Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Red Salutes to C.P.I.(Maoist) on 10th anniversary by Harsh Thakor

Democracy and Class Struggle publishes this personal appraisal of CPI Maoist by Harsh Thakor - It is his personal opinion and not the view of Democracy and Class Struggle.
However we feel his critical contribution has value and therefore we publish it.
I am  not a supporter of the Maoist  party but I  am writing this piece  as a maoist  historian  and admirer . I do not think  that mass line  has been correctly  developed by the C.P.I.(Maoist) like by the Communist Party of India  in the  1946-51  Telengana armed struggle or by the Chinese Communist Part  with regard to base areas in the1930s.
Errors have been made particularly in light  of  mass  organizations but I admire achievements  and phenomenal sacrifices and the great innovative methods in Dandkaranya.
Today the 10th  anniversary is a  historic  event in the history  of  the International Communist  Movement.Major  errors  have occured  in military  line but it's  achievements  are  on par  with  the Communist  Party  of Philippines  and  the  Peruvian Communist party earlier.
It has  resssurected  the red  torch of the Russian and Chinese  Revolutions and  burned  the flame  of Maoism  against  all adversity treading  the  most treacherous  or hazardous of paths.
Let  us dip our  blood  in  memory  of  Azad and Kishenji ,Sushil Roy etc.
The C.P.I.(Maoist) has resurrected the legacy of the Bolshevik and Chinese Communist parties burning the flame of Maoism.

I think the C.P.I.(Maoist) has achieved on par with the Sendero Luminoso in Peru led by Gonzalo of the1980’s and the present Communist Party of Philippines although it has not developed base areas like the Chinese Communist Party in the 1930s or in the Telengana armed struggle from 1946-51.

Nevertheless they have built the first re-organized Marxist-Leninist Maoist party of it’s kind and the merger of M.C.C.I and PW group as well as the 2007 conference will be written forever in the annals of world revolutionary movement.

Great self criticism and humility was displayed in the 2007 event and I rever the words of comrade Kishen, (spokesman) former secretary of M.C.C. who admitted errors like revisionist tendencies and sectarianism openly in an Interview.

In spite of a great setback in Andhra Pradesh from 1990-2002 it boldly admitted it’s downfall and consolidated itself with phenomenal tenacity in Chattisgarh.

The Chinese party hardly faced the obstacles of the Indian Maoist party like casteism,communalism and cultural diversity.
The  C.P.I.(Maoist)although commiting serious mistakes in mass line and military line have developed some of the most creative forms of work.

We have to ward of propoganda by journals like ‘Frontier’ that claim that it is divided into various parties in Jharkhand or are violating Mao TseTung’s ideology and human rights like ‘Red Star’.

In fact in recent years Kolkata based journal‘Frontier’ has ridiculed the Maoist party virtually calling it a military outfit with no proper strategy.

I believe the party has made errors of democratic practice within mass organizations in terms of developing democratic functioning but one has to consider the complexities of a situation when conducting armed struggle.

It’s principle weakness is also inability to sufficiently protect itself as a  party by mastering Leninist or Maoist doctrine.

There are also sharp tendencies of military approach replacing massline and confusing the party with the military organization.

In spite of criticisms made in 1978 ,the errors of the past have not been completely rectified.

Nevertheless they have done justice to the sword of ‘Maoism' by forming the 1st ever Peoples Liberation Guerilla Army in India , built itself without creating any personality cult which is remarkable and have managed to devise retaliatory forms of struggle to defend itself.

The Peoples Liberation guerrilla army blended the skill of an architect with the innovation of a musical composer .It has combined the defensive power of a boulder with the aggression  of a tiger..Above all ,it was not mechanical in it’s functioning.,doing it’s best to adapt to the Indian conditions.The R.P.C’s  led by the Maoist party  have weakness in terms of of democratic functioning and I feel the party must study the works of comrades like T.Nagi Reddyand D.V.Rao.
We must also remember the great contribution of Kondappali Seetharamiah(died in2002) who formed the PWG and of the role of the Maoist Communist Centre.

