English Edition

Vol. 8, No. 68
4th October   1928


Twenty-ninth Session
  Moscow, August 14, 1928

The Revolutionary Movement in the Colonies

Report of Comrade KUUSINEN.


Dear Comrades

I do not want you to consider my report on the subject of today's session, the revolutionary movement in the colonies and semi-colonies, as a coherent report on the whole subject, but only as a supplement and concrete illustration of what is said on this subject in the draft theses. As you know, I do not possess the necessary knowledge to deal with the whole subject. Moreover, I have endeavoured to explain to you in the draft theses some parts, especially the tactical parts, even in greater detail than it will be necessary in the final theses, in order to make my main argument clear to you. But I think that one should – and I consider it my duty – endeavour also in my report to give this a more concrete form, or at least to illustrate it.

First of all, a few preliminary remarks. The defects of the draft Theses are partly of an inevitable kind. You probably remember that in the Theses of the II. Congress Comrade Lenin imposed on us the very important theoretical task of producing the theoretical substantiation of the possibility of non-capitalist development in the backward countries. This theoretical substantiation is not given in the present draft Theses, neither has an attempt been made to produce it. We have not had an opportunity to make a serious enough study of this question. I am even afraid that in connection with this defect something much worse has happened: the role of the peasantry in the revolutionary movement of the colonies and semi-colonies has not been given due prominence. As to the division of colonies and semi-colonies into various types and groups, it is a very difficult task which we are endeavouring to solve for the first time. That owing to this there are many defects in the first draft, is certain. I am fully aware of this. There can, of course, be diverse criteria according to which countries can be divided into various types. I hope that in the subsequent treatment of this draft we will succeed in developing better this division of the colonies into various types. But I am afraid that even in the best case only a beginning can be made with this work at the VI Congress.

I would like you to consider as the most important, as the main matter in the present draft, firstly, the description of the character of the imperialist colonial policy. Tactical conclusions depend to a great extent on a correct understanding of its character. Secondly, I attach considerable importance in the draft to the designation of national reformism or the bourgeois-democratic tendency as the main political tendency of the national bourgeoisie in the most important colonies and semi-colonies. It seems to me that on the strength of past experience this description of the main tendency is likely to represent the matter much clearer than we have hitherto succeeded in doing by our former formulae. Thirdly, an attempt has been made in the draft to reproduce the various experiences of the revolutionary movement in China and in other colonies in a coherent form. That I have endeavoured in this connection to differentiate very distinctly between the various stages and phases of the revolutionary movement, is an attempt at popularisation on my part with which, I hope, you will put up. But I would like to emphasise once more that when determining our tactic, our political tasks in every individual country, our starting point must not be the abstract, a schematic division of the various stages, but the concrete situation.

As a supplement to the draft Theses I will report now firstly, on the main argument of the draft in the light of the concrete conditions of India and secondly, on some practical tasks of our movement in the most important colonies and semi-colonies. Why should Indian conditions be dealt with specially here? Of course firstly, because of the enormous importance of India among the colonies, because of the class character of the colonial monopoly which is particularly noticeable in India, and also because I hold the view that a serious revolutionary crisis will develop in India in the not far distant future.


I assume that many comrades in our Parties and perhaps even a good many comrades here at our Congress are not much better informed about Indian conditions than I was a few weeks ago when the Executive instructed me to report on this question. Therefore, I will give, with your permission, a few general facts concerning conditions in India, with the help of which I hope to bring India a little nearer to our Parties. Relatively much has already been said about China. China has been popularised. But very little is known about India.

What is India? Is it a rich or poor country? A petty bourgeois German writer who visited India lately, Bernhard Kellermann, has said that India is a beggar. This is a wrong description, but a far more wrong description is that of the imperialists who say that India is a wealthy and well-developed country. Somewhere in "Capital" Marx reproduced a saying by a bourgeois economist that that land is rich where the people is poor. In this sense India is truly rich. If one considers that India is one of the biggest consumers of gold, that for instance in 1925 it purchased half of the total gold production of the world and that all this is being accumulated there as treasure, one must admit that it is a wealthy country. But if one considers on the other hand that the annual national revenue per head of the population is estimated at only 38 rupees, that is to say that even in Japan it is three times higher, in Spain 5½ times, in Germany 15 times, and in Britain of course much higher still (25 times as high!), one gets an idea of the poverty in India. One gets a lopsided picture if one takes only the absolute figures about Indian export: what India has achieved in regard to various branches of production, that India occupies first place in the world in the production of rice and jute, second place in the production of cane-sugar, tea and cotton and third place in the production of wheat, or if one hears about the truly rapid rate of the industrial development in India during the last decade. All this can give a semblance of truth to the assertion that India is one of the greatest industrial countries in the world. Everyone knows, for instance, that the International Labour Office of the League of Nations has "recognised" India as one of the eight leading industrial countries of the world.

But this is not in keeping with the actual situation. If one were to carry this logic a little further, one would come to utterly absurd conclusions. The yearly military expenditure in India, including indirect military expenditure, is twice as high as that of imperialist Japan. India exports even capital to other countries. On the strength of this one might assert with a certain amount of justification that India is on the way to becoming an imperialist country. This is approximately how the situation is represented in the official reports to the British imperialists. According to these reports an enormous "material and moral progress" is taking place in India which is in full harmony with the British imperialism. This is of course only an imperialist lie.

The social pyramid in India

Comrades, picture to yourselves the social pyramid in India. It is not an industrial country, but rather a big rural continent. There are 686,000 villages – I do not know if all these villages, not to mention the peasants who live there, have ever been counted. These peasants, most of whom are something like the "poorest peasantry" in Russia, together with the 50-60 million Pariahs, constitute the broad lowest section of the social pyramid. On their shoulders rests in the rural districts a many-storeyed hierarchy of exploiters, up to the highest feudal landlords and princess. Finally, there is above the whole enormous population a relatively small group of white exploiters, 103,000 adult white men, most of them Britishers, who in comparison with the Indian people are like a fly on the back of an elephant. To every white exploiter there are over 3000 Indian who are trodden underfoot by everyone of these whites.

Who are these whites? Most of them, approximately, 64,000 are officers, generals, soldiers, policemen, higher officials, businessmen, etc. The Indians call them Sahibs, the great white masters. Kellermann relates for instance that once when he entered a town in his carriage he met native aristocrats on horseback who immediately dismounted when they saw him and made a wide detour. His driver explained that they thought him to be a Britisher and were afraid that he would strike them with his whip. The white sahib gets as much space in a railway train 50-60 Indians, who pay together of course a much higher fare than he. Any Britisher in India has the right to refuse to appear before an Indian court. This is of course very convenient for white criminals who elude punishment. At the head of these white exploiters is their most dangerous idol, the Viceroy. Of course he does not yet complete the pyramid. Behind him there are in London the Secretary of State for India, behind him the King and behind the King stands Lancashire and finally the group of the so called "Big Five", the biggest banks in Great Britain; this group is the son of all the sahibs. This is the greatest pyramid in the world.

