Repudiation of the CRC, CPI(ML)’s Views on Military Line 4
A Critique of the CRC, CPI(ML) Line 32
Critique of the CRC, CPI(ML) National Question Positions 38
Reorganise the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) 3
on the Basis of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism
Let the War Cry of Naxalbari Reverberate Ever More 42
Urgent Waming for the Public! 43
Celebrate 150 Years of the ‘Communist Manifesto’ 44
Oppose Indian Expansionism’s Nuclear Ambitions! 45
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Reorganise the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist)
on the basis of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism
Statement issued on the occasion of forming the Maoist Unity Centre, Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist)
The Communist Party of Maharashtra (MCP) and the Communist Party of Kerala (KCP) have merged to form the Maoist Unity Centre, Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist). The MCP and KCP were formed after the liquidation of the CRC,CPI(ML) in 1991. Later, the Marxist-Leninist sections in both of these parties took up the task of carrying out a thorough rupture from the revisionist ideological-political line of the CRC,CPI(ML). The formation of the MUC,CPI(ML) marks a decisive leap in this struggle, It has been done on the basis of joining the struggle to unite and reorganise the CPI(ML), establishing Marxism-Leninism-Maoism as the decisive ideological guide for the successful completion of the all-India New Democratic revolution.
The general line of the MUC,CPI(ML) is that of advancing along the path of Peoples War to successfully complete the all-India New Democratic revolution having the main content of armed agrarian revolution, led by the proletariat and directed against imperialism, all-India savarna compradore -bureaucrat bourgeoisie and feudalism. Guided by this general line , it will take up the national question from the strategic viewpoint of the all-India New Democratic revolution, as well as the caste annihilation struggle and the struggle for the emancipation of women. It will join the struggle to unite and reorganise the CPI(ML) on the basis of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and contribute in developing a comprehensive revolutionary program which takes Com:Charu Mazumdar’s revolutionary teachings as its basis. It will continuously strive to raise its ideological grasp through deepening the struggle against modern revisionism, which is mainly represented today by the revisionist Chinese clique, and against centrist trends.
The MUC,CPI(ML) upholds the DECLARATION of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement and the documents “Long Live Marxism-Leninism-Maoism” and “On the World Situation” adopted by the RIM on the occasion of the Mao Tsetung Centenary.
In the present world situation the imperialists and reactionaries are facing more and more obstacles as they try to overcome their crisis and impose their order. Revolution remains the main trend and the principal contradiction at the world level, the contradiction between imperialism and the oppressed nations, is intensifying along with the other major contradictions. The Peoples War in Peru and Nepal led by Maoist communist parties, as well as the revolutionary armed struggles in other parts of the world further promotes this favourable situation.. In India also the all-India ruling class and its political representatives are increasingly getting caught in fresh crisis. The heightening of imperialist penetration is drawing more and more sections of the oppressed masses into struggle. Prospects for a great revolutionary upsurge are very bright. All of this makes the question of uniting and reorganising the CPI(ML) and developing Peoples War a pressing issue.
Maoist Unity Centre,
APRIL 22,1997 Communist Party of India( Marxist-Leninist)
Repudiation of the CRC, CPI (ML)’s views on military line
[A basic criticism of the CRC, CPI (ML)‘s position on armed struggle was made in ‘A Critique of the CRC, CPI(ML) Line’ (seep. 35). The following article deepens this criticism by unravelling the inner connections between different aspects of the CRC’S revisionist line. Rupture is also a process of self criticism and we welcome criticism to further sharpen it -Central Organising Committee, MUC, CPI (ML), 1998]
From its formation in 1979 till its dissolution in 1991 the views of the CRC, CPI(ML) on armed struggle and military line underwent three important shifts. The first one took shape in the period 1979-1982. It was sanctioned by the all-India Conference of 1982 and further developed during the following months. The second one emerged during the discussions leading to the 1985 all-India Plenum and the 2nd all-India Conference held in 1987. It was formalised in 1988. The third shift took place with the adoption of the document ‘On Proletarian Democracy’, put forward in the form of a draft for discussion. It could not be finalised since the CRC, CPI(ML) was liquidated in October 1991. Throughout this period the CRC, CPI(ML) claimed to uphold the path of People’s War and its basic Concepts. This is why we have characterised the changes in its views on armed struggle and military line as ‘shifts’. But, as we shall see below, they really represented a consistent, step by step, deviation from the military science of the proletariat
Moving away from Charu Mazumdar
The CRC,CPI(ML) [CRC] upheld the “proletarian revolutionary line of Comrade Charu Mazumdar” as one of its basic positions. It stated “Armed struggle is the main form of struggle and all other forms of struggle should be complementary to it”. But, from the very beginning, the main constituents of the new organisation diverged in their grasp and practice of this basic position. The Andhra Pradesh unit was of the view that the main weakness of the earlier movement lay in the military aspect. Whereas the Kerala unit considered that it should be sought in errors in developing mass organisations, mass struggles and economic program. Just preceding the formation of the CRC, the Kerala State Committee (KSC) had adopted certain positions on these questions. Pointing to particular conditions in Keralam, it argued that the armed struggle could be initiated only after “uncovering and sharpening contradictions by intervening in ongoing mass and trade union struggles and developing them into political struggles.” These differences were settled by the ‘82 Conference. The issue was decided in favour of the Kerala State Committee’s positions. An earlier draft ‘Tactical line’ document drawn up along the lines of the basic position adopted in 1979 was withdrawn by decision of the Conference. Since the positions of the KSC became decisive in the further evolution of the CRC’s views on armed struggle and military line, we will probe them in more detail.
The positions of the KSC diverged from the 1970 line of the CPI(ML) in two important aspects. The more obvious one was its proposal to develop mass struggles into political struggles in order to prepare grounds for initiating armed struggle. This contradicted Charu Mazumdar’s well known opposition to making economic or partial struggles a precondition for the initiation of armed struggle. It also contradicted Lenin’s refutation of economism and the Leninist stand that economic struggles cannot be developed into the political struggle for power. By now, the KSC had already come to the view that the CPI(ML) failed to develop mass organisations and struggles complementary to People’s War. It held that this remained as a major issue of rectification. This was the justification for diverging from Charu Mazumdar. But the contradiction with Leninism could not be explained away so readily. The KSC sought to do this by adopting a new style of militant mass struggle built around the slogan “To rebel against injustice is right”. The thrust of its practice was on intervening in local issues and conducting ‘People’s Trials’ with mass participation mobilised on the basis of this slogan. Contradictions among the masses as well as contradictions between the masses and local oppressors were handled in these Trials. They were conducted by People’s Committees temporarily formed to take up specific issues. These Trials were projected as ‘rudimentary forms of parallel political power.’
Work along these lines spread out very quickly. In some areas this led to a sharpening of the contradiction with local oppressors and annihilations. The whole experience appeared to validate the KSC’s claim of developing mass struggle complementary to armed struggle without sliding into economism. Furthermore, it also appeared to substantiate its claim of applying the lessons of the struggle in defence of Mao Tsetung Thought and the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (GPCR) against the capitalist usurpers in China, to resolve the crucial problems facing the Indian New Democratic Revolution.
We noted that KSC positions diverged in two ways. The second, not so obvious one, was contained in the assumption that the armed struggle could be initiated only after uncovering and sharpening contradictions. This implied that, apart from subjective conditions, objective conditions for initiating armed struggle were also either absent or weak. Yet this conclusion was never spelt out. Rather, the CRC continued to maintain that, despite of being uneven, a continuous revolutionary situation existed throughout India.
While discussing the prospects for initiating and sustaining armed struggle for seizure of power, Mao Tsetung had pointed to the existence of a continuous revolutionary situation in China. This was formed by objective contradictions namely, the contradiction between imperialism and the people and that between feudalism and the broad masses. Mao had also pointed out that the revolutionary situation was never static. Depending on conditions and the advance of armed agrarian revolution, it could be stagnating or developing and there could be ebbs and high tides. By initiating the war in regions of sharp contradictions, building up armed forces and seizing power areawise, the communist party should expand Red power in waves upon waves. Thus it should accelerate the development of the revolutionary situation. Charu Mazumdar had insisted on these Maoist positions as one of the cornerstones of the new party’s ideological and political line.
Accepting the existence of a continuous revolutionary situation in the oppressed countries means, in essence, accepting the objective possibility and necessity of initiating armed struggle to seize political power, without waiting for the maturing of a countrywide revolutionary crisis. Evidently, this does not negate the necessity of preparations, the building up of sufficient subjective forces to initiate and sustain armed struggle. But it makes this preparation, and only this preparation, the key ideological, political and organisational task which must be addressed by a Maoist party. Though the KSC’s positions on the necessity of uncovering and sharpening contradictions appeared to be in the nature of such preparations, its essence was quite different. If conditions in Keralam had created a situation where objective contradictions were nowhere sharp, then apart from preparation of subjective forces, the objective conditions for taking up the armed struggle for seizure of power itself had to mature. In that case, armed struggle could not be an immediate agenda, regardless of the level of the subjective forces.
This was the key to the camouflaged economism of the KSC. Though not everywhere and in equal intensity, objective conditions for the initiation and development of People’s War always exists in an oppressed country. The central task of a Maoist party is to seize this opportunity and make the initiation and development of war the centre of gravity in all its areas and spheres of activity. If this task is kept aside or grasped in a formal way then the party’s line will be reformist, no matter what its subjective intentions are. Because, when socio-economic and political conditions have already put the armed struggle for seizure of power, the highest task of revolution, on the agenda, any line which falls short of directly taking it up will be economist.
Once again, this does not mean that the party should initiate armed struggle without preparations. It also does not mean that it should be initiated in all of its areas of activity. Even in the vast countryside where contradictions are comparatively sharper, there will he regions where objective conditions are less developed. The party should make a materialist evaluation through investigations, identify and concentrate in that region (or regions) most suitable for the initiation and development of People’s War. Besides, its work in other regions, both in the countryside and cities, must be handled in a manner serving the task of initiation. “Before the outbreak of war all organisation and struggle arise in preparation for the war...After the war breaks out, all organisation and struggle are coordinated with the war, either directly or indirectly.”
The successful initiation and development of People’s Wars in Peru and Nepal at the fag end of the 20th century is powerful testimony to this Maoist position:- The central and immediate task of a communist party in an oppressed country is to seize power from the class enemy through People’s War. All of its activities should be oriented towards the resolution of this task. All the activities of the party should be judged primarily in relation to this central task. It should either carry out the seizure of power or should be preparing for it.
During this period, the KSC [and later the CRC] was upholding the strategic line of an Indian New Democratic revolution. There was no question of drawing up a separate tactical line for Keralam. Yet, instead of reviewing and rectifying the KSC positions, they were made the dominant guide lines of the CRC. Moreover, the KSC’s contention on the particular conditions existing in Keralam were never investigated and challenged in a systematic manner.
True, certain transformations were taking place in Keralam’s class relations. They played a role in the ebb of the revolutionary situation since the mid ‘70s. But the agrarian question was by no means resolved. Besides, even in those conditions, there still were regions of sharp contradictions with explicit forms of semi-feudal exploitation. In other words, unevenness remained (and remains) as an important feature. In particular, this period of ebb was also a period of intensification in the exploitation and oppression of the Adivasi masses, by any standards, the lowest section of society. Land grabbing from Adivasis became an immensely profitable business for powerful landlords and money lenders. The two parliamentary fronts led by the Congress and the CPI(M) had reached stagnation. Significant sections of the Dalit basic masses were being alienated from the parliamentary left. The rise of new forms of share cropping and tenure, the rapid growth of private financiers (known as ‘blade’ companies among the masses), and evolution of new bureaucrat capitalist relations in agriculture and industry through the agencies of the state and co-operatives, were also part of the new situation. In other words, transformations in class relations had never made Maoist basic principles irrelevant in Keralam.
Instead of making a concrete analysis of concrete conditions, the KSC made a summary evaluation which in essence wrote of the possibility of initiating People’s War in Keralam. Its acceptance of a continuous revolutionary situation was formal and idealist since it neither analysed nor grasped the specificities of the revolutionary situation. This deviation was endorsed and further worsened by the subsequent positions of the CRC.
These two intertwining strands of economism and idealism were continued in the CRC ‘s positions on parallel political power and its concept of political power. As mentioned earlier, People’s Trials were seen as a rudimentary or embryonic form of parallel political power. In reality, they were no more than the imposition of the momentarily organised will of the masses in some specific partial issues. Just as much as a forcible seizure of land does not, in itself, contain the seizure of political power, a People’s Trial leading to the annihilation of a hated tyrant also did not represent anything more than the violent resolution of a partial issue. Furthermore, these Trials were not protected by any means of revolutionary armed force. Hence they could be conducted only up till the point that the enemy’s political power did not unleash its suppression. Once the enemy decided that enough was enough and started suppressing those organising and participating in such Trials, they came to a stop. The lesson was not a new one. No amount of ‘organised will’ can stand up to the enemy’s armed suppression unless it takes up arms. Political power can only grow through the barrel of a gun. The enemy’s political power must be destroyed through armed struggle to set up and defend the new power. Without such political power “everything is an illusion”. In the case of the CRC, this illusion was created and maintained by its concept of parallel political power. It was later deepened with its ‘new concept of political power.’
