Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Urban Guerillas

June 11, 2007

Urban Guerillas

It was a small item in that day’s newspaper. But to Dipanjan Rai Chaudhuri, the news about peasants killing a policeman in Naxalbari in north Bengal on May 25, 1967, literally leapt out of the page. Rai Chaudhuri, then a 23-year-old student at Calcutta University, was part of a growing number of youth in elite colleges who were fired by revolutionary ideology but were increasingly getting disillusioned with mainstream Communist parties.

Naxalbari was like a clarion call to Rai Chaudhuri — who retired as head of the department of physics in Presidency College in 2004 and was one of those who featured in V S Naipaul’s India: A Million Mutinies Now — and many of the best and brightest of his generation. “We were elated. We had only read about the armed peasant struggles in China and Vietnam. Now it was actually happening here in our land,” says Rai Chaudhuri. Soon posters supporting Naxalbari appeared in College Street and elsewhere. Slogans such as ‘China’s Chairman is our Chairman’ suddenly sprouted on Kolkata walls. The lawns of Presidency College became a meeting ground for students from Calcutta and neighbouring areas, and the informal group came to be known as the Presidency Coalition.

By April 1969, a Maoist party — the CPI(ML) — had been formed and Naxalite leader Charu Majumdar’s call to liberate the countryside was finding ready takers among students. The rules as framed by Majumdar — himself a college dropout from Siliguri and a veteran of the Tebhaga movement — for the young organisers were clear: Stay only in the house of a landless or poor peasant; stay secretly right from the first; and never expose yourselves. The rural stint did not always go down well with city-bred students. Dipesh Chakrabarty, a Presidency College student of the 1960s who now teaches in University of Chicago, recalls: “Many of the urban youth who went to liberate villages came back within weeks with acute bowel problems.”

For those like Rai Chaudhuri, who decided to stay on, life was hard. “The CPI(ML) had been formed by then, and the line of ‘annihilation of class enemies’ had taken shape. The idea was that after killing a hated landlord in an area, the action would itself act as an ‘organiser’. After one or two circuits, I was sent to a new area where there had just been an annihilation. I tried sincerely but could not reap any organisational harvest from that action,” he says. This was also the time brutal killings became part of life in Bengal. Indeed, one of Majumdar’s favourite dictums was: “One who has not smeared his hands red with the blood of the class enemy is not fit to be called a Communist.” Calcutta, in particular, lived in daily fear of Naxalite violence.

The violent turn to the movement and the subsequent police brutality alienated some of the urban youth. “While I supported Maoism, I did not have a taste for the cult of violence that Charu Majumdar preached. Also, I did not have the courage to face the prospect of police torture,” admits Chakrabarty. The distaste for violence among some students is confirmed by Arun Mukherjee, who had an intimate knowledge of the psyche of the young activists. As deputy commissioner of police in the special branch from 1969-72, he was in charge of interrogating arrested Naxalites. Mukherjee, who has just released a book on the period, believes that the egregious violence propagated by Naxalite leaders deeply unsettled many students from middle-class families. He cites the case of a Presidency College student who developed “serious mental aberrations” after committing an act of brutal annihilation.

This was also the time when members of the underworld joined the Naxalite movement — sometimes actively encouraged by the police — leading to an upsurge of violence. There were many students who were shot in cold blood and several more put behind bars. In end-1971, Rai Chaudhuri — who by then was married and had a daughter — was arrested with another prominent Naxalite leader, Asim Chatterjee — better known as Kaka — in Deoghar. After having spent 11 months in jail, Rai Chaudhuri was released on the condition that he and his family leave the country. In August 1972, Rai Chaudhuri was taken straight from jail to Dum Dum airport to board a flight to London where he went on to complete his PhD.

Not everyone was as fortunate as Rai Chaudhuri. For some students, their careers were virtually finished. There were, however, many who picked up the pieces of their lives and moved on. There was, for instance, Amal Sanyal who sat for his university exams from prison and later settled down in New Zealand. Chakrabarty joined IIM Calcutta in what he says was a “peculiar mood that combined elements of self-denial with those of self-affirmation”. Some like Kaka stayed in active politics and even contested elections.

But for most of the youth from elite colleges who dedicated the best years of their lives to the cause of revolution, the Naxalite movement fundamentally changed their lives. Rai Chaudhuri recently took to the streets to protest the police firing in Nandigram. Chakrabarty’s involvement with the Subaltern Studies project would never have happened without the Naxalite movement. While the fires of revolution sparked by Naxalbari have spread and taken on a different character, the events that happened 40 years ago still remain a source of inspiration for the 1960s generation.

TOI

Summer of ’69 in St Stephen’s

June 11, 2007

Summer of ’69 in St Stephen’s

If it were some other time, the graffiti could have passed as some Stephanian’s idea of a prank. Scrawled across the main tower of St Stephen’s college building was the message, “China’s path is our path, China’s chairman is our chairman.”

But it wasn’t some other time.

It was 1969-70. The idea of rebellion was infecting young ‘petit bourgeois’ minds everywhere. The upheaval at Paris’ Sorbonne University and the anti-Vietnam war protests across US campuses were already the stuff of legend. Closer home, Naxalbari had exploded into national consciousness.

St Stephens Delhi

So when the high wall of St Stephen’s College —that rarefied oasis for the nation’s elite — was used as a pad for radical propaganda, it confirmed what most observers already knew: an influential section of Stephanians had fallen to Naxalism. Slogans appeared on lecture-room blackboards, writes Daniel O’ Connor, a British priest who was the college pastor from 1963 to ’73, in Interesting Times in India. One such work read, “Reactionary teachers, we will have your skin for shoes for the poor”!

Contemporary insiders put the number of core Naxals in the college at the height of militancy at no more than 30 — not a big figure, but by most accounts, the single largest Maoist presence in all DU institutions. In 1968, history student Arvind Narain Das had run for president of the college student’s body elections on an openly Naxal platform. He won. “We were ready to storm heaven,” Dilip Simeon, a leading member of the group, was to write later.

How a revered ‘pillar of the establishment’ fell to ‘revolutionary activity’ is an enigma. Certainly, the college’s democratic ethos aided the process. And there were individual influences. Awadhesh Sinha, a history student who joined in 1965, was one of the first to turn radical. Says Rabindra Ray, another early convert, “Awadhesh was known as ‘Commie’ Sinha. Ironically, he joined the IAS in 1970 and was vilified in an ugly incident at the coffee house.”

The group’s ideological hangout was a barsati near the campus where a lecturer at the university’s Psychology department stayed. Ajit Pal was a Marxist iconoclast who never joined any party. “Palda, as we called him, was a mesmeric motivator. He was our mentor, guide and organiser,” says a member of the group.


By 1970, their activities were entering a more serious phase. A distressed parent approached O’ Connor asking him to persuade his son to give up his politics. “By then, they (the students) were well into the vortex and almost out of hearing,” writes the pastor. The campus was tense. TOI reported a ‘plot’ to burn the college library and bomb the chapel. “We didn’t know it then, but some students and teachers close to us were spying for the police,” says Ray.

Just then, Das and Ray went ‘UG’ (underground). Some 12-13 Stephanians followed, leaving studies to join the revolution between 1970 and 1971. Das and a few others were arrested; the rest returned on their own — disillusioned and scared. Rajiv Kumar, an Economics student, was in third year when he left for Bihar in mid-December, 1970. For three months, he stayed with CPI-ML sympathisers, including a bricklayer in Munger. “One of the reasons for my return was the prospect of being asked to kill people,” he says. “We were a bunch of romantics who just didn’t know that we were being fed with lies.”

Ray remained a ‘revolutionary’ till 1975. “It was easy to get in, very difficult to get out. I had to painfully think my way out. Marxism-Leninism Mao thought is rubbish,” he says. Ray was to later write a book, Naxalites and Their Ideology.

“It’s difficult to retain that kind of blind faith,” says Simeon. “Yet, coming out was cathartic. It was soul-destroying to realise that the Chinese Communist Party was working in its own self-interest, and not for world revolution.”

Simeon has fictionalised his ‘UG’ experience as an itinerant cleaner in a truck plying on the GT road. The short story, ‘OK TATA, Mobiloil Change (and World Revolution)’, appeared in Civil Lines 3. At one point, the cleaner’s ustad, the driver of the truck, finds his world turned on its head when his lowly assistant suddenly starts singing the Internationale along with a couple of French hitchhikers!

It was that kind of a time.

PS: Awadhesh Sinha is additional chief secretary in the Maharashtra government. Das, Ray and Simeon went on to do their PhDs. Das, a journalist and sociologist, died in 2000. He was 52. Ray teaches at Delhi School of Economics. Simeon joined Ramjas College as a teacher in 1974. In the ’80s, he was attacked brutally while leading an agitation. He is now a senior research fellow at Nehru Library. Rajiv Kumar did his DPhil from Oxford and is director of ICRIER. Ajit Pal retired in 1991 and lives in Delhi.

TOI

History of Naxalism according to HT

May 29, 2007



History of Naxalism according to Hindustan Times


Telangana Struggle: By July 1948, 2,500 villages in the south were organised into ‘communes’ as part of a peasant movement which came to be known as Telangana Struggle. Simultaneously the famous Andhra Thesis for the first time demanded that ‘Indian revolution’ follow the Chinese path of protracted people’s war. In June 1948, a leftist ideological document ‘Andhra Letter’ laid down a revolutionary strategy based on Mao Tsetung’s New Democracy.

1964
CPM splits from united CPI and decides to participate in elections, postponing armed struggle over revolutionary policies to a day when revolutionary situation prevailed in the country.

1965-66
Communist leader Charu Majumdar wrote various articles based on Marx-Lenin-Mao thought during the period, which later came to be known as ‘Historic Eight Documents’ and formed the basis of naxalite movement.
· First civil liberties organisation was formed with Telugu poet Sri Sri as president following mass arrests of communists during Indo-China war.

1967
CPM participates in polls and forms a coalition United Front government in West Bengal with Bangla Congress. This leads to schism in the party with younger cadres, including the “visionary” Charu Majumdar, accusing CPM of betraying the revolution.

Naxalbari Uprising (25th May): The rebel cadres led by Charu Majumdar launch a peasants’ uprising at Naxalbari in Darjeeling district of West Bengal after a tribal youth, who had a judicial order to plough his land, was attacked by “goons” of local landlords on March 2. Tribals retaliated and started forcefully capturing back their lands. The CPI (M)-led United Front government cracked down on the uprising and in 72 days of the “rebellion” a police sub-inspector and nine tribals were killed. The Congress govt at the Centre supported the crackdown. The incident echoed throughout India and naxalism was born.

• The ideology of naxalism soon assumed larger dimension and entire state units of CPI (M) in Uttar Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir and some sections in Bihar and Andhra Pradesh joined the struggle.

July-Nov: Revolutionary communist organs ‘Liberation’and ‘Deshbrati’ (Bengali) besides ‘Lokyudh’ (Hindi) were started.
Nov 12-13: Comrades from Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, Orissa and West Bengal met and set up All India Coordination Committee of Revolutionaries (AICCR) in the CPI (M).

1968

May 14: AICCR renamed All India Coordination Committee of Communist Revolutionaries (AICCCR) with Comrade S Roy Chowdhury as its convenor. The renamed body decides to boycott elections. Within AICCCR certain fundamental differences lead to the exclusion of a section of Andhra comrades led by Comrade T Nagi Reddy.

1969

April 22: As per the AICCCR’s February decision, a new party CPI (ML) was launched on the birth anniversary of Lenin. Charu Majumdar was elected as the Secretary of Central Organising Committee. AICCR dissolved itself.
May 1: Declaration of the party formation by Comrade Kanu Sanyal at a massive meeting on Shahid Minar ground, Calcutta. CPI (M) tries to disrupt the meeting resulting in armed clash between CPI (M) and CPI (ML) cadres for the first time.

• By this time primary guerrilla zone appear at Debra-gopiballavpur (WB), Musal in Bihar, Lakhimpur Kheri in UP and most importantly Srikakulam in Andhra Pradesh.
May 26-27: Andhra police kill Comrade Panchadri Krishnamurty and six other revolutionaries during a crackdown on Srikakulam struggle in Andhra Pradesh sparking wide protests.
Oct 20: Maoist Communist Centre was formed under Kanhai Chatterjee’s leadership. It had supported Naxalbari struggle but did not join CPI (ML) because of some tactical difference and on the question of the method of party formation.

1970

April 27: Premises of Deshabrati Prakashan, which published Liberation and its sister journals, were raided. CPI (ML) goes underground.
May 11: The first CPI (ML) congress is held in Calcutta under strict underground conditions. Comrade Charu Majumdar is elected the party general secretary.
July 10: Comrades Vempatapu Satyanarayana and Adibatla Kailasam, leaders of Srikakulam uprising are killed in police encounter during the crackdown. Comrade Appu, founder of the Party in Tamil Nadu was also killed around September-October. The Srikakulam movement in continued in Andhra Pradesh till 1975.

• Leading lights of literary world of Telugu like Sri Sri, R V Shastri, Khtuba Rao K V Ramana Reddy, Cherabanda Raju Varavara Rao, C Vijaylakshmi with others joined hands to form VIRASAM (Viplava Rachayithala Sangam) or Revolutionary Writers Association (RWA).

• Artistes from Hyderabad inspired by Srikakulam struggle and the songs of Subharao Panigrahi form a group — Art Lovers – comprising the famous film producer Narasinga Rao and the now legendary Gaddar.

1971

In the background of Bangladesh war, the Army tries to crush the ultra-left movement in West Bengal. Uprising in Birbhum marks the high point of this year.

• Art Lovers change its name to Jana Natya Mandali (JNM) late this year. It joins Communists and start propagating revolutionary ideas through its songs, dances and plays. It functioned legally till 1984.

1972

July: Charu Majumdar is arrested in Calcutta on July 16. He dies in Lal Bazar police lock-up on July 28. Revolutionary struggle suffers serious debacle. CPI (ML)’s central authority collapses.

August:
‘Pilupu’ (The Call), a political magazine was launched in Andhra Pradesh.
• Kondapalli Seetharamaiah reorganises the AP State Committee of Communist Revolutionaries following killing or arrest of the 12-member AP State Committee.

1973
Fresh guerrilla struggles backed by mass activism emerge in parts of central Bihar and Telangana, now a part of Andhra Pradesh.

1974

July 28: The Central Organising Committee of CPI (ML) was reconstituted at Durgapur meeting in West Bengal. Comrade Jauhar (Subrata Dutt) was elected general secretary. Jauhar reorganises CPI (ML) and renames it as CPI (ML) Liberation.

March:
Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee (APCLP) was formed again with Sri Sri as president.

August:
Andhra Pradesh state committee was reconstituted with Kondapalli Seetharamaiah representing Telangana region, Appalasuri (coastal AP) and Mahadevan (Rayalseema).

October 12:
Radical students union was formed in Andhra Pradesh. It faced brutal suppression but surged again after emergency was lifted.

1975

Following declaration of emergency on June 25 and the following repression on ultra-leftists and others, the Central Organising Committee in its September meeting decided to withdraw a “common self-critical review” and instead produce a tactical line ‘Road to Revolution’. But it did not unity among the cadres. Armed struggles were reported from Bhojpur and Naxalbari.

1976

CPI (ML) holds its second Congress on February 26-27 in the countryside of Gaya, in Bihar. It resolves to continue with armed guerilla struggles and work for an anti-Congress United Front.

1977

Amidst an upsurge of ultra-leftists’ armed actions and mass activism, CPI (ML) decides to launch a rectification campaign. The party organisation spreads to AP and Kerala.

February:
Revolutionaries organise Telangana Regional Conference in Andhra Pradesh and seeds of a peasant movement are sown in Karimnagar and Adilabad districts of the state. The conference decided to hold political classes to train new cadres and to send “squads” into forest for launching armed struggle. Eight districts of Telangana, excluding Hyderabad, were divided into two regions and two regional committees were elected.

May:
Bihar and West Bengal representatives of Central Organising Committee resign at a meeting. Andhra Pradesh representative fails to attend the meet due to the arrest of Kondapalli Seetharamaiah. The Central Organising Committee is dissolved.

1978

Rectification movements (CPI ML and fragments) limits pure military viewpoint and stresses mass peasant struggles to Indianise the Marxism-Leninism and Mao thought.
• CPI (ML) (Unity Organisation) is formed in Bihar under N Prasad’s leadership (focusing on Jehanabad-Palamu of Bihar). A peasant organisation – the Mazdoor Kisan Sangram Samiti (MKSS) is formed.

• ‘Go To Village Campaigns’ are launched by Andhra Pradesh Party of revolutionaries to propagate politics of agrarian revolution and building of Radical Youth League units in Andhra Pradesh villages. It later helped in triggering historic peasant struggles of Karimnagar and Adilabad.

Sept 7:
The famous Jagityal march is organised in Andhra Pradesh, in which thousands of people take part.

Oct 20:
Andhra Government declares Sarcilla and Jagityal ‘disturbed areas’ giving police “draconian” powers.

1979

From April to June, Village Campaign was for the first time organised jointly by RSU and RYL in Andhra Pradesh. The two organisations also expressed solidarity with National Movement of Assam.

Between 1979 to 1988, MCC focused on Bihar. A Bihar-Bengal Special Area Committee was established. The Preparatory Committee for Revolutionary Peasant Struggles was formed and soon Revolutionary Peasant Councils emerged. Two founding members of MCC passed away-Amulya Sen in March 1981 and Kanhai Chatterjee in July 1982.

1980

April 22: Kondapalli Seetharamaiah forms the Peoples War Group in Andhra Pradesh. He discards total annihilation of “class enemies” as the only form of struggle and stresses on floating mass organisations.

• Mass peasant movement spreads in Central Bihar.

• CPI (ML) puts forward the idea of broad Democratic Front as the national alternative. It was part of a process to reorganise a centre for All-India revolution after it ceased to exist in 1972.

• The central committee was formed by merging AP and Tamil Nadu State Committees and Maharashtra group of the CPI (ML). Unity Organisation did not join. The tactical adopted by the committee upheld the legacy of Naxalbari while agreeing for rectifying the “left” errors.

• CPI (ML) Red Flag is formed led by K N Ramachandran.

1981

CPI (ML) organises a unity meet of 13 Marxist-Leninist factions in a bid to form a single formation to act as the leading core of the proposed Democratic Front. However, the unity moved failed. The M-L movement begins to polarise between the Marxist-Leninist line of CPI (ML) (Liberation) and the line of CPI (ML) (People’s War).
• First state level rally is held in Patna under the banner of Bihar Pradesh Kisan Sabha beginning a new phase of mass political activism in the state.

1982
Indian People’s Front (IPF) is launched in Delhi at a national conference of CPI (ML) (Liberation). At the end of the year the third Congress of CPI (ML) is organised at Giridih (Bihar), which decides to take part in elections.

1983
Peasant movement in Assam shows signs of revival after allegedly “forced” Assembly elections. IPF plays a crucial role in this regard.
• An all-India dalit conference is held in Amravati (Maharashtra) to facilitate interaction with Ambedkarite groups.

1984
CPI (ML) and other revolutionaries try to woo Sikhs towards joining peasant movement following Operation Bluestar in June and country-wide anti-Sikh riots after Indira Gandhi’s assassination in Oct 31 the same year.

1985
People’s Democratic Front is launched in Karbi Anglong district of Assam to provide a “revolutionary democratic orientation to the tribal people’s aspirations for autonomy”.
• PDF wins a seat in Assam Assembly elections bring about the first entry of CPI (ML) cadre in the legislative arena.
• Jan Sanskriti Manch is formed at a conference of cultural activists from Hindi belt at New Delhi.

1986

• Bihar govt bans PWG and MCC
April 5-7: CPI (ML) organises a national women’s convention in Calcutta to promote cooperation and critical interaction between communist women’s organisations and upcoming feminist and autonomous women’s groups.
April 19: More than a dozen “landless labourers” are killed in police firing at Arwal in Jehanabad district of Bihar.

1987
PDF gets transformed into the Autonomous State Demand Committee.

1988
CPI (ML) holds its fourth Congress at Hazaribagh in Bihar from January 1 to 5. The Congress “rectifies” old errors of judgement in the party’s assessment of Soviet Union. It reiterates the basic principles of revolutionary communism – defence of Marxism, absolute political independence of the Communist Party and primacy of revolutionary peasant struggles in democratic revolution.
• CPI (ML) ND is formed in Bihar by Comrade Yatendra Kumar.

1989

May:
The founding conference of All India Central Council of Trade Union (AICCTU) is held in Madras. Key resolutions are passed at this meet.
November: More than a dozen “left supporters” are shot dead by landlords in Ara Lok Sabha constituency of Bhojpur district in Bihar on the eve of polls.
• CPI (ML) (Liberation) records its first electoral victory under Indian People’s Front banner. Ara sends the first “Naxalite” member to Parliament.

1990

In February Assembly election, IPF wins seven seats and finishes second in another fourteen. In Assam too, a four-member ASDC legislators’ group enters the Assembly. Special all-India Conference is held in Delhi on July 22-24 to restructure the party.
August 9-11: All India Students Association (AISA) is launched at Allahabad. It opposes VP Singh’s implementation of Mandal Commission recommendations.
Oct 8: First all-India IPF rally is held in Delhi. CPI (ML) (Liberation) claims it to be the first-ever massive mobilisation of rural poor in the capital.
• CPI (ML) S R Bhaijee group and CPI (ML) Unity Initiative are formed in Bihar. The former is still active in east and west Champaran.
• Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chenna Reddy lifts all curbs on naxal groups. Naxalites operate freely for about a year but observers say it corrupted them and adversely affected the movement.

1991
In the May Lok Sabha elections, Indian People’s Front loses Ara seat but CPI (ML) retains its presence in Parliament through ASDC MP.

1992

• Andhra Pradesh bans People’s War Group
• CPI(ML) reorganises the erstwhile Janwadi Mazdoor Kisan Samiti in South Bihar as Jharkhand Mazdoor Kisan Samiti (Jhamkis).

May 21:
Chief Minister N Janardhan Reddy bans PWG and its seven front organisations again in Andhra Pradesh.
Dec 20-26: CPI (ML) organises its fifth Congress at Calcutta from Dec 20 to 26. CPI (ML) comes out in the open and calls for a Left confederation.

1993

• AISA registers impressive victories in Allahabad, Varanasi and Nainital university elections in Uttar Pradesh besides in the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.
• CPI (ML) launches a new forum for Muslims called ‘Inquilabi Muslim Conference’ in Bihar.

1994

February: All India Progressive Women’s Association is launched at national women’s conference at New Delhi.
• Indian People’s Front is dissolved and fresh attempts are initiated to forge a united front of various sections of Leftists and Socialists with an anti-imperialist agenda.
• Interactions among various Communists and Left parties intensify in India and abroad to revive the movement drawing lessons from Soviet collapse.

1995

• A six-member CPI (ML) group is formed in Bihar Assembly. Two CPI (ML) nominees win from Siwan indicating the expansion of party’s influence in north Bihar.
May: N T Ramarao relaxes ban on Peoples War Group in Andhra Pradesh for three months. PWG goes in for massive recruitment drive in the state.
July: CPI (ML) organises All India Organisation Plenum at Diphu to streamline party’s organisational network.

• Revolutionary Youth Association (RYA) is launched as an all-India organisation of the radical youth.

1996

• Five members of ASDC make it to Assam assembly. An ASDC member is re-elected to Lok Sabha. Another ASDC member is elected to Rajya Sabha. ASDC retains its majority in Karbi Anglong District Council and also unseats the Congress in the neighbouring North Cachhar Hills district in Assam.
• CPI(ML) takes initiative to form a Tribal People’s Front and then Assam People’s Front
• CPI (ML) joins hands with CPI and Marxist Coordination Committee led by Comrade A Roy to strengthen Left movement.
• CPI (ML) initiates the Indian Institute of Marxist Studies. Armed clashes between ultra-leftists and upper caste private armies (like Ranvir Sena) escalate in Bihar.
• The Progressive Organisation of People, affiliated to revolutionary left movement, launches a temple entry movement for lower castes in Gudipadu near Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh. It emerges successful.

1997

CPI (ML) organises a massive ‘Halla Bol’ rally in Patna. A left supported Bihar bandh is organised as part of “Oust Laloo Campaign” in view of the Rs 950-crore fodder scam.

1999

• CPI (ML) Party Unity merges with Peoples War.
• Naxalites launch major strikes. CPI (ML) PW kills six in Jehanabad on February 14. MCC kills 34 upper caste in Senai village of Jehanabad.
Dec 2: Three top PWG leaders killed in Andhra Pradesh leading to a large scale brutal naxalite attacks on state forces.
Dec 16: PWG hacks to death Madhya Pradesh Transport Minister Likhiram Kavre in his village in Blalaghat district to avenge the killing of three top PWG leaders in police encounter on Dec 2.

2000

• PWG continues with its revenge attacks. Blasts house of ruling Telugu Desam Party MP G Sukhender Reddy in Nalgonda district in Andhra Pradesh in January. In February it blows up a Madhya Pradesh police vehicle killing 23 cops, including an ASP. It destroys property worth Rs 5 crore besides killing 10 persons in AP in the same month.
Dec 2: PWG launches People’s Guerrilla Army (PGA) to counter security forces offensive.

2001

April: CPI (ML) celebrates 32nd anniversary of its foundation in Patna on April 22 and gives a call to rekindle ‘revolutionary spirit of naxalism’.
July: Naxalite groups all over South Asia form a Coordination Committee of Maoist Parties and Organisations of South Asia (CCOMPOSA) which is said to be first such an international coalition. PWG and MCC are part of it.
• As per the Intelligence reports, MCC and PWG establish links with LTTE, Nepali Maoists and Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence to receive arms and training. Naxalites bid to carve out a corridor through some areas of Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh up to Nepal.
Nov: MCC organises a violent Jharkhand Bandh on Nov 26.
Dec: Naxalites, mainly in AP, Orissa and Bihar celebrate People’s Guerilla Week hailing the formation of PGA on Dec 2. The week unfolds major violence in the three states during which a plant of Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu and the house of an Orissa minister is blown up.

Hindustantimes

Achievements of Mao Tse Tung and the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution

December 26, 2006

26th December is the day Chairman Mao was born
On this occasion I would like to post an article
by Comrade Harsh Thakor
a research scholar based in Mumbai

Achievements of Mao Tse Tung


1.INTRODUCTION

The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution that was launched in China on May 16th 1966 wrote a historical epoch in the history of mankind. This was initiated by Comrade Mao Tse Tung to defeat the revisionists and create a ground for the ultimate triumph for Socialism. Mao discovered that even in a Socialist State there were capitalist elements who intended to turn the country to the capitalist road. From the example of the U.S.S R he learnt that a Socialist State can turn into a Social-Imperialist or Revisionist state and there can be a restoration of Capitalism. Stalin saved the Socialist State but he hardly made an effective attempt to democratize the Socialist State and initiate broad based mass movements.

True there were great achievements for workers but Stalin hardly gave attention to the superstructure and even violated Democratic Centralism to a great extent. Mao called for a revolt within his own party against the capitalist roaders Liu Shao Chi and Deng Xiaoping who opposed Mao’s line and felt that it was better to be ‘expert’ than ‘red.’ They advocated that profit from production should be the chief goal and opposed communization of land ,professing that peasants should get a private plot. What Sparked of the Cultural revolution was a play called “Hai Jui removed from office’ which defended Peng Te Huai who was removed from the Chinese Army for supporting ranks ,modernization against Communistic policies,and supporting the U.S S R. On 16th May 1966 Mao drafted a circular issued by the Central Committee alerting cadres against the revisionistsMao introduced a 16 points programme and finally gave a call to his followers the ‘Red Guards’ to ‘Bombard the Headquarters.

These were encompassing a broad-based revolutionary democratic programme explaining the masses to be daring above everything else and boldly arouse the masses,let the masses educate themselves in the movement through making the biggest use of big character posters and great debates to argue matters out so that masses can clarify theright and wrong views.It also stressed on applying the classs line of the party,correctly handling the contradictions amongst the people,be on guard against counter-revolutionaries discriminate cadres between good cadres ,those who have made serious mistakes and those who are anti-party or anti-Socialist.It was stressed that the anti-party rightists must be fully exposed, refuted or overthrown but at the same time be given the chance to turn over a new leaf.The programme went on to stress the importance of Cultural Revolutionary Group, committees and Congress’s. Another Important point stressed was educational reform where the old system of education would be completely transformed.

The other points were the question of criticizing by name in the press, policies towards Scientists, technicians and ordinary members of working staffs, question of arrangements of integration with the Socialist Education System and Countryside, stimulating production from a revolutionary perpective,revolutionizing the armed forces and finally establishing Mao Tse Tung Thought as the guide to action in the Cultural Revolution.

On May 25th at the Peking University a big poster was pasted up at Peking University which was the first big ‘Marxist LeninistIt attacked 2 corrupt university officials. Who negated the Cultural Revolution buy curbing mass initiative. The big character poster lit a flame in the hearts of the masses. Character Poster.’

2. ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE CULTURAL REVOLUTION

1. A de-centralized medical system creating Barefoot doctors. The Medical field made the most innovative changes. A worker’s fingers being replaced occurred, something unheard of even in Developed countries. Applying Mao’s line the broken bones were attached Etc.In no third world country before did medicine serve the poor peasantry to that extent.

2.Stopping examinations in schools and colleges and making students learn from the peasants and workers as well as participating in productive labour. Now it was the peasants and workers who taught the students. Factories were attached to schools so that students would learn science from production. In the villages students would learn about agriculture and peasants would explain them their problems and about production.

3.Enabling workers to be masters of Marxist Leninist philosophy through study in factory school which enabled workers to build their own machines and run their own factories.

4..Revolutionary committees launched where the workers and peasants democratic rights were represented. There were 3 in one committees. These were far more effective than the committees in factories in Western Style Democracies. Workers and peasants.

5.The Army served the people doing work like construction, building canals and rotated the jobs of Workers and peasants. They were politically enlightened and trained about the role of revolution and history and politics in connection to Marxism Leninism. The Army defended and protected the mass movements unlike bourgeois states. Ranks were abolished in the military.

6 revolutionizing the Agricultural Communes through mass movements and introducing piecemeal wage system.Tachai is the best Example as well as Shanghai.

7.There were mass rallies where the broad masses could print big character posters. The C.P.C. was never afraid of disorder. “Great Debates’ and anti-Rightist campaigns were held. The masses could voice their demands to punish corrupt officials, oppose bureaucraticsm, fight for press freedom and for democratic Rights. They had the four great ‘freedoms ‘of speaking out Freely, airing views folly, holding great debates, and writing big character posters.

8.A Revolutionary Democratic Army that always stood by the peoples Movements. The Army represented the heart and the soul of the broad masses being based from the basic classes. Once the Cultural Revolution started in earnest, the Army was not allowed to intervene in what emerged as a civil war between the various factions of Red Guards and Red Rebels. The PLA was ordered by Mao to “support the left” by standing aside, even when their arsenals were looted by the civilian combatants.

When the chaos reached its climax, when the Party was in disarray and the economy had come to a virtual standstill, the Army appeared to be the only functioning organization left, and Mao turned to the PLA to restore order. As a result, the PLA emerged from the chaos with greatly increased position and power: senior Army men headed the newly-formed revolutionary committees responsible for local administration; almost half of the Central Committee members elected in 1969 were soldiers; and half of the State Council members in 1971 belonged to the PLA. Ranks were abolished in the Peoples Liberation Army. The Army had to participate in the production in factories and help the peasants in production. They were involved in digging the Countryside, transporting grain and all kinds of furniture on carts, leading Children in drills a school.

All forms of hierarchy and paternalism were removed. A soldier recognized his commanding officer just like a revolutionary committee obeyed it’s leader. Inspite of that the Peoples Liberation Army was recognized as the most disciplined. The Army was indoctrinated with Mao’s thought and taught to support the liberation Struggles of the masses all over the world. The virtues of the Chinese Revolution were explained and nation chauvinism was totally opposed in the teachings. In the Cultural Revolution upheavals the Army always stood by the Revolutionary Committees Army controlled instances when Red Guard Group rivalry took place or civilians were attacked.

Only when factional non –revolutionary tendencies take place did the Army intervene. (An Ultra –left trend took place caused by a certain Red Guard faction) Army in the world. Another feature of the Cultural Revolution was the emphasis on studying Marxist Philosophy. (Taken from Daily life in Revolutionary China Once Lin Biao fell from grace in 1971 and his supporters were purged, the PLA’s model function as the “great school of Mao Thought” ceased to be stressed. Instead, the close relations between the Army and the people were propagated once more (“as close as fish and water”). Foreigners were taken to a unit of the P.L.A to learn about the study of the Thought of Mao Tse Tung.The soldiers worked on farms to feed themselves and helped commune members when they needed help.

9.Great Innovations in the field of Art and literature representing the proletariat.
Below are a compilation or collection of notes compiled from a book ‘Daily Life in Revolutionary China’ by a member of the Italian Communist Party Maria Macciocci who visited Socialist China in the heyday of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution which elaborate the points I discussed.

To read the complete article
click on the link below

Rest of the article

Interview with Ajitha : Daughter of late Com Mandakini Narayanan

December 17, 2006

This Interview was done wayback in 1999
by Rediff.com

‘Everybody in Wynad knew Varghese was brutally murdered by the police after torture’

The Naxalite movement, which stormed Kerala in the 1950s and ’60s, withered away by the end of the ’70s, sending most of the people involved into oblivion. A few, however, have managed to keep their revolutionary ardour alive and work to improve society. One such is Ajitha.

After her release from prison in 1977 after a nine-year incarceration, Ajitha tried to play the role of conventional housewife for a while, marrying and giving birth to a child. Until 1988, when a conference of women’s organisations in Bombay stirred her into action again and she founded an organisation called ‘Bodhana’ (Awareness), based in Kozhikode (Calicut).

At that time, however, the women’s movement was in its infancy in Kerala and Bodhana died a premature death after the fourth conference of women’s organisations in Calicut. Ajitha then set up another organisation called ‘Anweshi’ (Searcher) in 1993, which she says has grown out of its infancy and now commands attention.

Anweshi came into the limelight with the exposure of the sensational Calicut sex scandal involving several top politicians and influential public figures. It has goaded the police machinery into action, though the politicians have so far managed to evade the net.

Ajitha, however, is not one to give in easily. After an agitation yielded no result, she moved the Supreme Court to get the politicians, including Indian Union Muslim League leader P K Kunhalikutty, arrested.

Ajitha worked briefly with the Janadipatya Samrakshana Samiti (Committee to Save Democracy), founded by former Communist Party of India-Marxist leader K R Gouri ‘Amma’. But she soon found that she could not adjust with the ways of the veteran politician and parted company.

In an exclusive interview with D Jose and Shiny Jacob, the doughty fighter dwelt on her past, present and future struggles. Excerpts:


The Rediff Interview/Ajitha

How did you come into the Naxal movement?

My father Kuthikod Narayanan and mother Mandakini were revolutionary workers. Naturally, their activity influenced me greatly. By the time I reached the pre-degree stage [class XII], I could not stop reacting against the injustices taking place around me.

I found study a major hindrance to my plans. So I dropped out of college in the second year and joined the Naxals. What followed was a life of adventure, moving from one place to another with various missions. Ultimately I landed in the hands of the police and remained in prison for nine years.

When I came out of jail, the movement had faded away. Though the revolutionary spirit that guided me into the movement was still alive, the circumstances were no longer conducive to revive the movement. So, like my colleagues, I chose to remain content with a mundane life. I married Yakoob, who had worked with us, and looked after my only daughter Gargi, who is now doing her pre-degree.

What were your main tasks in the movement?

My initial task was to prepare materials for educating the rank and file. I used to translate and distribute almost all the materials we used to get from China. We also formed a study group called ‘Nangal’ (We), which was very popular in the Fifties.

The Naxalbari uprising of 1967 was a real eye-opener to the Naxalites in Kerala. We were shocked to learn that the Marxist-led government in West Bengal opened fire on farmers who took up weapons for their rights.

Kerala was also under Marxist rule then. The incident taught us that the Communists were ready to sacrifice their ideals for power. This led to a lot of resentment in our rank and file against the Marxists. We decided to strengthen our force and formed a co-ordination committee and started a magazine called Idathupaksham (The Left) from Ernakulam and prepared ourselves for revolutionary actions like the Naxalbari incident.

The year 1968 turned out to be a milestone in our movement. It was in September-October 1968 that we decided to take up arms against the perpetrators of injustice. Our target was the Madras Special Police camp set up at Pulpally to deal with the farmers who were agitating against the attempt by the forest and Pulpally Dewaswom authorities to evict nearly 7,000 farmers who had settled down in a forest area and have been engaged in cultivation for years. As no political party was prepared to come to the aid of the toiling farmers, we decided to intervene. We formed an action group under Varghese, who was subsequently shot down by the police.

After travelling for days, we reached the MSP camp at Pulpally and executed the wireless operator and the sub-inspector who was in charge of the camp. Later we attacked the houses of two landlords and distributed the food grains stocked there to the tribals.

The failure of the Telicherry operation under my father and the death of one of our leaders in a bomb explosion demoralised us. Subsequently, many left the movement. We persisted despite lack of food for several days. But I was caught by the police and landed in jail by the end of 1968.

What was the role of women in the Naxal movement?

I am no more a member of the Naxal movement. But I can say with pride that the experience I gained in the movement has stood me in good stead to fight for women’s liberation.

The women were always in an inferior position in the movement. I was highly disturbed by the loss of opportunities on account of being a woman. The men either showed a protective approach towards women or treated them as a sexual commodity. They considered the support the revolutionaries got from their wives and mothers as their duty. They did not realise that these innocent women had to suffer a lot because of their actions. The police and the authorities constantly harassed them. They also failed to appreciate our intellectual capacities and human feelings. Marriage was prohibited for revolutionaries as the party felt it hinders freedom. Later, however, the party allowed marriages approved by it. If anybody fell in love with those who did not like the party, it acted like a feudal lord.

How were you attracted to the feminist movement?

I had questioned the discriminatory approach towards women while working as a Naxalite. This naturally crystallised into feminist feelings within me. The 1988 conference of women’s organisations encouraged me to plunge into a full-time feminist activist. The women’s movement in Kerala was in its infant stage then. I gave shape to Bodhana and it entered society with the agitation against the murder of Kunhibi. We also dealt with several other dowry death cases and organised an agitation for reopening the Mavoor factory.

Why did you scrap Bodhana and form Anweshi?

Bodhana was guided by a kind of romantic ideal. Anweshi is more or less down to earth. We started studying and investigating issues and then organising agitations. It was a transformation from radical feminism to socialistic feminism.

When we implement certain ideals there are bound to be pitfalls. In the process of correction we come up with new movements and organisations. We are seeing the disappearance of several women’s organisations in the course of time. The main reason for the weakness of women’s organisations is the lack of political awareness among women. Society maintains a silence towards the burning issues of women. We confront many hardships in the process of stirring up society.

In the early days, the Left movement dragged away many women activists working in independent organisations. I think the confederation of Streevedi that we have formed by bringing together more than 40 women’s organisations in the state is a strong network. I firmly believe this will be able to function effectively.

Why did you join the Janadipatya Samrakshana Samiti?

I joined the JSS with the firm assurance that it will fight for the tribals, women, and other less privileged classes. But Gowri Amma could not break away from the power politics in which she had got entangled for years. She tried to save IUML leader P K Kunhalikutty from the Kozhikode sex racket.

What about the political forum formed by the former Naxalites?

I did not join the organisation as I thought the role of being an ex-Naxalite is not any qualification. If you evaluate their work, it can be easily seen that they could not make any impact in Kerala society.

How do you evaluate your organisation’s success in the Kozhikode sex scandal?

Several top people, including a former minister, are involved in the racket. As they are influential people the police investigation did not take the natural course. We had approached the high court against this. Unfortunately, the high court rejected our petition. This forced us to move the Supreme Court and I am hopeful [of a favourable verdict].

This is not to say that I am fully satisfied. A democratic government will have to be accountable. Let the Communist government be accountable to the women in Kerala at least. We have sufficient evidence to show that Mr Kunhalikutty was involved in the racket.

How do you view the revelation made by a police constable that Varghese was shot by the police and not killed in an encounter as claimed?

Everybody in Wynad knew Varghese was brutally murdered by the police after torture. But I consider the truth revealed by the police constable as a significant act. The constable, Mr Ramachandran Nair, has not told the full truth. It is probably to show that he had no direct role in the act. But I take his revelation in positive spirit. I feel it involves the violation of the human rights and a judicial inquiry is a must.

What is your view on the controversy surrounding Deepa Mehta’s film Fire?

Deepa Mehta has criticised an upper-caste Hindu structure. The opposition to the film from certain fundamentalists is unfortunate. I don’t think lesbianism is the issue against which they are agitated. Their ire is against the attack on the Hindu structure. This should be fought tooth and nail. Otherwise it will invite other dangers.

