CPI (Maoist) Document on Work in Urban Areas
Posted by Ka Frank on January 26, 2010
This document was probably written by the CPI (ML) People’s War Group, and adopted by the CPI (Maoist) when it was formed in 2004. It provides detailed guidance for an expansion of the party’s work in urban areas. From reading this guide it should be clear why much of this work is not public. It was taken from a ruling class website so it is not an official party document.
OUR WORK IN URBAN AREAS
1. Introduction 7
2. Urban India 8
2.1 Urbanization Pattern 9
2.2 Changes in Class Composition and Structure of Cities 12
2.2.1 De-Industrialization of Major Cities 12
2.2.2 Changes in the Workforce 13
2.2.3 Division or Segmentation of Cities 14
2.2.4 Ghettoisation 16
3. Policy and Guidelines 17
3.1.1 Role of Urban Work within the Political Strategy 17
3.1.2 Role of Urban Work within the Military Strategy 18
3.1.3 Long-term Approach 19
3.2 Main Objectives of Our Urban Work 20
3.3 Mass Mobilization and Party Building 21
3.3.1 Types of Mass Organizations 22
22.214.171.124 Secret Revolutionary Mass Organizations 22
126.96.36.199 Open Revolutionary Mass Organizations 24
188.8.131.52 Fractional Work 26
184.108.40.206 Party-formed Cover Mass Organizations 29
220.127.116.11 Legal Democratic Organizations 30
3.3.2 Organizing at the Place of Residence 33
3.3.3 Party-Building 35
18.104.22.168 Activist Groups 36
22.214.171.124 Political Education 37
3.3.4 Party Structure 40
126.96.36.199 Party Cell 40
188.8.131.52 Part-Timer Party Committees 42
184.108.40.206 Party Fractions 42
220.127.116.11 Layers 44
18.104.22.168 Coordination and Links with Other Party Structures 44
3.4 United Front 45
3.4.1 Working Class Unity 46
22.214.171.124 Industry-based Unity 47
126.96.36.199 Issue-based Unity 47
188.8.131.52 Area-based Unity 48
184.108.40.206 Workers’ Platforms 48
3.4.2 Worker-Peasant Alliance 49
3.4.3 Unity of the Urban Exploited Classes 51
220.127.116.11 Unity with the Semi-Proletariat 51
18.104.22.168 White-Collar Employees 53
22.214.171.124 Other Sections of the Petty Bourgeoisie 54
3.4.4 Relations with the National Bourgeoisie 55
3.4.5 Front against Repression 56
3.4.6 United Front against Hindu Fascist Forces 57
3.4.7 Front against Globalization, Liberalization and Privatization 58
3.5 Military Tasks 60
3.5.1 Defence of the Urban Movement 60
126.96.36.199 Open Self Defence Teams 60
188.8.131.52 Secret Self Defence Squads 61
184.108.40.206 Urban Militia 62
220.127.116.11 Local Intelligence 62
3.5.2 Help to the Rural Armed Struggle 63
18.104.22.168 Work in Key Industries 63
22.214.171.124 Infiltration into the Enemy Camp 65
126.96.36.199 Sending Cadre to the Rural Areas and
the PGA/PLA 65
188.8.131.52 Logistical Support to the Armed Struggle 66
3.5.3 Urban Military Operations under Central Direction68
184.108.40.206 City Action Teams 68
220.127.116.11 Central Intelligence 68
18.104.22.168 Cyber Warfare 69
3.6 All-India and State-Level Plans 69
3.6.1 Factors Governing All-India Perspective-Plan 69
3.6.2 State Plans 70
4. Review of Our Understanding and Practice 71
4.1 Earlier Circulars and Policies 71
4.1.1 1973 Circular 72
4.1.2 1987 Guidelines 73
4.1.3 1995 Review 73
4.2 Our Main Shortcomings 74
4.2.1 Lack of Concentration on Urban Work 74
4.2.2 Lack of Concentration on the Working Class within Urban Work 75
4.2.3 Neglect of Developing Party Leadership from the Proletariat 76
4.2.4 Lack of Deep Understanding of the Strategic Approach in Urban Work 76
4.2.5 Lack of Clarity on Combining the Various Types of Mass Organizations 77
4.2.6 Negligence in Secret Functioning 79
4.2.7 Lack of an All-India Perspective 79
4.3 Principal Defect in Our Understanding 79
5. Immediate Tasks 79
5.1 Introduce Urban and Working Class Specialization in the Higher Committees 81
5.2 Draw up All-India and State-Level Perspective-Plans 80
5.3 Reorient and Reorganize the Urban Organizations
with a Long-Term Strategic Approach 81
5.4 Widely Mobilize the Urban Masses, particularly the Working Class 82
5.5 Recruit and Develop Party Leadership from the Working Class 83
5.6 Reorganize the Tech Mechanism in the Cities 83
5.7 Prepare the Self-Defence Organs of the Urban Movement 84
5.8 Take up Work in Key Industries 84
5.9 Infiltrate into Enemy Organizations 84
5.10 Build the United Front in the Urban Areas 85
The Strategy and Tactics document adopted at the Ninth Congress of 2001 explains the importance of urban work within the strategy of Indian Revolution in the following manner:
“Work in the urban areas has a special importance in our revolutionary work. …..in our revolution, which follows the line of protracted people’s war, the liberation of urban areas, will be possible only in the last stage of the revolution. However, this does not mean that there is no need to concentrate on the building of urban revolutionary movement from the beginning. From the beginning we will have to concentrate on the organization of the working class, which being the leadership of our revolution has to directly participate and lead the agrarian revolution and the people’s war and on building a revolutionary workers movement. Moreover, on the basis of revolutionary workers movement we will be able to mobilize millions of urban oppressed masses and build struggles against imperialism and feudalism, struggles in support of the agrarian revolution and struggles for democratic rights. We will be able to create the subjective forces and conditions required for building a countrywide, broad, anti-imperialist, anti-feudal united front during this course only. The urban movement is one of the main sources, which provides cadres and leadership having various types of capabilities essential for the people’s war and for the establishment of liberated areas… We should not forget the dialectical relationship between the development of the urban movement and the development of the people’s war. In the absence of a strong revolutionary urban movement, the people’s war will face difficulties.
“However, we should not belittle the importance of the fact that the urban areas are the strong centers of the enemy. Building up of a strong urban revolutionary movement means that our Party should build a struggle network capable of waging struggle consistently, by sustaining itself until the protracted people’s war reaches the stage of strategic offensive. With this long term perspective, we should develop a secret party, an united front and people’s armed elements; intensify the class struggle in the urban areas and mobilize the support of millions of urban masses for the people’s war.” [Pages 69-70, S&T].
However, there have been serious shortcomings and mistakes in our understanding and practice over the last thirty years. The Political and Organizational Review of the Ninth Congress thus reviewed as follows, “The importance of urban work in the ongoing people’s war in the country is well-recognized by our Party and is elaborated in our Strategy-Tactics document. However we have been extremely deficient in perspective, policy and methods of work. We have only made piecemeal changes from time to time, to the policy, contained in the document “Our Work in Urban Areas” brought out by APSC in 1973. We have yet to develop a comprehensive and long-term approach, which takes into account the changing developing trends in urbanization, as well as the policies of the enemy to isolate and crush us in the urban areas. This has led to frequent ups and downs in our urban work in most areas and serious loss of cadres in the areas of repression.” [Page 141, POR]
Thus the Congress decided on “A time-bound programme for preparing policy and guidelines for urban work, particularly working class work. This should include a review of our understanding and practice with regard to revolutionary trade unions, mini-guerilla squads, selfdefence squads, and workers’ magazine among other things. This should be followed by a campaign to reorganize our work according to the guidelines.” [Page 149, POR]
The present document is part of the attempt to implement the above Congress decision. Part 2 gives a brief picture of urban India, presenting the trends in urbanization and the changes in class composition, particularly since the policies of liberalization. Part 3 is the main section which lays out the policy and guidelines for work – our strategic approach and objectives, forms of organization and forms of struggle, the party, united front and military tasks, propaganda, tech mechanism, and planning. Part 4 reviews the main shortcomings in our understanding and practice of the past 30 years. Part 5 identifies some immediate tasks.
Besides this a separate document, ‘Guidelines for Our Work in the Working Class’, explains details with regard to working class work.
2. URBAN INDIA
According to the census of 2001, 27.8% of India’s population now lives in the towns and cities. The total urban population is 28.5 crores, which is larger than the total population of the world’s third most populated country – USA. Most of this urban population is situated in large cities. Almost two thirds stay in cities with a population of over one lakh, and 10.8 crores (i.e. 38%) are in 35 metropolitan centres with a population of over 10 lakhs. Three of the world’s twenty mega-cities, with a population of over one crore each, are from India.
The centre of the economy has also moved away from the rural areas. In 1950-51 56% of production came from agriculture, but today less than 25% comes from agriculture. Today most of the country’s production is from the industries and services sectors, which are mainly based in the towns and cities. The urban share in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is thus now over 60%.
India’s urban population size, proportion, and economic weight today are much higher than what was there in China at the time of the revolution. China, then had only about 10% of its production coming from industry and only 11% of the people staying in the urban areas. This would mean that India’s urban areas would have to play a relatively more important role in the revolution, than the cities played during the Chinese revolution.
This however does not mean any change in our basic strategy, which is based on the uneven economic and political development and the semi feudal, semi-colonial character of Indian society. Current international experience too shows various semi-colonial countries with large proportions in urban areas successfully advancing the people’s war basing on rural armed struggle. Though our urban population is large and constantly growing, its proportion is still much lower than the percentage of most other semi-colonial countries with movements seriously engaged in armed agrarian revolution. Thus Philippines have 59%, Peru has 73%, and Turkey has 75% urban population. Only Nepal has a lower 12% urban population, though the rate of growth of its urban population is almost double that of India.
2.1 Urbanization Pattern
Since 1947, four major metropolitan cities, which served as regional capitals under the British, have dominated the process of urbanization in the country. These were Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai, who respectively served as the central hubs of the east, west, and north and south of the country. Since the sixties they have continued to experience growth, though at different paces. Further newer metropolitan centres like Bangalore, Hydrabad and Pune, are emerging as new hubs of urban growth. The policies of liberalization are bringing further changes and new patterns of urbanization have been emerging, which are changing the positions and importance of even the old metropolitan centres.
Delhi continues to maintain its all-India importance, mainly as administrative capital and also due the rapid industrialization in its surrounding areas. Mumbai as financial capital, has been continuing to grow rapidly and is now among the five largest cities in the world. Kolkata and Chennai continue to maintain their regional importance, but Kolkata has lost its all-India importance as a centre of industry and commerce.
The ups and downs of these main centres is however only a reflection of the country’s sharply unequal pattern of urbanization. Kolkata is falling back because of its placement in the poorest and least urbanized eastern part of the country, whereas all the new stars are emerging in the most urbanized south and the west. The old hierarchy of four mega cities located in different regions of the country is thus giving way to urban corridors and clusters of new investment located mostly in the southern and western parts of the country.
With the exception of the Delhi region and adjacent areas in Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh much of the north, the east and the centre of the country have been bypassed. This vast area covering the eastern half of UP and stretching across Bihar, West Bengal, the North-Eastern states, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and the eastern part of Maharashtra is remaining as an area of urban backwardness, with old industrial bases and high unemployment. These areas are thus the main sources of cheap migrant labour for the large metropolitan cities.
The above inequalities are being encouraged by the policies of the government. In the earlier period under industrial licensing there were some small attempts at bringing about balanced industrial development and this led to some projects being set up in relatively backward areas like the central India minerals belt. Now under the liberalization policies investment is not regulated and goes to the areas promising the greatest profits. Thus the main investment is centred in and around a few areas of growing urban concentration. The main such areas are:-
a) Ahmedabad-Pune Corridor: This stretch of Western India is the main concentration of high industrialization and urbanization in the country. It includes four of the top ten cities in the country – Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Pune and Surat – besides two other cities over ten lakh – Vadodara and Nashik. The industries cover almost all the main industrial groups – engineering, chemicals, textiles, automobiles, telecommunications, electronics, etc. These cities and the adjoining districts attract the largest amount of new investment in the whole country. The working class is the most diverse, having migrated from all parts of the country.
b) Delhi Region: The capital region together with the adjoining areas of Gurgaon and Faridabad in Haryana, and Ghaziabad and NOIDA in UP is a massive urban and industrial zone. It is continuing to advance at a rapid pace in engineering, automobile, electronics, etc. The working class here too is diverse, but mainly from north India.
c) Bangalore: This has for some time been a centre of many major public sector establishments, besides textiles and silk weaving. Electronics and computer software and hardware are the main growth industries, with Bangalore being the software capital of India. It is a fast growing centre.
d) Chennai: The Greater Chennai region has become the industrial hub for the entire south. It has a very diverse range of industries – automobiles, textiles, chemicals, petroleum products, electronics, etc.
e) Coimbatore-Erode Belt: This is the area of fastest growing urbanization in the country. The principal industries are centred around textiles – mills, power looms, knitwear, etc. There are also small and medium engineering units.
f) Hydrabad: Though the actual growth is not as much as the media propaganda of the AP Chief minister, Hydrabad is also a fast growing urban centre. Besides the earlier public sector undertaking and other industries, the new investments are mainly in electronics and information technology. In AP, Vishakhapatnam has also been a centre of growth, attracting big investments.
Most urban centres in other areas are not receiving much investment and are therefore experiencing some level of stagnation. They are however major centres of industry with a large working class. They also play a very important role in their regions. Some of these centres are:-
a) Kolkata: Though it has lost its all-India importance, it remains the centre for the whole of eastern India. It has a large and diverse industrial base, but no major new area of industrial growth. The city too is growing at a slow pace. It has got new investment but a large part is for the expansion of existing plants. The working class is diverse, but basically from eastern India. Due to slow industrial growth unemployment rate is relatively higher.
b) Industrial Cities of Central India: The investments coming into these areas are mainly for power and fuel, and metallurgical industries. However new projects are relatively few and overall unemployment there is growing.
c) Cities of the Gangetic Plain: These cities including old major industrial centres like Kanpur, are not receiving much new investment and are thus stagnating. The cities however continue to grow due to influx from the rural areas.
The above trend and pattern of urban growth has to be taken into account while drawing up a perspective and plan for urban work.
2.2 Changes in Class Composition and Structure of Cities
Besides the changes at the all-India level there are also significant changes taking place within the cities, particularly the largest cities. This is resulting in changes in the nature and composition of the work force, as well as the geographical placement of various classes and communities.
2.2.1 De-industrialization of major cities
Over the years most major cities have seen a decline in manufacturing activity as compared to business activity in banking, finance, and other service sectors. This process started first with the largest cities, with the close down of many of Kolkata’s jute mills and other industries from the late sixties. This process however became very generalized from the early eighties with the decline of the textile mills in Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Chennai, and other centres. Lakhs of blue-collar jobs were destroyed without the setting up of any new industries within the city. Since the last twenty years now, hardly any new industry has been located within the major old cities. New industrialization is normally taking place on the outskirts of the main city, or in the nearby towns and cities. This is combined by an increase of white-collar jobs in the field of services, with investment normally going into these areas.
