen is Unwin Ltd, London 1953.

3. Unity in Action for National Government, Political Resolution adopted in the First party congress of the Communist Movement in India, Vol-IV (1939-43), National Book Agency Private Limited, Calcutta, 1997, p- 586.

4. Ibid-P. 600

5. Political Thesis adopted at the second Party congress of the CPI, In M. B. Rao (edited) Documents of the History of the Communist Party of India, Vol III, 1948-50, People’s Publishing House, 1976, pp 85-87.

6. Crossroads, 26 October, 1951, In Mohit Sen (ed) documents of the History of the Communist Party of India, Vol III, 1951-56, People’s Publishing House, 1977, New Delhi, pp 59-60

7. The Extended Plenum of the Central Committee (It was held in Calcutta from 30 Dec. 1952 to 10 January 1953) In Mohit Sen (ed). Documents, Ibid- p. 199

8. Ibid, p. 201.

9. Political Resolution of the Communist Party of India, Adopted by the Third Party Congress, Madurai, 27 Dec. 1953 to 4 Jan. In Ibid p, 295.

10. Quoted in the Report of CPSU. The fourth party Congress Documents In Ibid p. 505

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