Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Homage to Comrade Shansmughutan on the 20th Anniversary of his death by Indian Comrade

Homage to Comrade Shan (died on February 7th,1993)

Today the world Communist movement commemorates the 20th death anniversary of Com.Shansmughutan from Ceylon.The feature of his entire life was the relentless spirit with which he defended the Marxist-Leninist polemics be it on the International questions or on the internal Tamil ethnic question.

Com Shan was an outstanding master of revolutionary polemics and refuted Trotyskite ,Hoxhaite and New left trends with equal disdain. In the 1950’s he brilliantly refuted Trotskyite intellectuals who dominated the Marxist movement in Ceylon.

Till the last day of his life he reverberated the flame of Marxism-Lenism Mao-Tse Tung Thought. He was a harsh critique of Che Guevara’s foco theory and of philosophers like Louis Althusser.He carried the banners of Marxist-Leninist ideology like a crusader blazing a red light everywhere. Few revolutionaries of the last 4 decades possessed such ideological clarity and polemical mastery. It was most fitting that Shan was one of the first comrades outside China to meet Comarde Mao during the Cultural Revolution.Shan even addressed a meeting of red guards.

Com.Shan was a Tamil born in a racist society. He was arrested for his political views in 1972 by Sirima Bandarnaike. In jail his essays made an impact on public rarely experienced in Ceylon.They could relate to the broad masses like no other leftist ideologue.

Com Shan stood by the Tamil National Liberation Struggle but was critical of the lack of proletarian class analysis of the Tamil Tigers. He refuted the chauvinist tendencies of the L.T.T.E. led by Prabhakaran or the Jan Mukti Perumana.

He tooth and nail defended the need of the leadership of a revolutionary party in the Tamil Liberation Struggle.

He defended the cause of national liberation of the Tamil people ,applauding the struggle of the Tigers.However he consistently pointed out the flaws in their military tactics .Often Tamil public opinion went against this but like a brave soldier he relentlessly defended his thoughts. On the universal law of Comrade Mao Tse Tung’s theory of Peoples War.

One of the major causes of defeat of the Tamil Tigers led by Prabhakaran was their inability to grasp the Maoist polemics of protracted peoples War..It lost out not paying respect to the ideology of Comrade Shan.In fact Com Shan’s polemics are a staunch lesson for Maoist revolutionaries in India who upheld nationality struggles of armed groups in Assam and Kashmir or even Sri Lanka with analyzing proletarian class content.

Above all he was one of the most staunch defenders of the Communist party of Peru’s peoples War led by Com.Guzman. He played a major role in the founding of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement and strove till his last breadth for the release of the captured Com Gonzalo, chairman of the Communist Party of Peru.

The best memories of Com.Shan’s life were in his memoirs of an unrepentant Communist where he defended the tenets of Marxism Leninism with the sharpness of a sword. He withstood multiplicity of illnesses in the last decade of his life but his inner spirit reverberated like a red flame which he reflected through the pen.

The loss of Com.Shan was a loss to the entire International Communist Movement as a whole who could have played an invaluable role in combating the deviationist tendencies prevailing in the International Communist Movement today.

Let us all wish red salutes to Com Shan today on his 20th death anniversary and dip our blood in his memory.May his revolutionary spirits give birth to many more revolutionaries like him.

Notes on Com.Shan(Encyclopedia Wickipedia)

Shanmugathasan hailed from a family of modest means in the town of Manipay in Jaffna District.[1] He began studying history at the University College Colombo in 1938, where he first came into contact with communist ideas and met supporters of the Communist Party of Great Britain who had returned from studying atCambridge University. In 1939 he and two fellow students were suspended, but soon reinstated, from the university for distributing anti-imperialist flyers after the outbreak of World War II. Shanmugathasan gained notoriety among the students after this action and in 1940 won in the student election to become General Secretary of the University Union Society.[2] The next year he was elected President of the Society. In the meantime, he was organizing a group of Communists among the students that opposed both British imperialism and the Trotskyists of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party.