This process has led to a change in the class composition of most cities, particularly the metropolitan cities. Aggregate data on urban areas as a whole show a gradual decline in the percentage of male workers engaged in manufacturing from 27 per cent in 1983 to 23.6 percent in 1993-94. For female workers, the decline was from 26 per cent in 1983 to 23.6 percent in 1993-94. Over the same period, the percentage of male workers engaged in the services sector has increased from 24.8 per cent to 26.4 per cent, the increase for women workers being from 31.4 per cent to 38.8 per cent. Here services have been defined to include finance, insurance and business services and all other services, including community and social services. This indicates that the overall proportion of the industrial proletariat in urban areas throughout India is falling as compared to the employees engaged in offices, marketing establishments, hotels, etc.
While the above figures give the overall picture, the actual situation with regard to particular cities will be different. Since this factor is very important for our organizational perspective, plans, and tasks at the city level, all the respective committees should conduct city level class analysis regarding the situation and trend in their areas.
2.2.2 Changes in the Workforce
With closures of industries and the accompanying loss of jobs, many workers are forced to take up casual work or earn on their own through hawking, plying rickshaws, running roadside tea stalls and food joints, etc. At the same time new youth entering the work force do not get regular jobs immediately (unemployment rate is the highest in the 15 to 24 age group) and are forced to take casual employment or also run some small trade. This trend is increasing in recent years in the urban areas. At the same time more and more women are being employed in jobs but at much lower wage rates. This trend, which had started since the early eighties in most cities, has further accelerated since the liberalization policies.
The percentage of urban males in regular work has dropped and the percentage of self-employed and casual labourers has gone up. At the same time the percentage of women in regular work has gone up, though this does not affect the total size of the working class so much because women compose only 17% of the total urban workforce.
This then means a change in the composition of the working people. Firstly there has been an increase in the proportion of the semi-proletariat (i.e. self-employed); secondly there has been an increase in the proportion of women workers being paid very low wages; and thirdly there has been an increase in the casual labour force.
Besides the above given changes, another change has been the shift of jobs from the larger factories of the organized sector to the small workshops and industries. In recent years the percentage of workers in the organized sector as compared to the total workforce has fallen from 8.5% in 1991 to 7.1% in 1997 to 6.9% in 1999-2000. As the workers are divided into smaller units their potential for unionization also reduces.
All the above changes in the workforce have been presented here at the all-India level. These changes have significant consequences for our planning at the city and area levels. We should conduct local class analysis and plan accordingly.
2.2.3 Division or Segmentation of Cities
Cities and towns in India, basing on the colonial pattern, have always had a rich British section and a poorer Indian section. This separation however reduced to some extent in the process of growth of the metropolitan cities. Thus it became quite common to have slums adjoining posh high-rise buildings, and hawkers and vendors occupying space right next to the offices of multinationals in the heart of the central business district. Periodically drives would be taken up to demolish slums or evict hawkers, but they would most often manage to struggle and maintain their space within the centre of the city.
In the liberalization-globalization period however the ruling classes in most major cities, aspiring to make them ‘global’ cities, have in a coordinated and planned manner launched numerous measures to push the poor out of the core of the city and preserve it for the economic and social use of imperialist and comprador capital. This process has and is taking place in an intensive manner in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Hydrabad, Kolkata, Chennai, and in some other metropolitan cities. Similar patterns are however to be seen even in relatively smaller cities.
This process of dividing or segmenting the city is done through various measures. These measures extend from the old measures of slum demolition and hawker eviction to new forms like closure of ‘polluting’ factories, banning of protests in central areas, law changes encouraging privatization and localization of urban finance and urban facilities, regulations encouraging concentration of development in the richer zones, etc.
The role of the state is most prominent. Bureaucrats and urban planners operating under direct instructions from the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and other imperialist institutions have formulated laws, regulations, policies and master plans, which have given up even the earlier pretence of the slogans of equity and alleviating of urban poverty. Now the basic thrust of the plans are on ‘efficiency’ and ‘clean and green’ cities, which means basically providing sanitized five star enclaves with the best infrastructure and communication facilities for the offices, houses, and entertainment facilities of the corporate managers and elites, while pushing the urban poor along with their ‘unclean’ slums and ‘polluting’ industries to the borders of the city. The basic thrust of the National Capital Plan for Delhi and the 1993 Mega-City programme for the other 5 top cities mentioned above basically have this objective. The High Courts and Supreme Court, aided by anti-people so-called environmentalists, have also played a very active role in this process giving numerous court rulings to speed up this process in the name of ‘public interest’ litigation.
Numerous struggles of the working class and the urban poor have erupted against these measures. The November 2000 revolt of the Delhi working class and national bourgeoisie, and the struggles of Mumbai slum dwellers and Kolkata hawkers are some examples. However despite these struggles the remapping of the mega-cities and other metropolitan cities is proceeding ahead, and the socio-geographic pattern of cities like Mumbai has already changed considerably.
This process has to be dealt with by us at two levels. At one level we must participate in the mass struggles against the process of eviction and fight for the right of the working class and urban poor to live and work in their old areas. At another level we must take account of the changed pattern of the city in our analysis and planning. As part of our class analysis we should also map out the geographical locations of the various classes, both residential and work place. We should take it into account in our plans for organization, protest, self-defence, etc.
A ghetto is a slum or locality inhabited mostly or completely by one community. When a particular community is attacked repeatedly and forced, for their safety, to concentrate in particular areas this process is called ghettoisation. Localities formed on the basis of nationality, caste and religion are very common in almost all Indian towns and cities. However not all have been formed by a process of ghettoisation.
Urban mass violence on the basis of nationality has comparatively infrequent examples like Cauvery riots in Bangalore where the Tamil national minority was attacked, or the 1967 Mumbai attacks on south Indians by Shiv Sena national chauvinists. This is to a great extent because of relative lack of support for such acts from the integrationist all-India ruling classes and the Central state machinery.
Caste violence and caste riots are more numerous, with some towns and cities repeatedly witnessing attacks on dalits. Anti-reservation riots in many parts of the country are a constant form of caste attacks. Such upper caste violence has led to further sharpening the division of many towns and forcing all dalits to live in separate areas to better organize their self-defence.
The main form of violence has however been the attacks and organized pogroms by the Hindu communalists and fascists, primarily against the Muslims, but also against the Sikhs and Christians. This has led to the sharp segregation of the Muslim community and the creation of Muslim mohallas in almost all towns and cities where they have any existence. However with the metropolitanisation of some cities there has been some small shift out of Muslims into other areas. This too is being sought to be drastically reversed by the Hindu fascists during the eighties and the nineties.
The eighties and the nineties have seen the largest number of anti- Muslim pogroms associated with the political ascent of the Hindu fascists of the Sangh parivar. The major centre for this has been the western corridor with massacres of Muslims in almost all the major cities in this belt – Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Mumbai and Surat, as well as other smaller cities like Bhiwandi, Malegaon and Bharuch. The major urban centres of the south too have been centres for communal riots – Coimbatore, Hydrabad, and Bangalore, besides other smaller cities like Mangalore, Bhadravati, etc. Some have also taken place in the cities of Central India and the Gangetic plain. Most of these attacks have been done with the full connivance and even participation of the state forces. Of all these, Gujarat is being taken up by the fascists as a laboratory for an experiment in ethnic cleansing, with systematic physical and economic annihilation of Muslims.
As the Hindu fascists’ campaign spreads in other parts of the country, ghettoisation is bound to sharply intensify in most cities. Purely Muslim areas, suspicious of all others, and organized for self-defence will become essential for the survival of the community. Sharpening of divisions on communal basis can become a serious barrier to building class unity. Our Party in the urban areas has to seriously take the ghettoisation process into account in all plans. Sharp ghettoisation leads to lack of jobs for Muslims and pushes larger sections of them into the semi-proletariat. Thus merely organizing within industry will not enable us to enter this oppressed community. Unless we base ourselves in the middle of the ghetto, we will not be able to gain entry into organizing the community, we will not also be able to build the united front against the Hindu fascists. Thus, in our planning, we have to clearly identify the ghettos of a city and draw up our plan for gaining entry into them. While doing this, we need to organize them on their basic needs and day-to-day problems too.
3. POLICY AND GUIDELINES
3.1 Strategic Approach in Urban Work
3.1.1 Role of Urban Work within the Political Strategy
As the Ninth Congress says, “Working class leadership is the indispensable condition for the New Democratic Revolution in India. The working class exercises its leadership in the revolution through its direct participation. Apart from rising under the leadership of the Communist Party in the overall struggle for democracy and liberation and thereby uniting all other sections of the people in anti-imperialist and anti-feudal struggles, the working class organizes the agrarian revolution by sending its advanced detachment to the rural areas.” [Page 36, S&T]
Thus, being the centres of concentration of the industrial proletariat, urban areas play an important part within the political strategy of the New Democratic Revolution. It is the task of the party in the urban areas to mobilize and organize the proletariat in performing its crucial leadership role. Urban work thus means, firstly, forming the closest possible links with the working class, and, through the class struggle, establishing the party as a proletarian vanguard; further, it means the mobilization and unification of all other sections under proletarian leadership in the struggle to achieve the tasks of the revolution.
3.1.2 Role of Urban Work within the Military Strategy
The specific characteristics of revolutionary war in India “determine the military strategy to be one of protracted people’s war – of establishing revolutionary base areas first in the countryside where the enemy is militarily weak and then to gradually surround and capture the cities which are the bastions of the enemy forces.” [Page 8, S&T]
Thus it is clear that the armed struggle and the movement in the rural areas will play the primary role, and the work in the cities will play a secondary role, complementary to the rural work. However, while giving first priority to the rural work, we must also give due importance to the urban struggle. Without a strong urban revolutionary movement, the ongoing people’s war faces difficulties; further, without the participation of the urban masses it is impossible to achieve countrywide victory. As Com. Mao says, “the final objective of the revolution is the capture of the cities, the enemy’s main bases, and this objective cannot be achieved without adequate work in the cities.” (Mao, Selected Works, Vol. II, Pg. 317).
Thus the correct dialectical relationship has to be maintained between the development of the urban movement and the development of the people’s war. We should, by building up a strong urban movement, ensure that the urban masses contribute to creating the conditions that will obtain success for the armed struggle in the countryside. As we have seen in the earlier section, India has a larger proportion of the population in urban areas and a much larger working class than at the time of the Chinese revolution. This too increases the relative importance of urban work in the particular conditions of Indian revolution.
3.1.3 Long-term Approach
The cities and big industrial centres are the strongholds of reaction where the enemy is the most powerful. In these places the police, army, other state organs, and other forces of counter-revolution are concentrated and are in a dominant position from which they can suppress the people’s forces. At the same time our Party’s work and organization is extremely weak and generally cannot achieve a dominant position till the final stages of the people’s war. It is this objective reality, which determines our policy towards work in the urban areas.
In such a situation, where the enemy is much stronger, we cannot have a short-term approach of direct confrontation in order to achieve ‘quick results’. Rather, we should have a long-term approach. The task of the Party is to win over the masses, including the vast majority of the workers, and to build up the enormous strength of the working class in preparation for the decisive struggle in the future. Now is not the time for this final struggle between the revolution and counter-revolution, and we should therefore avoid engaging the enemy in such a fight while the conditions are not in our favour. This means that we should act chiefly on the defensive (and not on the offensive); our policy should be one of protecting, preserving, consolidating and expanding the Party forces, while mobilizing and preparing the broad urban masses for revolutionary struggle.
As Com. Mao, while outlining the tasks of the Party in the urban and other white areas dominated by the reactionaries, explained, “the Communist Party must not be impetuous and adventurist in its propaganda and organizational work…………..it must have well-selected cadres working underground, must accumulate strength and bide its time there. In leading the people in struggle against the enemy, the Party must adopt the tactics of advancing step by step slowly and surely, keeping to the principle of waging struggles on just grounds, to our advantage, and with restraint, and making use of such open forms of activity as are permitted by law, decree and social custom; empty clamor and reckless action can never lead to success.” (Mao, Selected Works, Vol. II, Pg. 318)
In order to mobilize the broadest possible sections in struggle it is absolutely essential that we should utilize all possible open and legal opportunities for work (and not reject the use of legality). Broad mass organizations help the Party to have wide contact with masses, so that it can work under cover for a long time and accumulate strength. While exploring the open opportunities, it is essential that we organize people into secret organizations too.
Broad, open and legal forms of organizing the masses have, however, to be combined with the strictest methods of secrecy, especially with regard to the link between the open and underground organization. All precautions should be taken to protect the identity of our comrades in the open organizations and contacts with the underground organization should be maintained at the minimum. At the same time particular care should be taken to ensure that the underground structures do not get exposed and smashed. For this a long-term approach and patience are absolutely essential. We should be even ready to sacrifice the short-term requirements of doing a particular job well in order to avoid endangering the long-term existence and functioning of the underground structure.
3.2 Main Objectives of Our Urban Work
Work in the cities and towns involve a number of tasks. All these tasks can however be combined under three broad heads or objectives. They are as follows:
1) Mobilize and organize the basic masses and build the Party on that basis: This is the main activity of the Party. It is the Party’s task to organize the working class, as well as other classes and sections like the semi-proletariat, students, middle class employees, intellectuals, etc. It also has the task of dealing with the problems of special social groups like women, dalits, and religious minorities and mobilizing them for the revolutionary movement. It is on this basis that the masses are politicized and the advanced sections consolidated into the Party.
2) Build the United Front: This involves the task of unifying the working class, building worker-peasant solidarity and alliance, uniting with other classes in the cities, building the fronts against globalization, against Hindu fascism, against repression, etc. This is a very important aspect of the work of the Party in the city.
3) Military Tasks: While the PGA and PLA in the countryside perform the main military tasks, the urban movement too performs tasks complementary to the rural armed struggle. These involve the sending of cadre to the countryside, infiltration of enemy ranks, organizing in key industries, sabotage actions in coordination with the rural armed struggle, logistical support, etc.
Of the above three, the first task of organizing the basic masses is fundamental and primary. Without widely mobilizing the masses it is not possible to perform any of the other tasks such as building of UF and performing the military tasks.
3.3 Mass Mobilization and Party Building
We need to build the broadest mass base by building various types of mass organizations, such as, open revolutionary mass organizations, legal democratic organizations, secret mass organizations, cover organizations, etc. Depending upon the situation one or other type of organization becomes primary for that period. But keeping in mind long-term approach, we need to build several types of mass organizations simultaneously.
Thus the general principle with regard to urban forms of organization is that the mass organizations should be as wide as possible. As the Indian political situation is uneven, we need to explore right combination of various types of mass organizations. While there is no possibility to form open revolutionary mass organizations in AP, there are several states in which still such possibility still exists.