We will first analyse the concept of parallel political power. Parallel to what? If it supposed to be parallel to the enemy’s power then the question of whether it can exist over a long time must be answered. More fundamentally the question of whether at all revolutionary political power can exist parallel to the enemy’s power must be answered. The Maoist concept of Red power, base area, liberated area etc., can be said to be parallel political power only in the sense that they exist in a small part (or parts) of a country where countrywide political power is still held by the enemy. Within the base area Red power is the sole power. Moreover, as proved by the experience of the October revolution, even in capitalist countries, ‘dual’ power can exist only for a brief period. They can exist only under exceptional circumstances where neither of the contending powers are in a position to forcefully impose its domination. This duality has to be resolved in favour of one or the other power. In a certain sense, the Red power pockets established through People’s War also face a similar urgency. Unless the pockets of Red power are created and sustained as base areas of People’s War, unless they are expanded to accelerate the revolutionary situation, unless the war is developed as a ‘total war’ aiming at the countrywide seizure of power, they will not be able to exist for long. This is apart from the constant possibility of their being abandoned temporarily in order to manoeuvre, or their being seized back by the enemy.
Within the strategy of People’s War, particularly in the initial period leading to the areawise seizure of power, parallel power other than as pockets of Red power, has no place and can have no place. Any concept of establishing power without the areawise armed smashing of the enemy power and the building up of armed forces to defend the new power is sheer idealism. It is the substitution of the ‘illusion of power’ for real political power. This is why Mao insisted that, “The fundamental conditions for establishing a base area are that there should be armed forces, that these armed forces should be employed to inflict defeats on the enemy and that they should arouse the people to action”. Lenin himself had pointed out that the seizure of power even in a small area would immediately confront the revolutionaries with all the tasks of government. The point is that one cannot have power in parts. Areawise seizure of power is partial only in relation to the countrywide power of the enemy. Within that area or base, it must be the sole power. Otherwise it is not yet political power. We will have to come back to this question later on.
‘Left’ spontaneity complements economism
The positions of the KSC which later on became the line of the CRC did not go unchallenged. Within the Kerala unit itself some comrades had opposed these positions and many had doubts. But the strongest opposition came from the AP unit. It continued the struggle till splitting away in 1985.
As pointed out earlier, the AP unit had identified the military aspect as the principal issue of the setback. On its own, and later on as part of the CRC, it launched a number of armed assaults. But they could not be sustained. Many leading cadres were caught and killed by the police.
Actually, apart from correctly identifying the military aspect as the key issue to be taken up, the AP State Committee never tried to make a systematic summation of the military line and experiences of the CPI (ML). Merely insisting on the correctness of Charu Mazumdar’s positions and trying to keep the flag of armed struggle flying, it repeated a number of errors which were evident in the armed struggle led by the CPI (ML) in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. There was no rupture from the powerful elements of spontaneity in military matters. This failure sustained ‘left’ errors in developing mass work to prepare for and serve People’s War. Ultimately, its correct stand on seeing the military aspect as the principal issue leading to the setback did not advance beyond a formal assertion. The failure of the AP unit in taking up the military question from the standpoint of line and synthesising both the positive and negative lessons of the armed struggle led by the CPI (ML), gave ample room for the CRC leadership to establish the Kerala experience as the cornerstone of its summation of CPI(ML) experiences.
The feeble opposition in Keralam also suffered from a similar weakness. From 1967 till 1976, the revolutionary movement in Keralam had carried out armed struggles, including successful assaults on police outposts. But the struggle could not be sustained. In fact, unlike other States in India, the movement was totally crushed by the enemy a number of times. Given this experience some hard thinking was called for. Dogmatist denial of mass struggles and organisation and secretism had helped the CPI-CPM revisionists in isolating the party. Yet it still enjoyed prestige among the basic masses. After the repeal of Emergency in 1977 most of the cadres, including leading ones, could resume revolutionary activities. Based on these positive strengths, a proper summation of political-military failures aimed at charting out the application of the People’s War path in the concrete conditions of Keralam was needed. But the opposition to the new positions failed to rise up to this task. They too failed to rupture from the elements of spontaneity, subjectiveness and one-sidedness in the CPI (ML) line and practice. Subsequently they were swept up into the spontaneity of economism.
Summing out revolution
All the elements of the CRC’s positions on armed struggle as it existed till 1985 had thus emerged by 1982. What remained to be done was the task of placing them in a comprehensive line and making this the basis of evaluating the experiences of the CPI (ML). This was done in the 1st all-India Conference.
The CRC’s summation, ‘Towards a New Phase of Spring Thunder’, picked on some real errors in Charu Mazumdar’s positions and the CPI (ML) line and practice in order to reverse correct verdicts. Charu Mazumdar’s “counterpoising of mass struggles and mass organisation to guerrilla struggle”, ignoring the necessity of an agrarian program and one-sided stress on secret work etc., were identified as the major reasons for the setback. Regarding military line it argued, “...the party was not implementing a well thought out and well defined line on the military front. At times the military line was developing spontaneously and at other times comrade Charu Mazumdar was attempting to give a shape to it.” But this justified criticism of spontaneity covered up the worship of spontaneity from the opposite, economist, end. The CRC’s ideas about a ‘conscious development’ of military line meant that “...the communist revolutionaries who were leading the Naxalbari struggle could not chalk out a thorough, concrete program for establishing parallel power centres and continuing it for a long time because they did not think seriously about the possibility of the existence of dual power centres in the countryside for a long time. Without a political line of setting up people’s power centres in parallel to the enemy’s existing power centres and gradually overcoming the latter through a long drawn out struggle, the concept of establishing political power at the local level can never be realised, leading ultimately to the countrywide seizure of power.” This error was attributed to “…the lack of the very concept of protracted war.” Charu Mazumdar’s counterpoising of the struggle for political power and the struggle for “economic gains” was also identified as one of the reasons leading to the setback. In fact, this was characterised as the very basis of “...the dogmatic understanding of the question of political power and one-sided rejection of other forms of struggle and organisation.”
Let us start from this argument. Any class seizes power in order to overturn existing relations of production and establish new ones corresponding to its class interests. This is also a decisive way of suppressing and eliminating the overturned class. Though not in its fullest dimension, areawise seizure of power also entails these tasks. In an oppressed country the crux of these tasks is the overturning of semi-feudal agrarian relations and the implementation of ‘land to the tiller’. This is what an agrarian program should deal with. Though the CPI (ML) did not have a worked out agrarian program it did have a clear cut agrarian policy. This policy was realised in the Naxalbari armed rebellion. The Terai report gave an exhaustive account of this experience.’ It also summed up the reasons for the setback at Naxalbari in the following way: “...lack of strong party organisation; failure to rely wholeheartedly on the masses and to build a powerful mass base; ignorance of military affairs; thinking on old lines and a formal attitude towards the establishment of political power and the work of land reform.”
Obviously, each of these are linked to one another and the crux is the seizure of power. Without overturning political, economic and social relations enforced by the political power of the enemy classes, the peasants could never impose the program of ‘land to the tiller.’ Their seizure of land was not a struggle for economic “demands” or “gains” in a partial sense. It was decisive in overturning the whole semi-feudal structure in Naxalbari. This was the gist of Charu Mazumdar’s summation, “...militant struggles must be carried on not for land, crops etc., but for seizure of political power.” Seizing on the lapse in this formulation, which gave room for excluding the economical dimension in the areawise seizure of power, the CRC reduced the struggle in this sphere to one for “economic demands.” It then went on to argue that this struggle should precede the struggle for political power.
One year after Naxalbari, Charu Mazumdar explained his line for developing protracted People’s War by relying on the masses, “To forge close and intimate links with the people, the party units comprising the poor and landless peasants must organise the class struggle of the broad peasant masses by spreading and propagating revolutionary politics in accordance with the Thought of Chairman Mao. When such class struggles are organised, these party units, comprising the poor and landless peasants will be transformed into guerrilla units. These guerrilla units must then broaden and strengthen the party’s mass base by spreading and propagating revolutionary politics through armed struggle. Only in this way and through a protracted struggle can a regular armed force be created and the struggle developed into a People’s War.” On this, the CRC said, “By merely propagating revolutionary politics, class struggle cannot be developed. All the day to day problems of the people are to be handled using all possible open and secret mass activities and thus developed into higher forms of class struggle. Along with implementing such a program, we have to propagate revolutionary politics. Otherwise, in the absence of such a program for the fulfillment of the economic demands of the people, the revolutionary politics will appear as abstract slogans unconnected to real life.” Thus, organising class struggle on the basis of revolutionary politics, i.e. seizure of political power, is replaced with organising class struggle on the basis of economic demands. The revolutionary agrarian program, which alone can fulfill the economic demands of the masses in a fundamental sense, is replaced with a program of struggle for partial demands. Economic struggle is separated from revolutionary politics.
At this point it is worthwhile recapitulating the struggle between Charu Mazumdar’s line and the line of Nagi Reddy. The crux of the struggle was the issue of armed struggle for seizure of power. Charu Mazumdar correctly stressed that the party should centre all its work from the very beginning on the armed struggle for the areawise seizure of power. Whereas Nagi Reddy tried to theorise the spontaneous course of development of the Telengana armed struggle into a line. He argued that the peasants must be first mobilised to struggle for land. Following this an armed resistance struggle to defend this economic gain must be developed. This resistance struggle should be developed into the struggle for political power. For convenience sake, we will term this as the ‘phase theory of People’s War’. (Some sections had argued that the armed resistance should be organised simultaneous to land seizure and blamed the postponing of resistance as economism. Clearly this is only a variation of the same line.)The essence of this line is the view that the masses can be mobilised for the struggle to seize power only in phases−struggle for land, armed resistance to defend gains and then the struggle for power. In opposition to this Charu Mazumdar stressed the development of class struggle to the highest level by arming the masses with the politics of areawise seizure of power. Even though the CRC formally declared itself in support of Charu Mazumdar’s line, its thrust was towards a rehashed version of the Nagi Reddy line.
This political deviation guided the CRC’s evaluation of military experiences. As quoted earlier, the CRC saw the main military reason for the setback at Naxalbari in the lack of the very concept of protracted war. This was explained as the absence of a concrete program for establishing parallel power centres and continuing them for a long time. We have already pointed out the error in the concept of parallel power. Here we can further note how this concept serves and is served by economism, both politically and militarily. Dual power centres existing over a long period of time, as conceived by the CRC, could only exist as such by restricting themselves to the handling of partial issues. Perhaps in a militant way, but nevertheless partial issues. In actual fact, this would not be a political power centre but rather a new type of mass organisation, even if they were backed by revolutionary armed force. The CRC’s choice of words itself are revealing. Instead of the seizure of power it spoke about “setting up” people’s power centres. Instead of the wavelike expansion of Red power through armed struggle, it wanted to “gradually overcome” the enemy’s power ‘through a long drawn out struggle”. Finally areawise seizure of power was replaced by “establishing power at the local level”.
This last point was heralded by the CRC as its unique contribution and must be probed further. We will start with this quotation from its summation document, “Under the present circumstances, the concept of establishing political power at the local level has got a wider significance. Generally this concept is considered to be applicable only to the colonial and semi-colonial countries. But comrade Charu Mazumdar had pointed out that it was Lenin himself who put forward the concept of establishing political power at the local level. Comrade Charu Mazumdar continued: “In the era of socialism all the elements of areawise seizure of power are present in our framework.” It is quite clear that comrade Charu Mazumdar was not confining the concept of the areawise seizure of power to a mere tactical concept for revolution in colonial and semi-colonial countries...Of course we can’t say that comrade Charu Mazumdar was having, at that time, a clear cut understanding of all the elements of this concept about which we can discuss today. Moreover, the distinction between the present concept of establishing political power at the local level and the areawise seizure of power was not understood properly at that time. Now we have all the experiences of the GPCR and also that of the fierce struggle taking place in China since the capitalist roaders have come to power. Today we know that even in a socialist society, the key factor in the struggle against capitalist restoration is to establish and consolidate the real political power of the working class at the local level, at the level of each factory, co-operative farm, commune or any other such institution...So at present the concept of establishing political power at the local level ...has become the real essence of the struggle for socialism and communism. Indeed this concept itself has undergone a qualitative change.”
