This article reflects the personal views of Harsh Thakor
May the inextinguishable light of Naxalbari resurrect it’s earlier glory to illuminate the whole nation and extinguishing the dark forces of fascism.
We cannot live on the glories of the past like the Naxalabri struggle or on the acheivements of past decades in Andhra Pradesh, Telenagana,Bihar ,Jharkhand etc.
No doubt what started as a stream turned into an Ocean with the movement spreading like wildfire even if there was great fragmentation and several setbacks.
Today because of the great sacrifices of comrades striving for correct path a superstructure has been built but this base has to be consolidated and protected.
Today the enemy is even stronger blowing a much stronger gale aginst the revolutionary movement than 5 or even 2-3 decades ago.
They are armed to the teeth to defeat organized struggles,much more equipped than the Maoist forces.
In this concluding part 10 I am summarizing the positive aspects and weaknesses in the Indian Maoist Movement and the tasks for the future.
The theme is in spite of great strides we have too understand how India has to practice a path of protracted peoples war taking into account it’s own specific characteristic and not adhere blindly to the Chinese model.
I feel the Indian PPW will have significant differences from the Chinese path even if there are also very strong similarities.
Today we must salute the C.P.I.(Maoist) for shimmering it’s flame in Dandkaranya to create a new model of people’s power and sow the sees in other regions but still not have illusions that it is on the verge of victory .
A. POSITIVE ASPECTS.
The most significant progress has been made in Dandkaranya, Jharkand, Orissa where the torch of the C.P.I.(Maoist) is blazing.
It’s red flame is shimmering like in those parts like never before with alternative people’s structures been built in Dandkaranya.
The wave has even spead in regions of Kerala and the Maharashtra Border revealing a fire that is in extinguishable.
Although not waging armed struggle a mass movement in Punjab of the peasantry under the leadership of various communist revolutionary groups has been built as never before.
Earlier although there was a great student and youth movement in Punjab there never existed such a strong united peaasnt movement of both the landed or landless peasantry.
The unity amonst many trends of landed peasantry organization and their support to the dalit landless labour movement in Jaloor in Punjab is of great significance.
There is also unity there amongst mass political organizations like Lok Sangram Manch. Inquilabi Lok Morcha, Inquilabi Kendra,Lok Morcha etc. The joint election campaign of 3 different groups in January this year was of great relevance.In the same light 3 groups commemorating 50 years of Naxalbari in Ludhiana in May was very positive.
In West Bengal the movement is very splintered but the unity in joint protests and the recent unity of 5 groups jointly commemorating 50 years of Naxalbari in Silguri was heartening.
Also spirited cadre in regions of Uttar Pradesh combating the menace of csatesim anf Saffron fascism in Benares University.
The most positive aspect of today is the unity that has emerged amongst different trends within the revolutionary camp and the determination of cadres from so many trends to unitedly fight the ongoing fascist assault of the state represented by the ruling B.J.P.
Some of the most outstanding united protests have taken place in cities like Delhi,Kolkata and towns of Punab like Moga and Barnala.
I was most impressed with over 12 groups uniting in College sqaure of Kolkata organizing a march in November nad later a sitting protest in December against the massacre of Maoist activists in Malkangiri and earlier aginst Operation Greenhunt.
Be it from Kanu Sanyal,.2nd C,C.New Democracy, Maoist or Red Star they assembled creating the presence of a torrent.
Protestors displayed heroic fighting spirit in defying the police barricade.
Similarly in Delhi similar effect was created with even mass organization sof C.P.I..(M.L.) Liberation and Peoples Union for Democratic Rights participating.
In Barnala and Moga districts of Punjab some of the most qualitative protests and conventions ave been held in recent times burning the flame of resistance agisnt Operation Greenhunt, massacre of Maoists in Malakangiri,and life sentence on Maruti Suzuki workers.
The Democratic Front against Operation Greenhunt has built an organized movement like no other in combating state fascism even if it’s numbers are not so great.
It has sown the seeds for building democratic consciousness ,which is of great significance.Such a force is backbone of the revolutionary movement in protecting itself.
Similarly the Association for Protection of Democratic Rights has been revived and held some great seminars on state repression in Kashmir etc.A strong democratic rights Organization is the need of the hour and an essential perequisite in the protracted peoples war.
The protest launched in Mumbai after the suicide of Rohit Velmula was one of the strongest ever seen in India inFebruary 2016 and the later students upheavals in Delhi University protesting against the arrest of student leader Kanhaiya and Umar Khalid dipalyed great fury and determination.
On very few occasions in the past has such intensity been displaced aginst castest opressin nation wide .
In Punjab the fiercest determination was expressed by Students for Democratic Society protesting police attck on movement aginst fee
I was also greatly impressed by the qualitative response by the common public to protests in Kerala aginst the assassination of comrades Devraj and Ajitha by the C.P.M.govt.There was spontaneous support and sympathy to that cause by common people.
Today trends that evolved from Chandra Pulla Reddy like New Democracy group or from T.Nagi Reddy –D.V.Rao like C.P.R.C.I.(M.L.) never openly criticize the Maoist armed actions.
2 decades ago the N.D.group in public condemned the armed squad action sof Peoples War group and similarly sections of U.C.C.R.I.(M.L.)Morally today the C.P.R.C.I.(M.L.) displays significantly more admiration for the Maoist party than it’s erstwhile constituent which was C.C.R.I. show towards the Peoples War group.
The general polarization of Unity has reduced confusion amongst cadres with the unity of the C.P.I.(Maoist) a major landmark.
Other mergers like C.P.I.(M.L.) Kanu Sanyal with Janshaktti into C.P.I.(M.L.) also reflected this phenomena.
Splits in past decades caused immense confusion.
Today the movement is striving to integrate the caste question with Maoism and the revolutionary movement which was earlier ignored.A really sustained effort was made by the Maoist party leader and ranks to facilitate this like Anuradha Ghandy.
The Maoist movement cannot progress by neglecting caste question and not integrating it with class struggle.Here Anand Teltumbde also made a significant contribution.
In Tata Institite of Social sciences a bi-monthly magazine is brought out highlighting revolutionary democracy and state repression on campuses in relation to Dalit and Ambedkarite movement.
The Internet has given acess to a lot more information about the movement and it’s ideology.It played a major role in popularizing the Maoist movement and inspiring cadre.I would never have known so much without the internet on practice and polemics.
The crisis of globalization has openly given a clear insight to the peasants and workers about the fascist nature of socio-economic system which has removed it’s blinkers.
I am re-posting excerpts on an outstanding summary or analysis of the C.P.I.(Maoist) s from
‘Is the Torch Passing?’by Robert Weil.
It does justice to the Movement more than any writer with a most symmetrical and objective evaluation in context with the concrete situation of India.
It refutes anyone who calls the Maoists as a terrorist force or isolated from the people or those who claim thta the Maoist war is on the verge of a famous victory.
The rise of the CPI (Maoist) to its leading revolutionary position today is the outcome of specific conditions over the past several years, and its ability to take advantage of the openings provided by these new developments.
In part this is due to its flexibility. With well trained cadre, a battle-hardened guerrilla army, and a mobility that has, in large part, been forced upon it by constant suppression campaigns, the party has developed the kind of “have guns, will travel” capability that allows it to quickly seize opportunities that the system of oppression opens up before it.
This was seen in 2005, when Maoists were once again largely driven from their bases in Andhra Pradesh, with heavy losses, yet not only quickly regrouped, but reached a new peak of national mobilization. This ability to convert setbacks into gains, to seize openings that constantly arise for expansion, is not simply the result of flexible and mobile organization, however.
Over the last three decades, the Maoists have “seeded” the vast forest regions and other parts of the interior hinterland with dedicated cadre, who have helped to stimulate and lead resistance struggles by those who have suffered from centuries-long oppression and exploitation.
These communities rise up over and over again when conditions become unbearable. This deep and dialectical tie between the Maoist revolutionaries and popular forces is the primary reason why the struggle continues to flare repeatedly, and to spread across the country, often at the very point when the movement has suffered setbacks.
The CPI (Maoist) is of course anathema to most of the ruling parties and wealthy classes, but criticisms of its methods and doubts about its prospects are widely shared among the intelligentsia and in leftist circles.
Even these critics commonly express admiration for the dedication and courage of its cadre and fighters, and it is not unusual to hear them say, “if I were younger, or more willing to take risks, or less tied down to family or career, I might join them.”
Many of those who criticize the revolutionary Maoists are themselves also lifelong activists who courageously struggled for radical social change, often at great personal sacrifice, including long years of hardship and imprisonment. Not a few of them go back in their activism to Naxalbari itself. So attention must be paid to their critiques.
The list varies, but among the most common themes are that the CPI (Maoist) wants to put in place a one-party state, a classic “dictatorship of the proletariat,” and that in the areas under its control, it excludes and even suppresses all other parties. Many object to what they see as a violation of the multiparty system, and fear that a Maoist victory would mean the end to all forms of civil liberties and political freedom.
Some also hold the view that India is not, as Maoists claim, a semi-feudal, semi-colonial nation, but rather a modern capitalist economy that, while highly exploitative, is that of a fully independent state, with a parliamentary democracy in which even most of the poor still believe.
Others note that the Indian working class is undergoing rapid changes, in which casual and unorganized forms of labor are already dominant, undermining the basis for a “classical” proletarian-led revolution.
A closely related critique is that the Maoist forces are isolated in the forests and unable to expand beyond their primarily tribal base. In this view, the main agricultural population in the plains, and especially urban workers, remain largely beyond their reach and ability to organize.
Others hold that the CPI (Maoist) is not so much a national force, as a collection of semi-autonomous regional units, and that its liberated zones are relatively unstable, and unable to carry out development projects or provide civil services, while at the same time obstructing those of the state.
That leads, from this viewpoint, to excessive reliance on military force and violence, and to overly adventuristic actions. Some even note that the Indian party lacks a single dominant and charismatic revolutionary leader, such as Mao Zedong, around whom to rally.
Overall, for many such critics, the state and military in India are simply too powerful to confront, much less overcome, with the guerrilla strategy that the Maoists have been forced to adopt. For both substantive reasons, therefore, and the tendency to want “to go with the winner,” many progressives and leftists hold back from, or even oppose, the CPI (Maoist).
Of all the critiques leveled at the party and its actions, however, the most damning and ubiquitous is the “sandwich” theory. Over and over again, critics of the CPI (Maoist) claim that it lacks broad popular support, and instead, through its violent attacks, places the poor and oppressed in the “middle” between its revolutionary guerrillas and the state.
This theory takes various forms. To some, adivasis are seen as a passive population, who are caught and crushed between two larger forces beyond their control. For others, tribal uprisings, such as in Lalgarh, are an expression of the “purity of the people,” a kind of “noble savage” role, while the “unprincipled and opportunistic”
Maoists are viewed as having stripped them of the ability to serve as their own subjective political actors.70 Still others assert that the goals of the adivasis are limited to only practical demands for improvement of their situation, and that they are not interested in seizing state power.
In the most extreme version, these critics assert that the mass demonstrations in the CPI (Maoist) areas are based on coercion by the party, that it indiscriminately kills any who oppose it, and that its attacks serve only to bring down repression by the state. In any case, the claim is made that the majority of the population are the main sufferers, while “It is the duty of middle India, according to the ‘sandwich theory’, to ‘rescue’ the hapless Adivasis and rural poor from the armed combatants.”71 Clinging to such “apparent neutrality” and similar reasoning, many of those who supported struggles in Singur and Nandigram are much more hesitant to rally for Lalgarh, with its closer ties to Maoists.72
But there is an alternative view of this relation. Until now, according to such a standpoint, the adivasis and other oppressed communities have for long been crushed under the heavy power of the state, and the brutal exploitation and abuse of upper castes and classes, as in a “sandwich” with only one piece of bread on the top. Viewed in this way, Maoists have finally provided the “bottom slice,” the ability to resist and fight back
In the yesteryears there were no Maoists. No political intervention from outside. And yet autonomous revolts got defeated in no time though all these movements created social mobility and consciousness for the next phase of rebellion. The violent past helped them raise their sights.
This time tribals revolted against the attacks on their livelihoods, and objective condition was such that Maoist intervention was logical to sustain resistance against the mighty state and fill up the subjective vacuum.
Had not the Maoists intervened, the struggle for survival could have been crushed much earlier. The Maoist presence is delaying the victory of armed forces over a community that has nothing to lose other than shame and drudgery. In many cases tribals themselves invited the naxalites….73
Earlier adivasi revolts were beaten down, in other words, regardless of any “sandwich.”
Now those who rebel against oppression at least have a base to rest on and to help defend them, an improvement even if they are in the “middle.” Calls on the Maoists to “leave the people alone,” in their “natural” condition, just serve to weaken them once again in the face of their oppressors, and to abandon them virtually disarmed against those in power.
There is a special irony here. When Mazumdar called for the peasants to “annihilate” the landlords and moneylenders who oppressed them—a much disputed policy even within the Naxalite movement—he at first insisted that they use only their own conventional weapons, “choppers, spears, javelins and sickles,” not guns, which would lessen the self-initiation and immediacy of their revolt, and make them reliant on others for arms.74
Now, in a strange echo of the Naxalbari leader, some who oppose the CPI (Maoist) suggest that reliance on its guerrilla army for support ruins the “purity” of the adivasis, who should confront a powerful modern state alone with their bows, arrows and knives. Yet whether it is a Maoist policy in 1970 or an anti-Maoist one in 2010, this kind of “primitivist” approach is inadequate.
The oppressed and impoverished of India, like those everywhere, have the right to fight “by any means necessary,” to arm themselves with the most effective weapons available, and to choose those allies who offer them the greatest support and the best ability to resist the enemy, as they and they alone determine.
Incidents, in any event, do not, and indeed could not, represent the strategic policy of the CPI (Maoist), and should not be twisted into absurd accusations. The claim, for example, that 20,000 adivasis, armed with their own traditional weapons, who for months have driven out the security forces of a powerful modern state, can be forced against their will to attend a rally or protest by a relative handful of Maoist guerrillas, defies logic as well as the historic record of such movements, which always depend on wide popular support. “The Maoists cannot influence the events in tribal belts simply by showing gunpowder.
It’s a life-and-death question of thousands of tribal families that keeps the Maoist campaign going despite periodic setbacks.”109 Similarly with the Maoists imposing a boycott of legislative elections.
A statement by adivasi women in Dandakaranya (DK) belies this.
KAMS [Krantikari Adivasi Mahila Sangathan/Revolutionary Adivasi Women’s Organization] gives full support to the DK revolutionary movement which is carried on with the following aims – ‘Land to the tiller’, ‘Forest to the adivasis’, ‘State Power to the oppressed people’, ‘Women’s Liberation’.
We work shoulder to shoulder with our fraternal mass organizations in the armed struggle and political propaganda against the exploitative government and its army. We participate in the election boycott actively with the aim of establishing people’s power as an alternative to the parliamentary politics in which we have lost confidence. The ruling classes who could not tolerate this are perpetuating brutal violence on the adivasi women.110
Any woman activist who can make such a statement is not a passive pawn in the hands of anyone. Even if, as is likely, KAMS is a Maoist front, with 30 years work and 100,000 members, it is representative of the prominent role taken by adivasi women and the clear nature of their demands.111
This activism penetrates into every area of life, a critical new aspect of democracy. “Women now hold meetings independently,” and challenge all the old centers of power, such as tribal elder authority, or their abusive and humilating treatment by non-adivasis.
With the understanding gained in this process the women now know that men must become part of housework and child rearing. They know that woman too go out for organizational work like the man. If only one can leave the house, they know that it is necessary to discuss democratically and decide who has to go. Earlier the women were not allowed into the places where the harvest was stored. Now this tradition is not seen.
The fight for wearing blouses was a turning point in women’s lives. In the areas where the Revolutionary People’s Committees were formed, the men have been democratized and they now understand that they have to discuss with their wives before doing anything that involve both. Readers are aware that land pattas [ownership documents] are issued by the RPCs [Revolutionary People’s Committees] in the name of both men and women in the newly occupied lands.112
Many “are becoming professional revolutionaries,” ready to go wherever needed, and “even question the discrimination they face in guerilla life in order to gain their rights”—an indication that despite advances, women still confront limitations on their role in the revolutionary movement and issues with their treatment by men in the party and army hierarchy.
Still, in virtually every such area, the CPI (Maoist) is turning its contradictions and weaknesses into new strengths.113 Even the absence of a single “great leader” within the party has a democratizing effect, working against the rise of cultish excesses, and emphasizing the guiding role of the people themselves, who do not need dependence on charismatic national personages in order to carry on their struggles.
United front work with other parties, NGOs, intellectuals and students plays a similar role.As the “large” democracy of India proves itself ever more ineffective and corrupt, and is shown to be an instrument in the exploitation of the people, it is the very resistance of the Maoists to “playing by the rules” that increases their attractiveness to the marginalized, and drives growing numbers of the disaffected in their direction.
This “erosion of democratic spaces” must be hailed as an achievement of the Maoist intervention, to the extent that it undermines democracy as an instrument of rule for the state and the ruling order…
So now, the message from Dantewada is that the democratic game is over—instead of lamenting over the loss of democracy, the erosion of democratic spaces, it is precisely this end of the democratic game that is the most laudable achiement of the Maoist movement.
It is the poor saying that “democracy” only seeks/extracts our mandate for your well-entrenched power. We do not want to be exploited and given a democratic voice, we refuse to be drawn into mandating our own exploitation…. It is the poor saying that it is not just the undemocratic nature of capitalism we have problems with, but with capitalism as such, with, in fact, democratic capitalism.114
What is at stake here is not just the nature of the state, but the character of the capitalist system that it upholds. The two are no longer separable, either in practice or in the minds of millions of the exploited. A revolutionary New Democracy confronts both, demanding an end not only to exploitation, but to the bourgeois political system that is enforcing it.
The C.P.I.(Maoist) and it’s guerilla army exhibit outstanding dedication and courage and as the conditions of hundreds of millions worsen and alienation from the current system of large democracy grows,t hey are showing the forces of popular struggle an alternate path to revolutionary transformation and democratic unity. To succeed it must in effect help lead the forging of a new nation founded on a set of alternative principles, bringing about greater unity by strengthening the democratic rights and participatory power of its disparate elements.
It is extraordinarily hard against a powerful state using unrestrained force and unrestrained brutality to prevent it. The revolution it has undertaken holds out the promise of breaking the cycle of wasteful and destructive violence by transforming the underling inequalities and social injustices of caste, class, gender, ethnicity and religion.
For the C.P.I.(Maoist) the hardest task may be finding a path to broaden its appeal to others, and to show sufficient strategic and tactical flexibility to fit the Indian situation,today. It challenges Gandhian methods as well as other leftist methods, which have alternate visions of a non-violent path but have been unable to show in practice how the exploitative economic system and the statist militarism that upholds it can be restrained or undermined to allow emergence of their utopian new worlds.
The maoist party is turning strengths into weaknesses inspite of the absence of single great leader within the party .
Some critiques claim that it lacks broad popular support and instead through it's violent activities sandwiches the poor between the guerrillas and the state. They see Adivasis as a passive population.However others challenge this stating that the Adivasis and other opressed classes have for long been crushed under the power of the state and the brutal exploitation of the upper castes.Only the Maoists have displayed the ability to fight back.
In yesteryears there were no maoists and no political intervention from outside.Autonomuous revolts got defeated in no time though all these movements created social mobility and consciousness for the next phase of rebellion.
hThis time tribals revolted against attacks on their livelihoood and it was only Maoist intervention which enabled their struggle to survive.The Maoist presence delayed victory of the armed forces over a community that had nothing to lose other than shame and drudgery. Had it not been for intervention by the maoists the resistance would have been crushed much earlier.
Amit Bhattacharya on movement in Lalgarh
The ongoing struggle in Lalgarh, nay, Jangal Mahal has already completed one year in early November 2009.
This struggle is totally different from any other recent movement in our country. If Singur faced the initial experience of defeat, Nandigram could take pride in having tasted victory in course of a long bloody battle against the anti-people ‘left-front’ government and terror perpetrated by the hermads backed by the ruling CPI(M).
The struggles waged in both Singur and Nandigram were directed against the land-grab movement resorted to by domestic big comprador capital and foreign imperialist capital. In both Singur and Nandigram, the parliamentary parties played some role, although in the case of the latter, the Maoist party that rejects the parliamentary path did play some role. In the case of the Lalgarh movement, on the other hand, parliamentary parties were actually rejected by the people and the Maoist party played a major role.
In one sense, the Lalgarh movement began in a different context. It started as a response against the brutality perpetrated by the police on 5 November 2008. It was, at the same time, a fight against age-old deprivation and humiliation and for the assertion of dignity and the rights of the people. However, if one takes into account the land mine attack on the WB chief minister on 2 November 2008–the day the corporate house of the Jindals inaugurated the Shalboni steel plant (it was a SEZ), then that event possibly acted a catalyst that started a snow-balling process. In that sense, it started as a response to the land-grab movement also, like those in both Singur and Nandigram.
The Lalgarh movement can be divided into Five phases: A) From 5 November 2008 to the day the dates for parliamentary elections were announced. B) From that day to 16 May when results were declared throughout the country. From 17 May 2009 to 17 June just one day before ‘Operation Lalgarh’ was started. D) From 18 June 2009 when the joint forces started moving into Lalgarh to 26 October when decisions were taken by the PCAPA to form the people’s militia. E) From the formation of the ‘Sidhu-Kanu Gana Militia’ on 27 October till date. The day coincided with halting the Rajdhani Express by the members of the PCAPA demanding the release of Chhatradhar Mahato, release of political prisoners and the withdrawal of joint forces.
Each of these phases has its distinctive features. If one studies the movement, one will be able to see that it was not just a movement against land grab or just for the assertion of the rights of the adivasis or against age-old humiliation suffered by the tribal people; it was more than that. And that broader aspect gradually unfolded itself as movement rolled on.
One of those major aspects of the movement is their advocacy of a pro-people new model of development—a model that definitely shows the imprint of the Maoist party. This aspect of the movement hardly received any attention from the urban intellectuals. Let us take up that neglected, but very important aspect first.
New Model of Development
The model of development the Indian ruling classes and their political representatives have adopted ever since they came to power in 1947 was the policy of dependence on foreign capital and technology, which actually means the selling out of our country’s economy, water, land and vast natural resources to foreign imperialist capital and domestic comprador big capital for rapacious plunder and loot. It was the Naxalbari movement and the CPI(M-L) led by Charu Mazumdar that first raised the demand for radical land reforms, opposition to and the confiscation of imperialist capital, and at the same time formulated the blueprint for alternative model of development. That programme could not be implemented by the Communist revolutionaries of the first phase of struggle for reasons into which we would not enter at present.
At a later period, the Maoists put into practice an alternative development programme in the Dandakaranya area covering mineral-rich states like Madhya Pradesh, Maharastra, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa. The main elements of this programme are the rejection of foreign capital and technology, self-reliance, equitable distribution of resources and property among the people, distribution of land to the tiller, all-round development in the countryside based on people’s initiative and voluntary labour, and the weeding out of foreign influence and control over our economy, society, culture and politics.