Related Posts

‘Before I am killed, give me a signal so I can shout a slogan’ -
The last wish of a Braveheart Naxalite warrior


The Legacy of Ajitha: Unearthing a Subaltern Indian Revolutionary and Political Prisoner

From the Economic and Political Weekly Archives , April 2005 – The Naxalite Movement in Central Bihar

November 30, 2006

Economic and Political Weekly April 2005

The Naxalite Movement in Central Bihar
- By Bela Bhatia

The main achievement of the Naxalite movement in central Bihar is that it has empowered the labouring and oppressed classes. The equations of power have changed drastically.

Yet, the quality of material life in the villages has not improved because the Naxalite leaders are not interested in ‘development’. There is now a tiredness among the people, which has resulted in a stalemate. The Naxalite movement will thrive only if it lets people’s concerns guide the vision of the parties. Another problem is factionalism; if the movement unites and focuses on people’s concerns it could make a real difference in Bihar.

Please note this article was published in April 2005 and
since then there have been many changes and the movement itself has
evolved and consolidated itself.
Download the full Article – 14 pages – PDF format

http://naxalrevolution.googlepages.com/NaxaliteMovementinBihar.pdf

Comrade Azad the official spokesperson of the CPI(maoist) responds to the Economic and Political Weekly articles on Maoism

November 29, 2006

You may first want to read the articles that appeared in
Economic and Political Weekly July 22, 2006


Beyond Naxalbari


Learning from Experience and Analysis


Maoism in India

On Armed Resistance

The Spring and it’s Thunder


Maoist Movement in Andhra Pradesh

Given below is the response of Comrade AZAD the official
spokesperson of the CPI(maoist).Please note this response
was published in the middle of october 2006.

Maoists in India
A Rejoinder
Discussion
Economic and Political Weekly October 14, 2006 4379

AZAD

The special issue (July 22, 2006) devoted
to the Maoists in India reflects
recognition of the growing importance
that the Maoist-led movement plays in the
polity and the economy of the country.
However, what was disconcerting was
that an issue devoted to the Maoists did
not have a single article by the Maoists
themselves. The majority of the essays
appeared preoccupied with the question
of violence and not with the horrifying
conditions of the masses and finding a
way out for them.

Though the EPW has chosen a wide spectrum of views, it
would have been more constructive if the articles were
linked more to the question
of the alleviation of the horrifying
conditions of the masses, particularly in
this period of globalisation when the
situation has worsened.

The issue of violence should have been seen in this
context. In this reply, we will first very
briefly present our understanding of the
Indian social order, then discuss our own
goals as the framework from which to
view the points made by the writers, and
subsequently take up some of the main
issues on which we differ. We shall
assign importance to those arguments that
are really disturbing the well-wishers of
the movement.

Semi-Colonial, Semi-Feudal Order

Our beloved country, so rich in natural
wealth, human power and ingenuity, has
been reduced to a condition that is, in some
respects, worse than most of the countries
of sub-Saharan Africa. In these nearly 60
years of so-called independence the situation
has not significantly improved compared
to what prevailed in the last years
of the British Raj – at least for the general
masses. In the Nehruvian period, the model
of development relied on the “trickle down
effect”; now, in the present phase of
globalisation, there is no pretence of even
that.

The one lakh figure (official) of suicide
deaths in rural India in the past 10 years
is only the tip of the iceberg of misery that
none of the writers refer to. Poverty and
deprivation of the masses have continued
apace, more so in the present phase of
globalisation.

And, if the masses (not just Naxalites) dare to
even raise their voice for justice, they face the
lathis and guns of the state machinery with increasing
intolerance.

This was evident not only in the workers’
struggle in Gurgaon, the tribal people’s
struggle of Kalinga Nagar, the slum
dwellers’ resistance in Mumbai and Delhi,
the struggles of displaced people of the
Narmada, peasant struggles in Rajasthan,
the electricity employees’ struggles in UP
and Punjab, and the struggle of the state
government employees in Tamil Nadu,
but even in the protests against the recent
demolitions in the middle class localities
of Delhi. In all these struggles the people
were ruthlessly trampled upon, as they did
not have the strength to withstand the state
onslaught. As a result, their conditions
have gone from bad to worse. What answers
do the writers (in the EPW special
issue on the Maoist movement in India)
have to put an end to such endemic state
violence on different sections of struggling
people? How should these people
organise to improve their lives? How
should they fight back?

To negate the Maoist method, which has at least
achieved some degree of success, at least in those
areas where the Maoists have adopted the
path of armed struggle, without providing
an alternative, in effect, is to push people
into deeper and deeper despair (and poverty),
even as the moneybags strut around
flaunting their wealth.

The increasing state violence on the
masses and the growing impoverishment
are not just an accident or some isolated
instances, but endemic to the existing
system, which we Maoists broadly characterise
as semi-colonial and semi-feudal.

Semi-colonial because the Indian ruling
classes (big business, top bureaucrats, and
leading politicians running the centre
and the states) are tied to imperialist
interests.

Semi-feudal, as the old feudal relations have not
been smashed, only a certain amount of capitalist
growth has been superimposed on them. So also,
the Parliament is no democratic institution
(as in countries that have been through
a democratic revolution – a bourgeois
democracy) but has been instituted on
the existing highly autocratic state and
semi-feudal structures as a ruse to dupe
the masses.

The contemporary Indian economy is
unduly influenced by the activities of
carpetbaggers, a ruthless mafia, rapacious
mining interests and giant speculators, all
linked to the politics of criminality. The
degeneration is so deep, the rot so acute
that these same moneybags are floating
thousands of non-government organisations
(NGOs) in order to trivialise the
ills of the system so that people are
diverted from seeing that these are endemic
to the very system itself and not due to
just some bad individuals or policies.

The semi-colonial, semi-feudal order reproduces
social polarisation – a growing rich
and their vast number of hangers-on, and
an increasing mass of the impoverished.
A small section of the middle class is
moving into the first category, partaking
of some crumbs from the opulent dining
table; the bulk of the people are being
pushed into squalor, unemployment,
agrarian crisis, business bankruptcy and
financial ruin.

Even the local bourgeoisie(small) and small
traders are being squeezed out in increasing
numbers with the entry of giant companies in
all spheres of the economy.

With these extremes of wealth and
poverty, in order to protect the enclaves
of the rich and powerful, the state will be
driven to resort to more and more repression
of the people and their organisations.

It is only within this framework that one
can understand why the home ministry
designates the Maoists as the number one
threat to “internal security”. We Maoists
seek a just and equitable order. In this
endeavour, the key question is how does
one confront the repressive Indian state
that brutally tramples upon the people,
even as it defends and pampers the
wealthy. But before that let us get to what
we stand for.

Maoist Model of Development

We Maoists stand for a people-oriented,
self-reliant model of development. In this
model, people play the central role; their
initiative is released to the fullest extent
possible. We are of the opinion that all
wealth generated within the country should
stay here and not be allowed to be drained
off abroad. India is a very rich country with
tremendous human power and ingenuity,
together with a vast natural resource base.
The vast wealth, illegally and immorally
appropriated by the imperialists, feudal
elements and compradors, should be seized
and turned to use in developing the
economy, first and foremost in agriculture
and in rural areas, where the bulk of our
people live.

Our model of development is oriented
to vastly enhancing the purchasing power
of the masses. This will create a huge home
market in the country itself, which will act
as the main engine for growth. The starting
point for this is overhauling the rural
economy, where 70 per cent of our people
live. This will be initiated through land
reforms, by the redistribution of land on
the basis of “land-to-the-tiller”. In his
article, Tilak D Gupta says that this is not
viable any longer as there is not enough
surplus land. But has he fixed a viable
ceiling to determine how much land will
be available for redistribution? Has he
determined how much land is with the
government/panchayats; how much land
is with religious institutions and mutts;
how much land is with absentee landowners
(even most bureaucrats/army officials
maintain land, and many, in fact, purchase
more); and how much land is with the
private corporate sector and with luxury
resorts, golf clubs, etc?

The land reforms, coupled with large
investments in agriculture (to also regenerate
the soil destroyed by the green
revolution), forestry and allied activities
(poultry, goat farming, fishery, etc), will
enormously expand the rural populace’s
purchasing power. This in turn will create
a market for the basic necessities of life
and will help generate local industry,
resulting in employment generation.
With this employment generation the
purchasing power will increase further,
leading to more industry, and it is this
spiral that will result in continuous growth.

In this development model, growth (and
extension of the home market) will be
linked to people’s welfare and will in fact
be dependent on it.

In the urban areas too, industrial production
will be people-oriented. The opulent
expenditure of the super rich will cease (as
their surplus and ill-begotten wealth will
be confiscated) and the vast slums will be
rehabilitated.

Job security will be ensured with a living wage and
there will be no necessity to cling to ancestral land
as a source of security to fall back upon. This
will release a further amount of land for
the impoverished rural populace.

Cultural, sports and recreational activities
will involve the masses, while education
will be made available to all. All forms
of caste and patriarchal oppression/
discrimination will be fought against and
prohibited. Untouchability will be abolished
and severely punished. All degenerate and
feudal ideas will be fought against long
after the revolution through cultural
revolutions. Healthcare will be freely
available, and more focus will be on
preventive care and hygiene.

In a nutshell, this is the model of development
that we Maoists stand for. It is stated
in the party programme and political resolutions
issued from time to time. On this,
there is no ambiguity. In Bastar, before the
massive state onslaught in the present
Salwa Judum campaign, extensive development
projects along the above lines
were taken up and have been documented
in the booklet New People’s Power in
Dandakaranya (2000).

In Andhra Pradesh,Jharkhand and Bihar, it was the just
struggles of the peasantry under Maoist
leadership that led to the seizure of lands
from the big landlords and distribution
among the landless and poor peasants.
What we propose is a model of new
democracy built around the axis of land
reforms and a self-reliant economy. It is
also this new democratic model that we
seek to implement (on seizing power) in
its rudimentary form in the guerrilla bases
and later in the base areas.

That is why in Dandakaranya the Maoists not only
implemented people-oriented projects
(when the military operations were not as
intense) but also called for the stopping of
our rich iron ore being taken away by Japan
at the Bailadilla mines and supported the
400-odd indigenous small-scale rolling
mills facing closure due to government
policies.

Is this model violent? Is it undemocratic?
It is in fact the most humane and
peace-loving model of growth. But when
we try and implement it, the state comes
down heavily on us and on the masses that
support us. It is not we who seek violence.
In fact, for over a decade we were able to
build extensive developmental projects in
Dandakaranya and Jharkhand when the
government’s military actions were at a
lower scale.

We seek to implement the model of development
just outlined; if this can be done peacefully,
so much the better. But history has shown us that
the moneybags and their political representatives are
unable to accept even the thought of such
a transformation.

The Question of Violence

The question of violence is the single
most important thread passing through
all the articles. No real communist is for
violence per se. Communists are for a
peaceful social system built around
equality and justice. But when they seek
to work for such a system they are attacked
most brutally. This has been the case ever
since the birth of the communist movement.
They have been massacred and exterminated
right from the days of the Paris
Commune.

It would be naïve to think that
the Indian ruling classes, who have a lengthy
record of violence unleashed on the
oppressed masses, are any better. Besides,
it is not just state violence that people
face; in a class society, as in India, violence
is endemic to the very system and the
oppressed masses are exposed to it in the
course of their daily lives – by the feudal
authority and by factory managements,
and also as a result of untouchability,
patriarchy, etc.

Human society, ever since the origin of
private property and classes, has moved
forward only through a process of prolonged
and tortuous struggles, and by
countering the violence of the ruling classes.

To expect that the ruling classes will today
accommodate those demanding a new and
more advanced social system is to deny the
lessons learnt from history. For instance,
K Balagopal has speculated regarding an
alternative response that could have been
pursued by the Maoists even after the
encounter killings began in Andhra
Pradesh. Would the government, as speculated
by Balagopal, have allowed the
Maoists to concentrate on exposing the
anti-poor bias of the present development
model and extend their mass activity to a
point that would have given their aspiration
for state power a solid mass base?

If that possibility existed, why in the first
place did the ruling classes attack the legal
movement in Karimnagar and Adilabad?
There was then no armed activity when the
Disturbed Areas Act was put in place by
the Chenna Reddy government in 1978.

And, how does one confront the attacks
by the landlords and the police? Balagopal
also asserts that a positive response from
the state would have de-legitimised the
argument for revolutionary violence. Such
speculation only displays the illusions of
our intellectuals with regard to the nature
of the state. What is needed is a realistic
appraisal of the situation.

To put so much emphasis on the violence
of the Maoists appears to divert the issue,
where, in the present system the masses
have to face violence everyday of their
lives. Hundreds die each day of hunger,
starvation and easily curable illnesses.
Semi-feudal authority in the villages has
only force as its major instrument of control.

Workers in all but the big industries (some
time even there) have to regularly face the
hoodlums maintained by the management
and even the police. The women of our
country have to face daily patriarchal
violence and there are many so-called
dowry deaths each year. Dalits have to face
humiliation and abuse on a daily basis.

And, over and above all this is the violence
of the state, the Hindutva fascists, the mafia
linked to the mainstream political parties,
big business, and so on.

The violence of the Maoists, which is
preceded and provoked by the violence of
the oppressors, is not really the main issue;
justice is. If Naxalite violence is to be
discussed, it should be in the context of
violence pervading every aspect of our
system. If not seen in this framework, one
falls prey to the abstract bourgeois concept
that “violence breeds violence”, without
understanding the structural causes of
violence.

One important aspect of today’s counterinsurgency
operations is the massive use
of an informer/espionage network to decimate
the movements, not only externally,
but also from within. Today, this is one
of the major weapons in counter-insurgency
strategies in the world, including
India. Counter-insurgency operates right
from the village level, the mass organisation
level, to covert operations within the
party itself.

Massive funds are being secretly allocated
for this purpose. Most of these informers pose
as “civilians”, and many can be from the poorer
classes. But, their existence has lead to the death of
thousands of the best of revolutionaries
throughout the world. This has been accompanied
by brutal torture to extract
information. Earlier, accounts of brutal
torture became public; now, the ruling
classes make sure that this does not happen
by killing the tortured victim and by
legitimising torture as a necessary component
of the “war against terror”.

What the world sees is only the overt
violence of the state, not these covert
operations. The only long-term method of
countering these operations is through
deepening the mass base of the party (not
mere mass support) and raising its political
level.

It is also necessary to deal with the
problem in the immediate; otherwise the
best of our cadre get killed. If all persons
in every village are tightly organised (into
mass organisations, militia, and party units)
it is very difficult for an informer to
survive without getting noticed. But such
intensive organisation takes time and is
not so easy in the bigger villages and the
urban bastis. In between, the informers are
recruited. Most of the elements recruited
by the state may come from ordinary backgrounds,
but they are mostly lumpen or
degenerate elements. They are recruits in
the covert operations of the police and the
army. Any leniency towards them can mean
(and has meant) the death of the best of
our comrades.

Actions against these elements cannot be construed
as violence on civilians, but on recruits to the police/
paramilitary forces, and should be seen as
such. This is important to understand, in
the light of modern-day counter-insurgency
in the form of Low Intensity Conflict,
originally devised by the MI5 (of Britain)
and the CIA (of the US), and used throughout
the world.

Major Misconception

There is yet another major misconception
– that “innocent” people are being caught
in the crossfire between the Naxalites
and the police. First, this is not a fact.
Secondly, the “people” are not a homogeneous
mass; the ruling elite and their
hangers-on are with the state, while the
masses of the oppressed are with the
Naxalites. The former support state terror
(as in the Salwa Judum), while the latter
act together with the Maoists to resist such
terror. The misconception of a homogeneous
populace is linked to postmodernist
thinking of a so-called “civil
society”, which conceals class divisions
within society. All the same, in conflicts
involving state terror and the people’s
resistance to it, there will be some sections
not allied to either side, but the majority
are polarised into two camps – a minority
allied with the state, on the one hand,
and the masses backing the Naxalites,
on the other.

The above-mentioned fallacy of
conceptualising the people as a homogeneous
mass runs through all the articles,
including that of Sumanta Banerjee when
he writes: “… the Maoist guerrillas often
betray an immature mindset by intimidating
them, instead of patiently politicising
them”.

In our view, at the village level, the
masses are divided into three sections: the
diehard reactionaries, the intermediary
sections who may vacillate between the
two contending forces, and the masses
won over by the Maoists. Banerjee’s statement
would apply to the intermediary
sections. The reality however is that the
bulk of the actions taken by the Maoists
have been against the diehard reactionaries.

There may have been errors, as also
different conceptions of who belongs to
the first or second category. While these
can be discussed, the three sections have
to be clearly demarcated, for this is fundamental
to understanding the class struggle
at the ground level, which is a struggle for
power.

The diehard reactionaries have to
be suppressed, while the rest have to be
patiently politicised. There are, of course,
problems of class analysis and consequently,
incorrect handling of contradictions
among the people due to inexperience
of some cadres. Although this is an
exception rather than the rule, the state has
used these aberrations by magnifying them
and many intellectuals who refuse to see
the reality have become a prey to such
intrigue of the state, often joining the chorus
against revolutionary violence.

Further in the same vein Sumanta
Banerjee adds: “Of the two (i e, state and
communist revolutionaries), the communist
revolutionaries who claim to look after
the welfare of the poor and the oppressed,
are expected to be more humane in their
choice of tactics and genuinely democratic
in getting popular consent for them –
particularly when such tactics affect the
vast masses of uninvolved citizens.

If in their drive for retaliation they stoop to the
level of the police or security forces and
indulge in indiscriminate attacks on soft
targets…” Now, real humanity entails
unconditionally standing by the oppressed.
But there is no all-encompassing humanity.

In a class society, where the ruling
classes fiercely crush the oppressed at every
step, real humanity entails fierce hatred for
their oppressors. There can be no love
without hate; there is no all-encompassing
love. The Maoists may err in certain
actions, from which we will learn certain
lessons, but “to be more humane” cannot
be associated with the question of civil
behaviour vis-à-vis the enemy and their
agents in our tactics. Having said this,
quite rightly, there should not be any attack
on soft targets, but targets have to be
assessed within the framework of the
politico-military aims of the movement –
both immediate and long-term.

For Sumanta Banerjee, a school building
housing the paramilitary, or, communication
towers, may be soft targets, but for
the Maoists it would be part of their longterm
aims to counter the enemy forces.

Sumanta Banerjee’s clubbing of Maoist
violence with that of the Islamic fundamentalists
is unfair, as nowhere have the
Maoists consciously attacked civilians.
The so-called civilians of the Salwa Judum
are basically the SPOs and “lumpen”
elements mobilised by the state as a vigilante
force to kill, burn, loot and destroy
tribal life in countering the Maoists. Though
unnecessary losses should be avoided, like
the two children in the Errabore camp, no
people’s war can be so clinical, as to have
no civilian causality. The point is whether
the maximum care has been taken not to
affect civilians. The police/paramilitary
have been utilising this principled stand
of the Maoists in their tactics to counter
them.

For instance, they travel in public
transport buses along with civilians and
use the masses as human shields while
entering areas that are Maoist strongholds.

They know well the Maoists will not
attack if civilian lives are involved. They
also employ unarmed policemen and
home guards to collect information about
the Maoists from villages in Naxalite
strongholds, and even use women as informers
as the Maoists do not easily target
such people.

Three thousand home guards were recruited recently
in AP along with 1,500 SPOs, as admitted by the chief
minister at the chief ministers’ meeting
on terrorism and left extremism on
September 5 this year. The home minister
and DGP of AP admitted that they had
deliberately not given rifles in about 500
or so police stations in the state as they
were sure Maoists would not attack
unarmed policemen.

So, to sum up, violence is endemic in
this brutal system. One cannot appreciate
the need for revolutionary violence unless
one understands the fascist nature of the
state, the cruelty of the state’s forces,
tortures and fake encounters, bans on
peaceful meetings, and state violations of
the democratic rights of the people. The
fascist nature of the state is exposed when
confronted by powerful people’s movements,
as we witness in all those areas of
activity of the Maoist movement.

In fact, Maoist violence is only to put an end to
all the violence in this rotten system and
to bring peace to our country and people.
There is no other recourse in such a brutal
and ruthless system. We sincerely ask the
writers to please suggest how to end the
violence of oppressors and the state that
acts on their behalf?

How can the oppressed masses gain justice?
Finally, we wish to state that in the course
of the revolutionary movement we do make
mistakes on this account; but wherever we
have done so, we have never sought to hide
it, but have issued a public apology. While
we will always try and learn from our
shortcomings, it must also be realised that
no class war can be conducted with clinical
precision. It is very tortuous and painful;
just as the daily life of the bulk of our
population is no less agonising.

We will now take up some other major
arguments and leave the rest for a future
discussion.

Comparisons with Nepal Maoists

There is a tendency to compare the
Maoists movements of Nepal and India,
pitting the Nepal Maoists’ present tactics
as a supposed peaceful alternative to the
Indian Maoists’ violent methods. One
should not forget that the present victories
of the anti-monarchy movement are primarily
a result of the success of the politico-
military battles by the People’s
Liberation Army and their ability to beat
back the attacks of the king’s army.

Their victories are built on the backbone of a
30,000 strong PLA and one lakh militia,
and the loss of 12,000 lives. This fact is
brought out in a recent interview with the
Hindi magazine Philal where comrade
Prachanda, the chairman of the CPN
(Maoist), said: “When we talk with the
leaders of these political parties we say that
had we not been armed, there would have
been no 12-point understanding. Had we
not been armed, Deuba would never have
been able to come out of prison. Had we
not been armed, many of you would have
been killed because of the feudal
monarchy, which murdered its blood
relations inside the Palace…

We also told them that our weapons only made the
revival of your parliament possible, you
are not credited with it; the credit goes to
the PLA…”. Besides, change of tactics
depends on the situation in the respective
countries and the strength of the contending
forces.

Sitaram Yechury has particularly
sought to pit the Nepal Maoists against
the Indian Maoists. While the CPI (M)
brutally suppresses the Maoists in West
Bengal, it is hypocritically speaking in
praise of the Nepal Maoists. Instead of
pitting one revolution against the other, it
would be far more constructive to take the
positive experiences of other revolutions
and see how best these could concretely
be applied to the Indian revolution to take
it forward. This brings us to debates about
the revolutionary path.

On the Revolutionary Path

Among the writers, the most forthright
in questioning the very path of the revolution
was Tilak D Gupta who said: “…the
case for revising the ideological-political
line and the strategy and tactics of the
CPI (Maoist) is quite potent by itself
because of the changed international
situation and above all due to the major
worldwide setback to socialism”.

Earlier in the article, he also raised doubts on the
change to Maoism. He questions some of
the very basics of the CPI (Maoist). Sagar
too, after raising questions on a large
number of tactical issues – idealising
elections, pitting mass action against
armed struggle, opposing democratisation
of tribal culture, negating its successes and
only focusing on its supposed lack of
presence everywhere (as though all over
the world Marxists are making sweeping
gains) – he goes to the extent of clubbing
the entire “left”, including the parliamentary
CPI and CPI(M) with the CPI (Maoist)
in a single category by calling for a “genuine
confederation of the various Left
organisations”.

Sagar goes so far as to equate the parliamentarians
with those leading the armed struggle by saying:
“In the broad context of Indian politics
it would appear to him/her that the Left
in all its diversity is actually part of one
‘parivar’ with one component doing nothing
but parliamentary work and the other
focusing on armed struggles and the middle
consisting of many combinations of these
two extremes”.

Mohanty, while even erring on facts (claiming that all
the ML groups have equal strength, which not
even the enemies of the movement say),
equates the CPI (Maoist) with the revisionist
Liberation and Kanu Sanyal groups.

Some of the writers have highlighted certain
lacunae within the movement to negate
the entire path, others negate it in the
name of the “changed situation”, and yet
others negate it by obfuscating the lines
of demarcation between Marxism and
revisionism.

Let us take some of these arguments. As
Tilak says, it is true that there have been
some changes in the international situation,
though the basic essence of imperialism
has not changed. But the changes,
linked with the economic crisis, and the
increasing ferocity of imperialism, particularly
US imperialism, would warrant
more extensive and deeper armed resistance
than what we have today.

Witness what happened in Iraq, or the arrogance
displayed by Israel in Lebanon and Palestine;
or the massacres of communists and
even liberal opposition in Latin America;
the butchery of hundreds of mass leaders
in the Philippines, etc. The much talked
of “space” for the revolutionaries and
democrats is shrinking, not because of
the armed activities of the Maoists, but
because of the increasing fascist character
that imperialism and its agents throughout
the globe are acquiring.

This is evident in India where the governments at
the centre and the states are enhancing their armed
might on a scale never seen before. They
realise that with the aggressive implementation
of the policies of LPG, mass revolts
will have to be dealt with. So, it is not clear
in which direction does Tilak pose the
case for revising the ideological-political
line and the strategy and tactics of the
CPI (Maoist). There is need for much
greater depth of analysis before making
such far-reaching statements.

Today if the movement is weak in many
parts of the country, the need is to strengthen
it there, not change the path to some vague
“genuine confederation of the various Left
organisations”. What is needed is not such
an amorphous conglomeration, but a genuine
United Front (UF) of the four classes
of the workers, peasants, middle classes
and the national bourgeoisie. An effective
UF is the only way to rally all the antiimperialist,
anti-feudal forces and not a
confederation of the various Left
organisations, which blurs the basic distinction
between the different class forces.

The history of all revolutions, particularly
that of Russia and China, has clearly shown
that victory was only possible by fighting
an uncompromising ideological-political
battle with all forms of revisionism. Where
the path of compromise was adopted,
the socialist goal was lost, though there
may have been military victories, as in
Vietnam, Cuba, North Korea, etc.

Tribal and Caste Questions

There is a tendency to focus on identity
politics, as in K Balagopal’s article, and
idealise backward tribal societies, as in
Sagar’s and Nandini Sunder’s articles, both
of whose approach is linked to a postmodernist
perspective actively promoted
by the NGOs.

K Balagopal not only talks of identity
politics but also believes that as a result
of the revolutionary struggle the biggest
sufferers are the oppressed themselves –
what he calls the “decimation of the organic
leaders”. It is true that our movement has
generated hundreds of intellectuals from
the most oppressed; yet Balagopal negates
the revolutionary process when he ends his
piece by saying that “the daily losses of
such persons is a sacrifice the oppressed
cannot be called upon to put up with
indefinitely”.

This is an ambiguous end and could have many
implications – it seems to imply that the oppressed
should give up,
what to him seems a futile path. If there
are excessive losses, the causes have to be
found and corrections made, but to expect
revolution without sacrifice is illusory.
As far as “identity politics” is concerned,
it divides the masses; what is required is
a class approach that unites the masses,
including the oppressed.

A class approach to the caste question demands an end to
upper-caste oppression, brahaminical
ideology and abolition of the pernicious
caste system, including ‘untouchability’.
But, “identity politics” only emphasises
caste and acts to ossify caste divisions
further.

As far as preserving tribal culture NGOstyle
is concerned, it would be good if
Sagar and Nandini Sunder talk to the women
of Bastar who would recount what that
culture also gave them – forced marriages,
witchcraft, superstition, forced drudgery,
etc.

Though not as bad as the Hindu patriarchal system,
tribal culture is far from idyllic. The Maoists have indeed
sought to learn from the adivasi masses
and have taken all that is positive in tribal
culture, while doing away with the dross.
So, we have not only sought to preserve
the Gondi, Santhali and other languages,
but have also developed them; we have
preserved and adopted the folklore of
the tribal peoples and their dance forms,
infusing them with social content. We have
encouraged and further enhanced the elements
of community and collective living,
which were a natural part of their
culture.

We are preserving the forests and
taking up reforestation campaigns. In
addition, we have taken education to the
tribal peoples and modern knowledge,
which cannot be expected to continue to
be the sole preserve of the established
intellectual elite.

Conclusion

India is a vast and highly complex society
with uneven and varied development. It
has the universal features of any semicolonial,
semi-feudal society under the grip
of finance capital; it also has many a
specificity, which requires deep study and
analysis.

Revolution here is no simple task.
While focusing on the axis of the armed
agrarian revolution it would additionally
entail dealing with and solving the varied
and numerous diseases afflicting our sociopolitical
system. The new democratic
revolution entails the total democratisation
of the entire system and all aspects of life
– political, economic, social, cultural,
educational, recreational, etc.

The standard of life has to be enhanced, not only
materially but also in the sphere of outlook
and values. A new social being has to
emerge in the course of the revolutionary
process. As communists we are always
ready to rectify our mistakes and listen to
others, as we have the interests of the
people at heart.

But the criticisms would help if they were concrete;
those that we agree with we will willingly accept and
try and improve our practice; where we
disagree we can freely and openly debate
the issue.

[The author is the official spokesperson of the
CPI (Maoist). This is an edited and abridged version
of the original manuscript.]

Naxalite Movement and Cultural Resistance – Experience of Janakiya Samskarika Vedi in Kerala (1980-82)

October 27, 2006

EPW Special Articles December 10, 2005

Naxalite Movement and Cultural Resistance

Experience of Janakiya Samskarika Vedi in Kerala (1980-82)

In the early 1980s, the Janakiya Samskarika Vedi saw itself as a cultural resistance movement involved in establishing its own cultural sphere of ideas and ethics as opposed to the earlier bourgeois ethos. However, its attempt to clearly separate the realms of the cultural and the political was opposed by adherents within the Vedi and also by other left groups that saw the “seizure” of power and establishment of a left wing hegemony as the overarching goal of the revolution.

However, attempts by the Vedi to assert its own autonomy were hindered by the fact that it had a symbiotic relationship with the radical left political parties. While opposing the dominance of those political parties, it also relied on the latter for support. This article traces the short history of the Vedi, its attempts to chart its own independent existence, autonomous from the “party line” and how it disintegrated in the weight of own contradictions.
Sreejith K

Revolutions do not begin with the thunderclap of a seizure of power – that is their culmination. They start with attacks on the moral-political order and the traditional hierarchy of class statuses. They succeed when the power structure beset by its own irresolvable contradictions can no longer perform legitimately and effectively. It is often forgotten that the state has often in the past been rescued by the moral-political order than the class hierarchy (authority) that the people still accepted. – Franz Shurmann

Left cultural movements have hitherto played a crucial role in the advancement of radical politics. However, the relationship between the party and its cultural wing has not always tended to be smooth. Central to this conflict has been the debate over the relative primacy of culture or politics, and the question of autonomy of the former from the latter.

In this backdrop, this paper seeks to trace the history of Janakiya Samskarika Vedi in Kerala, which in the early 1980s, was engaged in what Gramsci would have called the “War of Position” and which privileged the ethical-cultural aspects of the conquest of power. In the process, an attempt would be made to bring out how its ideal of a “dialectical” relationship with the CPI (ML), a party led by the Bolshevik concept of capturing power – a “War of Movement”, in Gramscian terms – could not resolve the contradictions that manifested in the course of time, ultimately bringing the movement to a premature end.

Origins and Early Years

Prior to the withdrawal of Emergency in 1977, when democratic freedom was at a premium, revolutionary cultural activities did not take root in Kerala. After the Emergency, in a more democratic set-up, the situation changed somewhat. The Emergency had been an eye-opener for the various Naxalite groups in the sense that it made them realise that, in ordinary times, the Indian form of bourgeois democracy does offer some space, however limited, for protest. In the post-Emergency period, in contrast to their sectarian past, the Naxalite groups began to field various legal and semi-legal mass organisations which reflected their new orientation.

In Kerala, the Naxalites reorganised themselves into the Central Reorganisation Committee Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) [hereafter CRC CPI (ML)], and resumed the publication of the party organ Comrade which had been banned during the Emergency. More intellectuals were now prepared to side with revolutionary democracy, and Prerana the Malayalam magazine which later became the organ of the Janakiya Samskarika Vedi was started in 1977.

The stories of the excesses committed during the Emergency had turned popular mood against all forms of authoritarianism. In May 1977, while inaugurating a camp for radical cultural activists at Olarikkara, the noted dramatist N N Pillai declared that “there is only one solution, and that is revolution.”1 The statement reflected the mood of the times. The convention had issued a manifesto of revolutionary writers and artists which stressed the need for transforming the production relations of the capitalist system and its ideological and cultural meanings. The concluding paragraph of the manifesto read:

It is the responsibility of revolutionary artists and literary men to discern between progressive and decadent forces in history, to stand with the forces that make progress, to assess their growth, to assimilate them, and to be honest to one’s times. Only thus shall we be able to realise the idea of a militant cultural front and to fight by means of new artistic-literary creations the cultural domination of the ruling classes.2

The period witnessed the proliferation of small theatre groups, Wynadu Samskarika Vedi with its play “Padayani” and Ranachetana through a dramatic presentation of Gorky’s novel Mother achieving notable success. The stage was now set for bringing together organisationally the various revolutionary cultural groups active in different parts of the state. In August 1980, during a convention held with this objective at Antikkad, the Janakiya Samskarika Vedi (hereafter Vedi) came into being.

A state committee was constituted with Kaviyur Balan as state secretary and B Rajeevan, Civic Chandran, K S Sadasivan, amongst others, as members. Most of them had Naxalite leanings. The party’s ties with the Vedi becomes clear in the message of K Venu, state secretary of CRC CPI(ML), read out on this occasion.3

The leadership of the Vedi was familiar with the recent history of Marxist cultural movements where, in most cases, cultural activities had become a mere appendage to the political and economic imperatives of the party. It was thus keen to avoid potential pitfalls. “The cultural front”, it was made categorically clear, “was not meant to become the open face for propaganda work of a secret party.”4 The manifesto of the Vedi states that the view which always gives primacy to the base over the superstructure is non-Marxist and that the relationship between the two, and consequently between the party and the Vedi should be dialectical in nature.

Thus it was clarified that even though “cultural activists should have ideological affinity with that political organisation which upholds working class politics, this unity should not be at the cost of making cultural activities organisationally subjugated to it.”5 The separate domains of the party and the cultural front were clearly demarcated. As one article in Prerana, the Vedi mouthpiece put it, “the political front represents the vanguard for the political liberation of a people, the cultural front gives the lead to their spiritual emancipation.”6 The party was quite happy with this arrangement, as a reply its organ gave to a question on the relationship between the party and the Vedi suggests – “the party and the Vedi work in two different spheres. The party’s main task is to transform the economic base in the production relations, whereas the Vedi stands for transforming the superstructure.”7 However, as we shall see later, this ideal relationship between the two was difficult to achieve, especially during the latter stages of the movement.

Towards a ‘New Democratic Culture’

The manifesto of the Vedi had declared that the task of the revolutionary cultural activists was to create a “new democratic culture” in the country, allying with all the forces of the “new democratic revolution”. It foresaw struggles at different levels, important of which were against:

(i) The still prevalent feudal culture which tries to “take us back to the medieval ages with its emphasis on caste, religion and the promotion of a spiritual atmosphere which hinders the growth of scientific ideas”; (ii) the all pervasive “consumer culture which generates base instincts among people and directs them to a fantasy world far removed from their material existence”; (iii) “Modernism” (as it got expressed in Malayalam literature ) which “inactivates people and creates pessimism and alienation among them”; and (iv) “Revisionism” which endorses a mechanical culture, and while preventing man from realising his full potential and creativity, prepares the ground for the growth of “social fascism”.8

Thus, apart from the fight against the remnants of a feudal culture and a growing consumer capitalist ethos in the state, the Vedi accorded a high priority to the struggle against “modernism” and “revisionism”. “Modernism” in writing was thought to have originated as a kind of reaction against revisionist literature which could not break free of the shackles of bourgeois consumer culture and aesthetics. As an article in Prerana observed:

For the revisionists, human beings get satisfied with the acquisition of consumer goods…Those who see the accumulation of material goods as the sole basis for human emancipation are, in effect, trying to convert the working class into capitalists. Here, the mechanical culture of the revisionists capitulates to the consumer culture of capitalism.9

K Satchidanandan, a poet and an important figure in the Vedi in its heydays wrote that “as revisionism had accepted capitalist institutions and yardsticks while hoping to bring about a revolution through them, it followed the same capitalist market laws in its art as well.”10 In a detailed critique on the cultural policy of the established left, an editorial in the Prerana pointed out that:

The revisionists do not realise that even within culture there are elements of class struggle. That is why they commodify art and culture and sell them in the market; that is why they mechanically attach art and culture to their party politics, and fail time and again.11

Raymond Williams once described left cultural movements ideally as attempts “to defeat that system of meanings and values (which an unequal society has generated) through the most sustained skills of intellectual and educational work”. In its activities, the Vedi conforms to a similar view. It made use of various forms, one of which was the street play, ideally suited for an organisation of its kind as it incurred less expenses and could be staged even without prior notice to the administration.

More importantly, it had better scope than the conventional proscenium theatre to reach the masses. Apart from the dramatisation of famous novels like Gorky’s Mother and Howard Fast’s Spartacus, the Vedi took up local issues and contemporary injustices as its plays MLA, staged during the assembly elections, and Chasnala dealing with the miner’s tragedy amply illustrate.

As part of their critique of the established left in the state the Vedi activists, during this time made a critique of Thoppil Bhasi’s famous play Ningalenne Communistakki12 which was believed to have played an important role during the early phase of the communist movement in the state. Civic Chandran, for instance, wrote that in this play, the cruelty of landlord oppression is shown to be an individual aberration, and as a consequence, feudalism as a system goes unscathed.13

He also portrayed the drama as one where the last cry of feudalism is heard, whence the younger generation in feudal families along with some of their elder members go over to the winning side, i e, communism.14 In a later article, he was to trace the origins of the present day commercial theatre tradition in the state – “a little bit of revolution, a little bit of comedy, a little bit of love” – to Ningalenne Communistakki which had all these ingredients in ample measure to ensure a commercial success.15

Seen in this context, the play Nadugaddika staged by the Vedi in hundreds of places throughout the state constitutes a radical break from the past, not the least because a majority of whom were involved with it were adivasis themselves. Nadugaddika illustrates how the naxalite cultural activists, unlike their predecessors, were able to use the folk traditions and myths of a people to convey, from a working class perspective, the oppression they had been going through for generations. “Gaddika”, a tribal ritual of the Adiyars of Wynad, was used to exorcise evil spirits. Here, the “gaddikakaran” (exorcist) is none other than Varghese, the naxalite leader who was killed by the police in Wynad during the early phase of the movement in the state.

Nadugaddika ends with the tribals reclaiming the red flag from the landlords who had turned communists in 1957, following the party’s victory at the hustings. The ‘gaddikakaran’, at one stage, pointing to the flag, tells the landlord that “this is not meant for making your loin cloth.”16 The Left Front government which had returned to power in the state in 1980, expectedly, did not take kindly to the staging of this play, and CPI(M) attacks on Vedi activists on this account were not rare.17

Malayalam poetry acquired a new meaning during the Vedi days. In their poems, Kadamanitta Ramakrishnan, K G Sankara Pillai, Satchidanandan, Civic Chandran and others did not exhibit any metaphysical anxieties, led as they were, by a harsh political reality. In one of the earliest instances where Varghese, the Naxalite “martyr” finds a place in Malayalam literature, Civic Chandran wrote:

Radhakrishnan, the journalist, just back from the trip
To the hills of Brahmagiri and Narinirangi says
That his tribal guide cherishes warm memories
of a fighter he calls the ‘peruman’
He says that the summer forests of Wynad are waiting for
Their spark
And the rock of Kumbarakuri is bleeding still,
that the corridors of the press club are still
haunted by a pair of eyes gouged out of their sockets.
Radhakrishnan, the journalist, upon the testimony of
Marachathan, his guide,
says for certain that the river Kabani will turn red again.18

To shake the readers out of a complacency bred by familiarity, these poets resorted to what has been called “linguistic shock”. Thus, in their poems, “soft melodies of birds”, for instance, are missing, and instead, we hear only “the roar of landslides and floods.”19 Kadamanitta’s poem ‘Avar Parayunnu’ and Attoor Ravi Varma’s ‘Cancer’ illustrate how these urban middle class poets used morbid symbols of decadence and carefully selected images of revulsion to critique the existing system.

The most famous poem of Kadamanitta in those days was ‘Kurathi’, which, significantly the CPI(M) found to be an ‘extremist’ poem.20 ‘Kurathi’, which narrates the saga of a marginalised tribe was widely used by the Vedi during its poetry evenings and “kavyayatras”. The Vedi also introduced the genre of political poetry represented by the likes of Mayakovsky and Neruda to a larger Malayalee audience. For this, apart from the pages of Prerana, it took recourse to a new form, “poster poetry”, i e, posters filled with the lines of these poets as well as those of communist legends like Mao and Che Geuvara.

