Saturday, July 22, 2017
50 Years of Naxalbari: Some Reflections by Anand Teltumbde in Calicut on June 4th 2017
Democracy and Class Struggle appreciates the work of Anand Teltumbde and we have learnt much from him on the Dalit struggle and the mistakes of the communist movement in India.
In his Calicut speech he makes eleven points about the revolutionary communist movement in India in general and not just the Dalit struggle which we would do well to ponder.
Speech in Calicut on June 4th
50 Years of Naxalbari: Some Reflections
At the outset I wish to complement and thank you for having organized this commemorative seminar to observe the 50th anniversary of the Naxalbari armed struggle. In the times that the state is so hypersensitive to the words like Naxalites or Maoists that on mere suspicion of being sympathetic to this ideology, it incarcerates people for years in jails and punishes them with life imprisonment or even sends them to gallows, it is heartening to see people courageously coming out to commemorate this glorious moment in India’s history.
The number of people and the scale of the conferences cannot be the gauge to measure their spirit. These things bear a price tag these days. What is important is that such people exist all over India even in these trying times, who give a damn to the state’s terror tactics. They are determined to keep the memory of Naxalbari alive, its flame fluttering so as to pass on the saga of martyrdom and sacrifices of hundreds of thousands of comrades who sacrificed their everything at the altar of revolution to the coming generations. We are fortunate to have some comrades in our midst here who represent them. Before I say anything I wish to say my Red Salutes to these comrades.
It may not be very apt to invoke Milan Kundera who became famous by satirizing the Stalinist regime in Czechoslovakia but what he said is quite apt, “The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting”. We will not forget Naxalbari.
People of this country have not forgotten it. If they had, every periodical in the country would not have bothered to take out a special issue or a feature on its 50th anniversary. Media today is purely a business and under the present regime is transformed into a vehicle of its propaganda, paid or unpaid.
If this media observes the memory of this movement which has been an anathema for both its ownership as well as the state, one can only surmise the sizable existence of people who wish to read about Naxalbari; they have not forgotten her.
Naxalbari is a small town in Siliguri sub-division in the northern part of West Bengal, which paradoxically does not show any sign of what is spoken about it in the outside world. Years ago, I had gone there with expectations to see scars of this movement, see the blood stains on its soil and meet people related to those who were killed, jailed and tortured, who would have many tales to tell.
But I was totally surprised to see nothing of it. There was no trace of that spark which lit that prairie fire which would engulf the entire country and would refuse to be doused.
It may be appropriate to briefly recount the making of Naxalbari. It all started in the wake of Sino-India war of 1962, when Comrade Charu Mujumdar, a veteran of the Tebhaga movement in Terai region, had declared that the government of India had attacked China and it was the duty of communists to oppose the war.
During the war the struggle between the conservative and radical wings of the CPI had reached its flashpoints and the party split with the radical separating out from the CPI as CPI (Marxist) or CPM in 1964. Majumdar along with most of the CPI had gone over to the CPM.
The Siliguri Group of the newly formed CPM, led by him, wanted to launch armed revolution on the Chinese pattern. Between January 1965 and May 1967, he wrote eight letters to party comrades analyzing the Indian situation and outlining his views on how to make revolution in India.
These eight letters would be known as Eight Historic Documents among the Naxalites. The main points of these documents were (1) the Indian revolution must take the path of armed struggle, (2) it should be on the pattern not of the Soviet revolution but of the Chinese revolution and (3) the armed struggle in India should take the form of people’s war as advocated by Mao Zedong and not the guerilla war of Che Guevara.
One of the documents gave a call to initiate partisan warfare in the Terai region within six months. Throughout 1966, peasant cells were formed all over the Siliguri sub-division; bows and arrows, and even a few rifles were gathered and liaison was established with the Nepalese Maoists, who were active just a few miles away.
