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To the capitalist class, art is no less a source of profit than any other branch of production. Moreover, it is a particularly lucrative branch. A painting can raise millions of dollars on the London art market. And most of these works of art, part of the priceless heritage of humanity, are subsequently locked up in a bank vault or buried in the private collection of some wealthy miser who can gloat over his possessions - not for their own sake but as a speculative investment. At this point all pretences are mercilessly stripped away. Art as a commodity is no different to any other commodity. Its value is determined by the amount of socially necessary labour spent on its production (and it is well known that a work of art can take a long time to produce), but its price will be finally determined in the market place on the basis of the laws of supply and demand.

Here a painting by Rubens or Velazquez is reduced to the same value as so much sugar, oil or underpants. Only its scarcity value and the speculative mania that drives the bourgeois to seek out commodities that will hold their value, or better still increase it, sets them aside as something out of the ordinary. Here fortunes are made out of works of art produced by artists, many of whom lived much or all of their lives in poverty and hardship. As for the purchaser, he or she may be an art expert or a complete ignoramus, may derive great aesthetic pleasure from their possession, or be utterly indifferent to it. This is a matter of complete indifference, since the work of art is possessed not for itself, but only as a piece of merchandise for the purpose of speculation. What is here worshipped is not the work of art, but only abstract value. This is the only real art and religion of the market place.

Capital is hostile to art. It confronts it as an alien force which dominates and oppresses it, twisting it into all manner of grotesque expressions. It is only a specific manifestation of the alienation that blights and distorts all human life and relations under capitalism. On such barren ground as this, art and artistic expression can never flourish, can never raise itself up to its true (that is, human) stature.

Alan Woods, Marxism and art: An Introduction to Trotsky’s Writings on Art 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

11:00am until 5:00pm

TRS, 40 Exchange Place (also known as 27 William) New York, NY 10005

Join the Workers International LeagueFightBack Canada, La Riposte Canada, and the International Marxist Tendency for a Marxist Day School in NYC! We are thrilled to welcome back Alan Woods, editor of We will be holding two sessions:

11:00 am - The National Question and how to approach it is of vital importance for Marxists. Lenin and the Bolshevik Party’s policy in the Russian Empire (which Lenin described as a “prison house of nations”) allowed them to earn the trust and support of the many nationalities that had lived under the yoke of Tsarism for centuries. 

Alex Grant from Fightback (Canada) will lead off the discussion, an issue which is just as important today as it was in 1917. 

(We will break for lunch from 1:30pm to 2:30pm)

2:30 pm - Who was Stalin? What was Stalinism? What is genuine socialism? How did Stalin come to personify the bureaucratization of the Soviet Union? What role did he play in the Bolshevik Party prior to the revolution and what conditions led to the phenomenon now known as Stalinism? 

On the 60th anniversary of Stalin’s death, Alan Woods, editor of (In Defence of Marxism) and the leading theoretician of the International Marxist Tendency (IMT) is working on a reissue of Trotsky’s biography, which will include new, never-before published material Trotsky intended for inclusion in this book, found in the Trotsky archives at Harvard. Alan will lead off the discussion on Stalin.

This event is open to the public. We will be asking a $10 donation to cover the cost of the event.

People had hope for a better future and that created a blissful atmosphere and relatively prosperous societies. Now that optimism in life in Europe seems to have evaporated. People have lost hope in a future that promises only a grim life. A social malaise has set in. It is astonishing that this situation has developed in the aftermath of the collapse of the USSR, Eastern European Socialism and the capitalist restoration in China. After these events the bourgeoisie gained access to a huge market of more than two billion. At that time in the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s, there was euphoria amongst the strategists of capital. The bourgeoisie on a world scale were dizzy with success. Yet it has turned out to be a hoax.

Dialectally it turned into its opposite and today we see capitalism mired in its most severe crisis, unprecedented in its 200-years history. This exposes the historical redundancy and the organic sickness of capitalism. Even with such a massive expansion of the market, it has failed to develop society and improve the living standards of the working class even in the advanced countries. The growth we saw in the last 20 to 30 years was through a greater labour intensive mechanism where all or most members of the household were working, many workers working overtime and of course, a gigantic expansion of credit.

The huge bubbles of speculative investment in housing, InfoTech, petroleum products and others sectors have now burst. But what triggered the crash of 2008 was the overextension of credit that accumulated in the corporate sector and through personal loans in the previous three decades. The banking default in 2007 led to the sovereign default in 2010. Ever since the economies of most European countries and the US have been reeling from a chronic crisis with no end in sight.