Thus we may organize the people in several forms, depending on the situation. But Party building should always be done with utmost secrecy. As the experience of work in Shanghai city, where the white terror was utmost, during the Chinese Revolution shows, “the party organization should be secret, the more secret, the better. Whereas, a mass organization should be open, the wider, the better.” This principle could be creatively applied to our conditions. Those organizations, which openly propagate Party politics, should generally function secretly. Those organizations functioning openly and legally, generally cannot openly identify with the Party, and should work under some cover with a limited programme.
Correctly coordinating between illegal and legal structures, we should have an approach of step-by-step raising the forms of struggle and preparing the masses to stand up against the might of the state.
3.3.1 Types of Mass Organizations
Our POR identifies three types of mass organizations:- 1)secret revolutionary mass organizations, 2)open and semi-open revolutionary mass organizations, and 3)open legal mass organizations, which are not directly linked to the Party. Urban work within the third type of organizations can further be subdivided into three broad categories:- a)fractional work, b)party-formed cover organizations, and c)legal democratic organizations.
22.214.171.124 Secret Revolutionary Mass Organizations
These organizations remain strictly underground and propagate the Party’s revolutionary line among the masses rousing them for armed struggle. They openly call upon the masses to participate in the people’s war, propagate the central task drawn up by the Party at any given time, secretly organize the masses into struggles and directly serve as the base for recruitment for the Party and the people’s war. These mass organizations are built clandestinely and conduct secret propaganda. They are built around a clear-cut and explicit revolutionary programme. Acceptance of the aims of the revolution and willingness to work secretly are thus minimum criteria for membership.
In our party such mass organizations were not formed as a plan. They emerged in and around the struggle areas when the open revolutionary mass organizations were forced to go underground under severe repression. Later they were consciously formed even in areas with relatively less repression. Today with the imposition of an All-India ban under POTA, mass organizations in many more areas will be built underground. Many of these organizations are principally functioning in urban areas. Though such secret organizations may be formed in any section of the masses, we have so far, in the urban areas, mainly set them up among the youth, students, and workers.
In urban areas these secret organizations perform the important task of propagating the Party line among various sections of the masses. They are the main vehicles of revolutionary propaganda. Due to the dominant position of the enemy in the cities, the important task of rousing the masses through revolutionary propaganda must be performed through a secret structure. The secret structure of the Party however cannot be the only medium to propagate revolutionary politics. This would limit the extent and depth of the impact of our propaganda. It is therefore necessary to develop separate secret organizational structures among various sections of the people, which will carry the message of the Party’s calls to those sections in particular, as well to other sections of the broad masses. This therefore is the principal task of the secret revolutionary mass organizations in the urban areas.
It is the task of the secret units and committees to plan the forms and methods of propagating the Party line, the dissemination of Party propaganda, and the formulation and propagation of the revolutionary standpoint on various issues of the day – particularly the issues affecting the section which they are organizing. These can be done through secret posters, voices, pamphlets, cassettes, booklets, and other forms of propaganda; it can be done through personal contact by the organization members; it can be done through planned dramatic actions like attacks on imperialist, comprador, and other ruling class targets, etc. Through sustained and effective propaganda, and planned actions, the secret revolutionary mass organization must aim to reach a position where it influences, guides and even determines the actions and decisions of the non-Party organizations and the masses in its field of operation.
There could be some limitations for the secret mass organizations in organizing and mobilizing the masses in struggle in a big way. But there are occasions wherein secret mass organizations–though their actual organization is limited and their influence is significant–could lead important struggles in which lakhs of workers par Secret forms of struggle can and must be used. SiKaSa is an example for that.
Secret revolutionary mass organizations may not rally masses in a wide and broad way as that of open revolutionary mass organizations. When an open revolutionary mass organization is forced to go underground, while changing the work methods from open methods to secret methods by sending exposed cadre to UG, etc., wherever possible, unexposed portion of the organization’s forces should be shifted so as to work in other types of organizations such as cover organizations, fractional work, legal democratic organizations, and so on.
Secret organizations are the not organs for leading and directing the legal organizations, which are not directly linked to the Party. This will create an unnecessary semi-party form of layer between the Party and such organizations. We should thus also generally avoid forming units of the secret organization within the open organization so as to lead the open bodies. The Party fractions and cells functioning in the area should do this leadership. The secret organization performs its revolutionary role by giving calls and conducting propaganda to guide and push the open organizations in the correct direction. However this too should be avoided in areas where the field of fractional or cover work is too small or where the open revolutionary propaganda may lead to exposure that we are doing such work in that area. If it is necessary for the secret organization members to actively work within the open organization, they will work as ordinary open members of the organization, while taking special care to safeguard their political identity. It is better to avoid combining of the tasks of the secret organization activist and open organization leader; wherever possible different comrades should be assigned these separate tasks.
Thus the secret mass organization should serve as vehicle of revolutionary Party propaganda in the urban areas. It is the form of organization that is suited for implementing this important task.
126.96.36.199 Open Revolutionary Mass Organizations
These are the open and semi-open mass organizations, which openly propagate the politics of New Democratic Revolution and prepare the people for armed struggle. These organizations make use of the available legal opportunities to carry on revolutionary propaganda and agitation openly and try to mobilize anti-imperialist, anti-feudal forces as widely as possible.
Our Party has formed and run such open revolutionary mass organizations since the seventies, particularly in the period following the lifting of the Emergency in 1977. These open organizations were then the main organs of mass mobilization both in the rural and urban areas. They were the banners under which thousands and lakhs were mobilized, particularly in the struggle areas of AP and Bihar. These mobilizations reached their peak in the ‘open’ periods up to 1986 and during 1991 in AP. They played the role of attracting the broad masses towards the revolution. However with the onset of repression most of these organizations were denied any legal opportunities and were forced to go underground. Direct bans were imposed in AP and Bihar, whereas serious restrictions and surveillance were placed on the organizations in other states. Thus the scope of such organizations has drastically reduced with the rise in repression on our Party throughout the country. Today only very small open bodies exist in some cities.
As is clear from experience, this form of organization can only be used when the ruling classes, due to various reasons cannot or do not bring repression. This being the case there is limited scope for this type of organization in the urban areas. Since the enemy generally has the strong upper hand in the urban areas, there are few situations where repression cannot be brought about. Thus as the people’s war sharpens, the scope for legal opportunities is either because of the weakness of the ruling classes due to internal contradictions, or due to a plan of the state to keep watch on our forces or due to some other temporary reason.
Whatever be the reason, we should however evaluate the situation and try to make the best use of the legal opportunities available, while keeping in mind the long-term perspective. This means that if we are to get the opportunity to mobilize the masses in large numbers under our direct banner, we should make use of the chance. At the same time we should expose only a small section of our forces and make sure that the majority of our cadre remain hidden from enemy surveillance. We should on no account indulge in small demonstrations where all our activists are easily identified and even video filmed for easy targeting in future. We should understand that the period of legal opportunities for open revolutionary organizations will generally be short and we should make the best use of the period for long-term gains. While attempting to mobilize the largest numbers of the masses in struggle on the openly revolutionary platform of the open mass organization, the Party should concentrate on strengthening and consolidating the elements from these struggles who will serve the long term interests of the protracted people’s war.
Thus we must be clear that the open revolutionary mass organization cannot be a permanent form of mass organization in the urban areas. It can and must be utilized in the periods and situations of legal opportunities, and we must be ever alert to make use of such opportunities whenever they arise. However while doing so we must be ever conscious of the long-term interests of the Party and the class struggle and make sure that they do not suffer in order to obtain some short-term gains.
188.8.131.52 Fractional Work
Here the Party works through the numerous traditional mass organizations that operate in the urban areas. These traditional mass organizations are the organizations normally set up by the masses to fight for their sectional interests or otherwise fulfill their needs. The Party, through its members or other activists, penetrates such organizations without exposing any links with the Party. Through the activities of the organization, the masses, while being mobilized for their sectional interests, are attempted to be drawn towards the revolution. This method of organizing, if properly conducted, offers the best opportunity for cover work for a long period of time. It is therefore indispensable in areas of severe repression. However it can and should be used in all urban areas because it also provides excellent mass forums for approaching large sections of the people; and if we do not disclose links with the Party we can function for long periods without suffering enemy repression.
Work of this nature can be carried out in various types of organizations. The best organizations are those which are more oriented to struggle, like trade unions, slum and other locality based organizations, youth organizations, unemployed organizations, students associations and unions, women’s organizations, commuter associations, etc. Besides there are also other organizations which are welfare oriented, community based or are self-help organizations – like workers’ cooperatives, cultural organizations, sports clubs and gymnasiums, libraries, bhajan mandals, non-governmental welfare organizations, women’s welfare organizations, caste based and nationality based welfare organizations, minorities’ bodies, etc. There are also many organizations, which emerge on a particular issue, for a particular period, or for a particular festival, etc.
Most of these organizations emerge naturally due to needs of the masses. However many of them will have either direct affiliations or indirect links with ruling class parties and organizations. This however does not need to affect our plan to work among them at the lower levels. Our main considerations while deciding to work in a particular organization are, firstly, whether the masses are or can be mobilized through that organization, and secondly, whether the situation of the organization is such that there is scope to politically influence the masses and draw some elements towards the Party.
Sometimes there are various mass organizations of different affiliations operating in the same area – e.g. multiple trade unions within a single factory. At such time we may have to decide which organization to work within. This decision again should be broadly according to the conditions given above. We may even decide to work in more than one organization if it suits our plan for the area. However our general approach would be to oppose the splitting of the unity of the masses and to stand for the unity of all representative mass organizations working in a particular area.
Once we have decided to do fractional work within an organization we should strive to achieve a leading position in it. This means we should be in a position to influence and guide the decisions of the organization. If it is necessary to takeover office bearers’ posts in order to achieve this influence, then we should make attempts to do so. This however does not mean that we should always push for PMs to be in office bearers’ posts. If our plans can be fulfilled through non-PMs or even through leaders belonging to other parties it is the best. This will not only better maintain our cover, but also will leave our PMs free to perform other tasks. However if there is no other alternative, and it is the will of the majority, we should not have any ban on even PMs taking up such posts.
Whether we take up office bearers’ posts or not, the important point in fractional work is the skillful exposure of the reactionaries and reformists leading or participating within these organizations. This exposure is essential to draw the masses away from their influence. This must however be done without exposing ourselves to the enemy. The forms of exposure will thus differ depending upon the concrete situation. In vast areas where risk of direct exposure of our fractional work activists is low, we can use propaganda by the secret revolutionary mass organization or even direct calls by the Party. In smaller areas like a single factory or slum we may have to mainly or only use word-of-mouth propaganda. Sometimes we can create artificial banners like ‘angry workers’, ‘concerned slum dwellers’, etc. for doing our propaganda. Very often we may have to use a combination of various methods. Whatever is the method it should be applied carefully, skillfully, and consistently? It should ensure that the masses are drawn away from the influence of reactionaries and reformists; it should also at the same time ensure that we do not get prematurely exposed and face losses.
There are two types of deviations in fractional work. One is to sink to the level of the reactionaries and reformists leading the organization and refuse to do any political work in the name of having a long-term approach and preventing exposure. The other is to get rapidly exposed due to our desire to achieve ‘quick results’. Both deviations should be avoided. The main problem in our fractional work so far however has been our lack of a long-term approach. Our mistakes range from excessive revolutionary rhetoric, to simple errors like singing Party songs or distributing Party literature without ascertaining the reliability of those whom we are giving the literature to. Though much experience exists in the international communist movement and though we ourselves have gained many lessons in practice, we have not yet successfully been able to internalize and implement these lessons in our day-to-day activity. Though we have recognized this error in our documents, we have to yet educate all levels to concretely bring this into practice. The in-depth participation of the leadership is necessary for this.
The crucial point is to achieve the correct balance of making the fullest use of the legal opportunities without crossing the boundaries set by social customs, habits, existing forms of struggle, etc. Our speech and actions should suit the normal functioning of the activists and masses in the particular area. This will of course vary from situation to situation. While it may not be abnormal to resort to gherao among many sections of industrial workers, we may have to restrict to black badges and dharnas for bank employees; while militant anti-dowry and anti-caste struggles may be normal in some areas and states, social norms in other states or areas may be such that they would draw immediate suspicion if we tried to engage in such struggles through cover organizations. We would probably have to restrict ourselves to propaganda in such situations. Thus we should plan our activities, and our issues and forms of struggle according to the concrete situation of the class struggle, so that our Party identity is not quickly suspected and exposed. We should of course not reduce ourselves to mere tails of the masses. We should be skillful enough to remain one step ahead of the masses, without getting exposed. We should use opportunities to push the struggle to the maximum socially acceptable limits, while raising the political consciousness of the masses above their earlier level. We should thus through a long-term approach continuously advance the movement.
Once we have implemented the correct approach and methods in our fractional work it can become a powerful tool in our urban work. This was widely used form of organizing in urban work in the Chinese Revolution.
184.108.40.206 Party-formed Cover Mass Organizations
It sometimes becomes necessary for us to directly form mass organizations under cover without disclosing their link with the Party. Mostly, such a need arises due to the absence of any other suitable mass organization within which we can do fractional work. An example is the case of unorganized workers, where the established trade unions have a limited presence and we often have no option but to set up our own trade union organization to take up the unorganized workers’ demands. This however is not the only area where we may form cover organizations. In fact, cover organizations can be of as many varied types as the organizations for fractional work we have mentioned in the earlier section. They can range from trade union type struggle organizations to welfare type organizations to issue-based organizations, etc. The methods of mass work too are not very different from the areas of fractional work. The main difference is of course that we do not have the task of exposure, as when working within the reactionary and reformist organizations.
Wherever we form such cover organizations our programme will be of a limited nature, similar to other such organizations working in the area. While utilizing these cover organizations to mobilize the masses on their specific demands, we will try to draw the best elements into the Party.
We should be careful (especially in repression areas) not to attract the attention of the state by far exceeding the socially acceptable limits of militancy for that area. For example if the normal weapons used in the area are knives and swords we should not resort to firearms, or we should not normally resort to annihilations in a new area where there has not been any history of such actions.
We have had some experience of building cover organizations now since the last few years. We have committed various mistakes (mentioned in our POR) leading to the quick exposure of our forces in many areas. While learning from these mistakes we should inculcate the correct long-term approach to preserve such organizations for a long period of time while making them strong bastions of mass struggle.
220.127.116.11 Legal Democratic Organizations
These are the organizations formed on an explicit political basis with some or all aspects of an anti-imperialist, anti-feudal programme, and with a programme of action and forms of struggle that broadly fall within a legal framework. Some such organizations may be those catering to a particular section like trade unions, student bodies, women’s fronts, caste abolition organizations, nationality organizations, writers’ associations, lawyers’ organizations, teachers’ associations, cultural bodies, etc. Others may be formed with issue-oriented programmes focusing on particular core questions like contract labour system, unemployment and job losses, caste atrocities, communalism, imperialist culture, violence on women, saffronisation of education, corruption, regional backwardness and statehood, etc. The scope of the legal democratic organization is very wide, extending to the broad coalitions and alliances formed against repression, globalization, Hindutva, and right up to the all-encompassing bodies formed with the banners of anti-capitalism or people’s struggles. Such organizations can be formed at various levels – town/city level, district level, state level, regional level, all-India level, or even at the international level.