As in Dandakaranya, such attempts are being made even at the rudimentary level in the Jangal Mahal area of West Bengal. This is evident from the following newspaper report captioned ‘Welcome to India’s newest secret state’ by Snigdhendu Bhattacharya: “Here across a 1,000 sq.km area bordering Orissa in West Medinipur district, the Maoists over the last 8 months have quietly unleashed new weapons in their battle against the Indian state: drinking water, irrigation, roads and health centres…carefully shielded from the public eye, the Hindustan Times found India’s second ‘liberated zone’, a Maoist-run state where development for more than 2 lakh people is unfolding at a pace not seen in 30 years of ‘left front’ rule. Apart from taking over the organs of the state and most notably the executive and the judiciary, the Maoists here have built at least 50 km of gravel paths, dug tube-wells and tanks, rebuilt irrigation canals and are running health centres, with the help of local villagers” (HT, 10 June 2009).
TIt is clear that the Committee had integrated local day-to-day issues with the broad struggle against state repression. Needless to say, this would not have been possible without the active participation of the Maoists. This has been an entirely new experience in the history of West Bengal. It did not happen in the first phase of the Naxalbari struggle. Without the active participation of the broad masses of Jangal Mahal, this alternative model of development at Maoist initiative, could not be implemented.
REFUTING COMRADE K.N RAMCHANDRAN ,SECRETARY OF CPI (M.L.) RED STAR.BY WORKERS DREADNOUGHT.
Below is an article by workers dreadnought refuting the C.P.I.(M.L.) Red star secretary K.N.Ramchnadran and defending the work of the Maoist party.
K.N.Ramchandran: Some friends will definitely ask: how can you criticize the Maoists when they are shedding so much blood, when their leaders are also killed? How can you criticize them when they are waging a war against the state? Of course, we have respect for the sacrifice of the cadres of CPI(Maoist). That is why we condemned the killings of Shyam and Kishen, and many others like them in the past. Mao has repeatedly advised that we should not waste even a drop of blood, avoid unnecessary sacrifice. But even after more than three decades of their practice, the CPI(Maoist)leadership is not prepared to make an evaluation of their practice so far. In the first wave of left adventurism almost all the ML parties which emerged in 1960s suffered severe setbacks and disintegrated.
Later, almost all the Maoist groups in different parts of the world like the Shining Path of Peru were wiped out. The Maoists in Philippines is almost stagnant. In Nepal they succeeded to play a leading role in overthrowing the monarchy only when they changed their line and took mass line. In India, whatever may be the claims of the Maoist leaders and the propaganda of the state, they are a dwindling force. Not only that, all the former socialist countries have degenerated to capitalist path and the ICM is facing a severe setback. Without taking these aspects in to consideration, and the momentous changes that have taken place during the post-Second World War decades in to consideration, just by waging few squad actions in such a big country like India with more than 1.25 billion people and with such organized and centralized oppressive state machinery, how can the revolution be led forward? If the CPI(Maoist)leadership, impervious to all these factors, continue its suicidal path, can anyone justify them?
We are of the view that the leadership should be ruthlessly criticized and they should be asked to change their line if they want to contribute towards revolutionary advance. We are criticizing the CPI(M) leadership more fiercely, as revisionism is still the main danger in the communist movement. The task before the communist force is to take lessons from the past, reorganize the Party and lead the People’ Democratic Revolution forward mobilizing all the revolutionary classes and sections for it. We appeal to their cadres to come out of this anarchist politics and join the revolutionary Marxist-Leninist camp.
Workers Dreadnought: There are some things in this last and closing statement that I will not address: namely K.N. Ramachandran’s tired polemic about ‘squad actions’. K.N. Ramachandran has repeated this line like a mantra for decades and is not apt to change anytime soon. However, I do not think that it is fair to claim that the CPI(Maoist) has made no evaluation of its work in the last three decades, any close observer of the CPI(Maoist) knows that this is not true, and I am confident that a summation document will be produced when the time is appropriate. Whether or not such document will be circulated publicly I do not know. Furthermore, the fact that the party has not disintegrated and has grown, with more areas of work than it did three decades ago, demonstrates its successes. Indeed, failures and setbacks have occurred, and will occur again, but that does not mean to suggest that the party has not learned from its mistakes and this is in fact part of the revolutionary process.
As Mao Zedong famously said, “Fight, fail, fight again, fail again, fight again . . . until their victory; that is the logic of the people, and they too will never go against this logic. This is another Marxist law.” All revolutionary movements make mistakes; the question is whether they can learn the appropriate lessons. Indeed, if we were to be terrified of making mistakes than we would be unable to do anything, it would petrify the movement. But, we could ask K.N. Ramachandran who is so proud of his four decades in the ML movement where is his summation of his work and practice. Indeed, why does he feel that he remains a marginal politics both on a national level, and in most regional politics as well?
Finally, the failures of the Shining Path have to be understood in their own context as they have much to do with the situation in Peru, the personal authority invested into the figure of President Gonzalo, the urban strategy that was employed (indeed, if something can be said about the similarities between Peru and India is that leaders tend to be far more vulnerable in urban spaces, and often are arrested there – like the recent arrest in Kolkata of Rama Krishna and four other comrades), and their treatment of their support bases in light of state repression. Regarding the situation in the Philippines, K.N. Ramachandran is simply making stuff up. Indeed, the people’s war in the Philippines has grown steadily, albeit more slowly than some had hoped, with the development of new guerrilla fronts and the growth in the revolutionary mass movement. In the case of Nepal, K.N. Ramachandran demonstrates once again his own revisionist attitudes when he refers to the current politics of the UCPN(Maoist), which they earlier attacked, as being “mass line” when in fact it can be better described as a liquidation of the revolutionary movement.
Today the movement is striving to integrate the caste question with Maoism and the revolutionary movement which was earlier ignored.A really sustained effort was made by the Maoist party leadesr and ranks tofacilitate this like Anuradha Gandhy.The Maoist movement cannot progress by neglecting caste question and not integrating it with class struggle.
Here 1st conference of Revolutionary Democratic Front in Hyderabad and programmes of R.D.F.
On 22nd and 23rd April 2012 ,the Revolutionary Democratic Front held their first state conference. It was a remarkable achievement that the organization could stage the historic conference when it s units and constituent forces faced the onslaught of state repression all over the country.3 of the comrades of RDFCentral Committee, Comrade Raja Sarkhel and Comrade Prasun from West Bengal and Comrade Jatin Marandi from Jharkhand are languishing in jails. The theme of the conference was on the opposing of Operation Green Hunt.
This front was formed in May 2005 as a result of the merger of the All-India Peoples Resistance Forum with the Struggling forum for Peoples Resistance. The significance of this formation was the need for an organization to give solidarity and support to the anti-feudal agrarian revolutionary movement and to the anti-imperialist movement. Such a force like R.D.F has immense significance when the democratic rights of struggling, revolutionary sections are being trampled upon on all spheres of life. An Organisation standing by the right of the broad masses be it the peasants,youth,working class or intellectuals is the need of the hour.
Sadly since its formation ,unsurmountable repression has been launched on the Revolutionary Democratic Front. In West Bengal 2 of their office bearers have been arrested and in Jharkhand open rallies are virtually prohibited. They are simply dubbed as Maoist outfits and their revolutionary democratic identity is virtually erased. The R.D.F.has units in Punjab,Uttarkhand,Delhi,West Bengal,Jharkhand ,Kerala and Bihar.However it has still been unable to form effective functioning units becoming consistent victims of state repression.The Constituernt units of peoples m,ass organisatin sof all spheres are weak.Infact in some states where R.D.F operates such mass fronts do not even exist. In Orissa it was banned even before officially forming an organization,while in Uttar Pradesh,Haryana or Maharashtra they have stray contacts but no proper organization. In recent years the R.D.F carried out a huge range of programmes covering every sphere of struggle.
They fought for the release of political prisoners, defended struggles of nationalities, opposed repression on minorities, gave solidarity to peasant movements in Lalgarh and Dandkaranyanya and supported anti-imperialist movements.It is a tribute to the organization that withstanding the repression they held sammelan sin Punjab in 2007 and 2011 ,in Bihar and Jharkhand in 2009 and in Uttarkhand in 2010. The most important struggles which the R.D.F launched independently were against the death sentence on the Bihar peasants in 2004 (programmes in Bihar,Delhi and Jharkahand ), for the unconditional release of political prisoners from 2-8 2006,,against Salwa Judum in Chattisgarh from 19-25 January in 2006,forming the Campaign committee for the release of political prisoners in April 2006,a bandh call in Orrisa,Jharkhand and Bihar on 14th October 2006 against the arrest of leader Sheela Devi,an all-India conference on March 23rd 2007 opposing displacement on Bhagat Singh s martyrdom day.
With other organizations R.D.F. under the banner of CATAS launched a campaign from 10August to November 10th against Salwa Judum in 14 states with a culmination convention in Delhi on 9th nad 10th November with a public rally organized and a memorandum given.R.D.F. endorsed several anti-war fronts and promoted a series of joint forums condemning the killing of Azad and opposing Operation Greenhunt. Against Nandigram and Singur RDF joined a series of Dharnas.It also sent civil liberties activities to visit places of State repression.Sadly we could not witness the level of open struggles like the erstwhile organizations like the All-India Peoples Resistance Forum. After 2006 there were great efforts to curtail the movements of the R.D.F.RDF.also participated in important joint programmes like the public protest meeting against the killing of Kishenji in December,2011,the joint convention against army intervention in Bastar in May 2011 IN Delhi, a public meeting against the killing of Co.Azad along with journalist Hem Chandra Pandey in August 2010,etc.
The historic first conference of the Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF) went underway ton 22 April 2012 in the Sundarayya Vignana Bhavan in Hyderabad with the hoisting of the RDF flag by Goru Madhav Rao, the veteran fighter of the Srikakulam Armed peoples uprising and the founding president of All India Peoples Resistance Forum (AIPRF). The red flag was hoisted with slogans hailing the ongoing revolutionary movement and condemning the Indian state s repressive class violence in the form of Operation Green Hunt and now Operation Haka and Operation Vijay.
In the inaugural session, B. S. Raju, the Secretary of the Reception Committee of the Conference welcomed the delegates and participants, and declared that the RDF stands resolutely in favour of a democratic and separate Telangana state. M T Khan, chairperson of the Reception Committee, condemned the Chhattisgarh government for preventing the 34-member team of delegates from that state coming to attend the conference.Homage was also paid to Comrdae KhagenDas,the founding president of R.D.F.who became a martyr due to illness.He made an invaluable contribution to the movement on the political literary front.
Professor Jagmohan, noted democratic rights activist and the nephew of shaheed Bhagat Singh, inaugurated the 40th issue of Samkaleen Jan Pratirodh, the magazine of RDF, dedicating it to the people of India and the Indian revolutionary struggle. Pankaj Dutt, the renowned people s intellectual and academic presented the Keynote address on economic crisis and possibility of revolutionary upsurge in the country. He analysed the confluence of imperialism and feudalism in a semi-feudal and semi-colonial reality like India, which then generates what is usually understood as growth and development which is so disastrous for the vast masses of the country. Arun Ferraira, the civil rights activist who has recently been released after years of incarceration in Nagpur jail for allegedly being a Maoist, unveiled the collected writings of Comrade Anuradha Ghandy titled Scripting the Change.
B.Weaknesses in the Maoist movement.
The major weakness in the movement is the delayed re-organization of the proletarian party ,the weakness of agrarian revolutionary movement and movement for self-defence ,the economist trend pervading the working class movement,Hindu Communal and Imperialist influence on student and youth ,lack of strong mass organizations,not enough democratic functioning within mass organizations and weakness of sound theoretical analysis.
1.DELAYED RE-ORGANIZATION OF THE VANGUARD PARTY
Today even with the formation of the C.P.I.(Maoist) the proletarian party has not been re-organized.Groups are still components of the eventual party to be organized.Even if a major force with a strength allother groups united would not equal:the C.P.I.(Maoist) is a component or a precursor of the final party.No party today can claim to be the re-organized vanguard morally,whater the achievements in Dandkaranya.Look at the scene in the plain areas,small towns ,big cities etc where it hardly has significant influence.Apart from forest regions there hardly any influence of armed struggle in other areas.There is a tendency of the C.P.I.(Maoist0 to project that it is the re-organized party itself and feel other groups atre mere auxiliaries.Howevever there is agreat improvement from the past with unity at different levels.
Reproduced Amit Bhattacharya's essay in Storming the Gtaes of Heaven.Pages 187-194.
MERGER OF MCCI WITH CPI-ML(PW)
The merger between the CPI(ML) PW and the MCCI was difficult to accomplish, a series of meetings on merger or joint movements bearing no fruit. The worst part of it was the occurrence of armed clashes between the two forces leading to loss of lives. The MCC(renamed MCCI before the merger with a small group) did not belong to the CPI(ML) stream. Although it hailed Naxalbari, it maintained a separate existence and held that the formation of the CPI(ML) was done rather hastily.
They did not join the AICCCR and was very critical of the formation of the CPI(ML) on 1 May 1969. Thus even though they were in agreement on many basic ideological issues with the CPI(ML), they kept a distance from it and formed a separate revolutionary stream. Of the three, the PW and PU maintained fraternal relations throughout till they joined hands. Each of them was usually invited as observers at the time of any conference organized by the other. The PW and the MCC had the same comradely relationship at least at the top level. However, the situation, as stated earlier, was different between the PU and the MCC. The MCC complained time and again that the PU had been intruding into their areas by rejecting the decision on area division mutually agreed upon for eight to nine years since 1982, and even killed one of the MCC supporters.
That led to retaliation from their side. The PU, on the other hand, complained that a large number of their activists(122 or 123) were killed by the MCC. A joint statement was issued to defuse the situation while admitting mistakes on both sides.
Process of Unity between the CPI(ML) PW and the MCC and Problems Therein
The commencement of talks leading to the second merger began in 1981, one year after the formation of the CPI(ML) PW in 1980. In October 1981, Kanai Chatterjee and Sushil Roy from the side of the MCC and Kondapalli Sitaramaiyya(henceforth KS), Prakash Master and another Central Committee member from the side of the CPI(ML)PW met. The discussion continued for seven days.
On the majority of issues, both sides were in agreement. They felt that there was basis for unity between the two parties. Another date was fixed for further discussion. However, before that, KS got arrested. Then after a few months, Kanai Chatterjee died of illness. Thus the proposed meeting did not materialize. Discussions started after a long gap in 1992 with Ganapathy as the new general secretary of the CPI(ML)PW.
At that meeting, the MCC was represented by Sushil Roy, Prashant Bose@Kishan and another and the PW by Ganapathy, Azad and Koteswar Rao @ Kishanji. After a long discussion, both sides felt that there could not be any unity with so much disunity around. It was then decided that unity talks would remain suspended, and articles on the issues over which they differed would be published in the organs of both organizations with the object of carrying on further discussions.
Points of Disagreement
First, the MCC maintained that the Indian State was a semi-colonial, semi-feudal state of a neo-colonial character. PW was opposed to the ‘neo-colonial’ characterization.
Second, the MCC talked about ‘neo-colonial rule, exploitation and plunder’. The PW was not in favour of keeping the word ‘rule’. Azad debated on this issue. Later on, ‘rule’ was accepted.
Third, on the question of Indian expansionism, the PW held that the Indian big bourgeoisie was being utilized by imperialism. The MCC held that imperialism was the main danger and that there was no independence for the Indian big bourgeoisie. Later on, the clause ‘main domination’ was accepted.
Fourth, on the question of communal organizations, the issue was which fundamentalism—Hindu or Muslim—was more dangerous. To the PW, Hindu fundamentalism was primary and Muslim fundamentalism secondary. To the MCC, Muslim fundamentalism did not lag much behind its Hindu counterpart. The MCC advocated caution so that sentiments of Muslim activists were not hurt while fighting both kinds of fundamentalism. It was decided to regard Hindu fundamentalism as the greatest danger.
Fifth, on the question of the domination of semi-feudal relations in the Punjab, the erstwhile PU held that capitalist relations there had developed to such an extent as to do away with semi-feudal relations. The MCC maintained that although capitalist agriculture developed in the Punjab, production relations remained basically the same as before. The PW also accepted this formulation in the course of discussion. It was decided that after the merger, this disagreement would be resolved on the basis of field investigations. At the 2005 Congress, consensus was arrived at on the issue of semi-feudal relations.
Another round of talks for unity was held during 5–11 May 1995 where serious differences had come up on the international situation. The issues involved were as follows: 1. On the assessment of the economic and political changes which imperialism had undergone after World War II; 2. On the definition of Super Power; 3. On the question of the status of Russia today; 4. On the position of Japan and the European Union(particularly Germany) in the modern world; 5. On the role of people’s struggles in reducing the status of a Super Power to that of an Imperialist power; 6.On the Three World differentiation in the present-day world situation; 7. On the position of the American Super Power.
It was admitted in the Resolution signed by the secretaries of both the parties that despite threadbare discussions on these issues for the past two years(1993–95), serious differences still persisted. Both of them proposed the postponement of merger talks and decided ‘to continue the bilateral relations between the two parties in order to coordinate the All India mass organizations, to exchange our respective experiences and literature and to render all possible help to each other.’
The Black Phase(1993 to early 1998)
It was called ‘black’ because it witnessed fighting between the PU and the MCC, as also between the united PW(after PW’s merger with the PU in 1998) and the MCC for ‘area domination’ leading to bloodshed on both sides. And these clashes over area domination were accelerated by differences over political lines on which discussions between the two sides had been going on for years with an eye on merger.
A joint appeal was made by the top leadership to stop such in-fighting immediately, turn the existing hostile relationship into good and march forward to fight together against the ruling classes and their state machinery.
At the meeting, the MCC also proposed a solution that the issue of area domination could be settled on majority support. That implied that if more than 50% of villagers in a particular area supported a party, then that area would be left to that party and the other should withdraw. According to the MCC, the PU was not willing to take a decision on it then.
The fact is that question of division of areas on the basis of majority support was rather tricky, as both the parties would try to expand their areas of influence to new areas. One party could have a majority in one area and another could be a minority in the same area. He who enjoys the majority would try to make it absolute, while he who enjoys a minority would likewise try to expand his influence further. The MCC proposal implied that the minority party should withdraw from the area even if it was strong there and had been expecting to get majority support by making a breakthrough. Thus area division on the basis of majority support could never be a permanent solution. But infighting must stop and the united struggle against the common enemy was the need of the hour. Thus either both sides would liquidate themselves or one would liquidate the other with major losses done to itself too or join hands on one political platform. But how could the two parties, each professing to be a communist revolutionary organization, liquidate each other in a fratricidal war? I believe both sides, at least the top leadership, could understand the gravity of their implications.
The CPI(ML) People’s War stood opposed to the idea of debarring the entry of activists of one party into areas dominated by another. In a letter dated 20 July 1997 to the MCC, the PW stated: ‘We have been keeping you and PU comrades informed about the joining of certain groups/individuals in our party and also about the areas and fronts where we are working in West Bengal… Both our parties are working in Bengal–Bihar border region. More significantly, in both cases, both the parties have relations at grassroots level in some villages. In fact this is a thing to feel happy about. This is the time to give a call to our cadres in these places to take up struggles jointly and develop close relations with each other. This is a chance to closely observe each other’s working methods. Then how is it justified for you to attack us physically in these areas?’
In another part of the same letter, the PW referred to the situation in Bihar. It stated: ‘Our comrades are working in … block in Bihar. They are also working in the neighbouring … for the last one decade. You are also aware that they are in our contact from ’94 onwards and formally joined us in ’96…Your women’s campaign team has visited some of the villages in that area where we are working. None of our comrades raised any objections. They will never raise (it) also since we don’t believe in territories…We firmly believe that the people in those villages will decide on whose side they should take after observing our practice.’
In reply, the MCC, stated: ‘We are not going to encroach any other’s working area in the name of uniting the Communist revolutionaries. But from your letter it is clear that you have already taken the decision to start your party work at any place in India.’ About joint work in the same areas, the MCC stated: ‘…we understand from your letter that you have already started your work right into areas where we are working for a long time… Are you sure that you are not telling anything against us in those areas? Did you start your work by saying that PW is correct and MCC is also correct? To start your practical work you must say something against other’s ideological and political line.’
Any outside observer could feel that this was not what is expected from a revolutionary party, as it betrayed political immaturity. Should there at all be the question of saying whether this line is correct or that line is wrong. Rather, the simple thing to be stated is that this line is ours and that line is theirs. Let both lines be tested in practice and whatever comes out as correct, even if that is neither this one or the other, but a third one, both sides should accept that in the interest of revolution.
Despite efforts on both sides, there was no end to the clashes. The MCC complained to the PW that the slogan ‘wipe out the MCC’ raised by the PU had done irreparable harm to both sides. In reply, the PW stated that their Area Committee gave this slogan in response to the “wipe out PU” call pasted by MCC members on the walls. They proposed to the MCC to withdraw the ‘wipe out PU’ slogan, stop attacks on them and issue a joint statement disowning both the slogans.
In an atmosphere of mutual bitterness, allegations and counter-allegations when letters and counter-letters failed to produce desired results and the whole atmosphere among the people turned out to be one of frustration, appeals came from friends to cease hostilities and unite. There were some such appeals. We could get hold of one such open appeal in May 1997 on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Naxalbari movement, published in the form of a leaflet with the caption ‘An Open Letter to the leaders and activists of the People’s War, MCC and Party Unity from the People supporting the Naxalbari Struggle’. Parts of the appeal read as follows:
‘We are forced to write this letter to you on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Naxalbari struggle. Who else could we express our anguish and anger to? You are our teachers…The ruling classes felt overjoyed by crushing the Naxalbari conflagration in pools of blood. You belied their expectations by holding aloft the red flag of liberation…’ Then it referred to two texts on the failure of merger talks published by the People’s War and the MCC, and questioned the relevance of such controversy in the present stage of the Indian revolution. ‘We wonder why did you give international issues more importance to national questions during your meetings?’ The leaflet acknowledged the importance of the six questions relating to international matters over which both parties disagreed; but ‘is the organizer comrade in Dandakaranya facing the question now whether Russia is at present a big power or simply an imperialist power or whether the struggle in Bihar could not be extended further unless the question of relevance of the ‘three-world-theory’ is settled beforehand?’ It also criticized the fratricidal clashes between the PU and the MCC in Bihar. The leaflet made an appeal to resolve differences as fast as possible in the interest of the Indian revolution and unite.
Ultimately, a meeting took place either in late 1998 or early 1999. At the meeting, both sides agreed that although conditions for unity were yet to mature, such clashes should be stopped immediately. It was decided that Koteswar Rao@ Kishanji from the PW and one member from the MCC would look after the problem and take necessary steps.
Encouraged by such developments, discussions on unity started again in which Ganapati, Azad, Prashant Bose and Sushil Roy were present. There again, a proposal for talks on unity was placed. Hence, the talks started again.
After prolonged discussions spanning many days, differences were minimized and both the sides could feel that the basis of unity still remained intact. More discussions followed and the basis of differences was identified more clearly, and a proposal was made for final discussions leading to the merger of the PW and the MCC.
In that meeting the MCC maintained that they would definitely merge; but there should be discussion on the black phase that had strained mutual relationships during the last few years with self-criticism on both sides. Such self-criticism was essential to bring about unity. Later on, the Central Self-criticism meeting was held at Sarenda jungle area of Jharkhand, during the winter of 2003–04. That meeting was a historic one. Self-criticism was made from both sides and the month of August 2004 was fixed for the merger meeting in the same place.