Later on, while discussing Revolutionary Committees, the document said, “...in the beginning when comrade Charu Mazumdar was talking about areawise seizure of power he was not referring to this new concept of Revolutionary Committees evolved out of the GPCR. The tactic of areawise seizure of power is only a part of the military strategy of People’s War. But the concept of establishing political power at the local level is aiming at the decentralisation of political power by developing people’s power centres at the local level through unleashing the initiative of the people. Of course, this concept can be easily connected with the tactic of areawise seizure of power.”
First of all, refuting the revisionist thesis on seizing power at the centre in one stroke with the areawise seizure of political power is not at all a mere matter of tactics. In the theory of People’s War, the establishment of base areas (which is what is meant by areawise seizure of power) is an essential aspect of strategy. Reducing this to tactics implies the possibility of using ‘other tactics’ to seize power. It undermines the very essence of the path of People’s War.
Moreover it is wrong to equate the areawise seizure of power to the ‘establishment of power at the local level’, for two reasons. The ‘establishment of political power at the local level’ can also be done after seizing power at the Centre through an insurrection. So this equation will open the door to abandoning the path of People’s War. And this is exactly what the CRC did later on. More basically, Red power created through the areawise seizure of power is from the very beginning itself the centralised power of the revolutionary classes led by the proletariat. It can be termed as ‘local’ only in the sense of the restricted area controlled by it. Obviously, depending on the spread of area under Red power the power structure must have local organs apart from the central organs. But these local organs are still parts of the single, centralised power. State power, however limited the area controlled by it, can only be centralised power. The simple reason is that it represents the interest of a class (or classes). This interest cannot be divided up or ‘decentralised’. It emerges from objective conditions and the historical role of the class. It is common to all of its members. The CRC’s position on ‘local level power’, linked to the idea of ‘decentralising’ power, emerged from a misreading of the lessons of the GPCR. It confused centralisation and decentralisation in the administration of power with the impossible task of decentralising state power. This initiated a deviation from Marxist teachings on state power. In the Indian context, this went to weaken the vital struggle against the reactionary ideology of Gandhism which has always prattled about decentralised power (Panchayati Raj) in order to cover up the reactionary character of the Indian state and present political power as something neutral or standing above classes.
Idealist reading of the GPCR lessons and implications for Military Line
In the immediate period following the capitalist coup in China, the KSC leadership had published a series of articles titled ‘Socialist Path and Capitalist Path’, written by K.Venu. (They were published in the 1979 issues of Mass Line). This work exposed the revisionist fallacies of the Deng-Hua clique and refuted their distortion of Mao’s teachings and the lessons of the GPCR. In line with this it exposed the material basis of capitalist restoration − bourgeois right and capitalist elements engendered by it. But this mainly correct analysis was soon replaced by one which identified the roots of capitalist restoration in the bureaucratisation of the party and state machinery.
This view was elaborated in the article ‘The Concept of People’s Power—a Re-examination’. It said, “...in a juridically socialised system (when the entire means of production are turned into state property) the entire means of production are governed by a few individuals at the top of the hierarchy. So the slogan of socialisation in the absence of a concrete program for decentralisation of political power will prove to be counter-productive...no serious attempt at decentralisation of this centralised power took place in the Soviet Union. Consequently, the bureaucratisation of the state machinery and the emergence of the new bourgeoisie were facilitated leading to capitalist restoration at a later stage.”; “In a socialist society the process of capitalist restoration starts at the local level. It is taking place at the level of each factory, co-operative or commune. At each level, wherever the worker-peasant masses are not vigilant enough to wield the political power in their own hands and to fight against the emerging new bureaucratic class, the people loose their power into the hands of this emerging new bourgeoisie.”
Let us keep aside the grossly distorted presentation of state power and economy in the socialist Soviet Union in order to concentrate on the basic argument raised here. This is the thesis that bureaucratisation and the emergence of a new bourgeoisie were facilitated by centralised political power. According to Mao (and later as elaborated by Chang Chun Chiao and Yao Wen Yuan) the roots of the new bourgeoisie lie in bourgeois right, in the continuing, though restricted, role of commodity production, exchange and the law of value. In other words, in the continuing elements of capitalism in the socialist economy. This is why revolutionary transformation of production relations and superstructure have to be carried out continuously, taking class struggle as the key link. The positions advanced by the CRC replaced this materialist analysis of the contradictory nature of socialism with an idealist and erroneous view of ‘new bourgeoisie springing up from the bureaucracy’. Perhaps this view is supported by Mao’s later comment that the “bourgeoisie is within the party”? No. The bourgeoisie within the party are the agents of bourgeois relations. The struggle between the socialist road and the capitalist road, the two line struggle within the party, is nothing other than the reflection of class struggle arising out of the material contradictions of socialist society. The capitalist roaders within the party violate the democratic centralist principles and mass line of the party and try to subvert them by promoting bureaucratism. Bureaucratism is thus the result not the cause of the capitalist road.
The idealist error of the CRC is further worsened by its argument, ‘capitalist restoration starts at the local level’. By this it did not mean that new elements of capitalism are engendered at the basic level of economy. When it mentioned factories, co-operatives and communes, this meant the local organs of power. Besides, it was discussing the restoration of capitalism, not the engendering of the capitalist road. The restoration of capitalism does not start at the local level. It starts at the very top, when capitalist roaders usurp power or parts of it.
Idealist reading of the GPCR lessons and the stress on decentralisation of power as the key means of preventing capitalist restoration lead in turn to an idealist and metaphysical deviation in the very concept of political power. The CRC argued that the old concept which stated that “...political power grows out of the barrel of a gun”, and that “...the army is the chief component of the political power of a state...is only partially true and quite inadequate.”
Distorting Mao’s teachings, it claimed that he had “...developed his earlier inadequate definition of political power” by creating “parallel power centres of the people at the local level through unleashing the initiative of the people and developing their political consciousness... With this development the concept of people’s power came to acquire a wider and altogether different meaning. Seizing power through the gun is an important factor in building up people’s political power. But real political power will never be created by this act alone. Mobilisation of the political will of the people is a must here...Real people’s political power can be established only if both these aspects—the armed might of the people and the political will of the people—are developed and brought together as complementary aspects of the same phenomenon.”
The main thing to be noted here for the purpose of our topic of review is the formulation, “seizing power through the gun is an important factor in building up people’s political power.” What this shows is how an idealist concept of political power inevitably leads to undermining the central role of armed struggle in the seizure of political power. This arises from the separation of political power into political will and armed might. This separation is idealist and metaphysical. There can be no ‘political will’ separate from the means to impose it. If no such means exist or are not created, this ‘will’ can be really nothing more than a political aspiration. The real purpose of this separation was to argue that the process of politically mobilising the masses and that of armed struggle are two distinct, separate processes—”to be developed and brought together.” The next step was this argument, “Whenever the people take an organised decision they are exercising their own political power.”; “. ..the old idea that we can talk about political power only when a liberated area with a standing army is established is negating this dialectical process of the development of political power.”
Thus, there can be a preliminary stage or phase, where ‘embryonic forms of political power’ already emerge through the ‘organised decisions’ of the masses. This will be followed up by a phase where these organised decisions are now enforced by armed might. The ‘new’ concept of political power was supposed to ward off economism. What really took place was that economist theory and practice led to the denial of the central role of armed struggle. The line of replacing the struggle for political power by the ‘illusion of power’ was further advanced. The strategic task of areawise seizure of power was thoroughly undermined. These positions were explicitly laid out in a follow up article, “To Work Out a Military Line”
Digging away Maoism
It was argued that, unlike China, there are no warring groups among the rulers in India and the centralised and powerful state is capable of reaching every nook and corner of the country. It stated,, “From our own experiences, we can conclude that unless the state machinery is challenged on a very wide scale, simultaneously from many parts all across India, it is almost impossible to even think of building up liberated areas in one or two or a few pockets here and there.”; “The pivotal question is ....how to force the enemy to disperse his forces and compel him to leave many areas out of his direct control.”
Apparently, this seems to address some real military questions. But the very posing of the issue indicated a line of thinking contrary to the theory of People’s War. Even militarily, the pivotal question in the areawise seizure of power is NOT the dispersal of enemy forces. It is the construction of a red army as the main form of organisation and the piecemeal destruction of the enemy’s armed force. The schematic picture presented by the CRC was like this: first force the enemy to disperse his armed forces by a simultaneous attack all across the country, then concentrate forces to destroy him in a few suitable areas. This scheme denies
the very dynamics of war − preserve oneself by destroying the enemy. When, in keeping with the principles of People’s War, the armed struggle is initiated even before the capacity for a simultaneous attack from many or all parts of the country is attained, it can sustain itself only by pursuing a line of offensive within the strategic defensive. Guerrilla struggle must be developed over larger and larger areas. The masses must be drawn into the war and revolutionary armed forces must be built up. The areas of operation must be transformed into guerrilla zones as a step towards the areawise seizure of power. This is the only way to sustain and advance BECAUSE the dynamics of war is equally valid for the enemy. It cannot (and will not) restrain or limit its armed suppression on the plea that the revolutionary party has not yet launched an offensive to seize power.
Within a specific strategic campaign to seize base areas in suitable regions, tactical diversionary attacks or movements aimed at luring away the enemy or dispersing its concentration in the main point of attack, will have to be carried out. But this is properly part of the overall military plan and its sub-plans. It cannot be the strategic plan for the whole war or for its initiation.
The article negated the view that, “...in an area- however small or isolated it might be- the struggle can be developed to the maximum extent of smashing the enemy power totally and establishing real people’s political power.” It said, “But now, under the present conditions in India, we know that it is practically impossible to build up such areas of people’s power in a few places at one go.” Once again this argument appeared to be a rectification of some real errors in the military thinking of the CPI (ML). And once again, it was picking on real errors to negate its positive aspects − aspects which made Naxalbari possible. This was done by confusing the total destruction of the enemy’s political power with the establishment of stable base areas. It is not only possible but absolutely necessary to totally destroy enemy power locally. In fact this is decisive in the development of People’s War. But, this destruction will lead to the establishment of a base area, only if the revolutionary armed forces are able to expand the zone of guerrilla actions and militarily prevent the enemy’s attempts to restore his power. The party must consistently prepare the grounds by developing and spreading guerrilla struggle. It must evaluate overall conditions and judge the correct time for launching its military campaign to seize base areas. The error of the CPI (ML) leadership lay in its failure to prepare such military plans, due to the strong elements of spontaneity and subjectivism in its military thinking. But it was absolutely correct in insisting on the total destruction of enemy power locally and directing the guerrilla struggle towards the areawise seizure of power.
In the CRC’s scheme, during the first phase, the party must “...consciously delimit the extent of struggle to the level of spreading class struggles including all sorts of mass struggles to wider and wider areas, and developing them to confrontation with the enemy at a lower level.” In this phase it must “... take a decision not to launch offensives aimed at wiping out the enemy forces in any particular area before we reach the stage in which our struggle has spread to a number of points so that the enemy can be kept engaged in all these areas. To repeat, this is a negation of the dynamics of war. It denies the fact that apart from the seizure of base areas, the armed struggle itself can be spread only by repeatedly wiping out the enemy.
The developed form of the CRC’s ‘phase theory’ was an outgrowth of its deviations on the question of political power and its economist line of activity. So, it naturally concluded that in the first phase, “...the main stress must be to build and expand the mass base.” This military line was an inseparable part of the whole package − parallel political power, ‘new’ concept of power, mobilisation of political will, etc. It still claimed that military squads must be built in order to implement the decisions of parallel political power centres and carry out ‘lower level’ confrontation with the enemy, including annihilations. But this ‘armed struggle’ was totally different in content from the People’s War launched by the Naxalbari rebellion which directly addressed the task of areawise seizure of power. It was a reformist concept, a line of ‘armed resistance to gain and defend partial demands’. This line went onto advocate ‘insurrectionary tactics’ in areas where working class masses were the major force. (Such areas included the whole of Keralam!) Of course, it also had some words to refute an outright rejection of People’s War which was advanced by a section who later left the party. They had derived the roots of social fascism in armed struggle carried out by squads without the direct participation of the masses. But this refutation only helped to worsen matters. It said, “Mass struggle cannot develop into military struggle spontaneously because the two are, as forms of struggle, qualitatively different from each other. Special training and organisational forms are needed to develop armed struggle.” The politics of seizure of political power from which armed struggle and its forms of organisation emerge is replaced by ‘special training and organisational forms’. The point that mass struggles cannot develop into military struggles because the latter represents a leap into the ‘highest form of politics’ is covered up with a plea for ‘consciously’ developing mass struggles into armed struggle.