Today bourgeois circles maintain that there is enemity between M.C.C.and PWG Cadres which is false.

I will never forget the admiration Professor G.N.Saibaba had of the C.P.I.(Maoist) which he placed in another league from any other group.

I recommend all readers to read both his 2012 and 2008 interview  on the internet where he elaborates the contribuition of the Maoist party. There is an infection within the revolutionary camp which still calls the party morally the ‘Peoples War group’ and does not recognize the historic significance of the merger in 2004.

These comrades just cant look beyond the Charu Mazumdar C.P.I.(M.L.).8thcentral commitee formed in 1970 .and thus refuse to recognize parties outside the 1969 C.P.I.(M.L.) like Maoist Communist Centre.,whos drive for the mass line.

I recommend all cadres to read the document of the unified Maoist party published in 2004 on Marxism-Leninism-Maoism which elaborates the development of Maoism dialectically.
I also admire the interviews in 2004 ,where  both the erstwhile secretaries, Ganapathy and Kishen self –critically asses the past and sum up the negative and positive events.

The C.P.I.(Maoist) has given a new dimension to the movement in India by functioning as a centralized party and blending the armed struggle with mass movements.Professor G.N.Saibaba superbly portrays the building and functioning of the Janata Sarcars which encourage independent peoples Initiative.

The research writings of Gautam Navlakaha depicted how much the Maoist party strived for developing democratic functioning within the village councils.

In Bihar and Jharkahand the Kranitkari Kisan committees have been consolidated. Never has an Indian party received so much popularity and support abroad.Inspite of facing great repression it boldly posted it’s statements on the internet and all other important documents. Journals like Peoples March vociferously supported the party,but there was tendency to over emphasise military aspect and neglect important theoretical questions.

There is also not sufficient development and clarity on correct International line.
One of the most noteworthy aspects was the principled unity of the 2parties into the C.P.I.(Maoist) and the dialectical approach of the 2 parties. Functioning as a united party has greatly boosted the morale of cadres and members. There is propaganda in bourgeois media that ex-.M.C.C.cadre  have had ideologically and moral conflicts with former P.W.G.cadre and feel there has been discrimination. This has to be combated openly.
The party reports consistently defend the importance of the P.L.G.A..What is significant is that the united party has analyzed the errors of the former constituents from flexibility,to dogmatism and loose party structure. The ability of the erstwhile mantain it’s tight party structure was as important lesson as the innovative methods of the erstwhile Peoples War Group.

The Maoist Communist Centre had the benefit of the heritage of the mass line analysis of Kanhai Chaterjee who combated the left adventurism of Charu Mazumdar.

One of the most disturbing factors was the clashes in the late 1990’s between the 2 organizations,who ultimately resolved to settle their differences.

Ironically after over 2 decades the 2 groups merged after negotiations in 1981 and 1995 failed. The ultimate merger was like reaching the summit of a mountain peak after facing the most hazardous of expeditions and treading the steepest paths. The achievements in the last 10 years have surpassed those of all the previous eras of erstwhile constituient groups.
Critiques like Sumanta Banerjee and K.N.Ramchandran(C.P.I.-M.L-Red Star) openly condemn the Maoist party as a terrorist force or consisting of armed squads of roving bands.There is an erroneous tendency that equates the Maoist party line with ‘Che Guevarism or focoism.True at times there are deviations but the party strives to implement maoist protracted peoples war.

The late Dipankar Chakraborty made an objective analysis on Lalgarh but was over-critical of the Maoist accusing them of hjijacking the movement.

The most supportive elements outside the C.P.I.(Maoist) have been from revolutionary activists in Punjab who have combated ‘Operation Gren Hunt’ in a most systematic and determined fashion and defended the Maoist movement. The Lok Morcha ,Punjab organized 3 showings of the film ‘Red Ants Dream’in various districts of Punjab which had a great following in Bhatinda.The rural class of Punjab could identify with the film.

