(On the occasion of 75th Foundation Day of our Party, the SUCI(C), on 24 April, we reproduce below excerpts from an immensely valuable speech delivered on 16 November 1971 by Comrade Shibdas Ghosh, Founder General Secretary of our Party and an outstanding Marxist leader and thinker, during 54th anniversary of great November Revolution.)
‘‘Problems confronting the country in every sphere at present…have assumed very serious dimensions. …Those among you who will be living many more years will witness many more struggles, no matter whether one wanted it or not. Struggles will build up. The suffering multitude who are at the receiving end will periodically burst forth on their own after a certain time, even if no one will be at hand to lead them, and a leadership of some sort will come up from among them. But even if some kind of leadership springs up spontaneously, nothing tangible will be achieved ultimately. Again suffering will engulf them, confusion gather and despondency set in.
The root cause of this confusion and despair is that the approach towards the political-ideological-moral-ethical issues, so very essential for the solution of the fundamental problem of the country, remains unclear yet; confusion still continues to cloud these issues. That the well-being of the people is to be brought about, that the country has to be advanced— these are of course all true. Everybody says it. People nowadays think about it to some extent, they now speak out in whatever way they can, even if not correctly. Peasants and agricultural workers who earlier were not considered human beings—even they are using their brains in their own way. Under these circumstances, no political party can hold its sway and wield influence over people without holding out various captivating programmes or raising fiery slogans, as each party deems fit, pledging removal of the misery of peasants and workers. All these parties are waxing eloquent on these issues. But this in itself in no way makes clear what specific political-ideological-ethical-cultural concept is necessary to solve the fundamental problems confronting the country. Which is to say, the moot question remains unclarified – the question of what basic law is it that governs the social system we live in today in India, to reach this stage through change? All this has not come about overnight and all on a sudden. Changing through stages society has arrived at its present stage. There is a definite historical and scientific law governing this change. What is the law of this change? Second, what is the character of the present social system of India? What is the real character of the economic system of India? What is the character of the Indian state? Above all, what are the ethics and ideology in all this which exercise control over the mental make-up of the Indian people? Are these the concepts of indispensable ethics and ideals necessary to bring about the requisite radical change for this society? Unless we know these, if confusion continues to persist over them, if we are guided by fanciful theories, unhistorical ideas and concepts, and if basing ourselves on these we want to understand the issues arbitrarily, and yet we want to change this society and bring about people’s all-round well-being, will that be possible? No, that is not possible. But this is exactly what is happening in our country in the name of bringing about social change.
Many hold that the problems of life arise from this society, this present social system. Some others, however, assert that it is not the case. Instead, they offer all sorts of fanciful theories. Whatever that, even people who claim that the social system is the root cause are talking vaguely and in general terms. Such superficial talks will not do. You have to grasp in clear terms the nature of this society and how the problems stem from this society. If that is grasped correctly, then it will be understood in clear terms how this society is to be transformed and where the blow is to be directed for the purpose.
People who believe firmly that all the problems are arising from the existing social order, the state structure of the country, and who desire a radical transformation of this society through revolution and look for rapid radical change, who sincerely wish to discharge the responsibility for revolution, who do not just wish to comfort or confuse the people by agitating them somehow with talks of revolution—the first thing they ought to examine and understand is whether the state, the social and economic system of India have any progressive role left in it in the context of the present international situation, or whether, its progressive role having been historically exhausted, this order is just obstructing the road to progress. What is the character of this existing social system? What is the disposition of classes in this society, what is the nature of correlation between them? Which class is to be overthrown from the state power through revolution and which class is to replace it? Secondly, the question that comes up is how to transform the present social system. The course to achieve this end is not determined by any fanciful idea of any among us – neither mine, nor yours.
I said already, there is a historically determined scientific process to change society. Marxism for the first time revealed this road to man. Again, in the present era, the era of moribund world imperialist-capitalist system and international proletarian revolution, those who call themselves Marxists add the word Leninism to Marxism and emphasize that Marxism-Leninism is the only weapon with which to accomplish social revolution in this era. This weapon does not mean cannons, guns, pistols or bombs—it is a weapon far greater in power. Once mastered, this weapon generates such mighty spirit, it creates such organizing ability and capacity to plan, it elevates consciousness to such high a level among the exploited toiling masses which goes to arm them with an invincible power to carry on protracted battles. Those who seek to obstruct the struggle of the exploited masses with the military might of guns and cannons are at a loss to understand the ‘mystery’ of the source of this strength.