Entire 1966 was full of frantic activity which culminated in a revolutionary Kisan Conference at Siliguri. On 3 March, 1967, a day after the United Front (UF) government in which CPM had partnered with the Bangla Congress assumed power in West Bengal, the seeds of the struggle began to sprout. A group of peasants surrounded a plot of land in Naxalbari region; marking the boundaries with red flags they began harvesting the crop. The 18 March convention signaled the peasant upsurge.
The UF government sought to diffuse the movement by announcing token land reforms. But the Kisan committees responded with forcible takeover of lands from jotedars. Huge procession was organized by Kisan committees with people armed with lathis, spears, bows and arrows and hundreds of red flags, which struck terror in the hearts of landlords. The first clash occurred when a share cropper, Bigul Kisan, was beaten by armed agents of a local jotedar. It sparked off violent clashes. By end May the situation reached the level of an armed peasant uprising. Jyoti Basu, who was the home minister in the UF government, ordered in the police.
On 23 May, the peasantry attacked the police with bows and arrows injuring three of them. One Sonam Wangdi, an inspector of Jharugaon, among them, succumbed to his injuries in hospital after two days. On 25 May, a bigger contingent of police arrived in Naxalbari and retaliated the killing of Wangdi by gunning down nine women and two children. In June the struggle intensified further in the surrounding areas of Naxalbari, Kharibari and Phansidewa.
Firearms and ammunition were snatched from the jotedars. The tea garden workers struck work in support of the rebelling peasants. On 19 July, a large number of paramilitary forces entered the region and in a ruthless cordon and search operations, beat hundreds and arrested over one thousand people. Some leaders like Jangal Santal were arrested, others like Tribheni Kanu, Sobhan Ali, Gorkha Maji and Tilka Maji became martyres and others were driven underground. The Naxalbari struggle as such lasted less than two months but made Naxalbari a metaphor for the people’s armed revolutionary struggle in the entire country.
The uprising was confined to an area of 250 sq miles and could bear no comparison with many violent peasant movements of the past, far less with the armed struggle in Telangana in the early years of independence.
The significance of the Naxalbari movement was that it represented the first experiment with Maoism in India under the leadership of a party wholly committed to the Chinese path. The Communist Party of China, then the center for world revolution, hailed the uprising. On 28 June 1967, Radio Peking broadcast described it as the “front paw of the revolutionary armed struggle launched by the Indian people..” Within a week, the 5th July edition of the People’s Daily carried an article entitled ‘Spring Thunder over India’ stating, “The Chinese people joyfully applaud this revolutionary storm of the Indian peasants in the Darjeeling area as do all the Marxist-Leninists and revolutionary people of the world.” It is this support from the CPC that distinguished Naxalbari from the previous armed struggles, particularly Telangana.
Although the fire at Naxalbari was doused by the military might, it had inspired revolutionaries far and wide. The walls of the college street in Calcutta were plastered with pro-Naxalbari and anti-CPM posters. The radical section of the CPM held a meeting in Ram Mohan Library Hall in Calcutta and formed the ‘Naxalbari Peasants Struggle Aid Committee, which was to become the nucleus of the future Naxalite party. Naxalbari gave a fillip to the peasants struggle in Srikakulam and set aflame Birbhum, Debra-Gopiballavpur, Mushahari and Lakhimpur-Kheri.
The states of West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab, UP, and Tamil Nadu saw a big spurt in Naxalbari-inspired struggles and Maoist formations sprouted in nearly every state of India. Each place of this uprising was left a trail of state terror that devoured scores of martyrs and pushed hundreds of people into jail. But the state could not crush the spirit of Naxalbari, It kept on rising like a proverbial phoenix bird with renewed energy.
We need to note that Naxalbari was not the first armed peasant uprising in independent India, nor was it the first attempt at revolution making on the pattern of China. The five year Telangana struggle, first against the Nizam’s rule and then against the Congress regime after Hyderabad’s integration with India, had been ostensibly organized on the Chinese model. The essence of the political line worked out by the units of the undivided communist party in Telangana and Andhra regions was that in India the democratic revolution will take the form of armed guerilla warfare as in China, and not a political general strike of workers and armed insurrection as in Russia.