The British gain

The British imperialists rule over this big people of over 300 million by various traditional methods, among which for instance the enforced and militarily protected consumption of opium, which has been lately competing with the consumption of alcohol and cocaine, much be mentioned. An even more effective method is that of creating strife between the various religions, above all between Moslems and Hindus.

All this means of course an enormous yearly gain for the British bourgeoisie. Comrade Varga has estimated this gain at 167 million pound sterling. This amount includes the profit from Great Britain's trade with India which is entirely in the hands of the British and the profit from sea transport which is carried on almost entirely by British ships, the industrial profit, the tribute for the British capital invested in India as well as the big administrative expenditure which the Indian people must meet in Britain as well as in India for the "good administration". The Indian writers Shah and Khambatha estimate this yearly British gain at 146,500,000 pound sterling, not a much lower estimate than that of Comrade Varga. As an absolute sum it is very big; as part of the whole profit of the British bourgeoisie it is very considerable; in comparison with the number of the population it is not big, but in comparison with the annual revenue of the Indian people it is an enormous sum.

The Industrial Development of India and the British Colonial Policy

Britain initiated its rule in India by prohibiting the native textile handicrafts. It was destroyed in a few years by cruel penalties. The industrial development of the country was systematically impeded and was given a chance only at the beginning of this century. During and after the war industry, and specially the textile industry; developed rapidly. Relative figures are certainly even more considerable in a few other branches of industry. For instance it has been ascertained that the number of workers employed in the metal industry increased by 100% in ten years, and in the chemical industry by 130%. But these branches of industry are still very weak, they are only beginning to develop. In the present industrial life of India the textile industry alone plays an important role.

As I have already said, the industrial development of India has progressed rapidly in the last 20 years. But if even several Communist comrades have been induced, on the strength of this fact, to assume that British policy is following an entirely new course in regard to the industrial development in India, I must say that they have gone too far. A semblance of this was possible in the boom years 1921-23. Actually, no change has taken place in the course of the British colonial policy. Some of these comrades went even the length of holding out the prospect of a decolonisation of India by British imperialism. This was a dangerous term. The comrades who have represented and partly still represent this - in my opinion - false theory are comrades who otherwise deal very seriously with the problems of our movement – comrades Palme-Dutt, Roy and Rathbone. A certain relic of this wrong conception made its appearance even in Comrade Rajan's speech in the discussion on the first item of the agenda. I consider it my duty to elucidated this question. If it were really true that British imperialism has adopted the course of the industrialisation of India which leads to its decolonisation, we would have to revise our entire conception of the character of the imperialist colonial policy. I think that facts show this is not the case.

The Decolonisation Theory

I will give you a few quotations from the works of these comrades. Comrade Palme Dutt writes as follows in his book "Modern India":

"In the 19th century India was the most important outlet for the British manufacturers. In the 20th century India became rapidly industrialised under the control of British capital; by means of a colossal and irresponsible bureaucratic apparatus and owing to a semi-slave position of the workers, this capital has more profitable investment possibilities than at home."

Another quotation:

"The industrialisation of India under British control – at present India is recognised officially as one of the eight leading industrial countries of the world – means that as the situation gets worse in Britain, British capital exercises its power over the cheap labour power in India and establishes here enterprises which, by their competition are to reduce wages in Britain."

(Retranslated from the German)

In his theses at the II. Congress. Comrade Roy represented utterly different views. In this thesis, which had been perused by Lenin, Comrade Roy wrote at that time:

"Foreign imperialism which has been forced on the Eastern peoples has no doubt impeded their social and economic development and has deprived them of the possibility of reaching the stage of development which has been reached in Europe and America. Owing to the imperialist policy which endeavours to retard industrial development in the colonies the native proletariat has, in fact, began only lately to exist."

But Comrade Roy holds different views now. In the draft resolution of October 1927 on the Indian questions, Comrade Roy makes the following statement:

"The new imperialist policy implies a gradual 'decolonisation' of India which must be allowed to take its course so that India might develop from a 'Dependency' into a 'Dominion'. The Indian bourgeoisie, instead of being kept down as a powerful rival, will be conceded participation in the economic development of the country under the hegemony of imperialism. From a backward agrarian colonial possession India will become a modern industrial country – 'a member of the British Commonwealth of free nations'. India is in a state of 'decolonisation' in as far as the policy forced on the British imperialism through the capitalist post-war crisis has done away with the obsolete forms and methods of colonial exploitation in favour of new forms and new methods."

The description in Comrade Roy's draft resolution goes on in the same strain. But I must point out to the comrades that Comrade Roy has probably in inkling of the consequences of this theory. He says:

"This change in the economic sphere has also political consequences. The inevitable process of gradual decolonisation is fraught with the embryo of the dissolution of the Empire. In fact, the new policy adopted for the consolidation of the Empire, a policy which wants to ward off the danger of an immediate collapse, shows that the foundations of the Empire have been shaken. Imperialism is a powerful demonstration of capitalist prosperity. In the present period of capitalist decline its basis is undermined."

Thus Comrade Roy sees that the decolonisation policy of British imperialism would lead to the weakening and dissolution of the British Empire. But he nevertheless believes that British imperialism is determined to pursue this policy. I will give you now a quotation from Comrade Rathbone's article "The Industrialisation of India" where he uses a new argument:

"...In the war period British finance capital recognised the mistake which was made by preventing the industrial development of the colonies, for the latter were unable to supply the mother country with munitions during the war... This was one of the main reason for the industrialisation of the colonies."

(All quotations  retranslated from the German)

Now comrades, it is certainly very nice for the mother country if its colonies supply it during the war with munitions for war purposes. But if British imperialism should industrialise India for the purpose of getting munitions from it during the war, the danger will certainly arise that during the coming war these colonies might use these munitions first of all for the acceleration of their decolonisation. Engineering works, even if they be big, such as Tata in India, can be after all restricted in every possible way and controlled by British imperialism so as to prevent it becoming a danger. A few railway workshops, etc., can also be controlled, but comrades, the existence of a few such enterprises does not yet mean the industrialisation of India. Industrialisation means the transformation of an agrarian into an industrial country, it means a general, thorough, industrial development, above all development of the production of means of production, of the engineering industry. This is not a question if any industrial development has take place in India – this has certainly been the case –it is rather a question if it is the policy of British imperialism to industrialise India.

What Do the Facts Show?

