PART 1 Here :
Below I am reproducing parts from Gautam Navlakaha’s ‘In a Heartland of Rebellion.’It accurately reveals the extent of revolutionary democracy the Maoists had built up and their practice of mass line.
Excerpts from Gautam Navlakha's experience(Sanhati)
What Do I Believe?
What is my overall impression? How do I read the Maoist movement in DK?
I am convinced that this war will be unlike any other war which Indian government has waged in the last 63 years. That this is one war which will test the resilience of the Indian state as it has never been done before.
Precisely because it is a war in which people are fighting in their own territory to save their land, forest, water, minerals, from being grabbed and they are convinced that they have an alternate vision, not just for themselves, the adivasis, but for Indian people as a whole.
It is a different ball game altogether when a people feel that destiny beckons them to emancipate themselves in order that they can inspire fellow country men and women to rally around them and follow their example.
However, no movement in India has so much to its credit and yet so little written about it or so much abuse hurled at them. Far less than this gets talked about and celebrated. Those of us, who believe in liberty with equality , must rejoice at the remarkable strides Maoists have taken and in showing us how far the spirit of serve the people can take us.
They are not saints, certainly not sinners, but as mortals they have shown what an unflinching commitment to bring about social transformation actually means. Critics can find faults, magnify them, over-read them, rulers can try to eliminate , cripple and choke , to use the words employed by the PM, to wipe them out, but it is not possible to deny that they are rooted among people, they survive because of this, and they are expanding politically because poor and deprived believe in them.
Its not only Maoists reaching out to people but people are reaching out to them and inviting them to enter new areas, to assist them in their everyday struggles.
Therefore, I believe that whether they are dealt a setback or lose their base or bases here or there, this movement is not going to be obliterated.
I think that if they are pushed from one area they will sprout elsewhere. This is the significance of their claim that they are thinking in terms of 50-60 years and not just here and now.
They are here to stay. This represents a significant shift.
So, one should not belittle their achievement.
All the more because while scholars and activists talk about alternative development models and paradigms, here are Maoists who have been practicing it for last thirty years among millions of Indians.
And not only are they developing agriculture, introducing social and economic reforms, debating social mores but are engaged in working out their own take on industrialization, mining ..Yes it is small step when you consider the vast canvas of India. But is there any other political formation which has come anywhere close to what they have achieved against this many odds?
Ironically, whatever document one was given to read or conversation we had was invariably punctuated with their admission of many a shortcoming or mistake or weakness. .
While I consider them honest admission I believe these are highly exaggerated. One of the things which stuck me was that unlike elsewhere where people tend to over blow their achievement here party was being modest about them. Constantly talking about the problems they face or what needed to be done.
For instance when I asked why is it that there is so little written material in shape of travelogue, reportage, party documentation etc on DK movement? There are few books available in Hindi, even these are translated from Telugu or Punjabi, and there is booklet brought out by the party on the development work in DK which is available in English and Hindi. But these are few and far in between. P Shankar s book yeh jungle hamara hai (This Forest Belongs to Us) needs updating since it was written in 1997 in Telugu and later translated into Hindi. Somehow the answer was that they never got round to doing this. Why? Did they not know that their detractors have used this knowledge deficit to malign them?
Yes, they did especially when in the initial period of Salwa Judum they were blamed for bringing white terror upon themselves. They were accused of having stopped adivasis from plucking tendu leaf.
Whereas the truth was that we were opposed to government announced price of less than Rs 50 for a bundle of 50 leaves when private contractors were offering nearly double the rates. That was the period when we realized that some intellectuals were levelling charges against us by believing whatever was told them in the Salwa Judum camps.
But why did they not publicize their achievement? Here they were practicing alternate development enriching adivasi society be it in terms of economic activities, health, education, development of their language (developing a new script) and preserving tribal culture ..Why did they not encourage more write ups on their experience and work in DK? I could not find satisfactory answer; I was met with shy smiles.
My own take is that for years DK was seen as an adjunct to the movement in AP. By the time it took roots and organs of people s power began to consolidate nearly two decades had passed. It was around the turn of this millennium that serious efforts were made to invite writers to come, visit and write. This picked up with the formation of CPI (Maoists) with significant presence in several states and setback experienced in AP.
The remarkable thing is that party in DK is strongly located among the poor adivasis and women. The advantage of entering an area which had been overlooked by the Indian State for decades, where political parties were marked by their absence, proved to provide the Maoists with a tremendous advantage.
This they seized and as a result the progress made, the utilization of resources and how far it went - against Indian State s record where 12 paise for every rupee allocated reaches the people, here nearly every penny serves the people - the frugality of life of party members in DK as well as the PLGA, the backbone of the movement, makes evident a fact that collective work and commitment to serve the people can make even limited resources go very far.
I did not probe whether they debated while utilizing resources the choice between equity and efficiency or how did they resolve it, but it was evident to naked eyes that emphasis was on reaching out to as many as possible with minimum of wastage. The way in which every scrap of paper was saved and used was an everyday reminder.
Every scrap was used for scribbling a message, instruction or requirement. Life remains tough and Spartan. The problems the party faces are mounting: on the one hand offensive as well as encirclement by the State and on the other loss of human and material resources.