The whole process took much longer time than expected. Groups of PW activists entered the area from different directions and the whole process took several weeks. The PW needed time to discuss the issue of merger within all their committees. That took nearly one month. Leadership from both sides were present. The whole process was complete after fifty-six days. The basis of the merger was prepared. Some documents were prepared which included: 1). Strategy and Tactics of the Indian Revolution;2) Political Resolution; 3) Party Programme; and 4) Party Constitution. There were some others also. These documents were accepted after discussion. Still some minor differences remained. These were to be discussed in the next Party Congress and resolved.
The whole process culminated in the merger of the CPI(ML) PW and the MCCI and formation of a new party—the Communist Party of India(Maoist) on 21 September 2004.
A few Remarks
In its long history spanning five decades, the communist revolutionary movement in India had to proceed along a zigzag course attended by ideological struggles, struggles in the battlefield, major setbacks, splits and the attainment of new unity on a new ideological basis with the aim of taking the movement to a higher stage. In this presentation, a modest attempt has been made to give a brief account of that glorious story. This story is still an unfinished one.
Before I conclude, let me express my gratitude to all those who have assembled here to listen to this long deliberation with patience. Thanks to you all.
CPRCI(M.L.) CRITIQUE OF GROUP CLASHES IN BIHAR BETWEEN MCC AND PW GROUPS AND MERGER OF PU AND PWG IN 1998.
Group clashes in Bihar
When the group clashes occurred between the Maoist Communist Centre and the Party Unity Group (later merged into Peoples War Group) occurred the Organisation stated:We appeal to he leaderships of the M.C.C and the C.P.I(M.L)Party Unity groups to put an immediate end to this fratricide and attempt to resolve he differences relating too the sphere of practical activity in a comradely fashion. No doubt there are serious political differences between he groups which cannot be immediately resolved.
However it is the people who ,in the course of revolutionary movement and the implemenatation of contending lines ,play he decisive roles in establishing the correct line and leadership/For the people to be able to play that role the Communist Revolutionary leaderships must be able to the extent possible to tresolve hem by projecting the aspect of their unity against the enemy and their differences in a fashion that thepeole can grasp and decide on them.Morever the people should feel secure in the knowledge that their non –acceptance of any view or wil of a revolutionary organsiation shall not incur the use of force against them.Morepver sucha genuine contention between different political lines has been crassly dgraded to armed contention for territory.
The comrades concerned need also to reflect on what aspects of the tactical line ,instead of building the revolutionary authority of the masses of the people ,have reduced them to hapless spectators or victims of thje clashing of group powers.Lastly,if the organisatins concerned feel that the compulsions and problems driving hem onto the undesirable path of such clashes are not beong fairly understood ,they should I all seriousness place heir explanations before he communist revolutionary camp and alos before the people.
.On Merger of Party Unity with Peoples War Group
The Unity is a [positive development.The fact that these 2 organisations ,whose separate existence as not warranted by any significant ideological-political demarcation between hem ,have now become a single organization.Sucha reduction in the numbr of parallel platforms is objectively favourable for the development of the 2 line struggle and the establishment of the proletarian revolutionary line. Now the consolidated organizational platforms would provide a more consistent and representative expression of the concerned ideological-political trend. The fewer the platforms and the sharper the profiles of the major ideological trends that much less complicated and more productive would be the process of mutual struggle.
It is a principled unification. Unity discussion began from 1993.It was stated in he 1995 review document that both the organizations had thrice discussed their respective basic documents and overcome whatever political variations. In the P.W’s version ,there was no serious ideological difference with P.u.towards unification, apart fro the period from 1984-89 when the 2 organizations held different positions on the characterization of the contemporary C.P.C.Therfore,it is reasonable that they have arrived at this juncture by overcoming he practical-organisational hitches or apprehensions which divided them for such a prolonged period. Those differences crumbled under the practical-organizational pressures on both organizations to seek a merger of forces and resources. The problematic situation of the PU in the central districts of Bihar has played a crucial role in persuading the PU leadership to shed its lingering hesitancy and decide for merger wit the better armed PW.(Where it is caught wit stronge rivals for territorial claims.
However the major weakness is on the question of the re-organisation of the party. It underestimates the extent of Communist Revolutionary forces that need to be unified. It also underestimates the effort which is required to refute effectively the right opportunist and Left Opportunist lines ,to establish the supremacy of the proletarian revolutionary line with the Communist Revolutionary Camp in India and to accomplish the re-organisation.of the Party. It is also unwilling to draw proper lessons from the historical experience of he course of Party-Re-organisation in India since the late Sixties.
2..WEAKNESS IN URBAN AREAS AND IN WORKING CLASS
In the factories there are hardly any Maoist detachment of workers working as fractions within trade Unions.Inspite of massive retrenchments as aresult of the contract sytem sponsored by globalistaion hardly any significant organized struggles can be led in self defence.
Be it the Maruti Suzuki workersor any other section there is hardly any significant link between them and the struggles of the tribals and peasantry.No doubt earlier in the time of PWG there was great effort by SIKASA in the coal mine are of Andhra Pradesh and concerted efforts by Indian Federation of Trade Unions sled by Chandra Pulla Redy group in Mharashtra,Andhra Pardesh,Uttar Pardesh and Bihar.Even in states like Chattisgarh,Oriss and Jharkahnd joint movements have not been built with the miners or workers in Bauxite region.It was the Chattisgarh Mukti Morcha led by Shankar Guha Nyugi that organized a major movement laeding to the abolition of contract sytem nad payment of minimum wages.In earlier decades in Mumbai there were several important struggles led by independent union slike that of Textile workers in 1982 and later 1992 and of Kamani and Otis
.Some important victories were won but Marxist-Leninist forces could not take the proletarian politics within the trade Unions .Maoist factions tried to help workers build their independent union sbut deviationist trends thwarted a revolutionary trade union movement.There were many sincere cadres belonging to the revisionist union sof the C.P.I and C.P.M. who were militant but could not be won over.Workers won permanency cases in courts but this often created the infection of legalism and failed to educate the workers in proletarian revolutionary politics
Today all the major unions have been destroyed,the contract system almost virtually enforced everywhere with permaneny abolished,no moral avenues for workesr to organize strikes with managements given complete power .Decades back there was a strong organized sectot but now it is smashed.Fascist laws have been installed to curn general protests in station sor outsde factories.Today workers unlike before are even sepertaed at work because of moderm machinery and production methods.In my viewwe have to apply the teachings of Antonio Gramisci in the Indian context .His wrtings on the factory council are of greta importance.
In my view amongst the working class with fascist repression on the main revolutionary force in the country a new style or method of work has to be devised different from the conventional norm
s.Today with the smashing ot trade unions considerable work has to be done in the bastis or outside the factories.Mass Political platforms for workers have to be formed which are not party fronts but whose leadership are influenced by Revolutionary cadre.Innovations may have to be made from the way revolutionary trade Unio n was work was carried out in China considering the great modifications in India .In certain region sinsurrection struggles may have to be integrated with the protracted peoples war.To me here the ideology of Antonio Gramisci towards trade union political work is applicable and Indian revolutionaries should imbibe his ideas.With such fascist attack son officialMaoist party leaders or cadres revolutionary work has to be done from below like Gramisci advocated.
“The proletarian dictatorship can be made flesh in a type of organization which is specific to the particular activity of producers and not of wage-earners, slaves of capital. The factory council is the first cell of this organization. Since in the council all the branches of labour are represented, proportionally to the contribution each trade and each branch of labour makes to the development of the object which the factory produces for the collective, the institution is of a class, it is social. Its reason for being is in labour, is in industrial production, in a thus permanent state and not only in a salary, in the division of classes, in a thus transitory state and which is precisely to be overcome.”
“Thus the council realizes the unity of the labouring class, gives the masses a cohesion and a form which are of the same nature as the cohesion and form as the mass assumes in the general organization of society.
The proletarian dictatorship can be made flesh in a type of organization which is specific to the particular activity of producers and not of wage-earners, slaves of capital. The factory council is the first cell of this organization. Since in the council all the branches of labour are represented, proportionally to the contribution each trade and each branch of labour makes to the development of the object which the factory produces for the collective, the institution is of a class, it is social. Its reason for being is in labour, is in industrial production, in a thus permanent state and not only in a salary, in the division of classes, in a thus transitory state and which is precisely to be overcome.”
Thus the council realizes the unity of the labouring class, gives the masses a cohesion and a form which are of the same nature as the cohesion and form as the mass assumes in the general organization of society.”
The factory council is the model of the proletarian state. All the problems which are inherent in the organization of the proletarian state are inherent in the organization of the council. In one and the other the concept of citizen decays, and the concept of comrade grows: collaboration to produce well and usefully develops solidarity, multiplies the links of affection and fraternity. Everyone is indispensable, everyone is at their post, and everyone has a function and a post. Even the most ignorant and backward of workers, even the most vain and “cultured” of engineers end convincing themselves of this truth in the organization of the factory: all finish by acquiring a communist consciousness to understand the great step forward which the communist economy represents over the capitalist economy.
The council is the most suited organ of reciprocal education and of development of the new social spirit which the proletariat has managed to develop from the living and fertile experience of the community of labour. Worker solidarity which in the union developed in the struggle against capitalism, in suffering and sacrifice, in the council is positive, is permanent, is made flesh even in the most negligible of moments of industrial production, is contained in the glorious consciousness of being an organic whole, a homogeneous and compact system which working usefully, which disinterestedly producing social wealth, affirms its sovereignty, actuates its power and freedom to create history.”
The existence of an organization, in which the labouring class is lined up in its homogeneity of a producing class, and which makes possible a spontaneous and free flowering of fitting and capable hierarchies and individuals, will have important and fundamental effects on the constitution and spirit which enliven activity of unions.
The factory council is also founded on trades. In each section the workers are separated by team and each team is a unit of labour (trade): the council is constituted precisely of commissars which the workers elect by section trade (team). But the union is based on the individual, the council is based on the organic and concrete unity of the trades which is developed in the discipline of the industrial process. The team (trade) feels distinct in the homogeneous body of the class, but in the same moment it feels engaged in the system of discipline and order which makes possible, with its exact and precise functioning, the development of production. As an economic and political interest the trade is united in solidarity with the body of the class; it is differentiated from it as a technical interest and as the development of the particular instrument which it adopts for labour. In the same way, all industries are homogeneous and solidaristic in the aim of realizing perfect production, distribution and social accumulation of wealth; but each industry has distinct interests regarding the technical organization of its specific activity.”
KHATAU WORKERS STRUGGLE
Khatau Workers Struggle-
A major agitation was held I January 1998 in the vicinity of the Khatau mills.in the Bycula area of Mumbai.The struggle was led by the Union,the Girni Kamgar Sangharsh Samiti.On January 1st 1998 3000 workers gathered in front of the Khatau Makanji Spinning and Weaving Co.Ltd.They were demanding entry into a mill to sign their musters for jobs. The agitation was against he illegal suppression of production by the management and non –payment of wages for the past one year. The livelihood of 30000 family members of the workers was at stake. For some time a protracted struggle developed. A massive rally took place on January 3rd,and a 36 hr sit-in struggle took place from January 5th.On January 7th he workers went around the entire Bycula area I groups of tens and twenties for an indefinite sit-I agitation. The main issue of the struggle was the loss of jobs, in many cases closure of the unit.
‘The Comrade’highlighted the need of the workers to keep the following points in mind.
The following points had to be highlighted.
1. When keeping in mind the present level of consciousness of the workers, it is important for the struggle to develop a clear political thrust ,exposing the connection between the millowners,the state and imperialism.
2.The Government fears the political challenge hidden in the Khatau Workers Struggle.
3. Given the adverse conditions the workers need to prepare or a long fight. The main weapon of the management and the government is time.
4.A perspective must be layed of organizing self –defence from the outset of workers struggle. The capitalists have always elide on thugs to attack workers. There is an increasing weight of mafia in the trade Union field.
5.New ,militant form s of struggle mus tbe adopted .The struggle must not remain working at a mechanical level.Mill capture, rasta-rokop and gherao of government offices are some of he forms witnessed in recent times ,but it is mechanical to prescribe any particular form,only he advance of struggle will decide that .Forms must put pressure on the stae govt. The struggle can only win by forcing state Intervention.
6.The development of an advanced section among workers ,workers with a higher level of consciousness ,who would act as the medium through which politics could be carried to the larger mass of workers. In particular, the creation of conscious political cores of workers, equipped with revolutionary understanding would be the backbone of the struggle.
7.It is necessary to broaden the front to other workers, toiling masses and democratic sections as well. The support from various sections has certainly played a role in sustaining the Khatau Workers Struggle and in putting pressure on the state Government.
3.EFFECT OF IMPERIALIST AND HINDU FASCIST CULTURE
The Imperialist and consumerist culture has gripped every section of society ,particularly in the urban areas.Mobile phones,star T.V.. internet and malls have promoted this .Great illusion sare created for accumulating wealth which divides people.A culture is imbibed glorifying the accomplishments of globalization in term sof clothers,cars,electronic gadgets.etc.
In a subtle manner the Hindu Saffron communal ideology is having avery strong influence not only on the illiterate and semi-literate but also the educated classes.The workers and peasants know doubt have been pulled by the Hindu communal tidal wave which is engrained in the tradition of Hindu Culture like the Caste system.However today the educated intellectuals try to merge science with the ancient Hindu culture and give Hinduism a scientific image.
They also equate nationalism with Hindiusm.It virtuall disguises Hindu religion by potryaing a progressive imahe camouglaging it’s reactionary aspect.Glorifying likes if Swami Vivekananda,or Shankacharya is very common these days of culture of Vedanta.Caste-sytem is indirectly glorified.Progressive nationalism is linked to being ant-muslim and dalits are projected as though they are pampered.Infact the press ,internet and media have brilliantly devised propaganda form sto indoctintae the masses.Sadly today even college studenst throng to attend lectures of Hindu Swamis.Strong Hindu saffron bastions have emerged in Delhi Unversity with the patronage of the state and police and even in a liberal secular place like Jawharla Nehru University it is making it’s presence.The attcks and bans on programes upholding self-determinatin of Kashmiri people is of great relevance.
4.MASSIVE REPRESSION AND BANNING OF MASS ORGANIZATIONS
Due to massive state repression and consolidation of fascism mass organizations in many areas cannot function openly and it is very hard to give life to them from underground.It has virtually pushed the revolutionaries to do secret work in many regions.One of the defects of the earlier times was the direct linking of party politics with mass organizations and not giving them sufficient independent identity. Today students are also becoming victim sof the Imperialist culture with lucration being a maor attraction nad the T.V.culture.I have discussed this with studenst and youth leaders in Punjab who explain that it thta this cultural influence is taking aheavy toll on the movement where it is gigantic task to mobilize students on political issues.Every 2nd student wishes to go abroad for a job there.Today an organization like the Revolutionary Democratic Front is unooficialy banned even in Jharkhand and West Bengal ,apart from Andhra Pradesh and Orissa.This is also a major hudle as the erstwhile All India Peoples Resistance Forum was a major weapon for the success of the movement.Forces are struggling to revive it.The Revolutionary Democratic Front and it’s constituents ahve to be resurrected in other forms.Here revolutionaries have to meticulous ly rebuild it making a demarcation from the party and mass organization platform and be careful not to impose party politics.Today although joint front protests take place on important issues like repression on peasants or workers or caste massacres the revolutionary political fervour of yesteryears is lacking.In Mumbai in previous decades there were strong fronts of youth students nad workers in the revolutionary camp which is very fragile at present.Sadly all the past All –India Fronts of Maoist trend have been suppressed be it the All India League for Revolutionbary Culture ,the All-India Revolutionary Students Federation and no wthe Revolutionary Democratic Front.Sadly ,even today the Lok Morcha Punjab which wa s initilay backed by T.Nagi Reddy trend is hardly active as it was a decade ago.It did some of the most significant mass political work in the history of India.
5.LACK OF SUSTAINED AGRARIAN REVOLUTIONARY MOVEMENT, INADEQUATE SELF-DEFENCE AND LOOSENESS IN SECRET PARTY STRUCTURE
Although armed struggle has been sharpened and heightened and the red army forces multiplied there is a weakness in sustained agrarian revolutionary line and building adequate self defence..This was prevalent during the Telengana armed struggle from 1946-51 and in China in the 1940’s.The guerilla zones are not turning into base areas.
There is also lack of cohesive military policy insulating the party leaders or cadre from counter-attaack.The Maoist party is not able to replenish loss of important leaders.The attack in Malkangiri last October is an ideal example and so was the assassination of Kishenji.The defeat in Lalgarh can be attributed to weaknesses of subjective forces and class-collaborationist tactics with Mamaat Banerjee led Congress party.Morally it worked too openly in Lalgarh.Tendency to display militarism instead of massline.
Often the party was confused with the military organization.
In the plain areas there is a total setback with party forces almost totaly destroyed in North Telengana and Lalgarh.Armed movement however still marginally exist in plains area of Jharkhand or Bihar in Palamau,Gaya and Jehanabad.Arrest and elimination of leaders,breaking of secret party structure and not differentiating between party and military organization.
Hundreds of leaders and thousands of cadres are languishing behind the prison bars.More than half the Maoist leadership is behind the bars.A movement may have to be built within the prisons itself.Leadership and cadres forces are fast diminishing.The Maoist party is not able to achieve adequate level of Bolzhevisation like the Chinese party did ofr later the Phillipines.The state has infiltrated it’s ranks considerably.Often the secret party structure is broken .This was very predominat in Lalagarh where the leaders openly reached out to the media.Late Comrade Sushil Roy has witten about this aspect in his biography.Arguably registering the ‘People’s March ‘ journal went aginst the secrecy of the party.No doubt it made a contribution but it alos could have exposed the party forces.
Below I am posting an article by Bernad d’mello on reviwewing Venugopal Rao’s ‘Understanding Maoists”
CHE GUEVERAS OF TELEGU SOCIETY
The Political and the Military
But practically an important section of the top leadership of the Party in AP was brutally eliminated, and how does one explain this severe setback suffered by the Party? It is our hypothesis that the AP State Intelligence Bureau seems to have penetrated/infiltrated into the Party’s political structure, and this has perhaps been more easily accomplished because of deficiency in the political education of cadres, otherwise how else the above-mentioned diabolical operations could have been masterminded. The Party has suffered a severe setback in AP and in Jangalmahal, and in these the worst of times, there seems to be a tendency to subordinate the political to the military as if a mass revolutionary consciousness can be forged in the armed struggle itself. Such a perspective is Guevarist, not Maoist, as we have explained earlier on in this essay, and it needs to be internally critiqued.
The Party should not forget that its cadres are formed in political struggle, in ideological struggle (against revisionism), and yes, also in armed struggle; the latter should never be overestimated. It may be recalled that in the mass struggle phase of the movement in north Telangana, 1978-85, it was the winning of the solidarity of the people that was the cause of the relative success of that phase. This was because the Party and its mass organisations involved the people in the process of revolution. Political mass participation in the revolution was emphasized. Today, the RSU is a shadow of its former self. Yet, if there’s any hope, this has to be placed in the younger generation. Recall the deep emotion in Mao’s words to Chinese students in Moscow (in late 1949 or early 1950):
‘The world is yours, as well as ours. But in the last analysis, it is yours. You, young people, full of vigour and vitality, are in the bloom of life, like the sun at eight or nine in the morning. Our hope is placed in you.’
Frankly, the guerrilla warfare of the Maoists has assumed an erratic and ineffective character because of the absence of base areas, this, even after 47 years have gone by since the launch of the movement in Naxalbari in 1967, heralding the unfolding of a strategy conceived in terms of the area-wise seizure of political power. Some of the guerrilla zones – which the Maoists are striving to convert into Red Areas – have been converted back to White Areas by the paramilitary forces of the Indian state backed by the mainstream political parties, and this seems to suggest that, given the geographical and topographical features of these zones, as well as the “caste-in-class” and ethnicity-class structures of the resident populations there, the present strategy & tactics and political programme of the Maoists do not offer a definitive answer to the re-occupation of such territories by the state’s forces and their conversion back to White areas. It must be remembered that it was Mao and the Chinese Communist Party’s creative adaptation of Marxism-Leninism (M-L) to the Chinese context that accounted for the success of the new democratic revolution over there. The Maoists in India have fought really long and hard, and dedicatedly, based on their strategy of PPW, but now, it’s high time, in the light of their experience so far, they adapt M-L to the Indian context, and blaze a trail in Marxist theory and practice in India.”
Bernard makes a very erroneous analysis when he equates the Maoist struggle to Che Gueveraist line and when calling Kishenji a left adventurist.There is no doubt weakness in military line and lack of adequate power to replenish it’s resources but the Maoist party movement possesses many similar fatures to What the CCP of the 1930’s and 40’s.
Bernard also errs by classing the mode of production as predominantly capitalist and not semi-fuedal.Bernard rejects the Maoist 4 -block alliance with the united front of the national bourgeoisie. I complement his assesment that the Maoist party has not insulated itself with sufficiently strong bastions of self defence..In many ways they are not able to duplicate the protracted peoples war of the Chinese Communist party in the 1930's and 1940's.
Never forget we live in different eras of you asess the weaponry level of enemy forces, existence of no Socialist base in the world etc.. Comrade Kondapalli Seetharamiah although introducing mass organizations insisted on the mass organization s following the party line and not awarded an independent identity.
Bernard fails to understand the changed situation today where overground mass organizations are suppressed and does not praise the rectifications of past errors the C.P.I.(Maoist) have made from it’s erstwhile constituents in previous eras.C ertainly the C.P.I.(Maoist) has made great advances from 1978-85, being able to form a Guerilla army.True mass organizations cannot function overground as in 1978-85 but still there is effective adjustment in operating mass organizations underground.
The State today hardly awards avenues for open functioning of revolutionary fronts.Bernard has not put the achievements of the P.L.G.A.in the correct light.
In fact the achievements of the party in the last 10 years have surpassed the achievements from 1978-90 of the erstwhile PWG.The peoples war waged has a significantly stronger level of intensity .
Posting interview of Maaoist leader who reveals how self defence was neglected by the Maoist party and leadership and how toaay the ppw has to adopt defensive posture.However he also depicts how strong the movement is in consolidated areas still with a firm base laid.
Below is an article written in May 12th 2002 issue of Frontier weekly titled ‘Dialogue for what.”I would not take everything in it’s literal sense and feel the C.P.I.(Maoist) has made great rectification of mistakes in erstwhile PWG era in Andra Pradesh.However I feel the points made have great relevance and help cadre become more vigilant or attentive to massline practice.
Quoting Chakrapani in Frontier” “The Peoples War leadership must explain:How does it characterise the movement it claims to be heading?The level and nature of a ‘movement.’
Need to assess:
What is the state of clas-struggle and agrarian revolutionary movement in those areas.?How the land was dealt with in these areas?How the landless and poor peasants and how the rural poor are mobilised,organised and led into the struggle aginst the exploitation nad atrocities of landlords and the state and in waht forms?How the rural mases are united in the UF gainst landlordism?How the contradictions among the peole;the contradictions between the people and the enemy and the contradiction smaong the enemy themselves were handled?How the party and mass organization sare built and functioned?How the peole are identifying themselves with the political leadership and showing the consciousness to defend it as a part of defending it’s cause?
Are the military formations and operations a natural and inevitable expression of the level of class struggle and agrarian revolutionary movement or an imposition of form sof higher order from above with no relation to the level of class struggle and agrarian revolutionary movement?Are these forms and typre of activities or actions that these formations are engaged in helpingthe development of peole’s consciousness ,preaparedness ,organization and participation in the struggle to a higher level or having a dampening nad negative impact on them?