Our Party has been initiating or participating in the formation of such organizations only since the last few years. Our experience thus has been limited. But rather than experience, the problem has more been the lack of a clear understanding regarding the concept, role and importance to the legal democratic organization. This has led to spontaneity, a trial and error approach, and mistakes in practice. This has resulted in our organizations remaining within a narrow base of support. It has prevented us from actually implementing in practice the full scope of the legal democratic organizations. It has prevented us from making the fullest use of legal opportunities for the widest mobilization of the masses.
Actually the legal democratic organizations serve as important means to the Party’s attempts at the political mobilization of the urban masses. This is because repression normally prevents the open revolutionary mass organizations from functioning. The legal democratic movement is thus the arena where the masses can participate in thousands and lakhs and gain political experience. It thus has a very important role in the revolution, complementary to the armed struggle in the countryside. Revolutionaries in other countries, particularly the Philippines, have participated within and utilized the legal democratic movement very effectively. In India too there is excellent scope to participate within, build, promote and develop legal democratic organizations and movement to advance the interests of revolution. The masses suffering under the yoke of imperialism and feudalism, regularly participate in countless small or big, militant, day to- day struggles. Innumerable grassroots level organisations and leaders with a restricted perspective and functioning within a legal framework lead these. It is these struggles and organizations that provide the concrete material basis for the setting up of broad democratic organizations. And it is through the legal democratic movement that these struggles are brought out of their narrow confines, are unified, and gain political direction.
Thus it is necessary that our Party in the urban areas should give considerable importance to the task of participating in and building up a strong and broad legal democratic movement. We should join, form, or join in the formation of legal democratic organizations of various types – sectional, issue-oriented or broad-based; depending on necessity and feasibility, this can be at any level ranging from the town/area level to the all-India/international level. While taking up this task and allocating forces for it however, we must also guard against a tendency to overemphasize one-sidedly the sweeping mass mobilizations and struggles at the cost of the central tasks of consolidation and party building. The legal democratic movement itself too can grow from strength to strength and remain on the correct political course only if we concentrate sufficiently and simultaneously on developing the secret Party core within it. Thus while giving due importance to the legal movement, we should take care to maintain the correct dialectical balance between the needs and importance of the legal and illegal work, the open and the secret organization.
Maintaining relations between the open and secret also means strict adherence to tech precautions. This means protecting the Party leadership from exposure and danger, as well as protecting the legal leadership from being exposed as belonging to our Party. Meetings between open and secret leadership should as far as possible be avoided and guidance should normally be through written communication and other means which should be done by protecting the Party link. When a meeting has to take place, proper care should be taken that the legal comrades are not allowed. Similarly errors like meeting public figures in front of entire squads thus directly exposing their links, should be avoided.
Generally we should avoid exposing our Party’s influence within a particular organization, as well as the identity of our PMs and other comrades close to us. However as its activities expand and intensify, we cannot prevent the enemy from growing suspicious, launching surveillance and indulging in harassment. However, this does not mean that they will be able to easily launch full-scale repression and bring a ban. As long as the organization adheres to the principles of legal democratic functioning, and as long as it has a broad enough base of support, it will be difficult for the state to close it down.
The crucial central point in this however is the broadness of the organization. If we set up a narrow organization limited only to our Party forces, we cannot expect it to continue for long even if we use all tech precautions to conceal our identity. On the other hand, if broad sections of the masses are rallied and if a wide range of non-Party forces is united, the enemy will not be in such an easy position to suppress fully. Even if they launch attacks they risk the possibility of still wider protests and support.
However in order to achieve broad unity, it is necessary for us to have such an approach in whatever legal democratic effort we participate in. We should broaden our efforts far beyond the revolutionary camp and attempt to involve and unite with a wide spectrum of struggling forces on various fronts. A minimum political understanding for any organization should be the basis for our unification efforts. Our basic condition should be serious adherence to a minimum political programme. We should in fact target such organizations and individuals that are seriously committed to struggle and try to involve them in any effort at broad unity. If we have such an approach and are able to allocated suitable forces we will definitely be able to soon achieve much success. It is through such efforts that we will be able to see the legal democratic movement emerge as a powerful urban force, complementing the rural armed struggle and helping to advance the revolution throughout the country.
3.3.2 Organizing at the Place of Residence
Though the workplace organization is the primary organization of the workers, we should also pay attention to organize the workers within the slums and localities. Through this we can get contact with new workers from various industries, we can draw the families of the workers into the movement, and we can organize the semi-proletariat and other sections of the urban poor living in the slums and poor localities.
In slums and other poor localities there are already numerous traditional organizations in existence. Constantly living in precarious conditions, the urban poor naturally come together to help each other and unite within organizations to fight for their rights, to secure better living conditions, to solve problems among themselves and to better organize their social and cultural activities. The common types of traditional organizations are slum-dwellers organizations, basti or chawl committees, mahila mandals, youth clubs, sports clubs, cultural bodies, committees for various festivals like Ganesh festival, Durga puja, Ambedkar Jayanti, etc. There are also some organizations that are peculiar to certain regions, cities, and areas. Since such organizations offer the best cover we should try to make the best use of these traditional organizations and mainly work from within them. Even if there is a need to form new legal organizations, we should normally give them the forms already existing among the masses.
Struggle issues are a regular feature of locality work, particularly slum work. Fights for basic amenities like water, electricity, toilets and sewerage, against corruption and exploitation of ration shop owners, adulterators and black marketers, against slumlords, goonda gangs and other lumpens, and against demolitions are some of the regular issues. We should organize the struggles on these issues through the local committees and the slum-dweller organizations. As women and unemployed youth play a leading role in most of these struggles, the mahila mandals and youth clubs should also be involved and struggles can even be led under their banners.
Besides the above struggle issues and organizations, we should also pay attention to the welfare and cultural needs of the masses. We should make use of cultural bodies to promote democratic culture. We can also initiate the setting up of libraries and reading rooms that can provide progressive education. We should also pay attention to solving the contradictions among the people. Traditional forms like panchayats should be transformed and rid of feudal and exploitative practices.
We should always propagate and educate against the activities of the Hindu fascists. In areas prone to communal tensions we should set up permanent all community peace committees and open self-defence teams. Similar suitable steps may also be taken up in areas of caste or nationality based tensions. Self-defence should also be organized against the goondas and lumpens. If such teams are well organized, they can even play a role in leading the mass resistance at times of demolition.
A problem peculiar to slum work is the problem of imperialist funded NGOs. They are today in existence in almost all the slums of the main cities of the country. We should educate the slum masses and particularly the activists about the sinister role of such organizations and the agencies financing them. We should particularly expose them when they stand in the path of the people’s struggles. However if such organizations come forward for struggles we can have issue-based unity with them. In situations of repression we can also work within them.
Through the traditional mass organizations, we can and should organize political propaganda, but it will be of a limited nature. For higher level of propaganda and mobilization we should use the legal democratic organization banners or can even affiliate some of the traditional organizations to these legal democratic organizations. Thus the issues of the slum can be broadened and linked to the broader fight against globalization and imperialism.
For propaganda on direct Party positions however we should use secret organizations like the secret revolutionary workers’ organization and the secret revolutionary youth organization. They should however only be used while keeping in mind the precautions to prevent exposure of our locality work. Thus if the slum and locality work is very small and narrow, we should avoid propaganda by the secret organizations in such
We should consolidate the activists emerging from the struggle first into basti activist groups and then into Party candidate cells and full cells. The basti activist groups, the Party cells and the basti Party committees are the cores for planning and leading all the activities and struggles in the bastis, for political propaganda and education, and for recruiting new members into the Party.
The situation of the urban poor in the slums and poor localities is worsening continuously. The slum population of India today stands at 4.1 cores, spread in 607 towns. The largest mega city, Mumbai, has 49% of its population in the slums. Our Party has so far paid limited attention to the organizing of this section. Other revolutionary parties, particularly the Peru Communist Party (PCP) have been particularly successful in this respect. In fact the shantytowns of Lima have been the strongholds of the revolutionaries for a long period. We too should work at creating such strongholds in India’s major cities.
Mass struggles and mass organizations are absolutely necessary for preparing the masses for revolution. They however are not sufficient by themselves without the conscious consolidation and development of the vanguard – the Party. Thus the best elements that emerge through the struggles should go through a process of politicization in struggle, ideological and political education in activist groups, study circles and political schools, and consolidation into candidate and party cells. This process is relatively a slow painstaking process as compared to the spontaneous sweeping element of the mass movement. Consolidation cannot emerge by itself spontaneously without a conscious programme for it and consistent monitoring and implementation at all levels. In urban areas the Party cell is the crucial body for systematic and serious Party building. However all higher bodies must constantly follow-up and pay attention to this task
In the urban areas the main concentration has to be on the consolidation of the vanguard elements from the industrial proletariat class. This is doubly important considering the present weak working class composition of our Party. We have to thus concentrate on the struggles and organizations of the working class, both at the work place and in the bastis, and have a target of drawing the largest numbers of the best members of the working class into the party. Besides the working class, we should give importance to the consolidation from the semi proletariat, the students, the intellectuals and other sections of the petty bourgeoisie.
18.104.22.168 Activist Groups
The secret activist group is a crucial unit in the Party-building and recruitment process. It is the preliminary organizational form for consolidation of the most active and sincere elements emerging from the class struggle. It is the unit through which the activities of its members are given political direction, through which they receive ideological and political education, through which their life decisions are politicized, and through which they are chosen to become members of the Party.
The activist group may be formed at the workplace – factory, mine, industrial estate, shift, department, section, office, branch, or any other level which is a unit for organizing; it may be formed at the place of residence – the slum, chawl, street, society, or any other level which is a unit for organizing; it may be formed in schools, colleges, or other institutions; and where the organizing is based on a particular section, the activist group can be formed at the level suitable for that section.
The main basis for selection into the activist group is activity. All activist group members should be regular, or prepared to be regular, in activity. Other criteria are broad sympathy to revolutionary politics and steadfastness to the cause and interests of the section of the masses who are being organized.
The activist group will be built from the advanced elements within the masses. It should be formed as soon as possible after a certain level of activity. Depending on the concrete situation the group can consist of 3 to 7 members. Normally at least one capable PM should be given the responsibility for leading a particular activist group. This however should normally be without disclosing his/her identity as a PM.
The tasks and responsibilities of an activist group will differ concretely according to the field of work. However for all organizing among the basic masses these responsibilities can be broadly divided into 3 categories. Firstly there is the task of guiding and transforming the organizations of the masses into bodies genuinely representing the masses interests. If no mass organizations exist it should try to form such organizations. Secondly the group should be given the task of politicizing the broad masses. Thirdly it should organize their self-defence. These responsibilities should be discussed in the activist group and concretely allocated among the members.
While leading the group in the above responsibilities, it is the task of the PM in charge to conduct the ideological and political education of the group. While classes and joint study should be conducted, great importance should also be given to other more flexible methods like informal discussion, films, individual reading, etc. As the group develops, where feasible, there should be collective discussion on personal and family problems and this should be used to help the members to take political decisions in their personal life.
Through the above process some or all or even none of the activist group members may develop to become candidate members and members of the Party. This will lead to the formation of a cell in the same area where the activist group had been operating. Once such a cell has been formed, the activist group should be dissolved or reconstituted without exposing the cell-formation to the non-PMs. As far as possible an activist group and party cell should not simultaneously exist having parallel responsibility for the same unit at the same level – e.g. there should not be an activist group and a cell simultaneously for the same department within a factory, though there may be a cell for the whole factory and an activist group for the department at the same time.
Thus the activist group is a transitory form of organization. Its purpose is to facilitate the consolidation of the advanced sections of the masses and build them into the vanguard. If it is conducted in a systematic and planned manner it can play a crucial role in the Party-building process.
22.214.171.124 Political Education
Urban work activists and cadre function within the areas dominated by the enemy and are thus faced much more by alien class trends and the ideological influence of the bourgeoisie. Being normally distant from the zones of armed struggle there is a tendency to swing to extremes, deviating from our basic line. In situations when the urban movement is low there is the tendency towards despondency and lack of confidence in the revolutionary line. When the urban movement is on the upswing, there is the scope to overplay the importance of urban work and give less importance to the rural armed struggle. Such deviations can be prevented and rectified through continuous ideological and political education. There
is thus always the need for solid and systematic education in Marxism- Leninism-Maoism and the line of protracted people’s war? This is necessary not only for advancing the movement but also for fighting off the degenerative influence of the reactionaries.
Despite this need, political education in the urban Party is a much-neglected area. Independent organisers who remain for long periods out of the contact of the higher committees mostly conduct urban work. In the absence of systematic planning and follow up, the task of political education is thus left to the capabilities and initiative at the lower level. There is also thus a greater possibility of being caught up in the urgencies of the immediate practical work and neglecting the long-term ideological requirements. Another problem is the tech problem of conducting classes and schools in the city. While risks from the state can be reduced by better secrecy methods, there still remains the problem of conducting numerous small batches to prevent exposure of comrades working in different areas. Mixing comrades can sometimes reduce this problem of exposure from distant towns or even from different states, but this cannot always be the solution.
All this however implies that political education tasks in the city cannot be fulfilled without the active intervention of the higher committees. Courses, methods of conducting schools and taking classes, tech methods, training of teachers, plans for education at different levels – all require the personal attention of the higher committee members.
At the higher levels of AC and above it would be necessary, for the present, to systematically implement the programmes and courses decided by SCOPE. However in the future it will be necessary to develop special courses and training to particularly cater to the needs of urban work. One constant need, peculiar to urban work, would be that of developing the numerous teachers to take the number of small batches that urban work requires.
While thorough and continuous political education at the higher levels is the key to proper Party leadership, political education within the mass organizations and at the cell level is necessary to provide a sound foundation. The task of political education at these levels is all the more important in the urban areas because the normal area of activity for such comrades are the fractional and cover mass organizations where they cannot disclose their identity and where they have to constantly function among non-party forces and even ruling class elements.
Mass organizational education should use open forms of mass education for all topics permissible without attracting the attention of the state. We should try to adopt and adapt all locally prevalent forms used by the ruling classes and other classes. These can be like libraries, street corner reading posts and other such means which can be used to disseminate progressive literature among other general books; lecture series during festivals, debate competitions, elocution competitions, etc. where our comrades express progressive views; public speaking courses, personality development courses, etc. with political topics included in the syllabus; mass organization training camps, and the like. The level of political education possible through such methods will of course be very low, but it is very essential to be conducted on a regular basis to keep up a political atmosphere among even the more backward sections within the mass organization. For the more advanced sections we have of course to use different forums and methods – e.g. the activist group.