However, the point is that while they face problems they also exaggerate their weaknesses. If one reads, for instance, the party document on rectification being carried out by them it reveals that most examples they cite are probably drawn from outside DK and most likely AP. Let me illustrate:
a) In some areas, the lands occupied from landlords in the past are lying fallow due to government repression; when the landlords try to sell these lands, the rich peasants and middle peasants are purchasing them. On such occasions, instead of bringing pressure through the agricultural labourers and poor peasants, who occupied those lands, on those who purchased the lands and stopping the sales, the squads themselves have been thrashing the rich and middle peasants who purchased the lands.
b) In the struggle for the eradication of bad habits like liquor consumption, educating the people with a long term view is lacking; in the struggle to obstruct the manufacture of arrack, instead of rallying the people, especially the women, prominence is being given to squad actions only. Physical punishments are being imposed disregarding class basis.
c) When problems arise in man-woman relations, especially in matters relating to marriage, judgments are being given without taking into view, the social problems women face.
d) In various kinds of people s Panchayats instead of listening to the versions of both sides apart from gathering the needed information from others in the villages also, one sided judgments are being - delivered, under the effect of sectarianism.
e) When some among the people commit mistakes, when they oppose our mass organisations, or when they are suspected to be working as informers, punishments much beyond their wrongs are being imposed
Now squads have given way to platoons, companies and now they are talking of battalions. In Bastar where land was distributed the ousted landlords have not been able to either sell or take possession of their lands expropriated from them and distributed to poor adivasis by JS.
This is opposite to what happened in AP.
In AP land which was distributed lay fallow and attempts were made to sell them off which was thwarted through squad action. Indeed during the peak of SJ these lands may have remained fallow, but by now Adivasi peasants have begun to return to cultivate the lands, and size of the land which remains fallow has shrunk.
Also in Bastar, JS extends credit and seeds to poor peasants and loans to purchase pair of bullocks provided to poor peasants to encourage them to take to ploughing their fields rather than using shovels to plough the land. Besides, in DK s JS areas there are no arrack shops and only traditional liquor is brewed.
Therefore, mobilizing women against arrack shops, so effective in early phase of the movement in AP, is not needed here. Indeed incidence of drunkenness is far less. Punishment meted out is not in excess of mistake committed. In fact people are proud that ordinary crimes have reduced.
Finally, an adivasi comrade said that in AP, unlike here in DK, party members had become little lazy. I said really. He said here in DK we do all the work ourselves; even carry our supplies and even when we fetch it from the haat everyone has to chip in to carry it.
In AP people would use their mobile and place order and provisions would arrive either in tractor or jeep. He said they exposed themselves to informers and infiltration.
Below is a writing of Beranard d’Mello on the Che Gueveras of Telegu Society reviwing the book of ‘Understanding Maoists’ by Venugopal Rao.It reflects weaknesses of military line but to me is still wrong in calling it Che Guevarist.
He summarizes the weakness in the maoist militeay strategy in protecting itself from attacks.Here I give great relevance to the analysis of the C.P.R.C.I.(M.L.) line coming from T.Nagi Reddy-D.V.Rao..The basic documents reflect what is true ppw .
Today in many region ssubjective factors do not exist for armed struggle and the Maoist party has not reached the stage of base ares the Telengana armed struggle achieved.
Spiral of Violence
One could view the whole unfolding process of counter revolutionary and revolutionary violence thus:
The Naxalites’ popular mobilisations precipitated a crisis of sorts for the rural gentry, and the state then came down on these mobilisations with a heavy hand, which led the CPI (ML) (PW) to enhance its military power, to which, the state, in turn readjusted its counterinsurgency tactics and, thereby, provoked a modification of the Party’s response.
It was a sequence of moves and countermoves, with the two adversaries trying to anticipate each other’s actions well in advance.
As encounter killings and cases of “missing” went up, the Maoists responded with kidnaps of state officials and ruling Party politicians to get their missing comrades produced in court; as police camped in the villages, the guerrillas raided some of these camps; as the combing operations of the security forces were stepped up, landmines, remotely controlled by the guerrillas were used to instil the fear of death among the marauders; as more Greyhounds and fortified police stations came into existence, platoons and companies of the guerrillas with more sophisticated armaments were organised. The spiral proceeded upwards.
Now, the Maoist strategy of protracted people’s war (PPW) necessarily entails taking recourse to both violent (a tragic necessity) and non-violent means, the latter, in the form of the mass line.
Unfortunately, however, the Indian state was/has been largely successful in not allowing the non-violent means to unfold.
Going by classical Maoist principles of revolutionary organisation, strategy and behaviour, armed struggle plays a crucial supporting role on the road to liberation.
But it has been/is the strategy of the Indian state to reduce the movement to violence alone.
Indeed, I wish Venugopal had thrown some light on the series of so-called encounter killings after the “Koyyur encounter” of December 1999. In the absence of this, the severe setback suffered by the Party and the Maoist movement in AP remains unexplained. To fill this gap, I cite some recent instances of the killings of Telugu Maoist leaders:
Settiraju Papaiah (alias Somanna), a member of the Special Zonal Committee of north Telangana, was allegedly abducted by the APSIB in Bangalore on 29 June 2006, brutally tortured, killed on 1 July, and his body was thrown in the forests of Warangal.
Burra Chinnayya, alias Madhav, state secretary of the Party, and seven of his comrades were killed on 23 July 2006 when the Greyhounds and a special police force of a battalion size attacked the headquarters of the AP State Committee in the Nallamala forests.
The attackers had precise information; it is said that they even knew the exact tent in which Madhav was an occupant.
