March 2002  
For Workers Revolution Against 
the Chauvinist Warmongers!

A million soldiers are poised for open war along the India-Pakistan border.  
(Photo: Mustafa/AFP)

As the U.S. and NATO terror-bomb Afghanistan in the name of fighting “terrorism,” the two regional capitalist powers (India and Pakistan) which signed onto the imperialist war drive are at each other’s throats. Beginning in January, more than one million Indian and Pakistani troops have been mobilized to the frontier. Heavy cross-border artillery shelling has killed hundreds of peasants and soldiers on each side. 

The immediate object of the dispute is the predominantly Muslim land of Kashmir, which has been divided since the 1947 partition of the Indian subcontinent by the departing British colonialists. Indian and Pakistani rulers have already fought three wars. Today the right-wing Hindu communalists in power in Delhi and the Islamic fundamentalist military regime in Islamabad are armed with atomic weapons. A fourth India-Pakistan war could quickly escalate to a nuclear conflagration killing millions.

U.S. president Bush would like to dampen the squabbling between his regional satraps. But denunciations of the nuclear danger are the height of hypocrisy coming from the imperialist power which is the only country ever to use atomic weapons in war, annihilating Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Today the most dangerous warmongers are those in Washington who falsely pose as “peacemakers.” The League for the Fourth International has called for revolutionary defeatism on both sides in this new India-Pakistan conflict, while defending the right of self-determination for Kashmir and all the oppressed peoples of the region and fighting for a socialist federation of South Asia (see “Imperialists’ Terror War Spreads,” in this issue). 

We print below two articles by Revolutionary Fourth International, a small group of Indian Trotskyists in Calcutta that sympathizes with the LFI. The second article (beginning on page 38), concerns the communalist slaughter instigated by the Hinduist right-wingers that broke out in the state of Gujarat in late February, leading to anti-Muslim pogroms which have taken more than a thousand lives.

India-Pakistan Conflict

The following is translated  from Revolutionary Fourth International, March 2002.

Even before a formal declaration of the end of the imperialist invasion of Afghanistan, the possibility of further war is being visualized in the Indian subcontinent. Those who aligned with imperialism in the name of fighting against terrorism are presently mobilizing army columns against one another. Alongside the military mobilization, they are quarreling in various international forums and diplomatic events, brandishing military threats while the U.S. secretary of state and high-level diplomats travel to India and Pakistan, Indian and Pakistani ministers go to the United States, British prime minister Mr. Tony Blair runs about, etc. As the situation changes daily, it is always problematic to definitely foretell what will happen. But in any case, as concerns the improvement or deterioration of India-Pakistani relations, the main factor has always been the balance and tug-of-war between the great powers internationally. Today, India and Pakistan are both placed in the circle of U.S. imperialist domination. This perspective is very important to understanding the present tensions in India-Pakistani relations.


Kashmir is the focal point of the India-Pakistan tension and tug of war. The last 50 years’ history of the Kashmiri peoples is the history of domination and coercion by the reactionary ruling classes of India and Pakistan. While the Indian ruling class would like to drown the freedom struggle of Kashmir in blood, the Pakistani ruling class seeks to occupy Kashmir, saying Muslims are a single nationality. 

India declares, “Kashmir is an inseparable part of India.” This is not true, since the accession of Kashmir was conditional, and according to the agreement, would be finally determined by a popular referendum. On the other hand, the claim that all Muslims are a single nationality, as declared by the late leader of the Muslim League, Mr. [Mohammad Ali] Jinnah, or today’s jihadis (partisans of Islamic holy war), is also not true. By looking at Bangladesh, which was separated from Pakistan, it is possible to understand the history of Kashmir. In spite of the latter being a Muslim-dominated state, Jinnah and the Muslim League had no foothold in Kashmir, and they [the Kashmiris] did not want to join Pakistan.

In this article, we do not intend to explain all the facts of Kashmir’s history. But to provide a perspective to understand Indian-Pakistani relations, we present a few comments.

Kashmir was divided in two in 1947. Later, during the three wars between India and Pakistan, the people of the Indian sector of Kashmir side did not support Pakistan at all. The reason was that the freedom movement of Kashmir was a nationalist and secular movement. But after 50 years of continuous provocations by India and Pakistan, today that situation is somewhat changed. In the Indian sector of Kashmir, among those who fight against India there are three separate tendencies: pro-independence, pro-Pakistan and jihadis. If they gained independence from India an internecine war would be posed between those favoring joining Pakistan and pro-independence forces.

We demand the immediate withdrawal of the Indian army and security forces and of the Pakistani army from the areas of Kashmir they occupy: Let the population of Kashmir decide, free of the “persuasion” of bayonets.