We will end this section by probing the CRC’s concept of base area. The CRC conceived base areas as something permanent, emerging at ‘one go’. Apart from the question of ‘one go’ setting up of base areas, even if they are established through a prolonged struggle, base areas are never considered to be absolute or permanent in the theory of People’s War. During the course of war they can exchange hands a number of times. They may have to be abandoned in the face of attack or for purposes of manoeuvring. Besides, Mao wrote about various types of base areas—stable, relatively stable, temporary and seasonal. Whatever be the type or favourable locations for building them, the crux of the matter is that areawise seizure of power and building up base areas is the essence of People’s War. Politically, the People’s War advances and accelerates the revolutionary situation by expanding Red power in waves. Militarily, without base areas the Red army and guerrilla forces will not be able to sustain the war over a protracted period in the face of enemy encirclement and suppression. The essence of the position which starts by posing the question ‘is it possible to build base areas which cannot be crushed by the enemy?’, is this: negation of the areawise seizure of power and the path of People’s War; considering external conditions such as crisis in the ruling class and overall political situation as the decisive factors in the setting up of base areas; negation of Mao’s line
on accelerating the revolutionary situation by developing People’s War and expanding Red power in waves. If such metaphysical ideas on base areas are not rooted out thoroughly, they can lead to derailment of preparations for war and loss of initiative even if the People’s War has been launched.
Criticisms from the ranks
While the new line was accepted in toto by the all-India leadership, it did not pass unchallenged by the ranks. Important criticisms were put forward in two articles published in the April 1983 issue of Liberation. In his article, ‘For a Scientific Military Line’, Kumar attacked the new line as a deviation denying “...the effort of building up Red areas right from the beginning...” and relegating ‘...the question of building base areas and formation of people’s army to the secondary position.” He criticised any effort to artificially compartmentalise ‘building base areas and forming people’s army’ from ‘taking up the popular demands of the masses and building mass movements’, on the plea of two phases. He stressed “Building of base areas is the pivotal question in any liberation war. Of course we can’t say just now when we shall be able to build our base areas, but the point is that all our military activities have to be concerted towards this direction.”
Examining the experiences of Naxalbari, Srikakulam and Bhojpur, Kumar concluded that though we succeeded in building red areas (“powerful, centralised state machinery notwithstanding”) we could not maintain or develop them. He argued, “One possible answer to this, thought by Comrade Charu Mazumdar, was the spreading of armed struggle over vast areas, thus engaging the enemy forces in several areas which will help to sustain and develop Red areas...For example, we can take the particular case of Sreekakulam. Here we failed to develop the armed struggle over a vast area around it, and hence the enemy forces were able to concentrate their attacks on us. Again in Bhojpur, in comparatively larger areas armed struggle could be launched, but at that time not many armed struggles were going on in the country as a whole. So the enemy was able to concentrate its forces which was more in comparison to our strength. With all seriousness, we should therefore think how to begin our activities over a vast area so that enemy forces can be kept sufficiently engaged , and a red area, whenever(?) built, can be sustained and developed.”
Kumar made a vigorous attempt to resist the tide towards negating People’s War and raised some correct criticisms. But he could not break away from a key pillar of the CRC’s line—the theory of beginning with simultaneous attacks or struggles in order to disperse the enemy. One reason for this was his uncritical attitude on the military thinking of Charu Majumdar. It is true that Charu Majumdar had given the correct orientation of spreading armed struggle. But there was no serious theoretical effort to systematically develop a military plan to achieve this purpose. The failure to separate what was right and what was wrong in the CPI(ML)’s line and practice, hindered Kumar from developing his criticism into a total attack on the CRC line.
The other notable criticism was Iqbal‘s article, “People’s Political Power—A Rightist Danger in Practice.” Iqbal pointed out that the ‘new’ concept of political power negates “...the concept of areawise seizure of power (i.e. of establishing bases—liberated zones—and then widening them)” since armed might itself is considered as a development of mobilisation of people’s political will, “...it is actually given a secondary importance.” He focused on the question of line and pointed out that “...our present line is not at all giving any guarantee” that it will lead to the formation of people’s armed forces. Examining the practice in Keralam, he showed how it is dodging the basic task of building people’s army. He also pointed out that if the new people’s committees are not armed, they will either be crushed or coopted by the enemy as a new tool of oppression. The conclusion was curt, “It is not that we will face such a (rightist) danger in future, rather we have started facing it.”
But this timely warning was not taken up. Soon the fledgling struggle over the military line was swept aside. A two pronged attack on the basic line of the party came to the fore. The central leadership advanced its theory of neo-colonialism and national liberation struggle. Drawing on this to a great extent, the leadership in Keralam developed its theses on ‘limited democracy’. In the following years these positions became the most keenly contested questions, covering up the real issues.
Stepping forward to leap back
During this period the military significance of the multinational character of the Indian state and the absence of a dominant nationality were identified. This was seen as an inherent weakness of the Indian state. The CRC leadership acknowledged that it had earlier overestimated the enemy’s strength. It admitted that this had led to a complacent attitude towards developing armed struggle. This had also indirectly encouraged many rightist tendencies. The revolt of a section of Sikh soldiers in the wake of Operation Blue Star and the Indian state’s political-military compulsions which made it handle the Gorkhaland agitation in a cautious manner, were taken as pointers to the military potential of the national question. It was acknowledged that in situations where nationalist forces were already engaged in armed struggle the party could intervene only by initiating armed struggle on its own. These positions were developed over the period 1984-1987. They were formally sanctioned by the 2nd all-India Conference held in 1987. The Conference also accepted the plan of action proposed by the leadership—initiate armed struggle in Punjab and prepare for initiation in Keralam and Maharashtra within one year. While this appeared to be a forward motion in the military question, it was actually constituted on the foundations of a backward leap to revisionism and liquidationism. The theory of neo-colonialism itself was an attack on the path of People’s War. It reduced the armed agrarian revolution to a task for areas where semi-feudal relations still prevailed. This theory also argued that the trend towards elimination of feudalism by imperialism was dominant even in such regions. Thus it became a ‘passing task’ in comparison to the national liberation struggle. Along with this, the concept of New Democratic Revolution in India as an ensemble of the New Democratic Revolutions of the different oppressed nationalities fractured the path of People’s War into separate People’s Wars with separate People’s Armies. These two positions became the foundations of the CRC’s line after the 1985 Plenum and were enshrined in its ‘Strategic Line’ adopted in the 1987 Conference.
Immediately following the Conference, a sharp struggle took place over the military line. The first draft ‘On Military Line’, submitted for discussion in early 1988, basically represented an attempt to polish up earlier positions on political power and military line in keeping with the new political line. In view of the self- criticism on the error of overestimation of enemy strength, ‘the two phase theory’ could not be repeated in the same form. But the revisionist content of the new political line amply made up for this hindrance. The ‘phase theory’ was developed into an even more explicit rejection of People’s War.
The draft argued, ‘...guerrilla war assumes strategic position in the whole strategy of People’s War in national liberation struggle.”; but “The old idea of liberating countryside and encircling the cities cannot be applied in the same manner, in the context of national liberation struggle. The ‘70 line approach was based on feudal class contradictions in the countryside. It is true that such class relations still exist in many areas. But in many other areas changes in class relations have created new problems. Changes in the old type of feudal relations have not reduced the revolutionary potential of the peasant masses; rather it has assumed new dimensions. In all the areas where Green Revolution and similar policies have been implemented, leading to changes in the class relations, peasant masses are revolting en masse against the state. These peasant upsurges can be channelised into national liberation struggles, as the peasant question in this form develops closely related to the national struggle. In this way, the countryside again becomes the base areas of national liberation struggles. But this will be different from the old type of base areas formed by liberating the villages one by one from the clutches of local landlords. Even in the areas where influence of old types of feudal relations are still prevalent, struggle against local landlords and their defeat will not lead into the formation of liberated areas, as the state machinery is existing above these local ruling class ... Armed struggle will have to be linked up with political mobilisation at the national level ...under such conditions, concentrating in any selected area will not be advisable...”. Then, without the slightest blush, the draft went on to say; “...comrade Charu Mazumdar had pointed out that we must concentrate in plains as the vast majority of people live there. In the Indian context this approach is more applicable, especially when the people as a whole in each nationality have to be mobilised in favour of national liberation. “!
The distortions are only too evident. Yet it is useful to list them out to get a deeper grasp of revisionist subterfuges and the leap from bad to worse. First of all, acknowledgement of the ‘revolutionary potential’ of the peasant masses is really a denial of their role as motive force of New Democratic Revolution. If agrarian relations have changed, then this role no longer exits. Their ‘revolutionary potential’ has been reduced. Though this document spoke about a new dimension and hinted at applying the path of encircling the cities from the countryside in a new manner, it reduced the role of the peasantry to one of massive numbers. This was covered up by the exaggerated and subjective characterisation of broad peasant agitation as en masse ‘revolts’ against the state. The implication was that they were dealing with the issue of political power when in fact they were nothing more than struggles for economic demands. This in turn was used to cut away the concept of base areas from the seizure of power. In this way it becomes nothing more than an extended area of activity. Finally with its talk of mobilising the people ‘as a whole’ and distorting Charu Mazumdar, the military line is firmly pushed in the direction of the insurrectionary path. The subterfuge continues. The document claimed that it was applying People’s War in ‘our concrete conditions’ and declares that guerrilla war ‘assumes strategic position’. And, just in case the hint was not taken, it said, “...armed struggle can be launched anywhere within the national formation, only after completing political mobilisation at the national level as a whole.”
The concept of ‘parallel power’ was also pushed ahead. The draft repeated the earlier argument on ‘local political power’ as the sole guarantee against capitalist restoration. But, in place of the earlier formulation, ‘establishing power at the local level’, it now spoke about ‘transferring political power to the people at the local level’. This seemingly innocent change in formulation signified a shift from petty bourgeois day dreaming to hard headed bourgeois politics. The draft explained, “...under the context of national liberation struggle, building up local power centres of the people assumes another dimension. An essential aspect of national liberation struggle is the process of a people identifying themselves as a historical entity and realising it in the form of seizing political power at the national level. A people of a nation can conceive of their political power only at the national level. It is through the consolidation of this political power at the national level that they emerge as a people. Hence the realisation of political power at the local level can be conceived only within the framework of political power at the national level.”
Earlier we had discussed how the concept of decentralising political power leads to a negation of the class content of state power. At that point the CRC’s views on political power as a local entity represented petty bourgeois subjectivism. After the leap to bourgeois nationalism and in order to fortify this ideology, it is declared that political power can be conceived only at the ‘national’ level. That is, as a centralised entity. The implication of negating the class content of state power is now spelt out with ideas on ‘national’ level political power representing the ‘whole people’. This idea is identical to the bourgeois claim that their state represents the interests of the whole nation and not that of their class alone.
At this point let us examine how the ‘areawise seizure of power’ differs fundamentally from this position, not only from the angle of war strategy but also from that of political content. According to the concept of ‘national level’ power the decisive aspect is ‘emergence as a people’. That is, the formation of a nation state through exercising the right of self-determination. The social component of New Democratic Revolution, overturning all imperialist, bureaucrat capitalist, feudal relations of exploitation and oppression, is no longer decisive. Some aspects maybe included; to the extent that they serve the formation of a nation state. The extent and nature of ‘transfer’ of power to the ‘people at the local level’ will also be defined by the ‘framework of political power at the national level’. Since ‘frameworks of power’ are decided by class interests, this means ‘local‘ power will be nothing more than Panchayats. As proved by world experience, this petty bourgeois/national bourgeois state (to present it in the best possible light) will in no time sink in stormy imperialist waters. It will not be able to unleash the revolutionary energy of the basic masses. All remaining illusions about ’local power’ will be rudely ended. To sum up, this ‘national’ agenda not only denies the right of the masses to rule, it is also a recipe for national capitulation.
In contrast to this, areawise seizure of power serves the strategic aim of seizing countrywide power for the proletariat and its allied classes, as part of the world proletarian revolution. It initiates the fulfilment of this strategic task, by uprooting the old power at the bottommost level itself; by overturning all social, economic and political relations underpinning this power. Through such destruction it plants the seeds of a new state and society. This is done by drawing in the basic masses at the local level itself. They get trained in exercising the dictatorship of the proletariat, defending it and continuing the revolutionisation of all spheres of life. Thus, political mobilisation of all revolutionary masses and patriots throughout the country is spurred on. The revolutionary situation is accelerated into a revolutionary crisis. The basis for a new self-reliant society with a revolutionary people who dare to take on their internal and external enemies is laid down.