Louis Kampf defined the tasks of radical culture as the attempts “to bring about a social revolution; to make institutions democratic; to make us free; to make life more beautiful and humane.”21 For the Vedi too, cultural activities did not remain confined to art and literature, but instead included whatever activities that revolutionised the consciousness of man. As an organisation, it was “committed to create an aggressive cultural consciousness against a system dehumanised from top to bottom.”22

To be more precise, it represented a social movement rather than being a cultural organisation of the conventional type. Its activities ranged from settling domestic discords to organising bonus strikes. In March 1981, the Vedi led an agitation in Kannur against public gambling, which allegedly, “got support from the local police and DYFI activists”.23 The movement led to the banning of gambling during exhibitions. In the process, however, Ramesan, a Vedi activist who had been in the forefront of the struggle was stabbed to death. The killing did not go unprotested, though. On March 23, some Vedi members entered the legislative assembly and after distributing pamphlets, shouted “down with gamblers both inside as well as outside the legislatures”.24

People’s Political Power

Alongside attempts to bring about a “new democratic culture”, the Vedi and the CRC CPI (ML) were engaged, during this time, in setting up what they termed parallel centres of “people’s political power”. Citing instances from the Russian and Chinese revolutionary experiences, and from India’s own santhal rebellion in the mid-19th century upto the Naxalbari uprising, they stressed the need for people’s political power to be established in the course of the revolutionary struggle.

It was argued that involving people with political power would lead to the growth of self-confidence amongst them, whereas in its absence in the post-revolutionary phase, political power could easily lapse into the hands of the party, or worse, “a new ruling class”.25 For the Naxalites, bourgeois courts were institutions meant for the protection of the interests of the propertied classes. They saw in the “people’s courts” and people’s trials which ran counter to the bourgeois system of justice, instruments for the establishment of people’s political power at the local level. They were seen as institutions whereby people could think and decide for themselves on matters affecting them instead of depending on outside agencies. According to the party leadership:

Today the people have begun to understand that people’s political power cannot be established by voting to determine who will oppress them every five years and that it can be brought into existence only by the people in each area seizing power locally to take decisions and implement them in all economic, political and social problems faced in their own locality.26

Attempts in this direction achieved a fair degree of success at Calicut, where in March 1981, the Vedi “tried” a corrupt doctor through a people’s court, an event which also brought to the forefront of social activism the question of medical ethics. The “trial” was well received by various sections with even a former chief justice forced to admit in public that “the people’s trial was the sign of a social revolution” and that it could be viewed as “the resistance of a people against injustice.”27 Not insignificantly, even the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), the youth wing of the CPI (M) was constrained, in the wake of the success of the doctor’s trial, to fill up the walls of the state with the graffiti “corrupt bureaucrats should be beaten up”.

The activities of the Vedi had won for the CRC CPI (ML) unprecedented popularity during this phase. At many places, the differences between the two were negligible, and where the party had only a marginal presence, the Vedi assumed the role of a mass front leading many a struggle. However, the contradictions between the two proved to be too fundamental, in the final analysis, for them to be united for long. The party leadership, increasingly wary over the way its “military line” was being sacrificed at the altar of “mass line”, reintroduced the former to the forefront of the struggle through the annihilation of Madathil Mathai, “a people’s enemy” at Kenichira in Wynad in May 1981.

In the aftermath of the Kenichira action, the movement had to face severe state repression. The government resorted to draconian laws even as the holding of “people’s trials” were banned, and Prerana threatened with confiscation.28 On July 9, 1981, T K Ramakrishnan, the home minister, declared in the state assembly that 191 cases had so far been registered against the “extremists” and that 930 arrests were made.29 The movement could not survive this “white terror”!

The Rift Within

More than the state repression, however, it was the irreconcilable differences between the Vedi and the party which brought the movement to an abrupt end. Here, it should be noted that the two did not constitute monolithic structures with no two opinions within them. For instance, there was a small but vociferous section within the party who opposed the “annihilation”, indicating a vigorous two-line struggle on this issue.30 Similarly, inside the Vedi, there were some people who toed the official party line. Thus, when we speak of a party or a Vedi line, it relates to the “dominant” line or the line that prevailed.

The Vedi leadership was quick to denounce the annihilation and dissociate itself from it. Satchidanandan saw elements of fascism in the action, and in a letter to a popular weekly, expressed the view that the annihilation did not “suit the civilised political sensibility of Kerala” and that it “nauseated a big section of the populace”.31 In the days following the annihilation, when the schism between the two widened, their acrimony became public, the Vedi accusing the party of trying to capture the organisation through a fraction, while the latter blamed the former for going public with these differences violating all organisational principles and thereby exhibiting “anarchist” tendencies.

When, in the next few months, the party continued to uphold the annihilation, some members including its state secretary Kaviyur Balan resigned from the Vedi. It was also stated through the press that Nadugaddika which had played a pivotal role in the movement would not be staged hereafter under the party’s banner.32

The break did not occur overnight. The ideological differences between the Vedi and the party had a long history. For instance, on the question of base/superstructure, the party held on to Stalinist orthodoxy which accorded primacy to a self-contained economic sphere, with a secondary, passively reflexive superstructure. The Vedi, on the other hand, tried to strike a balance between this “vulgar” Marxist position and the opposite idealist view that art/literature is an isolated sphere determined by its own laws.33 Connected to this debate was the question of the relative importance of politics and culture within the realm of the superstructure.

In one instance, countering the party line according to which changes in the base get reflected first in politics, the latter being the concentrated expression of these changes, Satchidanadan argued for the simultaneity of expression of changing production relations in all areas of social life.34 The inherent tension that persisted throughout the tenure of Vedi between the cultural and political activists finds expression in an anguished piece written by one of the former in Prerana:

Is the cultural activist inferior by birth. Is not the political activist viewing his cultural counterpart as Gulliver would a Liliput. Is it justified that somebody who has learnt the party programme by heart and who has fortuitously achieved some success in one or two struggles should get more recognition than the cultural activist.35

The differences in perception between the Vedi and the party could be seen in the way the two viewed the cultural revolution in China. The Vedi, influenced as it was by Mao’s assertion that during the socialist phase, emphasis should be laid on the struggle at the superstructural level, characterised it as a revolution in the cultural sphere.36

For the party, however, the cultural revolution, though it had other dimensions as well, was essentially a resistance by the socialist forces under Mao against revisionism in the international communist movement as well as against the resurgent bourgeoisie which had entered the Chinese Communist Party. It was, in fact, a continuation of the class struggle within a socialist society.37

In the realm of culture, the movement had given a blow to the bourgeois belief that arts and the sciences are the monopoly of a few intellectuals, and instead reiterated that it was the working classes who alone are the creators of culture. This lesson, according to the party leadership, was lost on a section of the Vedi who continued to be influenced by bourgeois thinking. It attacked the Prerana editorial board for making the periodical one that was laced with “dry philosophical terms understood by only a handful of middle class intellectuals” and for “not going to the masses”.38

Though the Vedi as a whole had been opposed to the bourgeois system per se, there were sections within it who were not “Marxist” in the true sense of the term. Rather, by their own admission, they had come to the movement carrying the burden of an existentialist and anarchist past.39 Others were influenced by the New Left, which, for the party leadership, constituted an attack on Marxism from within. The party saw as one example of the “anti-Marxism” in the New Left ideology, Wilhelm Reich’s prescription of a sexual revolution to precede a social revolution.40

A Vedi member, clearly under Reich’s influence, in a rejoinder to the Vedi manifesto, had lamented that the party in its rigorous attempts at class war, ignored the sexual needs of its activists.41

The ideas of Lukacs too had attained wide currency within Marxist circles in Kerala during this time. In his History and Class Consciousness, Lukacs had reduced Marxism to sheer methodology. For him, thus, one could forego the basic assumptions of Marx and still claim to be a Marxist, provided he did not relinquish historical materialism.42 Obviously, under his influence, Subramanyadas, a young party/Vedi activist, in a series of articles, questioned the party’s position vis-a-vis, the formation and polarisation of classes in Kerala society, resulting in his getting censured by an offended party leadership.43 In distress, Subramanyadas committed suicide. The revolution had, as its wont, devoured one of its own.

At 24, Subramanyadas had been one of the most outstanding individuals in a movement which had attracted the cream of Malayalee intelligentsia. The tragic irony was that a while earlier, he had been fighting on the side of the party against the “bourgeois liberal” trends within the Vedi. From there, it did not take him too long to jump to the other extreme, a trend that was symptomatic of the petty-bourgeois predilections that informed the movement.

Conclusion

Gramsci had discounted the possibility of a Bolshevik type revolution in the west. Here, unlike in pre-revolution Russia, there was a civil society which involved the “thick web of interpersonal relationships and represents the social surface over which is extended the cultural hegemony of the ruling elites.”44 It is here that the dominant class creates, through its diffusion of values, myths, beliefs and ideals, its hegemony.

According to Gramsci, a subordinate class should be able to elaborate its own ideological system, one competitive with the dominant system of beliefs and values. “In the west,” he says, “a social group can or rather must be in control even before it acquires governing power.”45 The key word in Gramsci, thus, is hegemony as when he says that the struggle between the classes for domination is in essence a “struggle between two hegemonies”.46

However, it is not only in the west that the state rules with the consent of the people. As Eric Hobsbawm observed, “the struggle for hegemony before as well as during the transition of power is not merely an aspect of the western countries but of all revolutionary strategy.”47

In Kerala, where, following lower caste and communist movements in the earlier decades, there was a vibrant civil society, the struggle for hegemony resorted to by the Vedi looked appropriate. Such a struggle was facilitated by the fact that the party to which it was aligned had, during this time, adopted an approach marked by “a strong fight against terrorism and utmost confidence in the masses.”48 However, ideological differences between the two did not allow this state of affairs to continue for long.

In the contest over strategies, “massline” was to become sidelined, and the proponents of the “military line” would have the final say, as reflected in the “annihilation” at Kenichira. The consequence, however, was that the Vedi disintegrated, and the party, badly bruised by severe state repression, had to start once again from the scratch. By then, postmodernist moods had set in Kerala. Those like Civic Chandran, the last secretary of the Vedi, broke away from the movement citing irreconcilable differences with Marxism, to take up social activism of a new kind. The era of new social movements had begun in Kerala. As for the Vedi, though officially not disbsanded, it never became active again. An experiment, in spite of its initial success, had failed.


Notes

[I am grateful to K N Panikkar and Urmita Ray for their comments on an earlier draft of this essay.]

1 Civic Chandran, interview to Sukrutham, Vol 2, No 3, June 1995, p 8.
2 Cited in Omji George, The Janakiya Samskarika Vedi’ in Kerala, Negations, No 12, October-December 1984, p 11.
3 ‘Samskarika Pravararthakarkku K Venuvinte Sandesam’, Prerana, September-October 1980, Nos 30-31.
4 Kapada Pracharanangalum Yadharthyangalum: Janakiya Samskarika Vedi, Entu, Entinu? (leaflet), p 3.
5 Ibid.
6 ‘Janakiya Samskarika Vediyile Aashaya Samarathinte Pradhanyam’ unsigned article, Prerana, Vol 3, No 14, October 16-31, 1981, p 4.
7 Comrade, Vol 7, Nos 26-27, May 17, 1981, p 6.
8 Janakiya Samskarika Vedi: Naya Prakyapana Rekha, pp 5-6.
9 ‘Thiruthalvadavum Viplavasamskaravum’, unsigned article, Prerana, No 8, July 1980, p 3.
10 Satchidanandan, ‘Kavita Manushyan, Viplavam’ (Introduction), in Pudhupiravi (collection of poems), Trichur, 1980, p 11.
11 ‘Thiruthalvadavum Viplavasamskaravum’, unsigned article, Prerana, No 28, July 1980, p 4. The rather mechanical approach the “established left” in the state took towards culture is proven by a “model poem” it sent to one of the poets associated with its cultural organisation, to emulate. Attoor Ravi Varma, interview to Prerana, Vol 2, No 6, February 15-28, 1985, p 17. Later on, Attoor was to shift his allegiance to the Marxist-Leninist movement in the state which consciously tried to be different in this regard. In his message to the first convention of the Vedi, K Venu, the party leader, assured the cultural activists that “the party will never prescribe what type of artistic creations” they should produce. ‘Samskarika Pravarthakarkku K Venuvinte Sandesam’, Prerana, Nos 30-31, September-October 1980, pp 39-40.
12 Thoppil Bhasi, Ningalenne Communistakki, Ernakulam, 1956.
13 Civic Chandran, ‘Nadugaddika Teaminte Anubhavangalilude’, Prerana, No 28, July 1980, p 11.
14 Ibid.
15 Civic Chandran, ‘Ningalenne Communistakkiyil Ninnu Nadugaddikayilekkulla Dooram’, Introduction, K J Baby, Nadugaddika, Wynad, 1983, pp 14-15.
16 K J Baby, Nadugaddika…, p 64.
17 “Once, a day after a CPI (M) attack, Vedi artists and activists with bandages on, staged the play at the same place where they were attacked. Later under pressure from local people, CPI (M) attackers were made to apologise publicly. Mukunadan C Menon, ‘Kerala: People’s Cultural Forum’, Frontier, Vol 13, No 46, July 11, 1981, p 9.
18 Civic Chandran, ‘Kabani’ in Sumanta Banerjee (ed), Thema Book of Naxalite Poetry, Calcutta, 1987, p 10.
19 Satchidanandan, ‘Kavita, Manushyan…’, p 18.
20 Kadamanitta Ramakrishnan, ‘Kala Kalekku Vendiyo’ in Kala Kaumudi (weekly), No 883, August 15, 1992, p 27. Ironically, later, Kadamanitta was to head the Purogamana Kala Sahitya Sangham, the cultural front of the CPI (M).
21 Louis Kampf, ‘Towards a Radical Culture’ in Prescilla Long (ed), The New Left: Collection of Essays, Boston, 1969, p 423.
22 ‘Janakiya Samskarika Vediyile Aashaya Samarathinte Pradhanyam’, unsigned article, Prerana, Vol 3, No 14, October 16-31, 1981, p 3.
23 Mangalat Raghavan, ‘Kannur Kathu’, Mathrubhoomi, April 4, 1981
24 Mathrubhoomi, March 24, 1981.
25 ‘People’s Committees – Some New Experiences in Kerala’, Liberation, organ of the CRC CPI (ML), Vol 8, No 3, December 1982, p 55.
26 Gopan (pseudonym for K Venu, who was then underground), ‘The Question Posed by Kenichira – Which Side Are You On?’, Liberation, Organ of the CRC CPI (ML), July-September 1981, Vol 7, Nos 7-9, p 41.
27 Y B Indrachud, quoted in Malayala Manorama, July 10, 1981.
28 The government resorted to Section 17 (1) of the 1908 Criminal Law Amendment Act which the British had used to arrest Tilak on the charge of sedition as well as the Travancore-Cochin Public Safety Act which had been used in the 1940s against the communists.
29 Mathrubhoomi, July 10, 1981.
30 One state committee member who visited Wynad to prepare a report on the’ “Kenichira struggle” was so critical of the annihilation that the party organ refused to publish, forcing him to try elsewhere. In the report, he pointed out that the “annihilation line” of Charu Majumdar meant to release the initiative and class hatred of poor landless peasants looked out of place in an area like Kenichira where the feudal mode of production had given way to a capitalist type of farming. He also disputed the claim of the party that through the annihilation, “people’s will” in the area had been implemented. Instead, he found that those involved in the annihilation sought the support of only sympathisers for carrying it out, making him conclude that instead of the contradiction between the people and the “people’s enemy” getting resolved, only the one between the party and its enemy had been settled through the annihilation. P C Josey, “Kenichira Nalkiya Nishedathmakamaya Uttaram”, Red Guards, Vol 1, No 1, February 1981, p 10.
31 Satchidanandan, letter to Kala Kaumudi (weekly), No 305, June 28, 1981, p 31. Taking a dig at Charu Majumdar in this context, he argued that ‘Kenichira’ and its consequences had been due to the work of “an adventurist group lacking in originality and who considered the views of an activist with low intellectual prowess as infallible”.
32 Mathrubhoomi, June 11, 1981.
33 Janakiya Samskarika Vedi: Naya Prakyapana Rekha, p 2.
34 Satchidanandan, Prerana, No 3, September 1978, p 27.
35 ‘Rithumenonu Snehapoorvam Prashantinte Kathu’, Prerana, Vol 3, No 7, April 1-15, 1981, p 7.
36 Mao, however, had categorically stated that politics constitutes the most important element in the superstructure. To quote him:
Literature and art are subordinated to politics, but in their turn, exert a great influence on politics…When we say that literature and art are subordinate to politics, we mean class politics. Mao-Tse Tung, Selected Works, Vol III, Peking, 1975, p 86.
37 In an article which underlines the Maoist position on the cultural revolution, K Venu writes of how “it was a life and death struggle between the new bourgeoisie and the working class to capture political power.” K Venu, ‘Samskarika Viplavam: Paraspara Virudhamaya Randu Veekshanangal’, Prerana, Vol 3, No 15, November 1-15, 1981, p 21.
38 K N Ramachandran, ‘Prerana, Samskarika Vedi Ippozhum Liberalisathinte Swadheenathil’, Prerana, No 52, May 1982, p 14.
39 For instance, A Soman, a prominent Vedi activist, in a letter to a friend wrote of his anarchic past before joining the movement. A Soman, Letter to Yakub, February 8, no year, Private Records of Mandakini Narayanan, Calicut University Archives. Similarly, Civic Chandran, in an interview, says how he and others in the Vedi were more inspired by existentialism and anarchism rather than Marx and Mao before joining the movement. Civic Chandran, interview in Sukrutham, Vol 2, No 3, June 1995, p 6. In an earlier article, under the guise of a “special political observer”, he had written: “the second phase of the Naxalite movement in Kerala was anything but politics…their thoughts were determined by existentialism and modern literature…spiritual discontent led them to the streets…Not having gone through the test of class struggles and mass movements, these middle class intellectuals might have been against the system, against power, but were not Marxists, not revolutionaries” unsigned article, ‘Naxalittukal Thirichuvarumo’, Vaakku, Vol 1, No 1, August 1984. In the aftermath of the Kenichira annihilation, during a human rights convention at Kozhikode, some Vedi leaders declared that even if “a real working class party” came to power, it would continue to resist injustice, Mathrubhoomi, May 28, 1981. An example of this non-Marxist, anarchist trait which runs through the writings of some of the Vedi members could be seen in an editorial on events in China which ended with the call “let us salute Chiang Ching and other comrades by conducting an uncompromising struggle against all centres of power”, Prerana, No 6, February 15-18, 1981.
40 Wilhelm Reich, Mass Psychology of Fascism, New York, 1964. An example of Reichian influence in literary criticism could be seen in Satchidanandan’s study of Sukumaran’s short stories during this time, Satchidanandan, ‘Sukumarante Prasakthi’ in Muhoorthangal, Kottayam, 1994, pp 193-228.
41 Chittaranjan, ‘Nayaprakyapanarekha: Oru Viyojanakurippu’, Prerana, Nos 54-55, July-August 1982, p 10.
42 George Lukacs, History and Class Consciousness, translated by Rodney Livingstone, London, 1971.
43 Subramanyadas, ‘Adhikara Vyavasthiyile Varghasamaram’, Uttaram, No 2, November 1982, pp 12-14. In this article, he argued that classical Marxism had become outdated to comprehend the complex reality of social life in Kerala, and expressed the view that political terminologies like “working class” and “class struggle” need to be reconsidered. See also his ‘Reethiye Kurichu Thanne’, Prerana, No 16, January 1-15, 1982, p 15.
44 Antonio Gramsci, Selections from the Prison Notebooks, edited and translated by Quintin Hoare and Geoffrey Nowell Smith, New York, 1971, p 245. 45 Ibid, p 235. 46 Ibid, p 236.
47 Eric J Hobsbawm, ‘Gramsci and Marxist Political Theory’ in Anne Showstack Sassoon (ed), Approaches to Gramsci, London, 1982, p 30.
48 K Venu quoted in Mukundan C Menon, ‘Kerala: People’s Cultural Forum…’ p 8.

Achievements of Mao Tse Tung

October 26, 2006

Achievements of Mao Tse Tung

1.INTRODUCTION

The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution that was launched in China on May 16th 1966 wrote a historical epoch in the history of mankind. This was initiated by Comrade Mao Tse Tung to defeat the revisionists and create a ground for the ultimate triumph for Socialism. Mao discovered that even in a Socialist State there were capitalist elements who intended to turn the country to the capitalist road. From the example of the U.S.S R he learnt that a Socialist State can turn into a Social-Imperialist or Revisionist state and there can be a restoration of Capitalism. Stalin saved the Socialist State but he hardly made an effective attempt to democratize the Socialist State and initiate broad based mass movements.

True there were great achievements for workers but Stalin hardly gave attention to the superstructure and even violated Democratic Centralism to a great extent. Mao called for a revolt within his own party against the capitalist roaders Liu Shao Chi and Deng Xiaoping who opposed Mao’s line and felt that it was better to be ‘expert’ than ‘red.’ They advocated that profit from production should be the chief goal and opposed communization of land ,professing that peasants should get a private plot. What Sparked of the Cultural revolution was a play called “Hai Jui removed from office’ which defended Peng Te Huai who was removed from the Chinese Army for supporting ranks ,modernization against Communistic policies,and supporting the U.S S R. On 16th May 1966 Mao drafted a circular issued by the Central Committee alerting cadres against the revisionistsMao introduced a 16 points programme and finally gave a call to his followers the ‘Red Guards’ to ‘Bombard the Headquarters.

These were encompassing a broad-based revolutionary democratic programme explaining the masses to be daring above everything else and boldly arouse the masses,let the masses educate themselves in the movement through making the biggest use of big character posters and great debates to argue matters out so that masses can clarify theright and wrong views.It also stressed on applying the classs line of the party,correctly handling the contradictions amongst the people,be on guard against counter-revolutionaries discriminate cadres between good cadres ,those who have made serious mistakes and those who are anti-party or anti-Socialist.It was stressed that the anti-party rightists must be fully exposed, refuted or overthrown but at the same time be given the chance to turn over a new leaf.The programme went on to stress the importance of Cultural Revolutionary Group, committees and Congress’s. Another Important point stressed was educational reform where the old system of education would be completely transformed.

The other points were the question of criticizing by name in the press, policies towards Scientists, technicians and ordinary members of working staffs, question of arrangements of integration with the Socialist Education System and Countryside, stimulating production from a revolutionary perpective,revolutionizing the armed forces and finally establishing Mao Tse Tung Thought as the guide to action in the Cultural Revolution.

On May 25th at the Peking University a big poster was pasted up at Peking University which was the first big ‘Marxist LeninistIt attacked 2 corrupt university officials. Who negated the Cultural Revolution buy curbing mass initiative. The big character poster lit a flame in the hearts of the masses. Character Poster.’

2. ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE CULTURAL REVOLUTION

1. A de-centralized medical system creating Barefoot doctors. The Medical field made the most innovative changes. A worker’s fingers being replaced occurred, something unheard of even in Developed countries. Applying Mao’s line the broken bones were attached Etc.In no third world country before did medicine serve the poor peasantry to that extent.

2.Stopping examinations in schools and colleges and making students learn from the peasants and workers as well as participating in productive labour. Now it was the peasants and workers who taught the students. Factories were attached to schools so that students would learn science from production. In the villages students would learn about agriculture and peasants would explain them their problems and about production.

3.Enabling workers to be masters of Marxist Leninist philosophy through study in factory school which enabled workers to build their own machines and run their own factories.

4..Revolutionary committees launched where the workers and peasants democratic rights were represented. There were 3 in one committees. These were far more effective than the committees in factories in Western Style Democracies. Workers and peasants.

5.The Army served the people doing work like construction, building canals and rotated the jobs of Workers and peasants. They were politically enlightened and trained about the role of revolution and history and politics in connection to Marxism Leninism. The Army defended and protected the mass movements unlike bourgeois states. Ranks were abolished in the military.

6 revolutionizing the Agricultural Communes through mass movements and introducing piecemeal wage system.Tachai is the best Example as well as Shanghai.

7.There were mass rallies where the broad masses could print big character posters. The C.P.C. was never afraid of disorder. “Great Debates’ and anti-Rightist campaigns were held. The masses could voice their demands to punish corrupt officials, oppose bureaucraticsm, fight for press freedom and for democratic Rights. They had the four great ‘freedoms ‘of speaking out Freely, airing views folly, holding great debates, and writing big character posters.

8.A Revolutionary Democratic Army that always stood by the peoples Movements. The Army represented the heart and the soul of the broad masses being based from the basic classes. Once the Cultural Revolution started in earnest, the Army was not allowed to intervene in what emerged as a civil war between the various factions of Red Guards and Red Rebels. The PLA was ordered by Mao to “support the left” by standing aside, even when their arsenals were looted by the civilian combatants.

When the chaos reached its climax, when the Party was in disarray and the economy had come to a virtual standstill, the Army appeared to be the only functioning organization left, and Mao turned to the PLA to restore order. As a result, the PLA emerged from the chaos with greatly increased position and power: senior Army men headed the newly-formed revolutionary committees responsible for local administration; almost half of the Central Committee members elected in 1969 were soldiers; and half of the State Council members in 1971 belonged to the PLA. Ranks were abolished in the Peoples Liberation Army. The Army had to participate in the production in factories and help the peasants in production. They were involved in digging the Countryside, transporting grain and all kinds of furniture on carts, leading Children in drills a school.

All forms of hierarchy and paternalism were removed. A soldier recognized his commanding officer just like a revolutionary committee obeyed it’s leader. Inspite of that the Peoples Liberation Army was recognized as the most disciplined. The Army was indoctrinated with Mao’s thought and taught to support the liberation Struggles of the masses all over the world. The virtues of the Chinese Revolution were explained and nation chauvinism was totally opposed in the teachings. In the Cultural Revolution upheavals the Army always stood by the Revolutionary Committees Army controlled instances when Red Guard Group rivalry took place or civilians were attacked.

Only when factional non –revolutionary tendencies take place did the Army intervene. (An Ultra –left trend took place caused by a certain Red Guard faction) Army in the world. Another feature of the Cultural Revolution was the emphasis on studying Marxist Philosophy. (Taken from Daily life in Revolutionary China Once Lin Biao fell from grace in 1971 and his supporters were purged, the PLA’s model function as the “great school of Mao Thought” ceased to be stressed. Instead, the close relations between the Army and the people were propagated once more (“as close as fish and water”). Foreigners were taken to a unit of the P.L.A to learn about the study of the Thought of Mao Tse Tung.The soldiers worked on farms to feed themselves and helped commune members when they needed help.

9.Great Innovations in the field of Art and literature representing the proletariat.
Below are a compilation or collection of notes compiled from a book ‘Daily Life in Revolutionary China’ by a member of the Italian Communist Party Maria Macciocci who visited Socialist China in the heyday of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution which elaborate the points I discussed.

2a.Success of Communes-Tachai Brigade
“The Cultural Revolution does not leave the countryside a subordinate role. It chose constant de-centralisation of the cities over megalpoli,over giant industrial centers where technology and intelligence have triumphed. The Revolution unites the city and the countryside by the mechanization of the latter, by small and medium-sized industries which depend on large ones, by the selection of peasant’s sons for schools, by peasant teachers, by the restructuring of the University, and by the decentralization of medicine.

A trip through the Chinese Communes gave the visitor a chance to see the tensions which one still senses in the cities and which in all likelihood still have their critical aspects, are quite different in the countryside.‿

“The Tachai brigade is the model of all revolutionary politics which has been recounted to the Chinese peasants a million times, by voice and radio. If China has 9 years of steadily better harvest behind it it is partly because the Chinese peasants have learned from their modest comrades of the Tachai brigade what a revolution of the Superstructure is. They have abolished exploitation and implemented Socialist Generosity of collective management. They have counted days of work by work points which a peasant grants himself once a month after a group discussion with the whole brigade. Through communes they shared all their produce and a most fair pricing and distribution system was introduced.

The Tachai Commune was the best Example. In November1964 Mao launched the slogan, “In Agriculture learn from Tachai‿The brigade in the worst physical conditions had just 7 gullies and the intermediate rigregs. Its members lived in scooped out caves. They also had no regular source of water and yields before 1955 were just 750kg.perhectare of millet and Sorghum. Through sheer labour the Tachai brigade solved its problems of land and water, creating farmland out of the rocky, steep slopes, by leveling, moving soil from one spot to the other and creating terraces, joining various small plots together, constructing a 4 mile canal to the village, building water storage facilities against prolonged drought and making dams which prevented flash floods.

Similar things happened around China. Socialist Consciousness of Mao’s thought was what was applied as against the concept of the private plot. Here is a report of a peasant comrade: We don not just admire the political ability, for politics and production go together. The people of Tachai worked together under terrible conditions. They had no modern farm equipment, they had no collective funds, they had a few plows, hoes, picks, shovels, baskets-that’s all they had. Still they transformed their village intoa modern village. They scraped the mountain to replant it with trees, and now it’s fine green. They didn’t have enough grain but they now sell grain too the state. They didn’t have water, and they tamed and channeled the mountain torrents. They didn’t have enough fertilizers, and they used the mid of swamps. They didn’t have houses, and they built house, they didn’t have schools and they built them too.‿

“He went on to explain that in his own brigade before liberation he had 1000 huts of mud and earth. The land belonged to a single landlord and there was one rich peasant. We participated in the movement for co-operatives, and the movement for the founding of peoples communes. Politically we followed a correct course. We built 334 new little houses, we created an irrigation system, and where there was only one mechanical well before, now every house has one. Before there was just one bicycle in the village, now there are 134 bicycles and 82 radios.In this house we have 2 bicycles and 2 radios.‿

“A woman in the Evergreen Commune explained how the old theory of work points was much criticized. She stated how long discussions used to take place about the points and who should get them. “After the Cultural Revolution we learned that if you cultivate the land for the revolution, following the example of Tachai, and not for points. We realized that earlier people paid little attention to the quality of the work. Piecework gave no regard to quality. Now to cultivate 10,000 mou of wheat it takes only one week because of the application of revolutionary ideology Earlier it took 2 weeks to achieve the task.

The People’s liberation Army played a great role by explaining Mao’s Thought. A new pay system has been created. Large differences of pay have been abolished and the principle, “To each according to his work ‘has been better applied. The calculation is not based on a basic work day, which would have the effect of stimulating the peasants to work but the flaw of differentiating among them according to strength, their age, their technical level, the number of people in their families, and would favour quantity more than quality. Now the calculation is based on the effective work day. In effect work points are given to the behaviour of each person.‿

In case of emergency there is a classical example of how the Communes functioned.
“On August 29th, 1969 hail fell. The peasants battled the hailstones for 3 days and re-planted 10,000 mou of land. The Peking Revolutionary Committee and the Peoples Liberation Army ame to their aid. The fields are once again covered in green. This is a tribute to our struggle to transform nature, guided by the Thought of Mao.‿

“With regards to Industrialisation of the Communes the New China Commune was an illustrious example. It cultivates 85,00 mou,of which 75,000 are irrigated and 58,000 are planted with rice.7 factories and 12 agricultural enterprises have been set up. The factories build and repair agricultural machines. Being self-reliant they have built 3 reservoirs which hold 35 million cubic feet of water. They have dug a 40 mile irrigation canal, created an artificial lake, built a dam with a new system of pneumatic locks, and set up 73 electrified irrigation pump centres.In the area of mechanized agriculture the commune has bought or built 68 new tractors,120 rice-planting machines,354 seeding machines, and 1000 harvesters. The health system serves every brigade. Before the Cultural Revolution the commune had to buy rice from the state, while now with irrigation assured thee are no more droughts. More than 80%of the people have electricity and 80%have money in an account.‿

“The production teams in Hsiu Tsun village ahd 42 families There are innumerable children. One peasant Comrade Chen recounted his experience explained that they never had a real house before, which was always destroyed by floods. His mother had eight children but only two of us survived. His 2 other brothers died of hunger and sickness. In 1968 after the Cultural Revolution we built this house, and with the income from our work we were able to buy a bicycle, a sewing machine and furniture. For the first time in our lives we eat what we want, we have clothes, and the children can go to school

2b.Peasant Schools.
“The poor peasants following the directive of Mao took over the operation of a school in Tachai.Liu Shao’s men discouraged them propagating that this would make no change.The peasants criticized the schools They felt that the children of poor peasants could not pass their examinations and had to give up their studies One peasant claimed that that in his brigade there were 28 families and only 3 peasnts out of them got their middle school diplomas. Peasant Children also did not have time to learn the lessons because they worked at home.

“The basic political work was telling the students how much the poor peasants suffered in the old society and made them study the history of their own families and that of the whole village. The Comrades who were in the people’s militia in the commune were sent to the schools in the brigade to educate students about military questions. Lessons were given on agricultural mechanics, mathematics and hygiene.

“Work was evaluated in a new manner. Grades were abolished. When an assignment was done well, the teacher draws a small red Flag in the student’s notebook and writes,‿ Loyalty to Chairman Mao’
“A School’s revolutionary Committee is elected by an assembly at the rank and file level. After an open debate, each member of the Commune writes on a slip of paper who he wants as a representative on the School Revolutionary Committee. Then comes the vote. At the end the Revolutionary Committee examines the results and approves them.The presnt revolutionary Commitee3 out of 5 members are members of he party.

2c. Factories and the Revolutionary Committee.
One worker explained that he was working in a dyeing and weaving workshop in Factory No2since he was 17 years old. His father had died from illness because he didn’t have proper medical care and his salary meant to support 5 people could hardly keep 2 people alive. They had to eat bean curd and potatoes and in the winter had only thin jackets. Workers had hernias and rheumatism and hid their illnesses for fear of being been laid off. However in the liberation period in 1949 the conditions of life were like “ going to heaven.‿

Besides the Revolutionary Committee in the factory the workers representative committee played an instrumental role. It was an organ of red power elected by all the workers and in
charge of the daily problems of the factory. It co-ordinated with the revolutionary committee and with the workers council rep[laced the trade Union. The party has a leading role, the
Revolutionary Committee is responsible for management, and the workers council is in charge of the revolutionary reorganization of work and acts as a control from the base levels on the higher echelons. Piecework wages and incentive bonuses were abolished. The highest salary was 120 yuan,the lowest 50 yuan.The difference between the pay of an engineer and that of a skilled technician was 40 Yuan. A struggle-criticism-transformation movement dealt with the salaries problem(Taken from Daily Life in Revolutionary China).

In revolutionary China peasants built their own houses through co-operative efforts. A peasant explained that before the liberation the peasants had no political power. They merely had a harvest of 450 pounds per mou and had to give 350 to the landlord. After liberation they could purchase a bicycle, a sewing machine and furniture. For the first time in their lives they could get clothes, ate what they wanted and sent their children to school. (Taken from Daily Life in Revolutionary China).

2d.Medicine and Barefoot Doctors
Barefoot doctors performed phenomenal feats. One doctor re-attached 2 fingers on a peasants hand-something unheard of in pre-revolutionary China swearing by Mao TseTung Thought. Similarly poor peasant women had her leg replaced. A professor narrated his experiences of meeting the poor peasants and how it changed his life. The peasants re-educated the professor enabling him to transform his entire outlook. Working in the Countryside made the professor a different person. Despite being over 70 years of age the professor traveled climbing mountains to share the experiences of toiling people. He started how he leant Marxism Leninism from direct contact with peasants rather than books.

One Comrade Lin told reporters where he went to the villages to learn from the poor peasants. He explained how their team stopped in a village where there was a woman who was considered incurable. The family was already preparing for the funeral. Applying Mao Tse Tung Thought he developed a form of medicine that cured the patient. The patient was suffering from chronic Arthritis. Another professor explained that only by being re-educated by the peasants and changing his ideology he cured 20 incurable patients. He elaborated by transforming his world outlook he developed his techniques and that the peasants had cured him of his ‘ ideological sickness.’ There was a child who had a tumour on his arm as large as the head of a foetus. The Doctors cut away the diseased part and re-attached the arm This could never have been done in Pre Revolutionary China. Doctors were able to remove a 100-pound tumour said to be incurable.

An electric mower cut one peasant’s hand and his fingers fell to the ground. The new doctors looked for his fingers, found them and put them on ice. The fingers were re-attached! In the old society this could never have taken place. Another girl who once had a clubfoot was operated. Her tendons were lengthened and now she could carry a load of about 50 pounds on her shoulders. The peasant and the girl attributed their cures to Mao TseTung Thought. This in actual fact meant de-centralization of medicine, which brought doctors to the most remote places, which made them test their skills. The doctors traveled through the mountains, border regions, islands Etc Revolutionary Committees ran hospitals and each ward had it’s own revolutionary committee. (Excerpted From Daily Life in Revolutionary China)

This is a quote from a specialist in internal medicine.
“In the fall of 1968 I went into the countryside to learn from the poor peasants. Once our team stopped in a village where there was a woman who was considered incurable. The family was already preparing for the funeral. I decided I had to pay a call on those women too. I examined her closely and I realized that she had a generalized arthritis; she had not been treated in time and she had swelled up. I asked her family,’ Why don’t you take her over to the doctor?’

Her husband told me angrily that they had taken the sick women on a stretcher to a ciy hospital four years before, that this had cost them much money, but that the hospital had told them she was incurable. Back in her village, the woman took the medicine prescribed for her but he sickness worsened steadily. I learned from her husband that the doctor inn question belonged to the same hospital as I did. When I returned, I looked through the files and found that the doctor who had made the incorrect diagnosis was me‿ Here he lowered his head like a guiltyman. “I was tremendously upset and full of self-contempt.’ Whom do we serve?I always replied to that question in the following way.:

We live in a Socialist Society. It is therefore clear that we serve the workers, peasants and the soldiers. For a young person like me, the important thing is to raise the level of medicine to serve the people. But the story of the sick woman taught me many things. I was medically prepared to cure the sick, bit I just lacked an ideology. That was why first I examined the women superficially and was unable to meet the correct diagnosis.

“I returned to the countryside and took up my work with the barefoot doctors. The treatment I gave her for me the beginning of the struggle of seeing the world differently. After 2 months I had cured the women. She was able to get up.‿

“After I changed my ideology, I cured 20 patients who had been considered incurable. It was the poor peasants who cured me of my ideological sickness, and not I who cured the peasants.‿
One Dr .Ling stated. “In 1968,10,000worker doctors were sent from Shanghai into rural zones. A revolutionary Committee runs the hospital and each ward has it’s own revolutionary committee. Since the re-construction of the party –reorganization, which took place during the last year, the party is in charge of the hospital’s political direction, while administrative matter are handled by the Revolutionary Committee various decisions are approved by the leadership after it has been elected according to democratic election principle of the Paris Commune. Here thee is no trace left of the former hierarchy.

Now thee was a hospital chief and a committee of hospital administration composed of professors and specialists., men who had transformed their conception of the world. The Old director now works as an ordinary doctor. The Peoples Liberation Army Comrades work in administrative work too. There is a three in one combination operating. Specialists and professors are allowed to work in rotation.

Control by the masses is necessary for the good administration of the hospital. The patients are the best judges of this, but they are not allowed to participate in the elections because they are only hee temporarily. However,they can set up groups to study Mao Thought in which patients and doctors work together. The Revolutionary Committee has created a special team, which collects the criticisms and opinions of patients on the operation of the hospital and on the abilities and political spirits of doctors.

We have a safety network of worker-doctors who go to work in particular enterprises. The doctors live in the factories and study what the most recurring illnesses are. They examine inquiries and take preventive measures. Only because they live in the factory can the doctors accomplish this. For example in a chemical factory harmful fumes circulate during production. The doctor who has practical experience of living in the factory knows exactly what has to be done to eliminate toxic gases.

Medical students do a type of medical internship we call open instruction. Students are sent to factories and into the countryside to deepen their knowledge.
Scientists share a comradely relationship with ordinary doctors, nurses, and hospital personnel Scientists carry out struggle-criticism –transformation and are not paid higher salaries than doctors or nurses.

“Western and Chinese medicine is fused The metaphysical aspects of Western Science is cut out. Dialectical materialism teaches us that everything is in movement and transformation. Human knowledge and it’s potential for transforming what seems incurable hat is why we sat that there are no illnesses that are absolutely incurable. Even Cancer will be cured when we learn the natural they obey as has happened with other laws they obey. The movement of transformation in the World of objective reality is without end, and hence man is never done learning the truth from practice.‿

“As we examine the human body, we consider that it is always a unity of opposites. It’s various parts are united, one to the others: They are in opposition and at the same time depend on each other. It is only in dialectically examining the elations between the parts and the whole I all their aspects, and in regulating them, that we can know the disease and cure it. “In the case of fractures we put little wooden splints on the limb to fix the bone after setting it back to position, and we make sure that movement can begin after setting it back to position, and we make sure that movement can begin as soon as the bone has set. It is a question of resolving the contradiction between the stability and movement. By Western methods, the limb is enclosed in a cast to wait for the bones to merge again.

The arm can’t move, and sometimes it takes 3-6 months of absolute immobility. Since we previously did not use x-rays, we did not know that in traditional medicine, exactly how the bone had broken and that was a drawback. In shot, one type of method treat only the fracture and neglect articulation and the overall body. Others do not limit their interest to the beneficial aspect of immobility for setting a bone, but also note he drawbacks of a healing method that prevents the simultaneous reassertion of the bone’s solidarity and the functioning of the whole limb.