Political education for the activist group, candidate cells and party cells, will have to be planned at the level of the responsible committees. While education materials provided by SCOPE should be the basis, the committees should also select materials, which will suit the local urban conditions and also the particular sections being educated. While planning it must be kept in mind that the urban education system needs to be as decentralized as possible. This means that the courses and materials should be such that they can be easily implemented and used by the responsible organizers and PMs who will finally be performing the task of teachers. Where necessary they have to be given the attention and help to enable them to put the plan into implementation.
A well planned decentralized political education system, with sufficient teachers and regular follow-up from the committee is thus what every urban area requires.
3.3.4 Party Structure
The question of the Party structure in the urban areas presents quite different problems from that in the rural areas where our Party is based. These relate to the problem of building and running stable structures, the continuity of party leadership, the coordination between open and secret work, between lower and higher bodies, and between the city organization and the leadership based in the rural areas. We cannot resolve these problems without the close attention and study by the higher-level bodies and the development of concrete and practical solutions. We also require however a broad common approach on the objectives, tasks and methods to be adopted for building and advancing the urban Party structure.
The essential principle forming the basis of our Party structure, particularly in the urban area, is political centralization combined with organizational decentralization. This means that all PMs and all bodies, particularly at the lower level, should have solid ideological-political foundations, so that they are able to independently find their bearings and take the correct organizational decisions according to the political line of the Party. This is particularly important in the urban areas because of the technical difficulties of maintaining close and constant links between the secret higher bodies and those at the lower levels engaged in direct open work. This is also important because urban work often demands immediate and quick responses to the events of the day. With rapid advances in electronic communication and media, delays of days and sometimes even hours in politically reacting to major events can hinder the impact that our Party can have on the urban movement. This thus depends on the strength of the bodies that form the foundation of our urban Party structure – the cells and the lower level committees – as well as on the Party fractions that link the Party with the mass organizations.
126.96.36.199 Party Cell
The urban Party cell can be formed on the basis of unit of production
– for workers this could be factory, shop, department, section, shift, production line, industrial estate, etc. for students and middle class employees it could be the college, school, institution, office, etc.; the cell can also be formed on geographical basis (i.e. the place of residence) – this would be the slum, chawl, street, society, etc. Wherever the number of PMs in a particular unit (e.g. factory) is less that three they can be combined with adjoining units to form a cell. However this should not be done indiscriminately in the urban areas as this would lead to unnecessary exposure. Where the work is integrated a common cell may be formed. In other cases it is better to wait for further recruitment before formation
of a cell.
The cell is the body leading all other organizational units within its sphere of responsibility. It performs its basic tasks under the leadership of the next higher committee. The basic tasks of the urban cell include organizing the masses, politicizing them, educating the advanced elements and recruiting them into the party, and preparing its members and other activists to go to the countryside to work for the success of the agrarian revolution.
The cell should develop its own secret network of shelters and meeting places. As far as possible meetings should not be held in the areas where the members do their political work among the masses. Generally cell members should not be transferred from cell to cell as this would lead to unnecessary exposure.
Where there are at least three PRs functioning in an area and are known to each other, a Professional Revolutionary Cell (PRC) may be formed. The PRC however should not play the role of a Party committee and become a centre for planning the activity of the areas of all the PRs. This would result in unnecessary exposure of various structures and areas of work and could lead to losses. For the purpose of work planning, each PR can be a member of the cell responsible for his/her area of work. Where this is not possible, the planning should be done with the concerned organizer or committee member. The main function of the PRC is to provide the political training and development to the PR, which would not be possible within the time constraints and other limitations of a part timer cell. Longer political education programmes, collective study and debate, and other similar activities can be conducted through the PRC. Thus it can play a positive role in rapidly developing the future Party leadership. This advantage however should be balanced against the risks of exposure and losses in urban work. Thus if a PR is functioning in an unexposed area, or if he/she shows signs of vacillation, he/she should not be included in a PRC.
188.8.131.52 Part-Timer Party Committees
Wherever there are two or more cells functioning in a particular locality or unit of production we should take up the task of forming the Factory/Industrial Area Party Committee or Basti Party Committee or College Party Committee as the case may be. These may be composed completely of part timers, or may include PRs or may in come cases include organizer level comrades. This is the level of Party Committee between the Area Committee/Organizer and the cells. It is the body that leads and guides all the cells, candidate cells, party fractions and other bodies within its field of responsibility. It is the body that ratifies the recruitment of candidate members and decides their full membership.
The Factory/Basti Committee is a very important layer in the urban Party structure. It improves Party functioning by providing more day-to-day attention to the functioning of the party cells and other lower level bodies. It also reduces the risk to higher-level committees by providing another layer and eliminating the need for the higher committee member to always meet all the cells. Despite its importance we have not paid sufficient attention within our Party to developing this layer in the urban areas. We have as yet very few areas where such committees have been created and our experience is thus very limited. The main aspects we should concentrate upon while setting up these committees is proper selection of reliable committee members, stress on setting up a proper secret network for shelters, communication and meetings, and extreme care not to expose the identity of the committee members to all the PMs. Where necessary, precautions may also be taken while reporting, so that the actual identities of PMs and activists are protected. Generally we should adopt a long-term approach towards building such committees and sustaining for a long period of time. A proper network of such committees can considerably improve the functioning of our urban Party structure.
184.108.40.206 Party Fractions
Besides the cells and the Party committees, the Party sets up fractions in various non-Party organizations in order to ensure that members functioning within these organizations express a single will, pursue uniform tactics and act in harmony. They are the agencies through which the Party exercises influence over these organizations and carries through its policies. Since most of the work in the urban areas is done through non-Party organizations, properly functioning fractions are a very important part of the urban Party organization. They are necessary for uniting and coordinating the Party forces within the non-Party organizations and ensuring that they play a leading role.
The relevant Party committee may form fractions in any organization or executive body where there are at least three PMs. Where all the PMs are from a single cell there is no need to form a separate fraction as all the functions of the fraction can be performed by the cell. Similarly, if the main forces within a particular organization or executive are in one cell or Party committee, or due to some other practical considerations, the Party committee may decide not to form a fraction. However wherever the members are from various forums, or where the work of the organization is substantial, it is advantageous to form a fraction.
The fraction functions under the guidance and supervision of the relevant Party committee. Thus the fraction within a factory trade union committee will function under the Factory Party committee, whereas the city level trade union fraction will function under the Party City committee. The relevant Party committee decides to form the fraction with all or some of the PMs in that area. It also has the right to send PMs to the fraction and to recall any members of the fraction. Urban work may sometimes require that PMs who are very exposed and under surveillance be not included in the fraction forum, though they are playing a prominent role in the organization. This may also be necessary sometimes to protect the Party identity of a comrade. In such cases the Party committee should devise special means and methods of coordinating with such comrades and seeing that they function in unison with the fraction and according to the direction decided upon.
The Party fraction guides the work of the organization in which it operates. All questions coming up in the organization in which it is perating are discussed in the fraction. All PMs must speak and vote within the organization in accordance with the decisions taken by the fraction. Similarly it is the responsibility of the Party committees to work through the fractions to see that the whole organization is guided according to a single policy and plan.
Layers refers to the various levels in the urban Party organization like city committee, area committees, factory/basti/college committees, cells, candidate cells, as well as the links to the mass organizations like activist groups and fractions. Due to greater enemy threat in the urban areas it is always necessary to maintain a number of layers from the lowest to the highest levels, and it is important to work through these layers without bypassing them.
We have since some years now been stressing in our documents the need and the importance of functioning basically through layers. We have however not achieved much progress in this regard. Most city organizations have not concentrated on building sufficient layers, and even where some layers exist there is a tendency to deal directly with the lowest levels in order to obtain quick results. We must quickly get rid of such wrong notions and practices and develop a system of layers in every city.
The core question for functioning through layers is to see that each layer is trained and developed to independently perform the functions at the particular level. This requires the close guidance and follow-up of the next higher level. The guidance should be directed to developing the independent capabilities of the comrades at that level as well as the team functioning of the committee. This is the key to decentralized organizational functioning according to a centralized political line and policies. It is the only long-term approach to building a party structure that will preserve our cadre and leadership and develop the forces for the future.
220.127.116.11 Coordination and Links with Other Party Structures
Most of our city work, particularly in the guerilla zone areas, is coordinated and led from the rural areas. Even the DCM leading the city work is often based in the rural areas and periodically has to call the city comrades to the squad areas for discussing and planning the urban work. This results on the one hand in serious exposure problems, and on the other hand to insufficient guidance, without a deep understanding of the actual problems of the urban work.
Coordination therefore is best done through a Party structure of at least DC level that is based in the urban areas itself. In cities which are large enough and where the extent of work and the Party structure warrants it, the DC can be built in that city itself. In some states where the coordination problem is particularly acute due to repression, it can be done through a special sub-committee for urban work formed under the SC. Where the suitable leading comrades are very exposed, they could be allocated far away from their earlier areas, or even to other states. Another problem related to the urban Party structure is the links with the rural party organization as well as the functional departments of the higher Party bodies. There is often a need of urban help of various types, for which the urban organization involved in day to day mass work are regularly used. Such links on a regular basis is dangerous for all involved, as well as affects the regular functioning of the urban organization. Therefore it is important to put a stop to such short cut methods immediately. Separate structures not linked to the running urban organization should be set up in the cities for this purpose. Comrades can be transferred out of the urban organization and allocated these tasks.
Here too what is basically required is a long-term approach. We must realize that it is only through the implementation of systematic and long-term plans that we can build the different structures required, to mobilize the urban masses, to provide logistical and other help to the rural work, as well as for other requirements.
3.4 United Front
The urban areas are the centres for struggle by various classes, under the leadership of several organizations representing them. It is essential that we unite with such struggling organizations and build up broad struggles against the ruling classes Thus a significant part of the party’s work in the urban areas concerns joint front activity. This includes the formation of various tactical united fronts, as well as building the worker peasant alliance, which is the basis of the strategic united front. This extends from the task of building basic working class unity, to solidarity with the peasantry, to unity with the other revolutionary classes like the semi-proletariat and petty bourgeoisie, right up to maintaining relations and even joint activity with national bourgeois and even ruling class organizations. Let us look at the main forms of such united front activity.
3.4.1 Working Class Unity
The working class is the main focus of concentration of our work in the urban areas. Since the working class is in an extremely divided state today, a crucial Party task is to build the broadest possible unity of the class. This task of unity is at two levels – one is to organize and unite the maximum possible numbers from the workers under genuine organizations that follow the democratic line and programme, the other to build a broad workers’ united front against the present assault of the imperialist backed bourgeoisie on the rights and economic conditions of the working class. This means taking the initiative, or joining in other initiatives, to build united struggles on various issues like contract system, change in labour laws, privatization, exit policy, etc. It also means working towards building united organizations with all genuine forces within the working class movement who are ready to work for a broad anti-imperialist, anti-feudal programme.
Joint trade union fronts are important for increasing the fighting strength of the working class. These joint fronts may be issue-based or based on a minimum political understanding and programme. They may be organized at various levels – industry, area, city, region, all-India, and international.
Our policy is to be ready for issue-based unity with even the reactionary and revisionist unions, if they have a mass following and are ready to participate in the struggle. However a decision for temporary unity should not only be to serve the needs of the moment, but also to advance the long-term aim of drawing the mass of workers towards the revolution. The legal democratic working class joint front organizations can play a very useful role in achieving this long-term objective. It is such organizations that form the democratic nucleus within the broader unity with the reactionaries. If these organizations function effectively they can rally around larger sections of the working class on a democratic programme. They can play the leading role within the broad issue-based united fronts. They can utilize the temporary alliances with the reactionary unions to serve the interests of the democratic programme. They can inspire, mobilize and unite the other revolutionary classes in the urban areas on an anti-feudal, anti-imperialist programme.
18.104.22.168 Industry-Based Unity
Due to the multiplicity of unions in India, in most industries there is very low possibility of achieving the ‘one industry, one union’ principle. In such a situation we should work for or support the next best option of forming co-ordination committees of the unions within a particular industry. We should try to draw all the unions with significant membership into such bodies. Such unity can start on issue basis and can later advance to a more permanent minimum understanding.
Similarly it is necessary to unite the various factory level unions within a particular company. Such unity can start at the co-ordination committee level or be formed as a federation.
In the present globalization scenario where the production in one country is easily transferred across international borders, international workers’ unity is also very important and necessary. Such unity is today very weak. We should however support initiatives for building the international unity of workers within a single multinational or within a particular industry. Even where it is not possible to give the unity an organizational form we should push for solidarity struggles and strikes and do propaganda in this regard.
22.214.171.124 Issue-Based Unity
These are joint fronts of various unions and political organizations formed to oppose particular policies or actions of the government or to take up particular trade union, social or political issues. Our approach in such joint fronts is to build the broadest possible struggling unity of all organizations that have a minimum common stand on the issue. At the same time there should be no compromise on basic principles. Very often joint front bodies tend to become ineffective top-heavy bodies, or forums for endless debate. Our approach should be to see that the joint front builds the broadest possible unity of the masses and is not merely the joint front of a few leaders. The attempt should be to take the masses forward in militant struggle and politicize them in the process.
We should within these fronts pay due attention to both unity and struggle. While the requirements of unity require some level of adjustment
with the reformists, revisionists, and reactionaries, in the formulation of demands, we should constantly prepare the masses and struggle against any attempt by them to betray the struggle.
When there is a wide range of different political forces within a joint front, we should establish co-ordination with those who have a closer common understanding so as to act in unison with a common approach and line of action. Such co-ordination can be on the basis of relations with other parties of the communist revolutionary camp or through existing legal democratic organizations having a common programmatic basis or on any other basis.
126.96.36.199 Area-Based Unity
This unity can be for an industrial area, town/city, region, state, all-India etc. Unity in a particular industrial area or locality may be restricted to only putting up a common front against problems faced by the workers of the area like goondas, transport, sanitation, water, etc. However area unity at higher levels is normally based on some minimum political understanding. It is the unity of like-minded unions and other bodies, who agree to struggle together to achieve a common set of demands or issues or stand by common political goals. This is thus the most common type of legal democratic workers’ organization.
We should give considerable importance to such type of unity. In the present struggles against globalization the scope and need for such unity is constantly growing. We should direct our efforts to make this unity as broad-based as possible by pushing for the regular and wide mobilization of the masses. At the same time we should pay simultaneous attention to consolidating the activists emerging from these mobilizations. We should thus while planning at the local level allocate forces both for leading such fronts and organizations, as well as for the tasks of consolidation and party building within the movement.
188.8.131.52 Workers’ Platforms
Another form of uniting the working class on a political basis is to directly form legal democratic workers’ organizations as forums or platforms with a minimum workers’ programme. Such platforms do not principally attempt to unite the unions, but target the worker activists of various unions and attempt to rally them politically. Such bodies use meetings, demonstrations, talks, seminars, cultural programmes and various means of propaganda to draw the advanced sections from among the workers on a political basis. They should also mobilize for agitations and struggles on political and other issues. The aim should be to draw the widest possible non-Party forces who can be united around the programme.
