A marvellous Marxist Summer Youth School in Pakistan was held at Fort Minro (near D.G. Khan) on 29-31 August. Even under the difficult objective conditions when an economic onslaught against the working class is taking place in Pakistan, about fifty comrades participated from all over the country. The agenda comprised of five sessions over three days.
First Session: World Perspectives
The first session on World Perspectives was chaired by comrade Sattar Musrani from the host region, while comrade Zohaib Butt delivered the lead off. In his lead off he said that the internal contradictions within capitalism are the reason of the international economic crisis and the economic bubble bursting. He further said that the political expression of this economic crisis is appearing in the form of wars and barbarism. On the other hand there are working class movements the world over and the main thing is that we are going to participate in those movements as an International. Hence we are going to overcome the crisis of the subjective factor internationally which will result in an international socialist revolution.
The capitalists are trying to use the dead old weapon of nationalism to overcome the economic crisis of capitalism. The war between Russia and Georgia in this region is for the imperialist interests. In the Arab countries where the movements have an anti-imperialist and class content opposition to imperialism is being forcefully diverted towards religious movements. The class struggle in Venezuela has influenced the whole of Latin America and the recent nationalizations will further enhance this process.
After a series of questions were asked, comrade Ghaffar from the Kashmir region contributed to the discussion and said that history sometimes covers the period of 20 years in 20 days. Imperialism is badly entangled in Afghanistan and Iraq and it is going to die its own death. Comrade Afaq from the Balochistan region said that in this era the character of nationalism has changed. China has also become an imperialist state which is influencing smaller countries all over the globe. More than 25 states of the USA are in deep economic crisis. Comrade Hanif from the Sindh region highlighted the fact that a system can only sustain itself so long as it has the ability to provide the basic facilities of life to the majority of the people. Today the capital is stretching across the limits of the nation states and investment is going into the non-productive sectors. Today arms, sex and narcotics are the major industries the world over. The majority of the people are excluded from the economic cycle. Comrade Nisar Saba from the Balochistan region said that 80% of the world population is classed as poor. This is a fact that confirms that capitalism is decaying but it will not fall by itself and we have to destroy this brutal system through a revolution.
Comrade Paras said the reformist intellectuals are trying to mix reformism with socialism which is impossible. The class contradictions of capitalism cannot be solved. The Chinese currency without the figure ofMao and the ignoring of the Chinese revolution of 1949 in Chinese history during the opening ceremony of the recent Olympics depicts the fear the capitalists have of socialism. Comrade Zohaib in his summing up quoted John Reed who said these words when he was taking his last breath in Moscow in 1921 that, "Big events are coming ahead, which are worth living for, which are worth dying for." The comrade further added that we will not bend and stop until a socialist revolution.
Second Session: Marxist Philosophy and Modern Science
After lunch the second session started which was chaired by comrade Hanif from the Sindh region and the lead off on the topic of Marxist Philosophy and Modern Science was delivered by comrade Zaka from Karachi in which he said that throughout human history, science and technology have developed but when a system has become static then science and technology become victims of metaphysical ideologies and the scientists become its victims.
Scientists tend to give the wrong interpretations of the scientific discoveries to strengthen capitalism. Marxism always gave a true picture. Formal logic cannot understand the contradictions within matter, whereas dialectics explain them. We can observe the change from quantity into quality everywhere in the world. No one becomes bald by the fall of a single hair but in the process there comes a moment when the fall of a hair makes one bald. Modern chemistry is the result of Mendeleyev's periodic table which is also the example of the change of quantity into quality. Dialectics is everywhere in nature and modern science depicts it.
During the contributions comrade Ghaffar from Kashmir said that the present crisis also affects science as the capitalists attempt to provide a scientific basis for idealistic philosophies. Marx turned the dialectics of Hegel on its head and removed idealism from his philosophy. The study of philosophy is necessary to understand the changes in the system and also participate in it. Comrade Khalid Jamali from Sindh said that everything is in a process of change.
