‘Revolutionary Democracy’

Robin McGregor

The latest issue of this twice-yearly Indian Marxist-Leninist journal (‘REVOLUTIONARY DEMOCRACY’ edited by Vijay Singh) [New Series Vol. I, no. 2, September 2022. £5.00 + £2.P&P from NCP Lit: PO Box 73, London SW11 2PQ] has once again arrived on these shores. This time half the journal is taken up with matters pertaining to Ukraine, with the remainder devoted to contemporary Indian politics and some historical material. This is an issue in which the journal’s affiliation to the views of the late Albanian leader Enver Hoxha strongly comes to the fore, with a number of pieces arguing that events in Ukraine demonstrate the imperialist nature of contemporary Russia. Statements by the Revolutionary Communist Party of Volta–PCRV / Burkina Faso and the Revolutionary Alliance of Labour of Serbia amongst others take this view. Of course Hoxha considered that this had been the nature of the Soviet Union after the death of Stalin and the coming to power of Nikita Khrushchev and his alleged restoration of capitalism in the USSR when Mikhail Gorbachev was merely the Stavropol Komsomel regional deputy director of agitation and propaganda. Two long articles originally published in Albania in 1974 and 1987 are reprinted here which back up this argument. They accuse both Khrushchev and later promoters of “Soviet Revisionism” of encouraging Great Russian chauvinism, particularly on the place of the Russian language in the non-Russian parts of the USSR. Allegations of “Great Russian chauvinism” have of course long been levelled throughout the existence of the USSR, by Trotskyites and by imperialists who sought to destabilise the USSR by fanning ethnic conflicts. It is often overlooked that many of nationalists in the non-Russian republics were just Anti-Russian (and anti-Soviet) but extremely anti-Semitic and very hostile to minorities within their borders and in neighbouring countries. It might be worth noting that it was Stalin who reversed Lenin’s policy of using the Latin alphabet for newly literate peoples in Siberia and the Central Asian soviet republics and insisted on the Cyrillic alphabet.

There are three substantial articles dealing with contemporary India. The first deals with the impact of the latest budget from the right-wing BJP government of India on the peoples of India. India’s poorest half of the population owns a mere six per cent of the nation’s wealth. Things are getting worse with inflation in commodity prices affecting the poor harshly. Another article describes how a 1942 Ordinance used by British colonial authorities to clamp down on the growing Independence movement is still in force in new guises and has been used to suppress national movements in Jammu and Kashmir. An example of the Indian govern-ment’s brutality is given in an account of a massacre of villagers of Silger in one of India’s Tribal Areas by government forces allegedly in pursuit of Maoist terrorists. Of the historical material there is an offering from the Editor on Grover Furr, the American academic who has carefully exposed as lies all of Khrushchev claims in his 1956 “Secret speech”. There is also a somewhat technical, but important piece concerning the authenticity of some of Lenin’s last writings when he was very ill.

This issue concludes with another piece from the Soviet archives. This time there are Stalin’s observations made in March 1951 on the Communist Party of India’s tactics. By that time the party was frustrated by its lack of progress since the formal ending of colonialism in 1947. Stalin’s advice was that copying the Chinese path was unsuitable for India; was inadvisable, partly because geography did not permit the Soviet Union offering the same military support that it had given to China and that India had a larger working class. Stalin was firmly opposed to individual terrorism such as bumping off particularly bad landlords. It is to be hoped that this and related previously published materials will be consolidated to a separate book as they have much to say about Stalin’s later years and Soviet relations with the Indian and Chinese communist parties (and other topics) which needs to be better known.

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Vol 55, No. 37, Mar 12 - 18, 2023