‘Left’ nationalism and People’s War
The draft ‘On Military Line’ kicked off a sharp struggle in the CRC central leadership. It was led by those who had already started to question the earlier positions on political power and the ‘two phase theory’. An attempt to study Charu Mazumdar’s writings, Mao Tsetung’s military writings, and PCP documents and learn from the experiences of armed struggles in India, helped to sharpen up their positions. Through struggle they were able to muster a majority in the all-India Leading Committee and the draft document ‘On Military Line’ was rejected. An alternate draft, ‘On Developing a Military line’ was submitted. This draft was adopted in 1988 with some amendments. They were quite significant. But this was hardly the reason for its failure to make any noticeable change in the CRC’s practice. An analysis of the original version and the amended one will show us why.
The alternate draft tried to differentiate itself from the rejected one by stressing the following points—Once the political line is settled the next crucial task is the formulation of the military line. The main component of this must be a strategic military plan. To make military line principal, all mass work must be carried out as preparation for People’s War. Mao’s analysis of revolutionary situation is not negated by neo-colonial transformation. The notion that nation-wide intensification of the national contradiction must be a precondition for initiating armed struggle is wrong. Such intensification will come about only through the successful advance of People’s War. The preconditions for initiation were put like this: political and organisational preparation of the party to take up armed struggle; making initiation and development of war the centre of gravity of the party; preparing a strategic military plan; building up mass base according to this plan; propaganda and struggle to propagate on a broad scale the necessity of waging national liberation struggle. The new draft criticised the ‘phase theory’ for failing to grasp the dynamics of war. It declared that once the armed struggle is initiated it must be resolutely advanced. The importance of selecting appropriate regions for initiating the war was stressed in view of the strategic task of building base areas. Building guerrilla zones and establishing base areas were upheld as the most crucial aspect distinguishing proletarian military science from petty bourgeois guerrilla activity. It insisted that the army is the chief component of the state. Hence it should be led by the party and moulded as a proletarian organisation serving the task of establishing a New Democratic state as part of the world revolution.
What is significant is that almost all these positions were continued in the amended version. The important differences were as follows: 1) The original version said, “…initiation of armed struggle in a specific nationality should be done on the basis of evaluating the revolutionary situation, of which the intensity of the national question is an important aspect (though not the only aspect and in some conditions - in semi-feudal areas where national formations have not yet emerged - even a minor aspect)” The amended version said, ‘...to correctly determine the nature and intensity of the revolutionary situation in the different national formations in specific junctures, it must be analysed mainly in relation to the contradiction between imperialism and the central state on the one hand and the people of the respective nationalities on the other hand.” Further on it said, “…in regions where national formations are still in the making and where semi-feudal relations still dominate, the dynamics of revolutionary situation will have its own specificities ... armed struggle has been going on continuously in these areas, mainly fuelled by the intense contradiction between feudalism and the broad masses. But since these struggles are linked to the anti-feudal aspect ... they are not crossing the boundaries of armed economism ... (T)he national question ... must be consciously linked up to the anti-imperialist, anti-feudal struggle and the armed struggle should be waged centred on the slogan of national liberation.” ; 2) The order of preconditions for initiation was reversed. The first one became, “Carry out political mobilisation with the aim of rousing the national consciousness of the people and making them aware of the need to wage national liberation struggle.” It was explained that, “This specific situation (i.e. the inherent weakness of the Indian state due to national contradictions) existing in India brings forward the task of broad political mobilisation to rouse national consciousness ... as a means of developing the revolutionary situation and preparing grounds for launching armed struggle ... It is meant to rally the people of a nation to the cause of waging a national liberation war to assert their right of self-determination...“
The changes were no doubt significant. The intensification of the national question became the main criterion for judging the revolutionary situation. Further, it was accepted that the revolutionary situation could be developed through broad political mobilisation also. But, more than these differences, what should be noticed is the common ideological-political positions shared by the original version with the amended version and with the rejected draft ‘On Military Line’. This was the ideological -political position of conceiving the New Democratic Revolution in India as an ensemble of New Democratic Revolutions, of claiming that ‘the struggle for self determination under the leadership of the proletariat, in the form of national liberation struggle becomes the specific form of New Democratic Revolution in India’, of arguing that changes in class relations due to neo-colonialism are making the “...approach of concentrating in areas where feudal exploitation is intense ... as a way to initiate armed struggle ... more and more irre1evant.” In short, the basis of both the lines was the ideological-political line of the CRC. The alternate draft was nothing more than an attempt to give a ‘left’ interpretation of this line. It represented a fundamentally flawed grasp of People’s War. The new military line document had made a big deal of defending Mao’s analysis of revolutionary situation. This was done to refute the idea of carrying out nation-wide mobilisation of the people as a precondition for initiation. But the two ingredients of right of self-determination as the specific form of New Democratic Revolution and neo-colonialism made this defence meaningless. Mao had analysed the objective conditions in a country dominated by imperialism. He pointed out how imperialism, bureaucrat capitalism and feudalism were intensifying contradictions continuously. This is the objective basis of the ‘continuous revolutionary situation’. Because of this there will always be regions where contradictions are relatively more sharpened. There will be sections of the basic masses whose only hope is revolution. This is why it is necessary and correct to initiate People’s War in such areas without waiting for a nation-wide revolutionary situation or nation-wide mobilisation of the people. The objective situation which allows this war is given by the sharp social and national contradictions created by the exploitation and oppression of imperialism, bureaucrat capitalism and feudalism—the three mountains weighing down on the backs of the masses. When the revolutionary resolution of these contradictions through a New Democratic Revolution is replaced by a struggle for right of self-determination, when the question of feudal exploitation and oppression (of armed agrarian revolution) is considered to be ‘more and more irrelevant’, no amount of ‘defending’ Mao’s theses on revolutionary situation will be of help.
The ‘national blind spot’ of the new military line forced it to be vague and eclectic on the issue of where the party should concentrate to initiate the People’s War. It said, “The initiation of armed struggle should be seen not just in relation to the presence of an area of intense contradictions but in the context of the nation-wide situation. On the other hand.., the revolutionary situation will always be uneven and so waiting for a nation-wide revolutionary situation... is wrong…” Though it spoke about studying the objective situation, geographical conditions, enemy’s deployment etc., its ‘neo-colonial’ blinkers and nationalist prejudice prevented it from analysing this in political terms, i.e. in terms of contradictions. Hence it could not really deal with it in military terms. This shared prejudice easily gave the rejected line sufficient cover. Actually the rejected line was inherently more consistent. Its content was more in tune with the bourgeois content of the political-ideological line. On the other hand, the new military line was floundering in an eclectic mix of Mao and nationalism.
This eclecticism is also seen in its argument on making war the centre of gravity and carrying out all mass work as preparation for initiating People’s War. It said, “...the role of mass organisation and mass struggle in preparing for war cannot be seen only as political mobilisation of the masses in favour of armed struggle. They will have a military aspect ... keeping with the military strategy and tactics... (T)he question of selecting different sectors … for concentrating our efforts, or of selecting different regions to do this have to be handled keeping in view the military aspect also, apart from the general political aspects.
Let us remember that this line emerged from a rejection of the political will/military might dualist concept of political power and the ‘phase theory of People’s War’. Yet it was still incapable of breaking away from the metaphysical separation of political activity and military activity. It was still incapable of taking a firm stand on making preparations principal. The clue lies in the formulation “apart from general political aspects.” This arose from the idea that the national contradiction is THE contradiction; it operates at a national level; it creates new opportunities for broad political mobilisation. It also arose from the idea that neo-colonialism is transforming and eliminating feudalism and is creating a “relatively integrated economy”. The new type of broad peasant struggles was taken as sign of this. Thus, the ideological-political line reintroduced politics/military dualism even while it was formally rejected in the form of a political will/armed might dualist concept of political power. Despite ‘defending’ Mao, it could not drive home the point that in a New Democratic revolution, making war is the main form of mass political activity and that the whole party should be oriented to People’s War.
The theory of People’s War is a continuation of proletarian politics. It is a continuation of the politics of “violently overthrowing all existing social relations” and building a new world. If this politics is removed, then one will only have the dead shell of People’s War. Beneath this any petty bourgeois or bourgeois insect can live on securely. This is what happened with the new military line. Its vision was restricted to the nation. Grand visions of “rural armed upsurges” modelled on the national struggles of Punjab, Kashmir and Assam and broad peasant agitation was an inevitable part of this line. Its restricted vision prevented it from deeply probing into the relation between the class interests leading these struggles and their capacity for broad mobilisation of people in the initial stages itself. The only difference it could make was to argue for preparing such upsurges consciously.
The pitfalls of its nationalist vision were further seen in ruling out civil war. It stated, “Since the contradiction with the Central state and imperialism is principal, and since intervention by the Centre will bring out national oppression more openly, the People’s War will mainly be a national war, regardless of the direct aggression of imperialism. Though internal class struggle will be there.., this cannot be taken as civil war since the army and armed forces we face from the very beginning will be controlled by the Central state.” Whether we ‘take it’ as civil war or not is basically a matter of whether we stand for overturning all the dominant relations of exploitation and oppression. As Lenin said, “In politics, too, it is possible to restrict oneself to minor matters and it is possible to go deeper, to the very, foundations. ‘Marxism recognises a class struggle as fully developed... only if it does not merely embrace politics but takes in the most significant thing in politics—the organisation of state power.“ (meaning revolutionary seizure of power) If the war is to be waged principally for the right of self-determination, then ‘class struggle’ will necessarily be restricted by the political compulsions of this strategic aim. We will not be able to go all out to overthrow the dominant exploiters and mobilise the masses on that basis. Moreover, the new military line ignored the fact that the dominant local (‘national’) exploiters were very much a part of the ruling classes and the Central state. This is not to deny the national contradictions existing in India. We definitely do have the possibility to turn national sentiments in favour of the New Democratic Revolution in a situation of widespread suppression by the Central armed forces.(Most usually the forces used for this comprise of troops from other nationalities.) But this has never taken place in a linear manner. It will not take place in this manner. This possibility will emerge as a favourable political factor only through the further intensification of class polarisation achieved by means of civil war. As experience shows, the dominant local exploiters will use their roots in the nation as a powerful weapon to isolate and attack the revolutionary party as disrupters of ‘national development’. The ‘national banner’ will itself be fought over. And the issue will be ultimately clinched by the development of the revolutionary civil war. Because, this alone will pose the issue of national liberation on a revolutionary basis as part of the tasks of New Democratic Revolution.
Finally, despite its criticism of the ‘phase theory of People’s War’ this line did not critically sum up the whole package. It also accepted the theses of parallel political power as the form of power in the initial stages of the war.
We have devoted much time to a critical examination of this military line precisely because of its ‘left’ism. This illusion of being ‘left’ was the main obstacle preventing a sharp polarisation and line struggle within the CRC central leadership. Its influence lingered on for quite sometime, even after the liquidation of the CRC,CPI(ML) and the rejection of many of its blatantly anti-Marxist positions. But, if so much time has been devoted here for this line, the CRC hardly devoted any effort to practice it. The brief period of its formal dominance was also the period during which the motion towards explicit bourgeois nationalist positions and practice became intense. By the end of 1989 itself the majority of the central leadership had started ‘re-examining’ this military line. The adoption of the document ‘On Proletarian Democracy’ delivered the final blow.
Towards removing inconsistencies
Following the adoption of this document, the CRC leadership prepared yet another draft document ‘On Military Line’. Most of the earlier positions not totally consistent with the bourgeois political line were ironed out. Based on the bourgeois stand of rejecting the dictatorship of the proletariat, it openly attacked the theory and practice of People’s War. It said, “So far, discussion on military line has been mainly centred around the theory and practice of People’s War, developed by Mao based on his famous dictum that political power grows out of the barrel of a gun. This very concept was emanating from the concept and practice of party dictatorship implemented in the name of proletarian dictatorship since the October revolution of 1917. The political power is considered as a centralised entity in the form of the proletarian state, the main pillar of which is the army...” Of course, it did not reject armed struggle! But this was to be a struggle to “...smash the existing state structure...” And, for this limited purpose it accepted that this “...can be fulfilled only under the centralised leadership of the party and the army under it. So the task of developing the military line remained as important as earlier.” Along with this ‘important as ever’ sweet talk, the grounds for exploring the possibilities of peaceful transformation were also prepared. It was argued that, neo-colonialism replacing direct imperialist military control with economic-political domination, “...coupled with the widening democratisation process all over the world, has significantly strengthened the role of global public opinion....Even the most powerful super power is not in a position to arbitrarily assert its will, using its military might over a small country disregarding global public opinion.” (This was written during the Gulf war period!) To clear up all doubts about what is meant by smashing the state structure it said, “Political mobilisation of the broad masses can lead to conditions of insurrection even in Third world countries. Even such an insurrection can smash the existing state, as was seen in the case of the Iranian revolution of 1979.” On the United Front it said, “It is through this organ (UF) that the political will of the people is being consolidated. This consolidation is aimed not simply for seizing power, rather for advancing it as the real power of the proletariat. “ This separation of seizing power, i.e., smashing the existing state, from ‘advancing real power’, was already contained in the ‘new concept of political power’ (see p.9 of this article). Now it fulfils its legitimate role, freed from all ‘dogmatism’. The task is to smash the state structure, not the state. Therefore, ‘simply’ smashing the state will not do. It must be ‘smashed’ to the extent of replacing control by the Centre with that of the nation state. The military activities and organisations necessary for this become nothing more than tools of pressure tactics. The party must be able to switch them on and off depending on the needs of ‘political mobilisation’. “The party must have two wings... an (open) wing...and a separate military wing... This organisation will be completely under the party leadership, but it will be able to operate claiming to be an independent organisation.” After having said all this it did not forget to add, “Basically (this military strategy)... is the strategy of People’s War applied in our developing situations(sic).”!