It is true that after the war British imperialism has made a few more or less important economic concessions in favour of the industrial development in India. The most important among them were the 15% protective tariffs for the cotton industry. But what is the explanation of these concessions? Comrades, to explain this one need not even visualise the needs and requirements of British imperialism in a future world war. It is sufficient to visualise the position of British imperialism and situation in India itself at the beginning of the imperialist world war. Mutinies in the army, a big peasant insurrection in the Punjab, development of the national movement of the bourgeoisie, for the first time, unification of the Moslem League with the Indian National Congress. Then there was also Japanese competition on the Indian market and partly also the competition of the United States, – both endeavoured to make use of the war period for the consolidation of their position on the Indian market. There was also the Caliphate movement, the Gandhi movement, etc. All this combined placed the British Government before the alternative: either to lose India as a colony or to make certain concessions for the pacification of the Indian bourgeoisie and to take measures for protection against foreign competition. The necessity to do this dictated at that time to the British imperialism the economic concessions (raising the protective tariffs for the textile industry to 15%) and also the constitutional reform of 1919. The objective consequence of the facilities for industrial production in India was an acceleration of industrial development. These concessions were in themselves small enough; there is hardly a capitalist country which has effected its transition from an agrarian to a capitalist State with such low protective tariffs, of course except Britain, which was the first to effect this transition, at the time when no other country exported manufactured articles. But even these small concessions are being gradually reduced all along the line.

It is said in circles which believe in the decolonisation  theory that British finance capital is looking for productive investment possibilities in the Indian industry in order to utilise there the low wage rates, etc. Of course much British capital was exported to India also after the war. But in this connection we witness the following significant phenomena. After the war the export of British capital was at first, of course, very small, but in the three years 1921-23 it increased considerably. After that a sudden big change took place. In the last years preceding the war the export of British capital to India amounted approximately to 13-16 million pound sterling per annum; then as I already said, the export of capital was very small in the first years after the war; in 1921-23 it rose to 25-30 and even 36 million pound sterling per annum, i.e. a fifth or a quarter of the entire export of British capital went to India. After that the export of British capital to India fell again to 2 and subsequently to 3 million, and in the last year (1927) it amounted only to 0.8 million pound sterling – a very small sum. In the last years British capitalism was not particularly inclined to make excursions to India. It finds its way into South Africa, Australia and even the Sudan, but not to India. If one takes the trouble to investigate for what purposes the capital exported from Great Britain to India in the exceptional years, 1921-23, was invested, one sees that most of it was certainly not invested for productive purposes, and by no means for industry. Of the whole amount (94,400,000 pound sterling) 70,000,000 pound sterling went to government loans. One can say that 10% at the utmost of the British export capital was invested in India in industry during and after the war. Between 1913 and 1924 India's national debt increased by 4,139 million rupees, of which 3,343 million rupees were used for unproductive purposes (mainly military). For instance, during the war the government of India simply made a present of 145 million pound sterling for British war purposes and maintained in addition considerable active armies on the various fronts of the world war. India fought entirely with its own means against Afghanistan and the independent tribes in Vasiristan. No wonder that up to 1925 the Indian state budget showed a big deficit.

If one considers the growth of capital, of the foreign joint stock companies (mainly British) in India, in the period between 1913-24, one must say that it was very considerable (452 million pound sterling, i.e. an almost treble increase), but most of these investments of capital went not to industry, but above all to banks, insurance and trading companies (405 million pound sterling). On the other hand, a much greater share of the increased capital of joint stock companies registered in India, in which probably more Indian than British capital is invested, went to industry: out of 1,900 million rupees over one thousand million.

After the war native capital has gained ground in India in various spheres where prior to the war British capital had almost a monopoly (the jute industry and tea plantations). In the same period Britain's share in Indian import has considerably decreased: from 64% prior to the war to 47.8% in 1926-27 (in 1913-14 English imports to India amounted to 1,176 million rupees, in 1924-25, calculated according to pre-war prices, only to 720 million rupees). The main cause of this is probably the development of the Indian industry itself, but on the other hand, also the development of competition on the part of Japan, the United States, Italy, Belgium and Germany. It is but natural that British imperialism is not inclined to be a passive spectator of this trend of development. Thus we witness lately various counter-measures on its part against the industrialisation tendencies of India. I draw your attention for instance to the currency policy of the British government, to the artificial rise of the rate of the rupee to 1/6 d. (instead of 1/4 d.), which in practice means a premium of 12½% for import. This means in fact that the existing protective tariffs lose a great deal of their value. The Indian bourgeoisie has been already a long time demanding the introduction of the gold standard. But the British bourgeoisie will not hear of it. Preferential tariffs for British goods are being introduced. Any demand which aims at the establishment of a real State Bank in India is violently opposed by the British government. Orders for railway carriages have been going lately again to Britain. The "big five" in London consider now all economic concessions to India rather risky. They carry on an aggressive economic policy against Indian industrialisation. Among these counter-measures was also the despatch of the Simon Commission to India which certainly did not aim at the decolonisation of India but rather at the consolidation of the colonial regime.

Comrades, I of course do not mean to assert that we are face to face with a complete throttling of industrial development in India by the British imperialists. Even if it wanted to try this, it would not be possible. The industrial development of India will continue, although probably very slowly. But the further it gets the more it comes into conflict with the most important colonial interests of British imperialism. The latter stands in need of the Indian market more than ever before. Its own economic position demands peremptorily an increased exploitation of India, but it cannot achieve this without calling forth on its own part an accentuated conflict with the interests of the industrial development of India.

The Question of the Extension of the Internal Market

Comrade Roy says that the Indian bourgeoisie will be granted "participation" in the economic power together with the British imperialists. There is no doubt that efforts are made towards a compromise between them. The British as well as the Indian bourgeoisie is endeavouring to arrive at a durable compromise. But the question is if this big durable compromise can be achieved or not. Various agreements between them are quite possible in certain spheres, but they will be provisional and partial. Such an agreement has been, for instance, effected between the Lancashire and Bombay cotton manufacturers: the latter are to produce only the coarser and the former only the finer qualities.

But is this kind of thing possible all along the line? Certainly not. Comrades, it would be perhaps possible only in one case: if the internal market in India were to extend at a rapid rate. In such a case exploitation by the Indian bourgeoisie and also by British imperialism could for a time develop in India parallel and to a certain extent without friction. But even in this case a subsequent collision between the forces of the independent development of India and the British imperialism could not be avoided. But by such agreements this collision could be certainly postponed for a certain period. But facts show that the internal Indian market is not extending. It remains stationary, and even a partial shrinkage of the internal market is noticeable. For instance, the consumption of cotton goods has decreased compared with the pre-war period. As the Indian textile industry has at the same time developed, this could only happen by the British competition being partly driven back. The internal market is too narrow for the two.

Therefore the problem of the development of the internal market in India is just as important for the British as for the Indian bourgeoisie. But can this problem be solved?

What constitutes the internal market in India? Mainly the rural districts. In this respect the peasantry is of decisive importance. Potentially, the Indian peasantry constitutes a powerful factor of the internal market, but in reality its purchasing capacity is infinitesimal owing to the three-fold exploitation under which it is groaning. By British imperialism and its tax collectors, by the landlords and by trade and usurious capital. As pointed out by Comrade Bukharin when dealing with the first item on the agenda, industry in India is unable to absorb the mass of the pauperised peasants, and instead of proletarisation we witness there an ever-increasing process of pauperisation in the rural districts.