It envisaged that armed guerilla resistance areas would be developed in several parts of the country, which would then be converted into liberated areas with their own armed forces and state apparatus. Later, the towns would be liberated by these armed forces coming from the liberated areas.
The struggle was called off after a CPI delegation consisting of Ajoy Ghosh, S A Dange, C Rajeswara Rao, and M Basavapunniah had visited Moscow and discussed the inner party crisis with the Soviet leaders. The central committee of the CPSU set up a commission headed by Stalin and with Molotov, Malenkov and Suslov as members for the purpose. What Stalin’s advice was to the Indian communists has now become a matter of controversy between the CPI and the CPM and even other comrades. Rajeswara Rao says that the CPM’s contention that Stalin criticized the Indian communist movement for its failure to save the Telangana armed struggle is absolutely untrue.
Nor is it a fact that Stalin supported the continuance of the struggle till its withdrawal in 1951. On the other hand, P. Sundarayya, general secretary of the CPM, maintains that the CPSU commission felt that in the situation prevailing then it was unfortunate that the Telangana armed partisan resistance could not be defended and continued.
The time had come to withdraw the armed struggle, and it was for the leadership of the Indian communist party to decide on what terms to withdraw it and negotiate, how long it had to be continued to secure suitable terms and when exactly to withdraw the armed resistance.
Whatever the version of Stalin’s advice, the CPI leadership took the decision to withdraw the struggle behind the back of Com D V Rao, the architect of the Telangana struggle as he writes in Telangana Armed Struggle and the Path of Indian Revolution, refuting Sundarayya’s version.
By the time the struggle was withdrawn in October 1951, 10 lakh people were tortured, one lakh jailed and 4000 peasants, labourers, cadres and students were shot dead. As Nizam’s jails were not sufficient, military barracks and open jails were set up to accommodate the arrestee. This was the depth and extent of the struggle. This struggle also had accomplished commendable feats like abolishing begar (vetti) or forced, free labour; almost toppled Nizam’s feudal regime by the time Indian armies arrived in the name of Police Action in September 1948; established Gram Rajyas (village Soviets) in 3000 villages where Nizam’s administrative writ ceased to operate; feudal dictat in respect of levies, extortions, zurmanas, fines, nazranas, were abolished; scaring the tyrants to flee villages; introduced the concept of land ceiling and tenant rights much before the Government of India enacted them; distributed 10 lacks acres of land along with attached cattle, carts and farm implements to the landless peasants; developed small irrigation systems for them; revised farm wages and labour rates; raised an armed force of about 10000 volunteers by late 1948, Guerilla tactics were developed and implemented; controlled petty crimes, usury, liquor consumption by establishing people’s court run on new principles of justice.
However, Telangana did not get any approbation as Naxalbari received from either Russia or China.
Naxalbari was fully charged with Chinese spirit. It threw up such slogans as Chin-er chairman, amader chairman (Chairman of China, Mao, is our chairman). The lines from the Red Book (quotations from Mao's writings) were turned into slogans, and became the stuff of legendary posters, such as 'Women are half the sky', 'Students and youth are like the sun of eight or nine in the morning', 'Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun', 'Revolution is not a piece of embroidery or a piece of fine art, but the deployment of force by one class over another', etc. These slogans and other rallying cries conjured up a world where people could think that impossible could be made possible, heaven could be made to appear on the earth. They had reverberations in avante garde literature, music, drama, paintings, and even films. Theatre personalities like Utpal Dutt, poets like Birendra Chattopadhyay, Kamlesh Sen, well known essayists like Pramod Sengupta, Amiyo Chakrabarty, story writers and novelists like Mahasveta Devi, and journalists like Samar Sen and Bhavani Roy Chowdhury made the time aesthetically sensitive in a distant sense. Parallel journals like Now, Frontier, Anushtup, Kalpurush– all avant garde initiatives – flourished. Literacy campaigns among peasants, workers, and slum dwellers started. Jails became places of intense self-introspection and learning. They became universities.
