March 24, 2020

LETTER TO COMRADE JOHNSON ON THE LEFT-SWARAJISTS, INDIVIDUAL TERRORISM AND THE HINDU-MUSLIM QUESTION

J.V. Stalin
(August 6, 1926)

To Comrade Johnson

Here is my answer to your questions.

1. I think that the Communist Party of India must wage a resolute struggle against individual terrorism practiced in some left circles of Swarajists. Communist Party must constantly explain that the tactic of individual terror is deeply contrary to party policy, aimed at winning the masses. Communist Party must constantly explain that the tactics of individual terrorism hinders the development of initiative of the masses, the masses develop passivity, develop a sense of fetishism in relation to individual heroes- terrorists and, therefore, it plays into the hands of the enemies of the revolutionary movement in India. I know that at first it will be difficult to carry out such a policy. But I also know that without a struggle against the policy of terror there will be no opportunities to put the liberation movement in India into really revolutionary tracks.

2. We should raise not the issue of withdrawal of the left wing from Swaraj, but the conquest of Swaraj Party by its left wing from inside. It is necessary to ensure that the left wing in Swaraj organised into a cohesive fraction. It is necessary to ensure that the left wing, not wasting energy, will be focusing its work primarily in the areas of Bengal and Bombay and conquering these areas onto its side. We must ensure that the basic print and party organs in these two major areas will be concentrated in the hands of the left wing. Only after the left wing is strengthened in these areas and will be a truly majority in Swaraj – only then it should raise the question of the conquest of the governing body in Swaraj Party. It is possible that right-wing elements will leave or will be kicked out. I think that there’s nothing wrong with that. Rather, it is to be welcomed. Then the banner of the Swaraj apparatus will remain in the hands of the left wing, and the whole of Swaraj will generally move to the left and will be back on the track of the really revolutionary liberation movement in India. In short, the left wing should be not leaving Swaraj, but to make a conquest and capture of Swaraj from within.

3. We should bear in mind that the left in Swaraj will not always be reliable and stable in their fight against British imperialism. It should be borne in mind that not only the right Swarajists lean to portfolios but also the left Swarajists sometimes look with tenderness at these same portfolios. Where is the guarantee that the left Swarajist, after winning over Swaraj, will not then, from time to time, at least, will move to the side of the imperialists? There is only one warranty – a strong Communist Party in India. Only to the extent that the Communist Party of India will surround and push forward the Swarajist left, only to that extent it will be possible to rely that the future veered to the left Swarajist movement will never take the old opportunist tracks. The task of the Communist Party is to strengthen itself, primarily in the areas of Bengal and Bombay, which set the pace of political life in India. The task of the Communist Party is to get a foothold in these areas, to put pressure on the left Swarajists and push them to a decisive struggle against British imperialism in order to make sure that Communists will become the leading force of the revolution in India.

4. In the Muslim’s fight with the Hindus, which was instigated by England, you must take a course on concessions to Muslims in the sense of the proclamation and implementation of national equality in political and religious matters, as well as in cultural field. There are not and there cannot be any other ways to eliminate the inter-national conflicts in India. The Hindus are in a majority, the Muslims are in the minority. So the Hindus could make concessions in order to liquidate international conflicts, to unite the efforts of the Hindu and Muslim working masses and to send them to fight against the main enemy of both sides, the British imperialism. Without these means, without such concessions, I am afraid, national conflicts will intensify, and the powerful revolutionary movement in India will temporarily, at least, drown in the chaos of national clashes.

So concessions to the Muslims, liquidation of national clashes on the basis of internationalism, unification of the efforts of Muslim and Hindu working masses against the main enemy, against British imperialism – that is, in my opinion, the main task.

With communist greetings,
Stalin
August 6, 1926.

RGASPI, Fund 558, List. 11, Document 139, Pages 89-91.
Typewritten.
Facsimile signature.

Translated from the Russian by Irina Malenko.

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