Mnay actions by the armed formation sof the PW where they sought to dictate terms on the strength of weapon are “dubious’ –asssinated individuals indiscrimunatley,mined the fields,blew up buildings and installations etc.:the way they implemented election boycott and verdicats of ‘peoples courts’ and the way they sought to assert and establish their revolutionary supremacy over other organization sinvited criticism and even protest among democratic circles.
The PW leadership claims it is itself almost the single revolutionary force in India.However it is infested with sectarianism,militarism and anarchism.It is high-handed in it’s realtions towards other revolutionary groups.It is trying to be in some united actions,to take the help of other revolutionary groups,mass organizations resorts to some mass mobilisation onsome general issues and attempts to take help of other groups when it needs to.However it’s general line of approach is not conducive to healthy development of united revolutionary movement.It will do a great service to the movement if it seriously examines its own orientation and practice in light of Marxism-Leninism-Mao thought ,and take a bold rectification campaign.”
The ruling classes and the govt.in AP have some experience in dealing with the PW group.It has a wide network of informants.It is using to an extent successful the methods of luring some sections into the mainstream.Dozens of squad members or commanders surrendering to police i s a daily phenomenan.It is a well know fcat that the boycott slogan was used or opractised to the advantage of one or other ruling class party.There are instances when certain attacks on individual leaders proved advantageous to the rivals of the deceased in the ruling class party.
The indiscriminate armed actions,assassination of individuals and destruction of properties by the armed bands may pose some trouble and loss ,but they cannot pose a danger to the sytem as such.The presnt sytrem has given birth to many types of armed formations carrying out armed activities in the countryThe rulers have learnt to deal with these armed bands and Oragnizations.They can even make deals with these armed bands and organizations.This is ,infact,happening.They feel safedespite some individual losses and temporary troubles,as long as these bands or even if they happen to be revolutionary organizations,a re devoid of deep roots among the exploited and oppressed masses.It will be their constant effort to prevent them from this and cut off their links with the people.
My assessment:Over-critical in some respects but asked some most pertinent questions and highlighted some of the errors with notable criticisms of the erstwhile peoples war party.It may have been these very mistakes that led to the reversal in North Telengana .Neverthless to me their achievements far exceeded their mistake,being 70 % correct.Mistakes pointed out were part of implementing a major peoples armed movement and part and parcel of it.In Dandkaranya the party has probably to large extent overcome hurdles discussed.The formation of the PLA has great significance in this light.Inspite of great achievements or contribution by PWG the infection of past left adventurist line of Charu Mazumdar of ‘annihilation of class enemy’ was prevalent.
INTERVIEW OF GAJARLA RAVI LEADER OF DANDAKARANYA ZONE
The government claims you have suffered one of the biggest setbacks, since inception, at the hands of security forces.
It is true to some extent. But, that is not in the free zone, where we run our own government. We will no longer be doing guerrilla warfare and would only retaliate when attacked. In 2007, in our last party Congress, we decided that People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army, our military wing, would be converted to People’s Liberation Army. We are also giving stress to expanding our party beyond our strongholds.
By abandoning guerrilla warfare, are you going to adopt the Chinese model of the People’s Liberation Army?
Yes. Like the Chinese PLA did, we will take action when needed. It would mostly be a people-centric mobile army.
You said your hold on the free zone was intact, but here, in Malkangiri, you faced one of the worst attacks in recent times.
You are sitting in Malkangiri. Do you find any police other than ours? Attacks happened because the government has adopted a ruthless path of crushing the rights of people living in jungles. We would never let that happen.
Your movement in Bengal has weakened and you are not doing well in Jharkhand either.
In Bengal, we suffered miserably because of our lack of policy framework. We were mistaken about [Chief Minister] Mamata Banerjee. However, like in Bengal, wherever we have had a slowdown, we have decided to rebuild our party.
Many Maoist leaders issued written statements that they would take revenge on Mamata Banerjee for Kishenji’s death.
Yes, revenge will be there. But, that will be by reviving another Lalgarh-like movement in West Bengal, which will uproot the Mamata Banerjee government. We are not going to physically eliminate her.
That would be a soft approach from a hardliner, which politicians across India are likely to appreciate.
Yes, we are changing our party. We are wooing educated people and giving them ideological and basic training on Maoism and communism as a whole. Many brilliant students have joined as student activists and are suddenly filling our second rung of leadership, which is ready to fill the vacuum at the top.
What about the top leadership?
Most of them have either been eliminated or been arrested. With the death of Kishenji, Azad, P.B. Rao, and the arrest of our propaganda bureau chief Kobad Gandhi and many others, there is a vacuum at the top. The present (NDA) government is more aggressive than the UPA. They are attacking us from air and unleashed ruthless armed groups like GreyHounds. But it cannot finish us as we have recruited many vibrant men and women who would take the top jobs.
By doing away with guerrilla warfare, are you going to end armed struggle?
No, never. Revolution will be our path and we intend to overthrow the existing fake democracy. But we need people with us, and intellectuals as well.
Why could you not hold your party conference in last one decade? And when will it be held?
It will happen (smiles). But we have other work to do now. Charu Majumdar conducted the first party Congress in 1969 and we did our seventh in 2007. We are presently busy with revamping our organisation in Jharkhand, West Bengal and other parts of the country, including Maharashtra and other northern states. So, it will take some time.
You seemed to be unaffected by the Malkangiri attack where you lost so many leaders.
Comrades die for a cause. We do not dwell on the past. We look at the future. Dandakaranya free zone is intact, and it will be so in the future.
My assessment:Illustrates the weakness of the party military structure in insulating itself from the attack of the state .Significant he talks of diverting from offensive to defensive and admits errors in Lalgarh and Malkangiri.Reveals that base areas were not built at the level they were in China in the 1940’s in Hunan or in Peru during peak period of ‘Sendero Luminoso’.I feel base ares were more formidable and could resist the military onslaught better during the Telengana armed struggle from 1946-51.
Belwo is an excerpt from 1987 document of C.P.I.(M.L.) Party Unity
The CPI(ML) PU also addressed the validity of the slogan ‘China’s path is our path’. It states: “Our revolution will not be an exact replica of that of China”. India has her own peculiarities that make it stand apart from that of China such as the rule by a centralized political system for long, development of capitalism is more pronounced here, more concentration of working forces here than China, nationality questions, the issue of caste, the emergence of social imperialism and the strong presence of revisionist tendencies etc. Thus, according to the PU, the Indian path of revolution would have to integrate ‘the principles of China’s path with the concrete practice of Indian revolution’.
At its Second Special Conference held during 8–17 April 1997, the party addressed some other issues. We propose to deal with some of them.
On the line of Annihilation: It described the ‘line of annihilation’ as a ‘left sectarian tactical line’. The observation read as follows: “The line of annihilation elevated annihilation of class enemies to the level of the political–tactical line of the Party as the only form of struggle and as a panacea for all the problems of revolution…Other forms of organization and struggle were not only ignored, but were even sometimes condemned as revisionist…no attention was paid to the indispensible task of organizing mass movements and mass organizations…Organizationally, those who achieved success in annihilation were regarded as communist.’ As a consequence, ‘the party became more and more isolated from the people’ and ‘thus the golden opportunity provided by the mass upsurge’ was missed. As we shall see later, the CPI(ML) People’s War in its review of past struggles provided a more detailed analysis of the line of annihilation while admitting the leftist deviations of the party.
My assessment:Very relevant point differentiating Chinese and Indian path nad overtly being critical of annihilation of class ememies.
6. MECHANICALLY COPYING CHINESE PATH IN LIGHT OF IMPACT OF GLOBALISATION IN LAST 25 YEARS
The Indian revolutionaries have to also chalk out a programme of protracted peoples war which merges or is applicable with the Indian conditions.There is a view point within the camp like ComardeArjun Parasd singh and ex-comrades of C.P.I.(M.L.) Party Unity that the Indian revolution will not take the path of Insurrection like in Soviet Russia nor the path of protracted peoples war like in China.They believe that the principle contradiction is between the Comprador bueuractrat bourgeoisie and the broad masses.In their view even if India is emi-feudal and semi-colonial it is capiatlsim or imperialism which is determining or controlling the feudalism.Groups like C.P.I(M.L) Class Struggle and New Democracy asses that the principal contradiuctin is between the alliance of feudalism and imperialism with the broad masses.Today only the C.P.I.(Maoist) and the C.P.R.C.I.(ML.) mantaion that the principal contradiction is between Feudalsim and the broad masses.
I don’t think the tactics of ‘Active boycott’ should be a strategy for Indian revolution .Comrade Lenin advocated in certain times participating in election scan be deployed as a tactic.The Maoist party is blindly imitating Charu Mazumdar’s assessment and forgetting what comrade Nagi Redy said in 1969 on how they can be used a s a legal form of struggle.Infact in many ares of India like Uttar Pradesh,Punjab,Maharashtra etc ‘Boycott’ slogan would be premature or anarchist as there is hardly sufficient political consciousness in the masses.Participation would be capitulation in toda’s context.However in the history of the ‘vote boycott’ campaigns sectarian tendencies have been displayed by the Maoist party and it’ serstwhile constituents not properly projecting the peole’s revolutionary alternative or united front.Erroneously even if not participating they called for support of N.T.Rama Rao govt and later Mamta Banerjee’s Congress.Many sympathizers of revolutionary movement felt taht there was tendency to enforce’boycott’ and not sufficient revolutionary movement was built or political consciousness existed.
In my personal view the orthodox Leninist vanguard party concept as implemented in Russia and later applied in China cannot be implemented in toto even if we have to tooth and nail reject all New Left and Trotskyite trends.We have to be flexible and devise ways in which revolutionary class struggle can be sharpened and mass movements and organizations formed even independent of the party.The mass organizations should have greater autonomy This is particularly relevant in
a country like India with so much diversity in culture.
India may well need to make a broader united front with other parties like the Chinese Comunist party did .I feel the wrting sof Antonio Gramisci are very relevant here on capturing state power.
Mass political forums or intermediary organizations may have to be formed which are not a revolutionary party or orthodox mass organization and mass organization sor mass movements have to be supported that do not support the vanguard party.
Even if we have to combat the views of intellectuals like Alain Badiou who deny role of vanguard party theoreticians have to work to further developing the concept of the revolutionary vanguard party which can enhance greater revolutionary democracy.
Possibly a party could have 2 parts-one an absolutely tight sectrest core and the other a more flexible ,open component.This may develop concept of Maaoist party further. We have to be sensitive and analyze the writings of leader Kobadh Gandhy in jail.It reflects the essence of promoting spirit of greater dissent and debate in a Maoist movement and giving priority to the individual.It highlights the spiritual element and the need for inner change in an individual.Kobad refuted the crass materialist approach that disregarded the individual within the movement.
I feel what is pertinent that in India the semi-feudalism or feudalism does not exist in the classical manner of many decades ago and Imperialism and capitalsimhas a far greater influence today.Today retrenchment of Maruti workers does not force them to return to villages in previous decades and even with retrenchment workers stay in industrial ares or towns.No douibt the working class has cultural bonds but the same elasticity level does npot exist.We have to ases the influence of Multimational corporate on agriculture and policies like G.A.T.T.or W.T.O.In puanjab thee is classic example of lanlordism not existing in the traditional way.Although dalit landless workesr are further marginalised that cannot be attributed to pure feudalism.Theoreticians within the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist framework have to ake a critical analysis of the changes that have taken place in the agricultural sector in recent decades abd the effect of imperialism.
Quoating SUMANTA BANERJEE IN EPW IN 2006
Quoting the eminent intellectual and critique of Naxalite Movement Sumanta Banerjee ‘It should be pointed out however that despite their survival for almost four decades, the Naxalites do not yet control any large area comparable to the `liberated zone' that the Chinese Communists could establish in Yenan within a decade or so in the 1930-40 period. They have not been able to reach out to the masses of the peasantry in the vast countryside of other parts of India, and have expanded only to a few isolated pockets and stretches of areas inhabited mainly by tribal and landless poor. Closeted in their rural underground shelters, the Naxalite leaders have ignored the task of setting up bases among the large number of workers both in the organized industrial and the unorganized sectors. They have also failed to build up a regular army like the Chinese People's Liberation Army, or the Vietnamese military organization – that helped both the Chinese and the Vietnamese to effectively fight their enemies.. The failure to establish a `liberated zone' has frustrated their original strategy of setting up an alternative order to bring about agrarian and social reforms.
EXCERPT FROM IS THE TORCH PASSING BY ROBERT WEIL.
A “Hunan” but not yet a “Yan’an”
The breadth and depth of the popular explosion at Lalgarh, nevertheless, caught even the most hardened revolutionary Maoists by surprise. “It has emerged as a new model of mass movement in the country,” as Ganapathi, General Secretary of the CPI (Maoist) put it. In this it closely parallels the experience of the Chinese Communists eighty years earlier. When in spring of 1927, Mao went high into the mountains of his native Hunan province, he was amazed to find that a revolutionary peasant struggle was already underway, assisted by Communists who had been working in the region. The uprising of the Hunanese peasantry provided the spark that led to the shift by the party later that year to rural bases, following the murderous purge of urban Communists by Chiang Kai-shek.
The Red Army founded by Mao and Zhu De set up its first stronghold in the mountain fastnessof Jinggangshan in the Hunan-Jiangxi border region, a model for the peasant revolution and guerrilla warfare that, after more than two decades of struggle, would lead to nationwide victory in 1949. From the beginning, the Indian Maoists hoped to repeat this process. At the founding of the CPI (Marxist-Leninist) in 1969, they even declared “Naxalbari—the Chingkang mountain [Jinggangshan] of India.”57 There were many parallels between the early uprisings in Hunan and West Bengal. But from the start, there were also significant differences. Naxalbari never achieved even the limited security of Jinggangshan, and it did not lead to a permanent and relatively unified armed force like the Red Army in China. As a result, the Maoists in India have found themselves repeating the experience of a “Hunan” over and over, as the centers of the movement shifted from one area to another in response to popular struggles, and it is only recently that they formed a People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army like that of Mao and Zhu.
Lalgarh, some forty years after Naxalbari, is only the latest such linking up of Maoist armed forces and mass revolt. Its nature, however, carries greater significance than most uprisings over the past four decades. Lalgarh is sometimes referred to as the “second Naxalbari,” because of the way in which it combines popular uprising and the Maoist revolution. But there are critical differences. At Naxalbari, “Being uneducated and poor, the tribals depended on the Communists to lead their struggles against wealthy vested interests.”58 Well into the 1970s and beyond, the movement was led largely by middle class activists. But the West Bengal rebellions have altered this relationship, as popular forces themselves took the lead. At Lalgarh, this progression reached a new level. Just as Mao was astonished by the depth and breadth of the peasant rebellion that he “discovered” in 1927, from which he learned critical lessons, so Indian Maoists have drawn new insights from the unanticipated and explosive nature of the latest uprising. As Ganapathi puts it:
Yes, our party too has a lot to learn from the masses of Lalgarh. Their upsurge was beyond our expectations. In fact, it was the common people, with the assistance of advanced elements influenced by revolutionary politics, who played a crucial role in the formulation of tactics. They formed their own organisation, put forth their charter of demands, worked out various novel forms of struggle, and stood steadfast in the struggle despite the brutal attacks by the police and the social-fascist Harmad gangs.59
But is Lalgarh a new Indian “Hunan,” opening a further stage in the Maoist revolutionary struggle? How closely do the popular uprisings in West Bengal resemble the earlier ones of the peasants in China? Is the strategy of Chinese Communists in the 1920s still viable for Indian Maoists in the 2010s? To what extent has the CPI (Maoist) been able to lead the entire left, as the CCP was able to do? In what ways are the conditions faced by the revolutionary forces in India and China parallel or different? Since CPI (Maoist) still models itself on the Chinese revolution, and especially on the strategy of “surrounding the cities from the countryside,” it is necessary to analyze the degree to which it has done so successfully, the effectiveness of its current practices and its prospects for the future.
The peasant revolution that Mao found in Hunan and the Lalgarh uprising are surprisingly similar, even at times down to their smallest details. The Hunanese peasants organized their own associations, which seized power from landlords and moneylenders and their agents. Villagers “crowned” local tyrants with tall paper hats and paraded them publicly, and in the case of the worst abusers, confronted them with mass demonstrations, took over their homes, stripped them of their wealth, and imprisoned or even executed them. Peasants formed militias, armed mainly with traditional spears—soon to be backed by the Red Army—to replace private armies of the landlords. The peasant associations suppressed the political and judicial authorities of the landlord class. In its place, the local administration was taken over by a joint council of the county magistrate and the revolutionary mass organizations. Peasant associations assumed the handling of disputes, including even domestic ones.
They also reduced rents and interest, formed buying and credit cooperatives, and forced wealthy landlords to repair roads and embankments. For the largely illiterate peasantry, education became a top priority, with new schools opened not only for children, but for adults. Villagers also took up social issues, challenging the old repressive clan and religious structures. Women formed their own associations, to combat the “masculine authority of husbands,” abuse by men, and denial of an equal right to participate in all areas of society, including peasant association meetings. “Bad habits” such as drugs, gambling and carousing were suppressed. As Mao concluded, “the forces of rural democracy have risen to overthrow the forces of rural feudalism.”60
There are further significant differences. The Indian Maoists have still not been able to secure a longterm liberation base area like the one the Communists in China managed to establish. Even the Chinese revolutionaries could only hold on to their initial southern soviets for a few years. But, after being driven out by the forces under Chiang Kai-shek, they undertook the Long March, finally finding a longlasting stronghold in Yan’an in Shaanxi province from 1935-47. The Indian Maoists have also held and lost many bases over the decades, always hoping that they too could achieve a similar relative security as the Chinese Communists. As early as 1969, Charu Mazumdar expressed the conviction that the struggle in the Srikakulam region of Andhra Pradesh showed “that India will create her own Yenan [Yan’an] in the near future.” Other Maoists even hoped that that revolutionary area itself could become such a stronghold.68 But it was not to be. The Maoists have been driven more than once from their bases in Andhra Pradesh, and the closest that they have come to gaining longterm security is in the deep forest region of Dandakaranya in Chhattisgarh, and in similar parts of Jarkhand and Orissa that they have held, in varying degrees, for decades. But the isolation of these forests, where even now the Maoist guerrillas must be frequently on the move, is a far cry from the small Chinese city of Yan’an, with its cave dwellings offering protection from bombing, and its ability to provide the Red Army with a relatively safe base area. The Indian Maoists have not been able to establish the same kind of center for their operations. In this sense, they have had their “Hunan,” but they have not yet found their “Yan’an.”
This has further consequences. Yan’an was not just a physical refuge that the Chinese Communists held for over a decade, which they were able to defend against both Chiang Kai-shek and the Japanese, and from which they were able to launch their own offensive operations and expand the areas which were under their control. It was also a magnet for progressive and left forces from throughout China. Many intellectuals, artists and professionals, in particular, found their way to Yan’an, to join the revolution and provide it with much needed skills, such as medical care, as well as cultural resources. This allowed it to become a symbol and reality of the “other China” that the Communists were beginning to build, even in the midst of war, an alternate center of national authority. In contrast, though Indian Maoists have been able to set up some relatively secure forest “safe havens,” their inability to establish and hold a single longterm base like the Chinese, means that they have been on the strategic defensive up until now, and have no central alternative stronghold to which supporters can rally. Though some doctors, intellectuals, artists and others have joined the revolutionaries in the forests, their numbers are limited.
The Maoists may be able to hold their forest bases, therefore, and even expand out from them, but so far they have not been able to establish a semipermanent national pole of the ”other India.” Their ability to do so is further complicated by the divisive nature of Indian society, where many still identify more closely with their region, language, culture, ethnicity, caste or religion, than with the nation as a whole. This too is a legacy of the British, who forced together disparate areas, but never completed their integration—before splitting Pakistan off altogether. To mold a new revolutionary unity out of such a divided social order is a profound challenge to the Indian Maoists—a more difficult task than the Communists faced in the less splintered society of China, despite its regional differences and semi-colonial enclaves. They are also confronted—unlike the Chinese Communists—with a parliamentary democracy. This system, with its multiple parties and political centers, national and regional, reflects and reinforces the diversity of Indian society, but—partly for this very reason—holds the allegiance of many in the population, who still see it as the best route to express the goals of their communities, and share in the power needed to reach them. Such contradictions and divisions have impact within the Maoist revolutionary forces as well, limiting their efforts to reach national unity and demonstrate an alternative development model. This in turn has restricted their ability to expand their appeal beyond their forest bases, kept them largely isolated from many in the cities, and raised doubts about their capacity to overcome the Indian state.
The CPI (Maoist) is of course anathema to most of the ruling parties and wealthy classes, but criticisms of its methods and doubts about its prospects are widely shared among the intelligentsia and in leftist circles. Even these critics commonly express admiration for the dedication and courage of its cadre and fighters, and it is not unusual to hear them say, “if I were younger, or more willing to take risks, or less tied down to family or career, I might join them.” Many of those who criticize the revolutionary Maoists are themselves also lifelong activists who courageously struggled for radical social change, often at great personal sacrifice, including long years of hardship and imprisonment. Not a few of them go back in their activism to Naxalbari itself. So attention must be paid to their critiques.
The list varies, but among the most common themes are that the CPI (Maoist) wants to put in place a one-party state, a classic “dictatorship of the proletariat,” and that in the areas under its control, it excludes and even suppresses all other parties. Many object to what they see as a violation of the multiparty system, and fear that a Maoist victory would mean the end to all forms of civil liberties and political freedom. Some also hold the view that India is not, as Maoists claim, a semi-feudal, semi-colonial nation, but rather a modern capitalist economy that, while highly exploitative, is that of a fully independent state, with a parliamentary democracy in which even most of the poor still believe. Others note that the Indian working class is undergoing rapid changes, in which casual and unorganized forms of labor are already dominant, undermining the basis for a “classical” proletarian-led revolution. A closely related critique is that the Maoist forces are isolated in the forests and unable to expand beyond their primarily tribal base.
In this view, the main agricultural population in the plains, and especially urban workers, remain largely beyond their reach and ability to organize. Others hold that the CPI (Maoist) is not so much a national force, as a collection of semi-autonomous regional units, and that its liberated zones are relatively unstable, and unable to carry out development projects or provide civil services, while at the same time obstructing those of the state. That leads, from this viewpoint, to excessive reliance on military force and violence, and to overly adventuristic actions. Some even note that the Indian party lacks a single dominant and charismatic revolutionary leader, such as Mao Zedong, around whom to rally. Overall, for many such critics, the state and military in India are simply too powerful to confront, much less overcome, with the guerrilla strategy that the Maoists have been forced to adopt. For both substantive reasons, therefore, and the tendency to want “to go with the winner,” many progressives and leftists hold back from, or even oppose, the CPI (Maoist).
There is nothing intrinsically unique in the challenges facing the CPI (Maoist), either in the history of revolutions or in the record of the liberation struggle in India. The contradictions that it faces—difficulty in uniting the disparate elements of Indian society, strong resistance to raising up the most oppressed castes and communities, entrenched regional power brokers and economic interests—closely resemble the ones confronting previous movements, both violent and nonviolent. Nevertheless, there are aspects to carrying out revolution under the specific conditions in India in the current era that must be addressed in order to be successful.