Raghaulu – member of the AP State Committee of the Party – who came from a poor peasant family and grew up as a cattle-herd boy – and eight of his comrades were killed on 8 November 2006 in a forest area in Cuddapah district.
Chandramouli, a Central Committee member of the Party and a member of its Central Military Commission, and his wife Karuna, a barefoot doctor, were cold-bloodedly murdered in the Eastern Ghats on the Andhra-Orissa border on 29 December 2006, when they were on their way to the Party Congress.
Patel Sudhakar Reddy (alias Suryam, Vikas), a Central Committee member, and his comrade, Venkatayya were picked up in Nasik (in Maharashtra) on 23 May 2007, airlifted to Warangal, brutally tortured, murdered the next day, and their bodies were thrown in the Lavvala forests there.
In an interview published in July 2007, the Party General Secretary Ganapathy admitted that in Andhra Pradesh, “the enemy has the upper-hand from the tactical point of view”. The Party, of course, fought back, as was evident from the stunning attack on two platoons of the Greyhounds by a company of its People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army on 28 June 2008 in the Sileru River on the Andhra-Orissa border.
The Political and the Military
But practically an important section of the top leadership of the Party in AP was brutally eliminated, and how does one explain this severe setback suffered by the Party?
It is our hypothesis that the AP State Intelligence Bureau seems to have penetrated/infiltrated into the Party’s political structure, and this has perhaps been more easily accomplished because of deficiency in the political education of cadres, otherwise how else the above-mentioned diabolical operations could have been masterminded.
The Party has suffered a severe setback in AP and in Jangalmahal, and in these the worst of times, there seems to be a tendency to subordinate the political to the military as if a mass revolutionary consciousness can be forged in the armed struggle itself.
Such a perspective is Guevarist, not Maoist, as we have explained earlier on in this essay, and it needs to be internally critiqued.
The Party should not forget that its cadres are formed in political struggle, in ideological struggle (against revisionism), and yes, also in armed struggle; the latter should never be overestimated. It may be recalled that in the mass struggle phase of the movement in north Telangana, 1978-85, it was the winning of the solidarity of the people that was the cause of the relative success of that phase.
This was because the Party and its mass organisations involved the people in the process of revolution. Political mass participation in the revolution was emphasized. Today, the RSU is a shadow of its former self. Yet, if there’s any hope, this has to be placed in the younger generation.
Recall the deep emotion in Mao’s words to Chinese students in Moscow (in late 1949 or early 1950):
‘The world is yours, as well as ours. But in the last analysis, it is yours. You, young people, full of vigour and vitality, are in the bloom of life, like the sun at eight or nine in the morning. Our hope is placed in you.’
Frankly, the guerrilla warfare of the Maoists has assumed an erratic and ineffective character because of the absence of base areas, this, even after 47 years have gone by since the launch of the movement in Naxalbari in 1967, heralding the unfolding of a strategy conceived in terms of the area-wise seizure of political power.
Some of the guerrilla zones – which the Maoists are striving to convert into Red Areas – have been converted back to White Areas by the paramilitary forces of the Indian state backed by the mainstream political parties, and this seems to suggest that, given the geographical and topographical features of these zones, as well as the “caste-in-class” and ethnicity-class structures of the resident populations there, the present strategy and tactics and political programme of the Maoists do not offer a definitive answer to the re-occupation of such territories by the state’s forces and their conversion back to White areas. It must be remembered that it was Mao and the Chinese Communist Party’s creative adaptation of Marxism-Leninism (M-L) to the Chinese context that accounted for the success of the new democratic revolution over there.
The Maoists in India have fought really long and hard, and dedicatedly, based on their strategy of PPW, but now, it’s high time, in the light of their experience so far, they adapt M-L to the Indian context, and blaze a trail in Marxist theory and practice in India.
Defence of C.P.I.(Maoist in Lalgarh)-Briliant refutation of 2 journals who were critical class-analytical reply
Misconception 2: Aneek magazine and Shramjeevi both say that the Maoists are not democratic and have no sense of democracy. Aneek says they have alienated all the other political forces in the area (like the Majhi Marwha and Jharkhandi parties) and are not even tolerating the rank and file CPM, demanding they resign.
Santosh Rana in the Shramjeevi magazine raises the same question but goes even further saying two points: (i) Even if five people have a different view they must be allowed to speak otherwise it will lead to a different type of terror. And he equates this ‘terror’ with CPM-style terror. (ii) Upholding the existing Panchayat system and seeking to democratize it, saying that it should be controlled by the Gram Sansadand that the demand should be raised for more economic and administrative powers, like to forest revenue, stone and sand, along with control over the police. He maintains that the Maoists are for only one Party rule and will not tolerate any others. Some have gone even to the extent of equating the counter-violence of the masses and Maoists against the CPM armed goons and police informers with the terror of the CPM.
Answer 2: We are not here to condone any acts of behavior by the Maoists that maybe undemocratic/ sectarian in dealing with other non-Maoist and genuinely progressive forces, no matter what their limitations. These may invariably exist, though they should be avoided, in building up any united front activities. Yet, class struggle at the ground level is complex and not as linear as the intellectuals expect it to go.
Yet, in the Maoist appeals to the intellectuals or even in the Open Letter to Santosh Rana the approach is definitely democratic and patient (not impetuous as it often can be). Even when it is clear that Santosh Rana was aligning with dangerous, counter-revolutionary forces the tone was explanatory and asking that he come out of his errors.