Comrade Afaq from Quetta said that mostly philosophers belong to the upper classes. There are different theories about the universe and usually these are metaphysical. The reality is that matter became conscious in the brain of the human being and with this consciousness it can change the world. The best example of this was the October revolution. Philosophy in its evolutionary process from Plato to Descartes reaches Hegel in the form of dialectics and then Marx and Engels developed it further to provide the theory of dialectical materialism.
Comrade Abbas from Quetta said that everything is either matter or its reflection. There is nothing outside matter. The parts combine to give a final shape. In everyday life it is understood that everything first starts and then ends but science proves that matter changes its forms but cannot be destroyed. Comrade Paras said that the historical development of philosophy is the best example of the principles of dialectical materialism. Dialectical materialism was a qualitative leap in philosophy. Philosophy develops within the limits of the economy, culture and politics of any era. A historical process of philosophy was necessary to reach the theory of dialectical materialism. The present is not possible without the past. Modern science is giving the answers to all philosophical questions. The object cannot be separated from the subject. The final product is always greater than the collection of its components and the best example of this is the revolutionary organization.
Comrade Zaka in his summing up said that in their book comrade Ted Grant and Alan Woods provided an answer to the propaganda against socialism after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Today when capitalism is a fetter to development then this philosophy is a guideline to us.
Third Session: Pakistan Perspectives
The third session started on 30th August which was chaired by comrade Rasool Buksh from Karachi while the leadoff on Pakistan Perspective was delivered by comrade Rashid Khalid from Kashmir.
In the lead off the comrade said that Pakistan Perspective cannot be separated from World Perspectives. On the subcontinent there was a class movement now, after the movement for independence had been cut across in the name of religion and the nation. The betrayals of the Stalinist bureaucracy and the CPI also played a big role. In one of the largest blood lettings in history 2.7 million people died. The present form of fundamentalism in Pakistan is the result of the evolution of the state institutions. The ruling classes are using the spectre of fundamentalism to enforce the imperialist economic policies against the working classes.
The economy is in crisis. The current account and trade deficits are at their peak. There is a shortage of 4500 Megawatts of electricity while the subsidies on oil are being removed and the value of the rupee is falling rapidly. The present government of the Pakistan People's Party is the most corrupt government in the history of Pakistan. The wages of government employees were increased by 20 percent in the last budget, but since then inflation has increased up to 200%. The "civil society" movement over the Judiciary is a drama. The movement of the proletariat is rising again and the Marxists with correct tactics and strategy can lead it to an irreconcilable victory of socialist revolution.
After a series of questions the contributions started in which comrade Khalid Jamali from Sindh said that the ruling classes are provoking the national question and we will have to offer the class based solution. Comrade Ghaffar from the Kashmir region said that today the nation states are being demolished and the national capitalists do not have any solution. They sometimes play up war hysteria and sometimes play out the farce of peace talks. A movement of the working class will tear apart all these false issues and will put the question of bread to the forefront.
Comrade Umar from Sialkot said that internationally speculation due to the collapse of the bubble and credit economy has contributed to the crisis of food and oil, while investment is concentrated in the service sector. Unemployment is increasing and under capitalism the national question cannot be solved even in developed states. Comrade Nisar from Quetta said that in Pakistan the economy, politics and diplomacy are in severe crisis. The Pakistan army is providing financial support to the Taliban in the tribal areas. Also they are taking financial help from America and thus enlarging their own bank. Bourgeois democracy has also failed after the dictatorship. The national democratic revolution is not possible here and only a socialist revolution can solve the national question and other issues.
Comrade Zohaib Butt said that we can see the disastrous effects of the international economic crisis in Pakistan. The internal conflicts of the state are also apparent. The Army has lost its morale and now they are trying to build it up by fomenting nationalism. Human beings are dying of hunger while the ruling classes are involved in the politics of non-issues. But these non-issues are also dying now. China has the economic interest of developing the gas pipeline between Iran, Pakistan and India, and that is why the US is against it.