Thus in short, the doctor workers of China combine what is positive in Western medicine and what is positive in traditional Western medicine. This is an example of the Unity of Opposites.
“Regarding research for Cancer in medical centres people study plants and prepare local recipes for medicines that are tried in the treatment for cancer. For cancer, too we apply the dialectical process.‿

“Barefoot doctors are all attached to Communes., who divide their time between medicine and soil. Generally they are 25 years old and earn 250 to 300 Yuan,100 from Agricultural Work, the rest in fees. Barefoot doctors earn as much as the manual workers in the Countryside. They treat the less serious diseases, thus the peasant can be treated within his village. Barefoot doctors also make plant medicines which cure burns constipation, stomach aches, diarrhea Etc. The work of the barefoot doctors ensured a basic health system, for where Universities take years to produce a doctor, we take only a few months to train a barefoot doctor.

“In a surgical department for children, there was a child who had a tumour on his arm as large as the head of a foetus. Previously they would have amputated his arm. But what would a worker’s son have done with only one arm? “We cut away the diseased part and re-attached the arm.‿

“We are able to re-attach hands higher up when they have been severed. When one peasant lost a part of his forearm, we attached his hand at the mid-point of the forearm. Not only can we attach completely severed arms, but also fingers cut off by threshers legs severed by trains Etc.

“In the overall context the expression,‿The Thought of Mao Tse Tung meant that due to de-centralisation of medicine doctors wee brought to the remotest places, which made them test their skills, using every means they could find on the high plateaus, in the border regions, on islands, in order to cure people considered incurable.

2e.The Peoples Liberation Army
The Chinese people’s Army is employed in factories, agriculture, medicine, naval construction, the University, culture and theatre. The Chinese Revolutionary Army is virtually amalgamated with the Party.In our society, the most familiar image is a traditional army, that of people who can do nothing but take up arms-soldiers, colonels, and generals who are nothing better than despots in the barracks. The People’s Liberation Army performed the sole duty to serve the broad interests of the Chinese People. It was indoctrinated with class Struggle and educated to guard against any possible counter-revolution. This army was the least “military “of all armies They never reflected any sense of superiority over the Workers and peasants. They were involved in the hardest kinds of work, digging in the countryside, transporting grain and all kinds of furniture on carts, checking tickets at the entrance of a theatre and leading children in drills at School. No other army in the World could have accepted such duties.

The ‘primacy of politics’ was the basis of their entire training. They were indoctrinated to ‘serve the people.’ In the Cultural Revolution the Army played the role of a central pivot. The Cultural Revolution initially triumphed because of the support of the Army. The revolutionary “3 in one combination which seized power during the Cultural Revolution is an alliance in which the army always played an integral role in accordance with the directive. From the summit to he base ,in all sectors where power must be seized, representatives of the armed forces and the militia must participate on the formation of a 3 in one combination. In this army ranks were abolished and the officers,from generals on down. became accustomed to sharing the soldier’s barracks and campbeds.

“ The Cultural Revolution promoted the spirit of the , ‘3 Democracies’ in the political, economic and military spheres .Ordinary combatants were the equals of their leaders and free to criticize them, express opinions about them ,and pass judgement o their work I the army. All the soldiers of a company elect a comitee. This committee participates in the leadership of the company through management of commissary and production services, supervision of stocks, auditing of accounts, and waste disposal. Democracy I the military sphere ,between officers and soldiers and between soldiers, means that mutual aid during instruction is compulsory during combat as it is after battle/The people’s army made the primacy of the political sphere the key principle. All forms of hierarchy and paternalism was eliminated. However it still remained one of the most disciplined armies in the world.‿

“The Soldiers recognized their commanding officers just as a worker recognized the leader of a revolutionary committee. He knew him from his work, and not because of some external rank or stripe.The Participation of the army loyal to Chairman Mao during the Cultural Revolution was carried out with utmost political determination and always defending the motto of ‘Serve the People ’determination and never paved the path for violent demonstrations contrary to that principle. When the Cultural revolution in certain localities degenerated into open conflict between factions, at first with the use of sidearms, then guns, and eventually mortars, the army lost thousands of men before deciding to use it’s own weapons to suppress factional Struggles.

Throughout the Cultural Revolution the Army tok a very strong guard against ultra-leftism.With the ‘May16th group’the Peoples Liberation Army unmasked the group, through harsh political Struggle, isolating the group.‿

“In the course of the Cultural Revolution the army was called to renew those indissoluble bonds of unity with the people which marked the entire revolutionary Tradition. It gave unconditional support to the proletarian Revolutionaries by grasping revolution and promoting production. This group tried to use Chairman Mao to defeat him. They attacked the British consulate in Peking on August 20th 19067 and went on to ransack the office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.‿

From Morning Sun Website
“In our great era, the brilliant thought of Mao Tse-tung lights up the earth and a new generation of communists is rapidly emerging. Not long ago there appeared in China a hero who, like Ouyang Hai and Wang Chieh, gave up his life for the safety of the people. He was Liu Ying-chun, a fighter in an artillery company of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.
On the morning of March 15 this year, Liu Ying-chun and his comrades were on foot guiding three horse-drawn gun carriages along a highway in a city suburb. There were people coming and going in the street-children were on their way to school and workers headed for factories and shops. Liu Ying-chun’s shaft horse was startled by the horn of a bus at a nearby stop. It panicked and bolted.

Liu Ying-chun, with great presence of mind, shouldered the frightened horse into a side road to prevent it from running into them. The horse rushed madly on. Liu Ying-chun, pulling desperately at the reins, was dragged along the road. People shouted to him to let go the reins. Catching sight of six panic-stricken children in mortal danger ahead of him, Liu Ying-chun wound the reins about his arm and pulled with all his might. The horse reared. With no thought for his own safety, Liu Ying-chun quickly seized the carriage shaft and, thrusting both legs under it, gave the horse’s hind legs a vigorous kick. The horse fell, overturning the carriage. Liu Ying-chun was pinned under the cart and seriously injured, but the six children were out of danger.

People standing by were deeply moved by this selfless act of heroism. They rushed over to him and hurried to the nearest hospital with him. In no time hundreds of soldiers and civilians had gathered outside the hospital and were volunteering to donate blood to save the hero. They earnestly begged the doctors to save him. “We will provide anything that is needed. Save him at all costs!” However, his injuries were too grave, and all their efforts were of no avail. Comrade Liu Ying-chun died a glorious death.

Liu Ying-chun was born to a poor peasant family living on the outskirts of Changchun in Kirin Province. He was only 21 years old when he died. With a deep hatred of the class enemy in his heart he joined the P.L.A. in the summer of 1962, at the time when the Chiang Kai-shek brigands were making a raucous clamour about invading the mainland. His love for the Communist Party and Chairman Mao and for socialism was unbounded. In the army, he studied Chairman Mao’s works conscientiously and applied what he learned creatively. Nurtured on the thought of Mao Tse-tung he cultivated the proletarian world outlook of one who is a revolutionary both of his own country and of the world, who believes that “Revolution calls for struggle and struggle is happiness”, and who wants to. “Live a revolutionary life, and die a revolutionary death”.

He was a model in taking Chairman Mao’s writings as the supreme guide in all he did. He actively propagated Mao Tse-tung’s thought and enlarged the positions it held. He bravely defended it and struggled resolutely against all words and actions contrary to it. He took Lei Feng and Wang Chieh as his models and did whatever Chairman Mao said. He devoted himself utterly to others without any thought of self and served the people heart and soul. He did his best to dedicate his life to the revolutionary cause of the proletariat. He dearly loved the people and performed many services for the workers and his neighbours. But few whom he helped knew his name until after his death when they saw his picture in newspaper.

Liu Ying-chun’s short life was one of studying, carrying out, disseminating and defending Mao Tse-tung’s thought; of complete service to the people with all his heart and soul. It was the glorious, great and militant life of a proletarian fighter. Like the great communist fighter Lei Feng and other heroic figures, Liu Ying-chun is an outstanding representative of China’s younger generation maturing under the thought of Mao Tse-tung. He is a good soldier of Chairman Mao and a good son of the people. He laid down his life, but his spirit will live forever in the hearts of hundreds of millions of people in China, and in the cause of communism!

At present, a movement to learn from Comrade Liu Ying-chun is sweeping the country. It originated in the P.L.A., which is a highly proletarianized army with a powerfully developed fighting spirit, an army formed by Chairman Mao personally. The broad masses of young people, old people, people of various trades and housewives are taking part. They are determined to follow Chairman Mao’s teachings in all their actions, as Comrade Liu Ying-chun did.
Study Mao Tse-tung’s thought conscientiously, loyally carry it. out, enthusiastically disseminate it and courageously defend it! Always be loyal to the Party, to the people, to Chairman Mao and to the thought of Mao Tse-tung! Make new contributions to the fight against imperialism, modem revisionism and the reactionaries of various countries!

*Lines from a poem entitled Farewell to the God of Plague by Mao Tse-tung. Yao and Shun were two ancient sage kings.

“Owing to the application of Comrade Mao Tse-tung’s line on army building, there has prevailed in our army at all times a high level of proletarian political consciousness, an atmosphere of keenness to study the thought of Mao Tse-tung, an excellent morale, a solid unity and a deep hatred for the enemy, and thus a gigantic moral force has been brought into being. In battle it has feared neither hardships nor death, it has been able to charge or hold its ground as the conditions require. One man can play the role of several, dozens or even hundreds, and miracles can be performed.”

On the eve of “August 1″ Army Day, we visited a unit of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army called the ” Steel Red Second Company”, which has a long history. From all we saw and heard during our stay, and from our personal experience, we felt keenly that this company matched the description given by Comrade Lin Piao.

When the company was first organized, Comrade Lin Piao was appointed commander, It played a heroic part in the Nanchang Uprising on August 1, 1927, which was led by the Communist Party of China. In April, 1928, the armies of the Nanchang Uprising came to the Chingkang Mountains, China’s first red revolutionary base built up personally by Comrade Mao Tse-tung, and joined forces with the armies of the Autumn Harvest Uprising under the command of Comrade Mao Tse-tung. They were merged to form the Fourth Army of the Chinese Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army. “

“Imbued with deep proletarian feelings, the cadres and soldiers of the second company study Chairman Mao’s works every day. Chairman Mao’s Serve the People, In Memory of Norman Bethune and The Foolish Old Man Who Removed the Mountains have enabled the young soldiers to cultivate the outlook of serving the Chinese people and people all over the world with heart and soul. They cherish the revolutionary interests of the Chinese people and people the world over, and assume the burden of the Chinese revolution and the world revolution. They are determined to devote themselves to the final burial of imperialism and to the liberation of the oppressed and exploited people. See how these young soldiers express it: “Keep the people in your heart forever and always keep the revolution in mind. Then you’ll be able to cast away all thoughts of personal gain and loss, conquer any kind of difficulty or hardship, challenge ogres of all descriptions, dare to take risks and defy dangers.”

In the squads, platoons and the company, records are kept which tell about the bitter, pre-liberation history of the soldiers’ families, and about the sufferings of the oppressed and exploited people the world over. Profound class hatred inspires the soldiers with revolutionary fervour. Their hatred for the enemy is concentrated in the muzzles of their guns and they take the drill ground for the battlefield and the target for the real enemy. They practise hard for the people and for the revolution, maintaining their enthusiasm throughout all kinds of adverse weather. Training in perilous mountains and rapid rivers cannot dampen their enthusiasm. Many of them have become “sharp-shooters”, “iron feet”, “tigers in the forest” and “tough back-bones”.

The company has always persisted in the democratic tradition of the people’s army, developing widely the three cardinal democracies in political, economic and military affairs. The cadres are modest in listening to the opinions of the soldiers and follow the mass line, while the soldiers consciously observe discipline and are resolute in obeying orders. Everything is done well, quickly and through collective efforts. The cadres and soldiers work closely together, sharing joys and sorrows, and showing consideration for each other. The atmosphere in the company is one of profound class brotherhood and proletarian class feeling.

Keeping in mind Chairman Mao’s teachings about respect and concern for the people, the company maintains the closest of ties with them. With their belongings on their backs and carrying their own provisions, the soldiers go to the people’s communes to stay, eating, living and working with the members. They help the members study Chairman Mao’s works, and spread Mao Tse-tung’s thought. They help the people in spring ploughing and autumn harvesting, summer hoeing and winter storing. They train the people’s militia and propagate Chairman Mao’s thought on people’s war. The second company has become near and dear to the commune members. Their relation with the masses of the people is like one between fish and water.

Since these young soldiers have the interests of the people at heart they have taken over from their revolutionary forerunners the task of acting as a “production unit as well as an army”. They Open Up waste-land, till the fields, grow vegetables and raise pigs to lighten the people of their burden and to develop industriousness, which is the true mark of the labouring people. In 1965, they produced over 58,000 jin of vegetables, over 3,500 jin of pork and close to 3,000 jin of grain.

At present, the great nation-wide proletarian cultural revolution is surging with strength and vitality. In this great revolutionary torrent, the Red Second Company, raising high the great red banner of Mao Tse-tung’s thought, rose with a bound, charged heroically ahead, just as in the old days on the battle field when attacking and seizing enemy positions. Using Mao Tse-tung’s thought, the sharpest and most powerful weapon, they fired fiercely at the anti-Party and antisocialist black line, swept away all monsters and demons and severely criticized all the old ideology and culture and all the old customs and habits, which, fostered by the exploiting classes, have poisoned the minds of the people for thousands of years. In this unprecedented, soul-touching, great proletarian Cultural Revolution, they creatively study and apply Mao Tse-tung’s thought to temper themselves to be ever more proletarian and ever more militant.

No matter how desperate a last-ditch struggle imperialism, modern revisionism and all reactionaries put up, and no matter how sinister an attack the anti-Party and anti-socialist elements launch, the fighters, armed with Mao Tse-tung’s thought, are afraid of nothing. They are determined to “do away with all pests! Our force is irresistible.”

2f. Philosophical Study
Workers had their own reading rooms and political study classes. Mao suggested that a course on philosophy be set up, since the workers needed to study theory and apply it in practice. Workers were developing into stereo typed machines. Now the study of philosophy became possible for all the workers All factory groups had their own reading room. The primacy of politics over economics was stressed. particularly with regard to social factors. This study represented the first qualitative leap of the individual in the revolution of the superstructure. Philosophy enabled the masses to become actively politically involved. (Taken from Daily Life in Revolutionary China)

In this regard an important development was the publication of books written by workers, peasants and soldiers in the mid-70’s to criticize Lin Biao and Confucius.4 workers in the Peking Motor Vehicle Plant jointly wrote notes on duel States by Liu Tsung Yuan.7 Shanghai Workers jointly wrote ‘History of the Peasant Revolution in China’, after Studying Source Material on several hundred peasnt uprisingsIn 1974 the dockworkers at the Tahen Shipyard wrote a number of theoretical works such as , “A history of Chinese Philosophy‿, “A Concise History of European Philosohy,‿Manifestations and Characteristics of the present economic Crisis in the Capitalist Countries Etc.Oil Field workers wrote the historic “Battle Sons of Taiching Oilfield ,’a collection of poems by Oilfield Workers.

Quoting Peking Review1966(Taken from Morning Sun website)
Considerable space in newspapers and magazines today is being devoted to the philosophical writings of workers, peasants and soldiers. In vivid language that only people closely linked with practice can use, these writers impress the reader with their clear thinking, scientific analysis and direct approach. From the way this trend is developing it can be said that philosophy in China is entering a new historic stage.

The movement among the workers, peasants and soldiers for the study of Chairman Mao’s works is proceeding vigorously across the land. Coming in the midst of China’s socialist revolution and socialist construction, this is an important event in the political and ideological life of the nation. It already has made substantial contributions in all fields of work, and as the movement surges ahead, its far-reaching significance will be more readily seen.

Mastering the Laws Governing Every Sphere of Work
The working masses are not interested in study “for the sake of study.” They study the works of Mao Tse-tung for the explicit purpose of learning from Chairman Mao — his Marxist-Leninist stand, viewpoint and method — to acquire the outlook of working for the revolution and to learn to do a better job in their revolutionary work. In China, Mao Tse-tung’s thinking is compared to a telescope and a microscope which help to see things that are far off and things that are normally unobservable. People seek out Chairman Mao’s works for answers to specific questions. They use the basic theories they learn from these writings to analyze and solve these problems. Thus, they find their jobs — such as operating a machine, ploughing or waiting on customers behind a sales-counter — full of meaning and they do them enthusiastically and creatively.

Among workers, peasants and soldiers there is great zeal to apply consciously what they learn from On Practice, On Contradiction and other philosophical writings by Chairman Mao in summing up their experience in practice, analyzing the contradictions in objective reality, and in discussing the laws governing their own sphere of work so that they can put their everyday work on the basis of making full use of objective laws. This is popularly called “riding on the back of the objective laws,” and is capable of producing tremendous strength.

A Great Motivating Force
Marx has said: “Theory too becomes a material force as soon as it grips the masses.” This truth has been borne out most vividly by what is taking place in China today. With Mao Tse-tung’s thinking as their guide, many workers, peasants and soldiers go about their work with a scientific attitude backed up by great enthusiasm. This helps bring about an increase in the output of grain or industrial goods, successes in technical innovations and good results in political work. It enables workers to play their role as the leading class in the country better, and it enables the former poor and lower-middle peasants to assume leadership in their own villages.

It can be predicted that with the spreading and deepening of this movement, it will give rise to more and greater strength and material wealth. This is a great motivating force for transforming China from poverty to abundance, from technically backward to technically advanced. It is a powerful impetus for propelling the socialist revolution and construction.

Fostering a New Communist Generation

The present study movement also serves as a big school in which a new communist generation is being trained.

While using Mao Tse-tung’s thinking to transform the objective world, the working masses find that a fundamental change has taken place in their own minds, in their subjective world.

In the course of exploring the possibilities for introducing technical innovations in the light of Mao Tse-tung’s thinking, for instance, many workers and peasants have learnt to use materialist dialectics to analyze questions and have acquired the working style of following the mass line. This also provides a good opportunity for tempering the revolutionary will for wholehearted service to the people and strengthening tenacity in surmounting difficulties.

Many cadres at the grass-roots level — leaders of factory work groups and commune production teams, Party branch secretaries, and others — admit that by creatively applying Mao Tse-tung’s thinking they have learnt to do a satisfactory job of ideological and organizational work, to view people and things on the basis of the concept of the unity of opposites which is popularly called “the concept of dividing one into two,” and to discover the laws in their own field of work so that they are able to transform the backward into the advanced and the advanced into the even more advanced.

In short, with Mao Tse-tung’s thinking in command, all kinds of daily work are treated as a science whose laws can be discovered and mastered. This in turn helps to raise the ideological level of people in all kinds of work.

In studying Chairman Mao’s works, workers, peasants and soldiers have further enhanced their communist consciousness, knowing that all work is for the revolution and that at their places of duty, no matter what they are, they are doing their share for China’s socialist revolution and construction and for the proletarian revolution throughout the world. This is a process in which the working masses are gradually acquiring a communist world outlook, to become a new generation of communist fighters. This is more important than anything, because the fostering of a new communist generation is essential to guarding against revisionism and to carrying the revolution through to the end.

They Also Write Philosophical Articles

In the course of the study movement, thousands and thousands of workers, peasants and soldiers have taken up their pens and written philosophical articles. Applying the Marxist theory of knowledge and the methodology of Marxism learnt through their study of Chairman Mao’s works, they deal with their problems in production and work and write in their own everyday language. Many of their writings are down-to-earth, lively and highly original, and stand out in sharp contrast to philosophical theses written by intellectuals divorced from practice. Principles that seem abstruse in many books on philosophy become easy to understand in these writings.

Thus, under the impact of the study movement, philosophy, which was long considered a subject for the classroom, academic circles and research institutes only, is taking root in factories, mines, villages, shops and army units in every corner of the country. Workers, peasants and soldiers have set foot in the domain of philosophy which for thousands of years was the monopoly of intellectuals. Their study and application of Marxist philosophy and their writings on it have proved that philosophy is no mystery and clearly show that as the philosophy of the proletariat, Marxist philosophy can and should be mastered by the masses of workers and peasants.

The movement among the workers, peasants and soldiers for the study of Chairman Mao’s works is also proving to be a rich source of development of Marxist philosophy. Their writing in this respect is a spur to philosophical research. An additional important factor is that people specializing in philosophy are put on the mettle and challenged to improve their work. Describing this as “giving a good shove” to our workers philosophy, a recent editorial in the magazine Zhexu Yanjiu (Philosophical Research) called on all such workers to learn modestly from the workers, peasants and soldiers, from their attitude and method in the study of the philosophical writings of Chairman Mao and from their experience in applying his philosophical thinking. It urged them to break away from “form of habit,” thoroughly emancipate themselves from the bookish atmosphere of libraries and studies, and make an earnest effort to integrate their research work more closely with reality.

“Renmin Ribao’s” Call to Workers in Philosophy

In a similar vein, Renmin Ribao pointed out in a recent editorial: “The practice of class struggle and the struggle for production by the masses of the people is the greatest and richest source of philosophical ideas, indeed the only source. Anyone who cuts himself off from it and secludes himself in the library will never master Marxism however many books he reads. The only possible outcome will be dogmatism and revisionism.” By recalling Chairman Mao’s injunction about the need to be a student if one is to be a teacher, the editorial said that this is “the only way to solve the contradiction confronting workers in philosophy, the problem of theory divorced from practice.” It also said, “In order that philosophy can better serve workers, peasants and soldiers, workers in philosophy must go into the villages, factories, shops and army units to take part in the class struggle and the struggle for production and earnestly learn from the masses.”

Seeing the way ahead, our workers in philosophy are ready to answer the call of the times. They are determined to go to factories, farms and army units and stay there for a number of years, study living philosophy in the course of actual struggle, learn to write in the language of the laboring masses and produce philosophical articles that will be easily understood by the working people. They know that only by doing so will they be able to steel themselves into genuine Marxist philosophical workers. They are confident that by traveling on the right road they be able to turn philosophy into a sharper ideological weapon in the hands of the people and make their contributions to the enrichment and development of Marxist philosophy.
Cultural Contribution-From ‘Morning Sun’Website launched by the ‘Longbow Group’
During the vigorous great proletarian cultural revolution, Mao Tse-tung’s thought has been propagated and popularized on an unprecedented scale among hundreds of millions of people. Their spiritual outlook has undergone a profound change and numerous stirring happenings have occurred. Among these, for instance, are the deeds of the Ting Lai-yu family Mao Tse-tung’s thought propaganda team.

Ting Lai-yu is a poor peasant of the Lunghua brigade in Polo County, Kwangtung Province. His family of eight includes six children, the oldest 14 and the youngest not yet three. Cherishing boundless love for our great leader Chairman Mao, the red sun in our hearts, they enthusiastically propagate Mao Tse-tung’s thought in literary and art form. With song and dance, they warmly praise Chairman Mao, the great Chinese Communist Party and the great Chinese People’s Liberation Army. The broad masses of workers, peasants and soldiers give them a name: “The ‘Whole Family Red’ Mao Tse-tung’s Thought Propaganda Team”.

Before liberation, oppressed by the exploiting class, Ting Lai-yu’s family lived a life worse than that of beasts of burden. When he was 13, his parents died one after the other of poverty and illness. His five brothers and sisters either died of starvation or were sold. Within a year, Ting Lai-yu found himself the only survivor of the family. When Ting’s wife Chang Chiung was young, she was also sold as a slave-girl to a landlord’s family and underwent untold sufferings.

The east is red; the sun rises. After liberation, Ting Lai-yu was emancipated and became master in his own house. He raised a new family and lived a happy life. Now his family again has eight members. Bit the two families, just as the old society and the new, are poles apart. Ting often teaches his children: Now that we are emancipated, don’t forget the Communist Party; we owe our happiness to Chairman Mao!

In March 1967, with the enthusiastic help of the People’s Liberation Army, a Mao Tse-tung’s thought study class was set up in Ting Lai-yu’s family. This further promoted their ideological revolutionization and aroused an inexpressibly deep class feeling of loyalty to Chairman Mao. Every member, with the exception of Hung-ping who is less than three, can recite the “good old three” articles and over 100 quotations from Chairman Mao. Every bit they learn, they apply, combining study with application. The invincible thought of Mao Tse-tung is the life-blood of the revolutionary people. They feel that in addition to studying and applying well Mao Tse-tung’s thought themselves, they should also propagate it among more people. They study and practise every day. So far they have learned to sing more than 100 revolutionary songs and perform 50-odd minor revolutionary items of literature and art.

They disseminate Mao Tse-tung’s thought with soaring enthusiasm, giving expression to their boundless love for and loyalty to the great leader Chairman Mao. Ordinarily they perform for the local poor and lower-middle peasants. When the departments concerned make arrangements for them to go on tour, they think nothing of crossing mountains and rivers to perform for the workers, peasants and soldiers. They are always compiling material about the moving deeds of the poor and lower-middle peasants, which shows their fervent love Chairman Mao, elaborating it and arranging it into new items. Whenever a new instruction of Chairman Mao’s is published, they find it set to music in the newspaper, learn to sing it as quickly as possible, sometimes adapting dance movements to it, and propagate it among the revolutionary masses. At present, a total audience of 400,000 have enjoyed their performances. The broad masses of workers, peasants and soldiers acclaim them as “singing what is in the bottom of our hearts and expressing our deep feeling of infinite loyalty to Chairman Mao”.

THE ‘RED FAMILY’

The “Red Family” Mao Tse-tung Thought propaganda team of Lunghua production brigade, Polo county, Kwangtung province, consists of the 40-year-old poor peasant couple, Ting Lai-yu and Chang Chiung, and their six children from three to fourteen years. The family’s two-hour programmes containing dozens of revolutionary items attract hundreds of people every time they perform. Known far and wide, the family is praised by everybody. “The ‘Red Family’ propaganda team has a style all its own and is well worthy of the name.” While none of the Tings has had more than six years’ schooling, they have always been an outstanding collective in the living study and application of Mao Tsetung Thought. In the cultural revolution they have raised their loyalty to Chairman Mao to a new height, studying and applying Chairman Mao’s recent instructions earnestly and propagating them widely. To do this more effectively, they worked hard with help from People’s Liberation Army men and quickly learned some hundred revolutionary songs and prepared more than fifty song and dance items. Everyone in the family takes part in the performances.

At every performance Ting Lai-yu recalls to the audience the bitterness of the past and compares it with today’s happiness won under Chairman Mao’s leadership – a vivid class education. He also describes how his family studies Chairman Mao’s teachings and applies them in daily practice. Their items praising Chairman Mao and propagating his latest instructions make an indelible impression on audiences.

Beloved Chairman Mao, the red sun shining in our hearts;
How many words so deep in our hearts we long to say to you …

This song is not just a performance, it is an expression of the loyalty and deep feeling that all of China’s 500 million peasants have for their beloved Chairman Mao.

Now the song and dance “Never Forget Class Suffering; Be Revolutionaries Forever” composed by the family.

The lights dim. Five-year-old Hung-lien, in rags, comes on stage. Wiping away tears of grief and clenching her fists angrily, the little girl exposes the evil old society while the rest of the family sings an accompaniment. “Recalling the old society brings tears to our eyes. Three big mountains* weighed us down. Our family of eight was torn apart. Nowhere could we speak of our bitterness and pour out our grievances…” This typical representation of the bitter class oppression suffered by millions upon millions of labouring people in old China takes the audience back to the dark old days and never fails to move them deeply. Shouts ring out, “Never forget class suffering, always remember blood-and-tears hatred!” “Never forget class struggle!”

“A clap of spring thunder rolls across the sky. Our saving star, the Chinese Communist Party, leads us in revolution. We rise to our feet and win liberation…” Beating of drums and gongs. Two girls in red come onto the brightly lit stage. Waving long red silk scarves, they sing and dance to celebrate liberation. The joyous atmosphere and songs depicting the happiness of the new society contrast sharply with the dark old days of the previous scene. The performance is in fact a re-enactment of the story of the Ting family. This story, familiar to so many, and the realistic atmosphere on the stage move the audience to a deeper understanding of Chairman Mao’s teaching, “Never forget class struggle”.

“NEVER forget class suffering; be revolutionaries forever!” This firm pledge of the poor and lower -middle peasants is the class and ideological basis for the Tings becoming a “red family”.

Before liberation Ting Lai-yu was one of a family of eight. But ground down by poverty and illness under the brutal rule of the Kuomintang reactionaries, his mother and father died when he was fourteen, leaving six boys who either died of hunger or had to flee from famine. Lai-yu himself had to beg for a living and wandered about until he came to Polo county where a peasant family adopted him. His wife, Chang Chiung, sold three times before she was twelve, finished up as a bondservant in a landlord’s house. Both had their fill of bitterness in those days.

In the happy new society, Ting Lai-yu and Chang Chiung married and established their own home. Ting had the honour of joining the Communist Party and became a brigade cadre. After some time, there were again eight in his family. The number was the same, but how different the life in the two societies! Thinking back on the past, looking at the happy life today and to the future, Ting Lai-yu and his wife, their eyes filled with tears of gratitude, always say to others, “We owe it all to Chairman Mao.”

Chang Chiung bought a big portrait of Chairman Mao with her savings and put it on the wall so that the whole family could see the great leader who was always in their thoughts. Ting put up a couplet:

For ever loyal to Chairman Mao,
Our hearts will not change even if the sea dries up and the stones rot.

They often stand with their children before the portrait and pledge: “Having won liberation, we will always remember the Communist Party; living in happiness, we will never forget Chairman Mao. We wish Chairman Mao a long, long life!”

Here is an example of Ting Lai-yu educating his children:

Someone once asked Hung-lien, “Who gave you that new dress?” “Father bought the cloth and Mother made the dress.” The girl’s reply disturbed her father. At the family’s study meeting, he told the children, “Your mother gave you birth. But it is the Party that educated you, it is Mao Tsetung Thought that nurtures your growth. The rice you eat, the clothes you wear, you owe them all to our Party and Chairman Mao, not to your mother and father. In the old society I also had a mother and father. But I had no food to eat and no clothes to wear. Year in and year out I went hungry and cold. We never had a happy life like yours. You must never forget our bitter past!”

HAVING grown up in poverty, Ting and his wife know well the meaning of “class” and “exploitation” and hate Liu Shao-chi’s evil ambition to restore capitalism. When Chairman Mao called on the people to “Fight self, repudiate revisionism”, they immediately started a Mao Tsetung Thought study class to put this important instruction into practice. They held meetings and, using their personal experience, repudiated Liu Shao-chi’s vicious ideas that “class struggle has died out” and “exploitation has its merits”. They told about their childhood suffering and compared it with today’s happy life, giving the children a profound class education and turning the family into a classroom for the living study and application of Mao Tsetung Thought. From this time the family began performing revolutionary songs and dances as recreation activities.

Their experience shows that such activities promote the ideo-logical revolutionization of the family.

One day, as Hung-lien and her mother were going to a meeting, somebody called, “Hung-lien, will you sing me a song?” The girl turned round and saw the landlord’s wife. She gave the woman a scornful look and walked on. Not knowing who had spoken, the mother asked, “Why don’t you sing her a song since it is to propagate Mao Tsetung Thought?” The girl didn’t answer, but when they got back home, she criticized her mother. “Mama, you told me to sing for the landlord’s wife. You’ve forgotten ‘Who are our enemies?’ How could I sing for her?” Pleased to find her daughter taking such a clear class stand, Chang Chiung readily accepted the criticism.

In family education, the parents set a good example with their own conduct. They take the lead in making a living study and application of Chairman Mao’s works, in fighting selfishness and fostering devotion to the public interest. The family is determined to place Mao Tsetung Thought in command of everything. “Of hundreds of thousands of books, the most important are Chairman Mao’s works. Of hundreds of thousands of roads, the one we take is the revolutionary road pointed out by Chairman Mao.” In spite of his difficulty in reading, Ting Lai-yu studies Chair-man Mao’s works every day and puts into practice what he has learned.

Once in a flash flood, the river dyke near their home was in danger of collapsing. If the water burst through, the ripening millet would be ruined. Ting Lai-yu was down with a high fever. Chang Chiung, concerned for her husband’s health, told him to stay in bed. “No,” he said, “Chairman Mao teaches us to have an indomitable spirit. How can I lie in bed with a slight illness when the commune’s millet is about to be washed away?” He got up and joined the other commune members in their battle to save the dyke, persisting till victory. A good example inspires great strength. This devotion to the public interest made a deep impression on his children.

In recent months, carrying simple props and holding high a red flag, the Tings have climbed mountains and waded streams to propagate Mao Tsetung Thought. They have given more than 300 performances for audiences totalling 400,000 in factories, communes, army units, schools and government organizations. Their revolutionary action has the support of revolutionary committees everywhere and earned them the name “Red Family” from the workers, peasants and soldiers.

*Three big mountains refer to imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat-capitalism.
Quoting an Article from Raymond Lotta in Revolution
“Let’s turn to culture. We’re told that the Cultural Revolution led to a cultural wasteland. But the truth is quite different. There was an explosion of artistic activity among workers and peasants—poetry, painting, music, short stories, and even film. Mass art projects and new kinds of popular and collaborative artistic undertakings spread, including to the countryside and remote areas. Large-scale collective sculptural works, like the Rent Collection Courtyard figures, reached a very high level of artistic expression and revolutionary content.
The Cultural Revolution produced what were called “model revolutionary works.‿ They were pacesetters which the people all over China could use as models in their development of numerous and artistic works. Model operas and ballets put the masses on stage front and center. They conveyed their lives, and their role in society and history. These model works were of extraordinarily high level, combining traditional Chinese forms with western instruments and techniques. Significantly, strong women figured prominently in the revolutionary operas.
Different Peking Opera companies would tour in the countryside, helping local culture groups to develop and learning from local performances. Let me read from an account by someone talking about how the model revolutionary works and the general spread of revolutionary culture affected his village.
He says: “I witnessed an unprecedented surge of cultural and sports activities in my own home village, Gao Village. The rural villages, for the first time, organized theater troupes and put on performances that incorporated the contents and structure of the eight model Peking operas with local language and music. The villagers not only entertained themselves, but also learned how to read and write by getting into the text in plays, and they organized sports meets and held matches with other villages. All these activities gave the villagers an opportunity to meet, communicate, fall in love. These activities gave them a sense of discipline and organization, and created a public sphere where meetings and communications went beyond the traditional household and village clans. This had never happened before and it has never happened since.”*

2G. Proletarian Revolutionary line Struggle.
The most significant struggle between the revisionist and the proletarian revolutionary line in China was carried out by the party committee of Chaoyang Agricultural College in Liaoning Province.A revolutionary programme was compiled with 10 specific points.
1.Strengthening Working Class leadership in place of bourgeois intellectuals.

2.moving colleges from the towns to the Countryside

3.Peasants were indoctrinated with Socialist Culture. The principle of (From the Communes back to the Communes was to be put in command as against “He who excels in learning can be an official.

4.Putting proletarian politics in command instead of promoting intellectuals..

5,introducing part work part study system instead of regularized courses.

6.Teaching research and scientific production were combined instead of having specialized
education.

7 Now colleges would be closely linked with the 3 great revolutionary movements of class struggle for production and Scientific Achievements.

8Old Agricultural Colleges were for the elite ,the new ones would be for the broad masses and would reach the grassroots.

9Teachers would now be linked to the lives of workers and peasants.In the old Society the teachers were divorced from them..Now the Students would control the colleges.Worker-peasent –soldier tems would control the Universities.

2H.Education
Education was combined with productive labour.Workshops,factories and fields became the learning places for Students. Students received lectures from the peasants.
In Education the examination system was banned. A process of Struggle-Criticism and transformation was carried out in Schools and Universities .A revolutionary 3 in 1 combination was formed with the activists among the students, teachers and workers. This line was first implemented in Tsinghua University. The task of Studying English was connected with Social Practice class of 16 students divided itself into 4 groups and gone with it’s teacher to a nearby commune.

For the examination, each group reported their findings in English.One dealt with a typical family history, another with education in the brigade primary school, still another with the educated youth who have settled down in the brigade, and the 4th with the movements to criticize Lin Biao and Confucius.3 members of the brigade had been invited to attend the examination, and students took turns in interpreting them. Others interpreted for non English Speaking members of the University leadership who attended as observers.For a physics Examination,the students were divided into groups and given a number of questions on Electricity. Then each group went to a different nearby factory to investigate it’s Electric Power set up and, in course of doing so., to find the answers to all the questions. Then they were examined not by the teachers, but by the factory electricians, who decided whether they knew their stuff well.(Taken from Broad Sheet,August 1975Vol.No.12)

Quoting Raymond Lotta‿During the Cultural Revolution, artists, doctors, technical and scientific workers, and all kinds of people were called on to go among the workers and peasants: to apply their skills to the needs of society, to share the lives of the laboring people, to exchange knowledge, and to learn from the basic people.

We are told that going to countryside was a form of punishment against professionals. Well, does that apply to the peasants? Who asked the peasants if they wanted to live in the countryside? The fact is: this policy of sending professionals to the countryside was part of a conscious attempt to break down the lopsidedness of society and to reduce the cultural and resource gaps between town and country.

How was this policy carried out? At the point of a gun? No. First of all, there was an appeal to people’s higher interests and aspirations of serving society. Second, ideological struggle was waged. It was made a mass question: what’s more important, that a skilled doctor have the “right‿ to a privileged life in the city, or that health care be made widely available? Third, there were many people who took this up with enthusiasm and commitment and set examples for others. Finally, there was a degree of coercion. The policy of sending people to the countryside was institutionalized. But not all coercion is bad. For instance, is it wrong for a government to mandate school desegregation, even if some object to it?

Now, as I said, many professionals and youth responded with great enthusiasm to this call to go to the countryside. I would strongly recommend that people take a look at a recent book, Some of Us (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2001). It has several essays written by Chinese women, now living in the West, who took part in the Cultural Revolution. They talk about how positive and life-changing this experience was of going to the countryside: how they learned from the peasants, did things they never thought they could, and gained a sense of their strength as women, and how the Cultural Revolution promoted a spirit of critical thinking.

2 i. Implemenation of the Mass Line

“The Cultural Revolution sets in motion the inexhaustible participation of the masses, which accelerates and puts into concrete form the appearance of proletarian democracy of which the Chinese speak. How else are we to define the politicization of the masses, which I saw during the trip? The moment the masses no longer fear coercion from the state apparatus, proletarian democracy begins to establish itself. It is here on the level of consensus, that the mass line conceived by Mao more than 40 years ago undergoes it’s broadest development This unprecedented reliance on the masses might merely conceal a pedagogical and academic character were it not based on social practice, did not explode within the heart of the ideological apparatus.‿

Charles Bettelhiem stated; “The constant reliance on the masses, seems to be the most valid contribution of the Chinese Revolution. MaoTse Tung’s dictatorship of the proletariat in actual fact is the ‘broadest democracy for the masses of the people. The Chinese Revolution reminds us that the dictatorship of the proletariat is nothing other than proletarian democracy, democracy for the broadest masses of the people.‿ Mao had said, “The essence of the revolution in the state bodies consists in securing the links of the masses.‿ Mao always defended the fact that a class does not become truly dominant unless it has made its own ideology the dominant one.

One of Mao’s most important points was, ‘Grasp the revolution and promote production “Mao always insisted tat the contradictions between the forces of production and the relations of production, and their contradictions with the superstructure will continue to exist in every human society as ling as production relations continue to exist. He also fought for revolutionary changes within the superstructure. In his essay ‘On contradiction’ Mao dealt with the question of the continuation of revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat. Mao dealt here with the ultimate goal of reducing the power of coercive and ideological apparatus of the state-until the state withered away. By carrying the revolution to the soul by the “Intervention of the masses in the Superstructure‿.

Three in one committees were formed consisting of the revolutionary Party Cadre, revolutionary representatives from the Army and representatives of the revolutionary masses and a continuous process of struggle, criticism-transformation was carried out. “In China the party is the dominant apparatus, under the dictatorship of the Proletariat, and that the ideological apparatus was carried out by the party. But at the same time the party is neither a metaphysical category nor a Thomist Credo. In China the struggle was raging within the party itself.The proletariat intervenes in the party,the ideological apparatus of the power system an elsewhere The dominant party of the proletarian revolution fulfills it’s task ,which is to re-enforce the dictatorship of the proletariat ,by accomplishing it’s own revolution as a ruling apparatus, and by opening it’s structure to the masses.

Criticism of the party and electoral replacements of committees and orther party organizations is done in open, with the participation of workers who are not members. This is the confirmation of the mass line which opens the party the “the new blood of the Proletariat Maoist

2J. Change in Thinking pattern

China went above Stalinist Russia as Mao wished to create an inner, spiritual change in man. Going above Stalin. Mao stressed on revolutionizing the superstructure and not just the base as Stalin did. The Red Guards did not physically attack the capitalist roaders but used the practice of moral persuasion or criticism .