While we can recount a plethora of such glorious contributions of Naxalbari, and salute the supreme sacrifices of hundreds of thousands of young men and women who kept the fire of Naxalbari burning with their flesh and blood, the fifty years of the ups and downs of this struggle also offers us valuable lessons which we need to consider while observing its 50th anniversary.
By the second half of the 1960s, the eclipse of the euphoria of independence, exposure of the deceitful anti-people policies of the government and the country wide famine created conditions favourable for revolution on the eve of Naxalibari as Charu Majumdar saw. But it may be argued that such conditions characterized by exploitation and mass misery always existed in India and they still do even today. The Marxian theory of revolution categorically states that objective conditions are necessary but not sufficient for social revolution. The social revolution occurs when the subjective factor is combined with objective conditions. Lenin has said that there were revolutionary situations in Russia both in 1859-1861 and in 1879-1880, but no revolutions occurred in those years. This is due to the fact that for the occurrence of a revolution there shall be a juxtaposition of both objective and subjective conditions. Majumdar did not pay attention to this law and presumed that the subjective conditions can be created with the revolutionary violence. He did not pay adequate attention to the process of transformation of class-in-itself into class-for-itself or distinction between the conditions favourable for revolution and revolutionary conditions.
To be fair to him, Majumdar formulated his theory of annihilation of class enemies (known as Khatam, finish or annihilation in Bengali) based on peasant psychology or subjective condition of peasantry. He opined that the peasants have been taking oppression, misery and starvation for centuries. These conditions have resulted in loss of dignity among them. They have even lost the will to rebel against social and economic oppression. The use of violence against their inherited enemies would restore a sense of dignity and self confidence among the peasants.
This kind of argument took Majumdar very close to the theory of revolution in the colonial context as formulated by Frantz Fanon (The Wretched of the Earth), who wrote about similar kind of liberating effect of killing the oppressor. The subjective conditions, he considered as necessary prior to revolutionary action were the consciousness of the leader of the movement in terms of their ideological comprehension to identify contradictions and to evolve strategies and tactics for revolution.
This position taken by him implies that revolutionary condition (and consciousness) is created by revolutionary actions, which draws him closer to the use of Che Guevara, Debray and other Latin American leftist guerillas rather than “Mao Thought”, which emphasizes mass work to create revolutionary conditions.
Che Guevara on the basis of the experience of the Cuban revolution asserts that it is not necessary to wait for the revolutionary situation to develop; a revolutionary situation can be created.
Similarly, Lenin emphasized on the role of party as having professional revolutionaries who guide and streamline the movement indicates the same view that social movements are consciously planned and carried through. Moreover, modern social movements are not only consciously planned in terms of actions; their ideology too has entered the domain of consciousness. Therefore, consciousness ceases to be the mundane consciousness, but the ideological consciousness which is imputed by the ideologically conscious initiators of a movement on the people.
Majumdar’s disregard for the mass organization and his policy of ‘Khatam’ which are today widely criticized basically stem from this theory. These policies were also disapproved by Chinese leaders (Chou En-Lai and Kang Sheng) when a delegation of the CPI (ML) led by its central committee member met with them (Report of 29 October 1970). Majumdar’s theory of guerilla warfare without mass organization on the plea that mass movement and mass organization developed a tendency to function legally and fall a prey to economism was also opposed by Kang Sheng. The Chinese experience was that mass movement and mass organization were the basis of guerilla warfare the absence of which was an obstacle.
Not only for strategic reason but even in principle, it should not require any great person to say that without the mass base, the revolution is futile. Kang Sheng also explained how Lin Piao’ thesis of guerilla war as the only way, which was admittedly followed by Majumdar, was rooted in a specific context of anti-Japan struggle and the questions as to what kind of warfare should be taken up and how the people’s army should develop. The context of Naxalbari obviously was different and hence the thesis would not apply. He also explained that the Naxalite party’s attitude towards trade unions was not proper. Recalling the Chinese experience Chou En-Lai said that the Right opportunists compromised with the big bourgeoisie; on the other hand, the Left opportunist line was of agrarian revolution divorced from the masse. They relied on some vanguards, not on the masses; that is, they did not do painstaking mass work. All these left adventurists methods ended in failure.
