Delhi – Founding conference of New Socialist Initiative, Feb 22-24

Inaugural Session of the founding conference

“A Future for the Left”

Speakers

Jairus Banaji (Marxist Political Theorist and Historian)

Saroop Dhruv (Prominent Gurjarati Poet and Playwright)

Ravi Sinha (Marxist Political Theorist and Physicist)

Venue: Hindi Bhavan, Near ITO,

Delhi, Ph: 23234606, 23220115

3 pm onward, 22th February, 2013

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A World for the Workers! A Future for the World!!

Towards the Founding Conference of a New Ideological-Political Platform

(22nd-24th February, 2013, Delhi)

Revolutionary Left has been at the frontier of history during a good part of the previous century. It led glorious revolutions of the twentieth century and embarked on the most ambitious and most transformative project humanity had ever undertaken. Socialism presented a monumental challenge to capitalism and dominated the course of history for much of the century. The ‘wretched of the earth’ stormed the heavens and liberated themselves from a variety of feudal lords and colonial masters, from kings and compradors, from indigenous oppressors and foreign rulers. Under extremely difficult conditions of poverty, backwardness, war and encirclement, and beleaguered by their own lack of preparedness, they still managed to rescue their societies from the crises of the old order. And they managed to get on to the socialist road and travel a fair distance on it.

But, in the end, twentieth century socialism could not escape the limitations of the times and of the societies in which it was born. It turned out as socialism of backward societies and emergency conditions. While victorious in the difficult conditions of wars and civil wars and successful in pulling societies out of the deep crises of the old order, it could not inflict the final world-historic defeat on capitalism. It could not become a model of creativity, productivity, prosperity, democracy and freedom that would inspire the workers of the entire capitalist world to overthrow capitalism and build socialism. Eventually twentieth century socialism ended even before the end of the twentieth century.

Revolutionary Left presently stands at a cusp of history. Past glories are fast receding into the past and the future presents a challenge of steep ascent into a new era. The world today is a very different place from what it was a century ago, or even half a century ago. Although the long course of capitalism has lasted half a millennium and for the past two centuries it has been the dominant mode on the planet, it is only now that capitalist relations have been able to penetrate every nook and corner of the world. It is only now that the entire globe has been turned into an unhindered playground of capital.

For the first time in history, revolutions against capitalism are on agenda in societies with capitalist systems and bourgeois democracies. Past revolutions could never be repeated or imitated even within the previous era of feudalism and colonialism. They can be repeated or imitated even less in the new times and against a changed enemy. Revolutionary left has to prepare for this altogether new condition and forge a suitable strategy and a new language. Lessons and strategies of the previous century, important as they are, will no longer suffice.

No one can escape being a product of the past. Everyone is constructed by all that has happened and all that one has experienced. This is true of those too who lead people in making history. But, in their case, this is not the full story. Those who aspire to lead revolutions must be constructed also by the future. A vision of the future must go into the making of their character and their capacities. Today’s Revolutionary Left has birthmarks of the past century. Birthmarks, however, never suffice to define revolutionary character. They never suffice to ensure the capacity to lead. In order to prove equal to its historic tasks, Revolutionary Left must reinvent itself. Strategies for the future battles and visions of the future socialism must go into its making. Strategies of the previous century cannot win the battles of tomorrow and twentieth century socialism cannot be presented as a model of future socialism. To forge strategies for fighting today’s capitalism and to envision the shape of future socialism are necessary ingredients in the endeavor of reinventing the Revolutionary Left. That indeed is the challenge of our times.

This challenge can be met only if thousand processes come together. The process that has come together as the New Socialist Initiative and that is now reaching its first milestone in the form of its founding conference, is one such process. Our understanding is that revolutionary movement must proceed from actually existing conditions of the present and it must proceed towards building a future that resonates with the claims and the desires of all the working people. Such a future can only be a freshly envisioned socialist future.

Ours is not an effort to create a new revolutionary party. The advent of such a party lies yet in the future. Ours is not an effort to replace the existing parties and organizations. Nor is our intention to work at counter purposes to any of the existing revolutionary organizations and processes. Ours is an effort to contribute towards meeting the historic challenge that confronts the entire Revolutionary Left. Ours is an effort to begin the process of forging a new language that will be the language of entire Left, of designing a strategy that will be the strategy of entire class of working people, of envisioning afresh a socialism that will be adopted as the future of humanity.

It will be an epochal process and ours is an endeavor to be a worthy participant in it.

We appeal to you and we welcome you to accept this challenge and join this process.

National Convening Committee

New Socialist Initiative