Han Suyin states in her book, ‘China in the year 2001’, “ If there is no change in thinking patterns and habits,there is no material change and progress, for spirit and matter are interlinked, spirit is moulded by contact with the material world and in turn influences the material world. The masses should liberate themselves mentally, but this they must do,nobody can do it for them, least of all by order or by command. No longer slaves but master of their destiny they must ask themselves: How can I be a master? This is by aggrandizing the scope of the soul, deepening the grasp of historical knowledge and thinking faculties. The worker and peasant now realize that within the grasp of power to decide his own motivation, his own spiritual advancement as well as his material progress, and that these two are inseparable.‿‿There was another famous quote of a Chinese Soldier, “Give us a gun and a book as man’s spirit demands more than just material satisfaction.‿

There was a phenomenal transformation in the lives of woman.Women who were earlier bound
on their feet could now serve in the army ,teach in Universties and conduct political Study classes!Women who were earlier Slaves had democratic rights to redress through courts and had crèches to take care of their children went to work.

3.CONTRIBUTION OF THE GANG OF 4
In the period of the late 1960’s the roots of the ‘Maoist gang of 4’ were sprouted who from the early 1970’s to the period of their overthrow in 1976 were the leaders in the struggle against the revisionists and were the chief representatives of Mao Tse Tung Thought. The 4 went head over heels to implement Mao’s line illuminating red torches all over China almost as if a Socialist festival was taking place. The 4 studied every facet of life in connection with Marxism-Leninism Mao TseTung Thought digging into the deepest roots of the ideology. like a scientist trying to put his theories into practice.

The fall of Lin Biao strengthened the right in China and helped the re-instatement of the arch capitalist-roader Deng Xiaoping into the party. There was chaos and a fresh movement was launched to combat Lin Biaos’ ideology.Lin was now classed with Liu Shao –Chi and Deng Xiaoping as a Capitalist roader.One of the most significant struggles o the gang was in Shanghai in the Commune. However Shortly after Comrade Mao’s death the Gang was arrested and the G.P.C.R virtually defeated.Tragically one of the greatest revolutionary advances in the history of mankind was defeated .

Lot of writers of the bourgeois mould distort history by stating that the masses revolted against the Gang of 4 and even certain ranks in the Maoist movement claimed that the Gang was counter –revolutionary. True ,there was great confusion in the masses after the loss of leaders like Chairman Mao,Premier Zho En Lai and Zhu De but the masses always revered the Gang standing up against the wrath of the revisionist and leading them to virtually re-writing history.I however do agree with Critiques who state that the Gang made serious errors and their line was often vitiated by left sectarianism. However remember that in so many revolutionary movements there have been mistakes in regard to mass line. and this was the first time in history where a struggle was actually carried out in a Socialist Society.

25 years ago a historic Court Trial took place of the ‘Gang of 4.’-the followers of Mao’s line. Heroically Comrades Chiang Ching and Chang Chun Chiao defended the Thought of Comrade Mao Tse Tung in a historic Court trial standing upto the capitalist rulers against Revisionism. Chiang Ching rose up defending Comrade Mao Tse Tung like a tigress while Chang Chung Chiao protested in silence but never buckled under pressure from the Chinese rulers..Wang Hongwen and Ya Wenyuan both confessed and surrendered under pressure. It is of no strange coincidence that Comrade Yao Wenyuan, One of the members of the Gang of 4 passed away just a week ago.

We must particularly highlight the contribution of Comrade Chang Chun Chiao.Chiang Ching made an amazing contribution on the Cultural Front,developing proletarian culture to a considerable extent.Chiang Ching was fully engrossed as a political leader during the Cultural RevolutionOnly in the 9th Party Congress was her staus in the Communist Party made official.Chiang Ching addressed meetings of artists and writers in the early stages of the Cultural Revolution.She revolutionized the Peking Opera .A new model Opera was created and Chiang Ching presided over the 25th anniversary celebration of the Yenan Forum.where her model works were performed. Chiang Ching then became the adviser of the Peoples Liberation Army.She made a significant contribution to raising the Cultural level of the Army involving soldiers in political study and writing,producing and performing skits and operas and organizing festivals in local P.L A Units.

Later Chiang Ching carried out greater transformation in the economy, health care, the arts and culture. especially the old educational system, through building revolutionary committees. Now workers,peasants and soldiers enrolled in Universities, educated youth went to the countryside and Party Cadres participated in productive labour,.Chiang Ching asssed the need to launch a mass movement to carry out the process of struggle-criticism, repudiation and transformation in the various departments of work. In one of her speeches to a delegation from the faction-torn province of ANHWEI She struggled to unite and form a great alliance so that power could be seized.She defended the Revolutionary Commitees and opposed their dissolution.
The Shanghai Municipal party committee had become a breeding ground of capitalist roaders.The revolutionaries had a strong base there but did not overall hold power. The capitalist roaders apart from encouraging complacency among the workers encouraged bribery.

In December 1966, in the mass upsurge There was an intense class Struggle amongst workers around giving workers bonuses encouraging economist tendencies and paying increased salaries to foster jealousies amongst workers. The Workers returned the money in protest. The capitalist roaders now tried to halt production and disrupt public services The Workers refused this. They applied the concept that politics had to be in command of economics, that the productive forces could be truly unleashed only by training the masses in the revolutionary line.This application led to astounding achievements in economic development –Shanghai Workers developed the means to build a 10,000 tonne ocean liner ondrey dock intended for a 3000 tonne ship.

In January 1967 millions of rebel workers joined by students and nearby peasants,overthrew theMunicipal Party Committee.They physically stormed and occupied key positions and took over vital Municipal Services. Then organizational form was created whereby power could be consolidated and wielded by the revolutionaries in ord4r to carry out further transformations.A revolutionary three- in -one Committee was formed which in equal numbers had representatives of the masses,party cadres, who were judged to be revolutuionaries following Mao’s line,alos selected by masses,representatives of the Army.Similar Struggles engulfed China nationwideChiang Ching had made a major contribution in the overthrowing .
of the Peking Municipal Committee in 1967 from the hands of the revisionist power-holders.

Rebel workers took over the trade Union headquarters and sealed off the offices of the Union of Labour throughout the nation.Chiang Ching professed a document declaring that all contract and temporary labourers must be permitted to participate in the G.P.C.R. and that anyone dismissed because of this would be re-instated with pay. Chiang Ching supported the movement to seize local political power from the capitalist roaders and build new alternative organs of leadership. She helped initiate 3in one combinations uniting revolutionary party cadre, revolutionary representatives of the Army and representatives of the revolutionary masses to build revolutionary Commitees.

Chiang Ching struggled against an ultra-left tendency to attack the capitalist –roaders and their supporters physically.She advocated ideological and political struggle.‿Struggle by force can only touch the skin and Flesh.,while struggle by reasoning things out can touch the soul.’
Chiang Ching waged a struggle against ultra-left tendencies instigated by the Right openly advocating violence by distorting slogans or by inciting the masses to combat the small capitalist- roaders.She staunchly opposing the slogan,‿ Drag out a handful in the Army.’which was literally obeyed in areas. The Right used this to seize weapons from regular troops. Chiang Ching refuted this in following that line they could not differentiate good from bad.The party, government and the army are all under the leadership of the Party.One could only talk of dragging out a handful of capitalist roaders I the authority and nothing else ,otherwise, it would be unscientfic and the wrong people would be attacked.

Chiang Ching thwarted an ultra-leftist line that came about within the Cultural Revolution group itself when elements like Chen Boda wished to create chaos, advocating the use of Force.A section of Red Guards revolted against the Cultural Revolution Group led by the rightIn the city of Wuhan in 1967 provocation and mutiny took place in military units supporting th right.
In the 1970’s Chiang Ching prominently exposed the revisionist line of Lin Biao and equated it with Confucian doctrine. She also continued making revolutionary transformations in the Cultural Field.

The tenth anniversary of the Revolutionary Peking pera upheld models of New Socialist Culture New Works emerged glorifying Socialist Achievements. Feats I agricultural production, the model developments I Industry such as the Taiching Oilfields and socialist new innovations like barefoot doctors were highlighted.Chiang Ching never compromised between Politics and Art. She exposed a film called ‘The Song of the Gardener’ which upheld the virtues of wise teachers and likens them to refined Flower Cultivators. In contrast the Left made a film highlighting the revolutionary line’ Breaking With Old Ideas’. This film vividly portrays the class Struggle in Society over who gets to go to School and the difficulty of going up against both rigid traditional teachers and curriculum more suited to bourgeois education than the needs of masses transforming society.

Chiang Ching vehemently fought against copying Western Models in the name of becoming,’modern’Model ransformation.She thwarted an attempt by the right ton the Cultural Front as well as a political offensive between 1973 and 1975.She propogated a paper in which refuted the fact that there was ‘absolute music’and that music had no meaning or class content. The pamphlet argued that such a view disguised the bourgeois class character of thes untitled instrumental pieces although some techniques of classical music can be assimilated.Chiang Ching’s Cultural Troupe alos performed a paly on the docks performed for fishermen Qouting Chang Ching, “This opera cannot be presented as one which has as the centre of description ‘middle-of –the –raders.’It should depict the heroic images of the dockers who work on the wharf with their hearts for the motherland and their eyes on the world’.

In 1975 in October in the Tachai Agricultural brigade She refuted Hua Kuo-Feng’s project to mechanise agriculture taking the rightist road in terms of ‘modernisations’.This meant depending on Imperialism, restoring capitalism and re-establishing class differences.
Later a 2line struggle developed in education combating the theory that revolutionizing education held back production. With Comrade Mao the 4 carried out a mass debate and Comrade Chang Chun Chiao playing a major role.His famous quote was, ‘Bring up exploiters and intellectual aristocrats with bourgeois cosciousness and culture-which do you want?Infact Comrade Chang Chin Chiap played the role of a revolutionary Champion.

He was the author of path-breaking theoretical Articles such as on the ‘On Exercising Dictatorship over the bougeoise’, ‘On the 10 major relationships’ and was instrumental in the Shanghai political Economy Study Group as a whole,which authored important works making a class analysis of the economic laws under Socialism.Chang Chun Chiao played the leading role in Shanghai in advancing the Cultural Revolution. And uniting the masss around the correct line.After Chou En Lai’s death on January 12,1976,the Gang of 4 proceeded to accelerate their campaign against Deng,However they were still not strong enough to get Chang Chun Chiao elected as Premier.

In April 1976 the Revisionists openly attacked Comrade Chiang Ching through the Tienanmen riots I order to attack Mao and his policies. In the name of defending Chou En Lai but the P LA thwarted this attempt Deng was removed from all posts for staging the riotsThere were now open confrontations between the rightist and Revolutionary Factions within the party.IN August arms and ammunition was distributed to the million –strong Shangai Militia that had been set up by the Municipal Revolutionary Committee in 1967.

What was significant was that there were Worker-peasant-soldier students with their worker theorists of the ‘factory school’ jointly beating back the revisionist verdicts of the Cultural Revolution.Similarly teachers and students put up big character posters to criticize the attempts to reverse the Cultural Revolution.In June 1976 Commune members and cadres in the Tachai brigade denounced Deng Xiaoping’s crimes.

After Mao’s death on September 9th 1976 the Gang of 4 was toppled by the Rightists who arrested them.They falsely branded the Gang of 4 as revisionists ,claiming that they were enemies of Comrade Mao. After the REvolutinary headquarters were sabotaged the Party carried out a series of attacks on the revolutionary Commitees Etc So popular were the Gang of 4 that plans were made to block out the harbours and airports,to shut down the press and radio, to launch work stoppages and demonstrations and mass rallies mobilizing the militia and men and women and the garrison command. There was armed combat in militia units a week after the 4 were arrested veteran Communist Leader Zhu Yongjia,a close Comrade of Chang Chun Chiao played a major role in the rebellion.

Whatever were their mistakes the Gang of 4 had made a great contribution to the Socialist Economy. It is worth here refuting the slandering of the Western Countries of China’s economy.The economy was growing at a rate of about 5 to 6% a tear in term sof the Gross National Product since 1966.There was steady improvement in the living standards of the people which was shown in the food consumption clothing allowances, improved education and health services, particularly in the countryside ,and consumer goods like bicycles and radios.

Some sectors. like steel ,coal and transport showed erratic output and lower growth rates. However there were technical innovations had been made in thee sectors. It is unfair to compare Socialist China with the Western Countries or Japan. Remember China only had 13,750 miles of railroad track in 1949,a country that was producing 5.5 million tons of oli in 1960,and which in 1976 was stll overwhelmingly poor. China achieved agricultural sufficiency and greatly expanded it’s industrial capabilities. The 4 opposed mechanization of agriculture. They stressed on he principle of self-sufficiency. Vegetable production expanded in China. The 4 gave priority to grain .Not much land was given to forage crops for livestock. and agricultural technology and research was far more advanced with respect to grains than for vegetables .Chinese rice yields reached the highest in the world. The 4 made a goal to make as many provinces self-sufficient in grain as possible, both to reduce costs of transportation borne by the state and build up these strategic grain reserves in the event of war.

Commune leaderships set up ‘Socialist big fairs‿ in which peasants who held private plots and engaged in side-line activities would buy and sell private goods through the collective commercial channels, the supply and marketing co-operatives. This on one hand put the brakes on the speculation that had gotten out of hand at the trade fairs, and on the other, continued to provide peasants with an outlet for private output still necessary and useful at that stage. This countered the principle of free trade.

There were great technical achievements in the City of Shanghai. Shangahai contributed enormously to the national economy with machinery and equipment, accumualtio of funds, and a pool of skilled workers for other parts of the country.A co-operative was created with enterprises that reduced the barriers between different trades and involved over 300 factories hospitals Etc.

The Ultimate climax came in the1981 Trial which started on November 20th 1980 till January 26th 1981.Wang Hong Wen and Yao Wen Yuan capitulated before the court admitting all their charges.Chang Chu Chia remained defiantly silent giving scant respect to the 35 judges .With great courage ComrdaeChiang Ching said, “Most of the members presnt,including your president Jiang Hua,competed wit each other in those adys to critoicize Liu-Shao –Chi.If Iam guilty how about all of you?

Chiang has prepared a 181 page statement stating, “If the left framed up veteran leaders what are you doing now/Whats wrong with the Cultural Revolution, overthrowing the Capitalist headquarters of Liu Shao Chi and Company? I’m not going to admit to any crimes, not because I want to cut myself off from people, but because I am innocent.If I have to admit to anything, I can only say I loat in this struggle for power. You have power now so you can easily fabricate false evidence to support your charges. But if you think you can fool the people of China and worldwide, you are completely mistaken. It is not I but your small gang who is on trial in the court of history.‿

Chiang Ching had displayed nerves of steel in the trial.What she showed was one of the greatest displays of courage ever seen in the Communist Movement by a Women. She wrote an epoch in Communist History by defending the great Comrade Mao Tse Tung’s ideology in the Trial as though she lit up the whole court with a red flame.
Comrade Chiang Ching’s courage in the trial reverberated like a red flame illuminating .Protest rallies were staged worldwide supporting her cause and slandering the Chinese Revisionists.

4.REASONS FOR DEFEAT OF CULTURAL REVOLUTION
We must understand what were factors led to the defeat of the Socialist Road in China.

1.The fact that it was this Cultural Revolution movement was the first revolutionary movement of it’s kind. Capitalism and feudalism already had a long history .For Centuries repressive bourgeoisie society Eg.The era of emperors, monarchs ,then parliamentary governments Etc.existed. The triumph of Socialist Revolution was very recent and thus there had to be errors in the course.

It was an entirely new type of an experiment like a scientist using his latest theories in carrying out a new type of an experiment. hus errors were a natural phenomenon. Socialist Russia had never embarked on such a task and Stalinism sowed the seeds of revisionism. Many remnants of the feudal and bourgeois society were left behind in the minds of people after that thinking was perpetrated for thousands of years .It would perhaps take several revolutions to overcome what was created over generations. There was a deep-rooted Confucian tradition in China.

2.Sino Soviet Border conflict.-China had to combat their ideological problem with the then U.S.S R. They had a border disputes with Russia and that was the period where the Cold War was at it’s peak with the U.S –Vietnam War in full flow.To save their state China had to create relations with bourgeoisie states for tactical purposes.On one hand Socialist China had to combat U.S imperialismon the other hand they had to stand upto the Soviet Social Imperialism.This was a complex problem. China had to fight the ‘lion’ but be aware of the ‘bear.’

3.Creation of the Personality Cult
The revolutionaries had to unite with Lin Biao’s left sectarian approach. Lin immortalized Mao converting Mao’s Red Book into a bible. The phenomenan of a personality Cult is anti-marxist.This failed to consolidate the ranks in a broad –based movement. From the mid 1960’s Lin Biao’s left sectarian formulations and his ultimate path to the capitalist road caused havoc in the Chinese Communist Party. Although Comrade Lin played an effective role in the Socialist Education Movement as well as in the Army when he combated Peng Te Huai’s philosophy of having ranks in the army and advocating modernization in the army.In the 1966-69 period Lin eulogized Comrade Mao to the status of an emperor claming that the Red Book contained magic.

He elevated Comrade Mao to a God to promote himself and wrongly even derived the formulation that the Chinese revolutionary path was the path for all countries. True protracted Peoples War was a major contribution of Comrade Mao Tse Tung but it had to be applied in the context of the situation with regards to a particular country.However after 1969 Lin went towards the right calling for the discontinuation of the G.P.C.R and for an alliance with revisionist Soviet Union.

He opposed Mao and in 1971 attempted to assassinate Mao. However thankfully the coup was averted and Lin was brought down.(plane crashed) The Lin Biao phenomena has to be questioned and one could wonder how Mao ever could unite with Comrade Lin against the right .However this is a phenomena within a Socialist Society so we cannot discredit Comrade Mao.I do not agree that Lin Biaoism was a trend in the 1966-69 Cultural revolution period but he had a predominant influence particularly in the Army.It is difficult imagining that this historic figure was claimed as an outstanding proletarian revolutionary just a few years before his condemnation!

Later the Gang of 4 also made left sectarian errors, unable to unite with the broadest masses. Comrade Mao often rebuked them stating that “You are trying to make the Socialist Revolution but you do not know where the bourgeoisie is-they are right there in the Communist Party‿.Often the Gang gave left sectarian slogans unable to totally unite the broad masses. Often Comrade Mao rebuked them when he stated that they often failed to hit the main revisionist targets stating “You are trying to make the revolution but you do not know where the bourgeoisie is.They are right here in the Communist Party.‿Often the Gang was unable to implement the mass line and raised left sectarian slogans.

4.Persecution of writers , artist, musicians, and sectarian approach to bourgeois philosophers. Sportsmen Etc Even not enough attention was given to psychology or Freudian ideas.
Several writers, poets and artists and sportsmen were wrongly attacked and sent to be reformed.True,there were bourgeois tendencies ,but such elements also had progressive aspects which the cultural revolution leaders often failed to understand.

5.Not enough avenue for democratic criticism or dissent
True,there were broad based revolutionary movements and debates as never seen before and Comrade Mao’s line represented the mass revolutionary democratic line of the broad masses there was lack of a sufficient base for individuals to express criticism of Socialist ideas or other ideas. Socialist Society has to create avenues whereby even people’s criticism of Socialism are taken into consideration and all ideas are expressed freely. Instead of weakening the dictatorship of the Proletariat, this would strengthen it. There was such a strong personality cult around Comrade Mao that such free expression of ideas of minorities was hardly encouraged.(Thee could have been a special cell to question Comrade Mao’s line Etc without opposing the dicatatorship of the proletariat)In this regard it is worth studying Bob Avakian’s contribution in “Phony Communism is dead, Long Live Real Communism!‿
Quoting Bob Avakian
“Under socialism, the masses of people are unleashed to run and transform society towards the goal of communism. This is a society in which you want, and need, to unite and lead broad sections of people to take up the goal of creating a new world. In this regard, Avakian has called attention to the importance of the intellectual, artistic, and scientific spheres in socialist society, and the particular role that intellectuals can play in socialist society.

Intellectuals and intellectual ferment can contribute to the dynamism and wrangling spirit that must characterize socialist society. One of the very positive aspects of intellectual life is the tendency to look at things in new ways and from new angles, to challenge the status quo and hidebound thinking. This needs to be even more the case under socialism. Intellectual and scientific ferment are essential to the search for the truth—to people knowing the world more deeply, so it can be transformed more thoroughly.

The people on the bottom of society have historically been locked out of the realm of “working with ideas.‿ Bourgeois society creates islands and pockets where a minority can engage in the realm of ideas, while the great majority of humanity is exploited and prevented from pursuing intellectual activity. Socialist society has to transform this situation. It has to put an end to exploitation and enable the masses of people to work with ideas and take up all kinds of questions and participate in society in an all-around way. This was something that the Cultural Revolution addressed very powerfully.

At the same time, Avakian has pointed out that socialist society needs to give scope and space to intellectuals, artists, and scientists. You don’t want to maintain and reproduce the ivory tower relations that exist in capitalist class societies. But you don’t want to stifle and straitjacket intellectuals, either. You want to unite with and lead them.

Here it must be said that there has been a problem in previous socialist societies. There has been a tendency to see intellectual activity that is not directly serving or linked to the agenda of the socialist state at any given time as not that important—or as disruptive of that agenda.
Now in bringing forward this understanding and pointing to these weaknesses, Avakian has been retracing the experience of proletarian revolution in the intellectual and scientific realms. In his reenvisioning of socialism, Bob Avakian has been emphasizing the role of dissent in socialist society. Avakian has said that dissent must not only be allowed but actively fostered, and this includes opposition to the government.

This is something quite new in the understanding of communists. Why is dissent so important? Because it reveals defects and problems in the new society…because it contributes to the critical spirit that must permeate socialist society and advances the search for truth…and because dissent can contribute to struggles to further transform society. You won’t get to communism without this kind of upheaval

Avakian has written that it would be a good thing to allow even reactionaries to publish some books and speak out in socialist society. This would contribute to the process through which the masses of people would come to know the world more fully and be able to sort out more thoroughly what does and does not correspond to reality, and what does and does not correspond to their fundamental interests in abolishing exploitation, oppression, and social inequalities. This is an important way in which the masses will be better able to take part in running society and transforming that society and the world as a whole toward the goal of communism.

5. WRONG TRENDS WITH REGARD TO LINE
5A. Importance of Vanguard Party
With all those weaknesses it must be stated that Mao and his comrades did their level best to achieve Socialism. We have to defend the vanguard role of the Leninist Party and have to combat Trotskyite and New Left trends that advocate a multi-party system or oppose the vanguard role of the Leninist Party. Certain intellectuals profess a multi-party system in a Socialist Society. A multi-party system would create chaos and defeat the very concept of proletarian dictatorship How can many parties differ in ideology and claim to be professing proletarian ideology?

Only a tight unified, well Knit Party can lead the proletarian revolution and save the Socialist State.It is the equivalent of a Nazi Government seizing power in Germany in 1933 ,overthrowing Hindenburg’s parliamentary government. Remember how Allende was overthrown in Chile and Arbenz in Guetemala.Allowing bourgeois parties in a Socialist State contradicts Leninism. Lenin developed the concept of the Proletarian party governed by democratic-centralism Remember the Chinese Communist Parties had factions in the pre-revolutionary and post –revolutionary years and through application of mass line or 2 line struggle the party attempted to resolve the problem.(Even if the cultural revolution failed there was a powerful 2 line Struggle)Democratic Revolt must be encouraged but factionalism within a party can destroy the revolutionary interests.

True there is validity in the point that there could have been many lines of struggle uniting against Liu Shao Chi and Deng Xiaoping that should have been given expression to and not only “Mao’s line’. However one must remember that Mao did everything to unite all types of people to confront the bourgeoisie line and it was the mass revolutionary movement or the broad masses who supported him against the revisionists. (Mao even relinquished his post as head of State to Liu Shao Chi)Mao even had factions within his party, which must be noted.Mao further developed Leninism by discovering that even in a Socialist State there are capitalist tendencies and that a revolution had to be carried out in a Socialist State to avert the restoration of Capitalism. Mao went o to say that only hundreds and thousands or revolutions were needed to create an ultimate Communist Society.

5B.Personality Cult versus the Mass line
There is also a tendency which claims that Mao used his personality Cult in place of implementing the mass line.(Mao Tse Tung has been more revered by any leader in any Country in the last Century his works becoming more popular than the Bible.) One Indian Intellectual Rangakayaama wrote a 6 page essay claiming that Mao created a personality cult deliberately I place of upholding the mass line This has to be refuted. Was not Mao Tse Tung Thought a product of the revolutionary mass movement of the broad masses? Was not Comrade Mao’s thought upheld not only by the majority in the party but by the broad masses of China.

Remember, this was a Socialist Society and you cannot equate rallies in China supporting Mao with those of Hitler in Germany or Ayatolah Khomeini in Iran. it is Comrade Mao who discovered the fact that even in dictatorship of the Proletariat there are reactionary and Capitalist elements who wish to reinstate the rule of the bourgeoise.He discovered the theory of “Continuous revolutions under the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. If Mao’s personality cult replaced the mass line then how can one explain the many victories in mass movements the broad masses of the Chinese won over the revisionsir elements and rulers I China in Schools, Universities factories and Villlages guided by Mao Tse Tung Thought.One can discredit those movements only if one advocates that Mao Tse Tung Thought was not a fundamental line for liberation of the Chinese People.

Never in the history of mankind did such a revolutionary mass movement take place or such revolutionary democraticisation take place in the field of agriculture, industry and Education. Remember that Mao relinquished his position as head of the State to Liu Shao Chi in 1959.Infact Rangakayamma alleges that Mao replaced the mass line with the Personality Cult. True Mao’s posters and badges were dispayed all over. Slogans like “Chairman Mao will live for 10,000 years resounded, Eulogies were raised stating that Chairman Mao is like ‘ the sun giving light wherever it shines ‘and a ‘great prophet’,Kindergarden students were made to chant “Long Live Mao for 10,000 years and hailing Mao as great ‘helmsman,’ ‘teacher,’ ‘leader’ and ‘commander’ ,all took place. It is also true that the publication of the works of Marx,Engels,Lenin and Stalin Stopped and there was a policy to focus solely on Mao only.

However the Chinese Communist Party rectified this and re-introduced the works of Marx Lenin,Stalin and Engel from the early 1970’s.Remember in the mass rallies the people carried portraits of Marx, Lenin and Stalin. Another mistake was that the line in the Internationale saying, ‘There is no supreme saviour.Not God,not Caesar,not democratic leader. “This was eliminated to hail Mao as a saviour and a liberator. However again the Chinese Communist Party rectified this and re-instated the lines.

It must be remembered that in a country where for 3,000 years the pride of worshipping was prominent and ignorant superstitious practices prevailed (Emperor-worshipping tradition) such a tendency would be existing. The Chinese People had a habit of worshipping emperors and this feudal mindset persisted. This fear and ignorance persisted for Centuries although of course there were major revolts, which took place against Emperors. No doubt it is incorrect but remember Mao did his level best to fight this.

It is worth here recounting a recent book by a bourgeois expert Lee Geigon on China praising the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. In his book “Mao- A re-interpretation he states “The Cultural Revolution weakened the Chinese bureaucracy. It had a positive, long-lasting impact on the Chinese Economy it also created the basis of an anti-authoritarian Culture. Workers and peasants were taking on them selves the rights of self-governments and some Red Guard groups were attempting to build a democratic theory. The Cultural Revolution’s attacks on the party organization, and the viscous response of the party to these criticisms destroyed it’s legitimacy for many people. By breaking down organizational control and forcing people to criticize almost everything they had been told to take for granted especially the Communist Party, Mao helped foster the spirit of independent judgment and reliance.‿

Quoting Raymond Lotta in his defending Socialism Columns in ‘Revolution’One of the major distortions about the Cultural Revolution is that Mao masterminded and manipulated whatever happened. Mao is said to be responsible for every act and struggle that took place. Mao is held responsible for any and all cases of violence. There is a notion that everything issued from a single locus of power and decision-making—from Mao.

Different class and social forces were involved in the Cultural Revolution. There were the genuine Maoists in the party and mass organizations. There were anti-Mao groupings within the party who organized students, workers and peasants. And there were conservative military forces, ultra-left groupings, mass organizations that divided into rebel and conservatives camps, criminal elements, and others. Different social interests and motivations were in play.

Some people used the Cultural Revolution to settle personal grievances. Often, the enemies of Mao within the Party who were coming under political attack would resort to the tactic of pretending to uphold Mao and incite factionalism and violence in the name of the Cultural Revolution. They would do this in order to deflect the struggle away from them and to discredit the revolutionary movement. The reality was that the Cultural Revolution was a complicated struggle over which class would rule society: the proletariat, which in alliance with its allies who make up the great majority of society continues the revolution to transform society, or a new bourgeois class.

Yet through the course of this struggle, Mao and the revolutionary leadership were able to lead it in a certain direction: focusing the political struggle against the top capitalist roaders, further revolutionizing society, and empowering the masses.
The Red Guards were catalysts. They emboldened people to lift their heads, to speak up, and to speak out. Listen to this account from one peasant:

“The Red Guards were very organized. They divided themselves up and visited every household in the village. They read quotations and told us about the Cultural Revolution in Beijing and Shanghai. Never before had we had so many strangers in the village. They asked us about our lives. They wanted to learn from us. They asked us how we are managing things here in the brigade. They entered into discussions with the leading cadres of the brigade and asked about work points [this was the system of payment in the communes]. I got the book of Mao’s quotations from them [this was the Red Book].

They distributed it to various households. In the end, we all had it. Those Red Guards meant a lot to us. And we went on reading the quotations after they’d gone. We read and compared those quotations to what was being done here, and came to the conclusion that a lot of things needed changing.” (Jan Myrdal and Gun Kessle, China: The Revolution Continued [New York: Vintage, 1972], pp. 106-107)

Quoting Raymond Lotta from ‘Revolution ‘ The bourgeoisie hates the Cultural Revolution that took place in China. They talk about it as “thought control.” They paint a picture of crazed Red Guards going on destructive rampages. We are swamped with high-profile studies and memoirs that talk about the Cultural Revolution as violence and retribution. But this was not the fundamental reality of the Cultural Revolution.

First of all, the Cultural Revolution was not a violent free-for-all. The Maoist leadership issued guidance for conducting the Cultural Revolution. One of the main documents, and people should read this, was called the “16- Point Decision.” Here are some excerpts from Mao’s instructions:

• “Let the masses educate themselves in the movement and learn to distinguish between right and wrong and between correct and incorrect ways of doing things.”

• “Concentrate all forces to strike at the handful of ultra-reactionary bourgeois rightists. The main target of the present movement is those within the party who are in authority and are taking the capitalist road.”

• “A strict distinction must be made between the two different types of contradictions: those among the people and those between ourselves and the enemy. It is normal for the masses to hold different views. Where there is debate, it should be conducted by reasoning, not by coercion or force”1

This was the orientation. Was there disorder? Yes. Were there excesses and violence? Of course. This was a revolution. But the Maoist revolutionaries tried to keep this movement going in the right direction through all its turmoil: mass debate, mass criticism, and mass political mobilization.

One famous episode illustrates the point. At Tsinghua University, there was considerable factional fighting among students. Eventually it turned violent. In response, the Maoist leadership dispatched a team of unarmed workers to enter the university to help the students sort out and settle their differences.’

5C.Wrong stand of Revolutionary Communist Party U.S.A.
The last tendency to fight is that professed by the Revolutionary Communist Party, U.S.A where they claim that the Chinese State placed greater Emphasis on combating Soviet Social Imperialism over U.S.Imperialism.,claiming that U.S S R was the graeter danger and thus capitulating wit U.S.Imperialism.They also claim that China supported the overthrow of Allende in Chile, supported the Shah of Iran,supported Pakistan over the Bangladesh issue in 1971 Etc.

This is false. Socialist China offered support to all revolutionary movements worldwide and never supported dictators or non –progressive people.What China followed was a tactical line of recognizing repressive states or bourgeois states by having political relations. This is different from supporting them ideologically or giving them moral support. Mao met Nixon for exactly this purpose and all kinds of Trotskyites or neo-revisionist claim this was a betrayal of Mao to the World Proletariat. In actual fact the R.C.P U.S.A by making this criticism of Socialist China is claiming China’s International line the time of Comrade Mao to be capitulationist and discrediting Socialist China.

Socialist China gave moral support to Vietnam and the Maoist Parties in Columbia and Peru. True there were tendencies created in the Lin Biaoist era which advocated imitation of the Chinese line but remember China never exhibited big brother Chauvinism with other Communist parties and always told representatives of other countries that they should only interpret the Chinese line to their own conditions and not blindly copy it.

6. DEFENDING CULTURAL REVOLUTION
Whatever the weakness in the International Communist Movement it is a tribute to the Maoist Organizations that they are boldly defending Mao Tse Tung Thought and defending the Great Debate.Organisations in the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement including Communist Parties from Peru,Nepal ,Turkey and India have vehemently campaigned in defence of the Cultural Revolution.

In India the major contributions refuting Deng Xiaoping’s revisionist line came from the Central Re-organisation Centre of India of the C.P.I.M.L,(In 1987 there was a split between the K.Venu and K Ramchandran section which became the C.P.I.M.L Red Flag.The Red Flag section for some time in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s defended the Maoists .Later this group degenerated to revisionism) and the U.C.C.R.I.M.L(led by Harbahjan Sohi who split his organization. Later Organisations like the Centre of Communist Revolutionaries of India and the C.PLR.C.I.M.L consolidated this aspect)) who exposed the fact that the 3 world theory was a creation of Deng Xiaoping and not of Comrade Mao.

One must applaud the efforts of the C.PI. Maoist in India to defend Mao’s line through their regular publications and seminars in most difficult times when Imperialism is winning.2 seminars wee recently launched in Calcutta. Abroad the biggest contributions in defending the Cultural Revolution aspect came from the Revolutionary Communist Party U.S A and the Peruvian Communist Party who upheld Chiang Ching and the other followers.The R.C.P U.S.A carried out famous rallies in 1978 in San Fransisco and New York defending the Maoists.

It is particularly praiseworthy that the R.C.P has so boldly defended Mao’s achievements and the Cultural Revolution through nationwide talks and seminars. There has been a series of talks by Comrade Raymond Lotta which is a must to be read by any cadre or sympathizer. The Revolutionary internationalist Movement too defended the G.P.C.R through International Campaigns. After their rectification campaign in the late 1980’s the Communist Party of Phillipines took a strong position defending the Cultural Revolution.

7. POST 1978 REVISIONIST RULE AND MOVEMENTS SUPPORTING MAO
After 1978 China reverted to the Capitalist road advocating the 4 Modernizations. Communes were dismantled, and all the gains of the Cultural Revolution were reverted. The examination sytem was reverted to, and America was allowed to install factories in China in Free Trade Zones. No longer did Workers have job security According to the State Statistics bureau nearly half a million hectares of land disappeared from cultivation during 1980-1986.In South China, the China Daily said in 1988 ,there are more than 13 million hectares of idle land, half of which was recently in cultivation. Now with growth oriented towards creating private profit many farmers have had to abandon their plots. Only those who obtained farming machinery through political connections became prosperous.

Grain production in 1984 reached a peak of 407 million tones but as William Hinton points out was because of released stocks of collective grain. Thereafter grain production fell. In 1989 the Chinese press routinely talks of stagnation in grain production, of grain shortages, of falling production and finally 20 million peasants were faced with famine. Prices have skyrocketed. Willliam Hinton reported.

“I spent a month in Yenan in the highlands in 1988.My impression was that the situation was pretty desperate. Contracted Crop fields could not provide sufficient food because for one thing, the peasants could not afford fertilizers. As a result they were tilling the mountain slopes as ‘help out land ‘and destroying them in the process Dams, terraces,a nd other collective Engineering works were falling apart. There were abandoned irrigation works It was quite clear that many of them would not have been built in a private Economy and they would not be restored now unless there were re-collectivisation.Peasants we talked to at Random were angry and said that they were better off under the Co-op System.‿In Industry Millions have now been employed in the private sector.

A contract management system has been implemented. Companies running at a loss get swallowed by profit-making concerns. There is now great waste of China’ labour as a result of inappropriate use of technology. A huge percentage of the labour force in urban areas have no real fuction in their workplaces. The workers are wage slav4es again. Migrant workers have risen in number.They have exhaustible working hours. Workers toil in Special Economc Zones which are directed towards Foreign investment In Shanghai many workers toil 24 hours a day in rural garment factories. In many zones workers toi for over 13 hours overtime, and don’t recive overtime pay. Even minimum wages are not maintained. There is everyday retrenchment, and hiring and firing arean everyday affair.

Today the wealth polarization had driven working people in China too about poverty, as a result they have lost their social status and all the rights they enjoyed previously.. Workers have now been deprived of the right to send their children to school, access to heath care,the right to pension, the rights for old-aged people,the right to participate in cultural, recreational and sports activities. Above that because of the waste of water resources and environmental pollution the workers have lost the right to healthy food,clean water and fresh air.

Communist Party members have become billionares. It is simply hypocrisy that they are implementing Socialism when they state that they advocate the theory of the ‘three represents.’
In recent years there have been major strikes in China or protests against the Revisionist policies. In March 2002 workers of Fero-Alloys plant in Liayang gathered workers of 5 other factories to demonstrate for their jobs agains tbe the local leadership of the Communist Party. Police arrested the leading workers, afterwhich workers from 15 other factories joined.T he B.B.C reported that “Upto 5000 protestors gathered everyday at the Taiching Oilfield protesting against cuts in severance pay.The Taiching workers were retrenched on a massive scale .It is an irony that in the Socialist ra the field was developed in the late 50’s and produced 2/5th of China’s oil Requirements.

Not only in Liayang and Taiching but throughout China Chinese working class is in struggle. Workers proudly hold aloft the bannrs of Mao Tse Tung and write slogans such as “Only Socialism can save China‿ and sing the Internationale.(Information from journal “The Comrade”)
Recently the ‘Time; magazine reported how workers praise the security and facilities they possessed in the Maoist Era.Imagine this is new coming even from a bourgeois source!
What we have to asses today is the possibility of a new Maoist Movement within China. Revolutionary Communists must give solidarity to all movements upholding the banner of Mao in China and all other democratic movements combating the fascistic policies of the current Chinese rulers. A new Maoist Party has to be re-organised to carry the torch of revolution and enable history to repeat itself.

Let us all stand by the genuine Maoists in China in exposing the hypocrisy of the current revisionist government the 40th Anniversary year and uphold the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution!

The author pays tribute to authors like Edgar Snow, William Hinton ,Felix Greene, Rewi Alley, Maria Macciocci Etc. They visited China and all Communist Revolutionaries and democrats have to thank such writers for their outstanding Contribution in bringing the truth about Socialist China, particularly in the Cultural Revolution period.I particularly owe gratitude to Maria Macciocci in her book “Daily Life I Revolutionary China‿who reported such outstanding achievements in Socialist China in the Cultural Revolution period. They all showed that in that period the greatest revolutionary democratic transformation ever in the history of mankind was taking place.

The author also thanks the Communist Revolutionary publications compiled by the Revolutionary Communist Party U.S.A which did great work in publicly upholding the Cultural Revolution in their publications and books..Bob Avakian made a great contribution in that regard. I recommend readers to read the serialized version of the 14 part series column in the journal ‘Revolution’ (Organ of the R.C.P.U .S.A.)titled “Socialism Is Much Better Than Capitalism, and Communism Will Be A Far Better World” by Raymond Lotta.”

I owe my deepest gratitude to the ‘Morning Sun’ Website by the Longbow Group which uphold’s Mao’s achievements like a red flame set alight. I also thank the journals of Indian Revolutionaries who defended Comrade Mao and the Cultural Revolution. Theoretically an Indian Revolutionary Journal the Comrade has one outstanding essay on the mass line. Earlier issues of ‘Red Star’ had very profound ideological defence of the Cultural Revolution Period in context of the mass line..

I recommend readers to read the Following books.

1. ‘Daily Life in Revolutionary China ‘ by Maria Maciocci
2. “The Wall has 2 sides‿by Felix Greene
3. ‘The Long Revolution’by Edgar Snow
4. ‘Fanshen’ by William Hinton
5. ‘The Revolution Continued’by Jan Myrdal
6. ‘China in the year 2001.’by Han Suyin.
Also read the great works of the R.C.P U.S.A like ‘Revolution and Counter-revolution‿(There are lot of mistaken evaluations but overall the book is an outstanding defence of the Cultural Revolution)

I would also like to pay homage to Comrade Yao Wen-Yuan ,a member of the ‘Gang of 4’who died last December.

From the EPW Archives – Andhra Pradesh: Women’s Rights and Naxalite Groups( Maoists )

October 22, 2006

From this week onwards I am going to reproduce one article from the Economic and
Political Weekly Archives everytime I make a post.
Most of these articles will be more than a year old and may be outdated
by new developments that have taken place in the last one year.