Another variation of this form is to use the banner of a workers’ cultural organization or workers’ magazine as a platform for unity. Here the programme of the platform is widely propagated and worker activists encouraged to perform cultural programmes, or to write articles and reports for the magazine, to distribute it, etc. and to participate in preparing and mobilizing the masses in struggles.
There are thus several various forms of uniting the worker masses. We cannot of course attempt to implement all forms in a particular area. The relevant committees should therefore decide on the suitable methods depending on the objective situation in their area and the subjective forces available. What is important however is to recognize the importance of this ask, particularly during the present upsurge of workers struggles and therefore to allocate necessary forces for it.
3.4.2 Worker-Peasant Alliance
This is the basis of the four class strategic united front and we should therefore work towards building and strengthening this alliance right from the very beginning. The aim is to generate workers’ support to the peasant struggles and build up the closest possible links between the two most important classes of the democratic revolution.
The work of building and strengthening the worker-peasant alliance should be taken up from all areas of our working class work. The stress on particular aspects may however differ according to the area of work. Thus in metropolitan cities somewhat delinked from the rural areas and from the agrarian struggle, a major concentration will be on continuous education and propaganda to raise the consciousness of the workers. In the towns in and near the guerrilla zones where the worker and peasant masses are closely linked, the focus can be on concrete issues and practical help to the movement. Various organizations too perform different roles.
The revolutionary workers’ organization has a particularly important role to play. It has to take on the main responsibility of propaganda and agitation regarding the agrarian war. Constant and continues propaganda regarding the progress of the rural movement, the victories achieved, and the repression it faces, and the need for solidarity of the workers with this movement should be an essential part of the work of this organization. Since the organization has to normally function secretly it will not be possible to organize open solidarity demonstrations by the workers. However the revolutionary organization activists can use the method of secret shock actions for propaganda purposes to highlight issues concerning the agrarian struggle.
The legal democratic worker organizations can be the forums through which open mobilizations of the workers are organized. Forms of such mobilizations can extend from signature campaigns to solidarity demonstrations and protest actions. These should be organized in support of the revolutionary movement as well as the peasant struggles led by non-revolutionary organizations. We should however not organize open demonstrations in support of our movement if we expect the mobilization to be low, as it will only result in the exposure of our forces. We should in fact plan such actions in order to mobilize non-Party forces in large numbers. Another type of programme, which can be taken up through the legal democratic organizations, is large joint mobilizations of workers and peasants on common issues like WTO, state repression, etc.
Worker-peasant alliance work can also be taken up through the trade unions. Where possible they can mobilize and participate in the programmes of the legal democratic organization with or without its own banner. Depending on the cover other programmes can also be taken up – like education regarding the exploitation and repression in the backward rural areas, aid teams during disasters, support statements to peasant struggles of various organizations, etc.
The industrial Party committees should regularly pay attention and follow up the implementation of such tasks. Depending on changes in the situation, new and more creative methods should be worked out. Party statements and calls to the workers should be issued when the situation demands. However, whatever be the level of worker-peasant alliance activity possible, it holds central importance in our united front tasks. It should not be neglected, given secondary importance or subordinated to the other united front tasks in the city.
3.4.3 Unity of the Urban Exploited Classes
Besides the working class, the other exploited classes and sections of the urban areas include the semi-proletariat, the urban poor concentrated in the slums, the students, teachers, employees, and other sections of the middle classes, etc. The Party sends its cadre to organize and lead the mass organizations of all these classes. This however is not the only way by which the working class and its Party unites and provides leadership to all these classes. Solidarity struggles and united front activity are the important means by which the working class inspires and leads all other classes in struggle.
Propaganda and agitation on issues and incidents of repression on various other urban classes are the main means by which the working class and the Party expresses its solidarity with the affected sections. Issues can be of several types – the eviction of hawkers, demolition of slums, suppression of student rights, funds for teachers’ salaries, etc. While it may not be possible to hold a solidarity action on every such issue, the Party should be ever alive and respond in whatever manner possible – propaganda pamphlet, poster, press statement, or dharna, demonstration, or some more militant action. Our main effort however should always be to draw the masses of workers out in solidarity.
The other medium through which the urban united front is built is through joint fronts on various issues concerning the general mass of the urban population, like price rise, corruption, closure of a key industry or many industries, or various urban problems like water shortage, commuter problems, sanitation issues, etc. Such issues unite all classes but mainly involve the exploited sections. The joint fronts on such issues may be issue-based or may built as legal democratic organizations on a political basis linking the issue to the democratic programme. Such tactical united fronts draw larger sections of the urban masses closer to the revolution and pave the way for bringing them into the purview of the strategic united front.
3. 4.3.1 Unity with the Semi-Proletariat
The semi-proletariat, living in extremely poor conditions, is the urban class with the greatest potential for unity with the proletariat. In recent years the new economic policies have led to a steep rise in their numbers. Many workers are being thrown into the ranks of the semi-proletariat and many rural migrants who come in search of jobs end up in petty trades or in doing sundry odd jobs. Because of their dispersed nature they are not as well organized as the proletariat. It is therefore the task of Party to organize this class and build about its close unity with the industrial workers.
a) Trade Unions of the Semi-Proletariat: In many towns and cities these sections remain completely unorganized. According to our subjective forces and town plan we can take up the task of building their organizations. Hawkers’ unions, head-loaders and hamal unions and panchayats, rickshaw pullers unions, auto-rickshaw and taxi drivers/ owners unions, rag-pickers unions, are some of the organizations that can be formed. Since the capitalist class does not directly employ the semi-proletariat, the enemy is normally the state through the various government authorities, municipal bodies, etc. Issues concern harassment and corruption of officials, imposition of unjust taxes, fights for increase in rates, fight against eviction, etc. Some sections like market hamals and rag pickers have demands directed against particular groups like traders, scrap dealers, etc.
Due to the dispersed nature of the workforce and the lack of a proletarian sense of organization, building the unity of these sections is a painstaking and full-time task. However once organized they prove to be militant fighters.
In most towns and cities where these sections remain unorganized, work in these sections will involve the setting up of cover unions. In the large cities where they are already organized we can take up fractional work.
b) Solidarity with the Semi-Proletariat: In many large cities, particularly those aspiring to become ‘global’ cities, some major sections of the semi-proletariat are under heavy attack. Hawkers particularly face intensive eviction drives and harassment of officials. Auto-rickshaws and taxis are accused of pollution. The courts, anti-people environmentalists and the reactionary media are also targeting them. They are accused of obstructing the drives of these elements for ‘clean and green’ cities. Though they fight militantly they are often isolated in their battles. It is therefore of utmost importance that the workers’ unions should express solidarity with hawkers and such other sections. The legal democratic workers’ organizations too should organize campaigns in their support and expose the anti-poor urban plans of the development authorities and imperialist agencies.
Another area of unity of the workers and the semi-proletariat is in slum work. These two classes are the main sections of the urban poor who live in the slums and poor localities. Besides the basti struggles where both classes fight side by side, the trade unions and other workers organizations too should organize solidarity actions.
Where possible, alliances to oppose the current reactionary trend of urban development should also be set up, involving slum dweller associations, hawkers organizations, trade unions, and even groups of progressive professionals and intellectuals. While uniting all directly affected sections they should also aim to educate the middle class sections who are inclined to get misled by the ‘clean and green’ propaganda of the ruling classes. The aim should be to build broad unity of all exploited sections against the anti-people programmes of globalizes.
184.108.40.206 White-Collar Employees
The rapid spread of computerization and automation in modern industry and increasing share of the services sector in the economy has resulted in a significant increase in the number and proportion of white-collar employees. A large number of them are in the public sector and they are mostly unionized. Examples are the unions of the banks, insurance companies, teachers, government employees, etc. There has also been a more recent growth of unions and associations of higher level employee professionals like electricity, telecommunications and other department engineers, resident doctors, pilots, etc. Many of the above unions are powerful and have shown their ability to hit and paralyze the economy.
While all the white-collar employees are reliable allies of the working class and the revolution, certain sections sometimes tail the bourgeoisie and become victims of reactionary propaganda. It is therefore necessary for the industrial proletariat to always maintain close links with the employees’ section and lead it away from vacillations in the class struggle. In all industries and enterprises we should therefore always struggle for unity of both white collar and blue-collar sections into one union. We should generally oppose the backward practice of having separate ‘workers’ and ’employees’ unions. Where separate unions exist however, we should, where possible, allocate forces for fractional work within them.
In the globalization period the ruling classes have launched a concentrated propaganda attack against this section as an overpaid, under worked section whose salaries and numbers should be reduced. Thus some sections are being forced to agree to very meager rises in salary and cuts in earlier allowances. They have also been the target of various privatization and VRS schemes. Though they have been struggling continuously they often do not receive the sympathy and support of other sections. Our workers’ unions, legal democratic and secret workers organizations, and sometimes even the Party should make it a point to express solidarity in various ways with the struggles of the bank employees, teachers, journalists, etc. When joint trade union bodies are formed at the town/city level we should try to draw in all the local branches of the employees unions. This can help in organizing joint programmes and mutual solidarity during times of repression and struggle.
220.127.116.11 Other Sections of the Petty Bourgeoisie
Some section or the other of the petty bourgeoisie is often in struggle. The students come out in agitations, the lawyers resort to strikes; the shopkeepers also have their protests and bandhs. When these struggles take a militant turn they face the attacks of the state. The working class should be alive to the struggles of these sections. We should, through the trade unions, legal democratic organizations and even the Party, express solidarity. Where possible we should not restrict ourselves merely to statements of support. During major struggles and repression we should make all attempts to mobilize the workers in large numbers to come out on the streets in support. Where there is sufficient support we should attempt to widen the scope of the issue and involve as many sections as possible in support.
Among the urban petty bourgeoisie students and youth constitute important category. They react to the events and historically from the anti-British movement they played a significant role. In the wake of Naxalbari their role is exemplary. Our party has good experience in organizing them. While working in urban areas, we must pay necessary attention to organize them.
There is need to emphasize the necessity of uniting with intellectuals. We need to allot sufficient cadre to work among them and some special effort be put in to unite and organize them.
3.4.4 Relations with the National Bourgeoisie
Due to the vacillating and exploitative nature of the national bourgeoisie, its wide participation in the strategic united front generally takes place only at later stages in the revolution. However there is scope in the urban areas, for supporting or uniting with various sections of the national bourgeoisie in tactical united fronts.
A large part of our working class work is in the small industries of the national bourgeoisie in the unorganized sector. They are often the immediate enemies of the workers that we organize. It is thus often difficult for the mass of workers to accept the concept of support or unity with these exploiters and ‘enemies’. It is however a reality that the national bourgeoisie is coming out in struggle against the government, imperialism and the CBB. We should render all support to them in this struggle and wherever possible even unite to wage common battle against the ruling classes.
A normal method of uniting with the national bourgeoisie is for the Party to directly or indirectly through some mass organisation declares support to the demands and struggles of the national bourgeoisie against the government, imperialism or/and the comprador bourgeoisie. These can be on various issues like reduction of taxes, cut in electricity rates, anti small industry policies and court decisions, protest against entry of multinationals and foreign goods, exploitation of ancillary producers by big industry, etc. Our support can take the form of propaganda or even extend to militant mobilizing of workers on the issue.
Another mode of unity could be through joint front bodies with national bourgeois organizations. Mostly such unity will be issue-based like preventing relocation or closure of industries, opposing anti small industry laws and tax increases, etc. However as the anti-globalization and anti-WTO movement picks up we will have to try our best to draw the more progressive sections and organizations of the national bourgeoisie into the movement
While making efforts in bringing the national bourgeoisie in opposing and imperialism, such unity can on no account be achieved at the cost of the basic classes within the united front. Thus while uniting with the national bourgeoisie we should never lose sight of the struggle aspect of our relationship with them. We should not have any misconception that unity with the national bourgeoisie implies concessions in trade union struggles with these sections. All such issues will be decided according to the normal principles of trade union struggle and will basically depend on the relative strength of the contending forces and the overall conditions of the industry where the struggle is taking place. It is the strength of the working class and not its weakness that will be the force attracting the national bourgeoisie to the front.
The ceaseless attacks of the imperialists and their Indian agents are daily pushing the national bourgeoisie into more conflict with the ruling classes. Thus today the practical possibilities of unity from below are growing. These possibilities are greater in cities with a stronger national bourgeois presence like the Delhi belt, the Coimbatore-Erode belt in Tamil Nadu, Surat in Gujarat, etc. Local party organizations should where possible utilize such opportunities, while keeping in mind the above principles.
3.4.5 Front Against Repression
The PR and POR adopted by the Ninth Congress have given the call to mobilize the masses against the fascist repression of the ruling classes and against the black laws. All sections of the masses in the urban areas face the brunt of this repression and stand opposed to it. It is therefore the task of the Party in the urban areas to unite all forces that are ready to wage militant struggles to oppose these policies and build a broad democratic movement against repression.
The organizations that most consistently oppose state repression and black laws are the various civil liberties organizations active in different parts of the country. We can work to some extent through them. They however have a poor mass base and limited political programme. Thus, while we should work to broaden and strengthen such organizations they cannot be the only forums for building the front against repression.
Fronts against particular black laws like POTA have the potential of uniting the widest sections. We should initiate or may join such fronts with our own programme. Since such fronts are formed at various levels we can intervene in different fronts through separate cover organizations suited for such work. Some of these fronts however have various ruling class forces and parties with a long record of suppressing people’s movements. We should therefore decide on our participation only if we are able to conduct vigorous exposure of such opportunist forces. Since such exposure is normally only possible at the lower levels we should not participate at the higher levels where we would only become a pawn of such forces.
Another excellent form of building broad fighting unity against repression is to take up particular cases of brutal state repression and immediately mobilize all sections of the masses in militant struggle. Police firings, lock up deaths, rape by security forces, are some of the examples that can be used to rouse the masses into open battle. There have been many instances like the Rameeza Bee case and others, where such incidents proved to be the turning points for building not only militant struggle but also much broader democratic movements. In some cases where the above methods lead to broad movements we can work with others for the formation of organizations of a more long-term nature with a broad anti-fascist repression programme.
3.4.6 United Front Against Hindu Fascist Forces
An important call of the Ninth Congress is to build a broad UF of all secular forces and persecuted religious minorities such as Muslims, Christians, and Sikhs against the Hindu fascist forces. Since a large proportion of the minorities are urbanized and since the attacks of the Hindu fascists are as yet mostly concentrated in the cities, this UF has basically been the responsibility of the urban organization. This task has appeared in our documents now from many years, but very little has as yet been done. One of the explanations for this failure is the weakness of our urban organizations, but the other more important reason is our neglect of work among the minorities.