I also wish it could learn more from the Communist Party of Phillipines on how to correctly develop a Bolshevized party structure ,build up urban work and legal fronts and develop  the mass line .It should critically asses the errors of the Peruvian Communist Party and why it capitulated.It also needs to back a broader based democratic rights movement and not turn it into a mere party front. 
There is a tendency to confuse caste with class struggle and not sufficiently adopt a proletarian outlook. There was also a tendency to function too openly in Lalgarh and over expose party cadre. There were also innumerable excesses on individuals and human rights violated at times.

 movement of the Maoists.The Lok Morcha,Punjab  office-bearers state that openly speaking against the Maoist movement or being overtly critical is speaking against the very revolutionary cause.

I deeply appreciate the answer given by the Maoist party Spokesman in Economic and Political weekly to the criticism of Sumanta Banerjee in 2009 and to the articles in Bengali journals ‘Aneek’ and ‘Shramjeevi.’

The author would have liked a greater liaison of the C.P.I.(Maoist) with the forces of the Communist Party Re-Organization Centre of India(M.L..),who have a sound theoretical understanding and similar line.
However they fall into the same spectrum as the errors commited by the Peruvian Communist party earlier or even the Chinese Communist party.
I end the piece reminding readers that the 21ist September commemoration meeting to be staged in Hyderabad which was banned officially was staged in jail premises.
This speaks volumes of how much the ideology of the Maoist party is like a red torch lighting the hearts of the masses.
Even in towns like Mumbai there was an overwhelming presence of people watching the film ‘Red Ants Dream’ and admiring it.
Below I am compiling some important wrtings and posting  my criticisms.
Quotes from ‘Is the Torch Passing?’
The C.P.I.(Maoist) and it’s guerilla army exhibit outstanding dedication and courage and as the conditions of hundreds of millions worsen and alienation from the current system of large democracy grows,t hey are showing the forces of popular struggle an alternate path to revolutionary transformation and democratic unity. To succeed it must in effect help lead the forging of a new nation founded on a set of alternative principles, bringing about greater unity by strengthening the democratic rights and participatory power of its disparate elements. It is extraordinarily hard against  a powerful state using  unrestrained force and unrestrained brutality to prevent it. The revolution it has undertaken holds out the promise of breaking the cycle of wasteful and destructive violence by transforming the underling inequalities and social injustices of caste,class,gender,ethnicity and religion.For the C.P.I.(Maoist) the hardest task may be finding a path to broaden its appeal to others, and to show sufficient strategic and tactical flexibility to fit the Indian situation,today. It challenges Gandhian methods as well as other leftist methods, which have alternate visions of a non-violent path but have been unable to show in practice how the exploitative economic system and the statist militarism that upholds it can be restrained or undermined to allow emergence of their utopian new worlds.
It has a long way to go to prove it has sufficient leadership depth, strategic understanding, tactical flexibility,democratic credentials,and programmatic solutions to meet the needs of hundreds of millions. In the working class and oppressed communities,and to convince the progressives and leftists that it has the capability to lead the nation.Without a broader social base it will not go beyond its present defensive stage and develop an equal strategic balance with the Indian state, much less to go on the offensive.
The maoist party is turning strengths into weaknesses inspite of the absence of single great leader within the party .
Some critiques claim that it lacks broad popular support and instead through it's violent activities sandwiches the poor between the guerrillas and the state. They see Adivasis as a passive population.However others challenge this stating that the Adivasis and other opressed classes have for long been crushed under the power of the state and the brutal exploitation of the upper castes.Only the Maoists have displayed the ability to fight back.
In yesteryears there were no maoists and no political intervention from outside.Autonomuous revolts got defeated in no time though all these movements created social mobility and consciousness for the next phase of rebellion.This time tribals revolted against attacks on their livelihoood and it  was only Maoist intervention which enabled their struggle to survive.The Maoist presence delayed victory of the armed forces over a community that had nothing to lose other than shame and drudgery. Had it not been for intervention by the maoists the resistance would have been crushed much earlier.
It is developing a 4th stage adapting to the era of globalization. They cannot blindly imitate the Chinese revolution. They have limited ability to set up semi-permanent liberated zones inspite of havens in Dandkaranya. It has to adjust to the unique conditions of India and innovate a creative style of work. It cannot blindly adhere to Marxism-Leninism-Maoism but have to make innovative application to the present scenario.
My assessment :the broadest and fairest critique of the Maoist movement combining theoretical and practical perspective.
Quoting Amit  Bhattacharya
The most important achievement of the Struggle is the creation of a new society. New fundamental experiments are being implemented for the 1sttime.In Charu Mazumdar’stime ,success was limited InDK there was no victim of malnutrition or hunger.TheD.K.region is the scene of numerous new social, economic and political experiments which became possible because of inseparable ties with the on-going armed revolutionary struggle.

