Brutal face of India’s boom

This is an introduction to an Indian edition of the book Marxism in Today’s World

Peter Taaffe, General Secretary, Socialist Party

The publication of an Indian edition of Marxism in Today’s World is timely. All the questions which are posed in the course of the dialogue between myself and an Italian Marxist are the same kind of issues which are in the minds of Indian workers and the poor. This particularly applies to the more developed layers of the working class who, while they have a considerable and inspiring history of struggle against rapacious Indian landlordism and capitalism, and imperialism, are perplexed at the role of the leaders of the workers’ organisations and are seeking an explanation and a clear way forward.

This is underlined by the dramatic events which have unfolded in eastern India, in West Bengal in the areas of Singur and Nandigram. This epic battle between landless and marginalised peasants on the one side and the state forces of West Bengal on the other symbolises the ferocious struggle of the working class and the poor against Indian capitalism which is prepared to use the most deadly force to impose its rule. And the instrument for achieving this in West Bengal is a government in which the Communist Party of India (Marxist) is the major force and which has effectively run the state for 30 years and gives crucial support to the Indian national government of Manmohan Singh. As the comrades of New Socialist Alternative (the Indian section of the Committee for a Workers’ International) have written, the government of West Bengal has “adopted a ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy against the struggling peasants”.

The mass anger that has resulted from this is greater because the victims, the poor and the peasants, raised the grandees of the CPI(M) to power on their backs and have sustained them for almost three decades. Much of the support for the CPI(M) came from the landless peasantry of this state who received land they mistakenly believed was ‘permanent’. In reality, as Marxists have pointed out many times, although these land reforms were popular they did not guarantee permanent rights and could be snatched back at any time by revengeful capitalism. An essential part of the openly capitalist policies sanctioned by the CPI(M) is the setting up of ‘Special Economic Zones’ (SEZs). In 2005, the West Bengal government led by the CPI(M) introduced a programme of ‘land acquisition’ in Bhangar, just 25 kilometres away from the capital city of Calcutta.

Indonesian big business

This was done to facilitate the ‘investment’ of the Salim Group of companies from Indonesia. This corporation is Indonesia’s biggest with business links to the notorious Indonesian former dictator Suharto and his family. It employs 200,000 people in Indonesia. The cronies of the discredited Suharto regime look hungrily towards the super-profits it could be expected to make from lavish ‘investments’ in India. The Indian journal ‘Business Line’ reported in August 2006 that “Bengal inks pact with Indonesian group”. The projected agreement was for the development of a mega chemical industrial estate, including a chemical SEZ, spread across 10,000 acres in a 50:50 joint venture with the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation Ltd. The agreement provides for construction of the Eastern Link Highway, the building of bridges, etc. After the agreement was signed, the Chief Minister of West Bengal and a leading figure in the CPI(M), Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, touched upon the “contentious issue of land acquisition”, stating: “Wherever possible, we have tried to avoid taking over fertile land.” However, the projected land grab was made in an area which was extremely fertile, composed of over 100 villages, and where 80% of the population was Muslim.

The leader of the main opposition party in West Bengal, the Trinamol Congress, predictably exploited the opposition of the population with initially small demonstrations. Bhangar was the stronghold of the Left parties for 30 years, yet it elected an opposition candidate in the recent May 2006 elections. This undoubtedly irked the CPI(M) machine and the members of other linked ‘communist’ parties. Although the protests in Bhangar were not great at the beginning, they were nevertheless big enough to inspire those similarly affected, particularly in Singur and Nandigram – 40 and 100 kilometres from Calcutta respectively. From the very beginning, the peasants in these areas organised day and night opposition to guard their land. Despite the stated opposition of the population, the CPI(M)-led Left Front government sent 5,000 police who confronted demonstrators and, without warning, opened fire on them.

Even more shamefully, without a word of regret, the CPI(M) leaders in West Bengal have rushed in to attack not the police and the state which carried through this brutal repression, but alleged ‘outsiders’. Blame has been put on the shoulders of the ‘Trinamol Congress, Jamayat – Naxalite’, that is the opposition party in Bhangar. ‘Naxalites’ is added for good measure which for the CPI(M) symbolises peasant revolt and armed guerrillas. The CPI(M) general secretary, Prakash Karat, in the party’s paper ‘People’s Democracy’ stated that the deaths of “ordinary people” in police fire were “deeply regrettable”. But he attacked any attempt to “link the police action to a purported drive to take over the land from the peasants in Nandigram”. This, he claims, was a devilish plot “to malign the Left Front government and the CPI(M)”. He then went on to state that incidents like this would not lead to the abandonment of the policy that led to this disaster: “As for those who want the Left Front government to give up its industrialisation policy, they will be disappointed… the emphasis on industrialisation will not be given up.”