The advice of the Chinese leaders to the delegation was: The formulation that party members should not work in trade unions required revision. The theory that the middle peasants should not be allowed to take part in guerilla activities was wrong. They also explained how the policy of annihilation of class enemies was not what Lin Piao meant. Guerilla organization, secret from the masses and from those whose vigilance is necessary, was not proper. Secrecy from party comrades necessarily changed the nature of organization.
The formulation was divorced from the masses and party organization and was dangerous. The norm that ‘comrades whose hands have not been reddened with the blood of the class enemy are not true revolutionaries’ was not proper for it changed the nature of the organization. Thus, most of the notions and formulations of Mujumdar were deprecated by the Chinese leaders.
Both, Chou En-Lai and Kang Sheng also deprecated the party’s slogan ‘China’s chairman is our chairman’, which was derived from an article written by Majumdar that concluded with the declaration, “victory certainly belongs to us because China’s Chairman is our chairman and China’s path is our path” [Liberation, November 1971]. Chou En-Lai criticized it by saying that referring to Mao as the leader of India was against the sentiments of the Indian nation. It is difficult even for the working class to accept it. Kang Sheng disagreed with the slogan as being against the Mao Tse-tung thought. These leaders advised that each party should apply Marxism-Leninism in concrete conditions obtaining in its country. They said, “your path can be worked out only by you”. They conveyed Mao’s instructions that revolution cannot be transplanted.
The lesson from 50 years of experience, clearly tells us that without mass base even the armed struggle cannot be sustained. The reliance on arms, therefore, needs to be rethought. It is experienced that invariably mass organizations of the communists are heavily repressed by the state driving them to take up arms and hide in jungles. While that is true, reliance on armed guerillas is not the solution. The state in 21st century is million times powerful in its repressive prowess and arms, howsoever, they are used, do not constitute answer. Even if the circumstances so warrant, they may be restricted to tactical and defensive purpose. It is very necessary to cultivate revolutionary consciousness in the masses which cannot be done without the organic linkage with them.
Paradoxically, the present situation may not appear as dreadful as in 1967 but in fact it is worse on many counts. After the ruling classes’ embrace of the neoliberal economic reforms, the condition of the vast majority of people has been declining fast. The government has been coming out with schemes like food security, which is nothing but to placate the people’s anger and may be likened to the slave owners feeding their slaves well in olden days. People are systematically excluded from every sphere of development. The withdrawal of state from the obligation to provide basic services to people and marketizing them has meant direct deprivation of the masses.
The ideological push of social Darwinism has accentuated inequalities to vulgar limits. Just 1% of the population today controls 58.4% of national wealth. The Gini coefficients, the measure of inequality, makes India as the second most unequal country in the world, just next to South Africa, slated to take over the latter very soon. The 2011-12 Agricultural Census shows that just 4.9% rich farmers control nearly one-third of cultivable land and 56.4% rural households do not own any land. The strategy of the state to contain the mass resentment is by throwing crunches before them and unleashing the state terror. The neoliberal glitter of the towns and cities cannot hide this ugly reality of their slums and rural India, where farmers have been killing themselves in lakhs because of the agrarian distress. The condition of Dalits, Adivasis and religious minorities under the Hindutva onslaught that piggy backed neoliberalism is turning terrible with every passing day.
The objective conditions are so grave but the forces that could resist them are paradoxically in dilapidated state. The naxalite movement that symbolize this resistance is splintered in countess factions, each claiming to be right and bent on proving others wrong. Interestingly, they all swear by Marxism-Leninism-Mao thought, now being called Maoism, characterizing the society similarly (semi-feudal, semi-colonial) and staging the impending revolution as democratic revolution. But for their jargon, it would be difficult to discern the differences between them save for their differential approaches to mass movements and parliamentary politics.