Quoting GautamNavlakha.
“Maoists are the only ones organizing class struggle. They are the only formidable and integral part of resistance that bear the brunt of ruling class’s wrath because their presence enables the transformative perspective to remain alive.”(Dandkaranya)

The charge and counter-charge against the Maoists for having supported TMC to the extent that they campaigned even against the jailed leader of PCAPA Chatrathar Mahato, brings to the fore an old problem which confronts them. What should be the approach towards elections during PW and if they bend their own rules what course of action would be a better option; to support one ruling class formation against another or encourage those who are part of a mass movement to contest?

In 2004 elections in Andhra Pradesh, the then CPI(ML) PW was accused of conducting a lukewarm election boycott campaign which ended up helping the Congress Party sweep the elections. Remarkably, neither in Andhra Pradesh in 2004 or West Bengal in 2011, were talks contingent upon Maoists backing the Congress or TMC, respectively, in the elections. It was Party's own calculations which pushed them, tacitly if not overtly, to support one ruling class party over another. Considering the decimation of the rank and file of Maoists

in AP in 2004-05 at the hands of the very same Congress Party whom they tacitly supported, it is intriguing that they adopted a course which helped TMC in areas where Maoists were strong.

Indeed in Jangalmahal it is more than likely that the easy arrests and killings of Maoist cadrescould be traced to their easy identification by the Trinamool Congress members.

Both situations bring out the need for the Maoists to take another look at their elections


In West Bengal, between 2008 & 2011, they could have encouraged PCAPA to put up candidates as a way of enhancing its own political appeal. This is all the more important if talks with government are seen as being a tactical issue. If it is tactical then there was nothing to be gained from backing TMC, rather it should have worked to ensure that TMC did not get to replace the CPM and allowed to consolidate their hold ."

Bernard De'Mello has pointed out that "What makes the implementation of mass line even more difficult is Article 59 of the Constitution of the Party that directs the party fraction in the mass organization to dictate terms thereby encouraging 'commandism' which can lead to 'isolationism', i.e. the Party ultimately failing to gain the support of the non-Party leaders of its mass organizations".

My assessment:.I agree with his view that the Maoist party should build up greater democratic fronts and adopt a more correct approach towards mass fronts like the P.C.P.A.However his advice that the party should deploy parliamentary tactics at the present stage is a capitulationist viewpoint .Neverthless his assessment of the Maoist movement in Dandkaranya is remarkable and he defends the achievements with an iron fist.

I am critical of  Gautam Navlakha (‘Heartlands of rebellion’)stating that the Maoists have to join the mainstream.which opposes revolutionary perspective. He supports participatory democracy which opposes the very perspective of protracted peoples war. As a matter of fact Navlakha would advocate the C.P.I.(Maoist) joining parties like New Democracy or RedFlag
Quoting Partha Sahati Banerjee in book ‘Discourses on Naxalite Movement,’in essay  ‘Democracy in contemporary Maoist’(Democracy in Maoist practice)’he states: A mass organization ,having Maoist elements would be guided by the ‘party’fraction,constituted with the party activists and functioning secretly within the organization, which would in turn be guided or directed by a party committee or party member functioning above. Noticeably the party activists working in the mass organization will not have the final say in determining the party’s policy in guiding the Organization or struggles led by it.