Catastrophe for workers’ movement

What happened in Nandigram is not some unfortunate ‘misunderstanding’ but flows from the policies of the CPI(M) leadership. Historically, the Stalinist parties , from which tradition the CPI(M) comes, have argued for the ‘stages’ theory in underdeveloped countries, which have not completed the capitalist-democratic revolution, in the neo-colonial world, such as India. But such ideas, when they have been implemented, have been catastrophic for the workers’ movement and the parties that put them forward. On the other hand, the successful Russian Revolution was carried through on the basis of entirely different policies to those upheld by the Menshevik and Stalinist ‘stages’ theory. In October 1917, Lenin, Trotsky and the Bolsheviks understood that only the working class was capable of leading the struggle to implement the tasks of the capitalist-democratic revolution – thoroughgoing land reform and the creation of a modern infrastructure, solution to the national question and the granting of democratic rights. But this would involve leading the peasants in a movement to overthrow not just landlordism but capitalism as well. In turn, this would result in a socialist revolution in Russia, which itself could ignite a wave of world revolutions, the “ten days that shook the world” that did actually take place.

But we do not need to go back 90 years to the Russian Revolution but also to recent events in Nepal for refutation of the ideas of the CPI(M). Events there are a devastating answer to their mistakes theories and also the ‘stages’ position of the Maoist organisations in India, with their idea of a ‘long march’ to power, beginning in the countryside amongst the rural population. Lenin, Trotsky and the Bolsheviks – in opposition to the ‘Maoists’ of the time, the Social Revolutionaries and Narodniks – emphasised the classical role of the working class even in an underdeveloped country.

The peasantry is heterogeneous by its very nature – split into different sections. Its upper layers – rich peasants – tend to merge with the capitalists and feudals while the poorer peasants look towards the working class. History has shown that the peasantry cannot act as an independent force but seeks leadership from the two dominant classes in society, the capitalists and landlords on one side, and the working class on the other. Where it has played an ‘independent’ role – as in the case of the peasant war in China which brought Mao to power – the regime that resulted from this, while presiding over a social revolution and the introduction of a planned economy, was nevertheless from the beginning a one-party, totalitarian regime in the image of Stalinist Russia. This was in marked contradistinction to the Russian Revolution in which the working class and their independent organisations – soviets or workers, soldiers and peasants’ councils – established the most democratic regime that humankind has ever seen. It was for this reason that the working class internationally took bold solidarity and revolutionary action, recognising that it was their class which was in power, despite the torrent of abuse which poured down on the heads of the Bolsheviks and the Russian workers from international capital.

Nepal’s Maoist guerrilla war

Nepal has been, in fact, a laboratory test for the ideas of Maoism. Through a 10-year guerrilla war, they controlled 90% of the countryside. This undoubtedly helped to weaken the basis of the monarchy. But it was the incredible events of April 2006 and the 18-day long general strike with the working class in the lead, which introduced into Nepal many features of a classical revolutionary situation, similar to October 1917. It posed the question of ‘either/or’: the establishment of a regime of workers and poor peasants or a continuation of the Nepalese royalist regime. One Chinese diplomat commented at the time: “I am afraid we are moving into a revolutionary situation.” The Indian government panicked and despatched emissaries to dampen the flames of revolution. The CPI(M) leadership also rushed to their assistance by sending Politburo Member Sitaram Yechury to Nepal where he persuaded the Maoists to enter the government. Yechury had met Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and defence minister Pranab Mukherjee. This act of the CPI(M) not only served the interests of the Indian capitalists but American imperialism as well. The opposition alliance, including the Communist Party Unified Marxist-Leninist (CPUML), handed power back to the king, which he had forfeited during the movement. The opposition, if anything, were more frightened than the monarchy, the capitalists and imperialism of an insurrectionary working class backed up by an armed peasant movement in the countryside taking power. The Indian capitalists, above all, were alarmed at these revolutionary events on its border.