"On December 16, 2012 Jyoti Singh Panday along with a male friend boarded a bus in South Delhi. When Jyoti and her friend boarded the bus, they expected to be transported to their destination. They could not have known of the horror that was awaiting them. The victim, Jyoti, was gang raped and brutally tortured by a group of six men in the bus. Jyoti and her friend were then thrown out of the moving bus and she was taken to hospital in a critical condition. She was later flown to Singapore for better treatment but unfortunately she died there on December 29."

Angry public protests followed the gang rape incident. On December 21 thousands of protesters marched in Delhi. They were met with heavy handed police repression including baton charges, water cannon, tear gas and arrests. Protests were also held in Kolkata and Bangalore. After her death the protests spread all over India including Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Thiruvananthapuram, Mumbai and Visakhapatnam. The government used road blocks and closed down many train stations to stop the protestors from gathering. The main demands of the protests include the provision of speedy justice and legislation and the implementation of stricter laws regarding crimes against women. Most of the protesters were young people, including many women.

The protests were also an expression of the anger and hatred that youth of India has against the corrupt Government and the system. A judicial commission has been set up by the government to investigate the incident. According to Finance Minister P. Chidambaram the commission “will look into the incident, identify lapses on the part of the police or any other authority and fix responsibility for such lapses and negligence”.

In reality this horrendous rape has yet again exposed the real barbarity ravaging Indian society beneath the shiny veneer of economic growth. Crimes like the rape of the 23-year-old physiotherapy intern are nothing new in India. Days after this crime was committed a woman was raped in the Punjab by seven men under very similar circumstances. In fact, there was a two-fold increase in the number of rape cases between 1990 and 2008.

Official figures show that last year 228,650 of 256,329 violent crimes had women as victims but this is most likely an underestimated figure, as only about 10% of rape cases are ever reported. Delhi is said to be the rape capital of the world. It is estimated that more than ten million Dalit (lower cast) women have been raped and the security forces too use it as a weapon against people particularly in areas like Kashmir and the so-called Red Corridor, where the Naxalite guerrilla insurgency is based. In India a woman is raped every 20 minutes.

Marx wrote “Social progress can be measured exactly by the social position of the fair sex”. According to a UN report India is the fourth worst country for women in the world. The plight of Indian women and girls begins even before they are born. More than ten million female foetuses have been aborted and more than 500,000 girls are lost through sex selective abortions every year. Women are just 26.1% of all rural workers, and just 13.8% of all urban workforces. On average they are paid 62% of men’s wages for equal work in a country where 69% live on less than $2 a day.

The rate of growth of the GDP fell steeply in 2011-2012 to around 5.3%. Economic forecasts for 2013 are also not very promising. The high growth rates of the past of around 9% have meant nothing but more misery for the Indian masses. A growing middle class has benefited from economic growth, while a billion Indians have been pushed further into the dark pit of misery and poverty

The explosion of protest demonstrations against this gruesome crime was caught the rulers of India unawares. Lately, India has seen many movements of the so-called “civil society”, from right-wing Anna Hazarae’s hunger strike to that of cartoonist Aseem Trivedi, but the spontaneity and determination of these protests caught the Indian ruling class by surprise.

Even the Chief Minister of Delhi, Sheila Dixit, was forced to join them in order to quell the anger. But these ladies from the ruling class and so-called civil society have nothing to do with the agony of toiling women. There have been many women in leading roles in Indian bourgeois politics but the fate of the poor majority has never changed. From Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to President Partibha Patel and the rise of Mayawati, Jayalalithaa and Mamata Banerjee have failed to deliver anything to the mass of Indian women.

Petty bourgeois feminists are blaming “patriarchal” culture and male psychology for acts like these, and reactionary right wing organisations like the RSS believe that women leaving their homes and western culture are responsible. Of course backwardness and “patriarchal” culture are part of the problem, but the kind of “patriarchal” oppression of women belonging to the ruling or upper classes is qualitatively different from the squalor, poverty and oppression of women belonging to the exploited classes. Further, Indian capitalism has failed miserably to convert the former colony into a modern bourgeois nation state and the questions of national oppression, communal and sectarian conflicts and the provision of basic infrastructure and fundamental necessities have not been solved, nor substantially improved.

