Role of CPI on Workers, Peasant and other Fronts: 1920-1930)

CPI on Other Fronts

In the formative period the Party could take very little planned initiative to organise the following fronts, though from time to time it would issue calls to students and youth, cultural workers, working women etc. After 1936 there was some notable progress, but this could reach fruition only during and after the Second World War. Students and youth The first important document on this front is A Manifesto of the Young Communist International to the Bengal Revolutionary Organisation of Youth. Published in Masses of India of July 1925 (see Text IX A-1 for a short excerpt). In the era of WPPs, when there was an upsurge in mass youth movement (particularly around the anti-Simon agitation — see the first chapter in Part III), the Bhatpara conference of the WPP of Bengal (March-April, 1928) passed a “Resolution on Youth” (Text IX A-2). A notable feature here was that young communist cadres active on the working class front themselves took the initiative in forming a “Young Comrades’ League”. As Text IXA-3 would reveal, the League’s Programme was of a high political level. A Draft Platform of Action of the Young Communist League of India was issued from abroad during the heyday of left sectarianism. Published in the Inprecor (10 March, 1932), it was a lengthy shadow document of the Draft Platform of Action of CPI (1930-31). It put forward the task...

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The Neglected Peasant Movement

In this chapter we shall give an outline sketch of the peasant movements in our period and try to understand the communists’ efforts and weaknesses in this most crucial front. National reformist vs. communist approach Champaran in Bihar (1917-18) and Kheda and Bardoli in Gujarat (1918 and 1928 respectively) mark the three early milestones in the Gandhian or Congress stream of peasant struggle based primarily on middle and rich peasants. In Champaran, local mahajans and traders who were resentful against competition from British plantation authorities in money lending and trade were in the forefront of the movement. In Kheda relatively prosperous Kanbi-Patidar peasant proprietors producing food-grains, cotton and tobacco were involved in the no-revenue movement. In Bardoli the no-revenue movement against 22% revenue hike by the Bombay government in 1927 was mostly a rich peasant-landlord movement. Gandhi in his Fyzabad speech in 1921 “deprecated all attempts to create discord between landlords and tenants and advised the tenants to suffer rather than fight, for they had to join all forces for fighting against the most powerful zamindar, namely the government.”[1] The Gandhian reaction to peasant militancy as recorded in Chauri-Chaura has already been discussed. By contrast, the communists in their first-ever formulation of agrarian programme stressed the revolutionary class demands of the toiling peasantry, with elimination of the whole parasitic landlord class and land to the tiller as its main...

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CPI Leads Workers’ Struggles

In this chapter we shall briefly examine the metamorphosis of the Indian working class from a ‘class in itself to a ‘class for itself in the process of continued struggle against the imperialist regime and the rule of capital with particular reference to the role of the CPI in this process. The working class and trade union movement during 1921-25 Amidst the nation-wide mass upsurge of 1921 as discussed earlier, thousands of Indian workers assembled in Jharia, which was then pulsating with coal miners’ strike, for the second congress of AITUC. In respect of mass enthusiasm, mass participation and political maturity this historic gathering of the Indian workers from all branches of industries in India and from all parts of the country deserves special mention. Even at a conservative estimate, more than fifty thousand delegates participated in this trade union session which began on 30 November, 1921. The session was marked by the participation of a large number of women delegates breaking all feudal shyness in this early part of the century. The first resolution on swaraj echoed the tone of the Congress left wingers who dominated the session politically. The session declared “… The time has now arrived for the attainment of swaraj by the people.” Swaraj not for those who rolled in luxury, drove in motor cars or dined at government houses, but for those millions of...

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PART VI : Role of CPI on Worker, Peasant and other fronts (Early ’20s-1939)

While formulating its general political line for different periods in history (as discussed in Parts II to V), the CPI also sought to develop specific policies for particular fields of work. Whereas it played a consistently active and often commendable role in the working class movement, on the crucial peasant front it began to pay serious attention only towards the end of the period. The communist movement did provide a great impetus to the development of cultural and youth movements, but as regards developing the Party’s cultural, youth and other wings, only the ground work had been done in our period, that is the formative years of the CPI. CPI Leads Workers’ Struggle The Neglected Peasant Movement CPI on Other...

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