This marvellous opportunity to transform the relationship of forces, not just in Nepal but throughout the subcontinent, was lost because of the mistaken policies of the different ‘communist’ parties – both ‘orthodox’ and the ‘Maoists’. They refused to base themselves on the movement of the working class to take power. Instead, the ‘revolutionary’ Maoists, in an ironic twist, have ended up as government ministers, with the king weakened but still occupying his throne, almost a year after the ‘April revolution’. The Maoists were not responsible – contrary to media reports internationally – for the April events. Their main base was in the countryside and not amongst the working masses in Kathmandu who were the backbone of the revolution. Although there is little industry and, therefore, not a big working class, the April events demonstrated that the workers were still capable of leading the peasants and the poor in the struggle to change society. However, it could only have fully succeeded if, after taking power, it had spread the revolution to the South Asian sub-continent as a whole. This is how the Bolsheviks in October 1917 proceeded, seeing ‘their’ revolution as an overture to world revolution.

To those who say that it is ‘sheer adventurism’ or ‘madness’ for the working class, peasantry and the poor to take power in one country or state, the answer to them lies in the example of the Russian Revolution. Workers’ power was at one stage reduced to the two major cities of St Petersburg (Petrograd) and Moscow, essentially the old province of ‘Muscovy’. The rest of Russia was in the hands of the 21 armies of imperialism and its Russian allies, the dispossessed landlords and capitalists. Nevertheless, the revolution triumphed through a class appeal to the working class, the multi-millioned peasants and the ordinary workers in the imperialist armies. They came to understand that only the Bolsheviks were prepared to carry through the expropriation of the landlords and the capitalists.

It is true that the working class is a minority in India but is nevertheless a potentially more important force, both in numbers and in its specific weight, than the working class was in Russia in 1917. What is, however, missing in India today, which was present in Russia in 1917, is that vital ingredient for success, a bold mass revolutionary workers’ party and leadership. Of course, the working class must forge an alliance with the peasantry, particularly its lower levels, and the poor. Rural uprisings and armed clashes between the peasants and the feudal and semi-feudal landlords, with the latter’s armed ‘retainers’ bent on crushing the resistance of the peasant poor, is an inevitable stage in the awakening of the masses, as is seen in parts of India today.

Genuine Marxists have always differentiated between these legitimate methods of mass resistance, which sometimes can involve guerrillaist type movements, and the ‘Naxalite’/Maoist theories which give pre-eminence to a guerrilla-type struggle in the countryside, buttressed by the policy of systematically eliminating individual landlords, government representatives, army officers and policemen. The Maoists describe this as ‘class annihilation’ but in effect it does not ‘annihilate’ the system of capitalism and landlordism.

Exploiters replaced

These policies have been shown to be counterproductive wherever they have been used. The assassination of individual representatives of the landlords and the capitalists will neither shake nor overthrow the capitalist-landlord regime. On the contrary, the exploiters can easily replace from their ranks those who are felled by the guerrilla or the assassin. History shows that such methods will not lead to the overthrow of the capitalists and landlords. Also, no matter how ‘sincere’ are terrorists or terroristic organisations, they inevitably play into the hands of the ruling class by giving an excuse for repressive methods to be used against the workers, the poor and the labour movement. Marxists therefore, always counterpose to acts of terror, even in the countryside let alone the cities, the mass resistance and mass arming of the working class and the poor peasantry when it is required against the capitalists, the landlords and their forces.

In opposition to this, the CPI(M) leadership still claims that there is a progressive national capitalist class in India, which they can ‘critically’ support, counterposing them to the reactionary feudal and semi-feudal landlords. In reality, in India the capitalists invest in land, are often landlords themselves and the landlords invest in industry. Both are, in effect, united through bank capital. Therefore, in India, a thoroughgoing land reform will come up against the opposition not just of the landlords but of the capitalists as well, which leads to the use of force by the propertied classes.

Countering this, the CPI(M) leadership could point to how they have successfully, together with the other left parties, conducted a long struggle for land reform, which to some extent was successful in West Bengal. It is true that these land reforms gave thousands of peasants tilling rights to land on which they were previously working without any rights. But, as New Socialist Alternative has pointed out, these much-acclaimed reforms did not alter the overall landholding pattern as far as rural West Bengal was concerned. The West Bengal CPI(M) and left parties did not consolidate the reforms by nationalising the land. Moreover, the limited character of these reforms was shown up when the government started to set up the SEZs.

Shallow reforms

The shallowness of these reforms has therefore been starkly revealed now by the government snatching back land which the peasants have occupied for 28 years and handing it over to rapacious domestic and foreign capital. However, the actual users of the land are refusing to part with it. This attitude is shared by many workers in other countries of the neo-colonial world – witness the resistance to similar land seizures and demolitions of rural workers homes in many countries in Asia, for instance in China and Malaysia.