Economic & Political Weekly Commentary
November 6, 2004


Andhra Pradesh: Women’s Rights and Naxalite Groups

For over two decades, the feminist critique of revolutionary left movements in Andhra Pradesh has questioned the lack of visibility for gender concerns on the party agenda. The recent meeting and exchange of views between women’s groups and parties on the radical left, however, provided cause for optimism on feminist politics and its impact on revolutionary movements.
Vasanth Kannabiran, Volga, Kalpana Kannabiran

The meeting between women’s groups and the CPI (Maoist) and CPI (Janashakti) on October 19, 2004 provided reason for optimism on the question of feminist politics and its impact on revolutionary movements. A week before the talks commenced, Ratnamala, former president of AP Civil Liberties Committee and a founding member of Stree Shakti Sanghatana in the early 1980s published an article in Telugu in Vaartha on October 9 where she raised the issue of lack of visibility for gender concerns within the party agenda.

Total prohibition was the only demand on the revolutionary agenda, she said, that women had achieved through a historic struggle, but she went on to ask, ‘Is the women’s question limited only to prohibition?’ Revolutionary perspectives, according to Ratnamala define our society as neo-colonial and semi feudal only, whereas they ought to speak of it as being defined in terms of patriarchy, caste, class, religion and class.

Discussing the indicators of women’s status in Indian society today, she placed 12 issues that she felt needed the parties’ attention for mobilisation: Equal wages; mobile crèches and crèches in neighbourhoods; rehabilitation of sex workers; working women’s hostels and student hostels in the districts; shelters for women at the district level; prohibition; implementation of the

Supreme Court judgment on sexual harassment at the workplace; media portrayal of women; identity cards and ESI for domestic workers; prohibition of amniocentesis.

Around the same time, Jayaprabha, a feminist poet published a satire in Andhra Jyothy, “Does War1 Mean Only Men’s War?” (October 4, 2004). Both these articles in fact reflected the feminist critique of revolutionary left movements in AP over the past two decades and more.

The issues raised in the meeting appear to have generated a demand for further dialogue from women comrades in the party. With the first phase of peace talks coming to an end, the party following Ratnamala’s initiative, sent out invitations to women’s groups, activists and writers for a dialogue on women’s issues. Many women at short notice turned up at the venue well prepared with a barrage of questions and doubts. Groups like Chaitanya Mahila Samakhya, Progressive Organisation for Women, Stree Shakti, All India Praja Pratighatana and other individuals, writers, activists and journalists attended the meeting.

On arrival we were welcomed by three unarmed women guerrillas of the People’s Guerrilla Liberation Army (PGLF) in their early twenties. The two banners on the stage declared ‘no revolution without women’ and “there can be no women’s liberation without the liberation of the working class”.2 Everyone was given literature, including a red book, which stated the CPI (Maoist) position on the women’s question. It is worthwhile at this point to mention key areas of concern in the little red book.

The first chapter speaks of the social system and the origin of patriarchy, stating, interestingly that while socialist feminists locate patriarchy in the superstructure, the party believe that patriarchy is at the base and must be destroyed to achieve an equitable social order. The second chapter speaks of the economic system, of which the first section deals with housework, and the rest with women’s role in social production, the role of family and marriage in women’s oppression.

The third chapter looks at culture and the perpetuation of discrimination against women through education, media, religion and religious fundamentalism, caste, and goes on to speak of the role of law, motherhood, the position of single women, the issue of sexual orientation, etc. The fourth chapter speaks of politics, beginning with an analysis of violence against women, and then goes on to delineate various trends in feminist politics today. While the document itself merits a detailed discussion and dialogue with the party leadership and cadre, just the diversity of issues that it attempts to grapple with and the prioritisation of issues speaks volumes about the influence of feminist discourse in Andhra.

As feminists who have engaged critically with revolutionary politics and writing in the state on the one hand and have been actively involved in human rights advocacy on the other, we went to the meeting with a written statement voicing our concerns on the relationship between revolutionary praxis and women’s lives/feminism.

Open Letter to Revolutionary Parties 3

The discussions today with women’s groups come at the end of twenty-five years of incessant efforts at democratisation by women within parties and groups outside concerned about the position of women within political structures. This marks a watershed in the demand by women to be recognised as citizens and the demand for treatment as agents in the creation of new and radical political structures. We sincerely welcome your effort to understand women political concerns particularly relating to equal citizenship.

While governance is something that is immediately relevant in the public realm of the state and civil society, it also proliferates to the other niches of civil society and politics, the same basic principles governing all realms. And representation is critical to effective governance. While it is generally true that leadership is drawn in movements and the state from the middle classes, the movement towards a radicalisation of the polity inevitably involves the gradual and increasing delegation of power and authority to those classes whose interests must be represented in order to eliminate oppression. For us as women, this immediately raises our central concern.

Why is there no significant representation of women in the upper echelons of your political structure and leadership? If the number of women in leadership reflects a corresponding disproportion in membership, our question is, what is it about the questions you are raising or the manner that these questions are being articulated that does not draw women in significant numbers. If there is a parity of membership among women and men, why is it that women are unable to rise to the position of intellectual and political leaders of the movement?

We have been raising the concerns stated here for two decades now, as is evident from our writing and work over this entire period. Even when the Concerned Citizens’ Committee was set up four years ago, we asked why it was that there was only one woman on the committee at that time who dropped out very soon, when in fact there were so many in the state who had an active interest in various aspects of this issue.

When the talks were fixed and all sides chose their representatives, none thought of inviting women to be part of deliberations that by your own admission affected thousands of women who lived in remote areas and were victims of the conflict. Yet after the peace process commenced, we were asked by one of the mediators what women’s groups were doing in the peace process.

We would also like to state that as women we have an active interest in processes of democratisation, and secularisation of civil society. We believe that women’s survival rests on the complete abatement of conflict and the elimination of all forms of conservatism and orthodoxy. Gujarat 2002 is a stark reminder of the grave assaults that women must bear in situations of conflict and moral policing. And this has more to do with patriarchal ideologies than to do with any specific religious ideology.

All ideological apparatuses predicated on an understanding of the subordinate status of women during periods of crisis exhibit a range of unanticipated and uncontrollable assaults on women. And these assaults and threats of assaults are viewed even by visionaries and leaders as part of larger cultural questions that cannot have immediate remedies and not as the simple derogation of the life and security of person of women which must be handed over to the due process of law. We hope therefore that in engaging in this dialogue, we are beginning to work towards a transparent, democratic public space that will fulfil the promise of true equality for women.

The questions we have raised in the past have often been dismissed as diversionary and bourgeois. What are these questions?

– Why are women confined to marginal roles in struggles? Even where they wield arms, responsibilities for caring and providing reproductive labour is still that of women. While we have information that there has been some change with men also sharing in the cooking and fetching of food, the sexual division of labour has not significantly altered. And this is visible in the fact that women are completely absent from any accounts of intellectual creativity or agency in the struggle and consequently in the leadership as is evident from the composition of the front face of the parties.

– What is the exact nature of the part played by women in the struggle, and how has this participation been theorised by the party?

– Women’s questions are generally dismissed as devoid of ideology and political perspective. Yet, it is our belief that a political perspective that is not nuanced by an understanding of gender as a structural and ideological fact is a seriously flawed perspective.

– By not taking questions raised by women seriously and by not dealing with those questions both at the ideological and programmatic levels, by dismissing women’s questions as trivial and ‘personal’, there is an active disempowerment of women as a class within the movement.

– While parties are willing to examine power relationships between classes, castes and the state, the more fundamental and ubiquitous power relationship between men and women never enters the account. This serves to mask the power that men wield over women and guarantees immunity especially to perpetrators of violence against women both within the party and outside.

The control of sexuality, which is the cornerstone of patriarchy operates not only in feudal neo-colonialist societies, but also in semi-feudal patriarchal revolutionary attitudes. The inherent belief that female sexuality must be controlled to maintain social order is responsible for the multi-layered oppression of women, which revolutions have been totally unable to eradicate. This results in forced marriages, the belief in the inevitability of marriage for women, abduction of minor girls for marriage and sexual harassment of women. Sexual harassment includes accusations of sexual and moral-ethical misconduct when women refuse to conform or when they ask questions related to democratic governance within parties.

At a more pernicious level, this internal ideology of male domination gets projected onto grass roots work, with similar solutions being implemented outside. Witness accounts of the marriages of rapists to victims as the solution to rape.

We strongly recommend that the terms ‘veeramatha’ and ‘veerapatni’ be expunged from revolutionary vocabulary, as they are extremely sexist terms. The glorification of motherhood masks the active denial of entitlements and equal citizenship in practice, while idealising sacrifice, service and unquestioning surrender to sons. This glorification of motherhood is a mirror image of the simultaneous worship of the mother goddess and the debasement of women in reality. This mystification of reproductive labour serves to keep women in chains.

Finally the collapsing of all issues of women’s rights into liquor and prohibition reflects a blindness to the much larger, much more pervasive violence against women. In order to address the issue we must begin to understand it. This effort is particularly important because the climate is now conducive for revolutionary parties to mobilise and work with mass organisations. We hope that this will mark the beginning of the process to write women into public discourse in more meaningful and far-reaching – truly revolutionary – ways.

The Revolutionary Position

The party leadership, Ramakrishna, Sudhakar and Ganesh from CPI (Maoist) and Amar and Riyaz from CPI (Janashakti), personally met each participant and sought detailed introductions, before going on to state their respective party positions on the women’s question. The position as delineated both in the individual statements and as a response to the discussion that followed may be simply stated as follows:

Although there has been a significant increase in the number of women coming into the movement, and also a significant increase in women’s leadership at the mandal and district level, the situation still left much to be desired. The spokesperson for the Maoist group, Ramakrishna was candid in his observation that the internal structure of the party was bound to reflect a patriarchal orientation as the cadre is drawn from different sections of society and draw from their knowledge and consciousness from those backgrounds.

However, since the process of change is continuous and dynamic, transformation cannot be seen as a one-time measure. Since it is easier to gain political authority than it is to eliminate patriarchy, the revolutionary route will make more deep-rooted change easier. While there was a feeling that women writers and activists who had written on this issue had done so without factual information and irresponsibly, there was simultaneously an undisguised concern about the persistence of patriarchy within the party.

The question was an ideological one. The problems women face are ideological, but yet there are ‘practical problems’ in women’s situation arising from ‘natural factors’ (‘prakrutiparamaiyna ibbandulu’) that constrained women’s full, efficient and equal participation in party leadership. A possible reason, it was suggested, was the failure of women’s movements to provide support to women within the party in terms that enabled them to destroy patriarchy within the parties.

Even in mass mobilisation, Janashakti, for instance, was able to address questions related to labour without difficulty, but found itself unable to address patriarchal oppression effectively. Further, during times of extreme state repression, several issues are pushed back to deal with immediate contingencies.

The concerted opposition to patriarchy is part of a larger democratic process. Given the encrustation of patriarchy within party structures and personal lives within the party, women a decade ago organised themselves separately and apart from the men, primarily as supports rather than as independent agents. The year 1995 witnessed the beginning of more open discussion on the fact that the family ideology governed gender relations within party and on the need to bring personal issues out into the open. The People’s War Group in that year undertook a ‘diddubaatu karyakramam’4 (rectification programme) to bring about awareness on issues of patriarchy and to eliminate it. The demand for this programme came from women comrades. Although as a result of this campaign, the number of women coming into the party today is higher than the number of men, women are not yet able to transcend the limitations of family ideology.

The solution to the problem does not lie in the formalising of representation through reservations, as there is a difference in capabilities between women and men, women’s understanding and development is necessarily limited by their exclusion from the public domain prior to their entry into the movement, creating an ‘efficiency problem’. So the effort of the party would be to focus on the creation of leadership that would alter the character of the base within the party. “It is only when all other sites of oppression are eliminated that the family can be wiped out, and that would be the road to women’s liberation.” But, “it is easier to eliminate imperialism, and feudalism than to eliminate patriarchy”.

The Feminist Response

The discussion then grew very animated with each group firing questions at the leadership.

One point that was emphasised was the fact that it was because of a faith in the movement and a shared vision of a just social order that women were present at the meeting. The faith in revolutionary politics went hand in hand with the right to question and critique every flaw in the party’s programme or perspective. The glaring lack of women at leadership levels and their lack of visibility needed to be addressed.

The deaths of women leaders in encounters cannot account fully for the absence of women’s leadership. Then there were questions about the silence of women in the party that put them out of reach. There were also questions about how far feminist writing and criticism has influenced the party’s thinking. The women present pointed to the need to look at the institution of the family, what happened to women and children in the areas of conflict, particularly children born to cadre after they had joined the party, they pointed also to the need for diversity.

Also the centrality of land and exploitation of dalit women in the ‘devadasi system’ could be effectively addressed, women activists felt, by asking the government to allocate endowment lands to dalit women trapped in this system. The use of extremely demeaning images and language about women that either spoke of ‘barrenness’ or glorified motherhood by people as distinguished as the peoples’ poet Gaddar did tremendous disservice to women’s struggles for dignity and recognition.

Many women who had left the party were working with poor women and for the party to build alliances and working relationships with people and groups engaged in similar work would, it was felt, strengthen democratic processes generally. Women felt that they had plenty to contribute practically and intellectually and that this potential could be drawn upon by revolutionary parties.

But for this, the party had to be willing to engage with criticism on its treatment of various aspects of the women’s question. It was also pointed out the women’s movement could only provide impetus, support and intellectual tools to dismantle patriarchal biases within the party, but it cannot actually break the patriarchy within the party. Since the parties had repeatedly asserted in the course of the peace process that they would function within the constitutional framework, representation in terms of physical numbers at every level formed a intrinsic part of democratic structures.

And in a situation where there is a concentration of power and authority in a certain class, (in this case men), bringing about equal representation would mean that women could only assume leadership to the extent that men are willing to relinquish the authority already with them. The failure to do this would only mean an unequal struggle and further concentration of power in the hands of men.

If the parties were actually mobilising the masses on women’s issues as well, and if the resistance included a resistance to patriarchy, the rule of equal participation in governance must first be applied and achieved within the party before being applied outside, as it is only the actual application of the rule that would result in an understanding of it and a commitment to it. Finally the question of class, caste and patriarchy as interlinked systems of oppression, was yet to figure in revolutionary discourse, especially in revolutionary writing.

Unresolved Questions

A step back briefly into time by half a century and statements from the leaders of the Telangana Peasant Struggle with regard to their women comrades, seem identical to the present. It is as if the women’s question is on a treadmill rather than on a revolutionary track. And still, there is a distinct sense of a shift, a quiet attentiveness, modesty and careful reflection on the part of the leaders that is disarming, a willingness for a more involved, continuing debate, and an admission of failure to democratise male-female relations within and without.

The delineation of the party position was far from linear and unequivocal. There were disjunctures and gaps that reflected a struggle with ideas and received knowledge systems, as also a grappling with new, unfamiliar ideological frameworks that seemed to have answers and yet were cause for discomfort, if not hostility.

The fixing of ‘women’s natural constraints’ and its natural opposition to men’s ease in public domains, the generalising of ‘knowledge’ and ‘understanding’ to mean knowledge from a male standpoint and the assumption of an unconstrained male experience as normal exposes an ignorance of the long-standing feminist critique of this separation.

There is also the more difficult question of the relationship between masculinity and the bearing of arms, which did not figure in the debate, but remains a critical feminist question, particularly relevant in this context because the impasse in the peace process was caused by their assertion that the weapons they carried were extensions of their bodies, the analogy between the farmer’s plough and the revolutionary’s gun being particularly problematic.

This inability to think through issues of gender in any far-reaching way is reflected in the prioritisation of the agenda for struggle as well, the critique of which has still not ruptured their traditional formula of women’s liberation only after the liberation of the working class. There is no engagement with the contradiction between admitting the resilience of patriarchy and pushing the most difficult struggle to the bitter end.

And finally, even while recognising the problem of inequality within, the firm denial of the need for mandatory sharing of leadership with women, positing instead a long term struggle with cultural questions, in philosophical rather than material terms, tends to blur the distinction between these and parliamentary parties on the issue of women’s representation in governance. But let us hope that this is only the beginning of a long awaited dialogue that will yield results sooner rather than later.

Notes

1 The reference is to People’s War, which in Andhra is often referred to as ‘War’.
2 The second banner, it appeared to us, was an unconscious inversion of the original Lenin quote ‘there can be no liberation for the working class unless women are completely liberated’.
3 This letter was given [in Telugu] to the leaders of the two parties at the commencement of the dialogue on October 19, 2004 by the authors.
4 ‘Diddubaatu’ is also the title of noted early 20th century Telugu writer-social reformer, Gurajada Appa Rao’s short story about a woman who reforms her husband.

Stalin’s realpolitik and departure

October 11, 2006

Leftword books is the literary arm of the CPI(Marxist)
and it has recently released a set of books called
“Documents of the Communist Movement in India” with which
it seeks to promote it’s point of view.


Documents of the Communist Movement in India
Vol. 1–26 (including Part I and Part II of Vol. 10)

Jyoti Basu (Editor-in-Chief), Sailen Dasgupta, Buddhadev Bhattacharya, Anil Biswas and Santi Sekhar Basu (editors)

Each volume approx. 700–1000 pages, hardback

This set of 27 volumes covers the period 1917 to 1998, and brings together the documents of the Communist Movement in a comprehensive manner. The documents are published here in their exact original form, with no editing whatsoever. An indispensable resource for historians, scholars, journalists and activists. Each volume contains an introductory note by Jyoti Basu and a Foreword by Harkishan Singh
Surjeet.

Given below is a news article that appeared about this book

Stalin’s realpolitik and a departure

The History Commission, set up to write the history of the Indian Communist Movement, reveals uncomfortable truths. From the time the Indian National Congress embarked on Fund Bank-monitored reform, Marxist leaders began emphasising Nehru’s commitment to the public sector and anti-imperialism, writes SANKAR RAY, while Stalin had been the original gravedigger of the socialist system

Muzaffar Ahmed, a deified figure in CPI-M circles would have turned in his grave a year ago, when the History of the Communist Movement in India, Volume I: The Formative Years, 1920-1933 was brought out by the party’s History Commission.

It conceded that the document on the colonial question, “Draft Thesis on the Revolutionary Movement in the Colonies and Semi-colonies”, adopted by the Sixth Congress (1928) of the Communist International (Comintern), isolated the undivided CPI from “the main current of the anti-colonial movement”.

Ever since the formation of the CPI-M in October, 1964, the party for the first time found fault with a document, scripted by the president of the Colonial Commission, OV Kuusinen, as desired by Josef Stalin. The undivided CPI in the 1930s endorsed the formulation, despite the cancerous spread of Fascism in the European democracies.

Octogenarian Communist historian Narahari Kaviraj narrated an incident in 1964, during his detention under the Defence of India Rules at the Dum Dum Jail after the Chinese aggression of 1962. “It was decided by us that Comrade Muzaffar Ahmed aka Kakababu would take a class of senior comrades as an ideological exercise.

“When he defended the Sixth Congress document on the colonial question, I explained that this would mean negation of the “Dimitrov Thesis On An United Front” at the Seventh Congress (1935) of Comintern. But Kakababu stuck to his position. This was the CPI-M’s position during its formative years.”

The CPI-M biggies parroted Ahmed, one of the founders of the Communist Movement in India. Speaking to students at the Communist University of the Toilers of the East in May 1925, Stalin said the compromising section of Indian bourgeoisie “has managed, in the main, a deal with imperialism”. (JV Stalin, Works, Vol 7, p 150).

Seeds of sectarian and the unrealistic decolonisation thesis were sown, directly in opposition to the “Thesis On The National and Colonial Question”, scripted by Vladimir Lenin at Comintern’s Second Congress (1920) which accepted the document.
Lenin harped on the “dual role” of colonial bourgeoisie ~ one of opposition to the alien rule and the other of compromise with the Raj.

Which is why he advised eastern Communists to strike a “temporary alliance” with the colonial bourgeoisie, while upholding the “independent class role” to make an impression on the workers and oppressed people.

A former Naxalite, physically poisoned and partially disabled during detention in the early 1970s, like numerous comrades inspired by Mao Zedong , expected the CPI-M leadership to initiate a debate within the party network, right down to the branch committee levels, after a significant admission by the History Commission, constituted in 2002 to write the history of the Indian Communist Movement. But his expectation was belied.

This default was to him a silent consent to the “end of ideology” from AK Gopalan Bhavan, headquarters of the CPI-M in New Delhi.
Contextually, the end of ideology and partyless democracy were ideological overtures against the Communists and Left-wing democrats in the West at the Milan Congress (1955) of the now-defunct Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF).

Strangely, these two ideas were frequently mentioned by Jayaprakash Narayan during his battle against the authoritarianism of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1974-75, though the CCF was wound up in the early 1970s when a former CIA agent alleged that the Milan jamboree was CIA-funded.

Pragmatism often dictates the CPI-M leadership. It appears that the AKG Bhavan finds an open discussion on the History Commission’s crucial admission too risky to manage the party structure with about 800,000 members. After all, in the formative period, the CPI-M’s fire-eating leaders such as P Sundarayya, M Basavapunnaiah, Harkishan Singh Surjeet and Promode Dasgupta ridiculed the rival CPI leaders for their softness towards Nehru and indicted the Communist Party of Soviet Union on the strength of the Sixth Congress document.

Rather the draft thesis was for them a shot in the arm in inspiring the rank and file to oppose the post-Stalin Moscow line of support to anti-imperialist leaders such as Jawaharlal Nehru, Houari Boumediene, Sirimavo Bandaranaike and Kwame Nkruma.
The Soviet position followed the new position of the CPSU at its 20th Congress (1956) where Nikita Khruschev unveiled misdeeds of Stalin in his secret speech on the last day of the congress.

Dr Sobhanlal Dutta Gupta, Surendranath Banerjee, professor of political science, University of Calcutta, in his pathbreaking archival work Comintern and the Destiny of Communism in India :1919-1943: Dialectics of Real and a Possible History (Kolkata, 2006) revealed that Stalin revived the Left-sectarian supplementary thesis of MN Roy, which was virtually rejected at the Second Congress (1920).

In other words, in a zealous bid to move towards the sectarian position, Stalin buried Lenin’s “Preliminary Draft Thesis on National and Colonial Questions” at the same congress which accepted Comintern.

Ludicrously enough, a reviewer of the History Commission’s first volume, frantically tried to rationalise the blind imitation of Stalin’s thesis by the CPI in the 1930s and the CPI-M from its birth and wrote, “A resurgence of the Communist Movement after 1932 was precisely because of disappointments with civil disobedience and Gandhian nationalism.

“The nationalist bourgeoisie had yet to show enough courage and the radical phase of the Congress was still in the future.”

Never did the Indian National Congress, the main party of colonial bourgeoisie, discontinue its movement for freedom, maybe with vacillations, consistent with his class interests.
After all, Mahatma Gandhi clamped the Quit India notice on the Raj in 1942. How could a party that had gone over to the camp of colonialists and imperialists do this?
The History Commission’s admission is the beginning of silent de-Stalinisation in the CPI-M. Small wonder, from the time the INC embarked on Fund Bank-monitored reform, CPI-M leaders began emphasising Nehru’s commitment to the public sector and anti-imperialism. Fortunately for the CPI-M, Kakababu was not alive.

CPI-M and CPI rank and file may be stupefied to note that apologists of the US imperialism believed that Stalin was the grave-digger of the socialist system, and neither Khruschev nor Mikhail Gorbachov was primarily responsible for destruction of mankind’s first non-exploitative social order.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, US national security adviser during the era of President Jimmy Carter and now with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, USA, in an interview to Tang Yong, Washington correspondent of Renminribao, official daily of the Chinese Communist Party, on 20 March, said bluntly that the “break-up” of the Soviet Union was predicted by him in 1950 in his Master’s thesis. Here is the relevant extract.

Tang Yong: You once predicted the break-up of the Soviet Union along the lines of nationality in your Master’s thesis. Right?
Brzezinski: Yes!
Tang Yong: How could you make such a farsighted prediction?
Brzezinski: That was not a very difficult prediction for me since I was conscious of the importance of history.
Tang Yong: How old were you at that time?
Brzezinski: I was twenty.
Tang Yong: Very young man!
Brzezinski: Yes.
Tang Yong: In which year?
Brzezinski: This was in 1950. I felt that the Soviet Union was pretending to be a single state but in fact it was a multinational empire in the age of nationalism. So the Soviet Union would break up. Later in my life, I was in a position to advocate policies designed to accelerate that process.

(“Agenda for Constructive American-Chinese Dialogue Huge: Brzezinski, 20 March, 2006” http://english.people daily.com.cn/200
603/20/eng20060320_25 1953.
html)

Paul Sweezy, arguably one of the best Marxist economists in the post-Lenin era, prefacing the Japanese edition of his Post-Revolutionary Society in 1990, wrote , referring to Perestroika and the collapse of the East European socialist states that “a qualitative break had occurred during the early Stalin era, leading to the emergence of a class-exploitative system of a new kind ~ neither capitalism nor socialism”.

In 1970, in a polemical response to Charles Bettelheim, Sweezy in another treatise, On the Transition to Socialism, identified that “the bureaucratic Stalinist political system rather than central planning … constituted the real weakness of Soviet society”.

A bureaucratically administered economy prevented politicisation of the masses. Instead of utilisation of the creative mood of workers for augmenting an “initiative and responsibility” to consolidate the socialist order, conditions were recreated during the Stalin era for “commodity fetishism”, together with “false and alienated consciousness. It is, I submit, the road back to class domination and ultimately the restoration of capitalism”, scanned Sweezy.

The April-June, 1996 issue of the CPI-M’s theoretical journal, The Marxist, reprinted the legendary British Communist Rajani Palme Dutt’s lecture, “The Treatment of History” (delivered at the Moscow University in 1962). Reminding Lenin’s rationale behind naming the Pravda daily, (pravda being truth in Russian), he said: “Our weapon is the truth. The weapon of Marxism is that truth.”
Suppression of truth, AKG Bhavan mandarins must agree, cannot be a tactical justification.

(The author is a freelance writer.)

Link

Mao – 30 years on

September 28, 2006
Mao – Thirty years on

Aljazeera has a special series on Chairman Mao
Click Here to read all of them

Did Mao Really Kill Millions in the Great Leap Forward?

September 22, 2006

Did Mao Really Kill Millions in the Great Leap Forward?
by Joseph Ball

Over the last 25 years the reputation of Mao Zedong has been seriously undermined by ever more extreme estimates of the numbers of deaths he was supposedly responsible for. In his lifetime, Mao Zedong was hugely respected for the way that his socialist policies improved the welfare of the Chinese people, slashing the level of poverty and hunger in China and providing free health care and education.

Mao’s theories also gave great inspiration to those fighting imperialism around the world. It is probably this factor that explains a great deal of the hostility towards him from the Right. This is a tendency that is likely to grow more acute with the apparent growth in strength of Maoist movements in India and Nepal in recent years, as well as the continuing influence of Maoist movements in other parts of the world.

chairman mao great leap forward

Most of the attempts to undermine Mao’s reputation centre around the Great Leap Forward that began in 1958. It is this period that this article is primarily concerned with. The peasants had already started farming the land co-operatively in the 1950s. During the Great Leap Forward they joined large communes consisting of thousands or tens of thousands of people. Large-scale irrigation schemes were undertaken to improve agricultural productivity.

Mao’s plan was to massively increase both agricultural and industrial production. It is argued that these policies led to a famine in the years 1959-61 (although some believe the famine began in 1958). A variety of reasons are cited for the famine. For example, excessive grain procurement by the state or food being wasted due to free distribution in communal kitchens. It has also been claimed that peasants neglected agriculture to work on the irrigation schemes or in the famous “backyard steel furnaces” (small-scale steel furnaces built in rural areas).

Mao admitted that problems had occurred in this period. However, he blamed the majority of these difficulties on bad weather and natural disasters. He admitted that there had been policy errors too, which he took responsibility for.

Official Chinese sources, released after Mao’s death, suggest that 16.5 million people died in the Great Leap Forward. These figures were released during an ideological campaign by the government of Deng Xiaoping against the legacy of the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. However, there seems to be no way of independently, authenticating these figures due to the great mystery about how they were gathered and preserved for twenty years before being released to the general public.

American researchers managed to increase this figure to around 30 million by combining the Chinese evidence with extrapolations of their own from China’s censuses in 1953 and 1964. Recently, Jung Chang and Jon Halliday in their book Mao: the Unknown Story reported 70 million killed by Mao, including 38 million in the Great Leap Forward.

Western writers on the subject have taken a completely disproportionate view of the period, mesmerized, as they are, by massive death toll figures from dubious sources. They concentrate only on policy excesses and it is likely that their views on the damage that these did are greatly exaggerated. There has been a failure to understand how some of the policies developed in the Great Leap Forward actually benefited the Chinese people, once the initial disruption was over.

U.S. state agencies have provided assistance to those with a negative attitude to Maoism (and communism in general) throughout the post-war period. For example, the veteran historian of Maoism Roderick MacFarquhar edited The China Quarterly in the 1960s. This magazine published allegations about massive famine deaths that have been quoted ever since.

It later emerged that this journal received money from a CIA front organisation, as MacFarquhar admitted in a recent letter to The London Review of Books. (Roderick MacFarquhar states that he did not know the money was coming from the CIA while he was editing The China Quarterly.)

Those who have provided qualitative evidence, such as eyewitness accounts cited by Jasper Becker in his famous account of the period Hungry Ghosts, have not provided enough accompanying evidence to authenticate these accounts. Important documentary evidence quoted by Chang and Halliday concerning the Great Leap Forward is presented in a demonstrably misleading way.

Evidence from the Deng Xiaoping regime Mao that millions died during the Great Leap Forward is not reliable. Evidence from peasants contradicts the claim that Mao was mainly to blame for the deaths that did occur during the Great Leap Forward period.

U.S. demographers have tried to use death rate evidence and other demographic evidence from official Chinese sources to prove the hypothesis that there was a “massive death toll” in the Great Leap Forward (i.e. a hypothesis that the “largest famine of all time” or “one of the largest famines of all time” took place during the Great Leap Forward). However, inconsistencies in the evidence and overall doubts about the source of their evidence undermine this “massive death toll” hypothesis.

The More Likely Truth About the Great Leap Forward

The idea that “Mao was responsible for genocide” has been used as a springboard to rubbish everything that the Chinese people achieved during Mao’s rule. However, even someone like the demographer Judith Banister, one of the most prominent advocates of the “massive death toll” hypothesis has to admit the successes of the Mao era.

She writes how in 1973-5 life expectancy in China was higher than in Africa, the Middle East, South Asia and many countries in Latin America 1. In 1981 she co-wrote an article where she described the People’s Republic of China as a ‘super-achiever’ in terms of mortality reduction, with life expectancy increasing by approximately 1.5 years per calendar year since the start of communist rule in 1949 2. Life expectancy increased from 35 in 1949 to 65 in the 1970s when Mao’s rule came to an end.

Read the full article

26 Years of Gua Firing: Some Reflections, a report from PUCL

September 18, 2006

*26 Years of Gua Firing: Some Reflections*

*The history of India is really the history of people who never wrote the
history. It’s not the colonial history, nor is it the history of the Gandhis or
Nehrus. *

Edward Said (1999)

The brutal Gua firing completed 26 years yesterday September 08 2006. This mail
is a remembrance as well as homage to those Adivasis died fighting in defense of
their land in Democratic Republic of India in 1980. Fight of Adivasis in defense
of forest continues till today. In fact it has it has intensified to new level.
Jharkhand today is a separate State but it is in the era where in imperialist
forces are tightening their loop around adivasis, Dalits and other common People
of Jharkhand.

The resistance is no longer restricted only to Gua but has spread out
through all over Jharkhand. Forest continued to be preyed upon by corporate as
Jharkhand State has signed Memorandum of Understandings MoUs with 44 corporate
houses from all over the World.

The capitalist model of development is seeking to strengthen its roots through repressive means. Considering the resistance offered by Adivasis and Dalits in the form of ‘Janta Curfews’ at the village levels the history of Police violence is all set to repeat itself many more times.

State have aligned itself with corporate and peoples solidarity have
become strong. The confrontations between the two sides are bound to create
history to be written in letter of blood. Tatas have proved it can do it on the
very next day of New Year 2006 in Orissa’s Kalinganagar. It had done so while
establishing Jamshedpur 100 years before that when Santhal Adivasis were whipped
to death space cleared to establish Jamshedpur city. Kalamatti then was given a
new name after the founder of one of the most brutal industrial houses India has
ever produced – Jamshedji Tata.

And it is Tatas that who are involved in bulldozing Gua Adivasis under mining bulldozers in Gua. Tatas are our very own Indian company who are involved in genocides of our very own Indian, most peace loving people on earth –
the Adivasis.

Yet the Indian State sought to make every one believe that Tatas and adivasis
are equal in the spirit of Indian Constitution to the tune of ‘Vande Mataram’ on
the 26th Anniversary of Gua firing yesterday. And the fascist forces to whom
Corporate rule is most dear of everything, decidedly implemented the agenda to
forget the Gua firing with Malegaon bomb blasts. So from next year focus will
shift from the contradictions at the base of economy to superstructure. The
attempt is clearly to burry the public memory of the Gua firing. It will be a
deciding factor of borders between the two contentious forces as two organised
religions.

While Gua firing reminds us that the boundary of fight is between an
organised Corporate-State nexus versus the Adivasis. Corporate always benefits
from the fascists onslaughts. If not then check out the history of any of the
German companies as to whom they were politically aligning themselves at the
time of Nazi dictatorship in Germany. Corporate besides benefiting from
repression of Trade Unions and Progressive Intellectuals also were fed with
human products that came out of Holocaust as raw material for industry.

We have entered in a decisive phase of our contemporary times where in the
politics of memory and memory of politics is being played out on Public memory.
It is now upon you and me to collectively decipher the events unfolding in
complex manner in front of us and intervene decisively. Silence at this point is
lethal for us as community.

It is in this context that enormous significance gets attached to the twenty-sixth anniversary of Gua firing. The major motivation for corporate onslaught is increased consumption of Steel in urban centers of the world including India. Yet urban India refuses to acknowledge this and continue to align itself with the corporate in its consumption pattern.

Earlier the urban India becomes conscious of this fact better it is or the
contradictions are bound to widen further.

Here is a report prepared in 1981 by Peoples Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) to
refresh your memory as to what happened on that fateful day on September 08
1980.

Sebastian Rodrigues with inputs from BIRSA team in Chaibasa and Ranchi.

……………………………………………………………

PUCL Bulletin June 1981

*Gua*
On Monday, September 8, 1980, eight tribals were gunned down by the Bihar
Military Police in a hospital compound in the south Bihar mining town of Gua.
The incident was bizarre-and not unjustifiably likened to the Jallianwala
massacre-for obvious reasons. The police fired without provocation and without
authority; they fired on unarmed and wounded adivasis who were awaiting medical
attention inside a hospital; and what is even worse, senior doctors present at
the time did nothing to stop them.

This dastardly act was a sequel to a police firing in the township on a peaceful
crowd of 3000 adivasis gathered to protest against police harassment. According
to official figures, three adivasis died there. Of course, a large number were
injured; the wounded were not brought for medical aid for reasons that are too
obvious to state. However, a visit to just five villages neighbouring Gua in
December last year revealed that 14 people were still missing. Local people put
the figure of adivasis killed at around 100.

For months prior to the protest meeting, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha had been
spearheading the much misunderstood “jungle kato” movement in Singhbhum
district. Contrary to the official propaganda mounted against it, its aim was
not the destruction of forests. The adivasis wanted to reclaim their lands lost
to the British during the rebellions of the last hundred years. All that has
remained to mark their lost habitations are “sarangs”, or memorial stones in the
forests, indicating the burial grounds of their ancestors. Increasingly denied
access to forest produce in recent years, faced with continued exploitation from
moneylenders, contractors and the local officials, the adivasis had no choice
but to try and reclaim their lost lands or face starvation.

The growth of the tribal movement in Singhbhum invoked the wrath of the State
apparatus which represents the interests of the local power groups. A large
contingent of the Bihar Military Police was posted in the area. In a style
characteristic of the paramilitary forces, they exercised their punitive
authority over the tribals. The policemen would lift fowl and vegetables from
the villages without payment and indiscriminately arrest people.

To protest against this behaviour of the BMP, the adivasis organised a protest
meeting at Qua aerodrome on the afternoon of September 8 under the aegis of the
Jharkhand Mukti Morcha. A contingent of the BMP arrived on the scene-along with
two magistrates-and encircled the crowd. The magistrates sought to pacify the
police who insisted that the tribals stop their march through the town towards
the office of the Block Development Officer to whom they proposed to present
their memorandum. The adivasis agreed to cancel their march. They insisted,
however, on holding their meeting in the local market square as planned, after
which they promised to disperse. They handed over their memorandum to the
magistrate present. The police left.

At the meeting, as soon as the first speaker started addressing the crowd the
police force returned. They surrounded the gathering with upraised rifles; they
forcibly dragged away the speaker to their waiting jeep and arrested other
adivasi leaders. The adivasis were incensed. There was an altercation-and a
clash. The police fired 37 rounds; the adivasis retaliated with their bows and
arrows which they customarily carry with them. Three adivasis and four policemen
died on the spot. The police then transported their injured to the Gua Mines
Hospital, half a kilometre away from the bazar The tribals too carried their
wounded there. They were made to deposit their bows and arrows at the gate; they
were asked to lay the injured under the tree in the hospital compound to await
the doctors. Before they knew what was happening, the BMP officials had opened
fire again on these helpless adivasis. All eight died on the spot.

Official sources admitted the “deterrent action” was a result of the decision
arrived at on August 30 at Patna at a high-level meeting of officials attended
by the Forest Minister The Minister is believed to have said : “We have to stop
this at all costs”.

In the months that-followed this incident, police jeeps would raid the villages
in the area, in search of supporters of the JMM which is leading a movement for
a separate Jharkhand state. They broke into huts at night, beat up the
residents, stole the belongings of the adivasis, molested and, in a number of
cases, raped women. Terror stalked the Singhbhum countryside for months
afterwards. The moment a jeep arrives in a village, the inhabitants,
particularly the women, disappear into the surrounding Saranda forest.

Sourced from http://www.pucl.org/from-archives/81june/case-studies.htm

Legacy and History of Indian Maoism – A Tribute to Tarimala Nagi Reddy and the Telangana Armed Struggle

September 16, 2006

A couple of day’s ago Mr Thakor , a research scholar based in Mumbai
mailed me his research work which I am reproducing here.

I would like to thank Mr Thakor on behalf of all readers of Naxalrevolution
for sharing his excellent research work with us


Legacy of Indian Maoism-A Tribute to Tarimala Nagi Reddy’s 30th death anniversary and the 60 th anniversary of the launching of the Telengana Armed Struggle.

An extract from the research article

1.Telangana Armed Struggle

In 1946 a red Letter was written in the history of the Indian Communist Movement. This event was the Telengana Armed Struggle led by the Andhra Pradesh Unit of the Communist Party of India.Thousands of acres of land were redistributed.Mass revolutionary line was practiced. The relationship between the agrarian revolutionary Movement and the armed struggle and formation of the peoples army was established and the issue of armed revolution and the principle of forming a people’s army based in the agrarian mass revolutionary programme and movement. was formulated.

The struggle suffered political defeat, not because of class enemies and the state ,but at the hands of the revisionist policies of the general staff of the C.P.I.
The C.P.I.leadership withdrew the Struggle and veered it towards the parliamentary path. The foundation for the Struggle was the meticulous mass work carried out between the years 1941-1946 ,similar to the launching of the Chinese peasant armed revolutionary struggle.

In 1948 a historic letter was written in Andhra on 9th July called the Andhra thesis., which highlighted that the Indian revolution would follow the Chinese path of ,of protracted peoples armed struggle with the peasants being the main force. The Indian economy was characterized as semi-colonial and semi-feudal., the peasant question as the core of Indian revolution, and the stage of revolution as ‘New Democratic’.

When the document was written the Telengana Struggle was at it’s peak. The concept of the united front with the middle and rich peasants was advocated. Resistance bases of the Chinese Type were to be formed The guerilla Warfare was deployed to defend the land and the village Soviets. Land was distributed in 3000 villages and the guerilla squads launched significant armed struggle against the Nizam’s army and the Razakars.The police sided with the Razakars and in retaliation the guerilla squads began to attack the police. The police used to attack in the day, while the people would retaliate at night.

The socio-economic conditions prevalent in Hyderabad stae led by the Nizam led to the uprising.Hyderbad was a multi-lingual state

4 factors influenced the movement:

1. Hyderabad was a multi-lingual state comprising 3 linguistic units, the Telegu speakingregion, the Marathi Speaking Region and the Urdu Speaking region.

2. The continuous conflict between the Muslim Rulers and the Hindu Subjects. The Muslims though comprising 12%of the population, occupied most of the high posts in the State.