The Maoist party strives for strict control over any autonomous domain by denying the final decision making power even to party activists working in the mass organizations.Thus little space is left for independent activities of the masses and a hierarchical party structure substitutes it. This may even lead to a rule of terror, instead of Socialist democracy when the party establishes state power.

Article 59 of the C.P.I.(Maoist) states”The party fractions shall be formed in the executive committees of mass organizations.Party fractions wil guide the executive committes of the mass organizations adopting suitrable methods in accordance with the correct situationThe opiunions of party comitee/member guiding the fraction shall be considered the final opinion.”
My assessment:Partially he is correct but he possibly fails to understand the practical problems facing the Maoist party and is eclectical when using the term of Maoist party establishing it’s own form of terror and rejecting Socialist democracy when establishing power.Remember errors occurred in the eras of Stalin and Mao..His position is similar in some ways to that of Rosa Luxemburg in the 1920’s who was critical of the Bolshevik party.I feel that the Maoist party has to be more flexible when working within mass organization sand give them an independent manifesto or programme and not be handled as party front organizations. It is useful to study the practices of the Chinese Communist Party in the 1930’s with the youth league in different situations.Comrade Mao asserted the difference in the programme of the vanguard party with the mass organizations.
Quotes from Bernard d’Mellow

Naxalite Movement: The Mass Struggle Phase

Now, to the extent that I am expected to guide the reader intending to make sense of this book, I would say, taking my cue from the late Marxist-Maoist teacher R S Rao (on page 303), that one should not merely examine the events recounted but try to understand the way in which the author views the processes of which they are a part, and therefore need to be unravelled. Also, and this is again advice from R S Rao (p 308), the forms that the struggles of the oppressed assume are, in the main, also determined by the repressive acts of those who govern on behalf of the ruling classes. For, after all, the violence of the oppressed is always preceded and provoked by the violence of the oppressors.

And, of course, the Naxalite movement has also encompassed revolutionary changes in art & literature, and when the artists, writers and poets have mingled with those who have been kept unlettered  over generations, the latter have begun to demonstrate that literary and artistic creativity is not the prerogative of the upper caste-class elite alone (pp 253, 258, 274).  Hence, Section II must be read alongside Section III on state repression of the movement, Section IV on revolutionary culture, and Section V on some significant Maoist intellectuals/leaders, departed friends of the author. One must keep in mind the links/interconnections of each of the sections with the others.

There have been two streams of the Naxalite/Maoist movement in AP, one following from the Srikakulam armed struggle of the late 1960s and the AP State Committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) [CPI(ML)], whose main inheritors in the CPI(ML) (Central Organising Committee) [CPI(ML)(COC)], went on to form the CPI(ML)(People’s War) [CPI(ML)(PW)] in 1980 after a self-critical appraisal, and with mid-course corrections, ultimately formed the CPI (Maoist) in September 2004. This stream, I must add, should be highly indebted to persons like Kondapalli Sitaramaiah (KS, 1915-2002) from the late 1960s to 1987.

The other rivulet of the movement stems from the AP Coordination Committee of Communist Revolutionaries led mainly by Tarimela Nagi Reddy (“TN” as he was called, 1917-76, the author of India Mortgaged) and Chandra Pulla Reddy (CP, 1917-84), who didn’t join the CPI (ML) when it was formed in 1969. The two subsequently went their own way, with TN’s followers (then led by D V Rao) in the Unity Centre of Communist Revolutionaries of India (ML) [UCCRI (ML)] and CP’s supporters in CPI (ML) (Vimochana). Readers interested in keeping track of the splits, amalgamations, splits again, and subsequent mergers as regards the second stream of the movement may look at the flow chart on page 104. Suffice it to say, for our purpose, in AP in 2005, on the one side, the CPI (Maoist) overwhelmingly represented the first stream; in the other, the CPI (ML) (Janashakti) was the foremost Party.