There is not an atom of ‘progressiveness’ in Indian capitalism, particularly in its new rapacious neo-liberal phase. So-called ‘shining India’ has hardly made a dent in the age-old poverty and suffering of the Indian workers, peasants and poor. There may be an economic boom, a growth of 9% in gross domestic product in 2007 but the benefits of this are creamed off by a handful of the rich and a section of the upper middle class, estimated at no more than 3% of the population. On the other hand, 52% of Indian children are malnourished. Also poverty in India in the 11-year period preceding 2004-05 declined by a mere 0.74% according to the National Survey Organisation. Yes, jobs have been created in the service sector – in IT in particular – but this has benefited a small minority. Even those who have jobs in this industry have been affected by a dramatic rise in prices which has imposed an intolerable burden on the working class and the poor who struggle to make ends meet. As to the claim that a dramatic upsurge in education has taken place, again this has touched only a small layer: 54% of adults in India can neither read nor write.

Seeking to bracket the growth of India with China, a new term – ‘Chindia’ – has been coined by international capitalist commentators, suggesting a joint and comparable rise of India and China. The CPI(M) leadership have bought into this idea and are using the present ‘model’ of China for their perspectives for India. Nothing could be more misplaced and more disastrous from the standpoint of the working class. There are fundamental differences between India today and China. The latter, through the revolution of 1944-49 carried through most of the tasks of the capitalist democratic revolution. A planned economy was established under the Maoist regime, albeit one that was controlled by the bureaucracy through the medium of a one-party government. This was entirely different, as we explain in this book, to the kind of regime that existed in the first period after the Russian Revolution, the workers’ democracy of Lenin and Trotsky. Nevertheless, China developed on a colossal scale, outstripping in its growth rate other countries in the neo-colonial world like India.

But a further development of the productive forces in society was incompatible with the rule of a centralised bureaucratic regime. Therefore, beginning with Deng Xiao-Ping, the Chinese elite began to open up towards capitalism on a world scale – through the medium of foreign direct investment (FDI) – which has had big internal repercussions within China. For over 20 years China has been on a long, ‘carefully managed’ return to capitalism. Ironically, the gains of the Chinese revolution and of the planned economy provide a better starting point than India has in the process of developing capitalism, which in the case of China is not yet fully completed. In fact, all kinds of contradictions flow from this, which produce severe headaches for the Chinese regime and which could yet end in the collapse of its turbocharged growth. A social implosion leading to a new revolution and a new ‘Tiananmen’ revolution in China itself is a distinct possibility in the next period. India, on the other hand, has not yet completed the capitalist-democratic revolution with, as we have seen, the mass of the population still mired in the direst poverty. In China, on the basis of low living standards it is true, the basic problems of food and shelter, as well as jobs, were solved through revolution and the consequential ‘iron rice bowl’ for a historical period. India has not experienced anything of this character either from the so-called ‘mixed economy’, predominantly capitalist, of the Nehru-Gandhi era, or of the recent ‘shining’ openly neo-liberal phase of Indian capitalism.

China and India

In many fields, the difference between China and India is stark. China’s infrastructure – a product of the past planned economy – is more developed than India’s. Between 1981 and 1995, China had 537 scientists and engineers in research and development per one million, compared to India’s 151. Moreover, notwithstanding the much vaunted IT industry in India, China still leads in personal computers by 3:1 and on internet usage by over 4:1. India, it is true, produces one-fourth more software, of which three-quarters is exported, although it has a much smaller economy than China. Both societies are confronted by a devastating environmental pollution, which alone calls into question the rapid industrialisation proposed by the capitalists of India – supported by the CPI(M) – and developing capitalism in China. Untrammelled development of industry with an attempt to ape what has happened in the ‘advanced’ industrial countries is a threat not just to China and India but to the whole of the world. As we point out in this book, for China to catch up to the living standards of the US would require the resources of four worlds! Long before this, the world would choke to death or be submerged by rising sea waters, with unforeseen consequences (see section on the environment).

This is not to say that the masses of India or of China do not deserve the right to enjoy living standards equal to those presently enjoyed in Western Europe, Japan and particularly the US. But on the basis of capitalism, this industrialisation programme – fully subscribed to by the CPI(M) – is one-sided, is achieved by brutal methods, almost the primitive capitalist accumulation described by Karl Marx and illuminated in the brilliant chapter in the first volume of Capital dealing with the ‘working day’.