The Position of the Indian Peasantry

Without attempting to place before you the entire Indian agrarian question or to describe the peculiar conditions in the various districts, I must nevertheless mention the most important points in regard to the Indian rural districts, so as to make it clear why the necessary extension of the internal market meets with insurmountable obstacles in India.

Thanks to British imperialism, which is the biggest landowner in the country, the former village communes and democratic peasant constitution "Panchayat" were destroyed. But instead of getting rid of the former feudal landlords, a new feudalism was created on a big scale. The biggest section of the present landowners and big tenant farmers, the "Samindars" (there are about one million Samindars, 8 million including their families), the main social support of the British bourgeoisie in India, is to all intents and purposes a class which has come into being through the measures of British imperialism. These rentires live themselves in the cities. Agriculture on a big scale hardly exists. Between the feudal Rajasin, the new feudal samindars on the one hand and the Indian peasants on the other hand, there is a whole hierarchy of sub-tenants who exploit the peasants. There are frequently 10-20 storeys (in exception cases even more) of such intermediate exploiters between the landlord and the poor tiller of the land. If the peasant cannot pay his taxes or ground rent he becomes the victim of usurers. About one half of the Indian peasantry is very much in debt. There are cases when the usurer exacts most of the peasants’ harvest. According to the official government report, in some parts of India no less than 6 million hereditary debt-slaves were discovered in 1918, – such discoveries can only be made in India. It has been calculated that rent and interest on the debts amounts on an average to over 70% of the peasants' harvest. I cannot vouch for the correctness of this calculation. I mention it only as an illustration of the terrible exploitation of the Indian countryside. Owing to the enormously high land value, in many parts of India parcellation of the land has assumed enormous proportions. It is but natural that under such conditions the productivity of labour of the peasantry cannot develop. The best part of the year peasants are unemployed or partly employed. The returns of their harvest are very low (wheat returns per hectare only one half of the returns in Japan and one-third of the returns in Germany. In 1926 rice per hectare only one-third of the returns in Japan). The total harvest returns have not increased since 1900.

Of course under such conditions the purchasing capacity of the peasants if infinitesimal and their consumption very small. Since the war the difference between the prices of agricultural produce and industrial produce is even more unfavourable for the peasants.

Very competent writers assert that there are over 100 million people among the Indian peasant population who cannot satisfy their hunger even once a year. The death rate in India is the highest in the world (almost three times as high as in Britain). The direct or indirect chief cause of this high death-rate is starvation and destitution, which of course helps to spread epidemics (especially typhus).

Agrarian Reform or Agrarian Revolution?

What would, under such circumstances, be the premise for the required extension of the internal market? An agrarian reform on a large scale? Is this possible in India? When the British Government carried out an agrarian reform in Ireland, it purchased there those parts of the land where parcelling was greatest. But in India the ground is parcelled out to the utmost almost everywhere. There is no land fund on the basis of which one could carry out a land reform on a large scale. Politically, it is impossible for British imperialism to confiscate the land of the big landlords. Artificial irrigation by which the arable area could be extended – being in the hands of the government – is firstly utterly inadequate and secondly – being in the form of capitalist enterprises – is so expensive that the average peasant cannot utilise it.

An attempt was made in the Bombay Presidency to fix the minimum ground rent for small peasants. But this reform had to be withdrawn because one did not know on what the destitute peasants were to live. To carry out the necessary agrarian reform in India by bourgeois methods, one would have to drive not only millions but several tens millions peasants from the country somewhere. Thus, an effective agrarian reform is impossible in India.

The whole development shows that not decolonisation nor agrarian reform, but agrarian revolution is in the course of formation. During the world war peasants from the Punjab and some other parts of India were sent as soldiers to the various fronts. There were altogether one million Indian soldiers at the European war fronts to fight against the white Sahib, although not the British Sahib. Every tenth men of them remained at the front, but nine-tenths have returned with the knowledge that the white Sahib is vulnerable... When this knowledge has spread throughout the Indian villages and when Indian soldiers and also their circles realise that they were donkeys not to have turned their arms first and foremost against their own oppressors, the time for the agrarian revolution in India will have come.

Why Does the Indian Bourgeoisie Raise a Hue and Cry?

It is no wonder that in the face of this situation the Indian bourgeoisie is sounding the alarm. Pressure from below makes the bourgeoisie indulge in oppositional gestures: the Legislative Council has decided – of course against the votes of the British and of a few Moslem nobles – to boycott the Simon Commission. The Indian National Congress has decided to declare that "the aim of the Indian people is full national independence". When I am told that this is only on paper, that the people are only making a noise, that they are only indulging in "Moonshine politics", I say: quite so, but even behind moonshine one can discover a hard fact, namely, the moon itself. The hue and cry of the Indian bourgeoisie is a sign that something serious and important is maturing behind it.

There is an economic crisis at present almost in all the spheres of production in India, and by no means for lack of capital, for there is an abundance of capital in India. With the help of the British imperialists, the Indian capitalists endeavour to get rid of their superabundance of capital. They buy up State bonds and shares (but much more bonds than shares of industrial companies), they deposit their money in savings banks, they export capital to Brazil as recommended by the British Chancellor of the Exchequer in India, they purchase enormous quantities of gold and silver as treasure, etc. Why is not most of this Indian capital invested in industry? Because the British colonial system is an enormous obstacle to the industrialisation of India. For this reason most of the engineering works established after the war have gone into liquidation in the last few years. And yet there are comrades as for instance, Comrade Luhani, who gives a poetical description of the prospects of the industrialisation and decolonisation of India on the strength of the fact that India has even obtained diplomatic representation somewhere in the South African Government. Comrade Luhani shows his inability to distinguish the most important and substantial from the unsubstantial. The big revolutionary crisis, the maturing of which we are witnessing now in India, is the most important. The pauperisation of the peasantry, the retardation of the development of the native industry with the result that it cannot absorb the mass of the pauperised peasants, that peasants who migrated to the cities are returning to the villages, – all these are important and very characteristic facts in illustrating the development of India.

National Reformism

That the national bourgeoisie is raising a hue and cry is quite true. But it is important to understand the political character of the Indian bourgeoisie, its national reformist policy. That this policy is directed against the proletariat is as plain as that the bourgeoisie is the bourgeoisie. That the policy of the Indian bourgeoisie is not revolutionary, is also quite clear. I will refer only to a couple of very characteristic examples. In 1922, during the first wave of the semi-revolutionary workers' and peasants' movement, when the bourgeoisie began to be afraid of revolution because of its property, the Executive of the Indian National Congress capitulated immediately before imperialism. It adopted at that time the following resolution:

"The Executive Committee regrets the brutal behaviour of the crowd in Taschauri-Tschaure which murdered the policemen and burned down in its senseless fury the police station", etc. etc.

The other points of this notorious resolution are in the same spirit. The chief rogan of the national-reformist Swaraj Party "Forward" wrote once as follows in regard to the accentuation of the British-Soviet antagonism:

"Indian Statesmen should ask the British Statesmen if they intend to pay for Indian help in questions of international politics."