 ‘Mass-Line’ Politics

The CPI (ML) (COC) in AP, which took over the tasks of the AP State Committee of the original CPI (ML) when it split, critically reviewed the experience of the Srikaulam movement, and also went on to develop a new strategy and tactics document called “Road to Revolution”, whose first seeds sprouted in Karimnagar and Adilabad districts, especially in the Sircilla and Jagityal taluks of the former, soon after the Emergency was lifted. These taluks were declared as “disturbed areas” in October 1978, and it was here that Mupalla Laxman Rao [the present general secretary of the CPI (Maoist)] and Mallojula Koteswara Rao found themselves in Ganapathy and Kishenji respectively.

It was struggles such as these that formed the groundwork for the formation of the CPI (ML) (PW) in 1980. The preliminary works include the formation of the Revolutionary Writers Association (RWA, or Virasam in Telugu) in July 1970, the Jana Natya Mandali in 1972, the RSU in 1974, and the Radical Youth League (RYL) in May 1975, and later, the Rythu Coolie Sangham (RCS) and the Singareni Karmika Samakhya (Sikasa). In all of such “mass-line” (“from the masses, to the masses”) politics, it is my view that when a careful history of the Naxalite movement comes to be written, the significant contribution of KS and his close comrades will have to be acknowledged.[3]

All the organisations of the CPI (ML) (PW) worked in close concert, and it was the Indravelli massacre – police firing on 20 April 1981 on a group of tribal people who had gathered to attend a district-level conference of the Girijana RCS that killed “anywhere between 13 and 60 persons” (p 93) – that signalled the stifling of all the Party’s mass outfits. The Sikasa, of course, helped build the proletarian base of the CPI(ML)(PW), which would lend a hand in then cementing the worker-peasant alliance. As Venugopal puts it (p 94):

Since the coal belt … [adjoined] the areas of ongoing peasant struggles and most of the mine workers came from those peasant families, the working class in the coal belt was both influenced by Naxalite politics and offered a much-needed working class composition to the movement.

But by 1985, it became clear that the state was not going to allow any open, legal political work of the CPI (ML) (PW) and its mass organisations. The “go to the villages” campaigns of the RSU and the RYL then became a thing of the past. The period 1985-89 was marked by severe repression of the movement, with “encounter killings” (extra-judicial killings) even taking place in the villages and towns, where previously they were confined to the forests, and Latin America-style “missing” (forced disappearance) was added to the state’s counterinsurgency tactics. There was, however, an interregnum when the then Party in the opposition (to the Telugu Desam in power), the Congress, made an electoral promise to relax state repression and restore democratic rights, and when it did come to power, the CPI(ML)(PW) and its mass organisations could once again practice open, legal, mass politics. For instance, in May 1990, the RCS’ state conference in Warangal culminated in a mass meeting that “was attended by a record 12 lakh people” (p 95). The call for land occupation and re-distribution got an overwhelming response.

Further On Mass-Line Politics

Let me then elaborate on some of the thoughts that came to my mind after going through this participant-observer account of the Naxalite/Maoist movement in AP. Also, there is a dire need to explain the severe setback that the movement has faced in AP since 2006.

I am particularly enthused by what I have called the mass-struggle phase of the movement (1978-85)[4] and I want to bring to the fore certain aspects of this phase that Venugopal has not sufficiently emphasised. Compared to the establishment left, Naxalites/Maoists have been particularly sensitive to the caste question. The 1970s was a period when, among the so-called lower castes and dalits in Telangana, perhaps the first generation of youth in many families were making their way into higher education, and it was a part of this section of youth that joined the RSU and the RYL.

Their grandparents or great grandparents had been one or the other of the following: carpenters (vadla), blacksmiths (kammari), toddy tappers (goudas), barbers (mangalis), dhobis (chakalis), potters (kummaris), landless labourers of the Madiga and Mala “jatis” among the dalits, known as vetti madigalu and vetti malollu, and poor peasants, etc.