Indeed, the SEZs implemented in China, in Guangdong and the coastal strip as well as Beijing, are not the capitalist El Dorado’s portrayed by those defenders and advocates of the ‘Chinese model’, such as the CPI(M). In fact, China’s Shenzhen SEZ is a workers’ nightmare where “no labour rights exist” (Praful Bidwai, Khaleej Times, 24 March 2007). This writer also reveals, correctly, that in China “vice-minister Chen Changzhi has just revealed that 80 per cent of the 1.84 million hectares of farmland earmarked for industrial development was illegally acquired”. Wages of workers, often working in modern factories – the result of foreign direct investment – work for a fraction of the wages of the workers of the West. Even in India, the wages of professional IT workers average one quarter or one tenth of the wages of equivalent posts in Europe or the US.

In the past, it was believed that only goods could be traded across borders, while most services could not be imported and therefore were not subject to the same pressures of international competition. But the growth of the World Wide Web has changed all that and now “the fastest growing portion of international trade is in services” [Steve Schifferes, Economics Reporter, BBC News, Bangalore]. India is a global leader in the provision of these services, known as business process outsourcing (BPO), and exports $25 billion worth of these services per year, a figure that is expected to rise to $60 billion by 2010. India has become the centre of the global IT services industry, ranging from hi-tech software development which requires a full university engineering degree to BPO and call centres, which largely employ workers with only a pre-university education. It has international data communication links and good internet access in the major cities. This is a product of the conscious effort of Indian capitalism to deliberately target the export-orientated IT services for growth, giving it special subsidies. This has undoubtedly had an effect in fuelling a boom in India but one which, as we pointed out earlier, hardly touches the life of the vast mass of the worker-peasant poor.

Capitalist industrialisation

Nevertheless, the CPI(M) theoreticians still believe that this capitalist industrialisation – which they underline with their support for the theory of ‘stages’ – is the key to prosperity in the lives of the one billion population of India. Karat says that the party’s policy is to oppose “land-grabbing in the name of Special Economic Zones” and that this policy would now be enforced in West Bengal. Only “four to five proposals” for SEZs would now be considered in the state, said Bhattacharjee, who also claimed that there would be the provision of “jobs, direct or indirect, to every land loser in Singur, especially those dependent on land”. He also declared that “acquisition of farmland for industry is unavoidable in Bengal, which has less than one percent fallow land”. He concludes: “History will not forgive us if we deter… industrialisation for that reason.” But capitalist, one-sided industrialisation and, moreover, in one state is no guarantee, as China has demonstrated, of prosperity for the mass of the population. Of course, the perpetuation of rural backwardness, of semi-feudal and feudal land relations, is also no alternative. What is required, however, is a serious struggle to eliminate rotten Indian landlordism and capitalism whose ‘shine’ has dimmed as the real situation of the people of West Bengal and especially Nandigram has demonstrated. It means investing the struggle for jobs, houses, education, serious land reform and the solution of the caste and national problems with the idea of a decisive break with landlordism and capitalism in West Bengal and throughout India, linked to socialism and a new division of labour on a national and world stage.

However, the CPI(M) leadership has adopted the opposite course, even pursuing a vicious campaign against the organisers of protests against land grabbing in West Bengal. For instance, posters have appeared in the area where clashes have taken place “screaming anti-Medha Patkar” (well-known independent organiser of protests) slogans. Some declare: “Go back Medha to Vidharba where farmers are committing suicide”. Others shriek: “We want industrialisation.” Yet, the CPI(M) still inscribes on its banner the following: “The Communist Party of India (Marxist) is the revolutionary vanguard of the working class of India. Its aim is socialism and communism through the establishment of the state of the dictatorship of the proletariat.” These lofty aims, in the meantime, are put aside while workers are shot down by the state forces they support in the name of the ‘stages theory’. Only the process of socialist revolution, along the lines of the ideas of Trotsky’s theory of the permanent revolution – which we explain in this book – opens up a real future for the Indian masses.

However, the CPI(M), looked to as a vehicle for realising this dream by generations of self-sacrificing workers, as the events of Nandigram and elsewhere have demonstrated, is not capable of fighting for this. In West Bengal, the party has striven to reconcile the interests of the poor masses, particularly in the landed areas where, as we have pointed out, it did some good in ameliorating the conditions for a time, with the capitalists of West Bengal and their imperialist backers. While masquerading as ‘communist’, in reality this party like many of its sister parties throughout the world, at most retained a social-democratic element in its actions, e.g. the land reforms in West Bengal. But it has become increasingly a tool of the capitalists. Its actions in Nandigram have cut the lingering threads which connected the leadership of this party to the masses.