The CPI (Maoist) and its supporters are the first to admit that they face a very difficult path and that they do not have all the answers. In part these difficulties derive from their historic allegiance to the Chinese revolutionary experience, which at most can provide only a partial guideline for the struggle in 21st– century India. But this dialectic—following in the footsteps of earlier revolutionaries, while having to find newer ways forward at the same time—generates its own creative tension. Though the CPI (Maoist) adheres to the “model” of the revolution led by Mao in China, it is also adopting, both by necessity and design, and even perhaps at times in spite of itself, its own new adaptive approaches. These have less to do, in the first instance, with Chinese “Maoism,” than with the social movements and participatory democratic practices that began in the 1960s-70s, but were not consolidated globally until later decades, well into the post-Mao era. Also shaping the Indian Maoists are the experiences, both positive and negative, of the “first wave” of socialist revolutions, as well as the most recent forms of “globalization,” which have altered the terrain on which attempts to build a new social order now take place. The CPI (Maoist) may adhere to its declared path of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, in other words, but may simultaneously be opening up a new “fourth stage” in that progression, one that is more closely geared to the 21st century.
In this process, the very weaknesses to which its critics point may, in dialectical fashion, prove to be strengths, better fitting the party and its guerrilla army for this era. Take, for example, their limited ability to set up semi-permanent liberated zones—despite the relative safe havens in Dandakaranya and elsewhere. This is a limitation to which the CPI (Maoist) itself points, and that it strives to overcome. But both the Indian setting and the current stage of revolution globally put this in new perspective. When Mao, in 1928, asked “Why Is It That Red Political Power Can Exist in China?,”76 he answered his own question by pointing to the weakness of the national government, the control of warlords over many areas, the interventions of competing imperialists, and the resulting lack of security for the state, especially in often mountainous provincial border regions. Though there were other factors, these weaknesses allowed the Communists to find space in the fractures between the central government and warlord forces—who often fought among themselves—and to set up a few tenuous early bases along the borders of provinces. In India, though there are also sometimes rivalries between states and tensions with New Delhi, overall the ruling class and its military are much more unified. While the Indian Maoists can take advantage of the interstate border regions, where coordination among security forces is at times weaker, it is more the deep forest cover than divisions in the political structure that has allowed them to establish their main bases there. But though it has thereby proven harder to set up liberated zones in India than was the case in China, the possibility of a general revolutionary uprising may be greater. Indian “Red Political Power” exists less at the physical boundaries of the states, than at the points of social fracture—of class, caste, ethnicity and religion—which are found almost everywhere across the country, and keep shifting and reemerging over and over, in ever new forms
This divergence between Indian and Chinese conditions, and the opportunities that it opens up, was recognized early on. Mazumdar saw these differences as offering a distinct advantage to Maoists in India. Discussing the Andhra Pradesh campaign, he declared that the Indian revolutionaries were better placed than the Chinese in their years of struggle. Whereas the Chinese PLA was encircled by enemy troops from time to time “every corner of India is like a volcano, the armed struggle in Srikakulam cannot remain confined within that region only. And this struggle is spreading and will spread very fast into different areas of the country, thereby making encirclement by the enemy impossible.”80
This proved overly, even wildly optimistic, an inclination among Maoists in India to prematurely predict success that is all too common going as far back as Naxalbari. The Indian Maoist guerrilla forces have hardly been “better placed” than the Chinese, and they too have found themselves many times encircled and driven on, like the Red Army. Mazumdar was nevertheless pointing to a significant aspect of the revolution in India, its tendency to break out like “volcanoes” over and over again in widely scattered areas, and the inability of the state authorities, despite repeated encirclement drives, to wipe it out. In an age when military force can be quickly shifted from area to area, and any individual leader picked off with a drone attack directed from a computer thousands of miles away, decentralized organization over widely dispersed regions may offer a strategic advantage.
To fully seize this potential, Maoist forces will be required, as forty years ago, to develop that uniquely “Indian” revolutionary path, which has been implicit from the start, a unity of struggle that rests on simultaneous uprisings in a wide range of geographic and social settings. “The ‘solution’ then lies in the intensification of the ‘problem’—that is, not one but two, three, many Dantewadas, Lalgarhs all over the country.”81
But there is an alternative view of this relation. Until now, according to such a standpoint, the adivasis and other oppressed communities have for long been crushed under the heavy power of the state, and the brutal exploitation and abuse of upper castes and classes, as in a “sandwich” with only one piece of bread on the top. Viewed in this way, Maoists have finally provided the “bottom slice,” the ability to resist and fight back
If the subjective attitudes embraced by the CPI (Maoist) are conducive to a new era in the world revolution, objective conditions similarly align it with more recent global trends. The close reliance on tribal areas as their primary base of guerrilla operations has meant that from the beginning Indian Maoists, whatever their declared allegiances, have also been helping to lead an indigenous rebellion that has roots going back to before even the colonial era, and that varies from both the “classic” Russian urban proletarian and the Chinese peasant-based revolutionary “models.” The strength of this approach should not be underrated. Adivasis may only constitute just over 8% of the Indian population, but this still means that they number some 90 million. In Chhattisgarh they are almost 40%, in Jharkhand more than 25%. Together with dalits, who are around twice as numerous, they make up approximately one-quarter of all Indians, and provide most of the rank and file of the Maoist guerrilla army. The CPI (Maoist) therefore draws on an enormous mass base, with the potential for rapid expansion. Nevertheless, how far it can extend its mobilization beyond its forest strongholds and the most marginalized segments of the population remains a critical unknown. This is not just a matter of its going on the offensive, but of being able even to hold on to the gains it has already made. As Kishenji, the head of its operations in the East, put it, “Without expansion, we can’t retain our existing bases.”84
But expanding may require rethinking aspects of their strategic theory. While there is strong evidence for the thesis that many Indian feudal and colonial elements persist today, applied in an overly simplistic form, such an analysis will fail to adequately account for the present situation. India in 2011 is not the same society as it was at the time of Independence in 1947, or of Naxalbari twenty years later, much less a copy of China more than eighty years ago, to which Mao applied the “semi-feudal, semi-colonial” label. In recent decades, modern capitalist relationships have penetrated, at an accelerating rate, much more directly and deeply, not only into urban centers, but into the rural areas as well. The result has been highly uneven development, producing new contradictions in economic conditions and the structure of the working classes, and rapid growth of very large intermediate strata. These newer class forces are not so easily accounted for within the older “semi-feudal, semi-colonial” analysis with which Indian Maoism began and to which it still clings.
For the Maoists to appeal to those segments of the working and middle classes that they must mobilize in order to put together a successful revolutionary alliance may require, therefore, an adjustment of their initial analysis of the nature of society in India, and a sharper attention to its capitalistic aspects today. This, in turn, may mean not only raising the need for the democratic transformation of political relations and development policies, but beginning to focus more on the goal of the overthrow of capitalism, and their plans for implementing a socialist revolution. The CPI (Maoist) recognizes these historic transformations and changing patterns, and is engaged in its own internal debate over the newer capitalistic elements of the current situation in the country, and the revolutionary road that fits those uniquely Indian conditions that are emerging in the present neoliberal era of “globalization.”85 Facing the necessity to expand further beyond their present forest strongholds, the party points out that it has previously shown an ability to carry out work in both the plains and cities, until being overwhelmed by state repression. Though they are weak in those areas now, the deepening neoliberal onslaught and the worsening effects of subordination to the global economy mean that objective conditions may be laying the foundation for a new wave of Maoist advances into the main agricultural regions and metropolitan centers. The ability of the party to make such adjustments in order to reach the “critical mass” needed to take power nationally is the most difficult of the longterm challenges that it faces today.
Comrade Charu Mazumdar
There are, nevertheless, unavoidable contradictions and conflicts that arise from trying to carry out a revolution in the midst of a system that still operates nominally as a multiparty parliamentary democracy. The struggle is inevitably a bloody one, especially given the brutality of the state. It is hard to maintain “business as usual” in the midst of a revolutionary war, and not only bourgeois political parties, and NGOs, but what Bernard D’Mello calls the “Establishment Left,” and even other Maoist factions, are unable to operate in their accustomed manner in the zones of conflict.
Many resent these limits, and consider them “undemocratic.” The CPI (Maoist) is highly disciplined, but living and battling as it does under the often isolated conditions of guerrilla warfare, in the face of mass suppression, where cadre and fighters who are captured are routinely tortured and executed, and suffer widespread rape and other atrocities, it is easy to see any who do not lend support as opponents or even traitors.
Maoists have rejected the idea, first insisted on by Mazumdar, that they must “annihilate” all their enemies, physically liquidating not only security forces, but class oppressors, government officials, and anyone else who stood in the way of the revolution. Yet acts of intimidation or coercion, and misplaced or excessive use of violence at times take place, captured security forces have on occasion met with a harsh fate, including even their deaths, and some civilians have been attacked, while others are wounded or killed in firefights, or by mines or bombs. While the CPI (Maoist) admits and apologizes for some such “mistakes” and instances of “collateral damage,” these incidents do alienate potential supporters of the party, while serving as a ready excuse for those already inclined to oppose it.
The CPI (Maoist) nevertheless has a long way to go to show that it has sufficient leadership depth, strategic understanding, tactical flexibility, democratic credentials and programmatic solutions to meet the needs of hundreds of millions in the working classes and oppressed communities, and to convince a significant enough portion of progressives and leftists that is has the capability to lead the nation into the future. Without this broader social base, it will be very difficult for its forces to develop their role sufficiently to move beyond their present defensive stage into one of more equal strategic balance with the Indian state, much less to go on the offensive and achieve national power. Yet as the “large” democracy of India proves itself ever more ineffective and corrupt, and is shown to be an instrument in the exploitation of the people, it is the very resistance of the Maoists to “playing by the rules” that increases their attractiveness to the marginalized, and drives growing numbers of the disaffected in their direction.
Below is an excerpt in an article of Sumanta Banerjee in EPW last month on 50 years of Naxalbari.
“Thus, during all these decades, the Maoist political strategy of an agrarian revolution through guerrilla struggles had remained restricted to, and been tested only in the confines of a tribal society in inaccessible forest and hilly areas. Although successful within these areas, the CPI(Maoist) has not been able to build similar armed resistance against feudal oppression in the plains areas of the rest of India. Yet, the Dalit agricultural labourers who are daily terrorised by upper-caste landlords and traders in vast stretches of the country fit into the traditional Maoist category of “poor peasants.” Is the Maoist set of strategy and tactics, therefore, fit only for a particular favourable terrain?”
A Catalytic Agent
“Despite their control over only a limited stretch, the Maoists’ articulation of the demands of the rural poor had sent loud echoes across the country, which often forced the Indian state to pay heed to those demands. The Maoist movement can be described as playing the role—unwittingly though—of a positive catalytic agent for the betterment of rural society in post-independence India. Since its first manifestation in the 1967 Naxalbari uprising, and following its development during the next decades, under its pressure, a recalcitrant Indian state has been compelled to enact a number of legislative reforms relating to forest rights of tribals, minimum wages for agricultural labourers and provision of rural employment, among other similar ameliorative measures. Despite breach of these reforms in practice—siphoning off funds to the private coffers of the axis of local politicians and traders, road contractors and building mafia, denial of regular wages to labourers under the laws—these legislative measures have provided useful tools to civil society groups and human rights activists in certain parts of the country to approach the judiciary, which often pressurises the administration to adhere to the government’s commitment to meeting the needs of the poor.”
“But, if we leave aside these indirect beneficial spin-offs from the Maoist movement, we have to ask whether the basic Maoist strategy and tactic of capturing state power is applicable to the vast stretches of the rural plains (as well as the urban metropolises) of India, where the inhabitants cope with different types of problems emanating from various layers of the socio-economic system.”
Changing Agrarian Economy
This brings us to the next problem that the Maoists have to face—the changing pattern of economy in the rural sector, which is the main site of the Maoist revolution. The changes challenge the traditional Maoist theory of agrarian relations. Recent findings suggest that India’s rural economy is undergoing radical changes—transforming the nature of landholdings, changing the character of the agricultural classes, giving birth to a footloose working class from amongst the poor peasantry who are forced to work in the non-farming sectors as contractual labourers.7
From the available evidence, it appears that the current trends in the Indian countryside do not conform to the conventional Maoist theoretical analysis of a rural society along a four-class categorisation of landlords, rich peasants, middle peasants and poor peasants. Such strict class divisions are being blurred by the intrusion of global neo-liberal industrial interests in the rural economy.
These powerful interests are disrupting the old economic feudal order, and dividing the rural population along different lines. The rural socio-economic power structure that was ruled by a class of big farmer-turned landlords (known as jotedars who were identified as the main class enemies by the Maoists) has been taken over by a variety of vested interests ranging from progenies of old landlords who have diversified into non-agricultural occupations like trading, services, etc, to extraneous forces like industrial houses, building contractors, road construction agencies, owners of passenger buses and trucks to carry freight, among others. They offer employment opportunities to the unemployed rural poor, which to some extent have loosened their dependence on agriculture and weakened their traditional semi-feudal ties. These rural poor have developed stakes in the economy according to their respective occupations.
We thus find a new generation of Indian rural population whose demands and requirements are different from those that were addressed by the Naxalite leaders and activists in the 1960–70 period. It is therefore difficult for the Indian Maoists today to mobilise these diverse segments of the rural poor into one homogeneous class of exploited peasants, with the single target of the amorphous “semi-feudal” system as their enemy.
A multilayered system of semi-capitalist relations, simultaneously marked by exploitation and concession, is developing in the Indian countryside. Exploitation (outside the factory system) is taking different forms—usurpation of agricultural land and forest areas by industrial and mining corporations; recruitment of landless peasants ousted from these areas as contractual labour in construction projects; trafficking of their women to the red light areas of cities. Concession is being meted out by these same forces of exploitation, through state-sponsored programmes like rural employment schemes as safety nets to counter the ill-effects of unemployment brought about by their industrial policies.
Their concessions also take ominous forms—like buying off sections of the exploited poor by recruiting them as paid agents for violent suppression of popular dissent. The most notorious example is the formation of the state-sponsored armed vigilante group Salwa Judum from among the tribal poor of Chhattisgarh, or the recruitment of unemployed tribal youth in the police force in Jangalmahal by the Trinamool Congress government of West Bengal to counter Maoist influence among the tribals—thus sowing seeds of division within the tribal communities.
Publishing an article of Bernard d’mellow who illustrates articulately in the ‘ revolutionary road’ how the maoist part can attack and retreat and how innovateively or creatively they have applied ppw.He also summarizes weaknsess in urban areas.I wish Bernard had thrown light on the movements and advances in the Telengana n armed struggle and referred to the writings of Devullapali Venkateswara Rao on the building of red army and agrarian revolutionary movement.
THE REVOLUTIONARY ROAD
The Maoist Path
As I understand, the Communist Party of India (Maoist)’s strategy — political and military — involves the seizure of political power through protracted people’s war (PPW), where the main form of struggle is armed struggle and the principal form of organisation is the people’s army (presently the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army [PLGA]). But mass organisations and political work among peasants, workers, students, youth, women, intellectuals, and other sections of the people are very much on the party’s agenda.
Indeed, as is well known, the CPI (Marxist-Leninist) (People’s War), which merged with the Maoist Communist Centre of India (MCCI) to form the CPI (Maoist) in September 2004 had developed powerful mass movements under the banner of the Rythu Coolie Sangham (RCS) and the Radical Students’ Union (RSU), but they were forced to go underground in the face of severe state repression. One might also recall the influence of the Revolutionary Writers’ Association, popularly known as VIRASAM (Viplava Rachayithala Sangham), and the hugely popular Jana Natya Mandali, which came to be regarded as the party’s cultural wing, and the Andhra Pradesh government’s crackdown on them for “propagating Naxalite ideology.” The question is whether the party can succeed in building such mass movements in the face of severe repression, further risking the loss of lives of the leaders and cadre of the mass organisations. Well, to their credit, they are making some headway on this count in the guerrilla zones.1 Take, for instance, the Kraantikari Adivasi Mahila Sanghatan, which Arundhati Roy refers to in her celebrated essay, “Walking with the Comrades” (Outlook, March 29, 2010).
Nevertheless, with the mass organisation forced to go underground and “utmost secrecy” imposed, through sheer necessity, wouldn’t the mass movements wither? The Maoists are well aware of the fact that a strategy of PPW cannot be successful without, in the first place, winning the active support of larger and larger proportions of the dominated, the exploited, and the oppressed in the rural areas. For this is the first step to establishing “base areas” there, carrying out “land to the tiller” and other social policies in these areas (run democratically as miniature, self-reliant states) to thereby build up a political mass base in the entire Indian countryside to finally encircle and win mass support in the cities. In other words, they are doubly conscious that it is politics that has to command the gun, and it is the quality of the party’s politics that is of utmost importance. The Maoist strategy unfolds in terms of an inner logic, which, going by the political component of the PPW, necessarily entails taking recourse to both violent (a tragic necessity) and non-violent means, the latter, in the form of the “mass line” (“from the masses, to the masses”).2 Unfortunately, however, the Indian state has been more successful so far in not allowing the non-violent means to unfold. Going by classical Maoist principles of revolutionary organisation, strategy, and behaviour, armed struggle plays a crucial supporting role on the road to liberation. But it is the strategy of the Indian state to reduce the movement to violence alone.
Towards a ‘Correct Path’
In India, with universal suffrage, but a degenerate bourgeois-democratic political system, a huge, centralised state machinery and a well-equipped modern army, can a communist party capture power through winning an overwhelming majority in parliament, bringing in a socialist constitution, neutralising the repressive apparatus of the state, and, even as it attempts all of this, get ready for armed confrontation, finally breaking up the state and replacing it with one that represents the interests of the exploited? I think that the Indian ruling classes would never give up their wealth and power without armed resistance. We can now be more certain about this, confirmed by the Chilean episode (November 1970 to September 1973), as well as the Nicaraguan experience in the wake of the Sandinista revolution in 1979, the elections of 1984 which Daniel Ortega of the Sandinista National Liberation Front won by an overwhelming majority but the US persisted in negating by its subversion and proxy war, which included the Iran-Contra affair. Nevertheless, whether the CPI (Maoist) should use parliament to spread its ideas and opinions, but subordinate this to developing mass movements and struggles as part of the PPW, and, in times of crisis, give top priority to the latter, is a matter of its political line. I do not think I am the right person to render advice, that too, unsolicited, on its choice of alternatives.
Spokespersons of the CPI (Marxist) often quote from Lenin’s Left-Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder (written in April-May 1920 to encapsulate the lessons the Bolshevik party had learned from its involvement in the three revolutions in Russia) to paint the CPI (Maoist) in the darkest possible colours. But it is the CPM that, following in the footsteps of the CPI, has replaced Lenin’s State and Revolution (written in August-September 1917) by the un-Marxist and un-Leninist theory of peaceful transition from capitalism to socialism.
A real Leninist party is one that devotes all it has to developing the ability and the will to lead a revolution. Frankly, it is the CPI (Maoist) that is developing that ability — if we were to go by Arundhati Roy’s essay, mentioned earlier, and Gautam Navlakha’s “Days and Nights in the Heartland of Rebellion” (Sanhati, April 1, 2010) — through a close relationship with the masses in the areas where it has gained a foothold. The party is empowering the wretched of the Indian earth on the revolutionary road to an egalitarian society. It has also been gathering the determination to lead a revolution by resisting the temptation to work within the framework of the system, instead doing all it can to take the class struggle to a successful conclusion. The CPM, in contrast, even as it is organised along Leninist lines, has virtually been taken over by the backward bourgeois society that India is, and has been turned into a reformist force. This is unfortunate, for the party, along with the CPI, still has, within its fold, a number of outstanding individuals.
Now, as we have said, in the CPI (Maoist)’s schema, PPW is the revolutionary path wherein the main form of struggle is armed struggle and the principal form of organisation is the people’s army. As I understand the party’s stand on boycotting elections, it argues that participation in elections is not compatible with the strategy of PPW. All the same, the party is trying to build alternative institutions of people’s power in the guerrilla zones. But the problem, from the Maoist perspective of progress in the PPW, is that the party has not been able to turn any of the guerrilla zones into a base area. It is impossible to advance the ongoing guerrilla war or the further spread of guerrilla zones without the establishment of base areas. In the plains areas — which are less suitable for guerrilla warfare and the establishment of guerrilla zones — the higher guerrilla units have been unable to continue their operations and gradually have had to move to the forest and hilly areas. Some of the existing guerrilla zones are potential candidates for transformation into base areas, but ‘the enemy’ has to be defeated there and the organs of political power have to then be established, a formidable task in the face of severe repression.
From the Maoist point of view, if they create and sustain a few base areas, the PPW will be able to sustain itself over a long period; in the absence of base areas, the Maoist guerrilla army will not last long or grow — in guerrilla parlance, the base areas are its essential ‘rear’. However, I must mention that within the guerrilla zones, the Maoists have carved out their own domains in particular stretches, which they call guerrilla bases. The latter serve as a sort of ‘rear.’
Those of us who are not in tune with the essence of PPW often fail to understand that the combination of a people’s army and mass organisations has the ability to advance and retreat over long periods of time. If the formation of mass organisations before the building of a supporting armed force able to survive proves to be a failure, the reverse will be attempted, and the appropriate techniques of asymmetric warfare will be devised to support the growth of the mass organisations, even in the plains areas. After all, the party is learning by doing — practice, collective learning from its mistakes, practice again (with greater success), and so on, in ever greater, rising concentric circles.
However, the question that needs to be posed is whether the economic and political conditions in India today are, at least, somewhat similar to those of China in the 1930s and 1940s. No doubt, the peasant question is extremely important in India today, but it is being transformed from dispossession through class differentiation to dispossession via displacement and ecological degradation. At the macro-level, millions of rural people are being rendered proletarians (in the form of casual and contract labour), hungry, malnutrition-ridden, homeless and landless paupers, forced migrants, threatened autochthonous peoples, lumpenproletariat, and so on. This suggests a relatively rapid rise in the proportion of the population in the urban and semi-urban areas in the medium term, with an even larger proportion constituting the “precarious” classes — workers with little bargaining power vis-à-vis the capitalists, and a vast section of non-wage earners at the margins of subsistence in the urban informal sector.
Surely the CPI (Maoist) will have to reckon with this, which brings us to the question of how the urban movement provides the worker cadre and leaders for the revolutionary alliance of workers and peasants. The Maoists are often criticised for failing to organise the industrial working class. But even where they did make significant headway, for instance, in organising the coal miners of Singareni, under the banner Singareni Karmika Samakhya, the union was banned and its leaders driven underground. The Maoists are nevertheless conscious of the crucial importance of organising the workers, for it is the proletarian who, when she/he is politically socialistically sensitized, understands the value of socialising the means of production, knows that collectively the workers can bring the economy to a standstill, especially if they are organised in the “strategic” sectors of the economy, and again, understands that, collectively, they can overcome their exploitation. As far as organising in the urban areas is concerned, the party has been at it in the towns falling within and around the areas of armed struggle.
Now, besides the worker-peasant alliance, there is also the question of forming the “united front,” the so-called four-class alliance, as the Maoists conceive of it. But given the experience of the new democratic revolution (NDR) in China, where, with the Maoist tenet of uninterrupted revolution (correct, no doubt), the NDR becomes a socialist one immediately after the communist party comes to power, will any anti-imperialist section of the Indian bourgeoisie (if it exists at all) even commit to such an alliance? Moreover, in this age and time, it is doubtful if any section of the Indian bourgeoisie would be interested in any kind of revolution. It might then be best to infuse much more of a socialist content in the composition and programme of the united front.