Which is why, from Marx to Lenin, Stalin and Mao Zedong, all have stressed that this ideology is the most powerful weapon in the hands of the proletariat, the exploited masses—by far more powerful than, say, atom bombs or napalm bombs or such other weapons. For, it is Marxism-Leninism that teaches man to know and understand the real problems of his life, the character of those problems and the root cause. Other ideologies are busy covering up the real problems of life, diverting man’s attention to wrong tracks with skillfully worded arguments, elegance of language and amiable posture, using sugar-coated verbiage and catchy slogans. Their object is to disarm man by inculcating in him something as truth, which is not the truth. In contrast, Marxism-Leninism teaches man to grasp and to realize where exactly the malady lies, where the root cause of the problems lies, and what is the law governing the changes in this changing society.
Only with the grasping of this law can man direct the struggle to transform the society in the correct course just as scientists can harness a force of nature only when they have correctly found out and have known and grasped the inherent law of nature that guides a particular activity of nature; only when it has been possible to correctly understand the law governing a change can man control a force of nature, change a state of matter, or an order of society by exerting influence on it or accelerating the process of the change with his activities in accordance with the law governing the change. Before all this, any ideas of effecting a change, bringing about a change of the society, advancement of man are only figments of imagination, simply utopian fancies cooked up in the brain of an individual. By such acts people get deceived, human effort is wasted and all struggles become a fruitless exercise—society is not transformed. It is Marxism, the science based on dialectical materialism that has projected for the first time this truth before people.
That is why, before the emergence of Marxism, a great many people, starting from among the clergy and priests, pious men and saints, religious preachers to great thinking personalities had preoccupied themselves with the question of why this humiliation of man, why this oppression of man by man, and why all this pettiness and mean-mindedness of human mentality; and they wanted and tried to remove all these. But they had not been able to show the path of revolution that is essential for emancipating man from his present plight. Some talked of socialism even. But those were either systems of utopian socialism or else crude or wrong concepts of socialism—pleasant dreams that all men would be equal and lead life in equal comfort, share the same quality of food and dress. In the concepts of socialism of theirs also worked the idea that since all men were the children of God, they would have to be made equal. Such like thoughts guided them. In the name of socialism, of the welfare of man, some of them raised a storm, even went to lay down life in pursuit of these ethereal, unhistorical, unscientific, charming utopian dreams. But they achieved little or nothing. They could not change the condition of man and society, because they failed to understand the law governing the development and change of society. It was the Marxian science that shed light on these issues properly and for the first time. Unless one grasps the laws, processes and course of social change and progress – for example, why and how wage earners came into being, in what process did capitalism rise and in what process its decay has set in—if certain aspects of a social system, the harmfulness of which can be seen even with the naked eye, are sought to be remedied through quackery, the disease will not be cured, the patient will die. The scientific method of treatment is to diagnose the cause of the disease. So, we have to know the basic cause of the social problems. We have to know the concrete law of social change whose operations may be beyond common knowledge. The Marxian science enables mankind to comprehend the inherent laws governing a given social system, its economy, politics and the state administration, as also the inherent laws of development of political principles of a given state.
Once the toiling masses can correctly grasp this science, they will know the truth and come to possess the power of knowledge to change society. No longer will it be possible then to crush their struggle with cannon and bullets. That is why you can find, whatever the military might that the capitalists-imperialists use against the revolutionary struggle of the working class, Marxism-Leninism is the target on which they constantly concentrate their real attack. The tactical line of the bourgeois attack is to distort Marxism-Leninism, to misdirect it, to pass off such things in the name of Marxism-Leninism as would bury the true Marxian science and its concepts, by giving a burial to its quintessence. It is because they find that the influence of Marxism-Leninism is ever on the rise. This is inevitable, for, the irrepressible inclination and desire of people for emancipation draw them towards Marxism-Leninism.
You should keep in mind that Leninism is a method of analysis, a total outlook in this era to comprehend the process of revolution in each and every country under the imperialist world order, aware of the concrete differences of time and place from country to country. It is Leninism that has projected what should be the fundamental strategy of revolution in every country in this era. For this reason, Leninism is called the Marxism of the present era, the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution. It means that in the present era, when capitalism is decadent and moribund and has become utterly reactionary having reached the highest stage of its development by giving birth to imperialism and is crushing freedom and democracy in one country after another, it is Leninism that has held aloft the fundamental guiding principles to comprehend the concrete process of revolution in the capitalist, colonial and semi-colonial countries of the imperialist world order, and to work towards social transformation.’’ (Science of Marxism is the Scientific Dialectical Methodology, SW Vol. IV)