The Challenges before the Maoists
The millennia started with the hype of ushering in an era of undisputed victory of capitalism under the aegis of the US imperialism’s aggressive march as the self-proclaimed sole leader of the world. It is interesting to note that the quick sand of economic crisis was being simultaneously created. Their millennial proclamation was soon followed by their wars of aggression in Afghanistan and Iraq. In fact these wars, which reflected the megalomaniac great power ambitions of the U.S. manifested through the Bush Jr. regime, played a vital role in the generation of the crisis. This aspect has not been duly acknowledged. Rather the focus is narrowed down to the speculative bubbles of financialisation. The fact of the matter remains that the crises that periodically affects the capitalist economy given its striving for over production driven by greed for profits continues in this century. Not only that, it is accentuated by financialisation, which makes the economy all the more vulnerable. All of this built towards a spiralling crisis leading to the worst ever recession modern society has seen. The fall out inevitably led to sharp decline in the living standards of the vast majority of the marginalised masses all over the world including that of the first world advanced nations. The imperialists tried to present a bold face through attempts to tackle this unitedly, even giving some place to emerging Third World powers like China and India. But their patch work solutions have only created an environment for stagnation and further crisis. At the same time they limit their options for future damage control. Their desperate attempts to simulate the economy while trying to maximise profits and impose the burden on the masses has further aggravated the situation. It has led to widespread displacements and migration, unemployment and underemployment, sharp increase in poverty levels, hunger and suicides.
The GATT Treaty which paved the wave for the WTO regime brought in the mantra of Globalisation – Privatisation – Liberalisation as a sure shot remedy for stagnation and recurring crises. In its two decades of practice it has reaped exorbitant profits for the monopolist bourgeoisie and the comprador big bourgeoisie in the Third World. Other than that it proved beneficial only for a small section of the middle classes who were elevated to the upper end of their strata. There has been an attempt to portray this small gain achieved by a section of the middle classes as the proof of success of globalisation. Meanwhile all sorts of nefarious methods are being employed to cover-up, deny and disown its ill effects which have affected the vast majority. In India, suicides committed by destitute peasants over this period have been over 3 million. Its reasons are attributed to various other things but globalisation. Globalisation has in fact deepened the gulf between the haves and the have-nots to unprecedented levels. Most importantly it sharply brought to the open the principal contradiction of imperialism versus the oppressed people and nations while aggravating all the other contradictions too. The results can be seen in the turmoil and resistance struggles spread out across the globe. The Arab Spring which overthrew decades old dictators, faithful servitors of imperialism, is the brightest example. The attempts to subvert these rebellions by replacing them with new ones with democratic masks are getting exposed and they too face the wrath of the masses. In the imperialist countries the workers and broad masses consistently take to the streets to resist and defeat attempts to cut down on their standard of living or rob them of their livelihood.
The very volatile and violent reactions of the masses are shaking up the ruling classes. Much against their wishes it is throwing up big obstacles in the implementation of their aggressive anti-people plans to revive the economy. The resolution of the 2012 Special Meeting of RIM parties clearly states, “In this context a potential new wave of the world proletarian revolution develops and emerges, with the people's wars led by Maoist parties as its reference points and strategic anchor. The realisation of this potential ultimately depends on how successful the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist parties are in fulfilling their revolutionary tasks at national and international level. The pooling of their understanding and experience and the development of their capacity to take a united revolutionary message to the rebellious masses all over the world, have decisive importance.”
This international situation sets the stage for the tumultuous resurgence of mass rebellion and resistance. The challenge before the Maoist is that of correctly grasping the new possibilities thrown open by the imperialist crisis, which, despite all their united efforts, is not showing any sign of resolution in the near future. The world is in turmoil. The students and youth, workers and peasants, the salaried classes, all have joined hands to struggle against the life this imperialist system has imposed on them. The growing unemployment and underemployment in the imperialist world have shaken illusions and punctured chauvinist great nation pride. No doubt, this situation of grave instability has also strengthened reactionary, chauvinist tendencies. But the predominant trend is positive. The growing awareness is quiet visible in the slogans, level of debate and focussed anger against the ruling classes and imperialism. Every event is becoming a potential bomb. May it be the rape and murder of a young woman in a bus in Delhi or cutting down some trees in a park in Istanbul – incidents have just been triggers for an outbreak of pent up rage, one which doesn’t easily get cowed down.
Today the People’ War growing in the heartland of India led by Communist Party of India (Maoist) and in the archipelagos of the Philippines led by the Communist Party of the Philippines, stand foremost in bringing the power and inspiration of Maoism to this world of crisis and rebellion. Along with this we must note the attempts being made to launch or relaunch People’s Wars by Maoists in Turkey, Nepal, Peru (by those holding up the revolutionary flag in the midst of opportunism and betrayal that emerged after the arrest of comrade Gonzalo) and in various other countries. But there are issues that still exist as hurdles in achieving the overall leap that will catapult the Maoist pole to the centre of the present wave of rebellions and protests seen in the world.
After a decade of struggle, led principally by the Communist Party of Peru, Maoism was adopted by the RIM in 1993. It upheld Marxism-Leninism-Maoism as the third, newer and higher stage of proletarian ideology. The struggle to grasp it in totality was itself a leap. It also was a weapon against the fractured understanding, opportunist garb and revisionism that existed even among those waving the Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought banner. The task did yield result as the struggle to establish Maoism showed the real face of various shades of wrong thinking and tendencies which ultimately took a totally revisionist stand. But within a decade or so, those trends which could still manage to evade being identified cropped up with their versions of revisionism. Also various other trends still persist. The task of establishing Maoism is still a task that needs to be accomplished forcefully.