The initial difference had cropped up within the group concerning the concept of “annihilating of class enemies”, leading to a group insisting upon mass agitation preceding the annihilation process, leaving the AICCCR that preferred an armed revolution without mass support. This was the first fissure in the movement. While Majumdar-led group formed the CPI (ML) party in May 1969, this group, led by Kanhai Chatterjee, started Dakshin Desh or the Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) in 1975. A government crackdown along with the death of Charu Majumdar in 1972 led to the disintegration of the CPI (ML). In 1974, a group led by Jauhar, alias Subrata Dutt, formed the CPI (ML) Liberation, as a “course correction” that stressed on mass agitations by agrarian proletariat along with armed struggle. It spread to Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Bihar. However, ideological differences led to further splits in this group, forming CPI (ML) (Unity Organization) headed by N Prasad and CPI (ML) Peoples War Group (PWG) led by Kondapalli Seetharamiah in 1980.
Later, the so called rectification campaigns undertaken to correct past errors, led to further splits. CPI (ML) Liberation adopted mainstream politics in 1982 and registered its first electoral victory in 1989 from Arrah constituency, Bihar, creating deep schisms inside the party. This splitting process inevitably gave way to mergers too, like the CPI (ML) Party Unity (PU) coming into existence as the result of a merger between CPI (ML) (Unity Organization) and the remnants of Charu Majumdar’s CPI (ML) and later merging itself in 1993 with CPI (ML) PW and thereafter with the MCC leading to the formation of CPI (Maoist). Rejecting the earlier principle of following agrarian revolution alone, the new outfit advocated a mass revolution by the proletariat, farmers, tribals, Adivasis and the backward communities in India. The most important objective of the CPI (M) was to seize political power through a protracted people’s war. This is just a glimpse of the process of major splits and mergers, which does not account for the countless groups that exist under the suffix ML.
Right from the beginning the Naxalite movement state has taken it as a law and order issue and not a political problem to be dealt with the security apparatus. Its propaganda machinery painted the naxalites as blood thirty demons and spoke of their blocking its development schemes which were basically aimed at evicting the Adivasis from the mineral rich belts to be given to capitalists. While the urban middle class is taken in by this propaganda, the viewpoint of the naxalites is never heard. With the media which unashamedly carries the writ of the government has aggravated this asymmetry. The government, blatantly in contravention of its own law and constitution, encroaches upon the Adivasi habitat.
The state has termed the movement as the biggest internal security threat and has unleashed its propaganda blitzkrieg among the masses on the one hand and its military might against the Maoists on the other. The Maoists in absence of mass contact to counter the propaganda are increasingly led to militarist bravado adding to the negative propaganda of the government. The state has gone berserk in opening its dirty war on them. Over the past decade most of its senior leadership either being jailed or exterminated, the movement is again facing its worst phase. The state propaganda, however, continues to amplify the Maoist challenge for the political purpose. Maoist movement has turned into another tool for the ruling classes along with Kashmir, which conjures up external threat, Maoists being the internal enemy. So long as the ruling classes continue to fool people on the ploy of nationalism, they would not let go of Kashmir and Maoism.
While Maoist movement represents the only movement of the downtrodden masses in India, which cannot be annihilated as shown by the history of the last 50 years, the people like us who wish to stand on the side of people should help them see the need to rethink some issues of theory as well as strategy and tactics. Any movement tends to develop inertia that impels it inward in self-justification and prevents to see the things in objectively. People have a role of a coach to perform to correct the process. As an observer of this movement for many years, I would list out issues, which are in no way comprehensive, but may be significant enough to be taken note of.
(i) Indian communist leadership right from the beginning of the communist movement relied on foreign moulds and models and theses and theories but refused to grapple with the ground reality of India. India, by any reckoning, is a unique country in the world with its caste system and diversity, naturally warranting unique theory and model of revolution. But the communists always looked at Russia, Yugoslavia, China, and all over the world for the models to adopt or emulate. They never realize that they lost a revolution because of this attitude of theirs. What a shame to seek advice on whether to continue the glorious Telangana armed struggle from Stalin in Russia and debate thereafter its interpretation? So was the slogan of the Naxalite movement that China’s path was their path or China’s chairman was their chairman. Their literature is replete with the citation and quotation from the outside leaders, smacking of the Brahmanical attitude of their leadership. It is a different matter to learn from the experiences of other revolutions but quite another to emulate them. The communists need to introspect why they could not develop their own model which may rather teach others because of the complexity of Indian society.