Having said this, let us take the issue of democracy as this word has been much vulgarized by not only the imperialists and their henchmen but also the NGOs who oppose communist party organizational norms in the name of democracy. So let us explain the issue. We shall first look at the term first from the political angle and then from the organizational angle.
First, to take the issue of democracy in the political sense. Here democratic forces mean all anti-imperialist, anti-feudal forces. So, any democratic front must include all such forces and not just those following the Party’s view-point. This is the ideal; but, at the ground reality the ideal rarely exists. What exists is, at the one end you get the revolutionary forces and at the other the reactionary forces, while in between there may be various shades of progressive forces, which have to be assessed, from time to time, on their attitude towards the ongoing anti-imperialist, anti-feudal class struggle.
One allies with all those who overall play a positive attitude in the class struggle at any given time. But, as the class struggle intensifies, the line of demarcation becomes sharper between the real democrats and those vacillating; so, often at such times, many forces that were progressive in the earlier phase of the class struggle, desert the movement at a later phase; some may become neutral, others may even begin to oppose it.
Generally, as Mao said, one has to isolate and expose the die-hards and try and win over the rest to an anti-imperialist, anti-feudal front.
Now what are the forces that the Aneek and Shramjivi expect unity with? First, they call for unity with the BJMM, the traditional organization of adivasis in the area. These are led by the traditional leaders of the adivasis, who have been oppressors of their own people, and in this period of globalization have become stooges of the rulers.
Except for the fortnight or so in Nov.2008 when the movement against police atrocities began, they have stood in vehement opposition to the movement and as agents of the CPM (clear from the article in People’s Democracy, official organ of the CPM, dated Dec.14, 2008 by Prasant).
This was also clear in their conscious role in hounding the Maoists, opposing the mass movement and acting as tools of the police/CPM, clearing the roadblocks put up by the masses.
Next, is the large number of Jharkhandi groups. It is not only important what they profess, but their attitude to the on-going class struggle must be assessed.
In the open letter to Santosh Rana from CPI (Maoist) it was pointed out that some of those groups were acting together with the CPM’s vigilante forces. As far as the others are concerned they would be assessed by their attitude and role in the ongoing class struggle.
Now, let us turn to the other aspect, on the question of democracy in organizational matters. Serious class struggle necessitates not only democratic functioning but also a high level of discipline. The discipline should not be imposed but through self-realization. And real democracy can only be realized if it is democratic centralism where no matter what may be our personal view we are willing to accept the decision of the majority. NGOs are vehemently opposed to democratic centralism and compare it with some sort of fascist methods. Though leaders can often abuse the powers they have (whatever the structures), what the NGOs promote is anarchism below and unquestioned authority of the leader (normally the funder) whose decisions are final.
In fact in all other organizations, those who control the funds, controls the organization and all decision-making. Here too, normally there is a show of democracy, with everyone being allowed to present their views, but these are rarely considered by the final authority. So, also is the anarchism of Santosh Rana, when he says “Even if five people have a different view they must be allowed to speak otherwise it will lead to a different type of terror. And he equates this ‘terror’ with CPM-style terror.” Very true they must be allowed to speak, but how must these five acts — according to their own wishes, or that of the majority? This is not clear, but he goes to the extent of calling this, a form of terror.
What in fact he is demanding is nothing but bourgeois individualism and anarchic functioning and any form of disciple is being equated with terror.
What a communist opposes and despises is the vulgar and crude individualism promoted in this bourgeois society (which has been taken to extreme levels in this globalization period); what we promote is the development of the individuality of all comrades, which can best be realized in a cooperative atmosphere where comrades assist and help each other.
Aneek asks whether the Maoists can give a democratic character to the movement; and in the five questions to the Maoists at the end it says ‘the pressure tactics on all other political forces proves that the Maoists lack the sense of democracy”.
The essence of democracy in the sphere of organization, would be here on how and to what extent we are able to mobilize the oppressed masses and raise them to levels of leadership. For the bulk of the masses deprived of all humanity and rights for decades the essence of democracy starts with their self-respect and the assertion of their rights — not cowed down by the dictates of any leader or authority (except that of the collective).
This assertion of the downtrodden, which is the essence of democracy, comes with their education, awareness, realization of their own abilities and rights, a comradely atmosphere in the mass organization and the Party, a democratic relationship between the rank-and-file and the leadership, etc, etc. Such will be the main aspect of democracy in the organizational sphere. Over and above this, one must be patient with those forces who have a positive approach to the ongoing class struggle, but have different views from that of the Maoists. But for Aneek to make the latter the central point of the very movement appears to be misguided.
Of course, Santosh Rana has come a long way from the revolutionary programme. In the Shramjeevi article he talks not about changing the system but seeking to improve its functioning. He puts in bold that ‘it should beremembered that none other than the elected bodies, based on universal franchise can take over the political authority”. So, here he talks of democratizing and strengthening the existing panchayat system.
And he has presented many concrete proposals for this. Rana must realize that all organs of the state, no matter which, must necessarily serve the class interests of that state. With such a constitutionalist approach it is no wonder that Rana has come out with all fury against the Maoists whose agenda is not strengthening these organs of ruling class authority (the panchayats too get dominated by the semi-feudal type authority witnessed in society and that is further strengthened by their links to the government and their schemes/ contracts) but smashing it and replacing it with the power of the peasant committee slowly developing into the Revolutionary People’s Committees. Santosh Rana has to re-think where he stands vis-à-vis the revolutionary programme for genuine democratic change.