New workers’ party needed

This process of ‘bourgeoisification’ of the ex-social democratic and ex-communist parties is striking in its uniformity worldwide. India, for a period, appeared to lag behind with illusions amongst significant sections of advanced workers that somehow India and particularly the CPI(M) were ‘different’. The events of Nandigram have shattered these ideas and a significant debate has now opened up on a new way forward for the left and the workers’ movement of India. The tops of the CPI(M) and other lefts, with their bloated apparatuses, are incapable of facing up to a serious discussion and debate, either about the objective needs of the working class and poor in India and the policies required to change this or the events that have transpired in West Bengal. But it is entirely different with rank-and-file members of these parties, young people, left intellectuals and other workers who now reject their policies and are looking for a way forward. It is necessary to have the courage to mobilise the left, which is still considerable in India, on a new road. This means discussion on the need for a new mass party for the workers, the peasant poor and all exploited sectors of Indian society.

Numerous struggles take place in India on a daily and weekly basis but these will reach a new level as all the ‘shine’ finally comes off Indian capitalism. The purpose of this book is to help to prepare the forces which can intervene in these class battles and mobilise the working class to change society in a socialist direction which will have wide ramifications – given the colossal potential power of India, stripped of the barriers of landlordism and capitalism – can have on the rest of Asia and the world.

There is hardly a country in Asia today which does not face the same kind of convulsions as India itself. For instance, weak Pakistani landlordism and capitalism has sought refuge from the contradictions which tear it apart in the ‘solution’ of the dictatorship of Musharraf, which is now under mass pressure to vacate the scene. Similarly, in neighbouring Bangladesh, the military has stepped in, arresting political leaders, trampling on human rights and banning all ‘political activity’. The military has also intervened in Thailand. In Sri Lanka, the Tamil-speaking masses are fighting for their basic national rights and have been met with ruthless repression by the Sinhala chauvinist regime of Mahinda Rajapakse. The United Socialist Party (USP), the CWI section in Sri Lanka, which alone has Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslim workers in its ranks, has courageously defended persecuted Tamil workers from assassination by government-backed death squads.

One of the factors that leads to the imposition of military or quasi-military rule is the incapacity of the existing political parties to show a way out of the impasse that society is in. In the world’s third most populous country, Bangladesh’s main political parties, the Bangladesh National Party (BNP) and the Awami League vie for the spoils of office but have done nothing to change the appalling conditions of the masses. The present ‘caretaker’ government (all such military regimes declare they are ‘temporary’ but cling to office until they are overthrown by a mass uprising) also claims it will now show a way out. In Bangladesh, textile workers, many children, can earn as little as 3p (6 US cents) a day. In India, the daily wage for workers breaking up slabs of sandstone, again children, is 82p ($1.64) a day. As one of the organisations devoted to defending child workers declared: “Child labour is a form of slavery.” This slavery will only be overcome on the basis of ending the system which perpetuates it.

The boiling anger of the Indian masses is reflected not just in the events of Nandigram but in strikes in the cities and in the growing rural uprisings which are taking place. In the resource-rich state of Chhattisgarh, 50 policemen, according to the Financial Times, were killed recently in an “attack by left-wing extremists”. This is an area where there is what this newspaper called a “Maoist insurgency”, which is the policeman’s way of describing rural protests by peasants under attack from feudal and semi-feudal landlords. This conflict took place soon after the clash in West Bengal and is symptomatic of the situation that is developing on an all-India scale. Many parts of India are faced with mass uprisings of the working class and the poor, which led even the Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh to declare recently that the “Naxalite movement” – the catch-all phrase for peasant resistance – was the single “biggest internal security challenge ever faced by our country”. The working class is not far behind its peasant brothers and sisters as the mass strikes against privatisation have shown. In the process of this movement, genuine socialism and Marxism – not the counterfeit variety protected by the bullets of capitalist police – will become even more relevant for the Indian masses. It is the task of this book to further the process of rethinking by the genuine left and Marxist forces in order to provide the party and the leadership capable this time of leading the workers of India to a successful struggle against landlordism and capitalism and the establishment of a socialist India linked to a democratic socialist confederation of the subcontinent.