The gender issue remains unsolved even in advanced capitalist countries. The idea put forward by the liberals and NGOs that the emancipation of Indian women can be brought about by “legislation” and “measures” is naive at best and fraudulent at worst. Crimes and violence against women should be condemned in the strongest terms and criminals should be punished in a manner befitting their savagery. But laws and repression won’t be able to solve the root causes of the oppression of women.

Many on the left, even some regarding themselves as “Communists”, have also been engaged in endless and meaningless discussions around the legal proceedings against the perpetrators and the need for “changing the mindset” of Indian men. The Communist Party of India (CPI) National Secretary D Raja said “The Prime Minister should own up moral responsibility and assure the younger generation that the government would build legal safeguards to counter the menace.”   Communist Party of India (Marxist)CPI(M) leader and Rajya Sabha (Upper House of Parliament) member T N Seema said that the Union government should declare 2013 as the “Year of Women’s Safety”.

That their failure to address concrete socio-economic conditions is leading to such atrocities and the emphasis on cosmetic measures is hardly a surprise. Their politics have been reduced to liberal bourgeois parliamentary manipulations. They have even abandoned their two-stage theory and reformism, let alone revolutionary socialism. During the 34 years long CPI(M) rule in West Bengal some of the most brutal Neo Liberal economic policies were implemented, and open repression has been used to enforce them, as in the 2007 massacre of farmers in Nandigram who were protesting against the forceful acquisition of their land for the Indonesia based Salim Group which has connections with Suharto’s family. CPI (M) rule ended in early 2011 and according to the National Crime Research Bureau (NCRB), the state has topped the charts for eight successive years for crimes against women.

Marxists of course support the introduction of progressive legislation in favour of women’s rights. But all forms of repression in society are due to its division into classes. The emancipation of women or other oppressed sections of society can only be attained by the establishment of a classless society. Women in India have a key role to play in the revolutionary struggle against capitalism. History shows us that at certain times women have always been far more revolutionary than men. The revolutionary movements in the Arab world have proved this yet again. In societies where traditionally women have been brutally oppressed, they have risen up against tyranny and poverty. However, the road to the liberation of women passes through the class struggle. Freedom from the drudgery of household chores, exploitation, harassment, poverty and violence can only be attained through a socialist revolution.

The Bolshevik revolution of 1917 elevated women from the status of domestic slaves and cheap labour to a dignified, free and productive role in the society. The situation of women in the other countries of the South Asian Subcontinent is not much different to that of Russia in 1917. The plight of women workers in the garment industry in Bangladesh and Pakistan is horrific. Afghanistan and Pakistan are respectively at the top of the UN list of being the worst countries for women where they face fundamentalist bigotry and honour killings in addition to relentless poverty and deprivation.

Conditions are fast deteriorating further under capitalism. This year, NGOs and governments in all of these countries will organise glamorous events on International Women’s Day. But on the same day in Russia in 1917 it was women who along with their class brothers began the fight for the overthrow of the brutal Tsarist regime which ultimately led to the socialist victory in October. Such a revolution in India and the region will not only cut across religious, ethnic, caste and regional prejudices but also gender bias and the oppression of women. A socialist victory will be the first step towards the liberation of women and the whole of mankind.

Netanyahu himself has been reduced to a pathetic haggler desperate to hold on to power. Immediately after the elections this stern right-winger held ‘a long and earnest talk’ with Yesh Atid chairman of Yair Lapid, about forming a coalition government. Both men have now said they intend to join together in government.

No matter what, Netanyahu is seriously weakened. He had thought that his bloody bombing campaign of Gaza at the end of last year would create a patriotic and chauvinistic mood that would give him a comfortable lead in the elections. It was clear that his whole campaign, with the slogan “a strong leader for a strong nation,” was based on this presumption. Unfortunately for Netanyahu, the campaign had the exact opposite effect. In fact all anti-IDF slogans, which were put forward by especially Yesh Atid and Meretz had wide popularity.

On top of this, his government was also weakened by several corruption scandals that hit his coalition, the most noticeable one being the case against his former main coalition partner and former leader of the Yisrael Beiteinu, Avigdor Lieberman. In recent days a new case has also surfaced where Ethiopian women had, secretly and without their own knowledge, been injected with contraceptives. This case goes all the way up to Netanyahu’s office and further damaged his reputation.

