Supporters of capitalism blame today poverty on the previous mixed economy. Western historians claim that India used to have a planned economy. This is not true, India had a mixed economy with a large state owned sector. The state owned sector was very bureaucratic and inefficient, because it was run in a top-down way. Indian bureaucrats created a system of bureaucratic laws and only gave licences to set up business to a select few. Corruption was very high in state owned enterprises, as state-managers enriched themselves at the expense of workers and poor people. Still many poor people kept voting on the INC. Because the Indian National Congress ( INC ) was seen as the party of national liberation, much like the African National Congress of Nelson Mandela. Many felt a personal loyalty to the party of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, who was murdered by a Hindu-nationalist in 1948!
The Indian People's Party or Bharatiya Janata Party was created in 1980 and has been the main right-wing Hindu-nationalist party of India. Although a Hindu-nationalist party, the BJP has proven to be more a party for big capitalists then Hindu-nationalists. Its first major victory came in 1998 when they defeated the Indian National Congress for the first time. The Indian government under BJP control followed a neoliberal course and was praised by world leaders, such as Bill Clinton of the USA and European capitalist leaders such as Tony Blair!
In 2002, a train carrying Hindu pilgrims was set on fire. Angry Hindu-nationalists blamed Muslims for this act and a wave of anti-Muslim hatred erupted. Officials claim that 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus were killed. But others say the BJP led government tried to downplay the killings. The death-toll was said to be far higher with over 2.000 Muslims murdered by angry Hindu-nationalists. Narendra Damodardas Modi was minister of chief in Gujarat when the anti-Muslim riots started. Human rights groups have claimed that his government did not work hard enough to protect the Muslim minority from angry Hindu nationalists. These nationalists were organized in a right-wing paramilitary called the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. Narendra Damodardas Modi is a member of this controversial paramilitary group!
The election victory for the BJP is not new. They were able to beat the Indian National Congress before. Only their deeply unpopular capitalistic style of government made them losing elections to the INC. In order to boost their image, the BJP created the National Democratic Alliance of centre-right to right-wing parties. This alliance was supported by parts of the Hindu ruling class who favoured economic liberalism and privations of state enterprises. But not all capitalists supported the alliance of the BJP, mainly because the party is deeply Hindu-nationalist. Other parts of the Indian bourgeoisie remained close to the INC who was a fully capitalist party by 2004. Capitalism turned the elections into a media showdown, the United Progressive Alliance VS the National Democratic Alliance. In reality there is only minor differences between the two groups. Both groups supported more economic reforms to support the ruling class at the expense of workers and the poor!
India used to have a strong communist movement. The first Communist Party of India was founded in 1925 but it lacked a strong democratic centralist organisation. In fact the first CPI was a lose coalition of communist groups with a very limited national leadership. British imperialism was very hostile to the communist party and banned the party for its revolutionary work. There were three major trials of communists in India. The British claimed the CPI wanted to deprive the ''King-Emperor'' of his sovereignty of British India, by complete separation of India from imperialistic Britain by a violent revolution. These trials gave the Indian population a first look at the ideals of communism. In the late 1920's early 1930's, the CPI followed the Stalinist doctrine and called the socialists of India to be ''social fascist''. This prevented a united front with them against the British imperialists!
After Adolf Hitler's victory in Germany, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin ordered his communist parties to build popular fronts with the socialists and progressive members of the bourgeoisie. However it was only after 1942 that the Communist Party of India was able to operate freely. British imperialism legalized communist parties in its colonies to please the Soviets. This allowed the party to work inside the All-Indian Trade Unions and there it was able to build a strong presence!
The Republic of India was born on 26 January 1950. Communists were able to profit from the close relations India had with the Soviet-Union. Slowly workers and poor people realized that the CPI was a party that stood for them. They made the party the biggest opposition party to the ruling INC during the 1957 elections. Also the party was able to win the majority of votes in the Indian state of Kerala. The radical Communist Party of China criticized the CPI on working within the bourgeois-democratic structure of India. China and India were not close friends, because New Delhi supported Moscow against Beijing in the Sino-Soviet conflict. Also there was a border dispute which escalated into a war in 1962!
Inside the Communist Party of India there was a huge debate over this war. Some said that the party must support the Chinese, as the conflict was a struggle between one capitalist nation and a ''socialist'' nation ( as claimed by the stalinists ). But many communists did not wanted to support the radical Chinese. The CPI was deeply divided in three groups during the debates. There was a internationalist side ( pro-China ), a nationalist side ( pro-India ) and a neutral side. The Indian government used the war with China, to arrest those internationalist communists who supported the People's Republic of China. Officially these debates were not public, the CPI was a Stalinist party and enforced bureaucratic centralism, meaning that party members were expelled if they did not enforced the opinion of the leadership. The official stand of the CPI was still pro-China, this gave the government enough reasons to arrest many communists!
In 1964 the party split in two. A new Communist Party of India ( Marxist ) was born. This party was created by those communists who had supported China against the Indian government and the Soviet-Union. The CPI(M) became a anti-revisionist party, that rejected Nikita Khrushchev's criticism of Stalin. Those who remained loyal to the CPI choose to work with the Indian National Congress against the more radical CPI(M). Because of this collaboration with a capitalist party, the CPI lost most of its supporters to the CPI(M) over time. But the death of Mao Zedong and the rise of Deng Xiaoping turned the CPI(M) also into the reformist Stalinist camp. Still the CPI was not able to win back the trust of millions!
Today both the CPI and CPI(M) are part of the Left-Front and worked together to rule the state of West Bengal. But because of Stalinist degeneration, both communist parties never followed genuine socialist principals. Workers and poor people soon could no longer see the difference between, BJP, INC, CPI, CPI(M) and other political parties. West Bengal was lost to capitalist politicians because the Left-Front was never able to rule as a workers movement for socialism. Red flags and hammer & sickle are still used by both communist parties, but few workers see a socialist alternative in these parties. After so many years, the parties that claim to fight for socialism have nothing to offer. Anti-Stalinist revolutionary socialists call for the birth of a new workers party. A party that rejects the legacy of Stalin and Mao Zedong!
Although Mao Zedong had died a long time ago, his radical supporters in India build the Communist Party of India - Maoist in 2004. This party rejects both the CPI and CPI(M) and parliamentary democracy. They fight a ''People's War'' against the Indian government, no matter who rules it. Because of massive poverty, it was able to recruit more then 13.000 young boys between 2004 and 2013. Today it is estimated that 8.000 Indians are members of the banned Maoist party. 45% to 60% of their recruits are females. Young girls who flee the male dominated Indian culture, are easy target for maoists and their propaganda. Although Maoism claim to be fighting for woman rights, some say that Maoist leaders are just using these girls to fight their ''People's War''!
Revolutionary socialists reject the ''People's War'' we believe in class struggle, not guerilla struggle. A workers party is needed to fight the BJP and the INC and the degenerated communist parties. Workers need to think for themselves and not trust the propaganda of those who claim to be progressive, leftist, socialist, communist or revolutionary. The Bharatiya Janata Party has won the elections in 2014, but their politics will be deeply unpopular with the working class and the poor. Narendra Damodardas Modi will become prime minister and rule as a right-wing Hindu-nationalist. The struggle for genuine socialism and workers rule will be difficult, but necessary for Indians!