Overall, then, on the question of the combination of mass organisations and the people’s army both of which are so fundamental to successfully carrying through the PPW, the radical left in India and elsewhere will be keenly following how the Maoists follow their scientific dictum of practice, collectively learning from one’s mistakes, practice again with greater success, and so on, in ever greater and rising concentric circles, and extending this ability to act and learn collectively to the vast majority of the Indian people and beyond, to humanity.
My Assesment:One of Bernard’s major flaws in this article is his classification of India as a bourgeois democracy .He also is ecclectical in advocating capitalist develoment has taken place and hardly explains the similarities wit China anad the nature of the national bourgeoise which is an ally.It reflects no clarity of India’s semi-feudal socio-economic structure.However he beautifullay justifies PPW and dose justice to the creativity of the Maoist party.He also makes a fitting criticism of the Indian social order and it’s masquerading as a democracy.I wish Bernard could have reflected more accurately on the differences of the practice with that in Chin aof the 1940’s and Telenagan from 1946-51.He aso missed out on the question of plain areas.Infact protracted peoples wra canot be waged in backward capitalist country.
In my view amongst the working class with fascist repression on the main revolutionary force in the country a new style or method of work has to be devised different from the conventional norms.Today with the smashing ot trade unions considerable work has to be done in the bastis or outside the factories.Mass Political platforms for workers have to be formed which are not party fronts but whose leadership are influenced by Revolutionary cadre.Innovations may have to be made from the way revolutionary trade Unio n was work was carried out in China considering the great modifications in India .In certain region sinsurrection struggles may have to be integrated with the protracted peoples war.To me here the ideology of Antonio Gramisci towards trade union political work is applicable and Indian revolutionaries should imbibe his ideas.With such fascist attack son officialMaoist party leaders or cadres revolutionary work has to be done from below like Gramisci advocated.
7.INADEQUATE DEMARCATION BETWEEN PARTY AND MASS ORGANIZATIONS
Although forming mass organizations like Revolutionary Writers Association and Andhra Pradesh Radical Students Union the party insisted that Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse Tung thought has to be an essential part of the manifesto.in the early 1970’s.This was placing party politics into the manifesto of mass organization.The Nagi Reddy line trend differed and struggled aginst this forming the democratic students organization and the Peoles Literary and Cultural Federation.No doubt A.P.R.S.U.and VIRASAM made phenomenal contribution s creating landmarks but still revealed tendency to propagate direct party poitic sin democratic mass organizations.In their historical overview in history of APRSU it was written that the radiacl students was formed as a party centre from 1969 itself to propagate politics of naxalbari.Imposing politics of Mao thought denied a mass organization the broadest possible base and reduced it to a party front.
Not denying both Virasam and APRUS contributed more than nay revolutionjary mass organization in their respective fields.Still i feel there was a time in the 1970’s when Democratic Students Organization nad Peoples Literary nad Cultural Federation implemented genuine mass line more and had greater democratic functioning.The Punjab Students Union led by Prithipal Singh Randhawa ws closest to the perfect example of how mass organization should function.There were also strong tendencies to convert the Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Commitee into a platform where Maoist ideology could be propagated and make it function as a front organization of an maoist group. Even the All India forums like All-India League for Revolutionary Culture and All India Revolutionary Students Federation had Mao Tse Tung thougt in their manifesto and erroreously dubbed all trends as rightist who disagreed with this.I have met democratic activists who felt there were strong vanguardiust tendencies within mass organization sled by this trend preventing genuine mass charcter developing.Even In Mahrashtra this tendency prevailed in forum slike Vidhyarti Praghati Sanghatna and Naujwan Bharat Sabha .In Comrdae DV Rao’s view mass organizations should hane anti-imperilaism and anti-feudalism in their manifesto but placing Mao thought would debar mnay sections.In the 1980’s I had many discussion swith activists who opposed student organization sturning into fronts of party ideology and formed independfent student organizationslike ‘Jagruti Sanghatana’Even democratic rights organization Lokshahai Hakk Sanghatana disagreed with mass organization sbeing converted into a party platform or to prpgate agenda of Maoist politics.
In receny years strong tendencies also prevailed within Revolutionary democratic Front which could not totally develop as an independent revolutionary democratic structure from the party and whose palform was used to propgate politics of Maoist party.
8.OVERESTIMATING FORCES OF HINDU FASCISM
There is also a tendency within the revolutionary camp to exaggereate the strength of Hindu fascism and pamper with minority communalism.Some trends called it Hindu Fascist India or India on the verge of it but I feel it is unlikely even in the near future that India will emerge in the form of a complete Hindu fascist state.Considering India’s history of past decades whatever Hindu communal fascist orientation even the state ruled by Congress has shown it does not have the potential to completely go Hindu Fascist.In India fascism will not take the form as it took in Hitler’s Germany or Mussolin’s Italy but take a form charasterictic form to third world semi-colonial countries.Even from the very colonial days with the Gandhian Congress leadership India was not fascist in the classical sense or in the emergency period of 1975..
If you study later Congress regimes of the Gandhi family in terms of state repression on peoples movemenst and sponsorship of Hindu communal fascism and then later B.J.P.rule from the mid 1990’s you will understand this phenomenan.Remember how fast official emergency was forced to extinguish itself.in 1977.With the diversity in India like the minorities and castes it is very unlikely India can go completely fascist.The state has to project it’s image of being aliberal democracy and mantain the state or federal structute to survive.
No doubt,it will be more repressive in crushing people’s movements and supressing intellectuals but stil ceratin neo-liberal features will remain.Fascsim will emerge in the form of suppressing the genuine struggles of peasnst and workesr and de-baring agitations and strikes as well as ruthlessly attck the minorities,particulary Muslim community.I recommend readers to read what Jan Myrdal fels about the Indian state in ‘Red Star over India.’He feels there is greater avenue for intellectuals to express dissent than even Germany or France today..
This has been inherited from the British tradition.In India the late comrade Satnam,Darshan Pal,Surkh Leh Editor Jaspal Jassi,former Lok Morcha sectreatry Amolak Singh felt that it is unlikely classical fascism would come to India.Comrade Jassi gave an example of the rule in the Moghul era to me.
If India was fascist today then the voice of democrats like Arundhati Roy,Manoranjan Mohanty,Anand Teltumbde or Sanjay Kak would not be heard .
Revolutionary organs like ‘New Democracy’, ‘Surkh Leeh’, ‘Surkh Rekha’, ‘Red Star’, ‘Class Struggle” etc are still published and even the ‘People’s March’ supporting Maoist movement is offically permitted.Nor could books be published like “History and Polemical documents of Indian Communist Movement’,’Storming the Gates of Heaven-Histotry of Maoist Movement.’ Or ‘Is the Torch Passing’ by Robert Weil..In pure fascism blogs like ‘Banned thought’, ‘Democracy and class struggle’, ‘Red Spark”‘For a New Dawn’,’massline.info ‘r ‘Naxal Revolution’ or now ‘Red Spark’would not be permitted.Public meetings or dharnas voicing revolutionary democracy would not be permitted like those frequently held in the capital of Delhi.I feel however repressive we have to aknowledge this .
The main fascistic features of the Indian state today are the banning of the C.P.I(Maoist) and their mass organizations,the attack of Indian websites giving solidarity to Maoist movement, the unofficial ban and suppression on genuine peasant and worker protests,the patronage of administration towards the Hindu Saffron attacks on Muslims and Dalits, the suppression on Kashmiri people ,the languishing in prisosn and assassination of Maoist and pro-Kashmir leaders and cadres , no sentence given by Supreme court to criminals like L.K.Advani invloved in demolition of Babri Masjid and framing of genine democrats like G.N.Saibaba.I recommend readers to read the article of Comrade Arjun Prasad Singh on how fascism will take a different form in India.It very logically differentiates it from the form taken in Italy and Germany.The unique feature in India has been the targeting of important leaders of the C.P.I.(Maoist) who were either assassinated or jailed like Kishenji,Sushil Roya,Amitabh Bagchi,Narayan Sanyal,Purnendu Mukherjee .Also pertinent was the framing of late Sridhar Srinivasan,Vernon Gonzaleves,Arun Ferreira and Sudhir Dhawle in Mumbai who were accused of planting bombs by the C.B.I.The ignominy of that time was similar to the witch-hunts og the Mcarthur era in U.S.A. in the 1940’s.Their arrests were something unparalleled in post1947 India proving how the state was tightening it’s fangs.One would not envisage such an act in earlier decades.Today also there is great restriction on the staging of united protests with the best example being the preventing of workesr staging strikes .Often permission is denied for democratic protests at V.T.and Churchgate station.
The islolation of the Muslim minorities has reached a stage unprecedented in India and the Babri Masjid demolition and and Godra attacks can be compared with the Genuine fsacsim of past history.To me stil it is the existence of the minorirties that will prevent India from going fascist in the sense of Nazi Germany.This was the opinion of late Comrdae Satnam.I disagree with the C.P.I.(Maoist) part stand allying with the Taliban aginst U.S.Imperialism.I feel however great or dangerous is U.S.Imperialism which is the sponsoror of all fundamentalism as an agent to rule over the third world allying with Islamic fundalentalism will be capitulation.Revolutionaries have to ttoth and nail combat every type of religious fundamentalism and allying with it has no class basis and alien to ideology of Maoism.In earlier periods the erstwhile C.P.I.(M.L.) Peoples war erroneously soft-pedalled with the Khalistani communal fascist movement supporting communal Sikh Akali agitation and Sikh separatism.It did not demarcate from Sikh religious fundamentalism like other Communist revolutionary groups.Till this day it upholds the Sikh nationality movement not understanding that Sikhs are not an oppressed minority like Muslim sor Christians.
What is lacking is a clear cut mass revolutionary platform to offer democratic revolutionary secular resistance against all communal fascist forces .Special fronts have to be formed independent of any sectional mass organization that creates anti-riot self defence committees particularly aginst the Hindu communal variety.
Quoting the C.P.I.(M.L.) Central Team in 1993 after the 1992-1993 post Babri-Masjid Communal riots the group in it's article on Communalism stated, "The need of the hour is to tear apart the complete mask of the reactionary ruling classes and he real face of the Communal fascist agents and parties through enhancement of class struggles and organizations. Our party observes that the reactionary ruling classes and all shades of Communal forces have miserably failed to rally the common masses. The communal fascist forces have no connection with the masses ,but posses better striking power. Only by developing combat forces, enhancing class struggles sharper and sharper and building mass struggles can we isolate such forces. We need to strengthen the unity of the common masses in day to day movements and class struggles agaisnt the ruling class and the fundamentalist agents, develop combat forces amongst the masses ,in mass struggles under the leadership of revolutionary forces.
MASS STRUGGLE AGAINST COMMUNAL FASCISM
Anti Communal Struggle in Bihar.Mass Line trend
in 1989 during the Bhagalpur riots a campaign depicting the revolutionary mass line against Hindu Communalism and minority Fundamentalism took place. The Hindu revivalist campaign in India had its roots in the JanSangh and th R.S.S just after independence. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad a communal Hindu Front led by the Bharatiya Janata Party wishing to build a movement for Hindutva carried out a brick worship campaign at Ayodhya.Even the left Front Parties and the Janata Dal allowed this. The Congress which had claims of being secular sent 5 lakh Ramshilas to villages all over the Country to win votes!Infact they were the source of communalism as in 1986 Rajiv Gandhi entered the Ram Janmabhhoomi in Ayodhya(God Ram's birthplace)temple and advocated Ram Rajya.Infact he was the first person to open the doors of the Babri Masjid.The Vishwa Hindu Parishad propagated that the Babri Masjid Mosque should be destroyed and a temple built. Ordinary people were diverted from their socio-political issues like Price Rise. The Riots were a necessary instrument for the Ruling Classes to defend themselves from the people's wrath at their economic conditions.
In Bhagalpur 100's perished in the riots. More than 25,000people were rendered homeless. The left Parties and the newly elected Janata Dal led no pro-people resistance and infact to win votes let brick worship and communal propaganda take place.There were some heroic mass struggles waged by Communist Revolutionaries.
In Rasaunk in Khagaria District an anti-riot organisation was formed .Plans were made to launch anti-communal demonstrations. A wall writing campaign took place raising the following slogans which were also propagated in various towns and villages.
1.All Religious minded people of India are the Children of the same Mother India. That is why in 1857 they fought collectively against the Britishers.
2.Fearing the Unity the British created disunion in the Country twice, in 1923 and in 1945to47-ultimately dividing the Country.
3.In 1947 there were 25 crores in the treasury of India,wheras at present the same India has a burden of a loan of 85,000 Crores of Rupees.
4.The American and Russian block are inciting riots through the medium of many organisations.
The Administration first refused a demonstration. The people went door to door mobilising people for a general assembly. In the harmony meeting 200 people attended consisting of Hindus and Muslims.12 Speakers spoke and people from both the communities embraced each other. A 21 member Communal Harmony team was formed. The following resolutions were passed.
1.The Babri Masjid Controversy should be resolved locally in Ayodhya through some social gathering or court.
2.The controversy should not be allowed to be a national controversy.
3.No activity should be allowed inciting riots.
4.Any Individual caught inciting riots should be punished in a Social Panchayat.
5.Any native or foreign money bag, whether he be an exporter of capital, a state Leader, A mullah capitalist, or a landlord ,all want to save themselves from the wrath of the masses, to rule and divide the people.
The following slogans were raised
1.Hindu,Muslim,Sikh and Christians are Brethrens.
2.Stop the Communal Riots
3.Stop converting religious beliefs into riots.
Such leaflets prevented riots from taking place.
In Jamalpur in Mungher district similarly people organised anti-communal demonstrations brave team of intellectuals were responsible for this. A 'Peace and Harmony committee was formed and a demonstration was organised.Anti-Communalism posters were put up. These activities prevented riots.
Lastly ,when anti-social elements of Godargama planned to massacre the Muslims of Mohinderpur Punarvas in Begusurai district ,the Harijan masses openly opposed this under a Comrade and got prepared to fight to death to protect the Muslims. The reactionary forces were forced to flee.
QUOTING PROFESSOR HARAGOPAL IN EPW ON NAXALITE MOVEMENT
Political consensus on a growth driven model leaves very few options to the marginalised sections of society. Electoral politics has got reduced to the sharing of state power by castes and classes without defining the purpose of power. The scramble is around claims and counterclaims in the plunder. This crisis has shifted the thrust of mainstream politics from socioeconomic challenges and a transformative agenda to the cultural terrain revolving around identities—caste, religion, customs, traditions, food habits, dress code and sentiments. This is heightening the role of vigilante groups, not only in the areas of armed conflict but also in mainstream social life. The Salwa Judum culture is being reproduced everywhere. Right-wing politics compared to various other political formations has a clear edge with the huge network of the Sangh Parivar.
The violence of the Maoist strategy, which not only worries the ruling class, but also the general middle class is increasingly becoming a non-issue as the number of persons killed in the communal holocaust of the anti-Sikh riots of 1984 in Delhi and the Gujarat riots against Muslims in 2002 is far more than the number of persons killed in confrontations between the Maoists and the state. The frequent killings and silencing of voices by Sangh Parivar vigilante groups in the last three years amount to a breakdown of legal arrangements and state responsibilities. Gradually, society is getting used to this and the state will no longer be able to derive its legitimacy as the monopolist of violence. State violence against the Maoists can no longer be justified by invoking the laws of the land and arguing that Maoists are unlawful outfits and a challenge to Indian democracy.
The erstwhile ruling Congress party and now the BJP, supported implicitly or explicitly by all other political parties, have been determined for long to wipe out the movement, even by engaging the Indian Army in the conflict. The army, for its own reasons, has been reluctant and has advised the government not to draw the armed forces into this war with people.16 One has to appreciate the fact that the tribals of this country have been fighting for almost two centuries to protect their own environment. It is erroneous to believe that the struggles in Bastar or Telangana or in other regions started with the Maoist movement. Neither will they end with the end of the movement. It is a struggle of the people for their life and livelihood.
The democratic transition of India depends partly on whether the Maoist party can retain the primacy of politics over military strategy and hold the Indian state to its constitutional mandate. The larger Indian society should be conscious of the fact that the excesses of the state under the pretext of containing the Maoist movement—particularly fake encounters, violations of the modesty of women and the use of excessive violence that violates all established legal and constitutional norms—concedes to these practices in principle. History tells us that through this path the state will ensnare society by releasing fascist forces. Cynics may say that Maoists are responsible for rising fascism, while those who have faith in the future may say that they are an answer to fascism. The central concern though is whether the Indian people will be able to defend and deepen democracy. This is not merely dependent on the Maoists’ relentless battle against an emerging fascist state. It is a struggle that is quickly coming to involve larger and larger sections of society. History is at a crossroads and tribal struggles seem to be showing a direction for development and democracy.
9. POSITION'S ON CASTE
On question of caste we have 2 extreme trends.One is endorsed mainly by the Rahul foundation that condemns any work to integrate caste question while the other places Dr Ambedkar on the same pedesatal of Marx,Lenin and Mao.I give credibility to Anand Teltumde for a balanced view and to a certain extent Arundhati Roy.Anuradha Gandhy made the most authentic and correct analysis.However streams like Republic Panther of India which is even sympathetic to Maoist movement promote tendency of Ambedkarism and are hardly critical of his class –colaborationist ideology.True they have in Maharashtra done significant work but the cutting edge of Marxist-Leninist-Maoist approach is lacking.
10.WEAK DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS MOVEMENT
The democratic rights movement nation-wide is considerably weak.Although the Co-Ordination Commitee of democratic Rights Organization sor the C.D.R.O.have been formed they can hardly effectively intervene in the revolutionary democratic Movement.No doubt groups like Civil Liberties Commitee in Andhra Pradesh and Telengana in term sof it’s recent report and now Association for Democratic Rights in Punjab hase dome some great work in termsof conferences and protests in many states it is hardly effective.We need to revive the era of the All India Federation of Organizations for democratic Rights formed in 1982 which in it’s manifesto stated that the most fundamental right was the one to struggle aganst economic exploitation and felt that the democratic rights movement must be linked to revolutionary class struggle.I admired the great spirit of the Peoples Union fror Democratic Rights in Delhi in recent times in the recent CDRO dharna and convention last September..In important areas like Orissa,Chattisagarh or Jharkand a genuine democratic rights organization does not exist,with the People's Union of civil liberties remaining neutral between the Maoists and the state.Arguably what has led to areas virtually succumbing to fascist rule is the lack of a democratic rights organization and movement.
Although the Commotee for Protectionof Democratic rights or C.P.D.R.has been revived in Mumbai it lacks the orientation of the erstwhile Lok Shahi Hakk Sanghatana which in previous decades made the important link with the struggle of the toling mases taking the movement to basti ares.Activists from all over India admired the qualitative work and impact of Lok Shahi Hakk Sanghatana even if it’s numbers were not large.It created the platform for joint struggle programmes.Comrade Arjun Prasad singh ,a leader of the erstwhile Lok Sangram Morcha of the C.P.I.(M.L.) Party Unity group in Bihar was deeply impressed with LHS’s qualitative work amongst workers and in basti areas when coming to address a sries of talks on repression in Bihar.
He thought formation of AIFOFDR was one of the most progressive steps,even if he did not belong ever to the T.Nagi Redy trend..To me the de-activation of the A.I.F.O.F.D.R.and the Lok Shahi Hakka Sanghatana has acused a dent to the democratic rights movement.The Jagrut Kamgar Manch or Conscious workers front staged significant work in bast areas toressurect resistance ,particularlu on issues of the working class.Unforgettable wa sit’s work organizing the dsipalded Tata Power Projecty workesr after 2 of them ,Khan and Dalvi commited suicide,rebelling aginst the contract sytem.The protests launched were a landmark in Mumbai.In earlier times significant forums were formed for displaced Mill workers by the Bandh Girni Sangharsh committee who in 1992 organized the workers to take over a mill with ablack flag protest.In Kanoria Jute mil a famous struggle wa sled by which the jute mil workers carried out production themselves in 1994-95.
All India Federation of Organizations for Democratic Rights was formed on May 29th 1982 in Guntur in Andhra Pradesh.This federation marked the historic trend of an All India trend to promote the democratic Rights Movement as a struggle oriented one, which recognized the right to struggle against socio-economic repression as the fundamental right from which stem up all democratic Rights.The organizations that merged into the federation were the Association for Democratic Rights of India(Punjab),the Organization for Protection of Democratic Rights(Andhra Pradesh),the Lok Shahi Hakk Sanghatana(Maharashtra),the Gantanatrik Adhikar Suraksha SAmit(Orissa) ,Janadhipatya Avakasa Samrakshana Samiti,Kerala and the Janatantrik Adhikar Surkasha Samiit(Rajasthan) Although he civil liberties movement started from the 1950's the demarcation of civil liberties with democratic Rights was not made. The historic manifesto was as follows
1.Mobilise public opinion against al fascist laws,acts and atrocities by the ruling classes.
2. Propogate and organize amomg the people about the democratic Rights
3.Give all assistance to the people whose rights were abused.
4.Build unity among all sections possible explaining the connection between their interest.
To build a movement for the right to political dissent and thus demand the unconditional release of all political prisoners.
5.To oppose all capital punishment and build public opinion against it.
6.To protect academic and cultural freedoms and oppose state interference
7.To strive to establish the correct practice o the democratic Rights Movement.
The first such democratic Rights organization representing the correct trend was the Organization for Protection of Democratic Rights formed in Andhra Pradesh in 1975.They fought against the trend where the democratic Rights platform was used as a platform for promoting political ideology. This is what differentiated the O.P.D.R with the A.P.C.LC(Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Comitee) .It was O.P.D.R that was the founder of the slogan'It should be broad-baded,pro-people, and recognize the right to struggle of the people as the fundamental right'In ontrast the A.P.C.L.C propogated that the democratic Rights Movement should uphold the path of 'armed struggle.'The first major work of O.P D.R was the report on the Srikakulam Girjian Movement 1977 with regard to police encounters.This was one of the most significant reports in the democratic Rights. Movement in India and the first of it's kind.Hundreds of Girijan families were interviewed and the agency of Srikakulam area was extensively toured.
The report narrated the historic background f the Srikakula Girijan Movement which originated in 1967.The taem demanded the unconditional release of all political prisoners and for a all parliamentary committee to inquire into the socio-economic conditios in the Agency areas.It was also demanded that the guilty policeman be brought to the book,police camps removed and that he 'Distrurbed areas act be scrapped.' All the victims were innocent sympathizers and not what the police alleged them to be.Earlier O.P.D.R had also propogated against the death sentence of Kista Gowd and Bhumiah In 1975 during e emergency.In 1978 it conducted a historical investigation in East Godavri district.Several innocent Girijans were arrested and police camps were launched. Two innocent Girijans perished In police Firing.O.P.D.R demanded an inquiry and punishment to he guilty policeman.A demand for withdrawal of police camps was made as well as for the protection of Girijan's lands.. A campaign was done to defend the 1917 and 1959 Tribal area land regulation act.
I don’t deny the great contribution of Andhra Pradseh Civil Liberties Commitee whose activists laid their lives to resist the fascist repression on the Peoples War group like Gopi Rajanna, Dr,Ramandham,Jappa Laxma Reddy ,Prabhakar Reddy,T.Purusshotam.Neverthless to me it allowed the propagation of maoist party politic son the democratic rights platform which was erroneous.
The A.F.D.R.(Punjab)also did significant work in investigating the Naxalite encounters of the early 1970's .It also played an important role in defending democratic movements .In the early 1980's the A F D R organized trade Unions opposing the black Laws and formed a joint democratic Front which opposed the curbing of trade Union rights. The way the govt was using black laws in the name of curbing terrorist was explained with great depth..Infact the no existence of such an organization in the time of the emergency was the prime reason of the defeat the Communist revolutionary led movements in Punjab in the 1970's.