Comrade Paras said that perspectives are not static, but they have to be developed continuously. Due to the lack of the character of the nation state the perspective is now more complex. Pakistan's perspectives are related to the world crisis. Investment in the food sector proves to be the last option of the capitalists. Every state institution must be analysed on a class basis. The People's Party perspective is also conditional. As a tradition the People's party is somewhat rotten now, after it entered the government. The tactics of entrism must be developed accordingly. Tactics are different when the traditional party is in opposition and when that party comes into power and aggressively follows the capitalist policies. If a sharp criticism is not made of that government led by the traditional Party the revolutionary organization can disintegrate and fall into opportunism. In the near future the proletariat movement will pierce through this and will develop a new revolutionary tradition.
Comrade Afaq from Quetta said that Pakistan is the best example of uneven and combined development. In this coalition government, the leader of the Fundamentalists in Pakistan, Fazl ul Rehman, is sitting beside the so-called left leaders of the PPP who want to follow the course of reformism through this crisis ridden government. The movement for the independence of the judiciary is the reflection of the conflict within the state over black money. Comrade Rasool Buksh from Karachi explained that an engineered conflict between the fascist MQM organization in Karachi and the fundamentalists is being provoked by the State in this largest proletarian city of Pakistan in order to derail the rising proletariat movement.
Comrade Rashid in his summing up said that Pakistan is on the verge of a movement, and the proletariat everywhere is reawakening. The state attacks us because we are the only revolutionary subjective factor. We not only have the responsibility for guaranteeing the success of the revolution but also of defending it. Our real fight is against time. In Pakistan the revolution will not stop at the borders and will spread and eventually lead to a world socialist revolution.
Fourth Session: Permanent Revolution
After the lunch break the fourth session on the Permanent Revolution opened up which was chaired by comrade Waqas from Islamabad and the leadoff was delivered by comrade Afaq from Quetta. He said that in 1848 a developed proletariat was present in only a few parts of the world, but Karl Marx raised the slogan of "workers of the world unite" which underpins the theory of permanent revolution. The 1905 revolution was a rehearsal for the 1917 revolution in Russia. Trotsky wrote at that time that the Russian bourgeoisie could not play its historical role and the proletariat, in collaboration with the peasants, could lead a revolution in Russia. The revolution cannot be limited to one country.
The ruling classes also have their conflicts but they come together for their own class interests. Similarly the proletariat of different countries apparently have differences but a time will come when they will gather together in the interest of their class. The real contradiction is between the ruling class and the proletariat, which is an irreconcilable contradiction.
That explains is why 21 countries attacked Russia in order to crush the October Revolution. After the revolution the country was renamed the USSR in which the word Russia was not present. And Lenin once stated that if we have to lose the Russian revolution to defend the German revolution we will not hesitate for a second. The biggest task of the proletarian state is to demolish the inequalities between the cities, provinces and the villages and that's how the national question can be solved.
On the revolution in Afghanistan comrade Ted Grant once said that it would only be successful if the proletariat of the neighbouring countries would react in its support. The theory of the permanent revolution is interlinked with internationalism. We are one unit of a bigger body.
After some questions the contributions started and comrade Hanif from Sindh opened up saying that time has proved the theory of permanent revolution to be correct. In 1968 the leftists in Pakistan could not understand the character of the revolution. The bourgeoisie of the backward countries does not have the ability to carry out the tasks of a National Democratic Revolution. Hence the character of the coming revolution will be permanent. Comrade Umar from Sialkot said that it is the historical dilemma of the "third world" that here we are discussing the problems of the eighteenth century in the twenty first century. The results of the Paris Commune are the founding documents for the permanent revolution. There was a split between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks on the character of the revolution. Marx in 1850 explained how the German bourgeoisie wanted the power though they wanted collaboration with the crown and thus they failed. Lenin in his April Theses also came round to the idea of the permanent revolution elaborated by Trotsky.