Border Tension

The decision of India and Pakistan to undertake military mobilization along the international border is not independent, reflecting only their will. If the military mobilization of India depended only on the decision of the Indian government, then we would have seen such army mobilization some years ago. It did not happen because the balance of power was not in favour of India internationally. 

In the last decade, since the fall of the USSR, India has been increasingly close to U.S. imperialism and Israel. On the other hand, the [Islamic] fundamentalists emerged due to the interest of the United States and Pakistan. The U.S. aim was to preserve its dominance and increase its influence in the former Soviet republics and over the oil reserves in Central Asia. Then came the war on Afghan soil against the fundamentalist Frankenstein which they created, leading to the present government in Kabul, which came to power with the aid of imperialism. The repressive actions by [Pakistani prime minister] Musharraf against the jihadis are due solely to U.S. imperialist pressure. But Musharraf ‘s grip is not consistent, and his control over Pakistan is not secure. The fundamentalists and jihadis have considerable influence in the state and army of Pakistan. 

So far imperialism seeks to avoid war among its regional partners. But in such a tense situation, it is not possible to say that the development of events will remain within the limits drawn by imperialism. At present, clearly both the Indian and Pakistan governments are maneuvering for maximum support from the United States as arbiter in the context of the imperialist war on Afghanistan (which both fulsomely support).

National Chauvinism and the Role of the Trotskyists

It may be that the end result of the border tension between India and Pakistan will be an outbreak of total war. In the present tensions, there is a sinister brandishing of aggressive nationalist militancy in both countries. At present in India, the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party, presently in office at the head of a coalition government) and their allies want to keep up aggressive nationalist hysteria for winning assembly elections. At the same time, it is equally important for the Indian bourgeoisie to cover up the increasing economic crisis from the view of the people. This is no less true for Pakistan. All the Indian bourgeois and petty-bourgeois parties have joined in this aggressive nationalist hysteria. 

The parliamentary left (such as the CPI, CPM, CPIML and others) mildly criticize it, but if war breaks out, then we can definitely say that they will stand with the Indian capitalist state, as they have done in the past, while making “left” criticisms. In fact, they have no kind of revolutionary internationalist orientation for the destruction of capitalism and the capitalist state, because they are carrying on their popular-front politics and forming governments. In [the 1940s], they acted in the role of agent of British imperialism in the name of the popular front, and aligned politically with Congress and the Muslim League in the name of a “two-stage revolution.” 

As Trotskyists we believe that the working class must uphold the banner of revolutionary politics against these various types of revisionism. In 1946, the Trotskyists of the BLPI (Bolshevik-Leninist Party of India) fought for independence and mobilized the working class in support of the Indian naval mutiny. Continuing that tradition, today Marxist revolutionaries of both countries should stand up against this aggressive nationalism (national chauvinism) of their “own” countries in this acute situation and must uphold the banner of proletarian internationalism. 

If a war is started, then revolutionaries must fight for the defeat of the capitalist state and capitalism, and must call for preparing revolutionary insurrection. As revolutionary Trotskyists we call on the soldiers of both countries to turn their arms against their “own” bourgeoisie from the standpoint of socialist revolution. Working-class power should be mobilized against military movements of their “own” country, linked with the struggle for the defense of bureaucratically deformed workers states (China, Cuba, North Korea, Vietnam) from the imperialist aggression. At the same time, this struggle will clear the path for political revolution to overthrow the Stalinist bureaucracy in those countries. This path is the path of socialism, the path of Leninism and Trotskyism. 

For this reason a Trotskyist party must be built which will work for the reconstruction of Trotskyist Fourth International for the aim of global revolution. n
Build Working-Class Defense Guards to Fight Against Communalist/Fascist Barbarism!

Soldier stands guard while Muslim family searches rubble of their home destroyed 
by Hindu chauvinist pogrom in Ahmedabad, March 3. Reformists call on army to 
repress rioters, although police joined in attacks.
(Photo: Manish Swarup/AP)

translated from Revolutionary Fourth International, March 2002

Seeing the barbaric events which have occurred in some parts of India including Gujarat in recent days, it can feel as if India is a slaughterhouse. People burned alive, cars stopped and torched with passengers inside, burning homes and their occupants, stabbing, raping, plundering – all these are barbaric events. They recall the Nazi barbarism of Germany during the Second World War. In India, such types of barbarism have occurred in the past, and everything is prepared for the future. In fact, the fascist RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh – National Volunteer Corps) and their mass organisations have begun to carry out their programme for making India into a Hindu state, through the movement to build the temple to [the Hindu god] Ram and the destruction of the Babri mosque in Ayodhya. 