It was with such cynicism this organ announced the bourgeois bargaining with British imperialism in order to secure certain concessions as the price for support of British imperialism against the Russian revolution. I am not asserting that this is the subjective opinion of all Swarajists, but I say that this is symptomatic for the main national reformist tendency, the oppositional bourgeois in India and in the colonies in general. Of course, in this connection one must not forget that the objective conditions of the national revolutionary movement do not depend on the subjective will of the bourgeoisie. The national bourgeoisie is, of course, also aiming at unlimited rule; it wants, so to speak, to achieve like a thief. However, its opposition has in the present epoch as certain objective importance for the unchaining of the mass movement. More important still is a correct understanding of the importance which bourgeois leadership still has in India owing to the national-reformist deterioration of the mass movement. For the time being its importance is far greater in India than in China. One cannot simple deny the fact that the national-reformist parties have the greatest influence over the masses in India, not so much among the workers but certainly among the petty bourgeoisie and the peasantry. To undermine this influence, to overcome it, to get away the masses from the national reformists and the treacherous bourgeois opposition, such is our most important immediate task. It is more important to lay stress on this task than to talk about any diplomatic conquests of the Indian bourgeoisie or any unsubstantial facts which seem to bear out the decolonisation theory.

Through what Forces will the Real Liberation of India be Achieved?

It is also very important to understand correctly the role of the urban petty bourgeoisie and intelligentsia. If one observes for instance the obvious alarm with which the British imperialist are watching the enormous unemployment among the petty bourgeois intelligentsia in India, one cannot dispute the possibility that in this stage of the revolutionary movement in India not only the peasantry but also the urban petty bourgeoisie, and to a considerable extent the petty bourgeois intelligentsia can play an important role in the national movement. Of considerable importance are also the present big industrial strikes in India. They are semi-revolutionary symptoms of the accentuation of the situation, of the imminence of a revolutionary crisis in India. I will deal later on a little more fully with the conditions of the labour movement in India. India is not like any other colony. The importance of its enormous population and the gigantic resources which the Indian people has in all spheres provided it can develop freely, carry an enormous weight in regard to the intensification of the revolutionary crisis. The industrial development of India is only in its initial stage. But it conjures up forces which can no longer be stayed by British imperialism. The policy of the latter consists in preventing this development by impeding the industrialisation of India. But the economic and social forces which are to free India from the British yoke, will nevertheless continue to develop, although at a very slow rate.

Above all the Indian proletariat will continue to develop. And if any of the Indian comrades have doubts as to the anti-industrialisation tendency of the British policy in India, I would like them to make up their minds on this question once and for all. It depends a great deal on this if the immediate main task of the Communist Party in India is correctly understood, namely, the task of the relieving, by Communist agitation, the mass of the Indian peasantry and the proletariat of the illusion that the policy of British imperialism can make the decolonisation of India a reality, or can even bring it nearer. This will of course not be the case. Every Indian worker must realise that the British Sahib is a robber and will never carry out the decolonisation of India. The liberation of India is a mission for which history has destined the Indian proletariat and peasantry. The Communist Party of India is to play the leading role in this struggle, and its foremost task in the preparation of this liberation struggle is – to disperse any illusion in regard to decolonisation through imperialism, to expose and combat any illusions of this kind spread by the responsivists Swarajists and others before the eyes of the masses. In this manner it will be able to do justice to its present task.


One Who has Learned Nothing

The most important things to be said about the experience of the Chinese revolution have already been said in the draft theses. I will admit without any further ado that all of us have learned much from the Chinese revolution. Why should not we admit this frankly? I know – at least on the enormous territory of the Soviet Union – only one person who has learned nothing new from the Chinese revolution. He bears the formerly not unknown name of Trotsky. This time, too, he wanted of course to teach us, but he has only shown that he himself has not forgotten nor learned anything.

A few words about his standpoint. He looks upon China as an ordinary capitalist country. He sees there only or almost only capitalist conditions. Anything different there does not exist for him because it does not suit his conception. He even fails to understand the character of the - imperialist colonial policy in China; he does not want to understand it because this would bring forward once more the national question, which again does not suit his conception. He wants to be more radical than all the others. He wants to begin immediately the purely social revolution in China. The workers' and peasants' revolution, for which we carry on propaganda in this oppressed agrarian country as a transition form to the social revolution for which we are calling up the mass of workers and peasants and for which these masses have already fought, this transition revolution which we call, according to Lenin, the bourgeois-democratic stage of the revolution, is not radical enough for Trotsky. He rejects it most emphatically. He decrees that all political premises for the socialist revolution exist already in China, that a proletarian dictatorship, and not a dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry, must come immediately. The peasantry, which is hundreds of millions strong in China, does not seem very importance to him. Worse still: his main slogan in China is at present, "struggle against the kulaks". He has suddenly discovered something which no one else could have discovered in China, namely, that in the ranks of the Chinese peasantry there is a big section of "kulaks", that, according to him, this Chinese kulak is the most general and numerous as well as the most hated exploiter in the countryside. He demands that the revolutionary movement should begin there with the "Committees for poorest peasant". I will quote him verbatim:

"While with us (in Russia) the committees of the poorest peasants made their appearance only in the second stage of the October revolution, in the middle of 1918, they will make their appearance in some form or other in China as soon as the agrarian movement is again revived. Dekulakisation will be the first and not the second step of the Chinese October."

Thus, no longer is the ordinary socialist revolution the order of the day in China, but immediately the second stage of the socialist revolution! According to Trotsky we should come forward in China with slogans for which the Russian revolution in October 1917 was not yet ripe, "as soon as the agrarian movement is again revived." Well comrades, is this ultra-revolutionary subjectivism of a crazy petty-bourgeois bordering on madness, or what else can it be? I do not know what it is subjectively, but I certainly know what objective significance such an attitude could have in practice. If one were to try something of this kind, this would be the surest method of bringing about the immediate collapse of the revolution, or at least of the "agrarian movement which is reviving", in China. At the present stage such a slogan could have only a productive effect in China. Objectively, only a person who is subjectively unable to understand that it is disgraceful for a former revolutionist to have deserved exile from the first Socialist State of the world owing to agitation against the Soviet Power, is capable of such an attitude. That such a person does not at least keep quiet, exposes more and more his true character.

A few Experiences of the Chinese Revolution

The most important has already been said in the draft resolution, about our general experiences in the Chinese Revolution, especially about the necessity of an independent policy for the Communist Party, about the failure to understand the transition of the Revolution from one stage to the other, etc. Apart from these general lessons, there are of course many special experiences of the Chinese Revolution which must be studied separately, for instance, the experiences of the Chinese peasant movement, new experiences in regard to the organisation of revolutionary mass struggle and insurrections, experience connected with the first Soviets in a country such as China, etc.