Misconception 3: The Maoists have hijacked a beautiful spontaneous mass movement and their role is destroying it and is counter productive.
Answer 3: The reality is that with the Maoist counter-offensive the mass movement has continued and grown. All the dooms-day forecasts of the intellectuals have proved wrong. This fact needs to be recognized by them and the reasons for their wrong assessments need to be analyzed. Of course in the face of massive state terror there may be ups and downs in a movement, but in this case we have seen growth despite the onslaught. Also the forms of struggle often have to change.
But here, the judicious mix of armed actions and mass mobilization (with traditional weapons) has been an excellent example on how to counter the worst forms of state terror. Though it may be true that the movement was a spontaneous outburst against state terror, the fact that the Maoists have been working in this region for over a decade cannot be ignored, and that they had no role to play in the uprising.
Aneek goes as negative as to state: Before the outset of this adivasi revolt there was no significant mass movement led by the Maoists, even after many years of work. Maoist Party had initially a peasant organization but after armed activities the peasant organization died.
This pitting the armed activities against mass organizational activities has become a traditional method of opposing the intensification of the class struggle. The reality is that any peacefully struggle, even a small trade union struggle, is faced with onslaught of goons of the malik and then the police. Anyone who has worked among the masses knows this. Due to the inability to face this violence of the state and non-state forces, we find, of late, all mass mobilization even of the legal trade union type, failing and the masses going into passivity.
It is only when the masses and their leadership are equipped to crush the goons (may be of the factory owner, the semi-feudal landed elements, the government or any party) and then the police, that the class struggle can sustain and victories be achieved. It is only then that the masses will get confidence in their organized strength. So, to counter pose the two is not only absurd it displays a deep ignorance of the ground reality of our country, expecting some democratic rights, like say in Europe.
Particularly, since the past decade, it has been very clear the state is not tolerating any mass mobilization, let alone those led by the Maoists — except those that are consciously manipulated to let off people’s anger. Can Aneek and others who also talk in the same vein, give even one recent example of a peaceful mass mobilization which was effective and gave the desired results? And with each passing day, with the deepening of the crisis, such peaceful forms of struggle are going to get more and more irrelevant.
Whether it is the displacement issue, the attacks on labour, the issues of the peasantry, the land struggles of the landless and poor peasants, the issues for water, the issue of wages, the issue of permanency, the issues against caste oppression and dalit lynching, etc, etc — except for maybe some exception, where have there been any successful peaceful agitation on any of these burning issues of the masses!!! Why has the offense of capital not been beaten back?
The so-called democratic space is tolerated so long as the movements are no threat — like, standard processions at Jantar Mantar, rallies to parliament (within limits), etc, etc. Such struggles may be necessary but, more important, is the ability to intensify the class struggle to beat back the offensive on the masses. It must have practical results not just be nominal or ceremonial. Such mass mobilization is only useful if it is a process of gaining strength which will culminate in more affective battles — not if they are repeated in a routine way year-in-and year-out.
This reality is obvious to any who are sensitive to the plight of the poor and oppressed and do not have their visions blinkered by revisionist (supposedly Marxist) theory. In its desperation to draw a dichotomy between the mass movement and the Maoist Party, Aneek seeks to turn even the reality on its head by ignoring the impact of the Maoists would have had through hard and consistent work in the area for over a decade, in the face of the worst repression by the armed gangs of the CPM and the police.
To deny this reality on the imagined basis that the Maoists had no success, till now, is naïve, as it is by only painstaking work on a step-by-step basis that quantitative growth lead to a qualitative leap in the movement. After all, one does not get a tree to bloom and yield fruits overnight after planting the seed. The initial sapling needs much care only then it will grow into a sturdy tree. Lalgarh, no doubt, seems to be developing into a sturdy tree as its roots appear deeply imbedded in the hearts of the masses.
Weaknesses of the C.P.I.(Maoist)
Below is an excerpt from intellectual Tilak Gupta.
Inspite of expansion to new ares and remarkable increase in military capabilities and striking power,it faces a political –organizational crisis of sorts.Their goals of ‘building a mighty mass movement against imperialism”, isolating and defeating “dangerous Hindu fascist forces’ and ‘building a powerful urban movement, particularly of the working-class are as elusive as ever.
Deprived of Legal and open opportunities for propaganda and agitation they find it extremely dificulat to launch large-scale mass movements and demonstration seven in ares where they still have considerable support.
And at a more theoretical level,the inadequacies of their programme and strategic-tactical line in coping with the complex Indian reality in changed international situation must be slowly becoming clearer to them in the course of their arduous struggle over the years.
For instance, a re-look at the agrarian scenario would reveal that the typical Indian countryside is neither Dandkaranya nor Sarnada forest and the question of wage,year-round employment and disastrous anti-farmer poilices under W.T.O. framework are increasingly competing with the land issue to catch political attention.If the naxalites,including the C.P.I.(Maoist),have been the staunchest allies so far of those landles underdogs threated by starvation in backward regions,now comes the challenge to take up the issue of suicides by landed farmers as well ina purposeful way.
Whoever tried to separate Charu Mazumdar from Naxalbari, had practically separated themselves from the path of Naxalbari.
In this essay I wish to reflect on his positive contribution and critically portray his stature.
2.ANALYSIS OF COMRADE CHARU MAZUMDAR AND 1969 C.P.I.(M.L.)