The federation(A.I.F.O.F.D.R) brought out many historic reports through fact-finding teams. During the Khalistan movement a report was brought out which gave a political analysis of the Punjab Problem in the political and socio-economic light had explained how the State functioned as an agent of the Khalistani terrorism.The report explained the genesis of the Khalistani Movement and how the Congress Govt led by Indira Gandi(It was Indira Gandhi who created Bhindranwale) used it to subvert the democratic movements and to topple the Sikh Communal Akali Dal.The ruling class parties connived with the landlords to suppress the democratic movements and used Khalistani gangs against each other to capture power. The report reported the progressive movements led by left organizations combating the Khalistani terror and upheld all the Communist martyrs In the struggle.The fact finding team interviewed all section s of people from peasants,to workers to students to politicians and gained very useful information.
A.F.D.R(formed in 1977) played a major role investigating false police encounters and standing by and giving solidarity to al the anti-Khalistani democratic movements by organisations like he Front against Communalism and state repression and the Revolutionary Centre. Several reports were brought about explaining the nexus between the landlords with the Khalistani forces.The Organization continuously explained the need of mass combat struggle to defeat the communal forces and how the ruling classes were using the Khalistani movement to suppress the people's day to day struggles.
In Orissa the G.A S.S.made all efforts to promote the movement opposing the Baliapal Missile base.It also supported the movement of the Adivasi SAngh of the Malkangiri region and gave all support to the anti –people development policies of the govt. promoting high-tech. Another famous report was brought out by the Federation based on the peoples Movement against the building of a missile base in Baliapal in Orissa. The report covered all the areas of Baliapal and explained the policies of the government which promoted military expansionism at the cost of he economic welfare. The class angle as also elaborated but unity with the better off sections like rich farmers was suported .The report highlighted the false propaganda of he government which stressed that too little was spent on defence..
In Maharashtra the Lok Shahi Hakk Sanghatana(formed in 1978) did significant work in bringing out reports on repression on slumdwellers where the relationship with the trade Union movement was projected.L.H.S alos did acampaign against poice torture ,fought agaisnt the retrenchment of workers in Mukesh Mils in Mumbai in Colaba area,took up poster and leafleting campaigns against communalism(against the Ram Janmabhoomi and Rath Yatra or Mandir propaganda).With regards to communalism emphasis was palced on the role of the working class.LHS also brought out reports on drought and in 1983 and 1989 brought outrepost on repression by the C.P.M on Kashtakari Sanghatana,a struggling organization of Adivasis in Dahanu.(A tribal region of Maharashtra)The report brilliantly explained the relationship betwewn the socio-economic conditions of the Adivasis and the repressin by the C.P.M.In 1984 it investigated the riouis in Bhiwandi from aWorking class viewpoint and also the firing in Goregaon. L.HS also did propaganda in working calls areas opposing state trepresion in Bihar and in Andhra Pradesh.Peaasnt leaders from Bihar were invited to address the gathering.Significant work was done in 1992-93 during the Mumbai riots to build struggle committees promoting communal solidarity .L.HS brought out reports on Contract workers at the Airport in Mumbai and on the closure of the Mills in Mubai with a historic socio-economic angle.
The federation held 2 Sammelans,one in 1990 in Udaipur and the other in 1995 in Faridkot..here was no great mass mobilization but the methods of work and issues we of historical significance.A.I.F.O.F.D.R also brought out reports on drought and on the massacre of Christian missionaries in Orissa in 1999.
11.WRONG HISTORICAL ASSESMENT TOWARDS THE CONTRIBUTION OF TARIMELA NAGI REDDY AND DEVULLAPI VENKATESWAR RAO ,APCCCR OR PCRC IN LIGHT OF MASS LINE
Historically the C.P.I.(Maoist) still atrributes that leaders like Tarimela Nagi Reddy and Devullapali Venkaestwara Rao practised the stages theory or deferred armed struggle from 1967-72 and are not sufficiently critical of the Charu Mazumdar C.P.I.(M.L.) line and practice.
They have not sufficiently supported Comrade D.V.Rao’s critique of Andhra thesis which he propounded in the late 1950’s or the ‘Immediate Programme for the Srikakulam movement’ chalked out by the Andhra Pradesh Coordination Commitee of Communist Revolutionaries from 1969-73
Still negates positive contribution even of Nagi Reddy influenced Punjab Co-ordinartion comittee or PCRC led by Comardae Harbhajan Sohi from 1969-75
It hardly gives credit to the work and analysis of APCCCCR. upto 1973.
In my view it incorrectly upholds the C.P.I.(M.L.) line and practice till Party Congress of May 1970 and that of A.I.C.C.R.till party formation in 1969.
It discredits the important criticisms of TN and DV on violation of massline by Charu Mazumdar before 1969.
No doubt they have made a significant rectification but still essentially backed the Charu Mazumdar line and party formed in 1960.
It is not sufficiently critical of how Charu Mazumdar C.P.I.(M.L.) violated line of armed agrarian revolution and had it’s roots in AICCR.itself.
This affected the practice of later econstituents of Maoist party like PWG and Party Unity Group which reflected tendencies of eralier’annihilation’line.
Com. DV’s work as a Communist revolutionary spans nearly five decades.
It is interesting to note that the first criminal case foisted against Com. DV was in connection with his role in the land struggle of the lambada peasantry of Mundrai village. It was the then Nizam Government which foisted this case.
In fact it is the first tribute by the autocratic regime to the revolutionary who became the father of the theory and practice of agrarian revolution in the country. A considerable part of his revolutionary work was occupied by underground activities against the various autocratic governments.
During the Telangana armed struggle he led nearly 7 years of underground life (1946-1952). After 1968 he led nearly 10 years of underground life (1969, 1975-1984).
He was arrested under the Defence of India Rules in 1962 (November ’62 to July ’63) for opposing Government of India’s war of aggression against China, and in 1965 (December ’64 to May ’66) during India’s War against Pakistan. In 1969 he was arrested along with late Com. Tarimela Nagi Reddy and others and kept in detention from December ’69 to May ’72.
A conspiracy case was foisted against them. This is known as the Hyderabad Conspiracy Case. The Conspiracy case was based on the Immediate Programme drafted by Com. DV. He was then released in May’72 along with Com. TN and others on conditional bail which they jumped in June’75 to resume underground activities when Internal Emergency was proclaimed in the country by Mrs. Indira Gandhi’s regime. Com. DV along with Com.
TN and some others were sentenced to 4 years rigorous imprisonment in the Hyderabad Conspiracy case. However Com. DV was leading an underground life all these years due to which the Government could not carry out the sentence.
Thus Com DV spent nearly 17 years in underground activities and about 5 years in various jails in his life and work as a communist revolutionary. These facts are apparent examples which go to show his indomitable revolutionary spirit and the depth of his revolutionary convictions and practice.
Of particular importance is the fact that he was the pioneer of the programme of land distribution and of volunteer squads. He was the first to grasp that rural poor were thirsting for land as early as 1944 and initiated the programme for land distribution during the 1946 struggles in Nalgonda district. He raised the first volunteer squad from the peasantry of Devaruppala village of Nalgonda district which soon spread far and wide and became a movement.
It is after this that the village Sanghams came to be known as the Gutupala Sanghams. (Gutupa in Telugu means a full-sized lathi of local make. Gutupala Sangham means an organisation of people who wield these lathis for defending their movement and its gains.). In the document which he wrote in 1949 opposing demands for the withdrawal of the armed struggle, he explained the experiences of Telangana armed struggle showed a new way for the Indian revolution.
Thus it represented the correct application of Marxism-Leninism-Mao’s Thought to the realities of Indian revolution. It must be said at this juncture that Comrade DV’s contribution to the Telangana struggle is much more than is generally realised. Much of his multifarious contribution to the Telangana armed struggle has not seen the light of the day.
Along with some documents written by him, the present Volume sheds some light on Com. DV’s role at crucial junctures. But the author has strictly confined to the history and wanted to take up his role as also of others in his memoirs which he could not write. Here we will confine ourselves to state that Com DV’s contribution to the Talangana struggle embraced the ideological, political, organisational and military fields.
With The History of the Talangana People’s Armed Struggle (1946-’51), Com. DV has placed the treasure-house of revolutionary experiences before the revolutionaries and people at large. Though the armed struggle in Telangana was waged from 1946 to 1951, the organised revolutionary movement had begun by 1940-1941 itself. The author has also dealt with, in detail, the organised activities from 1940-41 till the commencement of the armed struggle. We have no doubt the book will be a great help not only to understand the Telangana armed struggle, but also the problems facing Indian revolution.
The period from 1951 to 1968 is one of the domination of parliamentary path which is another name for renunciation of the revolutionary path. He never reconciled himself to the parliamentary path during this period. He fought against the revisionists and neo-revisionists and revived the revolutionary line again in 1968-69 through the Circular Lay foundations for a struggle-oriented mass movement, and the famous Immediate Programme of Communist revolutionaries.
It took no time for Com DV to realise that building the party of communist revolutionaries means a relentless struggle not only against revisionism and neo-revisionism but also against the left and right opportunism prevalent among revolutionaries. In this prolonged struggle , Com. DV enriched revolutionary theory by applying Marxism-Leninism-Mao’s Thought correctly to Indian conditions. As a result of his persistent efforts the Indian revolutionary line which he founded and developed has come to stay. He along with com. T. Nagi Reddy founded the UCCRI(ML) in April 1975 to carry on efforts for unification of communist revolutionaries. He continued his ideological struggle against opportunist, careerist and disruptive forces as also the efforts to unify all genuine communist revolutionaries even after the death of com. TN in July 1976.
During the course of this struggle he summed up the experiences of Srikakulam and Naxalbari struggles along with elaborating the experiences of Telangana. He paid utmost importance to the task of building up a communist revolutionary organisation and a mass revolutionary movement of a new type. The very fact that he did not slacken in the least his efforts in this direction even when working on this book speaks volumes for the same.
Quoting D.V.Rao 1.Telengana armed struggle proved an occasion to test the general line followed by the communist party of India.It was proved that the line was wrong.Secondly it has provided a path for Indian Revolution.
A positive feature ,the most important at that ,is that the discussion is related to the line to be adopted as path of the Indian revolution.
Comrdade DV Rao played a crucial role in the development of Telengana armed struggle at important stages right from the inception of the party,commencement and development of the class struggle,the struggle taking the form of armed struggle and pursuing the struggle aginst the Union armies and opposing the demand of the withdrawal of armed struggle.He was the pioneer of te programme of land distribution and volunteer squads
He was the 1st to grasp that the rural poor were thirsting for land as early as 1944 and initiated the programme for land distribution in 1946 in Nalgonda district.He gave birth to the 1st volunteer squad from the peasantry of Devaruppala village of Nalgonda district,which spread everywhere like wildfire.Soon village ‘Sangham’s’ came to be formed.In 1949 DV wrote the historic document, ‘Refutation of wrong trends advocating withdrwal of armed struggle’ which explained why Telengana armed struggle line was the path for the Indian revolution.
From 1951-68 with solidity of iron he upheld the revolutionary path of which the circular, ‘Lay foundation sfor struggle oriented movement,’ and the famous, ‘Immediate programme of communist revolutionaries’ was the outcome.Other important writing sof Comrdae DV were ‘On mass Organiztions and Preliminary Steps for building a Revolutionary mass movement’, ‘Left Trend in the Andhra Communist revolutionaries,’ ‘Fundamental line and question of Unity,’ and ‘Right Opportunism in the Andhra Communist Revolutionaries.’They were written by DV while in jail in 1972..Later the court statement of Comrade DV later published as the ‘Peoples Democratic Revolution in India-An explanation of the program-became atextbook for cadres.These writings laid the foundation for combating left and right deviationsin the movement nad sowed the seeds for ideology of massline and it’s practice.
Quoting the Andra thesis “The armed agrarian revolutionary struggle in Telengana from 1946-51 was the result of constant revolutionary work done by Comunist Revolutionaries during the earlier period.The experiences we had in Telengana armed struggle have show a path for New Democrtaic revolution in India.Here the class struggle has reached a higher level in the countryside even before the working class was prepared for insurrection.By creating a people’s army and overthrowing Nizam’s power through armed struggle on the basis of the slogan sof land to the tiller and Gram Rajyas we could commence and advance the revolution.
Though,after military action,the armed struggle suffered major setbacks because of weakness in the movement,the Congress -Nizam set of ruling classes failed to suppress it by their armed forces .On the other hand,it is agin spreading in the struggle ares and extending to newer areas.The Telengana armed struggle was not confined to overthrowing Nizam’s rule ;instead it is continuying to overthrow the Indian Borgeoiisie from power.The experience of Telengana proves clearly that ,even inIndia it is possible to overthrow Bourgeois-Zamindars rule in the countryside by developing guerrilla struggles basing on land questions and that such struggles will be of utmost help to the proletraiat’s struggle to seize power through insurrection.”
D.V.Rao refutes the above stating “Earlier we had dealt with the distinguishing features of successful Rusian and Chinese Revolutions and applied their experiences to our own revolution.But we never said that it will take the course of either or both.;lWE said clearly that it is Telenagan which showed the path for New Democratic Revolution in unmistakable terms.If we had in mind it was the Chinese path we would noit have said it is a new path.A new path is always a new path,wjich distinguishes itself from others.Therefore,our view that TElengana armed struggle has shown a new poath for Indian revolution is not a new one of today,but it took it’s origin when TElengan aarmed struggle was developingand continuing.The mention of insurrection was superfluous .The armed struggle being a new ptah cannot subordinate itself to insurrection.Insurrection will only have a secondary role and not aprimary one.:
During the early years of 1940-41 ,comrade DV organized mass mobilizations of the peasantry, aginst forced labour,war levies,feudal atrocities and the exploitation of tenant farmers by the feudal landlords in the then Nalgonda districts of the then Hyderbad estate under the Nizam.Comrade DV explained in his writings that the party was then folowing a left-oriented reformist programme towards anti-feudal struggles elsewhere in Andhra and other parts of India.He explained that though people were ready for land ,the party never touched this question.It had no corrct programme of understaning agrarian revolution.or for achieving the hegemony of the proletariat in the national democratic revolution.
The period from 1941-45 witnessed the party adopt open class collaborationist policy under the name of peole’s war policy citing the anti-fascist phase of world war 11.It was a policy of open collaboration with Bristish imperialism.,feudalism nad landlordism.Under the leadership of DV the party in Nalgonda district developed class struggles aginst the landlords and the Nizam’s rule which was the representative of British imperialism.Comrdae DV undertook a survey in nearly 40 villages and went into the people and finding them thirsting for land,took up the land qusetin.Learning from failures they undertooh formation of volunteer squads and militant struggles to achieve these demands.Sensing the mood of the people through the Akunoor and Machiredy Palle people’s militant resistance to forcible levy collection,DV proposed a widespread programme of forming volunteer squads,militant demionstartions and struggles before the district comitee which accepted and implemented it.These steps resulted in the 1st stage of the Telengan aarmed struggle from July 1946 to December 1946.;
The struggles in Telengana developed into an armed struggle during the post-war upsurge as a sreult of the revolutionary struggles undertaken by the revolutionariers in Nalgonda under the leadership of Comrade DV Rao.Comrade DV rao explained that the same period witnessed upsurge of peasnt struggles in Challapali of Krishna district,Tebhaga of Bengal,Warli in Mharashtra and Punnapra Vaallayar inKerala.
The period August 1947 to September 1948 witnessed the anti Nizam phase of the armed struggle.This struggle would have fizzled out but for the struggle of land distribution waged inside the party by comrade DV and enforced to start with Suryapet area area of Nalgonda district.With this the styruggle went from strength to strength resulting in the distribution of 10 lakh acres of land,formation of GRAM Rajyas in 3000 villages,mainly of Nalgonda and Warangalk districvts,and 10000 armed volunteers who conducted the armed struggle aginst the Nizam’s military and the razakars.
Later the Union govt.under Nehru and Patel ordered police action to suppress the struggle .Here the left opportunist leadership acted aginst the struggle rejecting path of New democratic revolution.This leadership disbanded the squads ,dumped the arms,thinking the armed struggle was over.It rejected Comrdae DV’s thesis on the path of peoples war and program of New Democratic revolution which was upheld by the majority of the AP committee.The Union military swooped down on the disarmed cadres and launched a massacre.Comrade DV being in a struggle area reorganized the squads and gave a programme to retreat the main bodyt of squads to safety in the forest areas.Arrangements were made to mantain cocontacts with the peole of the villages where the party held strongholds.Proper tactics were worked out to mobilize people aginst the union military which was restoring the rule of landlords in the villages.With this,armed struggle revived from setbacks and continued for the next 3 years.During this period ,most party comitees
of the struggle areas in TE;lengana raised a shrill demand for withdrwal of the armed struggle.The only exception was the Suryapeta-Manukota area comitee which was under the charge of DV Rao.DV wrote a document on behalf of the secretariat of the provincial commite,refuting al the arguments brought forward for the withdrawal of the armed struggle.It was a masterpiece in revolutionary literature and explained the fallacy of the arguments for withdrawl of armed struggle,corrected wrong view son the nature of the struggle,illustrated the massrevolutionary character of the struggle and how it rallied along inspite of the repression.After discussing the experiences of the Russian and Chinese revolutions,it declared that TElengana was a model for the Indian revolution.It described this path as one of advancing revolution by conducting armed struggle to overthrow the power of the ruling classes through a peoles army formed on the basis of slogan of land to the tiller and Gram Rajyas.Quoting comrade DV “Though there is uneven development,India as a whole is a semi-coloinal ,semi-feudal country.Therfore,the form of revolution takes is one and the same.Revolutionary people’s committees ,land distribution nad armed struggle in the form of guerilaa warfare will be the form of revolution takes.It is a path of peoples war applied to Indian conditions.Subsequent experiences in Srikakula armed struggle proved to be the same.
D.V.Rao refutes the above stating “Earlier we had dealt with the distinguishing features of successful Rusian and Chinese Revolutions and applied their experiences to our own revolution.But we never said that it will take the course of either or both.;lWE said clearly that it is Telenagan which showed the path for New Democratic Revolution in unmistakable terms.If we had in mind it was the Chinese path we would noit have said it is a new path.A new path is always a new path,wjich distinguishes itself from others.Therefore,our view that TElengana armed struggle has shown a new poath for Indian revolution is not a new one of today,but it took it’s origin when TElengan aarmed struggle was developingand continuing.The mention of insurrection was superfluous .The armed struggle being a new ptah cannot subordinate itself to insurrection.Insurrection will only have a secondary role and not aprimary one.:
‘The anti-feudal agrarian revolutionary movement which developed in parts of Telenagana,Nalgonda and to an extent in Khamam and Waranagal,was neither a spontaneous movement nor merely a product of Telengana being a part of feudal Nizam state.It was arevolutionary movement headed by a revolutionary trend inside the party as against the official policy of the then existing party .The anti-Niozam aspect had helped to tone down the struggle beteewn 2 trends because The anti-nizam aspect had helped to tone down the struggle because both were united aginst Nizam and the revolutionary movement that was headed by this anti-Nizam movement enormously contributed to the growth of the political prestige of the party not only in Telengana but also incoastal districts of Rayalaseema alos.Another reason could have been was that the dominant right opportunist trend did not know what level sthis movement would reach inso short a time.Thus this trend was caught unaware at every turning point,so that,it could not decide what to do and what not to do to suppress the other trend tat was revolutionary.To be more precise,in the earliest phase of the movement we were developing contacs and searching for reliable cadres who can work for the party and the masses.We distributed literature and organized campaigns by mobilising the masses on issues within the framework of the law.The party was banned in this period and intense repression existed.After 1942 we went into the masses to organize peasnt struggles aginst landlords in alimited scale until the middle of 1944.
Though there was relaxation in overall repression against the pary due to our supporting anti-fascist war,we had to undergosevere repression due to organizing these struggles,though they were limited in scope to an extent.Therer were differences inside the partry at the state level in that the right opportunist trend grumbled that theywere essential and there was nothing wrong with them.Though the right opportunist ledearship could not stop the struugles being organised,it could succesfuly prevent the development ofsimilar struggles in other parts of the district and TElengana as a whole.Thus the struggles organized and developed by the comrades belonging to revolutionary trend and its leadership were more or less isolated and were suppressed by the authorities,though temporarily and partially.The same thing happened when a struggle developed to a higher level,i.e.covering an extensive area in Janagaon though we confined ourselves to legalk activities in the main,we had also mobilised the peasantry on a big scale aginst bigger and more oppressive feudal landlords.Though there were nodiferences in the earlier phase as long as we confined ourselves to legal activitiers,we agin had to fight and isolated battle in 1945 and 1946 when the land distribution and armed resistance began.,This time there was no active opposition to this phase of the movement,but not taking up same issues and not extending the movement in the smae district and other districts,had not only weakened the movement in Nalgonda district,but alos prevented developing a similar movement throughout Telengana where similar conditions did exist.This was due to predominance of the right opportunist trend.
The document below is a must read for all cadres in correct practice of protracted peoples war.It is arguably the best work on protracted peoples war theory since Comrade Mao innovated it.
EXCERPTS FROM THE PATH AND PROGRAMME OF THE BASIC DOCUMENTS OF THE C.P.R.C.I.(M.L.) WHICH WAS WRITTEN BY COMRADE DV RAO IN 1973 ITSELF.
It is the duty of Communist Revolutionaries to strive to build united party that provides leadership to the revolutionary struggle's of the Indian people.
The vast peasantmasses, who constitute the overwhelming majority of productive forces, aredirectly under the hold of feudal semi-feudal production relations. The intensityand forms of this feudal, semi-feudal plunder and oppression too vary fromregion to region. In particular, there are large tracts of tribal population,which have become special targets of ruling classes' ruthless plunder, uprootingand suppression and are treated as pariahs from the national mainstream.
Similarly, while there have been democratic and national revolutionary strugglesof the Indian people especially of the peasant masses, at one time or other,in major parts of the country, there are variations in the prevalent degreeof democratic awakening of the people from region to region or among sectionsof the people.
On the other hand, in spite of the massiveness and extensiveness of therepressive, coercive apparatus of the State and in spite of a countrywidenetwork of transport and communication systems, the counter-revolutionarystriking capability of the ruling classes and their State is uneven. Whilethe cities, particularly the large ones, have become the bastions ofcounter-revolutionary strength of the ruling classes, the countryside remainslargely as their backyard - particularly, the tribal and other backward regionsremain as the weak links in the counter-revolutionary coercive chain of theState.
Besides, there is an unceasing basic conflict of interests among differentimperialist powers which compete for control over the Indian market andresources, and correspondingly, among different Indian ruling-class factionsthat follow them. Even otherwise, there exist internal feuds among differentsections of the ruling classes, in particular the landlord class. Theseinter-imperialist and intra-ruling class contradictions are bound to intensifyand break into open feuds, as the crisis further deepens and as the people'sdemocratic revolutionary movement advances. This makes it impossible forthe enemy camp to act in unison to suppress or contain the revolutionarypeople's upsurges for seizure of power in different parts of the country--onthe whole and at all times.