The new government will therefore be fragile and unstable. If Netanyahu chooses to form a coalition only with the right-wing parties, he will have a very narrow majority. If he opts for a national unity government, which is most likely, he will be uniting forces that represent very different social layers. This will be similar to when he shared power with the Labor party on the one side and Lieberman’s party on the other. In the end the Labor party was forced to leave government in the wake of the 2011 movement. But this time round it is far from sure that Netanyahu would survive a similar break-up of the government.

The first test of his new government, whichever coalition Netanyahu succeeds in forming, will be the passing of the new budget which last year had a deficit of 4.2 percent of gross domestic product, double the original estimate.

In general the economic prospects are not looking bright. Israel’s economy expanded more slowly than previously estimated last year, as growth of exports and fixed investment stagnated. Gross domestic product increased 3.3 percent on a year ago. The figure compares with a previous forecast of 3.5 percent. In the third quarter, the economy expanded on an annualized basis by 2.8 percent, the slowest in three years.

GDP per capita only rose 1.5 percent in 2012, to 117,600 shekels ($30,500). Last year, GDP per capita increased 2.7 percent. This general slowing of the economy has led to shortfall in tax income of nearly 14 billion shekel ($3.75 billion). Indeed, the government had a 39 billion shekel ($10.5 billion) hole in its budget last year, despite spending cuts and tax rises, and will need to take more such measures in 2013.

Last year, parliament approved a series of tax increases – including on income – for 2012 and 2013 and budget cuts that aimed to boost the state coffers by more than 14 billion shekels. But while this served to further undermine living standards of the workers, the poor and the youth, it did not fix any of the economic problems that the country is facing. In fact, similarly tough measures were taken in 2003 and 2009 with the only results being the further deterioration of the living standards of the masses.

Now Israel has the second highest poverty rate in the developed world, with nearly 25 percent living below the poverty line, and is second only to Mexico in terms of social inequality. A report last November by Israel’s National Insurance Institute showed that 1.8 million of Israel’s 7.8 million people live below the poverty line. In 2011, more than 36 percent of Israeli children were poor, a jump of 1 percentage point from the previous year. Poverty afflicts more than 400,000 Israeli families, including almost 7 percent of families with two working people.

In spite of all this, according to the bourgeois media the new parliament will need to further cut spending by 14-15 billion shekels (some $4 billion), or about four percent, and also raise taxes by as much as 5 billion shekels to keep the deficit to 3.5 percent of gross domestic product. Thus the situation for the masses can only get worse.

These were the very same conditions that were at the base of the protest movement of 2011. The elections last week were a continuation of the process of polarisation that we started witnessing then. But like the revolutionary movements of the Arab world, the movement in Israel is going through a period of maturing. The movement is realising that street protests alone are not enough and that a prolonged political struggle is needed.

Having failed to change anything on the streets, the masses have turned to the electoral front. This has produced a shift both to the left and the right, as the masses look for alternatives to Netanyahu. In spite of everything, what they will now get is yet another Netanyahu-led government. However, his authority has been much weakened. He will proceed to carry out further cuts in social spending, pushing more and more layers into poverty.

All this will sharpen even further the social and political polarisation we have observed so far. In this context, the ideas of socialism will gain a growing echo. What is required in Israel is a party on the left capable of gathering around itself all this growing social discontent.

[…]So far, western governments have showed a lot of support in words, but very few soldiers, tanks or jets have been sent. The US has offered logistical support, but not a long-term commitment. Washington has offered C-17 cargo planes, with a carrying capacity of 140 tons of equipment, and eighty men. The US administration has already burned its fingers many times, from Iraq to Afghanistan and is afraid of what the consequences of a direct intervention in Mali would be at home. It is likely that, for a period, Mali will be a French affair, as far as western imperialism is concerned.

The seizure of hundreds of hostages by a fundamentalist group in the Algerian Sahara is just a taste of what is to come in the future. The Western media are surprised by the ferocity of the terrorists, but their actions are nothing more than the other side of the brutality used by Western troops in daily air strikes that disrupt the cities occupied by the rebels.

The attack is also dragging Algeria into the conflict, although the Algerian ruling class would rather have taken more time to prepare the attack and thus avoid internal instability. However, proving its total subjection to the former colonial power, Algeria promptly allowed French jets to pass through its airspace.

The French intervention, therefore, has aggravated the situation in the region and increased the resentment of the Malian population against the West. Imperialism, in its old age, is like a bull in a china shop: it destroys everything it encounters. The forces of fundamentalism are, above all, benefiting from this situation. This tragedy has its roots in the failure of the European (and African) Left to provide an alternative to the barbarism inflicted by capitalism on the African masses.