The above UF cannot be built merely by uniting some secular individuals on the basis of a political programme. In order to be effective it has to involve the masses, particularly the masses from the minorities. This therefore means that we must have substantial grassroots work among the minorities, particularly the Muslim masses who are the most numerous and the worst victims of the Hindu fascists’ atrocities. However due to extreme ghettoisation in almost all Indian cities, this is only possible if we take a conscious decision to shift out at least some forces from Hindu dominated areas and base them in the slums and localities inhabited by the Muslim poor. This would be the first step to building any united front..
The actual UF organizations would generally be in the form of legal democratic bodies uniting various genuine secular forces as well as organizations of the persecuted minorities. Such organizations should have a programme basically targeting the Hindu fascist organizations and aiming to unite the masses of all communities. We should on this basis conduct propaganda and agitation among both minority and majority sections and attempt to unite the many to isolate and defeat the few Hindu fascist diehards. Booklets and other propaganda aids explaining the organizations’ stands and exposing the fascist organizations’ positions should be used. In areas with a history of communal conflicts, genuine peace committees, mohalla committees, and all-community protection teams should be set up.
Issue based joint front organizations can also be built. These could be to fight for the punishment of the perpetrators of pogroms on the minorities, to oppose Hindu communal legislation, to fight against the saffronisation of education, etc. These fronts too should have a mass approach and attempt to widely mobilize secular sections, as well as those most affected.
As the Hindu fascists push ahead with their agenda, the task of building this UF becomes all the more urgent. All urban organizations should plan concretely to bring this into practice.
3.4.7 Front Against Globalization,
Liberalization and Privatization
This too is a call of the Ninth Congress whose implementation requires considerable efforts by the Party organization in the urban areas. As the globalization policies are impacting all sections of the urban masses, discontent is growing and there is great potential for the urban areas to become powerful centres of anti-imperialist struggles. Though the struggles have not yet reached the heights of the anti-capitalism and anti-globalization protests in many cities around the world, the movement in India too is growing. The industrial working class is the leading force in these struggles, with numerous demonstrations, rallies, bandhs and long drawn out strikes, against privatization, changes in labour laws, contract system, exit policy, and other aspects of the globalization policies. These struggles, which took an upturn from the year 2000, have not only been increasing in size and intensity, but also been taking clearer political positions against the WTO, against globalization, and even against imperialism.
The line of action for building anti-globalization fronts should thus rely primarily on the working class, while rallying around all other sections in the struggles against the imperialist policies. Thus we should aim at drawing the different working class fronts against the various anti-worker policies into the front against globalization. Similarly the anti globalization fronts should consciously give importance to workers’ issues in their programmes.
Other classes and sections of importance we should try to draw into the anti-globalization front are the peasants’ organizations and the farmers’ bodies, slum bodies, students organizations, intellectuals, writers and cultural activists, pro-people environmental groups, teachers and other middle class employees associations etc. The scope of the anti-globalization movement is so large that it includes practically all classes who are part of the strategic UF. While the separate organizations formed by these sections against various aspects of globalization objectively form part of the movement, we should nevertheless try to draw all such organizations into common united struggle on a common anti-imperialist programme.
Reactionaries like Swadeshi Jagran Manch, revisionists like CPI, CPI (M) and foreign funded NGOs- are some of the forces involved in anti-globalization movement. These forces are linked to the ruling classes or part of them. We must keep away from the reactionaries in any joint front. With regard to the revisionists who are part of ruling classes, we our selves should not invite them into any joint front, but if they are part of a front called by others, we need keep away because of their presence. The revisionists and foreign funded NGOs may participate to some extent but there is always danger of them attempting to sabotage the movement at higher levels of struggles. We must alert to this danger.
The front against the globalization has the potential to encompass a wide range of forces. The urban Party organization should thus plan concretely to participate most effectively in this movement.
3.5 Military Tasks
As explained earlier, the urban movement plays a secondary and complementary role in the military strategy of the revolution. While the PGA and PLA in the countryside perform the main military tasks, the urban organization too performs tasks complementary to the rural armed struggle. Due to the spread of urbanization, the growth of a number of mega cities, and the sharper division of the cities into rich and poor sections, the possibility and importance of urban military operations increases. These however yet remain second to the rural military tasks. The varied military tasks performed in the urban areas relate to, 1) the defence of the urban movement, 2) help by the urban organization to the rural armed struggle, and 3) direct military operations conducted under central direction. These thus form the main categories of military tasks and forms of organization in the urban areas.
3.5.1 Defence of the Urban Movement
The nature of urban work being primarily legal and defensive, the military tasks directly related to the urban movement are basically defensive in nature and will remain that way till the final period of the evolution. However even a defensive urban movement requires the military type organization of the armed defence of the urban masses against the peoples’ enemies. These enemies are of various types – goonda gangs acting in the service of the ruling classes, Hindu fascist organizations and their militias, vigilante gangs specifically organized by the state to attack activists and sympathizers of our movement, state forces themselves, etc. Without standing up to such forces it would not be possible for an organization to survive and develop. While we cannot and should not, at this stage, organize for armed offensive confrontation with the state, we should definitely build such defence organizations as are suited to the concrete situation.
18.104.22.168 Open Self Defence Teams
Wherever necessary the legal organizations should organize defense against the local enemies. Examples of such self-defence teams are union self defence against lumpen strike breakers, basti self defence teams against goonda gangs, mahila organization self defence teams against eve-teasers and molesters, mohalla all-community self defence during communal riot situations, mass self defence against slum demolition, etc. Open self-defence teams should be organized in such a way as to mobilize sizeable sections of the masses in this task, particularly motivating the youth to participate in large numbers. When such defence is organized systematically involving the broad masses, it greatly strengthens the legal organization, gives confidence to the rank and file and the local leadership, and releases the creative energies of the masses. If such activity grows in an area it gives rise to new creative forms of militant mass fighting. Conversely, it demoralizes and paralyses the enemy, and prevents him from using his old forms of repression.
Often such open self-defence is organized on a temporary basis for a particular situation or period. However wherever possible we should plan and attempt to give this mass self defence a permanent form and structure, allocating specific responsibilities, and linking with the mass organizational committees. Such bodies can run vyayamshalas, martial arts centres, sports clubs, etc.
22.214.171.124 Secret Self Defence Squads
Secret squads are necessary to supplement the open defence teams, or where, due to repression, it is not possible to form such teams. They too are formed with the broad objective of defending the urban mass movement. However they take up different tasks, without exposing themselves. One significant form of activity is to participate along with the masses and give them the confidence to undertake militant mass action. Other tasks are to secretly hit particular targets who are obstacles in the advance of the mass movement.
The secret squads require proper military training, and military and political education. The extent and depth of the training will depend on the facilities available, but we must make the best efforts to ensure that the squads are properly trained and armed. The arms used will depend on the situation in the area. As far as possible arms which are not normally used in the area should not be employed.
Due attention should be paid to the discipline of such squads. Selection of members should not be merely on the basis of military abilities, but should consider the political level and discipline of the comrades. All squad members maintain their jobs or other responsibilities and only combine for the purpose of training or actions. They disperse again immediately after that.
The squads should function under direct and strict party control, with each squad functioning under a responsible Party comrade. As far as possible no two squads should be combined for performing an action. The knowledge of existence of such squads too should be as restricted as possible. Each squad is a separate entity and there should not be any separate line of command within the self-defence squads. All State committees should periodically review the activities of such formations and give guidelines to the committees immediately responsible for them.
126.96.36.199 Urban Militia
At this stage of the revolution all the open and secret organs of people’s defence will maintain a separate identity and the Party will be the only body coordinating their activities. Today there is no scope for bringing together all or many of the self defence teams and squads under a single organizational mechanism to form a militia. This may be possible during certain periods of upsurge when significant sections of the urban population are ready to take up arms either against the fascist militias or against the state. At such times the Party should take immediate initiative to launch urban militia without exposing all its forces. The concrete organizational form of such an urban militia would however depend on the particular situation and the specific forces operating at that time.
188.8.131.52 Local Intelligence
Intelligence is a much-neglected function in our Party. Very often we suffer severe losses, or lose good opportunities due to the absence of proper intelligence. In the urban areas intelligence is also very necessary to protect and preserve the urban Party as well as the mass movement. Thus the task of information collection and analysis should be taken up from the beginning itself and responsibility should be allocated accordingly. As the organization grows this task and responsibility should exist at all levels and should be integrated into the functioning of the organization.
The objectives of our intelligence work should be to learn about and study the tactics and plans of the enemy forces in the area, to study the activities of informers, to prevent infiltration into the organization, etc. The methods and structure, particularly at the lower levels, should be as simple as possible and should utilize to the maximum the forces available to us from among the masses.
3.5.2 Help to the Rural Armed Struggle
There are numerous ways through which the urban movement can assist the rural armed struggle and particularly, the base areas and the guerilla zones. Some involve direct and immediate help in terms of materials and personnel; others involve the long-term preparation for the decisive battles in the later stages of the peoples’ war.
184.108.40.206 Work in Key Industries
Some industries like transport, communications, power, oil and natural gas, defence production, etc. can play a crucial role in the peoples’ war. Disruption of production in these industries has an immediate impact on the enemy’s ability to fight the war. If struggles in such industries are coordinated with developments in the peoples’ war they can provide direct assistance to the PGA/PLA. Party led units within such industries can also perform industrial sabotage actions, which would provide effective assistance during certain points in the war. It is thus the responsibility of the urban organization to establish a presence and influence in such key industries.
Such operations will normally be necessary at later stages in the war. However we have to make long term preparations from today itself so that the workers in such industries can be sufficiently politicized to play such a role. This means that we have to give importance to allocation of cadre for such industries right from the beginning.
The key industries have normally been in the public sector. Now however with the policy of privatization, many of the old units are being privatized and new units are being set up directly in the private sector. Thus some of these industries, like the electricity boards and telecommunications department, are experiencing many militant struggles
in opposition to the privatization policies and there has been a significant revival of the trade unions. In the context of the general upswing of the workers’ movement, the workers of other key industries too are resorting to struggle. We can therefore make use of this situation to try and influence the workers in these industries.
Our plan for the key industries should operate at two levels. At one level we can influence the workers in these industries from outside through various forms of propaganda, particularly during the struggles of these industries. This can be done through legal democratic workers’ organizations, workers’ magazines, and secret pamphleteering and even through Party statements. We can also mobilize in solidarity with them. This method can create some broad influence among the workers and a level of unity from above with the trade unions already operating within these enterprises.
At another level we should send comrades to secretly develop fractional work from within the industry. This work should be done with a long-term approach taking care to avoid exposure. The comrades doing propaganda and extending solidarity from outside need not know about the existence of the work being conducted from within. It is also not necessary to do work at both levels at the same unit.
Due to the critical character of these industries, the enemy too is very conscious of the need to prevent any revolutionary or other genuine struggling forces from entering such industries. We therefore have to be very guarded and careful while entering and working within such enterprises. All work in such places should be under cover of some sort. Fractional work is the normal method. The work in such industries should normally be separated from the other work in the area. Even reporting in committees should be restricted, particularly at the initial stages, before any base is established. Cadre allocated to such work should not be such as would quickly retreat. Once allocated they should not normally be transferred for a long period of time. PRs generated from such industries should as far as possible be maintained within the same industry, without asking them to leave their jobs.
Considering the present opportunities available and considering our neglect so far, we should plan to use our limited subjective forces immediately in the best way possible. Depending on our contacts and the quality of our forces we should decide on certain areas and industries on which we should concentrate. Since such work is not easy to start and maintain it requires the attention and guidance of the higher levels. Considering the importance of this task for the future of the people’s war, the State Committees should pay attention to it.
220.127.116.11 Infiltration into the Enemy Camp
It is very important to penetrate into the military, para-military forces, police, and higher levels of the administrative machinery of the state. It is necessary to obtain information regarding the enemy, to build support for the revolution within these organs, and even to incite revolt when the time is ripe. Other types of technical help are also possible.
The cities are the strongholds of the enemy and have a large concentration of enemy forces. It is therefore from the cities that attention must be given to this task. Such work can be done by following up contacts obtained from the civilian sphere, or by directly allocating comrades to penetrate the enemy ranks. Whatever be the method, the work is of a very special type, which requires a high degree of political reliability, skill and patience. Such work should be without the knowledge of the lower level committees and the details of the work should only remain with the comrades directly responsible.
Associated with this task is the need for a plan to work in the cantonment towns spread out throughout the country. Such work even among the civilian population of these towns can give us valuable information and openings for penetration in the enemy ranks.
18.104.22.168 Sending Cadre to the Rural Areas and the PGA/PLA
A steady supply of urban cadre is necessary to fulfill the needs of the rural movement and the people’s war. This is necessary for providing working class leadership, as well as technical skills to the people’s war.
This then is the responsibility of the whole urban Party organization, from the cell upwards, which should inspire comrades to be prepared to take up rural responsibilities. The task of generating new cadre for the rural movement should always be before the various Party forums, which should send up such proposals for transfer of suitable cadre. It is the higher-level bodies, particularly the State Committees, which will however take the decision in this regard. Decisions of transfer of cadre should take a balanced account of the needs of the movement and organization in both rural as well as the urban areas.
To fulfill the need of recruitment from workers in large numbers and sending them to rural areas, we need to work in the unorganized sector where overwhelming percentage of working class is there. While we need to work in key industries, which are organized sector for the strategic reasons, we must mobilize and organize millions of workers who are in the unorganized segment. The working conditions are horrendous in this sector and militant struggles are bound to come up here. Most of the working class has live connections with backward rural pockets, in some of which already armed struggles are going on. If we work patiently we can get good recruitment that we can send to the areas of armed struggle zones.
22.214.171.124 Logistical Support to the Armed Struggle
The enemy gets all its logistics support from the urban areas. The People’s Army however relies as far as possible on the rural areas and the rural masses. However for certain crucial things there is need for support from the urban areas. Depending on its strength, the urban organization should make all efforts to provide such support.
Supplies or contacts for supplies of certain types are only available in the urban areas. Examples of such supplies are arms and ammunitions, spare parts, certain types of medical supplies, etc. Helping the People’s Army to establish the supply lines in this regard is a task that the urban organization can perform. However once such a supply line is established it is best maintained by the rural organization. As the needs of the base areas and guerilla zones grow there will be even a need to establish a separate supply and transport wing in this regard.
Medical networks of sympathetic doctors and use of hospital facilities to treat PGA/PLA fighters are also necessary in the urban areas. This is necessary for certain cases, which cannot be treated with the facilities available in the guerilla zone areas. Here too the urban Party should always be on the lookout for sources and contacts to set up such a network in various cities. Once a network has been established however it should be separated from the Party bodies leading the urban mass work
Technical help in the form of repairs and maintenance of fighting, communication and other equipment of the PGA/PLA is another area where the urban organization has to provide assistance. Preparing comrades with technical, electrical, electronic and other skills to go and take up such responsibilities in the countryside best do this. It can also be done be sending city comrades to conduct training courses for the PGA/PLA. In some cases where necessary the repair of some equipment can be done in the urban areas. Providing the contacts to help set up a network for production of certain items in the urban areas is also another area of necessary help.