The question whether adherence of Communists to the Kuomintang was correct or not, has been answered in the affirmative in the Draft Resolution. But it is perfectly clear to us now that the inevitability of the disruption of this bloc was not soon enough realised by the Communists. But suppose that one had seen from the beginning as clearly as now the whole process through which the Revolution tried to carry through its tendency of going over from one stage into another, the question would arise: how should and could the revolutionary movement have prepared itself still better for the coming stage? The policy of the Executive of the Comintern was no doubt correct. Correct political tasks were set: launching of the agrarian revolution, conquest of proletarian hegemony, conquest of leadership in the revolutionary process for the Communist Party. The most important organisational tasks were also pointed out in the directions of the Comintern, especially strengthening the positions of the revolutionary movement in the national army and, subsequently creation of a special revolutionary workers' and peasants' army. This was contained in the directions of the Executive of the Comintern. Another question is the extremely inadequate execution of these directions; I will not deal with this question just now, but will turn my attention to the following problem.

An Organisational Task

In the stage when – according to the Leninist and not the Trotskyist direction – Soviets cannot yet be organised, when the time has not yet come to form Soviets as insurrection-organs, in what manner is the task to be carried out which was carried out in the interval between the February and October Revolution in Russia by the Soviets? This is a question of organisational forms for the capture of the masses in the preparatory stage of the movement, prior to insurrection and the seizure of power. What organisational forms for mobilisation of the masses, not only of the proletariat, but also of the peasantry can be considered by us, what organisations – even if they be loose ones – which the masses are likely to accept and recognise on the basis of elections or in any other form as their own representative bodies, through which not only revolutionary masses can be coordinated, but also the not yet revolutionary and even the reformist and hostile masses in order to carry on Communist work in their ranks and also an ideological struggle against our enemies before the eyes of these masses so as to get them away in this manner from petty-bourgeois illusions and reformist influence: primary organisational forms of the revolutionary bloc of workers, peasants and soldiers, the initial realisation of this bloc which is to be consolidated subsequently in the form of Soviets.

It was emphasised in the directions of the E.C.C.I. to the C.P. of China that Communists should work within the Kuomintang, and in the Wuhan period, within the Left-Kuomintang in order to get away the masses from the bourgeois and petty bourgeois leaders. But it was not made sufficiently clear what organisational forms the co-ordination of Communist influence within the Kuomintang should take, Communists were also to work in other mass organisations. In the Wuhan period, Comrade Stalin spoke about "preparatory elements of the coming Soviets" and pointed in this connection to such mass organisations as trade unions and peasant committees. No doubt these organisations must be considered as the practically most important organisational forms of the mobilisation of the masses in the preparatory stage of the movement. But can, perhaps, some other organisational forms be considered for the same purpose? They should of course also be "preparatory elements of the coming Soviets", namely organisational forms capable of transforming themselves into Soviets at the time of the seizure of power.

For a time, some comrades considered the advisability of "labour and peasant parties" as a substitute for such organisational forms. It is now clearer than before that this form is not to be recommended, especially in colonial and semi-colonial countries. It would be an easy matter for the labour and peasant parties to transform themselves into petty-bourgeois parties, to get away from the Communists, thereby failing to help them to come in contact with the masses. To consider such parties as a substitute for a real Communist Party, would be a serious mistake. We are for a bloc with the peasantry, but we will not have anything to do with fusion of various classes.

I have suggested certain other forms in the draft theses which represent my personal views. I will read you this part"

"For instance, carefully prepared periodical joint conferences and congresses of the representatives of revolutionary peasant committees and trade unions can be recommended as such loose organisational forms. Under certain circumstances it will be perhaps advisable for such conferences to elect joint revolutionary committees of action which would take the lead in various mass actions; representatives who have participated in peasant committees could report to the workers and peasants, etc. Provided that the Communist Party can exercise a leading influence in this movement, it is of the utmost importance, especially when the revolutionary wave is ascending, to endeavour to establish an adequate organisational connection – not only a connection by means of common slogans – between the revolutionary workers' and peasants' movement, already before the time has come to form workers' and peasants' soviets."

It is very likely that uniform organisational forms such as I have indicated here which would be suitable for various countries under various circumstances, do not exist. It goes without saying that such forms must be adapted to the concrete circumstances in the various countries, that they must be therefore elastic. But this organisational task is important enough in itself to be brought forward in the theses at the Congress.

Special difficulties of the revolutionary labour movement in colonial countries

In China, not only the Communist Party but the entire proletariat has gained considerable revolutionary experience. In this respect, the Chinese proletariat is more advanced than for instance the proletariat in India at the present juncture, although industrial development has made more progress in India than in China. We have seen in China that during the high-tide of revolution the proletariat can increase its revolutionary experience more rapidly in a short space of time than otherwise in the course of several years. In Indonesia the revolutionary labour movement has also gone through an important stage of its development. It has also taken a firm footing in South-Africa. On the other hand, the development of the revolutionary labour movement is still in its initial stage in all other colonial countries.

In order to understand the difficulties in the organisation of the revolutionary movement, especially in connection with the construction of the Party, it is essential to point to the peculiarities of the colonial proletariat. Firstly, this proletariat is almost everywhere the first generation of the proletariat. It has mostly come from the rural districts and a considerable section of it goes back to these districts. There is much fluctuation in its composition. There are few skilled workers in its ranks, but a considerable number of women and children. The colonial proletariat is enormously over-burdened. The wear and tear of human labour power is very rapid there, wherefore, for instance, the question of occupational diseases, which is a very important problem in the labour movement of the capitalist countries, plays only a subordinate role in the colonies. It is said – I do not know if this is correct – that for instance in India the average human life is 24 years, whereas the average human life in the capitalist countries of Europe is double this number of years. It is difficult to organise the proletariat in the colonies. Its movements are sporadic and impulsive. This proletariat is as easily led as it is misled.

In the colonies proper, the main spheres of exploitation, in as far as it is exercised by the foreign capitalists, are plantations and mines; in some colonies (for instance Central Africa) these are almost the only capitalist enterprise. We know as yet very little about the conditions of work on these plantations and mines. They are spheres of actual slave labour. The work there is carried on the basis of the contract system. In India no factory inspector or doctor is admitted to the plantations. The workers are still entirely unorganised. A reformist leader invited once the owners of the plantations to a meeting in order to discuss the organisation of the plantation workers, but of course met with a rebuff. Neither have our comrades been able to do anything in this sphere. How these extremely difficult conditions in regard to the organisation of these workers are to be overcome, must be the subject of special study. Our comrades from the colonies should help us already at this Congress to clear up this question.

The most important phenomena of the labour movement in the most developed colonies are strikes. In some colonies strike movements are fairly big impulsive movements. But the number of active participants is not very considerable. As workers are still very closely connected with the villages, many of them go there during strikes to await the end of the struggle, and only a small active section carries on the strike. The workers who get into the villages through strikes or mass dismissal, carry the revolutionary slogans to the countryside. This is certainly a great advantage. An independent labour movement has in the colonies a much greater influence on the peasant movement than in the capitalist countries, and in as far as there is any under-estimation whatever among our comrades of the importance of the labour movement in colonial revolution, it must be combated most energetically.