The dream that characterised the leadership of Africa that emerged from the colonial revolutions of the 1960s - that of a happy path toward progress - has been revealed to be a nightmare. This was an illusion born from the Stalinist perspective for a long development of capitalist democracy, based on the post-colonial “progressive” bourgeoisie.

There isn’t a single country where this has come true. Through time, all currents within the liberation movement have either been destroyed or become lackeys of imperialism. Today the only alternative to war is a generalised mobilisation and struggle against capitalism and imperialism. This struggle must be linked to the Arab revolutions and the struggles of the working class in the key countries of the continent, such as Nigeria and South Africa, and the placing of a new perspective on the agenda: that of socialism.

The grotesque, remorseless and relentless slaughter of the Shiite Hazaras in Baluchistan is yet another grim episode that lays bare the escalating conflagration in the region, the extreme complexity of the national question and the sectarian strife that is prevalent. This was an act of barbarity that is the outcome of a rotten state and a system that has failed miserably to bring any peace, prosperity or stability to the region. Rather, there is mounting evidence that sections of the state are involved in perpetuating this catastrophe. The Hazaras have been systematically targeted and killed for almost a decade now. None of the perpetrators have been arrested or prosecuted. The complicity of the religious terrorist outfits created by the state to expedite its ever increasing coercion is blatantly clear.

As Pakistani capitalism becomes more and more rotten due to the burgeoning economic and social crisis the state has become more brittle and erratic with its mounting repression and terror. Most of these fanatical outfits were created to execute operations in the interests of sections of the ruling classes and bosses of the state. These non state actors were after all Frankenstein monsters that were formed and fabricated to act in areas which were beyond the writ of the state. These so called illegal monstrosities are carried out by these bigots, who have been recruited, trained and financed by the imperialists, state agencies and regimes like the reactionary Saudi monarchy and who were bred and indoctrinated in religious and sectarian mythology. However, with rapidly changing situations and drastic policy shifts by the imperialists and their henchmen in Pakistan it has become problematic and complicated to keep these rogue elements under control.

Hence, these fanatical organisations have atomised with the elements splitting away becoming even more bestial and frenzied. With the massive amounts of black money generated through the drug trade and other criminal activities this jihad and terrorism have become a very lucrative enterprise. New warlords and drug barons have arisen in this war of attrition started by the imperialists after the Afghan revolution of 1978. Those who split first and foremost attacked the masters that had created them. Not only that, this splintering and these antagonisms also polarised sections of the state who were often confronting each other in the covert operations they carried out where they were using these fanatical organisations in the vested interests of various factions of the civilian and the military elite. These intrinsic conflicts within the state institutions have badly damaged the cohesion and the chain of command of the armed forces.

The other aspect is the mineral wealth and strategic geography of Baluchistan that have become a curse for its inhabitants. International and regional powers have their own imperial designs. Like ravenously hungry vultures they are descending on and tearing apart the body politic of Baluchistan. This has led to imperialist proxy wars where not only the states but the multinational corporations are in conflict to boost their share of the plunder of the region’s resources. On the one hand there is a covert conflict between Chinese vested interests and US imperialism, not only for the resources but also for strategic access to Gwader Port and the Mekran coast. Similarly, there is an increasing clash between the Saudi regime and the Iranian Mullah aristocracy. It is a well known reality that some of those Wahabi and Deobandi organisations, the splinter groups of which are being accused of the incessant genocide of the Shiite Hazaras, were originally created, sponsored and nurtured by the Saudi intelligence agency. The main ploy of the Saudi and the Iranian fundamentalist regimes in this great game is to conduct these proxy wars on a sectarian basis to fabricate external hostility and strive for regional hegemony.

The oppressed people of Baluchistan, especially the Hazaras, are being slaughtered on a religious basis but the Baluch masses have suffered national repression and class exploitation for more than six decades. Baluchistan is geographically the largest and in terms of resources the richest province of Pakistan. Yet its people are suffering from poverty and misery of the greatest order. 92 percent of its districts have been classified as ‘high deprivation’ areas. The main state of pre partition Baluchistan, Kalat, was inducted into Pakistan through palatial intrigue and brute military force. Hence, throughout the history of the country there has been resistance against the national oppression carried out by the Pakistani state.