These features of semi-colonial, semi-feudal India, make it possibleand necessary, rather inevitable, that the State power be seized by therevolutionary forces of the Indian people, not simultaneously throughoutthe country by means of a concerted armed insurrection but first in someregions of the countryside, in the form of setting up liberated base areasof parallel people's democratic State-power, by means of armed peasant revoltsand prolonged armed struggle; and then, step by step, throughout the country.This process of seizure of power will be carried forward through a tortuousand protracted course of consolidating, expanding and linking up of thesebase areas, extending them in the direction of surrounding big towns andcities, linking up the operation of rural-based people's armed forces withthe popular upheavals and revolts in these urban areas in a planned way andfinally capturing these bastions of counter-revolution. Thus, the entirecountry will be liberated by means of protracted people's war.
At the same time, the very material conditions of work and life of thepeasant masses, as fore-stated, which lend revolutionary intensity to theirclass-urges and struggles, cause limitations too in their revolutionarythoroughness and political consistency. Because, as a class, peasants arenot a vehicle of a new mode of production and are naturally inclined onlytowards a democratic re-ordering of private property but not its elimination.Only proletarian leadership can lend revolutionary thoroughness and consistencyto their anti-feudal and anti-imperialist movement, instill a strong senseof organisation and discipline in the fighting ranks, and integrate therevolutionary struggles of all other sections of Indian society with peasantarmed struggle. So, the protracted people's war is going to be a war ledby the proletariat.
Besides, wherever and whenever the anti-feudal peasant struggles developinto armed agrarian revolts, having built their own democratic platformsand instruments of armed resistance in the process, these armed revolts wouldhave to invariably advance as guerrilla armed struggle. This is because,as the peasantry launch armed agrarian revolt for seizure of means of productionand political power, they, in spite of being politically strong, would haveto face a far superior enemy (ruling classes) in terms of military strength.The international experience as well as the experience in our country standtestimony to the historical fact that whenever a socially large but militarilyweak popular force confronts a small but far stronger reactionary enemy,the guerrilla form of armed struggle is the only form of warfare that cangradually change the balance of forces in favour of the large but popularforce seeking to seize power. As guerrilla warfare, by its very nature, avoidsdecisive military engagements with the stronger enemy-forces and requiresthat the people's guerrilla forces keep the initiative of fighting in theirown hands--fighting at the time and place of their own choosing and to theiradvantage--the change in the balance of forces cannot be brought about quicklybut takes place over a long period of sustained guerrilla struggle. So, theIndian people's revolutionary war has to be a protracted guerrilla war.
Setting up of liberated base areas has to be an indispensable pursuitof the people's armed forces of India as a strategic objective of the armedstruggle for State-power and as the reliable basis for carrying on the protractedguerrilla struggle.
Although the revolutionary guerrilla war under the leadershipof the proletariat, by its very nature and from the very beginning, is basedon the extensive support and involvement of the masses of people, mainlythe peasant masses, a liberated base area is the most consolidated andcomprehensive manifestation of the mobilised might of the people in favourof guerrilla war and against the enemy. That means, the people would havetheir own armed forces developed and trained enough to inflict defeats onthe enemy forces; the broad masses of the people would be greatly aroused,on the basis of the People's Democratic Programme, especially the deepeningof agrarian revolution, to set up their own organs of political power andre-arrange economic and social affairs so as to create a strong materialbacking for the protracted guerrilla war. Such liberated base areas wouldserve as living demonstrations of the revolutionary alternative and the wayto liberation for the revolutionary masses all over the country, exertingtremendous political pressure on the enemy-held areas and giving a markedfillip to the people's struggles everywhere both for their own class demandsand against the attempts of the ruling classes to stifle the base areas.Thus, a liberated base area would signify a total war waged by the peopleon military, political, economic, social and cultural fronts.
The experience of the revolutionary people's struggles of India in thepast, notably the Telangana peasant armed struggle (1946-51), the Naxalbariarmed peasant uprising (1967-68) and the Srikakulam peasant armed struggle(1968-70) clearly indicate the validity of the path of protracted people'swar for the People's Democratic Revolution of India. Despite the historicallimitations and other weaknesses of these struggles, all three of them positivelydemonstrated how the anti-feudal struggles of the peasant masses, under theleadership of the proletariat, when conducted on the basis of an agrarianrevolutionary programme or perspective and imbued with the revolutionarypolitics of seizure of State-power, invariably tend to develop into armedagrarian revolts and guerrilla war against the reactionary Indian State
.The great Telangana armed struggle in particular, provided the most authenticpractical evidence of the feasibility of establishing parallel people's politicalpower in the Indian countryside by dint of the peasant-based and communist-ledguerrilla armed struggle
Thus the existing socio-economic and political conditions and the pastexperience of revolutionary struggles of the Indian people both point outthat the Path of Indian revolution is essentially, the Path of ProtractedPeople's War, as theoretically propounded by Comrade Mao Tsetung. Not onlythe Chinese revolution could succeed following the Path of Protracted People'sWar as propounded by Mao but also the national democratic revolutions inVietnam, Laos, Cambodia could advance to success in the past by followingthis Path. Even now, the people's democratic revolutions in various semi-colonialsemi-feudal countries like Peru, Philippines, etc. are proceeding along thispath. In fact, in none of the semi-feudal semi-colonial countries whererevolutions succeeded, have there been countrywide insurrections. Mao's theoriesconcerning the strategy and tactics of people's war are the most developedexpression of revolutionary political-military thought of the proletariatto date and constitute the basic frame of reference for mapping out the generalcourse and plan of operational tasks for revolutions in all semi-colonialsemi-feudal countries.
It is our fundamental task to apply Mao's theories concerning strategyand tactics of People's War to the concrete practice of Indian revolution.The specific features obtaining in India are likely to necessitate some changesin form and thus even develop some special features of this Path of ProtractedPeople's War in India, but the substantials of it would remain the same.What concrete forms it takes in the earlier and later stages, the advanceof Indian revolution alone will decide.
For the present, we have to firmly grasp the main direction of revolutionary advance as already described,adequately sum-up the experiences of armed struggles that have taken placein India, particularly in Telangana, Naxalbari and Srikakulam, and betterwork out the concrete plan of tasks to prepare the people and lead the Indianrevolution along the Path of Protracted People's War. Obviously, it is essentialthat the entire tactical orientation of the revolutionary forces is imbuedwith the perspective of people's war path.. Every revolution has its own share of relative advantages and disadvantages.Revolutionaries always seek to make full use of advantages and overcome orneutralise disadvantages by working out correct strategy and tactics.
International support available to a revolution always constitutes a significantadvantage, whether it be a great or moderate one. As is the case with everyrevolution, Indian revolution also will have international support. For allthat, Indian revolution will be won basically by the Indian people with theirown strength, while taking advantage of the national and international situation.This is fundamental in a revolutionary mass line; and the path of People'sWar is based on this line. Only such an approach would prompt the Indianrevolutionaries confidently to handle the advantages and disadvantages at hand.
3.1 Advantages and disadvantages the Indian revolution has, relative to theearlier revolutions, pertain to the time-period. We are preparing to unleashprotracted people's war in India at an advanced stage of the present era,the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution. Irrespective of the zig-zagsinvolving the loss of proletarian State-power in the erstwhile socialistcountries, the present historical phase of world development denotes anobjectively advanced level of the decline of imperialism and of the unfoldingof world proletarian revolution.
That reality finds major expression inimperialism's loss of all moral-ideological legitimacy and the world people'senhanced awareness of and resistance to the imperialist oppression, bullying,aggression and war. As that reality finds expression in the revolutionaryconsciousness of the Indian people and raises its level further, it constitutesa major asset for developing People's Democratic revolutionary movement ofIndia. On the other hand, the Indian revolution could not avail of fullyor adequalely the existence of strong and prestigious socialist countriesin the past, and now, the lack of that favourable factor constitutes a seriousdisadvantage. Another advantageous dimension of the present historical situationof the Indian revolution accrues from its access to the rich revolutionaryexperience and theoretical contributions of the past proletarian revolutions'the Chinese revolution in parlicular.
This revolutionary wealth has beenearned with the toil and blood of hundreds of thousands of revolutionaryfighters the world over and constitutes the most valuable asset of worldproletarian revolution and thus of the Indian revolution. It is as strongan advantageous factor for pushing ahead the Indian revolution as the Indianrevolutionaries would be able to make it by their diligent efforts to tapit and scientifically use it. If properly grasped and integrated with theconcrete practice of Indian revolution, it alone can give them enough strengthto overcome all the disadvantageous factors that confront them.
3.2 Further, there are certain disadvantages and advantages the Indian revolutionhas relative to the other contemporary revolutions. Again, primarily these pertain to the time-period, at the national level. The Indian ruling classeswere given a breathing space after the 'transfer of power', thanks to thebetrayal of the Indian revolution by the revisionists.
The ruling classeswere given enough time to replenish their forces, disrupt the revolutionarymovement and corrupt a section of vocal population by the so-called parliamentaryor "Panchayati Raj" system (as a part of creating a network of middlemenand imposed dependence of the people on them). The unusual national/ethnic,religious and social diversity of India and the resultant divisions in theIndian society, especially the social divisions owing to the perniciouscaste-system, had been a perennial feature responsible for complicating theprocess of revolutionary transformation of Indian society. The ruling classeswere given enough time to manipulate and aggravate such divisions to thedetriment of the revolutionary unity and class struggles of the Indian people.Lastly, one should not underestimate the fact that the ruling classes arearmed to the teeth while the revolutionary forces have to proceed from elementarylevels on both the planes - political-organisational as well as military.These are some of the disadvantages resulting from a delayed revolution inIndia. Revolutionaries should take note of them in working out their tactics.
The set of disadvantages due to the delayed revolution, however, has itsopposite aspect too which, although of a secondary nature at present, suggestsall the same that, under suitable conditions, the aspect of disadvantageswould give way to the aspect of advantages. After decades of plunder andmisrule the ruling classes' economy and politics stand bankrupt before theIndian people, who are thoroughly disgusted with the existing state of affairsand vaguely yearn for a revolutionary alternative to the present system.
Given the correct lead, they will be ready to proceed fast along the
Path of People's War to change the present system. Not only the geographicalvastness and demographic plenty happen to be great natural assets for conductingguerrilla warfare in India, even the national/ethnic, social and religiousdiversity may ultimately militate against the reactionary Indian State. Becausethe cynical manipulation, callous and authoritarian handling, and ruthlesssuppression by the Indian rulers, over the decades, have alienated andantagonised various border nationalities, made the religious minorities feelinsecure, made the scheduled castes, scheduled tribes as well as other sociallydeprived sections intensely feel neglected, slighted and marginalised fromthe national-social mainstream.
On proper handling by the revolutionaries,from a secular, democratic and class standpoint and within the frame ofanti-imperialist anti-feudal movement, these forces can veer round to thedemocratic revolutionary platforms, and lend broader range and intensityto the revolutionary mobilisation of the Indian people against the reactionaryIndian State. Similarly, the fact that the Indian ruling classes are armedto the teeth is also painfully realised by various peoples belonging to theneighbouring countries who have experienced, at one time or the other, thebullying, intervention or aggression by this South Asian military power,with the backing or connivance of imperialist powers.
This circumstance hasgiven rise to new scope and necessity of revolutionary collaboration amongthe peoples of South Asia against the common counter-revolutionary menaceposed by the Indian State, and to some extent, even to the interest of theneighbouring counties in the growth of anti-State armed forces within India.Indian people can make skillful use of such tactical opportunities accordingto the concrete conditions obtaining at the given time--with a differentiatedapproach towards the rulers the peoples of these countries. Last but notthe least, during the long-drawn period of gestation of the national democraticrevolution of India, particularly since the arrival of the proletariat onthe national stage as an independent political force in the Nineteen Twenties,the revolutionary movement has gathered a lot of practical experience. Thefact that this experience is largely negative in nature, does not lessenits value and utility for making the past serve the present and shape thefuture.
7.2 At all other times, as long as imperialism controls India indirectly,as at present, the contradiction between feudalism and broad masses of theIndian people will remain in the forefront as the principal contradiction.As a consequence, the struggles emanating from this contradiction will influenceand determine the course of development of all other class struggles emanatingfrom other major contradictions. In other words, in the present phase ofthe Indian revolution, the development of the class struggle in general isgoing to be ultimately conditioned by the development of the agrarianrevolutionary movement, that is, the development of anti-feudal strugglesof the peasantry led by the proletariat on the basis of the agrarianrevolutionary programme, and imbued with revolutionary political consciousness.
7.3 Hence, in the present phase of Indian revolution, in order to ensurethe correct tactical orientation of the concrete plan of tasks and policiesof the communist revolutionary forces, these must give conscious expressionto the objective logic of the unfolding of the principal contradiction bymaking the requirements of building up the agrarian revolutionary movementas their central reference-point. Doing so would have bearings particularlyon the scheme for deployment of the Party forces and resources; on theorientation of the political work on other fronts, particularly the workersfront--who are to be made to acquire the realisation and capability ofdischarging their leadership responsibilities towards the peasantry in theirstruggle against feudal oppression bureaucratic suppression and for realdemocracy; and on the dealings with various political forces particularlythose belonging to the ruling classes.
CLARIFYING MODE OF PRODUCTION AND COMBATING INTELLECTUALS WHO ADVOCATE IT IS ‘CAPITALIST.’
Today there is a strong lobby that either claims that India a a capitalist country or a neo-colony.The C.P.I.(M.L) Red Flag rejects Mao's thesis of Protracted Peoples war and so do the Communist League of India factions.
We must commend intellectuals like the late R.S.Rao who uphold India’s characterization as semi-feudal and semi-colonial. Any strides the Indian Communist movement has made is because of it’s understanding that India is not a fully developed capitalist Society.
The author has visited Punjab recently and discovered the monopoly of money-lenders on the poor agricultural labourers and the expropriation of land in courts from poor peasants who sell their land at 10 times less than their actual value rate.
Sadly we do not have a front of intellectuals who can combat this thesis propounded by the intellectuals who term India as capitalist.
In the recent Maruti Suzuki Workers agitation the workers needed the support of the peasantry to support their agitations.
They proved their cultural ties to the peasantry in the villages.
No doubt,there has been significant capitalist development but after losing their jobs the workers of Maruti would turn to their lands in the villages.(The author thanks) G.N.Saibaba for this information)
True we have much more machinery than China in the 1940s and a far more developed urban infrastructure but it is still the big landlords who have the bargaining power and dictate the price of goods in the market.
A great politician-landlord nexus exists with so may big landlords still existing..In a fully developed capitalist Society land-grabbing by corporate firms as what happened in India would not occur nor such nerciless impact of commisiion agents in Punjab.
No doubt there have been significant changes with globalization nad a greater onslaught of imperialism which has combined a united attack with feudalism as never before.
Ironically how many industrial workers have been displaced from their jobs and gone back to the villages to cultivate their lands.
Quoting Professor R.S.Rao ‘In the Indian context, it is not just the lack of a democratic process and the corresponding institutions but capital’s use of the pre capitalist processes and institutions like religion, caste, region, hierarchy, that merit ones attention... It is not that factory inspectors need to be appointed but that they have to be above caste considerations.... Capital, when it frees labour, gives anonymity to labour. But capital in the Indian context takes away anonymity and puts the labels of religion, caste, and creed. The resulting process is the division among the working class and the division among poor peasants and agricultural labourers, on an extra economic basis…. Capital exists without its corresponding superstructure. Hence we have capital without capitalism.’ (ibid., p. 89)
After an extensive study of the data generated by the Farm Management Surveys and reviewing the debates among economists on the extent and nature of capitalist development in Indian agriculture, R.S. Rao concluded that there was a widespread non-capitalist sector in which productivity and investment seemed to bear an inverse relation to the size of the holding – thus the larger the holding the lower its efficiency and accumulation.
This he attributed to the feudal agrarian relation.
On the other hand the capitalist sector identified, not through the size of the holding but through the labour hiring criterion broke this inverse relation between holding size and capitalist productivity.
‘Given a high level of commodity production leading to a dominant position of capitalism in agriculture, the inverse relationship gives way to a positive relationship. Further it was observed that in such a village the process of differentiation reaches a high level.
The above clearly suggests the existence and further the exploitative efficiency of capitalism in Indian agriculture.’ (ibid., p, 54)
Quoting Jaswantha Rao of T.N.Reddy memorial trust:
Com.T.Nagi Reddy explained in his statement “India Mortgaged”, the bourgeois and landlord government India has taken to the path of gradual transformation of landlord latifundia into bourgeois economy, with all its plans for the supply of seeds, fertilizers, use of pesticides, mechanization of agriculture, extensive funneling of state loans into the landlord economy with the help of immense aid from the international finance. As Lenin has explained this evolution into bourgeois-Junker-landlord economy….. , condemns the peasants to decades of most harrowing expropriation and bondage.
He further explained that, “this is what we are witnessing in our country today. The excruciating pain which the rural economy today is undergoing – the forceful eviction of small peasants and tenants, the growth of concentration of land, increase in the number of agricultural labour, the growing hegemony of upper castes over lower castes – are all symptoms of this growing disease.”
He called upon Communist Revolutionaries to firmly oppose this transformation of Feudal Landlordism by supporting the fighting peasantry for the total liquidation of Feudal Landlordism.
The developments in later decades proved that Com.TN was correct.
During this period, the industrial base of the Indian society had been widened through of the adoption of public sector as the leader. As clearly observed by Marx in his writings, once the capitalist relations were introduced in a country like which has all the potential to develop into a capitalist country, nothing could stop the reproduction of these capitalist relations. This gave rise national bourgeoisie mainly in the form of small scale industry. But imperialism with its strangulating hold on the Indian state had been either destroying these rising capitalist relations through uneven
competition or adopting them to serve its monopoly interests.
Numerous instances can be quoted here how the imperialism amalgamated the indigenous industries or destroyed them. Suffice it to say that as a result the Indian national bourgeoisie could not able to grow beyond certain stages and assert it in terms of its class interests. Thus the emerging capitalist relations in the industrial section were always remained in a deep crisis, living at the mercy of Indian big bourgeoisie and imperialism.
On the other hand, the big bourgeoisie continue to be comprador in nature through myriad arrangement in the form joint ventures, technical and financial collaborations. Even though the value of assets and investments by the big bourgeoisie grew phenomenally, their dependence on imperialism also grew proportionally.
In the first half of 1980 decade, the Indian economy faced a severe all-round crisis and the Indian ruling classes turned to the imperialism to extricate them from the crisis. The imperialist financial institutions – World Bank and IMF – started dictating restructuring of Indian economy so as to increase the imperialist plunder many times. The loan taken from the IMF was paid back by the Indira Gandhi government not because the Indian economy had turned around but because of remittances made by the Indian workers toiling in gulf countries. While this was tom-tom as the success of the policies that were implemented, the crisis forced the Indian government to prostrate before their imperialist masters and PV Narasimha Rao’s government embarked on the New Economic policies as designed and dictated by imperialism.
The New Economic Policies had turned the agriculture into economically unviable activity for the poor and middle peasants. Some of these measures are hiking the rates of electricity, fertilizers and irrigation water. The effect of these set of policies was immediately felt by the vast peasant masses. The deep rooted malaise got expressed in the form of suicides by the peasants. The depth and extent of the crisis can be gauged by the very fact that the total number of suicides by farmers surpassed one and a half lakhs in the span of 8 years.
Yet the Indian ruling classes and their political representatives were undaunted in their pursuit of the policies dictated by imperialism and started exhorting the virtues of implementation of second stage of economic reforms, particularly in agriculture, second stage of green revolution. This makes it clear that it was a deliberate policy and not an aberration. The aim of this strategy was to implement a set policy that turns the Indian agriculture into an appendage to the imperialist economy.
The Indian agriculture shall produce to meet the commercial needs of the agribusiness MNCs and not to meet the needs of the Indian people. By pauperizing the poor and middle peasants through economic levers, the ruling classes intend to push the peasants into contact and/or corporate farming which in practice degrade the peasant to tied producer or farm land supervising the cultivation on behalf of the MNC.
The slogan of intensive cultivation and mechanization of agriculture which led to green revolution and the country into an intractable crisis, continue to hold the field with addition of genetically modified seeds which are designed to perpetuate the dependence of agricultural production upon the MNCs for inevitable use of inputs. Thus the penetration of imperialist capital into agriculture will take place with full force.
The effect of these policies has led to the concentration of land in the hands of neo rich sections that amassed wealth by siphoning off the public funds. This concentration is not of the nature of capitalist relation. The land is being increasingly leased out to the peasants at exorbitant rent, which is nothing but extra economic coercion because otherwise land is not available to the peasant who had no other way of employment. The increasing number of rent farming indicates this.
Yes, the form of feudal exploitation had changed; but not the content.
The vast masses of peasantry (which includes landless laborers, poor and middle peasants) were forced submit to the exploitation being deprived of means of production that is land. During the last four decades, with the penetration of imperialist capital, the peasant masses are burdened with the additional task of quenching thirst of imperialist sharks.
Hence, the agricultural sector has witnessed many changes, but continues to reel under feudal forms of exploitation and imperialist plunder. The intensity of exploitation had increased many folds withholding any progress of the Indian society towards independent capitalism and the Indian ruling classes along with the imperialism are maintaining status quo to safeguard their rule. Hence the Indian society continues to be semi-feudal in nature.
The new economic policies being implemented as part of globalization strategy of imperialism have brought vast changes in the industrial sector. In pursuit of maximizing profits the imperialism gobbled up the manufacturing sector in India often replacing the Indian big bourgeoisie. The basic sectors like iron and steel, coal, non-ferrous metal, power generation went into the hands of foreign monopoly capitalists.
Even in the service sector telecommunications was taken over by the telecom MNCs and the public sector BSNL is up for sale. The most publicized infrastructure projects being implemented are all pocketed by the foreign companies in the name of joint ventures. Foreign capital has occupied commanding heights in the Indian economy.
India became a happy hunting ground for every imperialist to plunder our national resources, human labour and financial sources at whatever rate they like.
All the imperialist countries are competing with each other to increase their hold on our economy.
The Indian big bourgeoisie has grown; their assets grew at astronomical numbers; their industries grew in numbers. When we dissect each and every investment made by the big bourgeoisie, we will find they were tied with foreign capital with innumerable threads like financial, technical and corporate collaborations. And the foreign capitalist had the final say in running the industry. The big bourgeoisie claims itself as corporate entity, but in fact almost all the big bourgeois houses function as private limited companies in the form of Hindu undivided family; and thus they are in no way answerable to society; even the y were not called for disclosing their profits.
Despite apparent growth, the growth of Indian big bourgeoisie is stunted because of its comprador nature and it’s dependence on imperialism for its survival.
The increase of imperialist hold on the Indian society denotes that it continues to be semi-colonial in nature.
The apparent changes that we are witnessing during the last four decades are brought into effect to meet the changing exploiting needs of imperialism and Indian big bourgeoisie. And thus have not intended to change its status as semi-colony.
Thus India continues as semi-feudal and semi-colonial society.
Unless and until the Revolutionary Redistribution of Land basing on the LAND TO THE TILLER is implemented, the feudal relations and their existence will not disappear.
Unless and until the Imperialist capital was thrown out of the country with its allies, Indian society does progress an inch forward. Imperialism, Feudalism and bureaucratic comprador capitalism are decisive impediments for the progress of Indian Society into a democratic, self reliant and independent society.
Only the success of New Democratic Revolution will guarantee such a transformation
Posting interview of Maaoist leader who reveals how self defence was neglected by the Maoist party and leadership and how toaay the ppw has to adopt defensive posture.However he also depicts how strong the movement is in consolidated areas still with a firm base laid.