Comrade Anam from Multan said that Marxism is not complete without the permanent revolution. In the "third world" the socialist revolution will also complete the tasks of the national democratic revolution. The two-stage theory has ended up in the dustbin of history. Comrade Zaka from Karachi said that in Russia the Mensheviks believed that the proletariat was not able to capture power. Trotsky was of the view that the proletariat would lead the revolution which would then spread worldwide. There are similarities between Russia before October 1917 and Pakistan today and we will do in Pakistan what happened in Russian on 26th October 1917.
Comrade Zohaib Butt said that the basic difference between Lenin and Trotsky was that Lenin was talking about the people's democratic revolution whereas Trotsky was the supporter of the permanent revolution. This conflict ended in the form of the April Theses. Today we see how Chavez announced that he would cure the two million Americans with eyesight problems without charge, which is possible because of the nationalizations. This gives us a glimpse of what would be the foreign policy of socialist states after the revolution.
Comrade Nisar from Quetta said that bourgeois revolutions cover only one part of the world. Today the formation of the nation state is not on the agenda. Religious people want to impose the past on present. The permanent revolution is the only way out for the development of society.
Comrade Afaq in his summing up said that "democracy" is being projected everywhere while people in Baluchistan are forced to live like cattle. Pakistan is a backward economy and here bourgeois democracy cannot solve the problems. We see how both animals and airplanes are being used as means of transport in Afghanistan, which is a clear example of uneven and combined development. There is no widespread skilled labour in Afghanistan, hence the Afghan revolution depends on the revolution in its neighbouring countries which will lead to the world revolution.
Fifth Session: Strategy and tactics for working among the youth
On 31st August a meeting of the NEC (National Executive Committee) of the Marxist youth was held in the morning in which comrade Paras Jan delivered a detailed lead off on strategy and tactics for the youth work. As well as the general tactics, the question of the dangers of opportunism when carrying out Entrism were also discussed. It is necessary to combat both opportunism and ultra-leftism within the mass organisations. The comrade stated that we will continue our work in the PPP, especially the work in the youth and student wings, which is most important. Next month we will organize revolutionary conventions of the PSF (student wing of the PPP) in different districts of the Punjab.
This is the best time to build the BNT (Unemployed Youth Movement). But we must learn from past mistakes and we should construct internal youth bureaus at area and regional level so that we transmit all of the BNT work into the organization. Our work among female students and youth requires more attention and we should build it as a separate department. In the next meetings of the NEC we will have a commission on women's work. We must introduce and develop new ways of cadre building such as study circles using revolutionary films and documentaries. Audios and videos can play an important role in the education of new comrades.
After the lead off comrades from the different regions gave reports on the youth work and then there was an open debate. Sattar Musrani and Sattar Lund From the Jampur region, R.B. and Zaka from Karachi, Rashid from Kashmir, Khalid Jmali from the Sindh region, Zohaib from Central Punjab, Nader and Nisar Saba from Baluchistan all participated in the discussion.
In his summing up comrade Rauf Lund, who is the leader of the peasants and left inside the PPP in Southern Punjab said that this had been a great Youth summer school. The morale of comrades was high and the quality of discussion was impressive. Now all comrades should go to their regions with this morale and build the revolutionary organization, build the IMT.
- Pakistan: Rulers Playing Games – Masses in Unprecedented Suffering by Lal Khan (September 2, 2008)
- Kashmir: JKNSF announces its 17th Convention by Abid Hussain (July 26, 2008)
- The role of the Pakistan Army by Lal Khan (July 22, 2008)
- Pakistan: Summer School of the Sindh Region: “When all else faded into the background, but Revolution” by Zafar Imam (July 18, 2008)
- Pakistan: Largest ever congress of Marxists in Kashmir by Yasir Irshad (July 8, 2008)
- Pakistan: “When worlds have to be won” by The Struggle (July 2, 2008)
- Pakistan: Strike of the PTCL NCPG workers enters fourth week by Kabir Khan (May 29, 2008)