After graduating from the university in 1943, Shanmugathasan joined the trade union movement, and became a full time activist of the Ceylon Communist Party. He became the head of the Ceylon Trade Union Federation and led several strikes, including the general strike of 1947, the Hartal (general strike) of 1953, and a transport strike in 1955.[3]

In the aftermath of the Soviet-Chinese split of the Communist movement, he was expelled from the Ceylon Communist Party in 1963 for pro-Mao views.[4] In 1964 he became the general secretary of the Ceylon Communist Party (Peking Wing) (later CCP(Maoist)). He contested the 1965 general election as a Communist Party (Peking Wing) candidate, but was unsuccessful: he won only 0.5% of the vote.[5] The party at its ninth Congress held in 1969 upheld Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-tung Thought and the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.[6] Shanmugathasan visited China twice during the Cultural Revolution and was important enough to have addressed thousands of Red Guards.[7]

After the formation of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist), which conducted armed struggle, Shanmugathasan played the role of liaison between China and CPI(ML).[8]

In 1971 Shanmugathasan was imprisoned for one year during a crackdown on revolutionaries following theJanatha Vimukthi Peramuna (People's Liberation Front[5] rebellion. Shanmugathasan was targeted by the government for his espousal of armed revolution for political change and for being identified as one of the political mentors of Rohana Wijeweera, the founding leader of the JVP. While detained in prison Shanmugathasan authored a book, A Marxist Looks at the History of Ceylon.
In 1973, Shanmugathasan's party was estimated by the US State Department to have approximately 500 to 800 cadre, and possessed "the ability to control the Ceylon Trade Union Federation and the Ceylon Plantation Workers' Union with a combined membership of some 110,000".[9]

In 1976, after the death of Mao Tse-tung and the defeat of the Gang of Four and the revolutionary pro-Mao forces in China, Shanmugathasan sided with the pro-Mao forces internationally. He played an important role in the foundation of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement, which he hailed as a "milestone in the history of the international communist movement".[10] In 1991 he convened a conference of the Communist Party of Ceylon (Maoist) to promote new leadership and assure the longevity of the party. His last public appearance was at the first press conference of the International Emergency Committee to Defend the Life of Dr Abimael Guzmán in London.[11]
Shanmugathasan was one of few national level politicians of Sri Lankan Tamil origin. He died of natural causes on Feb. 8, 1993[12] in England, where he had gone for medical treatment near the end of his life.[6]


Political Memoirs of an Unrepentant Communist by N. Shanmugathasan, published 1989
This is a partial list of books and articles written by Shanmugathasan.
  • A Marxist Looks at the History of Ceylon, 1974, Colombo: Sarasavi Printers
  • The Bright Red Banner of Mao Tse-tung Thought, 1969, Colombo: Communist Party Publications, written to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China (excerpt from Chapter IV)
  • "Castro Joins Anti-China Chorus," Peking Review, Vol. 9, #9, February 25, 1966
  • Enver Hoxha Refuted, originally published in A World to Win magazine
  • How Can the Working Class Achieve Power? A Selection of Articles of Interest to the Working Class Movement, 1963, Colombo: Worker Publications
  • The Lessons of the October Revolution, 1964, Colombo: Workers' Pub. House
  • "N. Sanmugathasan on Indonesian Revolution," Peking Review, Vol. 9, #37, Sept. 9, 1966
  • "Nurtured by Mao Tse-tung’s Thought, China Grows Young," Peking Review, Vol. 9, #46, Nov. 11, 1966
  • Political Memoirs of an Unrepentant Communist, 1989, Colombo (excerpts online)
  • "Sri Lanka's Week of Shame: an eyewitness account," Race & Class, A Journal for Black & Third World Liberation, Volume XXVI, Summer 1984, No. 1: Sri Lanka: Racism and the Authoritarian State
  • Some Notes on Mao's Philosophy, 1986
  • "Tremendous International Significance of Mao Tse-tung’s Thought," Peking Review, Vol. 11, #43, Oct. 25, 

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