The Party [the CPI (ML) (COC), and particularly later on, the CPI (ML) (PW)], unlike the CPI in Telangana in the 1940s, made a conscious attempt to draw these people into the movement. In the “go to the villages” campaigns in which the RSU, RYL and the JNM coordinated with the rural mass organisation (the RCS in the making, and later as a full-fledged organisation) to win over the rural poor, it was the lower caste and dalit students that were prominent as activists, and later on, many of these student-youth activists assumed local leadership positions within the mass organisations and the Party.[5]

As far as the struggle went, it was tactics such as social boycott and public hearings (the latter also a feature of the CPI’s forms of struggle in Telangana in the 1940s) that were the principal non-violent means. Refusal to perform certain tasks in the social division of labour could paralyse the “rural gentry”, and public hearings highlighted the different forms of oppression and exploitation, including usury, evictions, forced labour, usurpation of common property resources, payment of pitiably low wages, etc., as well as atrocities. The rural gentry, of course, organised private militias to break the network the RCS had established with the RSU, RYL and JNM, and, indeed, to wipe out the RCS itself, and when they couldn’t accomplish the task on their own, the repressive apparatus of the state was brought in, and the Suppression of Disturbances Act of 1948 was applied to designate the zones of activism of the CPI (ML) (PW) and its mass organisations as “disturbed areas”.[6]

Spiral of Violence

One could view the whole unfolding process of counterrevolutionary 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.

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”.[7] 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):[8]

‘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,[9] 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 & 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.[10] 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.”
My assessment:

Although Bernard is not an  orthodox Maoist I appreciate his  mode of analysis.Arguably Bernard is very hard when he equates the Maoist struggle in junctures to Che Gueveraist line and when calling Kishenji a left adventurist.Bernard also errs by classing the mode of production as predominantly capitalist and not semi-fuedal.Bernard rejects the Maoist 4 -block alliance with the united front of the national bourgeoisie.However I complement his assesment that the Maoist party does not sufficiently create mass movements and  retaliates or defends itself  through military insurrection.In many ways they are not able to  duplicate the protracted peoples war of the Chinese Communist party in the 1930's and 1940's.Never forget we live in different eras of you asess the weaponry level of enemy forces, existence of no Socialist base in the world etc.In my book theoretically the most correct mass line and in limited arews in the past was of groups that upheld the path of T.Nagi Redddy or D.V.Rao.Defying orthodoxy the C.P.I.(Maoist) has defied all odds.

For the 1st time since 1969 has a revolutionary party been given such international recognition.To me Bernard d'mellow does not make sufficient mention of the line and practice of Tarimela Nagi Reddy who formed the Unity Centre of Communist Revolutionaries of India with DV.Rao whose practice was more akin to the massline, particularly on the question of mass organizations.It was principally deployed by Harbhajan Sohi in Punjab and later in Orissa but did not develop into major armed movement.I also feels he virtually leaves out the movements of the erstwhile Maoist Communist Centre and Party Unity group in Bihar and Jharkahand.He also misses out on how mass organizations were formed basically as front organizations in the early 1980's  by leaders like Kondappali Seetharamiah and the correct relationship betwen the party and mass organization was not established.Although very progressive Bernard d'mellow lacks a proper in -depth Marxist-Leninist Maoist analysis.I wish readers  read the works or R.S.Rao on the semi-feudal mode of production.