One of the hardest debates today is whether to recognize the formation of the 1969 C.P.I.(M.L.) Till 2004 the C.P.I.(M.L) peoples wra hands down upheld it and classified de-recognizing as counter-revolutionary.This was the stand of the Central Team of the C.P.I.(M.L.).Erstwhile groups like the Maoist Communist Centre and Unity Centre of Communist Revolutionaries of India did not uphold it. The principal reason for these forces to reject it was the left adventurist line abandoning mass organizations and not recognizing the converging revolutionary forces around it.Comrade T.Nagi Redy and D.V.Rao were expelled from the All India Coordination Commitee of Communist revolutionaries.
They opposed boycott as a strategic slogan and the calling China's chairman our chairman.Later after the 1970 formation comrades like Souren Bose and Sushital roy Choudhary attempted to combat this line of Charu and to some extent Suniti Kumar Ghosh.We have to analyze whether it's formation had some beneficial aspects.For instance the role it played in expanding or giving life to the Srikakakulam movement before it was beset by left adventurism.
It also shook some plain regions of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh as well as inspired youth in Punjab.Probably without it's inspiration Andhra Pardesh Radical Students s Union in 1973 and Virasam in 1970 would not have been formed,even if the party line officially called for ban of mass organizations.Kondappal Seetharamiah himself was a member of the C.P.I.(M.L.)Morally T.Nagi Reddy or D.V.Rao did not advocate stages theory and were preparing an area to create armed struggle.Left adventurism thwarted their bid to created people's armed struggle.
Whoever tried to separate Charu Mazumdar from Naxalbari, had practically separated themselves from the path of Naxalbari.
In this essay I wish to reflect on his positive contribution and critically portray his stature.
Charu Mazumdar was the pioneer in demarcating from Khruschevite revisionism and upholding the torch of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse Tung Thought(now Maoism).This year we commemorate 50 years since Charu Mazumdar started writing his famous 8 documents in 1965.They Sowed the seeds for the line and formation of the re-organized Communist Party.
In 1965,he wrote his first five documents.
On 28th January 1965 C.M wrote the first of his eight documents which analyzed the present and International Situation , how Communists were being arrested ,and how to build the revolutionary party. ( STUDY EIGHT DOCUMENTS HERE)
Within September 1965 he wrote 4 more documents.In the 2nd document summed up the experience of struggles of the C.P.I.in Tebhaga.In the third document he analyzed the favourable post world war 2 situation and the failure of the Communist party to utilise it.
He also discussed the agrarian revolution taking lessons from the past and propagated armed struggle.
In a fourth document he covered the forms of organization and struggles combating revisionism and explained the concrete manifestations of revisionism.
In a fifth document he exposed the revisionist character of the C.P.I.(M.).who upheld Khruschevism and opposed path of armed struggle.
These 5 documents sowed the seeds of the glorious Naxalbari Struggle. Later in his 6th document in 1966 gave the call to organize anti-revisionist struggle and exposed the capitulation of the C.P.M.
In his 7th document he gave a call to the workers, peasants and middle-class youths to work to initiate armed struggle and seize political power.Finally in his eighth document he wrote on the tasks of the peasantry to form liberated areas in the countryside and exposed the class collaborationist policies of the C.P.I.(M.L.) through the united front govt.
It is also the 45th anniversary of the 8th Congress of the C.P.I.(M.L.) held in May 1970 which defined the party programme. It was the 1st time in history that an all-india Communist party upheld the programme of protracted peoples war path’ and classified India as a ‘semicolonial and semi-feudal ‘ society.
A very complex study is whether we uphold the 1969 C.P.I.(M.L.) Or not.
I am posting some excerpts of writings from 'Voice of the Vanguard in 1997 .I feel at the time of the unity into anew party there should have been amore thorough going analyiss on this aspect rather than announcing that the party had been re-organized.I am not running down erstwhile MCC.or PW.groups but feel there is atheoretical weakness when analyzing the question of re-organized party.
Historian shave to anlyze whether massline was violated before May 1970 Conference or in A.I.CC.R.period iteslf.Did the party collapse only because of C.M's assasination"Did the party loose it's grip from 1969 itself?
Maoist Communist Centre on par with C.P.I.(M.L.) ?
To me it is a distortion that M.C.C had the same stature as the C.P.I.(M.L.) or equated at the same level.
Historically can Kondapalli Setharamiah be placed at the same stature of Charu Mazumdar or Ganpathy?Putting Kanhaiu Chatterjee on par with comrade Charu Mazumdar is erroneous as Professor Amit N Bhattachrya analysed.
Excerpts from Voice of the Vanguard -July -October 1997
I am reproducing this for cadres to analyze the question of party historically.Here the C.P.I(M.L) Peoples War group refutes an article by Maoist Communist Centre understimating or undervaluing contribution nad role of the C.P.I.(M.L.) formed in 1969.
The views and criticism of the M.C.C. on C.P.I.(M.L.) are non-dialectical,one-sided and distorted.
It refutes the article of erstwhile Maoist Comunist Centre being critical of formation of C.P.I.(M.L.) and denying it's historical role.
The M.C.C.upheld Naxalbari but denied the historic role of C.P.I.(M.L.)It reiterated the historic significance of it's formation,the objective necessities of it's formation and the role it played in summing up Naxalbari and other armed peasnt movements.It also underplayed the role of Comrdae Charu Mazumdar.
In MCC's view C.P.I.(M.L.) was not a natural culmination of Naxalbari.