3. 60% of landholdings were under the governmental revenue system known as Diwani, 30% under the Jagirdari system and the remaining 10% were the Nizam’s own estate. Agricultural labourers and tenants were subjected to merciless exploitation.

4. A forced labour termed “Vetti’ was imposed on the tribals and backward communities. Each family had to send one member of the family for labour. No money was paid to him in cash or kind.

5. The Conditions of the working class were awful.

6. The British monopoly of Indian Resources at the beginning of the 2nd World War were increased.

1000’s of acres of land was distributed in People’s Courts. Guilty landlords were tried and people’s Self defence Corpses defended the villages from attacks of Army and Police. Nehru sent the Army in and ruthlessly crushed the Uprising. This long protracted Struggle had set up village Committees which facilitated re-distribution of land to the landless and poor peasants. The Vetti System was virtually abolished. The capitulationism of the Communist Party of India to electoral politics led to the surrender of the Armed Struggle.

2. Tarimala Nagi Reddy

On 28 th July this year the Indian Communist Revolutionary Movement will be observing the 30th death anniversary of Comrade Tarimala Nagi Reddy. His contribution to the Indian Communist Revolutionary Movement was invaluable In the 50th year since the U.S.S R. became revisionist his struggle is more noteworthy.(1n 1956 Kruschev introduced his class –collaborationist line)

He was born in a wealthy family on February 11th 1917.His schooling was done in the Theosophical and Rishi Valley schools which were reknowned for their discipline and all –round development of personality. Here he learnt about the dignity of labour ,which was professed by the schools. This teaching set the trend for his revolutionary career. He meticulously studied Marxist –Lenisnst theory and moulded himself with revolutionary consciousness.Remarkably he launched a struggle against the landlord of is own family.

Comrade Nagi Reddy’s political ideas were not tolerated by the governing body of the Madras Loyoal college ,thus he moved to Benarus Hindu University,where he had greater avenues to express his political thought. Making untiring efforts he led the student masses towards nationalist politics, socialist ideas and proletarian revolution.Inspite of carrying the burden of leading the student’s movement and participating in the secret organization of the party, his upper-class background prevented him from attaining party membership early.In 1939,the Communist Party of India had full faith in Nagi Reddy’s proletarian revolutionary qualities ,a nd awarded him party membership.

Marge Grower ,the then vice-chancellor of Delhi University ,openly challenged the national slogan for the formation of a constituent assembly.Comrade.T.N,openly opposed this,being the leader of the Students Union.Fascinatingly,the Indian Congress leadr Gandhi opposed himGandhi wrote a letterto the Vice –Chancelor of the B.H.U.to demand an apology from T.N.T,T.opposed it andw as thus failed in his law examinations.

Angered T.N.left the college and returned to his village. He started organizing students and youth into the Communist Movement. Several youth were attracted to Comrade T.N’s simple, down-to –earth style of explaining politics and economics. This made the Congress leaders helpless.(They opposed the Communists in the Freedom Struggle)

Download the entire research article below

Right click and give ” Save link as “

—Click Here—(900 KB – 169 pages)

Article also published on Antiimerialista

RELATED LINKS

Watch the movie Maa Bhoomi which is based on the Telangana Peasant Armed Strugge

Maa Bhooomi – Our Land

Maoist Movement in Andhra Pradesh

August 17, 2006

Economic and Political Weekly July 22, 2006

Maoist Movement in Andhra Pradesh

In a situation marked by severe state repression of the Maoist
movement in Andhra Pradesh, violent retaliation by the
Maoists, and the state’s brutal counter-attack (led by
the greyhounds) to gain the upper hand, the Maoists are finding it
difficult to retain the support of the next generation
of the most oppressed. State-encouraged gangs, calling themselves
tigers and cobras have unleashed private vengeance, which has played
a major role in immobilising the substantial over-ground support of the
movement. But above all is the tragic loss of the lives of organic leaders
from among the most oppressed.

by K BALAGOPAL

Birpur, near the Godavari river in the northern corner of Karimnagar
district, is the native village of Muppalla Lakshmana Rao, better known
as Ganapathi, the general secretary of the central committee of the
Communist Party of India (Maoist). Before a road-building
mania took over the state in the regime of
Chandrababu Naidu, it was a village difficult
to access.

Today it is accessible by a black-top road from the temple town of
Dharmapuri on the incompletely laid out National Highway No16 from
Nizamabad in Telangana to Jagdalpur in Chhattisgarh.
As you approach Birpur from Dharmapuri,
you see at the entrance of the village a fresh white memorial with
two pigeons atop, evidently intended to symbolise peace. The
white colour of the memorial and the
pigeons on top are in contrast to the hundreds
of red memorials with the hammer and
sickle on top that are strewn all over Telangana.

It was built recently by the police to signify what the police gleefully
regard as their decisive achievement in gaining an upper hand
over the Maoists in their major stronghold, the Godavari
river basin of northern Telangana. That it was built in the village
of the top Maoist leader and inaugurated by the most unlikely
symbol of peace, the superintendent of police, Karimnagar, is a
juvenile gesture that could have easily seemed merely tasteless
in a different context, but in fact symbolises
a disquieting fact: the politically juvenile
attitude of successive governments in
Andhra Pradesh towards the Naxalites.

Peace per se would be desired by many people in the area. But very
few are gleeful that the Maoists have been pushed back
as never before. May be they are unrealistic but the ordinary people
in their majority would want that the Maoists should be
around, guns and all, but there should be
peace in the sense of a life free of fear from
this side or that.

At the height of the six month farce of talks between the Maoists
and the government of Andhra Pradesh in
the second half of 2004, a common apprehension heard in most of
the long-term strongholds of the Naxalites was that the
talks was a good thing and it was hoped that some reduction of
violence would result from it, but “they won’t leave us and
go away, will they”?.

The fact is that in much of this area the first time the common
people experienced anything resembling justice was when the
Naxalite movement spread there and taught
people not to take injustice lying down.

Unlike the rest of the state where the Naxalites spread through
the armed squads, in northern Telangana there was a clear
period in the late 1970s and early 1980s of the last century when it
was the mass organisations, mainly the agricultural
labourers associations and the student and
youth fronts, that were the instrument for
the spread of Maoism as an ideology and
a political practice.

The phase was soon to pass and the people would start depending
on the armed squads for justice but the sense of attainability of
justice was a fundamental change. In very plain terms
the oppressors of local society, whether
upper caste landlords or insensitive public
officials, started dreading the wrath, initially of the awakened
masses, and later of the well-armed squads composed of cadre born
and brought up in poor families of the very
same villages.

Today the old landlords are no longer there but new local elites have
come up and there is this fear that if the Naxalites go away,
“the poor cannot survive”. It is a matter of choice whether one
sees this as revolution in the mould of Robinhood, or merely as
one instance in the saga of a Maoist long march, which
is not to be freezed into a representative
moment.

State Repression

From the very beginning the attitude of the governments in Andhra
Pradesh was one of extreme hostility. Police camps
were set up in villages and the poor were
tortured most inhumanly.

It was always an explicitly political assault. The policemen
in charge of the areas never made secret of the fact that they were
not merely “maintaining law and order” as the expression
goes. They had the political task of protecting the landlords and
the medieval mould of society and they were executing
the task. The underground Naxalite activists
were no doubt armed, but their violence in those days was by and large
selective and in any case not much in
extent. On the other hand, it is said by everyone who knows -
including police officers at retirement – that the fight of
the Naxalites in those days was against
what is generally referred to as feudal domination, and the economic
oppression of the poor, and in this they were remarkably
successful.

Abolition of ‘begar’ and payment of some thing close to minimum
wages, two, impeccably constitutional tasks, were performed by
the Naxalites. The fight for land was not so successful
since the police would not allow the land left behind by runaway
landlords to be cultivated by the poor. Such land by and
large remains fallow to this day, but it is
not a very significant matter either way
because as a proportion of the total cultivable area of the districts, or
the land needed by the landless, it is slight in
extent.

More would be added to such fallow land in the days to
come when cultivation of land would be forcibly
stopped by the Naxalites, not to take over the unconscionable acres
of landlords, but as a measure of punishment imposed on
any landed person for having harmed their
cause, but even so the “land struggle” in the plains areas was not
an achievement of any moment. The encouragement
given to tribals in the forests to cut down the reserve forests and
cultivate the land was far and away the most successful
land struggle of the Naxalites, and not
any struggle against landlords.

Its extent in the five districts of Adilabad,
Warangal, Khammam, East Godavari and Visakhapatnam has been
plaintively estimated by the government as upwards of
four lakh acres, counting together the achievement of all the
Naxalite parties. However, after about the first decade and
a half the Naxalite parties came round to the view that beyond a point
such a land struggle is harmful to the forest-dwellers
themselves, and have since the mid-1990s
imposed quite a successful ban on the cutting of forests.

It is tempting to speculate what would
have been the result if the government had
appreciated this phase of the Naxalite struggle for what it was,
and responded by means other than repression. Forgetting
class interests and all that, and accepting the arguments made at
face value, one would perforce describe as one-sided the
argument that it would have legitimised
the use of violence for social/political ends,
which is unacceptable in a democracy.

A blanket condonation of the use of violence
by a group that lives by its own norms, which are enforceable
only by itself is no doubt unacceptable in any society, even
when it is declared to be for the good of the oppressed, but the
contrary argument that a positive response from the government
would perhaps have delegitimised the argument for revolutionary
violence was never considered. That was no doubt
not an innocent lapse, and the rulers had
their reasons for that.

The upshot was heavy repression on the Naxalite movement, in
particular the rural poor who were part of the movement or
its social base. Extremes of torture and
incarceration in unlawful police custody, destruction of houses and
despoliation of drinking water wells and fields, framing
of severe criminal cases en masse were the
norm.

And “encounter” killings began from where they left off the day
the internal emergency was lifted. It would again be
interesting to speculate what would have been the result if the
Maoists had decided not to hit back but concentrate
on exposing the anti-poor bias of the
government and extend their mass activity to a point that would
have given their aspiration for state power a solid mass
base. It would no doubt have been painful,
but the alternative has not been any less painful.

Maoists Hit Back

As it happened, the Maoists hit back. The first killing of a policeman
took place in June 1985 at Dharmapuri in Karimnagar
district. And then a sub-inspector of police was killed at Kazipet in
Warangal district on September 2 that year.

That was followed the next day by plainclothes policemen
going in a procession behind the subinspector’s
dead body killing Ramanadham, a senior civil rights activist, in his
clinic. “Encounters” increased and decapitation
of the limbs of police informers
followed. The police acquired better weapons and the Maoists
followed suit.

Sizeable paramilitary forces were sent to the state in the mid-1990s
but the terror they created was such that they were soon
sent back. Not, however, before they had a taste of the Naxalites’
newly acquired proficiency in blowing up police vehicles
at will.

Almost from the mid-1980s brutal
special police forces meant for eliminating Naxalites came into
being and were allowed to operate totally incognito, the most
successful being the greyhounds, which is
a well trained anti-guerrilla force that lives and operates as the
Naxalites’ armed squads
do and is bound by no known law, including
the Constitution of India.

The armed squads soon became the
focal point of the activity of the Maoists, barring the two
short periods when they were allowed freedom to conduct their
political activity, both significantly in the immediate aftermath
of the Congress Party coming to
power after prolonged Telugu Desam rule, leading to credible
speculation about some pre-election agreement between the Congress
and the Maoists (known till two years
ago as the Communist Party of India
(Marxist-Leninist) (Peoples War)).

Soon the Maoists declared the whole of northern Telangana,
and the eastern ghat hills to the north of the Godavari river,
guerrilla zones, followed later by a similar
proclamation for the Nallamala forests in the Krishna basin to
the south. With this the changed context of the movement was
formalised.

The immediate economic and social problems of the masses took a back
seat and the battle for supremacy with the state became the central
instance of the struggle. This brought its own imperatives,
which were no longer immediately congruent with the needs of the
masses who continued to be the base of the Maoists.

So much so that while the youth in the areas of their activity look
upon them as militant heroes even when they do not approve of
them, it is the elderly who talk of them with
affection. It is the parents’ generation that
remembers the days when begar used to be demanded by the
landlord and a pittance paid for wage labour. Many of the youth
frankly say, they may be valiant fighters, but what have they done
for us except to bring the police to our villages?

The state has its difficulties dealing with mass movements but it has
tested strategies for dealing with armed struggles. It creates
informers and agents for itself from the
very masses the insurgency claims to
represent.

That is not difficult with the money and resources of power available
with the state. This is a trap the militants fall into. They kill or
otherwise injure those agents and informers and thereby
antagonise more of their own mass base,
in turn enabling the state to have more agents and informers.
Without exception, all militant movements have killed more
people of their own social base than their purported enemy classes.

This may be taken as one of the invariant laws of the sociology
of armed insurgencies. The very fact that this is true of the Naxalites,
the most politically sensitive of all insurgents, is
proof enough. And this is true even without the impatience that
comes with being armed, which results in more violence
against dissenters among your own people.

It is not as if they no longer addressed themselves to the social and
economic problems of the poor. They did and they
continue to do, but notwithstanding their claim that the village
committees (often semi-secret) established by them deal with
these problems, though not in the open as
in the past, the overwhelming reality, except
in totally isolated villages – and totally isolated areas such as the
Abujmarh hills of Bastar – where such committees can
actually function, is that it is the armed
squads that deal with the problems.

And they too often deal with them in a rough and ready manner made
easy by the fact that there is no possibility of any opposition
to them in society, so long as the police are taken care of. The people
for their part have come to look up to the squads as a
substitute for their own struggle for justice.

This has, on the one hand, created more enemies – victims of
revolutionary arbitrariness – than they need have made, and,
on the other, corrupted the masses into receivers of justice rather
than fighters for it. You only have to report to the militants
and get them to put up posters with appropriate
demands and threats, and you will get what you want, provided
that in the meanwhile the police have not made it
impossible for the militants to come to your area to hear your
pleas and put up posters.

Then, of course, you wait till the militants turn the tables on the police.
But even where such issues are addressed, the central place in the
practice of the Maoists has been taken up by the guerrilla
struggle against the state, aimed at weakening
its hold to a point where the area
can be considered a liberated zone.

This requires a range of acts of violence, which have no direct
relation to the immediate realisation of any rights for the masses,
though the resulting repression invariably hits at the masses.
The Maoists have developed considerable expertise of a
military character, which is admired even by policemen in private,
even as their political development has stagnated. The
state has met this with even more brutal violence, which has
bred further violence from the Maoists.

For at least about a decade now, each year has seen between
300 to 400 deaths in this gruesome game. The ability of the
state to obtain information on an extensive
scale, thanks partly to its resources, partly to the demise of values
at all levels in society, including the lower-most, and
partly to the large number of enemies
created by the Maoists around themselves
in the course of their battle with the state, the state’s ability for
the same reasons to inject covert operatives into the Maoist
ranks, and the very successful forays of the greyhounds deep
into the forests, has resulted in its establishing a clear upperhand
in this killing game for the present.

Retaining Support of the Next
Generation

But the difficulties faced by the Maoists do not end here. To discuss
the rest of them requires attention to considerations that
Marxism at its best would find difficult to deal with, given the lack of
any attention to an understanding of the human subject
of history other than the practically useless
profundity that “”t makes itself while making
history”. And Maoism is not Marxism at its best, at any rate for
this purpose.

The strategy of providing armed support to the aspirations of the
masses succeeds at the first round without much difficulty, once
willing cadre are found, in areas historically subjected to extremes
of deprivation and oppression and neglected by governance.

But the very success means that a new generation is created, which
is freed from the severe disabilities its parents suffered from, and
is able to see and seize opportunities in the existing polity and
therefore may not be as hospitable to armed struggle as its parents.

The state too learns, and makes some efforts to draw the area
from out of neglect and into what is usually described as
“the mainstream” even as it suppresses the struggle by brute force.
The eagerness to join a life-and-death struggle is usually diluted to
some extent as a consequence. If, at that stage, instead of
toning down the armed component of struggle the radicals proceed
to fight the state over the heads of the masses, the
masses can withdraw further, and even
become resentful.

After the first immense success of the Maoists among the Gonds
of Adilabad district in the late 1970s and early 1980s, from the
next generation that came of age in the1990s one often heard
the honest query: are adivasis the guinea
pigs of revolution?

The temptation to which the Maoists have too often succumbed,
namely, to condemn all such doubt as arising from the
“petty-bourgeois tendencies” of a new elite only makes matters
worse.

In this sense the real challenge for the Maoists is not whether
they can militarily get the better of the greyhounds,
who have a clear upper hand at present, but whether they can
retain active support from one generation to the next
while retaining their Maoist strategy, or
even by recasting it to suit the changes in the needs and aspirations
of the new generation in the changed social context
created by their very activity and the state’s
response to it.

Till now there is no sign of any thinking along these lines. Often the
first thing that happens to people who find political
awakening from a state of dormancy is to turn to a search for their
own social identity, whether caste, tribe or gender. This
has led to many ex-Naxalites becoming
Ambedkarites, or at least sympathisers of Ambedkarism, since any
way the overwhelming majority of them are from the
outcastes or backward castes of Hindu
society.

This does not necessarily mean that they have lost interest in revolution
as the communists understand it. But the Maoists have too often
reacted with a lack of sympathy to this phenomenon. So much
so that while their cadre, and leaders too, except a handful at the
very top, are from the dalit, adivasi or backward communities,
unlike the Parliamentary left which continues
to be a bastion of upper castes, and while
they have in the last few years inducted women into their armed
squads on a scale that will soon probably put to shame the
eternally unfilled promise of one-third reservation in the
legislatures, they remain not only theoretically but practically
too, hostile to any expression of identity politics, seen invariably as
opportunistic deviance.

Instead the Maoist response to stagnation
after the first round has been to transfer attention to a new area
amenable to initiation of their kind of politics – and there
are many such areas, thanks to the utter
neglect of vast regions by governance in the last 50 years, and the
current philosophy of governance which is a philosophy
of non-governance – and do the same
thing again. Other Marxist-Leninist groups have often criticised the
Maoists for this hop, skip and jump mode of revolution but
they have never taken the criticism seriously,
probably regarding their conduct as part of the strategy of
guerrilla struggle.

Leaving aside the political rights and wrongs of it, the practical
consequence has been a rapid spread to new areas such as
the area surrounding the Nallamala and other contiguous forests
in southern coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema. This spread has
been mainly through the guerrilla activity
of armed squads, not preceded by anything
comparable with the mass activity that illuminated and remedied
much of the social and economic oppression people suffered
from in the Godavari basin districts of
northern Telangana.

But the spread has not been as smooth and successful as in northern
Telangana. Whatever Maoist theory may say, the
guerrilla phase of struggle involves establishing armed dominion
over society, often described by the police with exaggeration
as a parallel government. Such dominion is easier to establish in
areas whose social culture is characterised by a certain quiescence
than in factious areas.

The northern Telangana districts, of all the areas of the
state, do exhibit that characteristic whereas the south, especially the
region surrounding the Nallamala forests, is the most factious
area. Armed activity of any kind, with even
the best of intentions, can degenerate easily
into factious violence.

The fate of the Maoists in Anantapur in Rayalaseema is
a classic instance of this. More vitally, armed dominion in factious
areas calls up private vengeance which the state will not
hesitate to encourage. The ‘Nallamala cobras’ who have committed
three murders of democratic activists in the last nine
months and silenced much of democratic activity in the southern
districts constitute brutal proof of this.

We know that each mode of life is found attractive by persons of
certain character traits and in turn encourages certain traits
in those who partake of it. It is a species of conceit that refuses to
see that this applies to political strategies too. To speak
of negative traits alone, just as the Sarvodaya philosophy attracts
a lot of hypocrisy and the parliamentary strategy
of the Communist Party of India and the
Communist Party of India (Marxist) a lot of opportunism, strategies
of militancy attract unruly types who straddle the border
line between rebellion and mere rowdyism.

These types can, and have, caused considerable harm to the Maoists
and have constituted easy subjects for the state’s
tactics of shaping covert operatives inside
their ranks.

Once outside the party they have fit equally well the role of
“renegades” as they are called in Kashmir. The conduct
of the Maoists who leave little room for appeal for persons whom
they brand enemies of the people has in turn created
cadre for the vengeful renegades, and the resulting gangs that call
themselves cobras and tigers of various kinds have played a
major role in immobilising the very substantial
overground support activity the Naxalite movement had.

Decimation of Organic Leaders

This is as far as the story of Maoist revolution has come in Andhra
Pradesh. Since there is little sign of any rethinking on either side,
one has no basis for expressing much hope about the future. What
makes it a tragedy is that the lives of lakhs of people belonging to the
lowest orders of society in terms of community as well
as class are involved in it.

Many dimensions of the tragedy are known or amenable to imagination
but there is one which is not usually commented on. This is that many
if not all of the lives that are being lost
at the hands of the police in this process
are lives that the oppressed can ill afford
to lose.

They are the organic leaders of the class, who have adopted a political
path of their choice. It is not all among the powerless classes that can
dare challenge the system and be ready to pay for it. It
is not everyday that the oppressed produce
such elements from amongst themselves.

The rights or wrongs of their choice has no bearing on the tragedy of
the decimation of this organic leadership. They chose to
be Maoists, but they could have chosen to be something else, and
whichever the choice, they would have added to the
strength of the oppressed.

The daily loss of such persons is a sacrifice the oppressed
cannot be called upon to put up with indefinitely.

Death of the Best and Brightest

August 16, 2006

Not since Tipu Sultan has Karnataka seen such a heroic warrior
like Comrade Saketh Rajan.
If Tipu Sultan was the Tiger of Mysore then Comrade Saketh Rajan
is nothing less than the Lion-heart of Mysore.

The Khaki hyena’s and vulture politicians
who scavenge in Karnataka,remember this-

Today Saketh Rajan may be dead,
but one day he will return,
with millions.

Economic and Political Weekly July 22, 2006

Death of Best and Brightest

By Sagar

Comrade Saketh Rajan

I can still remember his smiling face, full of life, concern
and a deep sincerity that anyone who met him could sense
immediately. Saket Rajan – journalist, historian and social activist
rolled into one – was not someone you could easily forget anyway,
given his charismatic personality or his mission in life as a
communist revolutionary.

My memories of him are from 22 years ago when I was beginning my
career in journalism in Bangalore. Saket, whom I knew through
mutual friends, was just beginning to organise activities of the People’s
War Group or PWG (now CPI Maoist) in Karnataka at that time.

I respected his choice but personally was not very convinced that
the PWG’s almost exclusive emphasis on waging an armed struggle
against the Indian state was the best way to operate in
a diverse country that despite its various problems did offer space
for other more mass-based political activities. We remained friends
but parted ways – with me continuing to be a journalist
and Saket going underground, becoming a Central Committee member
of the PWG and mostly untraceable by people outside his immediate
party circuit.

Karnataka, where Saket operated, was among the few
places where the Maoists emphasised the development of a variety
of mass fronts over the idea of “armed struggle at any cost”.

Saket was of course too creative a person to blindly copy and
apply the “Andhra model” of the PWG in his home state.
These mass fronts have taken up a very wide range of issues from
nuclear power plants to the march of saffron communalism.

In February last year when the Karnataka police brutally murdered
Saket in an alleged “encounter” in Chikmagalur, memories of my
meetings and discussions with him came flooding back. His untimely
and needless death was like a knife turning through my
heart – as indeed it must have been for most of his friends everywhere.

Here was the snuffing out of one more brilliant mind, an extremely
sensitive soul and yet another product of India’s “Naxalite” movement
that has motivated thousands of young Indians to give
up everything, including their lives, fighting for radical social and
political change in the country.

Shame on a society that allows the killing of its best and brightest
in such a wanton manner.

Related posts on Karnataka’s Immortal Son of the Soil
- Comrade Saketh Rajan below

We remember Comrade Saketh Rajan thus we make him Immortal


How Comrade Saketh Rajan was killed in Treachery

I am proud of you my Son ! – Interview with Comrade Saketh Rajan’s mother

Comrade Saketh Rajan – Author of the path breaking
book – “Making History”

Comrade Saketh Rajan’s dedication to his martyred wife Comrade Rajeshwari

The Spring and Its Thunder

August 16, 2006

Economic and Political Weekly July 22, 2006


The Spring and Its Thunder


The presence and growth of the Maoist movement today is
essentially due to the dire socio-economic situation of people living
in the “affected” parts of the country. Like at the time of the
Naxalbari upsurge 39 years ago, even today it is a combination of
stark poverty, an indifferent or even exploitative state machinery
and oppressive feudal/business elites in different parts of the
country that has been at the heart of the Maoist insurgency.

By SAGAR

The mainstream media is full of stories
and analysis about the so-called
“Naxal menace” – and the alleged attempt by Maoists to
create a contiguous liberated corridor cutting through
the tribal dominated belt from Andhra Pradesh to
Bihar through Chhattisgarh, Orissa and
Jharkhand.

Maoist activities have been reported in over 160 districts around
the country in many of which they are trying
to establish “liberation zones” where they dispense state functions
of administration, policing and justice. (Here the reference
to Maoists is exclusively to the CPI (Maoist) formed through merger
of the People’s War Group and the Maoist Communist
Centre in 2004. There are other equally important streams of the
Naxalite movement, chief among which is the CPI(ML)
Liberation group with strongholds in Bihar and presence in many
parts of India.)

What is also worrying many in the Indian establishment is the
growing profile of the Maoists in neighbouring Nepal in recent
months and its implications for the movement’s growth in India.
While the two Maoist movements have good relations
with each other, it is not clear to what extent they have any kind of
active collaboration on the ground.

The Naxal Terror Watch, a right wing blog site that suppo- sedly
monitors Naxalite activity in India claims (quite ridiculously of
course)
that the “PWG’s current goal is to destabilise India and
the subcontinent by a well coordinated strategy with
international
revolutionaries, and support from
Pakistan and China”.

The repeated use of the term “menace”
(as in “Dennis the Menace”) by both the Indian government and media
shows that the Indian state does not want to project
the Maoist movement as too grave a threat as yet or at least does not
want to acknowledge this in public. Another and more
sinister implication of this term however is that Naxalism is to be
considered a nuisance or a problem at the same level
as malaria or encephalitis and the “infectious” Naxalites are to be
stamped out like mosquitoes!
(All the millions of tonnes of DDT used over the decades have not
eradicated malaria in the country, so maybe
there is a lesson in that somewhere.)

In a status paper on the “Naxal problem”, placed in Parliament by
union home minister Shivraj Patil on March 13 this
year the UPA government spelt out a policy to combat the challenge
posed by the “Naxalite menace”. The 14-point policy
stresses the urgency for the states to adopt a collective approach and
pursue a coordinated response to counter the
Naxalites. It emphasises that there will be no peace dialogue by the
affected states with the Naxal groups unless the latter
agree to give up violence and arms.

At the same time the paper acknowledged that the spread of Naxalism
was not merely a law and order problem. “The policy of the
government is to address this menace simultaneously on political,
security, development and public perception management
fronts in a holistic manner”, it said.

Another component of the policy is that it asks political parties to
strengthen their base in Naxal-affected areas so that
the youth could be “weaned away” from the path of Naxal ideology.
More ominously the paper says “Efforts will continue to be
made to promote local resistance groups against Naxalites but in a
manner that the villagers are provided adequate security
cover and the area is effectively dominated
by the security forces”.

The paper is however silent on the recent upsurge in violence between
the state-sponsored vigilante group Salwa Judum and the Maoists
in Chhattisgarh, which has been dubbed
by the media as a virtual “civil war”.

At one level, as even its critics acknowledge, the presence and growth
of the Maoist movement today is essentially due to the
dire socio-economic situation of people
living in the “affected” parts of the country.

Like at the time of the original Naxalbari upsurge 39 years ago, even
today it is this combination of stark poverty, an indifferent
or even exploitative state machinery and oppressive feudal/business
elites in different parts of the country that has been at
the heart of the Maoist insurgency.

Tribal Belt Focus

It is no coincidence at all that the tribal belts of Andhra Pradesh, Orissa,
Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, where the Maoists are
most active, are also among the areas in
the country that have the lowest development indicators.

Though information on the socio-economic profile of the adivasi
population in India is quite sketchy available data shows that maternal
mortality (between 8 and 25 per 1,000) among them
is more than double the rates in the advanced
regions of the country.

Similarly, the infant mortality rates are between 120 and
150, which is more than double the all-India average of 55. All these
adverse health indicators are largely due to inadequate access to the
right foods – iron, protein and micronutrients
such as iodine and vitamins – and lack of
access to healthcare services.

A decade ago, the World Development Report observed,
“The cycle between hunger- disease-low
levels of productivity (measured both in terms of absence from work
as well as duration)-low wages-indebtedness-reduced
consumption levels-disease-is reflective of
how the development process has largely bypassed the tribals”.

Instead of being the harbinger of any kind of meaningful and participatory
development, the Indian state since independence in 1947 has been basically
predatory in the experience of the indigenous
people. The state and its various agents have exploited them, violated
their rights at whim and robbed them not just of resources
but of their very human dignity.

Here I want to clarify the mention of 1947 above, because I think essentially
the marginalisation of indigenous people (and dalits) in this ancient land
of ours has been happening over several millennia
with the various waves of migration from outside thriving on their
outright conquest, displacement or co-option. (To put it in the
framework of Hindu mythology what we
are talking about is that almost 3,000 years
after the Aryan prince Ram co-opted the indigenous Hanuman
to help
him defeat the Dravidian Ravan – the descendants
of Hanuman are still being treated like
monkeys!)

Defenceless against the predations of the modern Indian state and its
agents the tribals have naturally come under the
influence of the Maoists, who offer them protection and mete out instant
justice to their exploiters. Whatever objections one may have to the kind of
violence employed there is no getting around the fact that the
spread of the Maoist movement among
indigenous populations – in the absence of equally effective alternatives -
is a natural outcome of the situation on the ground in
these areas. The point about available alternatives is important because
in most – though not all – areas where the Maoist
insurgency is making its impact felt, they are
often the only real counter to the exploitation of the indigenous people by
other organised groups such as state officials,
businessmen and plain criminal elements.

This is all a bit simplistic of course and it is true that the Maoists have also made
several mistakes; for example the destruction of transport and educational
infrastructure in some of the tribal areas apparently
in a bid to keep Indian security
forces at bay.
This has deprived local populations of whatever few benefits they
ever derived from the Indian state.

Maoist Violence

More serious is the problem of the Maoists killing “informers” and others
deemed to be their opponents when other methods of dealing with them
could have sufficed. The recent report by a group of
intellectuals and activists who went as part of an independent fact
finding mission to Dantewara district in Chhattisgarh had this
to say about nine widows they met whose
husbands had been abducted and killed by Maoists for going to the
government sponsored refugee camp: “Whatever their
husband’s alleged crimes for which they
were given a summary death penalty, these widows were hardly oppressors,
pathetic defeated women, helplessly thrusting out
their passbooks without knowing what they contained or what they
might do with the money, now that their husbands
were gone.”

These kind of lapses are all reasons today for the alienation of the
Maoists from a section of their own constituencies, both
among the urban intelligentsia as well as the tribal people themselves.
Such a rift is dangerous and as we see in the case of
the Salwa Judum operations in Chhattisgarh it gives the Indian state
and other vested interests opportunity to try and pit ordinary
people against the Maoists.

There are also other important criticisms made of both the theory and
practice of the Maoists – from within the broader left
movement and outside it – that they need
to heed carefully.

One has to do with their dealings with the indigenous people
themselves. Writing in The Hindu recently E A S Sarma, former
secretary to the government of India, who was also part
of the same fact finding team to
Chhattisgarh mentioned earlier says: During the last two decades, the
Maoists gained a mass base among the adivasis by taking up cudgels on
their behalf against corrupt government functionaries, exploitative
traders, and moneylenders.

The trouble began for the Maoists when they started dismantling
the traditional political structures of the adivasis at the village
level and began tinkering with landownership.

Those that did not belong to their “sanghams” in the villages were considered
anti-Maoist and dealt with firmly, sometimes brutally.
The headmen of the villages and others intimidated by the
Maoists, along with the non-tribals, started grouping together and
working out ways to sabotage the Maoists’ efforts.

Without “exoticising” the indigenous people one can safely say that the few
remaining parts of the country, which still have indigenous/tribal
populations left in a majority and where the Maoists are active
are really the last bastions of their entire
civilisation.

It is not clear to what extent this happens, but it seems that the Maoist
intervention has certainly upset several aspects of traditional
tribal life, customs and beliefs, the value of which can be
decided only by the indigenous people
themselves, and not outsiders – even those
with revolutionary intentions.

This is a very important point because while the Maoists have chosen
to act as the protectors and liberators of indigenous
people from exploitation they should not, as outsiders, impose values
completely alien to the local culture. There
are many aspects of the project of
“modernisation” promoted by the progressive
and radical left that despite all good intentions have many negative
implications in the long run.

(In fact leave alone “teaching” the tribals anything the Maoists,
with some humility, can probably learn a few things from the
people they are helping resist oppression and spread these values to the
rest of the country. While it is true that indigenous
societies have become easy victims to the machinations of outside forces
that are technologically better equipped and unscrupulous to boot they
are far superior in social, moral and ecological terms to
those who conquer them.)

Neglect of Mass Action

Another aspect of the Maoist strategy that has come under criticism
from even those sympathetic to their cause is its
emphasis on action by a few armed squads as the only way to challenge
the Indian state, with no space for mass action in any
other form.

The use of violence as the first option creates a virtual light and sound
show of the Indian revolution without any evidence that the masses are
being politicised in any genuinely revolutionary
or meaningful way.

While the necessity of armed struggle in the really oppressive situations
is understandable, surely in a large and diverse
country like India there are many other ways to mobilise the people
and take the Indian revolution forward. However heroic
the efforts and sacrifices of the Maoists have been,
the simple fact is that a few heroes – minus mass participation
- do not
a revolution make.

Talking about the Indian revolution, which is ostensibly the ultimate
motive of the Maoist movement, it is puzzling how
this can be achieved without involving other sections of the
Indian population who do not live in forests. After all the
adivasis constitute just 8 per cent of the overall Indian population,
besides which the area under forest cover is dwindling
by the day.

Unlike in the first phase of the Naxalite movement, the new base of
today’s Maoist movement is no longer the small and
marginalised peasantry or landless labour but among tribal and
indigenous populations. Probably taking a cue from the
extreme repression unleashed by the state during the original Naxalite
rebellion or as a conscious strategy, the Maoists today
seem to be taking over parts of the country
where the Indian state is marked by its
complete absence.

Whatever the reason, this has meant that the Maoists themselves are
absent from the rest of the country – in the areas of the
Indian countryside where capitalist agriculture is wreaking havoc on
the lives and fortunes of small and medium farmers and
pushing many of them into the swelling ranks of agricultural labour.

The Maoists are also absent, except in the form of a few sympathetic
intellectuals and groups, from the small towns and
cities of India which are growing everyday
with the influx of rural people displaced by the Indian government’s
neoliberal economic policies. Even in parts
of the country like Andhra Pradesh where
the movement has been around the longest and been the most intense
too there is hardly any relevant presence or activities
of the Maoists outside the forested parts of north Telangana.

The question that arises from all this is how does a movement that is
called Maoist have such a weak base among the peasantry
in the country after so many years of struggle?
And given its Marxist-Leninist origins how does it do away with the need
to organise the industrial working classes or the urban and rural proletariat
as an essential part of its revolutionary strategy?

Another conundrum is the attitude of the Maoists towards elections,
that with all their flaws and pitfalls are a democratic
concession wrested by the Indian people from their ruling classes
and a legacy of the Indian freedom struggle against colonialism.

To call for their boycott and actively attempt to disrupt them despite the
various possibilities of utilising them to expose the Indian state and
educate the masses is a lack of recognition by the
Maoist leadership of some of the victories
that the Indian people have already achieved
in the past.

It also reveals a puritanical mindset on the part of the Maoists that
participating in elections is somehow
“dirty” and “immoral” while armed action is “pure” and “moral”.

The history of revolutionary movements worldwide shows that
opportunism can afflict both those who get involved in
parliamentary politics as well as those in underground armed struggles
and to be afraid of a particular tactic for fear of being
“corrupted” shows a strange lack of selfconfidence
by the Indian Maoists.

The fact is that India is ruled by a grand coalition of forces ranging from
the government, the bureaucracy, the army, business
and religious lobbies together with regional
elites of all kinds. In recent years there has also been a phenomenal
growth in operations of foreign corporations in the country
and under their influence, the Indian
government today is a junior partner in the
global designs of US imperialism.

To capture power in this country would mean capturing power at
multiple levels all at the same time and establishing genuine
hegemony over all aspects of national activity while keeping imperialism
at bay. None of this can be done through the use of simple slogans and
two point or three point dictums and will require complex struggles
of different kinds.

Having said all this, a very interesting thought occurs to me.
For any outsider looking at India all the internecine ideological
and political battles within the Indian Left movement would not really
seem to be too very relevant.

In the broad context of Indian politics it would
appear to him/her that the Left in all its diversity is actually part of
one ‘parivar’ with one component doing nothing but
parliamentary work and the other focusing only on armed struggles and
the middle consisting of many combinations of these
two extremes.

While such a view may seem overly naive and the prospects
of a
genuine confederation of the various Left organisations
in the country appear unrealistic, it is necessary to keep
the concept
alive for many reasons. An important one is that
given the way the forces of imperialism
are once again bent on recolonising different parts of
the developing
world such a united front of the Left may
become not
just necessary but inevitable too.

Recognising the importance of unity against common foes, both
domestic and foreign, by the broad spectrum of the Indian
Left could make all the difference between the country’s sovereignty
and slavery even in the not-too-long run.

On Armed Resistance

August 16, 2006

Economic and Political Weekly July 22, 2006

On Armed Resistance

The Naxalite rebellion has been a significant political movement
of our times. However, the growing displacement of open mass
activity by militaristic action in recent years has been a loss for
the movement. This article draws attention to some troubling
aspects of revolutionary violence – practical organisational
problems, serious ethical issues, a tendency to accord precedence
to the interests of the party over those of the people, and the
inherent failure of putting the movement’s social vision into
practice in the immediate.

By BELA BHATIA

“Saathiyon ke khoon se rangi rah par karna hoga aana jana…
(on the path coloured with the blood of our
comrades, we will have to come and go)”.

These lines of a song sung by the Naxalites in Bihar are laced with a
certain sadness, as well as resignation to the inevitability
of violence and bloodshed on their chosen
path of ‘viplav’ or ‘kranti’ – as revolution
is known in some Indian languages.

The communist revolutionaries, who gave birth to the Naxalite
movement following the Naxalbari uprising in 1967, have since
traversed a long-distance. Some of them had remained outside the fold
of the original Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist)
when it was formed on May 1, 1969. Those
who were inside the party then, later split for diverse reasons;
splits and mergers followed.

Today it is difficult to say how many CPI(ML) parties there are exactly.
These parties, along with those who had remained outside the original
CPI(ML), together form the Naxalite movement.

Revolution remains their common aim; however, there are differences
on questions of strategies and tactics. Thus, while
all acknowledge the need for armed resistance
at some stage, their present emphasis
on it varies.

While the CPI(Maoist) leads a largely underground existence, others
like CPI(ML) New Democracy are only partly underground, and still
others like CPI(ML) Liberation function openly.

The case for armed struggle has to be assessed not only on
theoretical grounds (e g, the necessity of violence for the
purpose of capturing state power), but also in the light of practical
experience. Since the Naxalite movement claims to be a
people’s movement, it has to be accountable
to the people, and thus, open to public
scrutiny.

It is with this motivation that I draw attention below to some of the
troubling aspects of revolutionary violence, based on my experience
while studying the Naxalite movement in Bihar, and to a lesser
extent Andhra Pradesh.

Practical Considerations

Foremost amongst the practical fallouts of resorting to violence as a
means of struggle is the organisational impact. An
organisation resorting to armed means has to adopt a certain kind of
organisational structure as well as processes. Such an
organisation can naturally not be as democratic
as it may otherwise want to be.

Instead, it needs a hierarchical and authoritarian structure on military
lines. Of necessity, it has to be a secret organisation
and guard this secrecy at all cost (including
developing “intelligence” within the organisation, punishing any
breach of discipline, etc). The political culture of such
an organisation is also oddly schizoid: camaraderie of an exceptional
type on the one hand, and deep suspicion (sometimes
leading to virulent action) on the other.

Underground existence also raises a range of problems. It means secret
hideouts, hide and seek with the police and intelligence
agencies, courier services, etc. Those who
are “sheltering” in the cities, towns or villages can live at best
uncertain lives. Life is all the more difficult for squad
members (called ‘dalam’ in Andhra Pradesh
and ‘dasta’ in Bihar).

