What does socialism in India mean?

Print edition : December 22, 2017

ONLY after the establishing people’s democracy and completing the anti-imperialist, anti-feudal, anti-monopoly capital tasks can the Indian people advance towards socialism. What does socialism in Indian conditions mean? While no blueprint can be detailed until the people’s democratic revolution is successfully completed, we can only outline and develop further our understanding contained in our earlier ideological documents:

• It means providing all people food security, full employment, universal access to education, health and housing. It means the economic, political and social empowerment of the people by vastly improving the living conditions of workers, peasants and the hitherto marginalised sections.

• It means, first and foremost, that people’s power would be supreme. That democracy, democratic rights and civil liberties would be inseparable elements of the socialist juridical, political and social order. Under bourgeois democracy, illusionary formal rights may exist but the majority of people are denied the capacities to exercise these rights. Under socialism, democracy will be based on the economic, educational and social empowerment of all people, the fundamental and essential requirement for the continuous deepening and development of the quality of human life, on whose foundations socialist democracy will flourish. Under socialism, the right to dissent, the freedom of expression and plurality of opinion will flourish with the aim of strengthening socialism under proletarian statehood.

• It means the ending of caste oppression by abolishing the caste system. It means the equality of all linguistic groups and equal development of all languages. It means the true equality of all minorities and marginalised sections and ending gender oppression.

• It means that the socialist economic construction will be based on the socialised means of production and central planning. As long as commodity production exists, the market is bound to exist. The market forces, however, shall be subsumed under the guidance of central planning. While various forms of property can and will coexist, the decisive form will be that of the social ownership of the means of production. This does not necessarily express itself only as the state-owned public sector. While this plays an important role, other forms like collective and cooperative ownership and state control of economic policies that regulate the economic lifeline will necessarily coexist.

Sitaram Yechury

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