In fact my personal view is that the Maoist Comunist Centre never had the historical a statuture of the C.P.I.(ML) formed in 1969 In fact the C.P.I.(Maoist) is not the re-organized Communist [party but a major component of the party to be re-organized.
I also disagree that after the PW-PU merger in 1998 into C.P.I.(M.L.) Peoples War,the original C.P.I.(M.L) was re-organized.The 2204 merger of MCC and PW group was principalled but I do not still a tribute it the status of the 1969 C.P.I.(M.L.)Historically for 18 years the PWG tooth and nail defended the re-organization of the 1960 C.P..I.(M.L).
CP.I.(M.L)played a great role in the great upsurge that swept the countryside in the wake of naxalbari and the heroic battles of the peasantry to seize political power for the 1st time in Indian history.,in Srikakulam,Birbhum, Musahari, Lakhimpur Kheri Gopiballavpur and centers in Punjab and Himachal Pradesh.Can we obliterate these glorious struggles of the seventies which wrote a golden chapter in the annals of the Indian people's struggles for emancipation and can we deny the role of C.P.I.(M.L.) in initiating and advancing the first ever conscious effort to build peoples war,red army and base areas?
In fact in Srikakulam hundreds of villages were liberated giving birth to 'red ares' as a result of conscious effort under the leadership of C.P.I.(M.L.).Can we deny this great heritage which was nothing but development and culmination of the agrarian revolution that started from Naxalbari
Without C.P.I.(M.L.) could these struggles reach the heights where they had reached creating history in Indian revolution?
Can we advance the agrarian revolution today if we fail to take positive lessons from these glorious struggles.Defending C.P.I.(M.L.) is the question of upholding the great heritage of Naxalbari itself which cannot be sepertaed ffrom the party formation.
True ,he made serious errors calling for 'annihilation of the class enemy ' and for the 'disbandment of mass organizations.'However certain sections of the Communist camp villify his great contributions and only expose his errors.
Although critical of gross mistakes the Andhra Pradesh state commitee led by Kondappali Seetharamiah and the C.O.C.(M.L.) upheld the programme of the 1970Congress .Later the C.P.I.(M.L.) Peoples war and Party Unity sections also upheld it. Although critical of left adventurism comrades like Sushital Roy Choudary, Suniti Kumar Ghosh ,Kondappali Seetharamiah and Darshan Singh Dushanj upheld the positive aspect of Comrade C.M.
Even a revolutionary punjabi jounal 'Surkh Rekha' upheld his contribution in 1993 and in 2014 which also upheld Comrade T.Nagi Reddy.In the same article in 1993 it upheld the contributions.of Comrade C.M.and T.N. Forming a new party in 2004 did not mean rejecting the contribution of CharuMazumdar.Morally Charu Mazumdar led the Naxalbari struggle and later groups like PWG or PU always though critically,swore by his name.
Significant that degenerated or revisionist Marxist -Leninist groups reject Majumdar.
Today groups like Red Star have villified the party programme of the 1970 Congress while the Kanu Sanyal C.P.I.(M.L.) does not uphold C.M's revolutionary contribution.Red Star Group has distorted the 1970 party programme by advocating ‘neocolonial era ‘ and ‘’path of peoples democratic revolution.’
It was Comrade Mao Tse Tung who himself endorsed the 1970 party Congress programme.
The 1970 C.P.I.(M.L.) Party Congress programme set the base for the later struggle of the C.P.I.(M.L.) Peoples War group, Party Unity Group and the present C.P.I.(Maoist) ,of course with amendments. In the 1995 C.P.I.(M.L.) Peoples War Conference and the 2001 9th party Congress(actually 2nd of C.P.I-M.L.) the 1970 Congress party programme was upheld and a portrait of Charu Mazumdar was garlanded.
Both these conferences were termed as a continuation or sequence of the 8th party Congress held in 1970 and thus the events were termed as the 9th Congress. Even the unity Congress of the C.P.I.(Maoist) in February 2007 called it’s event as a continuation or step from the 8th Congress of May 1970.It must be stated that earlier in the late 1990’s the erstwhile Maoist Communist Centre was critical of Charu Mazumdar and the C.P.I.(M.L.) formed in 1969...
However when the C.P.I.(Maoist) was formed it unanimously recognized it and the verdict was reached that 2 parties were formed the C.P.I.(M.L.) and the Maoist Communist Centre. In the earlier decades C.P.I.(M.L.)Peoples War Group was critical of M.C.C.not joining the C.P.I.(M.L.) while M.C.C claimed that the conditions for formation of the party did not exist and it was hastily formed. In this context we should also study the analysis of T.Nagi Reddy,D.V.Rao ,Andhra Pradesh Co-ordination Commitee of Communist Revolutionaries, and the C.P.R.C.I.(M.L.) which analyses that only when the final party is formed can unanimity be reached on the question of the 1969 C.P.I.(M.L).
I do not think it was correct to conclude that the C.P.I.(M.L.) was re-organized with the PU-PW meger into C.P.I.(M.L.) Peoples war or that the party was re-organized with the formation of the C.P.I.(Maoist).Maoist Communist Centre did not join the 1969 C.P.I.(M.L) but that dies not give it the same stature as the C.P.I.(M.L.) .M.C.C.I.had the same status as the C.P.I.(M.L.) Peoples war .party.