Whether in the plains of Bihar or the forests of Andhra Pradesh,
in the face of ever-present danger they have to be on the move all the
time, and are often forced to lead a nocturnal existence. Squad
members face the threat not only of the
police and “class enemies” but also of
possible informers in their own fold. Their daily life has its share of
deprivations. They are almost totally dependent on the
people for their survival. And since most
of their supporters are poor, their food and
shelter tend to be very basic.1

Further, a political organisation which utilises arms has to acquire
the ability to procure, maintain and use these arms
purposefully and without compromising its principles.
Since the movement’s inception, the Naxalites have believed in
procuring their arms by raiding police
pickets and armouries.

A lot of energy and human lives have been lost in such actions,
sometimes with little result. In Bihar, I have personally known some
very fine young persons who lost their lives in such
raids. As the Naxalite organisations have
grown and state repression has intensified, aspiration for advanced
types of armaments has increased (even though they cannot
keep pace with the arsenal of the Indian
state). Advanced technology means more
money, high-level training, and dynamics
of a different kind.

For this again, compromises on principled politics are hard
to avoid. Since open funding for this purpose is not possible, the party has to
rely on other means such as “levies” on
private contractors and development funds. Often, “extortion” of
big money is also involved. A considerable proportion
of the material and human resources of
Naxalite organisations are used up in this process.2

Sometimes the use of violence helps to achieve a short-term gain,
but intensifies violence from the other side, triggering a
spiral of violence. Once this escalation process is in motion, it can
be very difficult to contain, and often goes out of control.

Retaliatory violence acquires a dynamics of its own, often out of
proportion with the issues at stake. In this respect, class war
has similar characteristics to other armed conflicts.
There are many historical examples of violence going massively out of
control through gradual escalation.

Even the first world war, which started with a single assassination
(in Sarajevo), is sometimes interpreted in those terms. In the
context of a revolutionary movement, the tit for tat process
sometimes takes over and retaliatory violence becomes the main focus
of the movement, displacing all other activities.
In the worst cases, revolutionary politics gives way to petty revenge.

Ethical Considerations

Aside from practical problems, the use of violence also raises
serious ethical issues. Even if violence is considered
justified in some circumstances, it is not possible to confine
armed struggle to these particular circumstances. For instance, even
if the killing of some “class enemies” can
be defended, armed struggle cannot be
confined to particular “targets”, and is bound to engulf other
people as well. Even the assassination of a particular class enemy
can easily lead to the death of innocent victims who are caught in
the crossfire or just killed by mistake.

Besides individual killings “by mistake”, there are instances
where a larger number of innocent people have been killed in a
Naxalite action (e g, the Kakatiya Express incident in Andhra
Pradesh and the recent explosion of a truck
in Chhattisgarh).

As mentioned above, armed conflicts also have a tendency to
escalate well beyond their intended boundaries.

Further, even if a revolutionary organisation is determined to avoid
killing innocents and make restrained use of violence, there is no
guarantee that the other side will do the same. Massacres of
the labouring poor (including women and
children) by caste senas in rural Bihar
illustrate the problem.

A related problem is that there is little respect for due process.
Even in the bourgeois social order, nobody is supposed to
be deprived of his or her life without the facts of the case being
considered in a court of law based on impartial norms. By
contrast, revolutionary movements, which
aim to uphold progressive values, sometimes
end up perpetrating killings and punishments where the same
persons (possibly low level cadres) are the petitioners,
witnesses, jury and executioners.

The killing of suspected police informers is a telling example of this
problem. When someone is suspected of being an
informer, the safety of the movement may demand that he or she
be killed, even if the suspicion is unconfirmed. If it is considered
appropriate to kill someone when
the chance of his or her being an informer is, say, 50 per cent,
this implies (by the “law of large numbers”) that when many
suspected informers are killed, about half
of them are actually innocent.

In some cases, the killing of innocents is extremely disturbing
from an ethical point of view. Consider, for instance, the
case of a mid-day meal cook in Karimnagar who was beaten to death
because she was suspected of being a police informer.3

Suppose that she was actually innocent. What possible ethical justification
can there be for beating a poor innocent mid-day
meal cook to death? In this instance, the family members were also
beaten up when they offered resistance. If the local people
knew her to be innocent, we can imagine
the impact that this incident might have on
them and on the local organisation.

Actions such as these might be easier to justify if there was a reliable
process, but the question is whether in politics of this
kind, which is largely underground, such
a process is possible?

If it is not, then we can only come to the conclusion that these
“mistakes” are an inevitable part of politics of this type. That a lot of
subjective judgment is involved cannot be denied. A young
woman in an Adilabad village explained
this to me further. She had “sheltered” me for two nights and I was
grateful for that. Giving that as an example, she talked about
how some closeness develops between the
‘annas’ (brothers; as the Naxalite cadres are known in Andhra
Pradesh) and those who may feed them. And soon the annas
may take any information provided by such persons as fact and act
upon it, while some hidden self-interests, old enmities,
etc, may well be involved.

It is disturbing that the Naxalite discourse seldom refers to the
ethical aspects of the use of violence. The premise seems to be
that “the end justifies the means”. As the
secretary of People’s War put it in a letter to the Committee of Concerned
Citizens, dated June 20, 1999: “The objectives and
aims of the struggle are much more important
than the forms and methods of the struggle. People will always have the
freedom to choose the form of struggle necessary for achieving the
objective.”4

The last statement can be read as a licence
for unaccountable violence. Sometimes the Naxalite discourse goes
further and glamorises violence as if it were a value
and a marker of revolutionary commitment.

Political Considerations

Much is expected from a political movement that aims to be
transformative. Most importantly that it should be able to
put into practice its own social vision. An important value that the
Naxalites have tried to uphold in this respect is equality.

Thus, it is but natural that the movement should be tested on this count.
Unfortunately, the Naxalite movement (not unlike
some other autonomous movements in India) in its intra-party
dynamics has not always been able to ensure equality in all
respects to its “weaker” constituents: dalits and women.
These and other political issues call for further discussion,
insofar as they relate to the use of violence
in various ways.

The dalit critique of the Naxalite movement has been more vocal
in Andhra Pradesh than elsewhere. Due to the
movement’s actions against big landlords and other feudal elements,
social oppression and untouchability have considerably
declined (in both Bihar and Andhra Pradesh). However, in recent
times questions have been raised by dalits from within
the party as well as observers of Naxalite
politics.

For instance, it has been pointed out that the hard and dangerous
work of handling guns is mainly done by dalits or
individuals from the lower castes and classes; therefore, those
who get killed are also mostly from these sections of society.

An additional charge is that while dalits and other disadvantaged
communities comprise the bulk of the Naxalite support
base, they are not adequately represented in the upper echelons of
the party leadership. Due to these and similar issues, the
Janashakti party in Andhra Pradesh underwent
a split in the second half of the 1990s.5

A similar criticism is also made regarding the position of women within the
movement. Even though women in the Naxalite movement have broken
their traditional boundaries, and their participation
has been significant (for example, the proportion of women in the
dalams in Andhra Pradesh is impressively high),
nevertheless, by and large, they have remained
invisible.

Like the dalits, women are almost negligible in leadership positions.
The Naxalite movement has not been able to vanquish patriarchy,
which permeates the functioning and ethos of the
movement. The violent nature of the movement has contributed
to this, since patriarchy and violence have much in
common and tend to reinforce each other.

The Naxalite movement has also shown that armed resistance in
the context of a class war does not always question violence
that emanates from patriarchal norms. For example, in Andhra
Pradesh, the number of dowry deaths is incredibly high,
but this has not become an urgent issue for
action in the Naxalite movement.

Similarly, armed struggle has affected the Naxalite movement’s
commitment to human rights. When we view the positive
contributions of the Naxalite movement, we could well describe it
as a movement for human rights. However, there are many
instances where the Naxalite movement
itself has abused human rights; almost all these instances are
excesses related
to violence. These excesses have also had a serious impact on
the image of the movement, making it possible for the state
and the media to ignore the socio-economic
causes that have given rise to Naxalite politics, disregard the
essential humanism that motivates the Naxalite
endeavour, and dismiss it summarily as an
“extremist” movement.

The spread of violence in Naxalite areas has also exacted a heavy
price in terms of development. Naxalite groups often oppose
various forms of development, such as the construction of roads,
which hamper their activities. Also, the overemphasis on violent
action and “war” with the police detract from other important issues
that the Naxalites could otherwise have taken up.

Naxalite areas are among the poorest in the country and there is
no dearth of essential demands to struggle for in these
areas – schools, electricity, water, health centres, etc. However,
these issues get eclipsed since most of the Naxalite groups
do not wish to engage with the present government except as an
enemy. Continuous conflict has also drastically reduced
the democratic space for other forms of struggle. For instance, in
Telangana villages, where direct state repression is
ruthless, anybody who dares to question
the government (even on basic issues such as water shortages or
a non-functional PDS) runs the risk of being labelled a Naxalite
and persecuted.

In Bihar, too, democratic space for non-violent struggle has been
considerably reduced with the spread of armed conflict.
Another downside of armed power is that it has led to corruption
in the ranks. At the local level, having a gun can make
the person seem immensely powerful in his own eyes as well as
in the eyes of others. Often, the squad members are young
in age and this “power” can go to their
heads. There have been instances where individuals have misused
such power for private gain. Likewise, attraction for armed
power may lead unprincipled individuals
to join the movement.

Such corruption is often hard to prevent by the party leadership,
as it is not always able to control what happens at the local level.
Also, those who implement the party line at the local level
are not always “imbibed” in the Marxist- Leninist ideology.
Some of them have formed gangs after running away with
party arms, and turned against the party itself (e g, Jagnandan
Yadav group in Bihar).

Thus, the fact that someone becomes a “Naxalite” is no
guarantee of principled behaviour on his or her part. In order for
the Naxalites to be truly Naxalite it is very
important that they be subject to critical public scrutiny,
especially by human rights defenders.

Last but not least, the use of violence affects the political culture
of the movement. For instance, intolerance amongst
the Naxalites towards those who hold a different political view has
made itself felt time and again. This can be observed not
only vis-a-vis political opponents from
mainstream political parties, but also towards
other Naxalite parties.

There is no dearth of instances of killings of sarpanchs
and MLAs in the former category, or of
internecine conflicts within the Naxalitefold.6

Intolerance, of course, is also found in non-violent movements,
but it cannot find expression in a violent response.
Instead, differences have to be settled through reasoned argument,
or through means that may remain “non-violent”
but are nevertheless non-respecting of
the opponent (such as disregarding, defaming, etc). However, since
these are non-violent means (though may also be
problematic if seen as expressions of
dominance or undemocratic behaviour) they cause less harm and hurt.

In a violent movement, on the other hand, intolerance
and violence feed on each other. The shortcut of violence fans
intolerance and even contributes to the making of somewhat
arrogant individual personalities and, over time, also colours the
organisation as a whole.7

Intolerance in turn finds expression in violent actions
(such as the liquidation of political rivals) that have nothing
to do with revolutionary struggle.

Party and People

There are many problematic aspects in
the relationship of the underground party
with the people. Many instances make us feel that for the Naxalites
the party is more important than the people. Sometimes the
focus on the party is so pronounced that
“party” seems to encapsulate “people” in the minds of the Naxalite
leaders. Whenever there is a conflict, the interests of the
party tend to be placed over those of the people, even though this may
entail neglecting what the people think and want.

For instance, even as far as the use of arms is concerned, people
often defend their decision to take up arms by saying that
“the government does not listen to us otherwise”.

However, the very same people also get tired of endless strife.
In fact, the leaders of the People’s War (PW) in Andhra
Pradesh clearly admitted that “the people want peace” as a reason
for engaging in peace talks with the government in 2004.

However, after the peace talks broke down and the ceasefire came
to an end in January 2005, the CPI (Maoists) (formed by then
as a result of a merger between People’s War and the Maoist
Communist Centre) had soon forgotten this – as was evident
in the spate of killings from both sides (roughly equal in number)
in the following months.8

In Andhra Pradesh, this constant strife (encounters and counter killings)
has led to a situation where the people feel that they are caught
between the state and the Naxalites.
It is ironic that a movement which promises
“liberation” can actually end up making people less free in some ways.

Joining the movement entails repercussions of diverse kinds: being a
“target” of the state and the social forces the movement
is struggling against; the danger of being implicated in legal cases
through false charges which are not small by any
means (e g, for murder), not being able to
lead even a semblance of a normal family
life, etc.

Joining Naxalite politics is basically inviting danger, death
and destruction on oneself and one’s family,
sometimes even the community. In spite of these difficulties, it is a
fact that the Naxalites have been able to elicit the
support of the poor in the areas they
have operated in.

However, it can be argued that perhaps many more would have
joined or supported the movement if it was less taxing.
Besides, the dynamics of the movement are such that often it
becomes difficult to know whether the people are in it voluntarily
or involuntarily.

At times, the people find themselves trapped in circumstances
that make it difficult to leave the movement.
For once one is labelled as a Naxalite it is difficult to return to
normal existence or even a life relatively free from suspicion,
fear and death. Also, if they have
participated in a Naxalite action and get
charged, the poor become more dependent
on the party to fish them out, as they are
not able to deal with the police and the courts on their own.
Thus, they may remain in the party because they need the
party’s protection.

If they do leave the party, they are constantly harassed by the state,
and made to prove their neutrality in various ways.
For example, the government may ask them to sign a register in
the local police station every week, give them election
duty on polling booths during election
time, make them run errands like rounding up the villagers when a
government official comes, etc. However, even if they
cooperate with the local officials, they
remain in the black book of the police and
are never above suspicion.

Often, such “surrendered” Naxalites are forced to join
some other political formation that is more
acceptable to the state, such as a mainstream
political party, so that they can discard their old identity and
find protection in a new one. Some end up doing what
the police ask them to do, involuntarily or
even voluntarily: they become police informers,
coverts, or members of a vigilante
group.

Some of them are also harassed by the party, and this pushes
them further into the clutches of the police.
The problematic relation between the
party and the people also manifests itself
in similar problems between Naxalite
parties and their “open fronts”. People who join these open
fronts do so on the basis of the manifestos of these fronts, which are
committed to basic rights as enshrined in
the Indian Constitution.

However, these
fronts are not as “autonomous” as they perhaps think to begin
with, for the link with the party is vital. This link has proved
positive at times, for example when the
party offers “protection” to mass fronts at
open mass meetings (in Bihar, labourers did not even have a right to
hold a meeting, as this was enough to affront the landlords),
or acts in other ways as a ‘suraksha
dasta” (protection squad).

However, the link between party and open fronts also has
many problematic dimensions. For instance,
if a peasant front is engaged in a
struggle for ceiling surplus land, and the party decides to “annihilate”
the landlord, the state is likely to target the members of
the open front since they are the only
visible actors.

Thus, members of the mass front pay the price for actions taken by the
underground party, even if the party owns up to its actions
(e g, through leaflets) as it usually does. In that sense the
“vanguard” party lets the people bear the
brunt of its actions (which are undertaken
on behalf of the people, but without their
knowledge and consent).

The basis of struggle by a mass movement as the notion of “rights”.
When arms are used, even though the use of arms aims to affirm
rights and may do so, it also generates other dynamics. For
example, it generates fear. The opponent
is forced to yield, not because he or she has acknowledged
the right and gives in to the collective power of the
people who are claiming it, but often out
of fear.

Likewise, arms also give power. Yes, in some ways they do give power
to the people. However, this is an “external” power, which is there
only as long as arms are there. When they are not, the
individuals or the social group are in a
weaker and more vulnerable position than
before. Moreover, such a power is not democratic, e g, it is not
and cannot be decentralised. Control does not rest amongst
the people but in more specialised agencies.

Thus, arms make the people dependent on these external agencies
and do not prepare them to fight on the basis of their
own strength.

Concluding Remarks

Something that was once beautiful may not be beautiful
now – “…time and bad conditions do not favour beauty,” reminds
Ngugi.9

The story of the Naxalite movement on the ground certainly has
had beautiful aspects and inspiring moments. However, the
use of violence has taken a heavy toll. The downside of
violence has been so wide-ranging that it
may well end up negating what the
Naxalites stand for.

The Naxalite movement has been a significant political movement
of our times. Individual Naxalites, including many
exceptionally fine human beings who have lost their lives at the
altar of revolution, have been an inspiring example of idealism,
sacrifice and commitment. Politically, the movement has
raised important questions regarding India’s democracy and
underlined the need to bring about “a people’s democracy”.

There have also been significant practical achievements in specific
areas: curbing of feudal practices and social oppression;
confiscation and redistribution of ceiling surplus land; more
equitable access to village commons;
higher agricultural wages; elimination of
the stranglehold of landlords, moneylenders,
and contractors; protection from harassment by forest department
officials and the police; heightened political consciousness
and empowerment of the poor,
amongst others.

The question remains whether the same results could not have
been achieved through non-violent or at least less violent
means.10

In the Naxalite movement, the inevitability of violence tends to
be taken for granted on the grounds that there is no
other way of overthrowing the state. In practice, however, the
movement has, for the most part, not been involved in overthrowing
the state but in practical struggles
for land, wages, dignity, democratic rights and related goals that
can be pursued no less effectively through open mass movements.
In fact, it is worth noting that the success and popularity of the Naxalite
movement itself owes more to the achievements
of its open mass movements than
to armed action.

The growing displacement of open mass movements by militaristic
action in recent years has been a loss for the movement, not a gain.
The preceding argument should not be read as a condemnation of all violence.

I agree with Noam Chomsky that
“No person of understanding or humanity will too quickly condemn
violence that often occurs when long subdued masses rise
against their oppressors or take their first
steps towards liberty and social reconstruction.”
11

However, it is one thing to acknowledge that the downtrodden may
resort to violence in situations of acute crisis or oppression. It is another to endorse
organised violence. Perhaps the time has come to revive the more humane
approach advocated by

Bhagat Singh: “Use of force justifiable when
resorted to as a matter of terrible necessity: non-violence
as a policy indispensable for all mass
movements.”12

Email: bela@csdsdelhi.org

Notes

[An earlier version of this paper was presented in
an internal discussion of People's Union for
Democratic Rights (PUDR). I am thankful for the
comments received and the critical questions raised.
I am grateful also to fellow travellers in Bihar and
Andhra Pradesh who have helped me in myriad
ways to understand the reality.]

1 The lives of guerrilla fighters have inspired
many writings; see, for example, Anderson
(1992).

2 Revolutionary groups in other countries have
also used extortion and other illegal means of
getting funds with similar dilemmas. This also
emerged in a talk I had with a former party
leader of Peru’s Sendero Luminoso (Shining
Path), who related how when in his teens he
first joined the party, the work during the day
mainly involved petty theft, e g, pick-pocketing,
stealing watches, looting banks, etc, in order
to garner funds for the party. (Interview, Leiden,
February 11, 2006.)

3 ‘Maoists Beat Woman to Death’, NDTV report,
August 15, 2005.

4 Mahesh (1999).

5 This is not to overlook the fact that when these
very disadvantaged communities (for example,
the Musahars in Bihar), who had so far always
been at the receiving end of repressive violence,
were first given guns, it did make them feel
empowered in a certain way. However, this
initial empowerment was followed by the highs
and lows of violent struggle, and the dalit
critique has to be viewed in the light of this
overall experience.

6 In Andhra Pradesh, for example, after the
breakdown of the peace process in January
2005 nearly 40 sarpanchs had been killed by
the second week of March [Kannabiran 2005].
In Bihar, internecine killings have plagued the
movement since the mid-1980s. It is only in
the last couple of years that there has been some
respite.

7 The same attitude of intolerance contributes to
discouraging dissent and debate within the
party.

8 Estimate provided by the Human Rights Forum,
Hyderabad.

9 See Ngugi 1964.

10 In this context, the concept of ‘shantimaita’
is an important one. In contrast with
‘ahimsa’, which does not envisage or allow
any violence, shantimaita commits itself to
peacefulness and non-violence but does not
rule out the possibility of violence erupting in
situations of severe social and political
upheaval. This concept was introduced by
Jayaprakash Narayan and was practised by the
Chatra Yuva Sangharsh Vahini in Bodhgaya
from 1978 onwards.

11 Chomsky 1970, p 40.

12 Singh 1930, p 15.

References

Anderson, J L (1992): Guerrillas: The Inside Stories
of the World’s Revolutionaries, HarperCollins,
London.

Chomsky, Noam (1970, 2005): Government in the
Future, Leftword, Delhi.

Kannabiran, K G (2005): ‘Vempenta Killings and
Maoists’, Deccan Herald, March 11.

Mahesh (1999): ‘Which Way Is Your Journey’,
letter to the Committee of Concerned
Citizens; reprinted in the Third Report of the
Committee of Concerned Citizens, Hyderabad,
2002.

Ngugi, Wa Thiong’o (1964): Weep Not, Child,
Heinemann, London.

Singh, Bhagat (1930, 2003): Why I Am An Atheist,
Samkaleen Prakashan, Patna.

Maoism in India

August 15, 2006

Economic and Political Weekly July 22, 2006

Maoism in India

Ideology, Programme and Armed Struggle

In spite of its expansion to new areas and a remarkable increase
in its military capabilities and striking power, the Maoist
movement led by the Communist Party of India (Maoist) faces a
political-organisational crisis of sorts. The Maoists’ goals – the
building of a “mighty mass movement against imperialism”, isolating
and defeating the Hindutva-fascist forces, and building a “powerful
urban movement, particularly of the working class” as complementary
to armed agrarian struggle remain as elusive as ever. At a more
theoretical level, the programme and strategic-tactical line of the
CPI (Maoist) seem inadequate in coping with the complex Indian
reality in a changed international situation, and in the context of
the worldwide severe setback that socialism has suffered.

By TILAK D GUPTA

Addressing a meeting of the standing committee of the chief ministers
of the six Naxalite affected states on April 13 this year,
prime minister Manmohan Singh argued that factors such
as exploitation, artificially depressed wages, iniquitous socio-political
circumstances, inadequate employment opportunities,
lack of access to resources, underdeveloped agriculture,
geographical isolation and lack of land reforms contributed
to the growth of Naxalite movement (The
Hindu, New Delhi, April 14, 2006).

Manmohan Singh was really not far-off the mark, given the
agrarian programme of the Communist Party of India (Maoist),
the strongest Naxalite formation in the country. That the Indian
prime minister was in the same breath talking about setting
up specialised forces on the lines of Andhra Pradesh’s ‘Greyhounds’, is, of
course, a separate question that we shall come back to, later on.

Agrarian Programme

For the moment let us rather refer to the programme of the CPI (Maoist)
adopted during its formation in September 2004,
through the merger of CPI-ML (People’s War) and Maoist Communist
Centre to see how it responds to the issues raised by
Manmohan Singh.

The Maoist programme pledges that once a new people’s democratic
state is established by accomplishing the Indian revolution, “it would redistribute
land among landless-poor peasants
and agricultural labourers on the basis of the slogan ‘land to the tillers’
and ensure the equal right of women over the ownership
of land”.

Next, the programme promises to “ensure all facilities for agricultural
development, guarantee a remunerative price for agricultural produce
and wherever possible encourage the development of agricultural
cooperatives” (CPI (Maoist) Party Programme, published in Hindi by
the Central Committee (Provisional), CPI (Maoist),
September 21, 2004, translation ours).

Once we note the Maoist plans regarding land reforms and overcoming
of underdevelopment in agriculture, we may take a
look at its proscriptions regarding the twin problems of depressed
wages and inadequate employment opportunities.

According to the CPI (Maoist) programme it would
“implement an eight-hour work day, increase the wage rate, abolish
the contract labour system and child labour, provide social security and
safe working conditions and, in order to guarantee equal wages
for equal work, will abolish discrimination in wages on the basis of sex”.

Further, it will “guarantee the right to work as a fundamental right and
move towards eliminating unemployment. It would introduce
an unemployment allowance and social insurance and guarantee improved living
conditions for the people.”

As for the question of geographical isolation, raised by the Indian prime
minister, the programme promises to “take special
measures to proceed towards the elimination
of regional inequalities” (Ibid).

Without detaining ourselves in detailing the various other
measures promised by the Maoists to address the problems raised
by Manmohan Singh, suffice it to say that though neoliberal pundits
might grumble about public finance for the unemployment
allowance or warn us about the danger of inflation due to rise in wages, a large
chunk of the Indian political class should
have nothing much to quarrel about these
Maoist objectives, if we go by their election
manifestos and political documents.

To tell the truth, there is not much of difference between the
CPI (Maoist) programme and that of some other communist
parties functioning within the
country’s parliamentary democratic system
so far as the clauses related to land reforms, fair wage for labour,
recognition of the right to work as a fundamental right,
improvement of farming methods, removal
of gender discrimination in matters of wage and the right to
ownership of land, and the promotion of peasant cooperatives.

To cite an instance, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in its
updated programme also commits to “abolish landlordism by implementing
radical land reforms and give land free of cost to the agriculture labour and
poor peasants”
(CPI(M) Programme, New Delhi, March 2001).

This is not to suggest that no programmatic differences exist
between the Maoists on the one hand and the so-called
mainstream communist parties on the other.

Far from it, there are major dissimilarities between the two.
But that merits a separate discussion on another occasion. Here our
limited purpose is to argue a couple of
points. For one, it is necessary to stress that the Maoists do have a
political agenda of their own, including an agrarian programme
that they seek to implement by armed struggle. This needs to be
emphasised because a media that thrives on sex, violence
and crime has succeeded in projecting the Maoists as armed bandits
without any political and socio-economic
programme for the future.

But the Maoists themselves are no less responsible for such
a projection as they too seem to be more eager to propagate their
armed path of revolution than their revolutionary aims.

And it goes without saying that their political adversaries and those
in charge of counter-insurgency operations will see
to it that the Maoists are denied all legal and open opportunities
to publicise their immediate and long-term objectives.

Second, it seems ironical that though the government’s diagnosis
of the agrarian problems faced by the rural poor appears
to be deceptively similar to that made by the Maoists, the two are
locked in a violent conflict across large tracts of south central
and east India.

However, once we look at the abysmal record of the Indian governing
circles in effecting agrarian reforms in favour of the rural poor,
the illusion begins to get separated from the reality. If we
ignore the official rhetoric about land reforms
(the union home minister’s policy note tabled in March this year
on tackling the Naxalite problem also, just for the sake
of the record, identifies land reforms as a priority area)
and check the facts, it becomes evident that even the mild and halfhearted
pro-poor agrarian reforms very
tardily executed in most states have by and
large ended by the early 1980s. More to the point, the people at
the helm of country’s economic affairs consider the land reforms
legislation of yesteryears as institutional constraints either for
the flow of agribusiness investment to the rural areas
or for acquiring agricultural, homestead and forestlands for a
variety of nonagricultural purposes. In today’s scenario,
official land reform measures have come to mean diluting old
land reforms legislation further to facilitate acquisition of
land inhabited or cultivated by sharecroppers, tenants and
owner peasants.

Militant Struggles in Backward Regions

If the days of government intervention for land reforms from
above are virtually over, the pressures from below for agrarian
change are not too strong either on an all- India plane.

This is partly because peasant unity against landlordism is not viable any
more and growing unavailability of surplus land, particularly in
relatively developed areas of agriculture, limits the scope
for land struggles.

But the land and other agrarian issues of the rural poor are much
more alive in the comparatively backward regions. However, the major
left parties functioning within the parliamentary
framework have chosen not to concentrate in such areas and develop
sustained and militant struggles on agrarian issues concerning
the poorest of the poor.

And here, the CPI (Maoist) and some other Naxalite
organisations have come to play a significant role in partially filling this void.
As we see it, the major Naxalite contribution to Indian politics is that
they have kept alive the agrarian demands of the rural
poor through persistent but not-always successful struggles at
the ground level. Even the occasional official lip-service to
land reforms perhaps would not have come but for their initiatives
in this regard in some of the most backward regions where
either adivasis in the forests suffer at the hands of the trader-contractor-
moneylender nexus or the dalit and “other backward
class” (OBC) agricultural labourers and very poor peasants are
cruelly oppressed and exploited by bigger landowners and
rich farmers.

And these are the regions where the local powerful cliques, backed
by government officials and the police, often respond with naked
violence to even most innocuous and lawful demands of the
powerless poor. And here again, Maoist insistence on armed
resistance to counter the violence of the oppressors has appealed
to a large section of the oppressed and impoverished population.
In some regions of the country the rural labouring classes
of OBC or even dalit origin could use the parliamentary space to
strengthen themselves to an extent vis-à-vis the traditional
rural overlords.

But in many other regions and states they could not. And as for the
adivasis, the picture is indeed much gloomier. Thus, if the battles of
the rural wretched of the earth in the plains of Bihar or Telangana
target both class exploitation and caste oppression,
struggles in Dandakaranya or those in the Jharkhand forests seek to
combine class demands with that of selfidentity, dignity and
autonomy for the marginalised minority nationalities.

The CPI (Maoist) effort to help the adivasi peasantry or
dalit labouring classes in some very backward regions to emerge as an
independent political force freed from the influence of the affluent
landowning classes does represent a step forward in
democratising Indian society.

But given India’s vast population, such Maoist experiments
cover only a small part of it. Yet the centre is worried that the “Naxal menace
now extends to a dozen states” and has
“spread to nearly 40 per cent of the country’s
geographical area, with the affected population
going up to 35 per cent” (The Hindu,
Delhi, April 15, 2006).

Earlier in November 2005, the union home minister, Shivraj
Patil was telling the Indian Parliament that in states like Jammu and
Kashmir and the north-east, we have been largely successful
in bringing down terrorism but not so much in dealing with Naxalites”
(see The Hindu, Delhi, November 30, 2005).

While we may note in passing that Delhi, for whatever reasons,
tries to distinguish between terrorism and Naxalism, it is sparing
no efforts to tackle the “Naxal menace”
by marshalling the brutal greyhounds.

The prime minister as well as the union home minister now labels
Naxalism as the biggest security threat to the country. The
gearing up of military style actions by the
CPI (Maoist) as well the planning and execution of an intensified
counter-insurgency operation by the Maoist-affected
states with central backing and supervision
have also generated renewed interest regarding
Maoist ideology, politics and military capabilities in
political and academic circles.

Ideology and Politics

Briefly speaking, the CPI (Maoist) accepts Marxism-Leninism-Maoism
as its guiding ideology and is committed to completing a
“new democratic revolution” in India before passing on
to achieve its socialist goal. The revolution, says a press
statement at the time of founding the new
party, will be carried out and completed through an armed agrarian
revolutionary war, i e, protracted people’s war with the
armed struggle for seizure of power as its central and principal task.

The statement adds that the countryside as well as protracted
people’s war will remain as the “centre of gravity” of the party’s work,
while urban work will be complementary to it.

The revolution will remain directed against imperialism, feudalism
and “comprador bureaucratic capitalism”. The party also
supports the “struggle of the nationalities for self-determination,
including the right to secession and the fight against social
oppression, particularly ‘untouchability’
and ‘casteism’ and will pay special attention to mobilising and
organising women as a mighty force of revolution”.

Three brief observations require to be made here. One, the party
has added Maoism to be a part of their guiding ideology
without any convincing argument to justify it. Two, they have
heavily borrowed the strategy and aims of the revolution
from that of Chinese revolution completed 56 years ago and no
serious lessons have been drawn from the great setback to the
international communist movement, the collapse of socialism,
the big changes in the national and international situation
and the specificity of the Indian political system and economy.

Three, the press statement as well as the CPI (Maoist) documents
are keener to highlight the violent nature of its revolution than
the revolutionary aims. So we know how they propose to
seize power through armed struggle but remain less aware
about what they would do after the capture of power.

And that only reinforces its prevailing image more
as a guerrilla formation with considerable military might rather
than a political party with clear-cut short and long term
objectives.

As we have noted earlier, despite its shaky ideological foundation,
dated political programme and a tendency to glorify
violence instead of treating it as a necessary evil, the CPI (Maoist)
enjoys a large mass following that is not much visible to
the outside world beyond its core area.

This is because no other political party in the country has taken
up the cause of the rural poor with such single-minded zeal
and devotion. Although according to official sources it has spread
its influence to 12 states, its real strongholds are in parts
of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar and Orissa among the
adivasi peasantry and dalit labouring
classes in particular. However, the party and the various mass
organisations it has built have been banned by the governments
in all these Maoist-affected states and they are unable to openly
organise any propaganda or agitation on popular demands.

The Maoists in Andhra Pradesh were, however, able to show
their popular support when they were briefly allowed legality
during peace talks with the government in
July-October 2004. During that period they organised a series of
large rural meetings and three massive rallies at Warangal,
Hyderabad and Guntur that were widely
reported in the Andhra Pradesh media as well as a section of
the national media.

The ban on the CPI (Maoist) and its affiliated mass fronts was
reimposed in Andhra Pradesh after the failed peace talks.
The union home minister had also informed Parliament that there
would be no further peace talks with the Maoists unless they agree
to abjure violence.

Several press reports indicate that the Maoists, too, are currently
in no mood to reopen peace negotiations. Given such hardening of
positions on both sides, the chances are that the armed conflict
between the Maoist guerrilla formations
and the police and central paramilitary forces (CPMF) would
continue to escalate in the days to come.

As it is, the Maoists have significantly raised the scale of their
military operations during the last couple of years. Land mining
of police and CPMF vans and buses and ambushes on large patrols apart,
they have made daring raids on district headquarter
towns in Jharkhand, Orissa and Bihar to
take away huge quantities of arms and ammunition and break
jails to free their comrades. But many innocent lives have
been lost when civilian transport had been
mistakenly land mined, particularly in Chhattisgarh.
Besides, some democratic personages sympathetic to the people’s
cause have criticised the Maoist method
of killing those perceived as police informers
or traitors.

It does appear that because of its obsession with armed struggle and
unavailability of democratic space for spreading its message and extending
the movement through open and broad mobilisation
of the people, the CPI (Maoist) is willynilly becoming more and
more dependent on armed actions to intensify the struggle.

The “Greyhounds” – the specially trained commando wing of the
Andhra Pradesh police, notorious for its ruthless killings
of Maoists and their sympathisers, mostly in fake encounters -
best illustrate the government response to the Maoist insurgency.

Much has already been written about those so-called encounter
killings to show that these are not isolated aberrations on
the part of some trigger-happy individual police personnel but a
deliberate and planned state policy of annihilation of
individuals.

The Greyhounds are said to be a law unto themselves and have the
requisite political backing to defy the directives of the Andhra
Pradesh high court and those of the National Human Rights
Commission. Unfortunately, however, the
Indian prime minister has chosen to cite
such a lawless band of policemen as a
model to be emulated by other states affected
by the “Naxalite problem”.

Even more ominous is the fact that
the centre has now made a policy decision to promote
local resistance groups against Maoists, and if the experience of
Salwa Judum in Chhattisgarh is any indication, such promotion
is tantamount to the building and arming of a lumpen force,
headed by the non-tribal contractor-trader-middleman
clique that has oppressed and exploited the adivasis over the ages.

And, as the Salwa Judum operation makes clear, it is also a
sure prescription for intensifying civil strife
and violence to an unprecedented degree.

Political-Organisational Crisis

At any rate, our reading of the Maoist movement suggests that
in spite of its expansion to new areas and a remarkable
increase in its military capabilities and striking power, it faces a
politicalorganisational crisis of sorts. First of all, the CPI (Maoist)
leadership must be acutely conscious that some of the goals they have
set for themselves, like building a “mighty
mass movement against imperialism”, isolating and defeating
“dangerous Hindu fascist forces” and building a “powerful
urban movement, particularly of the working
class” as complementary to armed agrarian struggle remain as
elusive as ever.

Second, deprived of legal and open opportunities for propaganda and
agitation they find it extremely difficult to launch largescale
mass movements and demonstrations even in areas where they
still have considerable popular support.

And, at a more theoretical level, the inadequacies of their
programme and strategic-tactical line in coping with the complex
Indian reality in a changed international situation must be
slowly becoming clearer to them in the course of their arduous struggle
over the years.

For instance, a re-look at the agrarian scenario would instantly reveal
that the typical Indian countryside is neither
Dandakaranya nor Saranda forest and the question of wage,
year-round employment and disastrous anti-farmer policies under
the WTO framework are increasingly competing with the land
issue to catch political attention.

If the Naxalites, including the CPI (Maoist), have been the staunchest
allies so far of those landless underdogs threatened by starvation in
backward regions, now comes the challenge to take up
the issue of suicides by landed farmers as well in a purposeful way.

It is also perhaps time to remember that when Marx was stressing
the inevitability of violence for a revolutionary transformation
of society, he was predicting violence not preaching it.

As the late D D Kosambi once famously put it, those
who accuse that Marxism is based upon violence might
“as well proclaim that meteorology encourages storms by predicting
them”. It may not be out of place over here to recall the view of the
Chinese Communist Party (CPC) delegation headed by Mao
Zedong concerning Nikita Krushchev’s line
of peaceful transition from capitalism to
socialism at the 1957 Moscow meeting of
world’s communist and workers parties.

The CPC delegation in a note to the meeting suggested that without
over-emphasisingthe possibility of peaceful transition, and
especially regarding the possibility of seizing power by winning
a majority in parliament, “it would be more flexible to
refer to the two possibilities, peaceful
transition and non-peaceful transition, than
to just one, and this would place us in a
position where we can have the initiative
politically at any time”.
(‘Outline of Views on the Question of Peaceful Transition by
the CPC Delegation at the Moscow Meeting’,
November 10, 1957.)

Nevertheless, it may be safely anticipated that Naxalism or
Maoism would continue to remain an attractive proposition
to tens of millions of our impoverished and oppressed masses
so long as the unfinished business of agrarian reforms
and solution to elementary livelihood problems remain
incomplete in vast parts of India. The massive transfer of forest and
agricultural land planned by various state
governments for developing industry,
mining, infrastructure facilities, as well as
for agribusiness, may only add fuel to the Maoist fire.

Be it Punjab or UP in the north, Orissa, Jharkhand and West Bengal in the
east, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh in the south or Chhattisgarh in
central India, the signals are all there of an impending land
transfer from peasant ownership to the
corporate sector.

More pertinently, as the executive, the police and leading political
functionaries act together to silence the most legitimate and
peaceful movements of, say, industrial workers in Gurgaon or
evictees in Kalinganagar or Sardar Sarovar, often, by brute force,
the temptation to adopt non-peaceful means can only grow
in future.

This can be one explanation for the spread of the CPI (Maoist) influence
in so many states within a short period. The recent emergence of the
Nepal’s Maoists as the hill country’s leading
political force in the course of a 10-year old armed insurgency
and their subsequent decision to uphold multi-party democracy
and competitive electoral politics, of course,
adds a new dimension to the discussions
on Maoism in India.

The CPI (Maoist) is possibly the only political party in India,
which has consistently supported the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)
and had close fraternal links with it when the
People’s War Group and the Maoist Communist Centre
had a separate existence. That Nepal’s top Maoist leader,
Prachanda, in an interview to an Indian newspaper rather
gratuitously advises that his party’s line of multi-party democracy
also applies to Maoist movement in India, only complicates the matter.

As we have mentioned earlier, the case
for revising the ideological-political line
and the strategy and tactics of the CPI (Maoist) is quite potent
by itself because of the changed international situation and
above all due to the major worldwide setback to socialism.

But no self-respecting and sovereign political party would be
willing to listen to unsolicited advice conveyed via the mainstream
media by the party of another land.

This, however, concerns the question of upholding the principle
of fraternal relations between communist parties of two
different countries and may not be that
important for us. What is definitely of much greater
political significance is how the left parties in India decipher the message
emanating from the revolutionary practice of Nepal’s Maoists.

Expectedly, the left parties functioning within the Indian
parliamentary democratic framework highlight only the
changed stance of CPN (Maoist) but remain silent about
the reasons behind its success in changing the balance of forces in Nepal in
favour of the left within a short span.

This is understandable because these parties have labelled
Nepal’s Maoist insurgency as “terrorist activities of Maoist ultras” even
after the February royal coup d’etat
(see People’s Democracy, February 13, 2005).

And while most of the Indian left was backing the CPN (UML) demand
for just restoration of Parliament, the CPN(Maoist) fought
almost single-handed to win popular support for its revolutionary
slogan of convening a constituent assembly.

India, undoubtedly, is a much more economically developed country than
Nepal, with a political system that enjoys greater legitimacy than
what the Indian Maoists would like to believe. While it
would be absurd to replicate the model of
Maoist insurgency of Nepal in vastly
different Indian conditions, the lessons from
that landlocked country, both negative and positive, need to be
deeply understood by all sections of the Indian left. Whereas the
Indian Maoists may have to learn something
from the CPN (Maoist) way of advancing popular political slogans
at different junctures of the rebellion led by it by grasping
the mood of the people, other sections of
Indian left may also have other things to
learn from Nepal’s Maoists.

As we read a smug report in an Indian left organ about
the seven-party alliance’s “major success
with the mainstreaming, so to say, of the
rebels”, in Nepal (People’s Democracy, April 16, 2006)
it does seem that some major left parties are still not even ready
to understand what is mainstream and what
is not in Nepal at this point of time, what
to talk of learning from Nepal.

Email: tilak_d_gupta@hotmail.com


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.