‘Our situations’ were certainly ‘developing’. By the end of the year the CRC,CPI(ML) was liquidated. All the ‘burdens’ of Marxism were unloaded. Soon enough, any idea of using armed activities even as a bargaining chip became a hindrance. The theory of ‘non-class aspects of democracy’ came to the rescue. And the hitherto ‘unrecognised’ potential of parliamentary elections for ‘broad political mobilisation’ was finally discovered. Ultimately the author of this line, K.Venu, ended up as a Congress supported candidate in the 1996 State Assembly elections—politically mobilised to serve the Indian ruling classes.
Some lessons for the future
One important lesson of this review is the indivisibility of proletarian ideology. That is, Marxism-Leninism-Maoism cannot be applied in bits and pieces. The class content of this ideology, its universal principles, must guide each and every aspect of the party’s line, policies, organisation and practice. The moment this is violated and alien ideologies are imported, the party enters the danger zone of changing its colour. This is what happened with the CRC,CPI(ML). In the name of tackling ‘new questions’ and breaking away from ‘dogmatism’, it opened itself up to petty bourgeois, bourgeois ideological currents. Once these ideologies became implanted in the line of the party, they spread like a virus and, one after the other, all aspects of line, policy, organisation and practice got corrupted. First, it was a matter of ‘applying Marxism in specific conditions’. Then, it became one of ‘solving the new questions of political power’. This ‘concern’ lead to ‘fresh thinking on military line’. Finally, Marxism-Leninism-Maoism was itself rejected as ‘fundamentalism’.
Another important lesson is this. If a deviation is left not rectified it will generate conditions for its growth into a wrong line. It will do this by moulding the thinking of the leaders and cadres in its own image. We have discussed the differences and struggles within the CRC, CPI(ML) in the preceding sections. We also saw how this opposition not only failed, but also ended up as fuel for the wrong line itself. This happened because there were a lot of common views shared by the contending ideas. At first, in the form of’left’ and right spontaneity. Later, in the form of ‘left’ and right nationalism. Despite all its eclecticism, a wrong line has its logic and dynamics. It will incessantly push the party away from Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. The obvious divergence from Marxist-Leninist-Maoist positions will no longer seem to be so. Large sections within the party may not feel comfortable with such divergence. But their ideological alertness is already dulled by liberal thinking — ’well, they do have a point which must also be considered’. More ground is yielded to the wrong line. Ultimately, the struggle against the wrong line flounders within the ideological, political boundaries set up by that line itself, causing demoralisation.
Finally, the most important lesson is this. No matter how high the heap of garbage, it can always be dug away. Provided, Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is firmly grasped and wielded with determination to make a total rupture.
A CRITIQUE OF THE CRC, CPI (M-L) LINE
1.1 The CRC, CPI (M-L) had the distinction of being formed by Marxist - Leninist forces who took a firm stand against the capitalist roaders’ counter revolutionary coup in China and Hoxaite revisionism. It played an important role within and outside India in the struggle to defend Marxism - Leninism - Mao Tsetung Thought and resisted centrist trends. Thus it contributed to the regrouping of Marxist - Leninists at the international level and in the formation of the Revolutionary internationalist Movement (RIM). The CRC, CPI (M-L) also did much to raise the crucial importance of taking up issues like the national, caste and women’s questions and grasping the nature of transformations taking place in the socio-economy. Yet, none of this led to the development of a revolutionary line or practice.
1.2. Years of rightist tendencies in the leadership finally shaped up into outright revisionism and liquidationism. The 1985 All India Plenum of the CRC, CPI(ML) adopted a line which characterised the path of Indian revolution as an ensemble of New Democratic Revolutions of all the nationalities in India. This was confirmed and developed by its All India Conference held in 1987. This line speeded up the degeneration of the organisation. In 1990, the CRC, CPI(ML) leadership adopted the document, ‘On Proletarian Democracy’ which attacked the fundamentals of Marxism while pretending to uphold them. Within a year after this the party itself was formally liquidated through a decision of its leading body and national parties were formed. Though a minority within the leading body and some cadres at the lower levels of the organisation tried to put up resistance, the continuing influence of liberalism and revisionism prevented them from breaking away at that time itself. The liquidators led by K.Venu went on to openly attack the fundamentals of Marxism and soon joined bourgeois politics. In this situation the remaining revolutionary cadres in Keralam and Maharashtra took up the task of rupturing from the revisionist heritage of the CRC, CPI(ML) and retrieving whatever was of value on the basis of a better grasp of Marxist ideology and practice. This was also a process of struggling to deepen their own self-criticism and getting rid of a lot of old rubbish.
1.3. The struggle to accomplish this task was greatly aided by close ties with the RIM, experiences of the People’s War led by the Communist Party of Peru and in particular by the ideological struggle which led to the RIM’s formal adoption of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism as its ideology.
1.4 The formation of the Maoist Unity Centre, Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) marks a decisive leap in this struggle. This document puts forward its preliminary critical conclusions on the CRC, CPI(ML) line, which will be further deepened through the struggle to unite and reorganise the CPI(ML) on the basis of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and revolutionary practice.
2. IDEOLOGICAL STAND
2.1. Though the CRC, CPI(ML) played an important role in defending Marxism_Leninism- Mao Tsetung Thought, the tendency of the leadership to deny the universality of this ideology was present from the very beginning. Instead of applying proletarian ideology while taking up the analysis of particularities, its tendency was to seek for answers elsewhere with the plea that they have not been dealt with by the leaders of the proletariat. This inevitably led to liberalism in ideological questions even while the party was formally opposing it. New things and knowledge are constantly emerging in this world. The proletariat must grapple with them and continuously develop its ideology and practice. But it cannot ignore the fact that all of these new things have a class character. So the vanguard party should analyse them from its own class stand point and outlook. It should carry out synthesis on the basis of the fundamentals of its ideology. Otherwise it will become eclectic and liberal in its ideological approach, opening the door to revisionism.
2.2. The dialectic of theory and practice in the development of knowledge is a well established principle of Marxism. But this principle was progressively abandoned by the CRC, CPI(ML) leadership. So its theory became sterile, academic and highly idealist. The rank and file faced a crisis in practice while the leadership faced a crisis in theory. Thus two planks were formed. The rank and file practiced in a haphazard manner leading to disillusionment and the leadership ended up rejecting Marxism.
2.3. The CRC, CPI(ML)’s struggle against dogmatism and secretism was carried out on a rightist basis. In the name of rectifying dogmatist approach in mass work, an anti-Leninist economist position was adopted. The line of developing armed struggle for seizing power out of partial mass struggles was enshrined as the essence of mass line. Despite a number of struggles against revisionist lines which openly argued for abandoning the revolutionary path, this rightist basis was never challenged. Hence none of these line struggles helped in building the party ideologically or in developing revolutionary practice. Instead such struggles increasingly became opportunist and degenerated into factional strife and split. Opposition from the rank and file was manipulated or outrightly neglected as per the convenience of the leadership.
2.4. The Naxalbari revolt and the formation of the CPI(ML) took place under the leadership of Com. Charu Mazumdar by establishing Mao Tsetung Thought as a new and higher stage of Marxism - Leninism. Though this ideological advance has generally been upheld by the ML forces in India, centrism and vacillation were widely seen among them at the time of the 1976 capitalist coup in China. In this context also, the negative experience of the CRC, CP1(ML), which had played a decisive role in defending Mao Tsetung Thought at that time, itself raises the task of deepening the struggle to grasp and wield proletarian ideology. Here, the struggle within the RIM on adopting Maoism is of direct relevance. This struggle has arrived at the conclusion that the proletarian ideology should properly be termed as Marxism-Leninism-Maoism in order to fully reflect the leap achieved through Mao Tsetung’s teachings. Marxism-Leninism-Maoism clearly puts forth the milestones in the development of this ideology achieved by Marx, Lenin and Mao Tsetung. It shows the continuity as well as the universality of this ideology. Adopting Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is not a matter of changing terms but of grasping its universality, particularly of Maoism. The struggle to thoroughly root out the CRC, CPI(ML)’s revisionism and liquidationism must be taken up in relation to the task of establishing Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, principally Maoism.
3. CLASS STAND
3.1 The CRC, CPI (ML) drew attention to the importance of grasping philosophy. But its liberalism soon led to treating dialectical materialism merely as a methodology which can equally serve any class. The proletarian bias of this philosophy was in effect denied. Later this developed into the bourgeois theory of ‘non-class aspects’.
3.2 The party’s position on national, caste and women’s questions were all dominated by this theory. Hence its correct initiative in taking up these questions was derailed. They ended up as apologies for abandoning the class stand and denying the principal role of class struggle. Though each of these questions have their own particularities, they are stamped by existing class relations and must be dealt with from the proletarian class standpoint. The vanguard party must identify the most revolutionary sections of society and consciously seek to establish itself amongst them. Instead of this the CRC, CPI(ML) always dealt with the questions of revolution in terms of the ‘people’ and ‘masses’, negating class analysis.
3.3 The theory of ‘non-class aspects’ fully emerged as an attack on fundamental Marxist positions through the document ‘On Proletarian Democracy’. This document put forward the bourgeois theory of denying the class character of democracy. It denied the vanguard role of the party, class struggle and the dictatorship of the proletariat. Lenin stated, “Only he is a Marxist who extends the recognition of class struggle to the recognition of the dictatorship of the proletariat”. To this Mao Tsetung added as an important instruction and question of theory “Why did Lenin speak of exercising dictatorship over the bourgeoisie? It is essential to get this question clear. Lack of clarity on this question will lead to revisionism”.
4. THE THREE WEAPONS OF REVOLUTION
4.1 Mao Tsetung developed the theory of the three weapons of revolution - party building, army and united front. The party must be built up ideologically, politically and organisationally as the vanguard of revolution amongst the basic classes, through class struggle. The CRC, CPI(ML) never grasped this vital task. It could never really equip the cadres ideologically nor develop a cadre policy. It was left to the cadres to raise their ideological level through their own efforts. The economist approach and ‘non-class aspects’ theory undermined the concept of vanguard party and transformed the organisation into an open one. Later on the nationality based line in effect converted the all-India Party into a coordinating body. It paved the way for its formal dissolution in 1991 and the formation of national parties. Though the workers coming from different nationalities have national characteristics they are all part of a single, all India multinational proletariat. The all-India party should represent the immediate and long term class interests of this class. This is the only way it can become the vanguard fighter of all the exploited and oppressed in this country.
4.2 Right up to its liquidation in 1991, the CRC, CPI (ML) continued to formally accept the continuous existence of revolutionary situation in oppressed nations as put forward by Mao Tsetung. But it never made any serious attempt to act accordingly. The very role of armed struggle was undermined by its idealist concept of political power. According to this concept, parallel political power could emerge merely through the implementation of an organised decision of the masses. Later on the principles of People’s War such as the key role of establishing red base were denied. A revisionist concept of two phase struggle was propounded. (First a phase of ‘spreading class struggle’ and then a second phase of ‘launching armed struggle to seize power’.) Then an eclectic combination of People’s War and insurrection was put forward as military line. Finally this also was rejected after adopting ‘On Proletarian Democracy’. The liquidationists started to openly call for participating in elections. They attacked the theory of People’s War and slandered it as social fascism.
4.3 The CRC, CPI (ML) position on united front went against Maoism. Its approach was that of issue based united activity. The united front was elevated to the status of the main weapon of revolution. Class collaboration was theorised in the name of uniting with the national bourgeoisie. This revisionist approach was also reflected in its approach to mass organisations. They were projected as independent democratic forums.
