Workers, students and youth participated in a meeting organised by the Indian supporters of the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) on October 2 in Chennai, the capital of the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
The meeting was focused on the ICFI’s statement “Socialism and the Fight Against War” and discussed recent developments, including the war in Syria and the tensions over the South China Sea that threaten war between US imperialism and Russia and China respectively. The meeting was also held amid a tense confrontation between India and Pakistan, which is teetering on the brink of war.
Prior to the meeting, Indian supporters of the ICFI campaigned in several industrial areas and visited colleges and universities to distribute WSWS articles and comments.
ICFI supporter Sathish Simon chaired the meeting. He read out the greetings sent by Wije Dias, general secretary of the Socialist Equality Party (SEP), the Sri Lankan section of the ICFI.
In his greetings, Dias placed the latest developments in the Indian sub-continent in the context of mounting global geopolitical tensions being provoked, particularly by the US as it prepares for war against Russia and China. “As your meeting is taking place in Chennai, the initial sparks of a military confrontation are already flying in the north of the Indian sub-continent between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan,” he warned.
In his remarks, Sathish called attention to the profound analysis of David North, chairman of the World Socialist Web Site International Editorial Board, in his recently published book, A Quarter Century of War: The US Drive for Global Hegemony, 1990-2016. Sathish noted that the developments of the past 25 years had now reached the point where another catastrophic world war is looming. But, he added, the crisis of world capitalism had not only created the conditions for war but also for revolutionary upheavals of the working class.
Addressing the meeting, Arun Kumar, from the Indian supporters of the ICFI group, said that, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, US imperialism was exploiting its superior military power to try to restore its global hegemony. Washington was targeting Russia and China, which it considers obstacles to its global domination.
The speaker explained that the deepening global capitalist crisis was focussed in the United States, which re-stabilised the world economy after the Second World War. Now the US was at the centre of fuelling the present geopolitical tensions that threaten war.
Kumar pointed out that the government of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had, since coming to power, integrated India more firmly into the US war drive against China. In its efforts to solidify India as a “front line” state against China, the US had provided a series of military-strategic favours. The Logistic Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) that the Modi government signed with Obama administration in late August gave the US access to Indian military bases.
“Emboldened by this major defence partnership with the US, New Delhi has been engaged in open bullying against Pakistan to assert India’s dominant position in the region,” Kumar reiterated. He explained that the present India-Pakistan confrontation, with its risk of escalating into full-blown war between two nuclear-armed states, is rooted in the reactionary 1947 partition of the Indian subcontinent.
“Without exception, the entire Indian ruling elite, including the two Stalinist Communist parties, have now rallied behind the Hindu fanatic Modi in whipping up an anti-Pakistani campaign. For its part, the Sharif government in Pakistan has been cynically exploiting the grievances of the Kashmiri people in Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir to whip up anti-India chauvinism.”
Kumar emphasised the importance of the ICFI’s call for the building of an international movement of the working class and youth to fight for socialism, as the only means to stop a third world war.
A lively question-and-answer session followed the speeches. The questions included: What is the chance of an eruption of conflict among the imperialist powers, when they have joined together in preparing for war against Russia and China? How is it when the imperialist powers are in deep economic crisis they are preparing for an expensive war? How can Russia and China confront the danger of imperialist war? What is the role of pseudo-left groups in supporting the imperialist war drive? How can a small organisation take up this anti-war campaign among the masses?
WSWS reporters spoke to several participants after the meeting.
Yuan, a mechanical engineering student, said: “Generally, we are used to seeing the problems from a national point of view. I used to think that wars were waged between two countries, but I understand that the predatory imperialist powers fight against each other for markets and resources. These wars are not fought for the people, but in the interests of the capitalist ruling classes.”
Raj, a worker in the Integral Coach Factory (ICF), said: “The meeting was good. At the workplace I have been telling many co-workers about the WSWS and urging them to read the site. I think that even in the face of state repression this movement cannot be destroyed, provided we train many people as Marxists. We need more leaders.”