The Task of Party Construction

The foremost practical task in these countries is – construction of Communist Parties. We are justified in saying that the colonies are the weakest spot in the front of world imperialism. But we must also admit on our part that in regard to the position of our Parties, the colonies are also our weakest spot. We have in China a Party, even a mass Party. There are also a few other exceptions. But in most colonies and semi-colonies, even in very important ones, we have as yet no real Communist Parties. Why should we deny this fact? The imperialist know it as well as ourselves.

Who is to blame for this? If Comrade Lenin were alive, I am afraid that he would criticise also the Executive. We, of the Executive are also to blame for this. The Executive of the Comintern has of course paid considerable attention to all questions concerned with the Chinese movement, but it has not paid sufficient attention to colonial questions. We criticise – and justly so-the West-European Communist Parties because they do not pay sufficient attention to the movement in the colonies. But when we look back on our long work in connection with the organisation of the Communist movement in most of the colonies, we are justified in demanding that henceforth the colonial work of the Executive be improved. In many important colonies we must begin our work from the beginning, with a serious study of conditions and problems of the respective colonies, in order to give there the necessary help to the Communist movement.

The Communist Party of China

Our most important and relatively most experienced Communist Party in these countries, the Communist Party of China, has of course many merits. Apart from the Communist Party of the Soviet Union the Chinese C.P. has to its credits the biggest number of martyrs and revolutionary heroes. Tens of thousands of Chinese comrades have shown that they know how to fight for the Communist cause. But to know how to fight in a revolutionary situation is frequently easier than to understand well the art of victory. I am not speaking now about the former mistakes of the Chinese brother Party, but only about the Party as it is to-day. We have been given figures according to which it is approximately as big as the German Communist Party. Of course one must take into consideration that the Chinese Party is much younger, that it has not such old revolutionary traditions, that it has not behind it prolonged Bolshevisation work, etc. But even if one takes all this into consideration, one cannot be satisfied with the present position of the C.P. of China. What is the Chinese Communist Party to-day, with its 100,000 or more members? The Chinese Communists themselves say that the majority of the membership is not drawn from working class, but from peasant circles. (Interjection by Piatnitsky: Eighty per cent!). This social composition of our Chinese brother Party is of course abnormal. This Party must certainly work very hard so as to prepare and train for itself cadres drawn from the working class, which cannot be achieved without Bolshevik educational work. Apart from the necessary organisational consolidation of the Party, it has to pay special attention to its trade union work. It must work steadily also in the reactionary trade unions in as far as they contain working-class elements; in connection with this work one must certainly abstain from all coercive methods in regard to the workers; unfortunately, the Communist Party has been repeatedly discredited in the Chinese movement by such methods which are just as harmful as opportunist errors. Establishment of an adequate connection between the Communist Party and the trade unions, energetic work to persuade the workers and win them for the workers and peasants' revolution, exposure of petty-bourgeois national reformism, such are in my opinion the most important immediate tasks of the C.P. of China which must on no account be under-estimated now.

Immediate Tasks of the Communist Movement in India

In my draft these I pointed out the special difficulties of Party construction in India. The Labour and Peasant Parties which exist there are not parties which can constitute the basis of our Communist Parties. Comrade Lenin's theses at the Second Congress contain the following important direction:

"It is essential to carry on an energetic struggle against any attempt to give a Communist label to the not really Communist revolutionary liberation movement in the backward countries."

This danger of giving a Communist label to Parties which are in reality not Communist Parties at all, would exist if we wanted to replace in India the construction of an independent Communist Party by any labour and peasant parties. Modestly and yet perseveringly, must we begin in India with work in trade unions and during strikes, with the education of Party workers. In countries such as India and China the personal influence of every class-conscious Communist is of much greater value than in the old capitalist countries. If we consider that for instance in Germany, to judge by the last election results, every Communist has no an average influence over 25 workers, one can safely assume that in India and China this mass influence of the Communists will be ten times bigger. In the light of these facts the task of educating our Party cadres assumes enormous importance.

The Russian revolutionary labour movement, its initial development, existed for a time in the form of circles. One cannot of course recommend for the Indian revolutionary workers the circle system as a loose conglomerate of study circles which are neither coordinated nor controlled by the Party Executive. But serious propaganda work in Communist circles under the guidance and control of the Party is necessary and expedient also there in order to train and educate the Communist Party cadres (Piatnitsky: Not among the intellectuals, but mainly among the workers).

Quite so. For this purpose one should train instructors abroad as well as in India itself.

Comrade Mukherdschi who, by the by, has represented in the question of the industrialisation of India a more correct standpoint that some other comrades, has brought forward a queer idea in regard to Party construction, and has stubbornly defended it, namely the idea that the Indian and British workers should have one and the same Communist Party. In my opinion, such an idea is fundamentally wrong. The question is closely connected with what Lenin said in his theses at the Second Congress on the task of overcoming the distrust of the workers of the colonial countries. As this question is very important, I will read the part which refers to it:

"The centuries-long enslavement of colonial and weak nationalities by the imperialist Big Powers has created among the toiling masses of the oppressed countries not only feelings of bitterness, but also feelings of distrust against the oppressor-nations in general, including also the proletariat of these nations. The abominable betrayal of Socialism by the majority of the official leaders of this proletariat in the years 1914-19, when the social-patriots used 'national defence' as a cloak for the defence of the 'right' of 'their' bourgeoisie to oppress the colonies and exploit the financially dependent countries, – this treachery was bound to confirm this perfectly justified distrust. In this distrust and national prejudices can be eradicated only after the destruction of imperialism in the advance countries and after the radical reorganisation of all the foundations of the economic life of the backward countries, the elimination of these prejudices will necessarily be slow. This makes it incumbent on the class-conscious Communist proletariat of all countries to be particularly cautious and tactful in regard to the relics of nationalist feelings among the peoples who have been enslaved for such a long time. The Communist proletariat must also be prepared to make concessions in order to dispel more rapidly this distrust and these prejudices.

To dispel distrust is one of the most difficult tasks with which our comrades in the imperialist countries are confronted. It is most difficult of course in colonies as for instance in North and South America, where a white labour movement exist side by side with the movement of the coloured workers. It is only by an energetic ruthless struggle against the imperialism of their own countries and by giving genuine help to the revolutionary movement of the native workers, that Communists can overcome this difficulty. The British Party itself cannot of course create a Communist Party either in India or in Ireland. The tasks of the British and French comrades in the respective colonies is that of a helper and adviser to the Communist movement, and by no means of a leader of this movement. Their task consists in educating and training the comrades in the colonial movement so as to enable them to become the leaders of their movement.

The Indian workers have not yet been able to do such a simple thing as establishing a labour newspaper. One should really have their labour organs in three to four vernaculars. All that Lenin has said about the importance of a revolutionary newspaper as collective agitator, propagandist and organiser, applies particularly to such countries as India.