In its 2000 Enlarged Meeting, the RIM analysed and drew attention to the ‘emerging new wave of revolution’ and recognised that revolution is the main trend. Soon after this we saw the RCP, USA pulling away from these positions in the wake of the attack on the World Trade Center. Under the guise of presenting a dialectical view that there are ‘immense possibilities as well as grave dangers’, they were in fact being one-sided and seeing only the grave dangers. This was also the period during which the main content of Avakianism, now presented as New Synthesis of Bob Avakian, was taking shape. In 2004 the Prachanda-Bhattarai revisionists began to formalise their deviation from Maoism in the name of 21st Century Democracy.
One prominent erroneous trend seen today among the Maoists is that of evading struggle with revisionism on the ideological front. This is all the more serious, when two dangerous new forms of revisionism, namely the revisionisms of the Prachanda-Bhattarai variety Avakianism, are causing havoc. It is surprising that those coming from the RIM tradition where utmost importance was given to ideological tasks are showing slackness in taking up the rigorous task of ideological combat with revisionism effectively. Some argue that there is a need to thoroughly study or engage in debate with ‘something as important’ as what Avakian said before it can be termed as revisionist.
True, a thorough refutation is needed. In fact, while the last issue of Naxalbari refuted Prachanda-Bhattarai revisionism, this issue is devoted to the task of repudiating Avakianism. Prachanda-Bhattarai revisionism exposes itself through its blatant service to reaction, Indian expansionism and imperialism. Avakianism is more devious. But, when it is declared that MLM must be replaced with Avakianism, isn’t this enough reason to reject it outright as liquidationist and revisionist? Isn’t this an urgent, necessary step that must be taken immediately even while one reserves the responsibility of thorough examination and refutation at one’s convenience? When it is clearly seen that the manipulatory methods of the RCP, USA and the opportunism of UCPN (M) were the immediate reasons for the collapse of RIM shouldn’t this be said so openly? Giving the revisionists and liquidators the benefit of doubt only creates further confusions. This is shying away from the immediate internationalist responsibilities. It is a manifestation of centrism. If left uncorrected it will pave the way to revisionism. It is time to call spade a spade without any delay and take up the task of principled Maoist unity at the earliest.
Another erroneous trend is the failure to concretely understand ‘potential new wave of the world proletarian revolution’ and what opportunity the present world situation has set up for the Maoists. Herein lies the importance of having a correct grasp of the international line and its relation to revolutionary work in a country. The tendency to see international work as incidental or having an understanding that international work is only needed to give or take solidarity will eventually lead to failure in adopting a correct international line. This thereby affects the national line too. The prominent trend is to accept the changes occurring at the international level, talk about it in our literature, but make no necessary changes in our work. Thus a gradualist approach of ‘business as usual’ is taken. This trend fails to seize the opportunity and push the People’s War or the necessary plans for its preparation, to take the initiative in our hands.
Strangely enough, the given international situation and the spontaneous struggles of the people around the world has inspired some to come out openly with their revisionist self and advocate for electoral politics. They swear by Maoism, its creative application and need for developing theory, but carry out its exact opposite by adopting policies which have been proved wrong over and over again and end up preparing to take the plunge into the cess pool of parliamentarism. Their creativity has nothing new in essence. It is the same old revisionist line, now combined with the NGO style of work. There is a strong tendency amongst the opportunists and revisionists to hide under the garb of Marxist - Leninist rhetoric like ‘concrete analysis of concrete conditions’, ‘applying dialectics’ etc. while practicing just its opposite.
In this case the deviation arises from their variety of ‘concrete analysis of concrete conditions’ whereby they see that the fundamental character of the Indian society has changed and caste-feudalism is no longer a main, decisive enemy of the masses. The Maoist understanding of bureaucratic capitalism as a specific form of capitalism created and nurtured by the imperialists to serve its interests in the countries is not taken into account. The character of this form of capitalism as one that serves the interests of imperialism and feudalism is not seen. The classical form of feudalism, as seen in China in the pre-revolutionary era, nowhere exists in the world today. But it is equally true that imperialist wants to retain feudalism in one way or the other as its social base in order to carry forward their unbridled exploitation of the 3rd world of its resources, wealth and great reservoir of labour, to keep their returns on capital rolling. Yet at the same time they also are in the dire need of constantly deepening and widening the market to push their products in ever larger amounts. Simultaneously, the class struggle within the oppressed countries, in particular the revolutionary struggle, exerts a pressure from below. This interaction, from above and below, necessitates the imperialists to keep transforming feudalism according to their political and economic needs. Hence the changes seen in the countryside do not indicate that feudalism is getting eliminated. A thorough examination reveals that though, in appearance, traditional forms of feudalism are side-lined or even eliminated, in essence it gets replaced by new forms with feudal content. This is one major field where deeper struggles within the Maoist fold are necessary in order to achieve a higher leap towards Maoist unity on correct lines.
The present turmoil seen in the world is still predominantly guided by various non-Marxist ideologies. But, the advancement of Maoist led People’s War as a solid alternative and the formation of an internationalist Maoist organisation will only help speedy polarisation and win over the revolutionary masses in waves. The turbulent world shows ever more glaringly that the masses needs revolution and revolutionary parties to lead and guide them to final victory. This is the time to sharpen the line struggles with the aim of uniting the majority. This period calls for stronger and principled unity among the Maoists at the national and international level. The challenges have been set.