Baluch youth and political activists have been involved in several armed struggles against the repression of the state. It is the longest lasting insurgency in Pakistan and the resistance has refused to die down. The struggle in the 1970s was brutally crushed by the army with the support of the closest collaborator of US imperialism, the Shah of Iran, who was restored to this peacock throne by imperialism in the 1950s after an illegal putsch against the popular left nationalist leader Mossadeq. More than 5000 Baluch perished in this liberation struggle. In the current conflict more than 8000 Baluch political activists and youth have been abducted by the ‘agencies’ according to the Baluch nationalists. If the Baluch cannot win independence, the military cannot defeat them either.

But the irony of the struggle is that not only does the Pakistani state try to buy off some of the leaders in mainstream politics, but the various imperialist intruders also try to penetrate the resistance and use it for their vested interests. In 1978 one of the legendary leaders of the resistance, Sher Mohammad Marri, told a visiting group of revolutionary students, “We are fighting for an independent socialist Baluchistan. Our aim is to use it to spread revolutionary socialism throughout the region.” This statement sheds some light on the ideological basis and character of the national liberation struggle of the 1970s. Today, the struggle against state oppression is being ripped apart by conflicts on the basis of religious sectarianism and other prejudices. The strategists of the state have to have a plan to aggravate such conflicts to break the resistance.

Imperialists have never been friends of the toiling masses of oppressed nationalities and this is particularly true in the case of Baluchistan. The right of self determination, including secession, is a fundamental right of the oppressed masses of Baluchistan. No one can or should force them to live in a state which the majority of the Baluch masses do not want to be inhabitants of.  But to defeat the capitalist state of oppression the movement needs to unite all those sections that are being exploited and repressed by it. This necessitates the linking of the struggle for national liberation to the class struggle. This will create a formidable force to overthrow this system of class exploitation and national oppression.  Lenin expounded the relationship between the national and the class struggle. He wrote in 1920, “The right of self-determination is, of course, a democratic and not a socialist principle. But genuinely democratic principles are supported and realised in our era only by the revolutionary proletariat; it is for this very reason that they interface with socialist tasks.

[..]The counter-revolution struck with a vengeance and the military coup of 1977 led by General Ziaul Haq and backed by US imperialism resulted in Bhutto’s assassination as the retribution of the elites who were bruised by his policies of reform, expropriation and nationalisation. Pakistan under Zia was transformed into a frightful society where relentless state repression and ruthless obscurantism crushed the masses. The private lives of citizens were monstrously intruded into by the state and religious vigilantes. Hypocrisy, deceit, selfishness, treachery and malice became social norms. Islamic fundamentalism was propped up by the state and supported by the US to crush the resistance against the dictatorship. It was this resistance by the masses and the PPP hardcore activists that gave a new lease of life to the party despite the ascendancy of the rightwing in its leadership. Devoid of a revolutionary alternative, the masses once again rallied around the PPP and put it back in power in 1988. But this time ideology was pushed to the back burner. Socialism and revolutionary policies were abandoned and the party embraced capitalism and endorsed imperialist policies.

Since the1980s, every successive PPP leadership and its government have drifted further and further to the right. These leaders have tried their utmost to be a part of the status quo and appease imperialism and the state. The policies of liberalisation, deregulation, restructuring, privatisation and other dictates of the IMF and imperialist institutions have pulverised the masses and aggravated the immense misery, poverty and deprivation in society. The absence of an alternative does not leave them with much choice. Socialism became a forbidden word among the PPP’s nominated leadership at all levels. The only real and effective opposition to the present capitalist leaders at the helm of the party will come from the forces that relate to and reinvigorate the socialist origins of the party.

The PPP’s present leadership takes its support base for granted. As a tradition, the PPP has prevailed upon the oppressed masses for four decades. But the real question is, for how long can the PPP prevail as a tradition of the oppressed classes? The alternative mass party cannot be created in a period of inertia. In ordinary times, the masses always opt for the seemingly easiest and the most readily available solution, but experience and huge historical events propel them onto the revolutionary path. Lenin in his epic work, Left Wing Communism — An Infantile Disorder says: “If you want to help the ‘masses’ and win the sympathy and support of the ‘masses’, you should not fear difficulties, or pinpricks, chicanery, insults and persecution from the ‘leaders’ (who, being opportunists and social-chauvinists, are in most cases directly or indirectly connected with the bourgeoisie and the police), but must absolutely work wherever the masses are to be found.” The main battle of the class war in Pakistan will be fought in the PPP, provided it does not collapse as a tradition of the masses in the coming period.