At first look, it seems both are antagonistic; where the first one is for the people, for the “country”, while the second one is for the capitalist class.
Hence, Congress, during the Nehru era was pursuing socialism, and after neo-liberal policy, undertaken by Rahul Gandhi government, known as Manmohan Singh’s economic policy (He was the then Finance Minister), was pursuing capitalism. Neo-liberalism came with various masks, like globalization, perestroika, reform, cure of bureaucracy and ailments killing the public sectors, worker’s apathy with the work, loss of profit and unnecessary expenditure on welfare and subsidies.
Let us analyze the past, immediately after Indian independence, in fact even before that. The “smooth” handing over of power to Indians (and Pakistanis) was not to the working class, as envisaged by the HSRA, founded by Chandrasekhar Azad, Bhagat Singh, Ashfaqualla and others, and Communist Party of India. In fact, when the Indian Constitution was being made, there were four participating groups, one of them was represented by the Communist Party of India and who were forced to quit, when it was clear that the Constitution was to be in the service of the private property and was to safeguard the capitalist class (even the remaining feudal class).
This was a tacit understanding between the British Raj and the bourgeois class and Congress Party, Muslim league, USA, and others who mattered.
Two examples must be studied to understand the characteristics of the Indian bourgeois class; first, how it dealt with the Telangana movement, which was against the British Raj as well as its accomplice Nizam and Feudal Lords and the Rajakars (Nizam’s Army), under the leadership of CPI, which fought very valiantly since 1945 to 1952 or 53, till the leadership abandoned its own cadre to favour Nehru/Patel’s government and signed the pact of peace treacherously, one-sided, favouring the Indian State. The UNO had raised the Human Right’s question, where more than 2000 local women were raped, tortured and 1000s of fighters and their sympathizers were killed in fake encounters as well as in jails by the Army of GOI and Nizam, but somehow was quashed. After the peace pact followed and the Telangana Movement finished, the Nizam and his Army men were rehabilitated, in the most possible “honourable” fashion.
Similar was the Bombay Mutiny in 1946, which spread to Lahore, Bengal, Madras and was supported by the workers, peasants, youths, various Unions and organizations across the country.
However, Congress, Muslim League officially and openly opposed the mutiny, advised their respective followers to remain away from the “law and order” problems, as they never wanted to share the power with the working class. CPI seems to have chickened out or failed to analyze the situation correctly.
However, after the independence was secured, despite all the bloodbath between the two newly emerged nations, India and Pakistan, India preferred to follow industrialization and modernization of all the industries, services, and superstructure and new industries, factories. The Indian bourgeois class was unable to take over these concerns, enterprises, due to lack of capital as well as technical know-how and other much-needed wherewithal.
Hence, the GOI had to intervene and build all the “Navratans”, superstructures and other parts of public concerns; Airlines and Airports, Shipping (Jahajrani, SCI), Power, ONGC, BSNL, Research works (DRDO, etc.), super speciality medical services, ISRO, ASI, Highways, Railways, and many others. 5 Year plan may sound like having borrowed from the USSR, but it was supported by Tata, and other big capitalists. USSR was happy in providing cheap technical know-how as well as big types of machinery, like Thermal Plant in Patratu (Jharkhand), Defense equipment, with the help to build and repair facilities (BRD), etc., which was its foreign policy, to keep the imperialist powers away, as much as possible, in the new rising nations.
Was socialism being constructed in India?
No, as the state power was in the hands of the bourgeois class and the working class, though much united than today and militant, was in the back seat, “satisfied” with the “facilities and labour laws” in its favour. The situation gave a brilliant ideological framework to the CPI to support the ruling party, Congress, in name of building socialism, which of course was strengthening industrial as well as financial capital. The bureaucracy (red tapeism), corruption and other ailments penetrated into the public concerns in a natural fashion and “Socialism” was blamed. In the meantime, capitalist restoration in USSR gave “moral” support to the opportunist Communist Parties, the world over, to shun class struggle and followed Parliamentary Struggle, a path to build Socialism peacefully. An open class collaboration followed and these parties happily accepted opportunism and revisionism, the leadership which opposed these political lines, had to break away from the old parties, but in most cases that lead to “revisionism vs revisionism”, like CPI(M) or Left Wing adventurism, like Maoists (the earlier version, the Naxalite movement did connect the question of state power to the struggle, more appropriately class struggle, but that was the end of its break from the past revisionism and we know, finally this movement was crushed by the Indian State.).