As a part of that programme, the RSS along with its associated organization VHP (World Hindu Council) and its regional organisation Bajrang Dal, etc. called for the building of the Ram temple to begin on 15 March (the “kar seva” or temple construction). With this aim, they began gathering their fascist thug forces in Ayodhya from all over India. Their aim is to instigate nationwide communal conflict as occurred in 1992, and to build mass support for their activities. Revolutionary Trotskyists categorically oppose the movement for building a Ram temple through the destruction of the Babri mosque, since this programme is contrary to the interests of the working class, and at the same time it will shatter the class unity of the working class along communal lines.

Over the last decade there has been a qualitative change in the nature of communal clashes. Today “communal riots” mean planned murder or massacre or pogrom. The leader of this pogrom is the fascist RSS and their gangs. On the other hand, from the opposite side, communalist forces like the Islamic Sevak Sangha Jamat-i-Islami are keeping pace with those fascist forces. 

Revolutionary Fourth International, in Bengali, published in Calcutta.

Recently, we have seen this communal barbarism and pogroms in the killing fields of Gujarat, in a pre-planned phenomenon. As they traveled for kar seva, cadres of the RSS and VHP were spreading tension. With their inflammatory comments threatening shop owners and plundering, they started the communal tension and clashes. Growing out of this, the Sabarmati express train was burned. Murdering by burning of the train is clearly barbarism. But capitalising on  this barbarism, the RSS, VHP, Bajrang Dal, etc. showed even greater barbarism through a pogrom against the Muslim community. In fact, they wanted this, so that due to their provocations, anywhere an event would take place, they would make use of this event to continue their fascistic and communalist-barbaric actions. Recall a decade ago, the Rath Jatra activities led by of BJP leader L.K. Advani [now India’s home minister, in charge of the police, who marched from Gujarat to Bihar to carry out kar seva] led to 43 riots or cases of anti-Muslim slaughter.

In every instance, the RSS and BJP provoked those incidents. In 1992, following the destruction of the Babri mosque, communal pogroms and conflicts took place all over the country and nearly 3,000 men and women were murdered. One after another, they are instigating pogroms against Muslims, Christians and Dalits [the caste of “untouchables”]. In the face of this, it must be realised that without a disciplined, country-wide communist party, it is impossible to counter them. Therefore, it is crucial to build a revolutionary communist party based on Marxism, Leninism and Trotskyism. In order to stop the barbarism of the RSS and all types of pogroms, today the working class must advance shoulder to shoulder. Hence our call to build workers defence guards, based on the working class and labouring masses in various religious communities.

Those who look to the state and its repressive apparatus to counter the RSS’s fascistic activities and planned massacre are living in a fool’s paradise. As in many other communal clashes in Gujarat, the police and state machinery were either inactive or they participated along with RSS or VHP. During the Mumbai [Bombay] riots, the police participated with the fascist outfit Shiv Sena. In Uttar Pradesh, police always joined with Hindu communalist forces in the communal clashes. Moreover, this time it was clear that the Gujarat state government [headed by RSS leader Narendra Modi] directly cooperated with the fascists. At the same time, the central government indirectly assisted the Gujarat government. Thus one can see that both the central and state governments had a direct interest regarding this barbarism. 

Internationalist Group supporters in June 8 demonstration in Brooklyn, New York against the war and detentions. (Photo: Sue Kellogg)

It is as clear as water that the present central budget is a call to war against the working class and labouring masses. They need such types of incidents in order to divert the rage of the working people against the budget. Through army mobilisation in the border regions, they have tried to whip up national-chauvinist hysteria, but this did not produce the desired results for the BJP and its partners in the recent state assembly elections. So the BJP decided to step up their aggressive hindutva (Hinduist) line. Those who have been rallied by the fascists are nothing but a petty-bourgeois mass. Lacking a revolutionary way out, those people joined with the fascists in the face of the assault by the bourgeoisie and the bourgeois state (economic assault, poverty, unemployment, etc.). As an intermediate class they can be won to revolution, but when they see no prospect for revolution they join with the fascists. 

Today the bourgeoisie is seeking to build a police state through the the POTO (anti-terrorism), POCO (anti-crime) and other anti-working class laws, carrying out attacks one after another. The working class and labouring masses must understand that one cannot oppose and resist these attacks along the path of popular fronts and forming popular-front governments. Thus the urgent task of the working class to advance the revolutionary working-class movement against capitalism. Only in this way is it possible to resist communal and fascist barbarism. n 


To contact the Internationalist Group and the League for the Fourth International, send e-mail to: internationalistgroup@msn.com