In the 1940s the Communist Party of India (CPI) was a prisoner of the policies imposed by Stalin on the international communist movement. In backward and colonial countries, Stalin decreed, the movement had to go through two stages - democracy, then socialism. This proved disastrous for the workers of the whole of the Indian subcontinent.

Today marks the 60th anniversary of Indian independence from British rule. In reality, the partition of India in 1947 cut through the living body of whole communities, leading to untold death and misery. This was all part of the tried and tested method of “divide and rule” and behind it lay the interests of privileged ruling elites, not those of the poor masses.

In this first article Jamil Iqbal outlines Marx’s analysis of how British imperialism, by introducing capitalist methods, broke down the old Asiatic mode of production and with it the old type of social structures. The British capitalists did this simply to facilitate the exploitation of Indian resources and labour, but by so doing also prepared the ground for the modern struggle against British imperialism.

On March 14 up to 100 peasants in Nandigram, West Bengal, were brutally massacred by the police as they protested against land-grabbing operations. The leaders of the CPI-M in the local government have justified this action as part of their so-called “development model”. The contradictions between the leaders of the Indian communist movement and the millions of workers who support them are posed here sharply.

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