We must commend intellectuals like the late R.S.Rao who uphold India’s characterization as semi-feudal and semi-colonial. Any strides The Indian Communist movement has made is because of it’s understanding that India is not a fully developed capitalist Society. The author has visited Punjab recently and discovered the monopoly of money-lenders on the poor agricultural labourers and the expropriation of land in courts from poor peasants who sell their land at 10 times less than their actual value rate. Sadly we do not have a front of intellectuals who can combat this thesis propounded by the intellectuals who term India as capitalist. In the recent Maruti Suzuki Workers agitation the workers needed the support of the peasantry to support their agitations. They proved their cultural ties to the peasantry in the villages. No doubt,there has been significant capitalist development but after losing their jobs the workers of Maruti would turn to their lands in the villages.(The author thanks G.N.Saibaba for this information)True we have much more machinery  than China in the 1940s and a far more developed urban infrastructure but it is still the big landlords who have the bargaining power and dictate the price of goods in the market.A great politician-landlord nexus exists with so may big landlords still existing..In a fully developed capitalist Society land-grabbing by corporate firms as what happened in India would not occur nor such nerciless impact of commisiion agents in Punjab.No doubt there have been significant changes with globalization nad a greater onslaught of imperialism which has combined a united attack with feudalism as never before. Ironically how many industrial workers have been displaced from their jobs and gone back to the villages to cultivate their lands.
Quoting Professor R.S.Rao  ‘In the Indian context, it is not just the lack of a democratic process and the corresponding institutions but capital’s use of the pre capitalist processes and institutions like religion, caste, region, hierarchy, that merit ones attention... It is not that factory inspectors need to be appointed but that they have to be above caste considerations.... Capital, when it frees labour, gives anonymity to labour. But capital in the Indian context takes away anonymity and puts the labels of religion, caste, and creed. The resulting process is the division among the working class and the division among poor peasants and agricultural labourers, on an extra economic basis…. Capital exists without its corresponding superstructure. Hence we have capital without capitalism.’ (ibid., p. 89)
After an extensive study of the data generated by the Farm Management Surveys and reviewing the debates among economists on the extent and nature of capitalist development in Indian agriculture, R.S. Rao concluded that there was a widespread non-capitalist sector in which productivity and investment seemed to bear an inverse relation to the size of the holding – thus the larger the holding the lower its efficiency and accumulation. This he attributed to the feudal agrarian relation. On the other hand the capitalist sector identified, not through the size of the holding but through the labour hiring criterion broke this inverse relation between holding size and capitalist productivity. ‘Given a high level of commodity production leading to a dominant position of capitalism in agriculture, the inverse relationship gives way to a positive relationship. Further it was observed that in such a village the process of differentiation reaches a high level. The above clearly suggests the existence and further the exploitative efficiency of capitalism in Indian agriculture.’ (ibid., p, 54)
Bernard d'melow also i feel has not completely grasped the Maoist concept of protracted peoples war and the massline of the C.C.P.I feel the masses or the peasantry should use traditional armed weapons in self -defence like the Mazdoor Kisan Sangrami Samiti led by the Party Unity group did in the mid 1980's in Bihar and the Malkangiri Adivasi Sangh used from 1991-2002What we have to uphold in Bernard’s writings is his respect for the revolutionary democratic character of the Maoist movement and his respect for the efforts of the C.P.I.(Maoist)His reference to mass organization sof the past also do credit to the Maoist party.Above all he defends armed resistance.

I revere Bernard’s assessment but feel that he does not have sufficiently deep understanding of concept of  protracted peoples war or analyzed the error on the relationship of the party with the mass organizations in the period of the erstwhile C.P.I.(M.L.) Peoples War Group.

Comrade Kondapalli Seetharamiah although introducing mass organizations insisted on the mass organization s following the party line and not awarded an independent identity.Bernard fails to understand the changed situation today where overground mass organizations are suppressed and does not praise the rectifications of past errors the C.P.I.(Maoist) have made from it’s erstwhile constituents in previous eras.C ertainly the C.P.I.(Maoist) has made great advances from 1978-85, being able to forma Guerilla army.True mass organizations cannot function overground as in 1978-85 but still there is effective adjustment in operating mass organizations underground.

The State today hardly awards avenues for open functioning of revolutionary fronts.Bernard has not put the achievements of the the correct light.

In fact the achievements of the party in the last 10 years have surpassed the achievements from 1978-90 of the erstwhile PWG.

Bernard reflects that the mass line was practiced better in the 1980’s than in the last few years where I disagree with him.

No comments: