Thursday, May 28, 2015

Wales: Renew the spirit of Hirwaun Common support the Welsh Socialist Republican Congress

Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr/ Great Unrest Group celebrates the Merthyr Uprising in 1831 a defining point in Welsh History when the Welsh Working Class in open rebellion announced itself on the world stage. 

The raising of the Red Flag on Hirwaun Common was a symbolic act of national and class defiance from the new Welsh Working Class.

The Red Flag was the gift of the Welsh Working Class to the workers of the World just has workers in the USA and in particular Chicago gave the world's workers day May Day.

Gifts of working class struggle are the most precious and the new generation needs to learn to honour them.

We at the Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr/ Great Unrest Group seek the renewal of the spirit of resistance at Hirwaun Common in Wales in 2015 and call for a Welsh Socialist  Republican Congress in 2015 to re-energise and reinvigorate the movement for social and national liberation in Wales.

Let the message of resistance from Merthyr in 1831 ring our across Wales and the World, We have a Wales to win - we have a World to win.

Hold the Red Flag high beyond the reach of our enemies and false friends, the battle for the 21st Century is just opening and by rectifying our past mistakes we will speed capitalism's demise - socialism is the future, its day is dawning 
as the 21st century progresses.

Support the call for the Welsh Socialist Republican Congress ensure the fighting sprit of Hirwaun Common Lives on !

Statement from the Aflonyddwch Mawr /Great Unrest Group



Wales : Merthyr Rising 1831 - The Reformist or Radical Road by Gethin Ap Gruffydd


The Reformist Road to Twyn y Waun 30 May 1831

The Radical Road to Hirwaun Common 31st May 1831.

There are two traditional views of the Merthyr Rising of 1831. They are not necessarily totally separate views re the history and conditions that caused this workers' revolt to break out into an armed uprising.

Suffice to say for a very simple overview just read the account headed Merthyr Rising p396 of the Oxford Companion to the Literature of Wales, Ed Meic Stephens. Oxford University Press.

 You will of course not leave it at that but go on to books that will deal with the subject in greater depth, some of which I will mention below. 

What I wish to focus on is those two separate views, which point out the two separate paths that converged on Merthyr 1831 and at the end of May beginning of June causing this most major of Welsh insurrections since the time of Owain Glyndwr.

It's generally accepted that the Merthyr Rising of 1831 was in many ways part of the general British struggle for political reform, which would be the basis of a later much stronger Chartist Movement and also part of the struggle to establish Trade Unionism. 

There is another aspect of the Revolt that may be seen to have more national Welsh connotations’ and that is in the more radical nature the Merthyr Rising took as a particularly Welsh insurrection.

This is the view presented by Welsh Republicans such as historian Ivor Wilks and more romantically by Harri Webb. 

This is presented in the ‘natural justice’ protest on Hirwaun common, such radicalism prior and since is seen as representing a long history of Welsh radicalism. (also see writings on this by professor Gwyn Alf Williams).

Merthyr Tydfil had been in discontent for a long time, particularly since the depression of 1829 with subsequent reform agitation following, not least in the early months of 1831.  

Merthyr Tydfil was in a ferment of discontent and disturbance culminating in a great Reform Rally at Twyn y Waun on 30 May 1831.

This reform rally was a political affair led by dissident radicals such as Cyfartha coal miner Thomas Llywelyn and issues raised at this rally were reformist and relating to trade union rights under banners which declared ‘Reform in Parliament' but also ‘God Save William IV’.

It seems the following day 31 May 1831, Thomas Llywelyn attempted to hold another reform rally at Hirwaun Common. 

Here however ‘Reformism’ met with the more militant men of Hirwaun who seemed more hell bent on radical measures. Their purpose was to put right more immediate wrongs and had more to do with a long tradition of struggle for ‘natural justice’.

Thus Thomas Llywelyn led his trade unionists off on a march to Aberdare to seek workers' justice in term of labour rights; improved conditions and wages. 

Back on Hirwaun Common other more militant matters were being considered, which would come to an head.
I do not want to dwell much more on repeating the history of the Merthyr Rising as there are a number of books you should read on the subject which will more than inform you of the history but also the differing views as to its nature, form & purpose.

Suffice for me to conclude that after the Reformists had left Hirwaun Common, the radicals killed a calf and dipped in its blood the white cloth of a reform flag, which they raised on a pole as possibly the first ever Red Flag of Popular Rebellion along with another banner that stated ‘Bara neu Waed’ (Bread or Blood).

There can be no doubt that the following seven days in June changed Welsh history immensely and of course in these terms the commemoration of 1831–2006 should be not only an entertaining experience but also be most informative & educational purpose to remind us who we are and where we come from.

The Merthyr Rising 1831   Time line of key events       

1st June - Workers march on Merthyr

2nd June - The town is seized by workers, the Riot Act is read and troops sent for 

3rd June - “The Battle of Castle Inn” (see Dic Penderyn below). 26 “rioters” killed

4th June - Troops arrive from Brecon but one column is ambushed and disarmed by workers

5th June - Gwent workers rise and march to support Merthyr workers

6th June - Great workers' gathering at Twyn y Waun, troops arrive and level guns

7th June - Troops regain control of Merthyr, mass arrests and imprisonment follow

Epilogue: During the days that followed the troops searched particularly for those seen as leaders of the revolt, many were arrested and imprisoned amongst them Dic Penderyn and shortly after Lewis Lewis was captured.

All were put on trial, found guilty and sentence to death or transportation to Australia. Some question the mysterious way Lewis Lewis was reprieved but not Dic Penderyn. Dic Penderyn was executed on 13 August 1831, thus was created a “Welsh Working Class Martyr” long remembered as a popular  "Hero of Welsh History", whilst Lewsyn yr Heliwr - no doubt instigator and leader of the revolt - has been largely forgotten.

Whilst it remained politically or culturally correct to remember Dic Penderyn as a martyr, later "respectable" Victorian Wales chose to forget the Merthyr Rising 1831. 

So too Welsh Labour – Unionist Tradition, which came to remember more about the Tolpuddle martyrs & English Labour history rather than their own Welsh labour history.

Ironically the resurrection and restoration of this radical History was left to be more popularised by a Welsh Republican Movement 1946 – 56 via the writings of socialist republican historian Ivor Wilks and socialist republican bard Harri Webb. 

Historical Note: Twyn y waun had been the location of the Waun fair since the Middle Ages and possibly further back it may have been a traditional ancient gathering point for people. During the 16th Century Waun Fair was recorded in official records as being associated with outlaws & thieves particularly horse stealers & cattle rustlers who brought their four-legged stolen goods to dispose of at Waun fair. So well known was this that even suppliers of the English army came to Waun fair to buy cattle on the cheap and of course make huge profits. 

Reading Matter for you yourselves to determine much.

Introduction: Read up on following subjects matter  (Full details & literature via web search) 

·        Any material on the making of modern Wales post-Act of Union 1536.
·        18th Century Welsh Cultural Renaissance, Religious Revival & Political dissent.
·        18th Century popular protest, disturbances & discontent, focus 1798 – 1831.
·        The Merthyr Rising 1831
·        Post-1831 Scotch Cattle & the Newport Insurrection 1839.
·        The 1839 Rebecca Rebellion of the western counties.
·        1848 - the Year of European Revolutions and in Wales the Blue Books.
·        1848-1880s Rise of Liberal Wales to Cymru Rydd & beyond.
·        Rise of Labour Party & trade unionism in Wales.
·        Welsh Nationalism inc anything on republicanism.

For the chief reading material regards much of above & Merthyr 1831 plus it’s aftermath to 1831 & beyond you may focus on three particular historians:

· D. J. V. Jones: Before Rebecca Popular Protest in Wales 1793 – 1835.

· David Smith: For traditional “Unionist British Labour history’’.

· Gwyn A. Williams: For a communist and republican viewpoint.

· Ivor Wilks: Protagonist of a “Welsh Republican” view.

Further to above there are a great number of other books & essays in a number of journals, as ‘Llafur’ all of which may be searched out via the web & bibliographies. Further, two essays that touch on the above, are available on request via email only; they are:

· Aftermath. A radical interpretation of Welsh History from conclusion of Glyndwr war to the Merthyr Rising of 1831.

· Dic Penderyn. An interpretation of the Welsh Martyr Complex & why”.

Obtainable from

Merthyr Rising 1831 Commemoration - Cardiff

Dic Penderyn was executed 13 Awst 1831: Outside the market on St Mary Street, Cardiff near the spot where he was executed, you will find a plaque in commemoration of his execution. To the last he protested his innocence, and his final words in Welsh were an anguished cry at injustice. "O Arglwydd, dyma gamwedd" "O Lord what an iniquity" he shouted, as the hangman's noose was tightened. Dic Penderyn’s coffin was then carried by cart to Port Talbot, where he was buried in cemetery of St Mary’s Church

See Also :

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Alexei Mozgovoy by Eddie Dempsey - For A Socialist Novorossiya

EDDIE DEMPSEY met Ukrainian anti-fascist commander Alexei Mozgovoy just weeks before his death in an ambush. Here, on the day of his funeral, he pays tribute to this remarkable fighter for justice

I MET Alexei Mozgovoy, the charismatic anti-fascist militia leader in rebel-held Donbass in eastern Ukraine a little over two weeks ago. On Saturday he was killed in an ambush, alongside several of his comrades. He was 40.

Commander Mozgovoy had led 3,000 volunteers — incorporating a communist battalion — within his Ghost Brigade, itself a component of the Novorossiya Armed Forces, who have being resisting the so-called Anti-Terrorist Operation of the US/EU-backed Kiev junta for more than a year.

I was visiting Novorossiya — the federation comprising the People’s Republics of Lugansk and Donetsk — as part of an international humanitarian aid convoy organised by Italian musicians Banda Bassotti, stalwarts of the left-wing punk/skinhead music scene for more than 30 years.

Our first day saw Commander Mozgovoy lead a tour of social projects provided by the Ghost Brigade for the population of Alchevsk, one of its strongholds and the town where our 100-strong delegation was based.

We visited a canteen where elderly residents received free meals, followed by a tour of nearby agricultural facilities abandoned by a local fraudster before the crisis.

The Ghost Brigade has commandeered the incomplete buildings and equipment to develop as a collective farm. It is already partially operating and providing food for the population.Such initiatives are vital for the war effort.

In an act of collective punishment Kiev has withheld all pensions and social security payments since the successful independence vote that followed the US-orchestrated coup of February 2014, which deposed Viktor Yanukovych as president of Ukraine.

The rebels view the punitive move to withdraw benefits as de facto recognition by Ukraine’s authorities of their nascent state. Commander Mozgovoy stated: “This is how Kiev wages war — by starving the elderly and poor.”

Our delegation then participated in the Donbass International Forum, held under the slogan: “Anti-Racism — Internationalism — Solidarity,” a conference of Novorossiyan left forces which Commander Mozgovoy was instrumental in convening. Indeed, he was the opening speaker.

The following day, May 9 — celebrated as Victory Day on the territories of the former Soviet Union — he saluted his troops and thousands of locals as they paraded though the streets of Alchevsk, commemorating the 1945 defeat of fascism.

Although not a communist, the commander led communists in battle — most famously in the liberation of the town of Debaltsevo in February this year.

His forces, which had encircled thousands of occupying troops, raised the red flag in triumph following their victory at this vital strategic location.

He earned the respect of his troops and the population with an implacable opposition to oligarchy, demanding the restoration of all wealth stolen from the people since the fall of the Soviet Union and a return to the days of free healthcare and education.

At a commemoration last year marking the anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution he declared his allegiance to the cause of building a “people’s and socialist Novorossiya.”

Born and bred in Lugansk, Commander Mozgovoy’s background exposed claims by Western politicians and their puppets in Kiev that the Novorossiyan resistance is no more than a Russian invasion.

He had seen service in Ukraine’s armed forces and before Kiev launched its war he sang with, and performed as a soloist in, Ukrainian choirs.“Many believe that we are terrorists or representatives of another state, not local militias,” he said.

“We try getting in touch with these people who speak against us, to prove that we really are the people of this region and that we don’t want to fight with them.

We revolted for the ordinary people.”

In a YouTube statement confirming the death of his commander, Alexei Markov, political commissar of the Ghost Brigade and leader of its communist contingent, said

: “A man can be murdered, but not his ideas. And the ideas Alexei Mozgovoy carried over the past year, the ones that brought thousands to join us, will not die.

“We will carry them through the misery of war and with these ideas we will live and build a better life. Unfortunately, the best things our civilisation brings are often achieved through the blood of many brave people, the best people.”

Boris Rozhin, who reports on Ukraine through his popular Colonel Cassad blog, echoed Commissar Markov’s words, likening the life of Commander Mozgovoy with that of Thomas Sankara, president of revolutionary Burkina Faso until his own 1987 assassination, accomplished through the connivance of French intelligence.

In tribute he wrote: “When Sankara was murdered, the perpetrators expected that he, like many other African freedom fighters, would disappear like a ridiculous ripple that shook the world of exploitation and profit.

“But time demonstrated that people like that depart to immortality, becoming moral and ethical compasses for future generations. “They represent the will of humanity for justice and equality and inspire more and more new fighters for justice to replace those who fell in the struggle for it.”
A fine eulogy for Commander Mozgovoy..

Yet the most fitting final epitaph is to be found in the motto of his own Ghost Brigade — the mission statement for which he sacrificed his life: “Peace and justice for the working people of the Donbass.”Towards this precious goal his comrades will continue their late commander’s struggle. No pasaran.
  • Eddie Dempsey is a train driver and an activist with transport union RMT. He writes in his capacity as a member of the Solidarity with the Anti-fascist Resistance in Ukraine (SARU) campaign, to which his union is affiliated. Further reports from his trip to Donbass will follow shortly in the Morning Star.

Busting the myth of "Fascists for Donbass"

participants say farewell to Alchevsk

Before their departure, Banda Bassotti and members of the international anti-fascist forum in Alchevsk decided to take a group photo with the monument to Lenin in the background. First we shouted in unison “No Pasaran!” Then one of the visitors began to sing “The Internationale” and a moment later the great proletarian anthem sounded in several languages. Local residents were delighted! (via Alexey Markov)    


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Requiem for Mozgovoy

See Also :

Profile of Novorossiya's Most Radical Rebel Commander (Alexey Mozgovoy)

Democracy and Class Struggle publish this profile of Alexey Mozgovoy to give background on his leadership prior to his murder, the article contains negative and positive comments about Alexey Mozgovoy and his struggle.

We feel the need to be honest about his limits as well as his positive contributions if the movement is to proceed in a progressive direction in Donetsk and Lugansk.

We endorse his struggle as the struggle of a comrade and regard his murder as a setback for the people's movement in Lugansk People's Republic.

Lenin was one of Mozgovoy's heroes and we will let Lenin have the last word on this comrades struggle

Lenin clarified this question for those socialists who sought to counter pose the fight for "pure socialism" to the national struggle and who had contempt for national independence and sovereignty. Lenin said :

" To imagine that a social revolution is conceivable without the revolts of small nations in the colonies and in Europe, without the revolutionary outbursts of a section of the petty bourgeoise with all its prejudices, without the movement of non class conscious proletarian and semi proletarian masses against the oppression of landlords ,the church, the monarchy,foreign nations etc.

To imagine this means to repudiating social revolution.

Only those who imagine that an army will line up and say "We are for socialism" and in another place an army will say "We are for Imperialism" and that this will be a social revolution, only those who hold such a ridiculously pedantic opinion could villify the Irish Rebellion by calling it a "putsch",

"Whoever expects a "pure social revolution will never live to see it, such person pays lip service to revolution, without understanding what a revolution is"

Lenin - Discussion on Self Determination Summed Up - 1916

Democracy and Class Struggle says Alexey Mozgovoy did not pay lip service to social revolution he was murdered trying to practice it.

We reiterate our earlier call to honour Alexey Mozgovoy by developing  the anti oligarchic struggle into  anti capitalist struggle and anti hegemonic struggle into anti imperialist struggle

One afternoon in late October, Kalashnikov-armed pro-Russian separatists led two accused rapists into the House of Culture in Alchevsk in the self-declared Lugansk People’s Republic for a “people’s court,” twisting their arms behind their backs so they were forced to bend over as they walked.

One read out the evidence gathered against the first man by the rebels‘ military police unit, arguing the 37-year-old had threatened a 15-year-old girl until she agreed to have sex with him.

Then he asked the 340 local citizens and rebels assembled in the hall to vote to sentence him “to the highest form of punishment according to the laws of wartime, death by firing squad.”

The crowd voted to send the first man to redeem himself on the front line, where rebels continue to clash with government forces. It sentenced the second man, accused of at least three rapes since 2008, to death.

video of the people’s court caused an uproar in the Ukrainian and Russian media, especially one fragment in which Mozgovoy suggested that women should “sit at home and cross-stitch” and ordered that “any girl who goes to a bar will be arrested.”

But while critics have accused Mozgovoy of facilitating mob rule, communist and Marxist commentators have cited his outspoken opposition to the corrupt, oligarchic government that has plagued Ukraine as proof that he is the best hope to turn the pro-Russian rebellion into a social revolution.

Although the armed seizure of buildings in eastern Ukraine in April was accompanied by frequent calls for a social welfare state, communist and other left-wing activists have been marginalized by pro-Russian activists who are more nationalist in their rhetoric.

The Communist Party wasn’t allowed to run in last month’s rebel parliamentary elections and in the end was given a meager 3 seats out of 100 by the ruling coalition, its leader recently told The Nation.

Many left-wing activists have said the uprising has turned toward Russian chauvinism rather than social reform.

For his part, Mozgovoy said he does not believe in ideologies but rather “popular democracy” and argued that the recent judicial spectacle had been misunderstood.

 “To create the mechanisms for a people’s government, we need to create precedents like we’re doing with the people’s court,” he told The Nation.

But the jury is still out on the leader: Is he a socially-minded revolutionary propagating a radical form of direct democracy to eradicate years of corrupt government? Or a populist warlord conducting reckless justice and ruling his fiefdom with an iron hand?

A descendant of the Don Cossack warriors who lived in the borderlands of the Russian empire, Mozgovoy was born in the Luhansk region, studied music and sang in a choir, served seven years in the Ukrainian army and worked in the construction industry in St. Petersburg.

Returning to Luhansk in February as protests for European integration raged in Kiev, Mozgovoy joined other pro-Russian activists in holding rallies and camping out in the city center, where he first began putting together the group that would become his military unit, the Ghost Brigade.

The unit has now grown to almost 3,000 men, he said. It is arguably one of the most potent fighting forces in separatist-held territory, which has made Mozgovoi a political force to contend with in the Luhansk People’s Republic, where he has occasionally clashed with other separatist leaders.

Having established a base of operations in Alchevsk (pre-war population: 111,360), he operates largely independently of the rebel leadership in the regional capital, which doesn’t provide him with supplies or financing, he said.

Mozgovoy characterizes his war as one against oligarchy and corruption. He sees both in the new Kiev government, which he derides as a pawn of US foreign policy.
“The system in Russia and Ukraine is rotten,” he said.

“In Belarus, they all say (Lukashenko) is a tyrant but at least he destroyed a little bit of the system that’s taking over Russia and Ukraine, there is order there. Democracy is not always good. Sometimes you need to tighten the screws, but you can’t tighten them too much.”
Boris Rozhin a.k.a. “Colonel Cassad,” a communist and preeminent blogger in Crimea covering the pro-Russian movement, has called Mozgovoy the “farthest left of the (rebel) commanders,” and said the burgeoning rebel state could “have some sort of half-socialist program if Mozgovoy’s ideas win out.” Russian Marxist political analyst Boris Kagarlitsky called him a “social democrat with a radical direct democracy agenda.”

His anti-oligarchic stance—and an openness to dialogue—has allowed Mozgovoy to take on a new possible role, that of the peacemaker, in three Skype sessions with volunteer battalion commanders fighting in Kiev’s “anti-terrorist operation” against the pro-Russian rebels.

 Mozgovoi and his battlefield opponents seemed to agree upon the essential problems facing Ukraine—poverty, corruption and oligarchy—even if they differed drastically on the solutions.

During the first conversation, Mozgovoy offered that the conflict could be solved if the volunteer fighters on both sides would join together to “clean out the parliament and the government” in Kiev, a suggestion that seemed to resonate with the pro-Ukrainians present, several of whom spoke out against the government of oligarch president Petro Poroshenko.

Mozgovoy’s reputation has attracted ideologically driven far-left volunteers like the Moscow antifascist Anton Fatulayev, who was reportedly killed in an ambush in August after joining the Ghost Brigade.

According to Fatulayev’s friend and roommate Maxim Solopov, the recruiter in Rostov-on-Don who helped Fatulayev pick a rebel commander to serve under had recommended Mozgovoy because he “supports the idea of popular democracy, he takes an independent position, he doesn’t believe the Russian government, he’s an independent person and a man of strong beliefs who is fighting for ideals including social justice, and besides all that he has the reputation of a good commander who takes care his soldiers.”

But Mozgovoy’s political platform remains fluid, ill-defined and sometimes contradictory. Although he is ostensibly fighting for the creation of a pro-Russian “Novorossiya” state over a wide swath of southeastern Ukraine—he at one point suggested resurrecting the Russian empire—he said the regimes of both Russia and Ukraine run counter to true government by the people.

He admitted he is worried that the rebels in their alliance with Russia are simply trading one oligarchy for another.

Mozgovoy describes himself as a supporter of “rule by the people,” and, when pushed on what that might actually mean, said he envisions a government with direct citizen participation in policy-making, a strong social welfare component, nationalization of key industries and a division between government and business that is “written in blood.”

He said he opposed following any one ideology or dogma, although he admitted his respect for Vladimir Lenin and Nestor Makhno, the controversial leader of the brief-lived anarchist communist Free Territory in eastern Ukraine during the Russian Civil War.

He has criticized Ukraine’s Communist Party for failing to “fix anything or build anything in the socialist direction.”

The commander’s support for radical popular democracy has a darker side. By law, Ukraine doesn’t allow the death penalty such as that handed down by the people’s court, but Mozgovoi is by all accounts the ultimate authority in Alchevsk right now.

As The Nation arrived at his headquarters in a decrepit former printing press for the interview, a group of haggard-looking men swept the street outside, part of the “work therapy” Mozgovoi has instituted for minor crimes like violating the curfew or drunk and disorderly conduct.

Sitting in an office decorated with old weapons like a saber and a WWII-era submachine gun, the commander said his order to arrest woman in bars was “absurd” and that the man sentenced to death would remain alive for now.
“We didn’t conduct that court to shoot someone, but rather so people could feel how it is to make a decision themselves,” Mozgovoy said.
Both of the sentenced rapists told The Nation—in the presence of armed guards—that they were being held in decent conditions, although one had a black eye, which he said he got when he slipped on a small set of nearby steps.

Oleg Izmailov, a Donetsk-based journalist and political analyst, called Mozgovoy’s people’s court a “medieval” practice, but said it was also reminiscent of the tradition of “people’s gatherings” common in Russian villages and Cossack communities.

He added that “social revolution is closer to him than the idea of national revolution,” unlike with many rebel commanders, and admitted that Mozgovoy’s ideas have a popular appeal.
“Under the Ukrainian regime, almost all judges earned the hatred of the people,” Izmailov said.

“Those who heard cases, especially criminal ones, were not clean and everyone knew it, so the people of course welcomes this.”
But relatives of the two sentenced rapists questioned the commander’s methods.
“It was awful, there was no defense, no witnesses,” Irina Karpusha, the estranged wife of the man sentenced to duty on the front line, told The Nation when asked about the people’s court.

“Some people came there drunk and decided a person’s fate without fear of God or anything else … I’m not justifying [my husband], he’s done wrong, but it was awful.”
According to Russian Marxist Kagarlitsky, although Mozgovoy lacks an intelligible political program, such populist military leaders are typical in times of unrest. Nonetheless, he remains the “best show in town from a left of point of view,” Kagarlitsky said.
“Some are a little bandit, a little revolutionary, a little people’s hero,” he said.

“Today’s Ukraine can compare with the Mexico of Pancho Villa and Zapata, so he’s a people’s hero with all the pluses and minuses …

There were lots of such heroes in the Russian Civil War, but then the Bolsheviks put commissars from the intelligentsia above them. Nowadays there is no such left movement or intelligentsia.”
Sociologist Volodymyr Ishchenko, a pro-Ukrainian leftist commentator and a member of the editorial board of Commons: Journal for Social Criticism, said Mozgovoy has “ideas about anti-oligarchic egalitarian democracy.”

But the commander also has “conservative, sexist ideas,” he said, calling into doubt Mozgovoy’s ability to influence the separatist movement to focus more on left-leaning social reforms.
“Which precisely elements in his politics will dominate, either progressive, or reactionary, will depend not on him foremost but on the general development of the separatist movement,” Ishchenko said.

“And generally it is developing not in the left direction now.”

Monday, May 25, 2015

The Three Sources and Three Component Parts of Marxism (By Lenin, 1913)

Long Live the legacy of Comrade Charu Mazumdar on 48th anniversary of Naxalbari Struggle,50th anniversary year since five of his eight documents were written in 1965 and 45th anniversary of Eighth Party Congress held in May 1970!

Charu Mazumdar
              This article reflects the personal views of Harsh Thakor

 Today on May 25th,we commemorate the 48th anniversary of the epic Naxalbari Struggle.

It sprouted like a spark turning into a priarie fire.The uprising was reminiscent of a red flame radiating everywhere burning the torch of Marxism-Leninism -Mao thought. (now Maoism)Naxalbari lit the spark for the Indian Maoist movement after the Telengana armed Struggle.Quoting  organ of Erstwhile C.P.I.(M.L.) PWG ‘Voice of the Vanguard’ of  July-October 1997, “Charu Mazumdar and Naxalbari are names inseparable from each other.

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.

Brief  bio below  compiled from Hindustan Times-‘Charu Majumdar-Father of Naxalism’
Born in a progressive landlord family in Siliguri in 1918, he not only dedicated his entire life to peasants' cause but also authored the historic 1968 Naxalbari uprising, the ideology behind which guides red radicals even today.
Son of an active freedom fighter, Charu Majumdar or CM rebelled against social inequalities even as a teenager. Later, impressed by "petty-bourgeois" national revolutionaries, he joined All Bengal Students Association affiliated to Anusilan group.Dropping out of college in 1937-38 he joined Congress and tried to organise bidi workers.
 He later crossed over to CPI to work in its peasant front and soon won respect of the poor of Jalpaiguri.Soon an arrest-warrant forced him to go underground for the first time as a Left activist. Although CPI was banned at the outbreak of World War II, he continued CPI activities among peasants and was made a member of CPI Jalpaiguri district committee in 1942.
The promotion emboldened him to organise a 'seizure of crops' campaign in Jalpaiguri during the Great Famine of 1943, more or less successfully.In 1946, he joined Tebhaga movement and embarked on a proletariat militant struggle in North Bengal. The stir shaped his vision of a revolutionary struggle. Later he worked among tea garden workers in Darjeeling.
The CPI was banned in 1948 and he spent the next three years in jail. He tied the nuptial knot with a fellow CPI member from Jalpaiguri - Lila Mazumdar Sengupta in January 1954.The couple shifted to Siliguri, which remained the centre of his activities for a few years. His ailing father and unmarried sister lived there in abject poverty. But even erosion of peasant movement and personal financial crisis did not dampen his revolutionary spirits and he continued efforts to unite labourers, tea garden workers and rickshaw-pullers there.CM's growing ideological rift with CPI came to fore after the party's Palghat Congress in 1956.
The 'Great Debate' across the communist world in the late 50s propelled him to mull a revolutionary philosophy suiting Indian conditions.He was again jailed during 1962 Indo-China war as part of curbs on all Left activities in India.The CPI split in 1964 over ideological differences among the cadres. CM joined the breakaway CPI (M) but could not go with its decision to participate in polls postponing 'armed struggle' to a day when revolutionary situation prevailed in India.
He kept a bad health during 1964-65 and was advised rest. But he devoted this time, even in jail, to study and write about Mao's thoughts. The exercise shaped his vision and ideas of a mass struggle, which were recorded in his writing and speeches of 1965-67. These were later called 'Historic Eight Documents' and subsequently formed the basis of Naxalism. 


 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 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.

Earlier in the mid 1940’s only the Andhra unit of the C.P.I upheld path of protracted peoples war and termed India as semi-feudal and semi-colonial.

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.

As an exception  revisionist C.P.I.(M.L.) Liberation have upheld the positive aspects of CM.,till today.

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).

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 1997 in defence of the C.P.I.(M.L) the erstwhile C.P.I.(M.L)Peoples War explained how the struggle in Srikakulam was raised to such heights of glory by 1970 . The earlier movements in  Karimnagar or Warangal Andhra Pradesh by erstwhile  C.P.I.(M.L.) Peoples War and  Jehanabad  in Bihar  by erstwhile C.P.I.(M.L.) Party Unity and the current flame burning   in Dandkaranya  by the current C.P.I.(Maoist) have their roots in Charu Mazumdar’s party programme in the 1970 party Congress.

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 .

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..

Historically as the C.T.C.P.I.(M.L.) stated in 1983 that it was erroneous to claim that the first party central committee disintegrated in 1972 just after C.M’s martyrdom. In fact a split in the party between trend of  left deviation of C.M.and right capitulation of Satyanarayan Singh already took place. Disintegration of the central commitee occurred before martyrdom of C.M.

I request cadres to critically read the documents written by C.M. 50 years ago. Cadres should also read the appraisal of 1970 eighth party Congress .in Peoples March of 2007 reporting the Unity Congress of the C.P.I.(Maoist) ,The Nov-Dec.2004 issue of Peoples March on the formation of C.P.I.(Maoist) upholding the 1970 party Congress and programme and the ‘Voice of the Vanguard’ issue of July-October 1997 where there is a concrete appraisal of Charu Mazumdar.and the erstwhile M.C.C’s polemics are refuted on the validity and historical significance of the party programme of the 1970 party Congress. I recommend the writings of the Central Team of the C.P.I.(M.L.) in Liberation of March 1989 and earlier in 1987.The best critique of the C.M.line was made by Comrade T.Nagi Reddy and D.V.Rao  but again the analysis is not complete.

We have to study what positive aspects existed within the C.P.I.(M.L.) and programme of 1970 which groups leading major armed movements with rectifications from the past imbibed.

Quoting an article on the unity of C.P.I.(Maoist ) in Peoples March of  Nov –Dec  2004 “The 8th Congress was held in 1970 that established generally and basically the correct revolutionary line for the Indian revolution. The 8th Congress was recognised by the communist revolutionaries in India and by the CPC under comrade Mao Tse-tung.”
Quoting Comrade Ganapathy,secretary of C.P.I.(Maoist) at the Congress of 2007 in ‘Peoples March’-April 2007
“This Congress is a continuation of the 8Th Congress held by the CPI(ML) in 1970. That was a start of the new revolutionary stream which burst forth with Naxalbari.The Eighth Congress held by the CPI(ML) in 1970 was a start of the new revolutionary stream which burst forth with Naxalbari.

Though the then MCC was not part of the 8thCongress,at that time the bulk of the revolutionaries were with the CPI (ML).

The essence of the 8thCongress was to draw clear lines of demarcation with revisionism and the 7thCongress held by the CPI(M).

It established the task of New Democratic Revolution, the path of protracted people’swar, the ideology of Marxism-Leninism-Mao-Tse Tung Thought and saw the agrarian revolution as the axis of the revolution. Though the MCC differed on some tactical questions, on basic strategic and ideological issues, particularly on the key question of advancing the armed struggle, the two trends had similar common thinking.

Quoting Liberation of C.T.C.P.I.(M.L.)” 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 devising correct CT Marxist Leninist policies in the light of objective analysis, the central leadership started devising such policies subjectively. Consequently our revolution receive set backs.

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 Revisionism, upheld the correct general orientation and path of Indian Revolution, yet adopted certain left adventurist policies on the questions of mass and military line”
Quoting  organ of Erstwhile C.P.I.(M.L.) PWG ‘Voice of the Vanguard’ of  July-October 1997,

 “He could inspire the commonest of common people into struggle, inspire the students and youth and create confidence in them. He created history by testing the path of Liberation, playing the main role in forming the revolutionary party of the proletariat in India and laying the theoretical foundations for the same. For this role alone ,he will forever be remembered as the greatest revolutionary leader the country has seen.”
I apologize as  above his cult or status has been eulogized calling him the ‘greatest’ and not ‘one of the greatest ‘revolutionaries in India.

To me calling him ‘greatest’ is erroneous as it underestimates stalwarts like Kanhai Chaterjee or T.Nagi Reddy

I just wished to post it in memory of immortal comrade C.M.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Lenin on the Platform of the Reformists and the Platform of the Revolutionary Social Democrats

Boris Kagarlitsky on Ukraine interviewed by Antoine Dolcerocca & Gokhan Terzioglu

Democracy and Class Struggle is publishing this article by Boris Kargalitsky because it throws light on the heroic struggle of comrade Aleksey Mozgovoy.

We have some disagreements with Boris Kagarlitsky on the question of Imperialism and in particular Russian Imperialism which we see based on Russian Nationalism and not Finance Capital similar to Lenin's view of the early origins of Japanese Imperialism.

We see the weakness of Russian Finance Capital as one of the reasons the US has not prevailed in the current crisis - a larger Finance Capital sector and the Russian Economy would have been brought to heel by US Anglo Saxon Imperialism. This is one of the few silver linings of the current conflict.

We see the United States as Global Imperialist Hegemon and Russia, and China involved in anti hegemonic not anti imperialist struggle with Anglo American Imperialism.

We find the idea of sub imperialism in particular for India as being a useful tool of critical Marxist thought but clearly neither China or Russia are sub imperialisms of the US global hegemon despite the desire of US to make them so.

Both powers have very serious contradictions with US which may only be resolved by Imperialist War.

While we disagree with some of the external analysis of Boris Kargalitsky his analysis of the internal contradictions in the Ukraine and Lugansk and Donetsk is masterful and we greatly appreciate his work - as the work of a comrade.

Lifting the struggle from anti hegemonic struggle to anti imperialist struggle externally and internally from populist anti oligarchic struggle to anti capitalist struggle are the requirements of the hour and the best way to honour Comrade Aleksey Mozgovoy

In a larger context, the crisis in Ukraine can be seen as the last round of a longstanding geopolitical conflict. Eastward expansion of NATO towards Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland started in 1999 under the Clinton administration, and continued in 2004 with Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia. Plans to admit Georgia and Ukraine announced in April 2008 prompted a conflict between Russia and Georgia by the summer.

Of course the West’s desire to install a pro-Western regime in Ukraine was also demonstrated during the Orange Revolution in 2004. After the 2014 parliamentary elections, the new government in Kiev again announced a referendum on joining NATO, while Russia made it clear that it would not tolerate a NATO-member Ukraine at its border.

What is the rationale behind the West’s insistence on expanding towards Ukraine, knowing it would lead to a standoff with Russia?

Is it the result of a US strategy fearing a rapprochement between Europe and Russia?

Geopolitical conflict produced by NATO expansion is a product of an economic and social process taking place in Europe. In fact, it is the logic of the neoliberal model that stimulates NATO expansionism.

This is very similar to what we saw in the late nineteenth century with the new wave of colonialism produced by the so-called “Late Victorian Depression.” To stabilize the system without changing it, to deal with the falling rate of profit without transforming production and distribution, you have to create new markets, marketize sectors that are not yet put under the market rules, and break into the already existing markets to reshape them according to the needs of more extreme exploitation.

This is what David Harvey called “spatial fix.” NATO’s Eastern European expansion and the current Ukrainian crisis represent the same logic, but the difference is that in the 1990s Western expansion was not desperate-- it represented the strength of European and American capitalism.

This time the policy to take over and colonize Ukraine is provoked by the extreme gravity of the economic crisis: it is an act of despair.

And unlike Central Europe, which faced losses during the integration process but also stood to gain some benefits in the process, in the case of Ukraine there is nothing the West can offer except symbolic satisfaction and military support for the oligarchic elite.

On the other hand, Russian and some segments of Ukrainian industrial capital have to protect their own sphere of interest.

This is why they supported the popular rebellion in Novorossia. But they did so very reluctantly because forces on the ground are quite radical and try to overcome the oligarchic system and neoliberalism as such.

This is why the struggle in Novorossia takes place on two fronts simultaneously, and the role of official Russia is quite contradictory.

Russia both supports the rebellion, and is trying to suppress it as a social movement.

So far, Moscow leaders managed to put their men in the head of Novorossian republics, but they have failed to control the situation on the ground where leftist and radical groups are armed and influence the ideology of the fighters.