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No brief for nationalism - The Observer

Prafull Goradia ()
13 February 1997

Title : No brief for nationalism
Author : Prafull Goradia
Publication : The Observer
Date : February 13, 1997

The Fourth International was called by the exiled Russian leader,
and the erstwhile right hand man of Lenin, Leon Trotsky. He stood
for what he called a permanent or a world revolution as the top
priority. National boundaries were irrelevant and a proletarian
revolution was not secure until all countries underwent Such a

The followers of Leon Trotsky in India consist of the Revolutionary
Socialist party or the RSP, whose base is mainly in West Bengal.

Such were the high priests of communism. What about the exploits of
their devotees in India? They have been many but here I can deal
with only a few. The international, or rather the Russian loyalties
of the Indian comrades, were first exposed in 1941.

World War II had begun in September 1939. The previous month had
seen the signing of a Soviet-German Pact whereby in the event of
war, Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia would divide Poland
between them. Although the Soviet leader did not trust the Germans,
he felt that the pact or the partnership should help to divert
Hitler's aggressive energies towards France in the west.

In the event, to begin with, Russia was friendly with Germany which
was an enemy of Britain. As colonial rulers, Indians looked upon
the British as enemies.

The Communist Party of India (CPI) was also anti-British. In 1940
it issued a policy statement entitled 'proletarian party'. It
demanded that India should make revolutionary use of the war

Storming of military and police stations by armed bands of national
militia in rural as well as urban areas, destruction of government
institutions, actual offensive against the armed forces of the
government on the most extensive scale' Was how the new policy was
sent out. The CPI was on the right side of the anti-imperialist

On June 22, 1941, Germany suddenly invaded Russia Overnight, Adolf
Hitler and Joseph Stalin became enemies and the Soviet Union
automatically went over to the British side. It had to become an
ally of imperial Britain.

What did the CPI do then? It looked to the British Communist Party
which advised its Indian comrades to switch sides. 'As blood is
thicker than water, so is communism thicker than nationalism!'

The about-turn was solemnised in a CPI resolution: "We are a
practical party and in a new situation it is our task not only to
evolve a new form of struggle for it, but also to advance new
slogans...The key slogan or our party (now) is "make the Indian
people play a people's role in the people's war"!

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