Well, the nationalization, end of Privy system, etc. were accelerated during Indira Gandhi regime, and the “Left” was euphoric, Garibi Hatao (Remove poverty), the inclusion of the word “Socialism” in the Constitution and other rhetoric were nothing but part of capitalist society and capitalist politics, the political economy, that was being followed, was nothing but steadily empowering capital and the concentration of wealth in hands of few was accelerating. The nationalization of 14 largest banks in India in 1969, when Indira Gandhi was PM (And even FM) did not work towards the upliftment of the poor. Compare with this:
“The ownership of the capital wielded by and concentrated in the banks is certified by printed and written certificates called shares, bonds, bills, receipts, etc. Not a single one of these certificates would be invalidated or altered if the banks were nationalised, i.e., if all the banks were amalgamated into a single state bank. Whoever owned fifteen rubles on a savings account would continue to be the owner of fifteen rubles after the nationalisation of the banks; and whoever had fifteen million rubles would continue after the nationalisation of the banks to have fifteen million rubles in the form of shares, bonds, bills, commercial certificates and so on.”
(Lenin in 1917 on Bank’s Nationalisation)
The so-called “Socialism” through nationalization never attacked the production field, where the means of production was in the hands of the capitalist class, and where the surplus value was created by the workers and usurped by the capitalist class.
A small part of the surplus value (or rather through more exploitation of the workers) was used in circulation through welfare measures and subsidies. This allowed a small section of the working class to enjoy the bourgeoisie big heartedness towards its social duty, on the cost of the others. Today, the others, the workers in unorganized sectors are approximately 93%.
To jump a few decades, we see the “opening” of the economy, reforms, globalization, changes in labour laws, the introduction of laws for land acquisition, dilution of environment acts, etc. followed in the 1980s, accelerated in 1990s, so far all by the “Socialist” Congress government, in between (RSS) BJP Government, under Vajpayee and now Modi government. Modi government has much freedom to work due fascism, a social movement, where a section of the mass is supporting most of his anti-people economic and political policies, in hope of crushing the minorities and Dalits and building Hindu Rashtra and India becoming a World Leader.
The building up of the Indian property in many compartments, but mainly in government and in private hands, was all for the capital and its various forms, and now, when the world economy in plunging into economic crisis, even before Coronavirus Pandemic, and is almost in Economic Depression (Resembling 1928-31 economic recession), the capitalist class, with no love for the working class and the oppressed people, has thrown the country under the yoke of fascism and is ruthless “re-appropriating” the created public funds and concerns! See the rate of privatization of almost all the public concerns, where they are in loss or are inefficient, is of no more a concern, all are to be privatized, as soon as possible!
A very important point to understand is, there is a bridge between the earlier “Socialist” construction, better say it resembled a welfare state (providing social security but, in reality, far from it) and now the capitalist “restoration” in India, but with a violent break, qualitative change, from a masked “democracy” and constitutional government to open fascism, where constitutional methods have been thrown into the dustbin. The world imperialism, IMF, WB, etc. have full support to the Indian bourgeois class and its tirade against the proletarian class, with a sizable pie in the plunder.
The nationalization in a capitalist society or country is for the capitalist class and not for the working class. The unemployment, poverty, inequality continues rising in both the bourgeois state, namely anti-people state or pro-people (Welfare state) state, but during the crisis, either political or economic or any other kind, the bourgeois state comes down heavily on the working class legally, illegally, socially (A section of the mass supports it, for some perks or for some regressive ideology), through police, military, bureaucracy, etc.
While we, the revolutionary forces, work with the proletarian class and its oppressed allies, we do join their struggle, protests, rallies, it is our task to educate them on political economy, telling them how such concessions, which they may bargain due to balance of struggle in their favour, is temporary. These concessions are taken away, when the enemy class becomes the dominant bargainer, especially during the crisis and when the unity of the working class is weakened. Nationalization in any bourgeois society or state is not confiscation of the means of production, albeit taking over the management from the private hands by the state, after giving away the full compensation to the earlier owners. Yes, that does facilitate few well paid and even other employees for a comparatively peaceful life and save the wrath of their erstwhile capitalist masters. Here nationalization, as we can see, blunts the class struggle.
The real emancipation of the exploited class is its own state, by defeating the enemy class and smashing its old state apparatus, and by building a socialist society, where the private property is converted into social wealth. Nationalization of industries and land and other resources, in a country, where the state power is in the hands of the working class, through its revolutionary party, is a transitory method to control the production, as long as the state exists and later make it part of social wealth. We call it socialization, and that is our aim.
“The genius of Marx lies in his having been the first to deduce from this the lesson world history teaches and to apply that lesson consistently. The deduction he made is the doctrine of the class struggle.” In nutshell, rather running after the few words, which sound in favour of the working class and socialism, do analyze the crux of the political economy, in connection with the past, test the outcome on litmus paper, here the class interest, and apply the analysis to further the cause of the modern and the revolutionary class, the working class.
Gp Capt Krishna Kant