5. AGRARIAN REVOLUTION
5.1 The CRC, CPI (ML) had put forward the theory of a neocolonial phase of imperialism. The crux of this theory was that “... during the post- world war II period imperialism wants to limit or transform feudalism in order to integrate the Indian economy with the world imperialist system”, unlike the earlier period when feudalism was the social base of imperialism. This theory undermined the program of agrarian revolution and pushed it into an unimportant position compared to the national struggle,
5.2 According to its theory of neocolonialism the CRC CPI (ML) argued that “In the present neocolonial phase of India, imperialism is the major factor preventing the natural development of productive forces...”. Eversince the start of colonial domination imperialism has been the main force dominating arid determining the extent and nature of development of productive forces. Its exploitation and oppression are mainly concretised in the economy through internal production relations. The anti- imperialist struggle cannot be carried out without taking up the task of destroying these production relations. This is why the anti- feudal struggle is correctly considered as inseparable from the anti- imperialist struggle in the theory of New Democratic Revolution. In the post colonial period semi- feudal relations have been further transformed according to the new needs of imperialism and the all- India savarna compradore - bureaucrat bourgeoisie in some nationalities and regions. In such areas the predominantly feudal mode of exploitation has been transformed into a predominantly capitalist mode of exploitation. But it is distorted and retains features of the past. Moreover the agrarian economy is still predominant.
While it is necessary to break away from dogmatism and investigate the new relations in order to develop a revolutionary line and practice, , this has to be done precisely from the angle of developing the armed agrarian revolution as the main content of New Democratic Revolution.
5.3 The eclectic approach of the CRC, CPI (ML) led it to separate the caste annihilation struggle from the agrarian revolution. The form of feudalism existing in India is savama feudal. So, when the question of transformation in feudal relations is analysed, it must also be analysed in terms of the transformation in savama feudal relations which had enforced a caste based exclusion of Dalits from even land tenancy. Though the CRC, CP1 (ML) accepted that caste is part of the economic base, it never analysed agrarian relations from this angle.
6. NATIONAL QUESTION
6.1 The CRC, CPI (ML) put forward the position that the revolutionary program of the proletariat should be chalked out by taking ‘ national formations’ as the basic unit of analysis. It criticised the CPI and CP1(ML) for failing to do this. The essence of the CRC’s position really meant that nationalities should be taken as the basis of preparing programs. Historically, nationalities have emerged through the destruction and forcible integration of many peoples. Even if the democratic rights of all peoples are accepted, a program formulated on the basis of nationality will inevitably contain the seeds of national chauvinism, in India, for example. the question of why some nationalities (Marathi, Malayalee, Punjabi etc.) are taken as the basis to prepare programs and why not others like the Bhil or Tulu nationalities, can only be answered by pointing out that they are majority nationalities. Thus, such an approach will inevitably lead to basing the revolution on the majority nationalities and open the door to bourgeois nationalism. In order to chalk out its program the vanguard party must analyse the dominant socio-economic structure and identify classes and class relations. In some cases this may correspond to that of a single, dominant nationality. (Czarist Russia and China were examples of this.) But it need not be so in all cases.
6.2. In the case of India, the Indian socio-economic structure which was set up and developed under imperialist control is the dominant one. No revolutionary program can be chalked out if this is ignored. In light of the multinational character of India, the analysis of the Indian socio-economic structure has to be deepened by analysing the national socio-economic relations which give particular form to the class-caste relations existing in the different nationalities. Though the CRC, CPI(ML) took a correct step by recognizing the existence of national socio-economic, its bourgeois, idealist approach led to seeing them in an absolute, isolated manner. Consequently national oppression was seen as something external. The intemalisation of imperialist and all-India ruling class exploitative relations within the national socio-economic as well as their continued subjugation and determination by these relations were ignored. Politically this was reflected in the position of giving first place to the struggle for the right of self-determination and the line of ‘completing the New Democratic Revolution in India as an ensemble of New Democratic Revolutions’.
6.3. Though the national and social tasks of the New Democratic Revolution will have specificities according to the concrete condition in the different nationalities, this does not make them separate revolutions. The oppressed nationalities within India can be liberated only as part of the All-India New Democratic Revolution led by the proletariat. However, such concrete conditions directly touch on vital issues of line such as class-caste relations and the trend of the revolutionary situation. Thus, handling the national question crosses the boundaries of tactics and must be dealt with from the strategic view point. Slogans such as ‘New Democratic Maharashtra’ etc. should be raised keeping the strategic needs of the all-India New Democratic Revolution in mind.
6.4. The CRC, CPI(ML) equated the struggle for right of self-determination with national liberation and distorted Leninist positions. The struggle for self- determination led by the bourgeoisie in oppressed nations usually avoids the question of smashing imperialist domination. The splitting away of an oppressed nation from a multinational country resolves the question of self-determination. But unless imperialist domination is smashed, it will still remain as an oppressed nation. So while the vanguard party should uphold the right of self-determination, including the right of secession, and support the struggles of oppressed peoples against the imposed integration of the Indian state, its tasks is to lead the all-India New Democratic Revolution. This is the only way to smash the yoke of imperialism and the Indian state.
7. CASTE QUESTION
7.1 Caste annihilation is a crucial task of the New Democratic Revolution. The vanguard party should take up this task as a vital part of class struggle. The CRC, CPI(ML) drew attention to the necessity of grasping the laws of motion of the caste system and synthesising the experiences of the anti-Brahminic democratic tradition, particularly the contributions of Dr.B.R. Ambedkar. But its ‘non-class aspects’ theory led to the position that ‘the bonds of caste can stand above those of classes’. It is true that mobilisation on caste issues unites sections from various classes. But even in such cases, this mobilisation does not stand above classes. It is invariably dominated by the interests of one class or the other. Hence the caste annihilation struggle can only be carried out under the leadership of the proletariat which is the only class capable of destroying all forms of domination and exploitation in a thorough manner. The CRC, CP1(ML) ‘s position led to tailing bourgeois, petty bourgeois sections of the oppressed castes, separating caste annihilation from class struggle and ending up as apologists of casteist reformism.
8. WOMEN’S QUESTION
8.1. The CRC, CPI(ML) took up the criticism of the negative approach prevalent in the M-L movement on the women’s question. But it failed to identify and build upon the revolutionary Marxist stand and practice in this regard, particularly the experience of the GPCR. Hence, instead of developing a proletarian line, its position ended up considering oppression of women as something separated from class domination. It abandoned the orientation of ‘unleashing the fury of women as a mighty force of revolution’. The vanguard party must take up the women’s question with this orientation, consciously fight against male chauvinist ideology and promote the ideological emancipation of women. It should primarily aim at taking the revolutionary line to the toiling women.
9. COMMUNAL QUESTION
9.1 The CRC, CPI (ML) correctly exposed the savarna Hindu character of the all-India ruling class and identified this as the very root of the communal question in India. It took a firm stand against the overt and covert promotion of savama Hindu ideology carried out by different sections of the ruling class. Some advance was made in analysing religious fundamentalism in the concrete context of imperialist oppression. But, in this issue also, the ideological deviations of the CRC, CPI (ML) prevented any significant intervention. While fighting against savarna Hindu fascism and communalism and defending the rights of national minorities, it failed to promote militant materialism. Tendencies of ignoring the struggle against minority religious ideologies were nurtured in the name of unity against savama Hindu fascism.
Critique of the CRC, CPI(M L) National Question Positions
(1.1) The CRC national question positions started out mainly from a methodo¬logical criticism of the CPI, CPI(M L) positions on the national question. "The CPI failed to recognise the necessity of taking specific national forma¬tions as units of concrete analysis to formulate programmatic positions. As a result its program based on analysing India as a single national formation always remained abstract..... the CPI(M L) also failed to achieve a break¬through on this question (the right of self determination and secession)...The party failed to recognise and rectify the methodological error... and it continued to take India as the unit of analysis for formulating the program." (, para 7 8, page 7, ’Position Paper on National Question in India’, Mass Line, April 1986)
(1.2) India is not a single national unit. But it is a single socio economic unit. This was a fact during the colonial period and remains so even today. Imperialist domination and the domination of the all India ruling class is primarily a matter of all of India. It is shaped primarily by the whole reality of this country. In other words, accepting the material fact of India as a single unit was not a methodological error. The mistake lay in limiting analysis to this aspect even after it was understood that India is not a single national unit. The CRC extended the analysis to the level of nationalities. But the dynamics of the national socio economies unraveled through such analysis was not synthesised on the basis of the dynamics which primarily determine them, namely that of the Indian socio economy. As a result of this, the fact that relations which concretise national oppression of imperialism and the all India ruling class are internalised within national states was in effect denied. Politically this was reflected through the position of giving first place to the question of self determination and secession instead of to the comprehensive program and practice of New Democratic revolution. Along with recognising the philosophical error contained in not proceeding from analysis to synthesis, we must examine the analytical method employed by the CRC in order to identify its class base.
(2.1) The CRC held that "(the)...absence of any dominant nationality repre¬sented as the Indian nationality and the existence of many distinct and emerg¬ing nationalities are the characteristics of Indian society. These different national formations are to be taken up as socio economic units both for making concrete study through a historical materialist analysis and for chalking out concrete program for revolution." (Position paper, para 8, page 8, ibid.)
(2.2) Is it correct to base the program for revolution on the dominant nation or, in its absence, on 'national formations'? Socio economic structure and national formation are not one and the same thing. India itself is an exam¬ple. In order to chalk out a revolutionary program the dominant socio economic structure (not dominant nation) within a given society must be ana¬lyzed. Because, classes and class struggle within that society are concre¬tised through its relations. In some case, this structure may correspond to that of the dominant nationality. Czarist Russia and China were such exam¬ples. But Lenin and Mao did not formulate revolutionary programs by analys¬ing Russian and Chinese societies because they were the dominant nationali¬ties. They did this because they were the dominant socio economic structures. This method of analysis is a question of principle.
(2.3) Historically, nationalities have emerged through the destruction and forcible integration of many peoples. Even if the democratic rights of all peoples are accepted, a program formulated on the basis of nationality will inevitably contain the seeds of national chauvinism. In India, for example, the question of why some nationalities (Marathi, Malayalee, Punjabi etc.) are taken as the basis to prepare programs and why not others like the Bhil or Tulu nationalities, can only be answered by pointing out that they are majori¬ty nationalities. Thus such an approach will inevitably lead to basing the revolution on the majority nationalities and open the door to bourgeois na¬tionalism. In K. Venu’s theory this is not a problem. In his theory of deve¬lopment of social organisational forms, with its stages of tribe, village and nation, the highest stage of development which can be attained by humankind would be the nation.( ‘Democratic Concepts of a Communist, pp 241 43) Though this bourgeois viewpoint which cannot conceive of anything beyond nations was not presented in a full fledged form within the CRC, one can see that it was the basis of its approach in preparing national programs. The history of each nationality was examined, hurdles in its development identified and the direction and steps required to resolve them and establish a nation state were pointed out.
(3.1) Though the '86 Position Paper speaks about an all India economy ( para 1.2) and it was accepted that national programs should be prepared according to the all India strategic line, the CRC had identified the need for an all India party in the united struggle of different nationalities against the common enemy necessitated by ".... their continued existence for a long period under a single, centralised state giving rise to a single polity at the all India level." ( ‘Strategic Line for New Democratic revolution in India’)
(3.2) Centralised state and polity are aspects of the superstructure. They serve the ruling class, namely the all India savarna compradore bureaucrat bourgeoisie and thus imperialism. This class and the domination of these enemies are concretised through the production relations of the unitary all India economy. So far as the exploited masses throughout India are concerned, this is the material base of not only national oppression but also of all types of oppression and exploitation. Their common political interest in destroying this prepares the material base for their united struggle. The '87 CRC concept on all India party paid nominal attention to this aspect and gave one sided emphasis on the superstructure. Its concept was totally flim¬sy, idealist and contained the seeds of liquidationism. This was the reason why it degenerated into a coordination committee long before its all India body was dissolved.
(4.1) "... the intermingling and coexistence of the working class population from different national formations in metropolitan cities and other industrial centers should be utilised by the all India proletarian party as the solid foundation for building up the unified struggle of the people of different national formations and for laying the basis for the future voluntary unity of the liberated nationalities." (Strategic Line, para 35)
(4.2) Though such statements like ‘all India proletarian party’, ‘proletarian party at the all India level’, were made, the CRC never gave a clear answer to the question of whether the proletariat in India is a single, multinational proletariat or a collection of different, national proletariats. The commu¬nist party should represent the class interests of the proletariat. Hence when the need of an all India party is accepted the structure of this class and its characteristics should be investigated and a clear answer must be given to this question. Why did the CRC evade this? We should examine this question in relation to the criticism raised in section (3.1). When the CRC ac¬cepted that an all India party is necessary, this was not done keeping in mind the class interests of the proletariat. It was done keeping national struggle and its necessities in mind. The main basis of the CRC's all India party concept was bourgeois nationalism. The liquidation of 1991 and the decision to form national parties was the inevitable outcome of this ideology. Though the CRC did not characterise the national struggle as something absolute and termed them as New Democratic revolutions under proletarian leadership this was nothing but a subjective concept without any roots in the material reality of class and society. It was an opportunist position.
(4.3) The proletariat throughout India have emerged from capitalist produc¬tion relations formed and existing under imperialist domination. These rela¬tions are basically and inseparably part of the all India economy. And for this reason itself, the proletariat which is formed by it is a single, all India multinational proletariat. [The intermingling and coexistence (above all class struggle) of the working masses from different nationalities creates a more favourable situation to recognise this objective reality and develop class consciousness.] Sections of the proletariat from different nationali¬ties have national characteristics corresponding to the historical, social and cultural particularities of the respective nationalities. Such particular¬ities which include caste structure, process of class formation and history of class struggle will be reflected in their class consciousness also. But this does not change the material reality that they are part of a single, multina¬tional all India proletariat. The all India party represents the immediate and long term class interests of the all India multinational proletariat. This is the only way it can become the vanguard fighter of all the exploited and oppressed in this country. National tasks should be taken up as an insep¬arable part of the tasks of this class, to serve its class interests and as part of the all India New Democratic revolution.
(5.1) "The New Democratic revolution in India can only be completed as an ensemble of New Democratic revolutions of the various national formations." this was the political essence of the CRC line.
(5.2) In the light of the criticisms given above the opportunism in this position is evident. The CRC was not striving to carry out the New Democratic revolution under proletarian leadership but to carry out the national struggle for the right of self determination including secession. This was the inevi¬table result of its bourgeois nationalism. What about 'ensemble of revolu¬tions'? There is no Indian nationality. But the all India socio economic system, its contradictions and dynamics are real. This material base which raises the immediate tasks of democratic revolution also determines its tar¬gets imperialism, all India savarna compradore bureaucrat bourgeoisie and feudalism. Thus it also points out the sole class which can lead this revolu¬tion, namely the all India multinational proletariat. Since proletarian leadership is an essential condition it is also established that the democrat¬ic revolution can only be carried out as a New Democratic revolution. The contradictions necessitating New Democratic revolution, the all India charac¬ter of its leadership and its targets all of these make it clear that it is a single revolution. Though the national and social tasks of the New Demo¬cratic revolution will acquire specific expressions according to the concrete conditions in the different nationalities and regions due to India's op¬pressed, multinational character, the content will be the same. So the na¬tional question raises the issue of different expressions of a single revolu¬tion and not that of different revolutions.
(1) Conceiving the revolution as a single revolution and preparing program on the basis of the reality which is India is the basically correct approach. This is to be done through a synthesis of the complexities of the Indian situation.
(2) Today, the oppressed nationalities of India are forced to exist under the yoke of the all India savarna compradore bureaucrat bourgeoisie which was created by imperialism. They serve its interests and transform according to its needs. Hence their national and social emancipation is possible only as part of the all India New Democratic revolution led by the all India multina¬tional proletariat. The concrete conditions existing in different national¬ities directly touches on vital issues of line such as class caste relations and the trend of revolutionary situation. Hence handling the national question crosses the boundaries of tactics and must be dealt with from the strategic viewpoint. slogans such as New Democratic Keralam should be raised, grasping the aspect of different expressions of a single revolu¬tion and keeping strategic needs of the all India New Democratic revolution in mind.
Let the War Cry of Naxalbari Reverberate Ever More!
Thirty years have passed since the revolutionary call to arms sounded from the village of Naxalbari. Its message was loud and clear -- destroy the reactionary state with the force of arms; build the new state led by the proletariat that alone can guarantee an end to the exploitation and domination suffered by the oppressed masses.
India, after Naxalbari, has never been the same. Whether it be the struggle of Dalits against inhuman caste oppression, the struggle of oppressed nationalities against Indian domination, the struggle of women for emancipation, the struggle in the academic circles for a materialist analysis of society, the struggle in the realm of culture for anti-imperialist, anti-feudal art and literature or the struggle for basic democratic rights, Naxalbari marked a turning point and a brilliant revolutionary inspiration. Indirect at times, but always present despite the bloodbath of the reactionary state. The oppressed had stood up to overturn this world. For the first time led by a conscious grasp of proletarian ideology, concretised in the leadership of com:Charu Mazumdar and the CPI(ML).
Naxalbari hoisted the red flag of Marxism-Leninism-MaoTsetung Thought (today Maoism), the resolute enemy of all sorts of revisionism and centrism that dilute and shackle the revolutionary cause. Naxalbari drew on the advanced lessons of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China led by Mao Tsetung. With this conscious grasp of ideology, the bow twangs of the peasant revolutionaries in Naxalbari reverberated as mighty peals of spring thunder throughout India and even abroad.
Naxalbari firmly declared ‘No, to elections; Yes, to Peoples War’ and broke away from the CPI-CPM parliamentary cretins and class collaborationists. It gained this firmness by breaking away from economism, this thinking which refuses to put the seizure of political power in the center, always chants ‘first land, then power’ and ultimately ends up in the mire of reformism. Naxalbari marked the stage of New Democratic revolution, directed against imperialism, savarna compradore-bureaucrat bourgeoisie and feudalism. Naxalbari laid down the path of Peoples War and the basis of a united front for seizing power through armed agrarian revolution, with worker-peasant unity as its axis. It inspired thousands of youth to go to the villages. Not to follow the Gandhian path of engaging in reformism and shoring up reactionary power, but to integrate with the real toilers of land. To join them in overturning this world of oppression and exploitation. Above all, Naxalbari gave the toiling masses their vanguard party, the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist).
30 years have passed. 30 more years of imperialist exploitation. 30 more years of the rotten all India ruling class and the wretched parade of its political parties. It is high time to fully reclaim the heritage of Naxalbari. To unite all forces and struggles led by revolutionary Marxist-Leninist parties into a mighty torrent of New Democratic revolution predicted by Naxalbari. To fully realise the immortal words of com:Charu Mazumdar, “Naxalbari has never died, it will never die.” It is time to go all out.
Let the war cry of Naxalbari reverberate ever more--
‘Seize political power through armed agrarian revolution!’
Red salutes to the martyrs of Naxalbari
Red salutes to com:Charu Mazumdar
Unite and reorganise the CPI(ML) on the basis of
May 23,1997 Central Organising Committee, Maoist Unity Centre, CPI(ML)
URGENT WARNING FOR THE PUBLIC!
Parliamentary beasts have been let loose
IF YOU STILL BELIEVE
CRIMINALS, CONMEN, COMMUNALISTS, SEX MANIACS AND PIMPS ARE THE ONLY PEOPLE FIT TO RULE
IF YOU STILL BELIEVE
THEIR FLAGS FROM SAFFRON TO RED ARE REALLY DIFFERENT FROM ONE ANOTHER
IF YOU STILL DON’T SEE
THE BLOODY INTERESTS OF SAVARNA COMPRADORES, FEUDALS AND IMPERIALISTS HIDING BEHIND THEIR SMILES
WILL BE THEIR VICTIM
Their parliament is not the seat of democracy. It is an instrument of deception. Together with their army, police, bureaucracy and judiciary, it is part of their state. This state protects the interests of Indian and foriegn oppressors and exploiters. It enforces caste oppression, male domination and national slavery.
IT MUST BE DESTROYED!
PREPARE FOR PEOPLES WAR!
THIS IS THE ONLY PATH TO LIBERATION. THIS IS THE PATH OF NAXALBARI. POLITICAL POWER GROWS OUT OF THE BARREL OF THE GUN. WE MUST GET READY TO PICK UP THE GUN. THROUGH ARMED AGRARIAN REVOLUTION WE MUST SMASH THEIR HATED STATE, ESTABLISH A NEW DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY AND MARCH FORWARD TO CLEAR THIS WORLD OF ALL PESTS.
Maoist Unity Centre, Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist)
BURY THE OLD! BE YOUNG, BE COMMUNIST!
Celebrate 150 years of the ‘Communist Manifesto’
A hundred and fifty years ago, two young men wrote down these sentences, “The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. “Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to loose but their chains. They have a world to win. Workers of all countries, Unite!” These were the concluding sentences of the Communist Manifesto, written by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels and published in February, 1848.
The Manifesto of the class conscious proletariat scornfully dismissed the bourgeoisie’s pompous claims of having the last word in history. In lucid words it soberly analysed the world transforming scope as well as the rapacious exploitation of the bourgeois epoch. Equipped with the “...advantage of clearly understanding the line of march, the conditions, and the ultimate general results of the proletarian movement”, it brilliantly summed up the lessons of centuries of struggle against oppression and exploitation —“the history of class struggles”. The possibility and task of violently overthrowing old society was placed before the workers. In its thorough materialist analyses, historical depth, radical rupture, revolutionary zeal and prophetic vision of the future, the Communist Manifesto remains an outstanding work combining rigorous scientific analyses with youthful vigour of the new class bounding forward to fulfil its historic mission of ending all exploitation and oppression.
The bourgeoisie has always tried to ‘disprove’ the insuperable message of the Communist Manifesto. On each occasion when the International Communist Movement has been disrupted by revisionism or suffered setbacks, the fair weather friends of revolution have joined their chorus. Today too, there are those who tell the proletariat and the oppressed peoples to forget the Communist Manifesto since it is ‘outmoded’ by more than a century. Outmoded?!. Will anyone among the basic masses in the oppressed countries and the imperialist countries, deny these words of the Communist Manifesto — “...the labourer lives merely to increase capital, and is allowed to live only in so far as the interest of the ruling class requires it .“ Can anyone seeing the repeated destruction of lives and fruits of labour in trade wars, crisis, and ‘meltdowns’ of ‘modern’ capitalism which boasts of technological leaps, deny that bourgeois “...society...(which)...has conjured up such gigantic means of production and of exchange, is like the sorcerer, who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world whom he has called up by his spells.” If there is anything outmoded it is this wretched system.
Anyone seriously interested in destroying it has no better guide other than the Communist Manifesto, ably developed by the advanced positions of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. In the battlefields of Peru, Nepal, Philippines, India and elsewhere, in the bellies of the imperialist beasts, new generations of Maoist Communists fight on to bury the old. Their needs are as modest as they were 150 years ago — they only want the world.
February 18, 1998
OPPOSE INDIAN EXPANSIONISM’S NUCLEAR AMBITIONS!
The nuclear weapon explosion conducted by the Indian State is a provocative act primarily directed against the peoples of India and neighbouring countries. Though it has been done by the Vajpayee Government it is nothing but a continuation of the nuclear weapon policy followed by successive Indian Governments including the United Front Government. It is meant to terrorise the peoples and force them to go along with the chauvinist, expansionist, Hindu revivalist agenda of the ruling classes. It is also a desperate attempt to cover up the crushing effects of economic recession. Acting as if it were defying discriminatory imperialist nuclear controls and sanctions declared by some powers, the Vajpayee Government is trying to whip up jingoism and use it as a cover to accelerate the sellout to imperialism.
Despite loud talk about standing up against imperialist pressures, it is evident that consolation of imperialist concerns is the main plank of ‘damage control exercise’ being carried out by the government, main opposition parties and big monopolists. Simultaneously they are carrying out a ‘damage exacerbating’ exercise by issuing recklessly provocative threats against Pakistan and China and whipping up war fever.
It may be noted that no less a person than general Sundarji, ex. Army Chief, has gone on record to state that India was in possession of. Chinese territory in 1962 and is still holding its territory. Besides, over the past decade the Indian ruling class has been trying to arrive at an accommodation with the neo-capitalist Chinese regime on the border issue in order to release some of its armed forces and use them against the armed struggles going on in India. Nothing has changed in this regard. What is new is the powerful advance of the Peoples War in Nepal led by the C.P.N. (Maoist). This is a vital threat to Indian expansionism and its imperialist mentors. The deliberate attempt by the Indian Government to heat up Sino-Indian issues is directly related to the armed intervention plans of the Indian State directed against the Peoples War in Nepal. Over the past three years the Indian State has already tried to create a smokescreen for its expansionist intervention in Nepal. Its intelligence agencies have been feeding stories about Chinese military activities in the region and about Pakistani infiltration through Nepal. It has overtly and covertly aided the brutal suppression of the Nepali State and also pressurized it to gain more concessions. The new propaganda about the ‘Chinese threat’ is evidently a part of this expansionist at game. This has precedence. In 1990 Nepal was blockaded by India. And one reason cited was ‘defence concerns’ raised by Chinese activity in Nepal. This arrogant denial of the Sovereign rights of Nepal to decide its on affairs and external relations is symbolic of the ugly nature of Indian expansionism.
Already a large number of intellectuals, democratic and progressive people have condemned India’s nuclear weaponisation programme and Hindu revivalist jingoism. This is a good thing. It must be further strengthened and spread through creating a sharper awareness about Indian expansionism and the war mongering, interventionist nature of the Indian ruling classes.