Everyone knows that the British reformist trade union leaders are now doing their utmost to bring the Indian trade unions under their influence. These unions are still very weak and undeveloped; in fact only the upper stratum of the Indian workers belongs to these unions. That is why these efforts of the British reformists are all the more dangerous as long as it is not possible to draw wider masses of the Indian workers into the trade unions. As soon as this is done, the influence of the British reformists will be less dangerous than that of the native Indian reformist. Thanks to the self-exposure of the MacDonald Government, the Indian workers have to a great extent been cured of their illusions in regard to the British reformists. The MacDonald Government, through the brutality of its Hunnish generals has no doubt done very valuable "educational work" in this respect. Exposure of the Indian reformists and trade union leaders is the most important immediate task of the Left Wing of the Indian trade unions. It is only by drawing wide masses of workers into the unions, especially from the textile, engineering and mining industries and from the transport service, by energetic participation of the Left Wing in the everyday struggle of the masses and by organisational utilisation of these struggles, that this Left Wing can secure a leading position in the trade union movement. The Indian trade union movement must be connected with the international Red trade union movement through the Pan-Pacific Trade Union Secretariat.

Struggle against British imperialism and its tools and allies, exposure of bourgeois national reformism and agitation among the peasantry for the agrarian revolution, construction of independent political and trade union organisations of the revolutionary workers, – such are the most important immediate tasks of the Indian Communists.

Reference to Supplementary Report

Comrades, I see that I must curtail my report considerably, I can very well do this because we will have several supplementary reports. Firstly, Comrade Ercoli will speak about the tasks of Communists in capitalist countries, especially about our struggle against the reformists in regard to the colonial question. Then we shall also have special reports on the Chinese, Indian and Indonesian movements, also on the movement in the South American countries and the Negro question. I hope that the comrades who have come from the South America will speak about the conditions in their part of the world and that the French comrades will report on conditions in Algiers, Tunis and Morocco. Countries such as Australia and Canada I have not treated as colonial countries in my draft theses. These dominions are in fact not less independent than many European small States, and therefore the question of independence assumes there an utterly different from from that in colonial and semi-colonial countries. I attach great value to the experiences of the Indonesian revolution and the immediate tasks of the Indonesian movement being thoroughly discussed here. At present we can say that the Communist organisations there have been almost entirely destroyed. We must give the Indonesian comrades effective help so as to enable them to re-construct the Party under the present difficult conditions. There are also other fairly important colonies whose movements have been rather neglected by us, for instance Korea. In some respects Korea is as important in the East as Poland in the West, and it is much to be regretted that we have not yet succeeded in building up there a genuine Communist Party. The internal fractional struggle has had a very detrimental effect on the development of a proper party in Korea.


In my summing up I will draw attention to a few fundamental ideas of Lenin which he expressed already at the II Congress, but which have become much clearer and have assumed a bigger importance today through the revolutionary experiences of the last years.

Firstly, the difference which Lenin makes between the oppressed and the imperialist countries and the emphasis he lays on the necessity of Communists of the advanced countries supporting the genuine revolutionary movement, especially the revolutionary workers' and peasant movement.

Secondly, that "the Communist International must support the revolutionary movement in colonies and backward countries only for the purpose of rallying the component parts of the future proletarian parties – the real Communist Parties and not those which are Communist only in name – and educating them into a recognition of their special tasks".

Thirdly, that these special tasks of the Communist Parties in these countries consist in struggle against the bourgeois-democratic tendency, in other words, against national reformism in one's on nation.

Fourthly, that "in the present world situation, after the imperialist war, the relation between peoples, the world system of the States is determined by the struggle of the small number of imperialist nations against the Soviet movement and the Soviet powers. If we overlook this question, we will not be able to deal properly with a single national or colonial question; be it in the remotest part of the world".

This is a struggle between two world systems, and the liberation of the colonies is part of our great historical struggle for the Socialist world revolution. For instance, the Indian question is "our question", in every country. The Indian revolution can have the greatest influence on the revolutionary movements not only in Britain but also in the other European countries. If one realises that India is at present the focus of the various forces in the International world situation, that not only the clash of interests between the British imperialists and the Indian people, but also the British - American antagonism plays an important role there, and that India is also the theatre of the clash of interests between the Soviet Union and imperialist Great Britain, one cannot certainly tolerate an under-estimation of the Indian question in our ranks. This is not only a question of the Indian movement, but a question of the movement in all the colonies. Just the same is the Negro movement our affair, and if this movement is very weak, it is all the more necessary for us to help with its development.

This has a strong bearing on what Comrade Lenin emphasised just before his death: that help for an association with the gigantic population of the enslaved East, which is struggling for its liberation, are of the utmost importance to the victory of the socialist world revolution.

I would like to draw attention to another of Lenin's ideas: the possibility of development of backward countries towards socialism without necessarily going through a period of the capitalist system, provided the victorious proletariat of the advanced countries gives its help in this to the backward countries.

We all know that idea is to be found already in the works of Karl Marx. Marx has certainly said in his Indian letters that, from the standpoint of the development of productive forces, it was better that the then most progressive state, Britain, has conquered India then if for instance Russia, Persia, Turkey, etc., had done so. In spite of the criminal colonial policy of Great Britain, British colonial policy had at that time, objectively, a certain importance for the development of the productive forces of India, in as far as it established the political unity of India and created there a material basis for the capitalist development. This is certainly true, but as true is what Marx also emphasises in his Indian letters.

"It is only when the great social revolution will have seized the results of the bourgeois epoch – the world market and modern forces of production – and will have subordinated them to the joint control of the progressive peoples, only then will human progress cease to resemble the abominable idol who wanted to drink nectar out of the skulls of the murdered."

What Marx has said about the objective role of the British colonial policy in the creation of a material basis for the development of productive forces in the colonies, certainly does not clash with what we have designated as the substance of the imperialist colonial policy. Today more than ever before, this policy is of a parasitical character and impedes rather than promotes the industrial development of the colonial countries. Moreover, Marx has never even hinted at a decolonisation of any one colony through the exploiting capitalism itself. Marx raised the question as a question of the liberation of the colonies, as a question of struggle. This is how we must deal with this question.

We speak about the dependence of the colonies, but in a certain sense there is an actual dependence of the imperialist powers on the colonies. Just as the workers of the world, colonial peoples are necessary to imperialism as objects of exploitation. After all the victorious revolutionary power of the workers as well as the colonial trades rests on their productive role which is a social necessity. These slaves will awake and rebel everywhere. We have seen hitherto the first big wave of the colonial revolutionary movement: it began in India and Egypt on a modest scale and developed into something very big in China and Indonesia. It was suppressed. But a new wave is approaching. Through new and still greater struggles of the workers and peasants will the liberation of the colonial peoples be achieved.

The decision of the VI World Congress also in regard to the colonial question are to serve as a certain guiding line in the liberation struggle of the workers of the world, side by side with the colonial slaves.

(Loud applause)

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