True Charu Mazumdar was wrong in calling the entire bourgeoise as comprador’, abandoning mass organizations and movements, calling ‘China’s chairman,our chairman’,advocating ‘annihilation of the class enemy’,considering ‘boycott of election’as a strategic slogan , ‘Guerrilla warfare’ as the only means of struggle, ‘that a revolutionary situation existed in every nook and corner of India’ etc. Such slogans reflected doctrinarism and not Marxism.
Authoritarianism, bureaucratism or egoism was prevalent and mass line was violated..However it was C.M’s very efforts that sowed the seeds of the demarcation of revisionism and the upholding of Mao Tse Tung thought in India. Quoting 1983 Liberation organ of C.T.C.P.I.(M.L.) “Proper evaluation of Comrade C.M. has not yet been done on the basis of dialectics of historical materialism,which requires a thorough study of his writings and deeds.
It requires time for such research of his writings and deeds. Thus we do no deem it proper to make any irresponsible comment on C.M.,even if a rectification of his errors is necessary. Comrade C.M.’s main line of thinking was not isolated but evolved through the process and development of 2-line struggle inside the C.P.I.and C.P.M.,who were concurrent with the 2 line struggle in the international arena ,particularly the great debate. Comrade C.M. tirelessly fought against class collaborationist line of the revisionists and waged bitter fight not only in theoretical field but practical field.
Thus he was under continuous suppression by revisionist forces.” Arguably Lin Biaoist line had it's effect on Mazumdar's ideology in the period from 1967-72..
We must all read the interview of Zhou En Lai by Souren Bose in 1970 critical of C.P.I.(M.L.)’s policies but also remember the tension prevailing because of Lin Biaoist line.
In yesteryears the erstwhile Central Team faction always called for the re-uniting of the central Commitee formed at the 1970 C.P.I.(M.L.) 8TH Party Congress. The erstwhile U.C.C.R.I.(M.L.) of Nagi Reddy and D.V.Rao.did not give Comrade CM the appraisal he deserved .
In the view of he new organization
"The Central Leadership of the C.P.I(M.L)failed to resolve correctly certain questions of policy regarding mass line ,military line and style of work. Instead of devicing correct CT Marxist Leninist policies in the light of objective analysis, the cental leadership started divicing such policies subjectively. Consequently our revolution receive setrbacks.The Central leadership gradually deviated from the very ideological foundation of the party.
They revealed a sectarian, individualist and bureaucratic trend. The failed to mobiles all the sincere C.R's in he party,through ideological persuasion and political struggle. Although the 8th Congress of the C.P.I(M.L),boldly drew a clear line of demarcation between Marxism and Revisionsism, upheld the correct general orientation and path of Indian Revolution, yet adopted certain left adventurist policies on the questions of mass and military line.It asserted that mass struggles and mass movements wee indispensable and that the principal contradiction was that between feudalism and the broad masses.
It is significant that later in their April 1993 issue of Liberation they wrote, 'The C.P.I(M.L) had failed to understand the significance of consistent struggle of ideological, political nature within the party and outside for further quantitative and qualitative consolidation of revolutionary forces in and around he C.P.I(M.L)Early success led them to sectarian politics and organizational authoritarianism.They failed to realize the significance of consistent struggle in each and every activity of party leadership brought forth from C.PI.and C.P.M. Revolutionary broadness and flexibility was replaced by authoritarian principles .The leadership failed to realize the dimension of the converging process of revolutionaries in and around the party. Opportunist onslaught within the party gave rise to organisational centralism.
The Central Team however upheld the formation of the C.P.I(M.L)in 1969.Quting their journal, "The heroic ideological struggle through concrete actions leading to armed agrarian upsurge by the peasntry ,the main force of revolution gave birth to the re-organised Communist Party-the Communist Party of India(Marxist Leninist)In 30 years the party has split into several fractions.Some of them claim to be he party while others operate as part of the paty.Many Communist revolutinaries are divided in these gropups.
There has been failure of Communist Revolutionaries to evaluate correctly the original/correct formulation on which the structure of he party was built.The time is most suited for the true communist Revolutinaries to merge with he whole.i.e.with the "C.P.I.M.L". and form the centre to take up the responsibility of the Indian Revolution which is New Demoratic and principally an armed agrarian revolution.
We must establish the monlolithic Centre of democratic centralism which was lost after 1972.9
When the original C.P.I.M.L disintegrated)The All India Revolutionary Centre(re-esatablish the 8th Central Committee) of the party must be re-established."
The above document is significant as there was once a conflicting viewpoint on thr formation of the party in 1969.Groups like Peoples War Group,Party Unity or C.R.C upheld it unchalengingly,while factions like Maoist Communist Centre ,Chandra Pulla Reddy Group,U.C.C.R.I.(M.L0' OF Nagi Reddy opposed it. Today the C.P.I.(Maoist) concludes that there were 2 founding parties the Maoist Communist Center and the Charu Mazumdar led C.P.I(M.L).
Significantly the erstwhile Central Team of the C.P.I.(M.L.) which upheld C.M. critically merged with the C.C.R.I in 1994 which upheld the line of Nagi Reddy. into the C.P.R.C.I.(M.L. )Like Maoist Communist Centre steams remained outside the C.P.I.(M.L.) like the Chandra Pulla Reddy or Nagi Reddy factions but that does not mean we downplay the validity of the historical role played by Charu Mazumdar.
We must be critical of the sectarianism of the C.P.I.(M.L) of 1969 in preventing other Maoist revolutionary forces from joining it and endorse the views of T.Nagi Reddy ,D.V.Rao etc on it’s major errors..