(ii) Characterization of the Indian society as semi-feudal and semi-colonial when India stands as the major industrial power and seventh biggest economy in the world.
(iii) The place and utility of Leninist concept of imperialism in the context of Marxist theory. Its overuse in ML literature and discourse effectively abstracts the entire struggle and reflects a kind of disconnect between the reality and the Maoists.
(iv) The useless binaries like 'base and superstructure’ and ‘reform and revolution’, etc. which have done great damage to peoples’ movement everywhere but particularly in India in the context of caste question. Although, the Maoists have refined their position on caste as pervading across base as well as superstructure, they do not realize that they use the term in a doctrinaire manner, which was regretted by Marx and Engels in their own life time.
(v) Admitting past mistakes and condemning dissent/disagreements as revisionism. The Marxists have developed huge repertoire of abuses to castigate those who do not agree with them. They do not realize that Marx’s most favourite maxim was “de omnibus dubitandum’ (doubt everything), which implies that Marxism should be intrinsically flexible to accommodate debate and disputes. It should be capable to constantly revise itself in the light of new data. Instead, Marxists have made it a super-religion, the dictum of which cannot be violated.
(vi) The conception of class that tends to confine itself to the economic aspects. Many pre-capitalist systems live on in residual form even in capitalist society and the classes should be conceived incorporating those. For instance, in India, as they themselves realized but without explicit admission of past mistake, caste should be incorporated within the classes making anti-caste struggle as an integral part of the class struggle. But they kept it away as superstructural aspect giving birth to the duality of caste and class that refuses to die and continues to widen the rift among the Indian proletariat.
(vii) The excessive reliance on arms and consequently violence is self-defeating as it distances itself from masses. Without masses, there is neither any use of revolution nor is it possible. While the use of arms truly depends upon the state response, purely as a tactical device, without mass base, even the use of arms is not really effective.
(viii) While neoliberalism has deepened the livelihood crisis for people, it has also disabled them by its descitization pressure, detaching them as individuals. The middle-classization of people (even of the working class) makes them unavailable for revolution unless the revolutionaries show them their pay-off. The revolutionary strategy should reflect this change that has come in the world.
(ix) The technology-driven world is pushing a paradigm that potentially weakens labour. It has huge implication to the basic theoretical tenets of Marxism beyond its core in dialectical materialism. While there is no imminent need to grapple with this issue, the realization that we are dwelling in such a world may help dampen the sectarianism unfortunately encountered in the movement.
(x) It is important to win confidence of people. The Marxist revolutionary movements have only demonstrated failures. Rather, the rise of the capitalist forces is largely attributable to these failures of the Left. The revolutionary forces should be aware of this fact and strategize to be first time right, so as to build confidence among the masses with small gains.
(xi) The notion that the modern state could be taken head on (even with guerilla strategy) is wrong. The state laced with surveillance technologies, modern weaponry, and fascist attitude is not amenable to old style armed challenge.
While it is true that the Naxalite movement has risen like phoenix bird from ashes with renewed zeal, it should not comfort us. Each time the movement was crushed, it has taken a toll of hundreds of thousands of precious and promising lives of the revolutionaries. The movement cannot afford to ignore the cost it has been paying in blood.
I am aware, all this is going to disturb you possibly to paste some label on me from the repertoire I spoke about. I confess, I do not have any antecedents to qualify myself to make such observations, particularly before the comrades who have sacrificed their lives to the movement. I am rather humbled by their gesture to invite me to speak before them.
Having come and as some of them especially encouraged me to speak my mind out, I mustered courage to put forth my views. It is up to you to consider them or discard them.
Posted by nickglais on 7/22/2017 12:14:00 PM