Development of new technologies for the People’s War is another crucial area. With the daily advance of technology, there are numerous new devices that could be adapted in the service of the people’s war. Since the large metropolitan centres are the points where such technologies or the information regarding such technologies are obtained, it would be the responsibility of all comrades in such areas to be ever alert to any opportunity in this regard. Proposals and devices obtained or developed should be sent to the higher committees for consideration and implementation. Since it would in the future be necessary to set up separate research and development wings in this regard, it would be the task of the urban organization to developed suitable comrades for such work.
All the above logistical tasks can be implemented successfully only when all urban comrades are alive and alert to these needs and constantly present suggestions, proposals and contacts in this regard. And the wider and deeper the urban mass base, the better is the possibility of actually providing assistance to the rural work. However we must realize that this task cannot be performed spontaneously in response to emergency needs. Logistical networks should be established in absolute secrecy over a period of time. Separate comrades should be allocated for such work and once they are so allocated they should be released from other work and delinked completely from the mass work. It is only in such a manner that we can create networks that can serve the long-term needs of the people’s war.
3.5.3 Urban Military Operations under Central Direction
Though the countryside is the main area of operations of the People’s Army, there are certain military objectives that need to be performed through operations in the urban areas. This even requires the setting up of permanent structures of the PGA/PLA in the cities and towns.
126.96.36.199 City Action Teams
These action teams are small secret teams of disciplined and trained soldiers of the PGA/PLA who are permanently based in the cities or towns to hit at important, selected, enemy targets. Such targets may be annihilation of individuals of military importance or sabotage actions like the blowing up of ammunition depots, destroying communications networks, damaging oil installations, etc. These action teams, which form part of the main force of the PGA/PLA, perform these actions under the guidance and orders of their respective command. Thus these teams should have no connection whatsoever with the local urban Party structure. The selection of targets and timing of operations too would be based on the overall political and military needs of the people’s war. However the secret team should have some broad understanding of the schedules and plans of the programmes of the open mass organizations. This could where possible help prevent problems due to clashing between the open and secret plans.
Details regarding the role, the Central Military Commission (CMC) should undertake tasks, training and education of the city action teams.
188.8.131.52 Central Intelligence
Since the enemy is centred in the big cities, it is very important that our Party develops a network to obtain and analyze political and military intelligence at higher levels. Besides human intelligence, we can make use of the Internet and other modern electronic means for gathering information by entering the enemy’s networks. For this it is necessary to allocate separate responsibility. Urban Party organization may provide contacts and individuals for this work. However once they are assigned to this work they do not maintain any links with the local organization. Such networks are led and directed by the highest bodies of the Party.
184.108.40.206 Cyber Warfare
We should, to the extent possible, make use of computers and the Internet network to further the military objectives of the revolution. Though we are today quite distant from this possibility, we should have the perspective of setting up units with the task of damaging the military and other important networks of the enemy. The possibility of setting up such a structure however depends primarily on the development of the urban mass movement and the ability of the urban Party organization to draw in and consolidate comrades with the required skills for such work.
3.6 All-India and State-Level Plans
The above given policy and guidelines give the political and organizational orientation for our urban work. This is the basis on which our work in the various towns and cities should be reorganized. However it is not sufficient to only reorient our work at the level of particular towns and cities. Equally important is the task of giving a plan and direction to the overall urban work in a particular state, and in the whole country, based on the concrete objective conditions and situation of subjective forces. It is also necessary to relate and coordinate the tasks of the urban movement to the overall needs of the revolution in the country or in a particular state. There is also to some extent the need to coordinate the urban movement with our international responsibilities both at the South Asia as well as the global level.
The job of drawing up such plans and the committees at their respective levels should take up implementing them. We present here the broad basis for drawing up such plans.
3.6.1 Factors Governing All-India Perspective-Plan
Drawing up the All-India perspective-plan means basically selecting the cities, industries or regions where we should concentrate and give priority. It can further mean the evaluation of the available subjective forces and deciding on suitable allocation.
The main factors for deciding on areas of concentration are:-
1) All-India perspective and plan for guerilla zones and base areas: Since the urban movement basically plays a role complementary to the rural armed struggle, the All-India plan for developing the armed struggle is a crucial factor for deciding on our pattern of concentration for urban work. We should give importance to cities and towns that can play a direct role in helping and strengthening our base areas and guerilla zones.
2) Concentration of the Working Class: The working class is the main focus of our efforts in the urban areas. We should therefore target such cities and regions, which have a high concentration of the industrial working class. We should judge the importance of a region’s working class, not only on the basis of numbers, but also take into account its role in terms of struggle. The working class in some centres has a tradition of struggle thus influencing and providing leadership to the surrounding areas. Some cities have strong working class organizations that play a decisive role in All-India level struggles. Such factors too must be taken into account for giving importance to a particular centre. Another important short-term consideration is the sharpening of class contradictions. A centre or industry experiencing sharp and growing struggles is more suited for starting work.
3) Importance for the Ruling Classes: Some cities like Delhi and Mumbai have great political and economic significance for the ruling class. Strong movements in such cities cripple and paralyze the ruling class and have greater impact.
4) Key Industries: The centres of key industries should be given importance as they have the potential of playing an important role in the people’s war.
5) Towns of Military Importance: These too should be given importance because they present the opportunity to infiltrate into the enemy ranks.
3.6.2 State Plans
State Committees should analyze and identify the main types of urban and industrial areas in their states. On the basis of such analysis the priority areas should be selected keeping in mind the following criteria: i) All-India and state gz/rural perspective, as well as the All-India urban perspective ii) concentration of working class and sharpening of class contradictions iii) concentration of students and other petty bourgeois sections and their struggles iv) political importance within state v) key industries. Class analysis of the major towns selected for work should also be done.
Deciding on the priority areas gives the broad direction for the allocation of subjective forces, which are or may become available. The concrete plan depends on the nature of forces that are actually available.
4. REVIEW OF OUR UNDERSTANDING AND PRACTICE
Following the Naxalbari upsurge and at the time of the Eighth (First) Congress of our Party in 1970, we had considerable impact and influence in a number of cities. We were a powerful force in Kolkata, at that time the largest city in the country. The revolutionary wave inspired workers in various industrial centres, in particular Kolkata, Durgapur, Coimbatore, Jamshedpur and Dhanbad.
However due to the wrong understanding regarding mass organizations and mass struggles prevailing in our Party at that time we could not preserve and develop our influence. Our policy was that “it is not our task to organize trade unions or to bring them under our control, or to bother ourselves about the trade union elections. Our task is to build secret party organizations among the workers.” (Our Party’s Tasks among the Workers, Deshabrati, March 12, 1970). We thus in fact boycotted the trade unions and as a consequence were alienated from the working class.
Similarly wrong understanding of laying stress on urban guerilla warfare, when there were no conditions for it, led to setback of our city work.
At that time though there were no circulars or policy documents regarding urban or working class work there were some articles and notes by Com. CM, which appeared in the Party magazines, which served as the guidelines for our work.
4.1 Earlier Circulars and Policies
Subsequently our Party made certain attempts to draw up guidelines for our urban and working class work. These have been very few but significant. Besides the sections on urban work in our various strategy and tactics documents and conference reviews, the main documents regarding policy have been the circular on ‘Towns and Cities: Our Programme and Organization’ brought out by the Andhra Pradesh State Committee in 1973, the ‘Guidelines for Working Class Front’ brought out by the Central Organizing Committee of the erstwhile PU in 1987, and the ‘Review of Our Document “Method of Working in Towns”‘ brought out by the APSC of the erstwhile PW in 1995, where the earlier 1973 document was reviewed.
4.1.1 1973 Circular
Though this document was only intended to be circular giving methods to resolve contradictions between the needs of open and secret work, it also gave an explicit understanding regarding the programme, tasks and forms of organization for the working class, students and other fronts. It therefore served as the principal document guiding urban work in the erstwhile PW for many years.
The 1973 document played an important role in giving a correct direction to urban work. The crucial points on which it presented a correct understanding were:-
1) It corrected most of the earlier wrong notions regarding mass organizations and mass struggle.
2) It broadly gave the correct strategic approach to urban work, that the Party in the cities and towns should use secret methods to preserve itself from the enemy, till the last stage of the liberation of the cities from the countryside.
3) It correctly stated that in the cities and towns we should concentrate mainly among workers.
Coming to its limitations, it was not a comprehensive document on urban work and it dealt more about the immediate problems that we then faced in the urban areas. It had some wrong understandings such as: we should not take up office bearers’ posts in the unions, we should not organize independent trade unions by ourselves, and so on. This was a continuation of the earlier wrong understanding regarding mass organizations.
The 1973 circular played a significant role in the initial period. But in later years with the rapid spread of mass organizations in the urban areas there was no attempt to correct the understanding and further develop the circular in a comprehensive manner. Thus many of the important formulations of the document were not implemented in practice. Though the document had stated that the main concentration should be on the working class, the emphasis in the urban areas was more on the students and youth. The ban on taking union office-bearers’ posts and the opposition to forming separate trade unions too were not implemented in practice. These were done without formally developing a new policy understanding.
4.1.2 1987 Guidelines
These guidelines were formulated in accordance with the call of the 1987 Central Conference of the erstwhile PU to “grasp the work in the working class front seriously.” This document presented in a concise and clear manner the objective and subjective situation in relation to the working class, our tasks and policies, and a plan for work. The document was significant in presenting a correct understanding regarding the leadership role of the working class in the revolution. It stressed the leadership role of working class struggles and sending advanced detachments to the countryside, and the Party’s responsibility in preparing the working class for this role.
The major defect of the document was its neglect of the strategic approach to urban work. Thus there was no understanding regarding the relation and coordination between open and secret work and the need to preserve and develop our urban forces for a long time till the later stages of the people’s war.
The plan of the document was not seriously implemented nor was it reviewed. It thus could not have major impact.
4.1.3 1995 Review
The erstwhile PW’s APSC’s Review did not restrict itself to just a review of the earlier document. It also laid down the goals and tasks of the urban movement in AP. It was a development on the 1973 circular.
A significant point that the document correctly reviewed was the lack of necessary concentration on the urban work. It concluded that though we correctly gave importance to agrarian revolution and guerilla zones, we did not concentrate to the extent required on the cities. It analyzed the spontaneous shifts from urban to rural areas and pointed out the lack of a long-term perspective for urban work. It also corrected the 1973 document’s wrong understanding regarding not taking up office bearers’ posts in the unions.
The document however did not try to present a comprehensive policy for urban work. It also did not bring about the necessary reorganization of the work.
4.2 Our Main Shortcomings
The above documents and the reviews done at conferences and plenums at various levels have pointed out to various faults and weaknesses in our urban work at various points of time. It is necessary to develop a comprehensive picture of our main shortcomings as a whole.
4.2.1 Lack of Concentration on Urban Work
Throughout the past thirty years, and in most of the main areas of the Party’s work there has been a disregard towards the tasks of the urban movement and Party. As the Ninth Congress POR concluded, “We have failed to grasp the dialectical relationship between the rural and urban movements. Having understood the formulation that rural work is primary and urban work is secondary in a mechanical way, we concentrated most of our leadership forces only in rural work.”
Therefore, a culture was created in the organization where only the rural work was seen as fieldwork or struggle area work, whereas the urban areas were seen to be out of the field, and non-struggle area work. All the best and most committed cadres would therefore opt for, and be transferred out of the urban field. Therefore, as many examples in the 1995 review point out, cadre were spontaneously transferred out to rural areas without considering the future of the urban areas which were being emptied out.
The more serious manifestation of this understanding was however in the serious lack of concentration and specialization by the higher committees. Very few were allocated to the tasks of the urban movement and even those who were given the responsibility were normally burdened with numerous other tasks. This led to severe problems at various levels. Without higher-level cadre in the field directing the work, there was low possibility of correcting the wrong understanding at the lower levels regarding the long-term strategic approach, though this mistake was referred to time and again in our reviews and documents. Without specialization also there was no hope of the higher committees themselves deepening their poor understanding of the problems of implementing the strategic approach. Without specialization and allocation of higher-level comrades the old mistakes only continued.
All this took place despite our understanding repeated in documents that the importance of the urban areas in India is growing, that the percentage of the working class and the urban population in India is much higher than it was at the time of the Chinese revolution, and that therefore the urban areas and the working class in India will have a relatively more important role to play in the revolution.
Today the urban areas with 28.7 %of the population and over 60% of the Gross Domestic Product, with many major mega cities and a working class of ____ crores, have a growing role to play in the country and the economy, and also in the revolution. It is therefore absolutely necessary to quickly correct the imbalance in our concentration on the tasks of the urban movement. It is necessary most of all to increase our allocation of higher-level comrades to urban fieldwork. It is necessary to increase the specialization and knowledge levels of the higher-level committees regarding the urban work. And it is also necessary, where possible, to allocate suitable comrades at other levels too, or at least give greater consideration to the needs of the urban movement also when deciding regarding transfers out of the cities.
4.2.2 Lack of Concentration on the Working Class within
The 1973 document had correctly stated that in the urban areas we should mainly concentrate among workers. Since our movement had faced a severe setback by 1972 and plans were afoot to put our movement on the track, we needed to strengthen our subjective forces at a faster pace. To achieve this, we concentrated on the students and youth from a practical angle, but this practice was not based on any theoretical premise. When our forces grew and we were in a better position, we made plans to penetrate into the working class. In the process of enemy’s onslaught, and our continued weaknesses in our work in the urban areas, we became much weakened as losses mounted steeply. Lack of a comprehensive approach towards urban work and lack of concentration from the leadership are the main reasons for our weak roots in the working class.
4.2.3 Neglect of Developing Party Leadership from the
Despite being the Party of the working class, recruitment from the workers has been low, and leadership from the proletariat still lower. Part of the reason for this was due to our deficiency in concentrating on the workers, and particularly on the organized workers who have a greater potential for leadership. Building leadership from among the workers requires conscious attention and effort. Unless we realize the importance of building working class leadership we will not put in the necessary efforts to achieve it. It is only in the Ninth Congress that we have specifically resolved to give importance to this task. We should now bring it into practice.
4.2.4 Lack of Deep Understanding of the Strategic Approach in
We have regularly given prime importance to the long term strategic approach in our documents and for some years have been reviewing that the lack of this approach has been the cause of most of our losses in the urban areas. However we have merely understood or explained it at the level of stricter implementation of tech precautions and secret methods of functioning. We have not understood that correct strategic approach is essentially a task of basically reorienting and reorganizing the whole urban work basing on the effective combination of illegal and legal forms of organizations. Without accepting, deeply understanding and educating all levels regarding this strategic approach towards the urban movement, we cannot bring about a qualitative change in our urban work.
The widest possible mobilization and organization of the masses is essential to challenge the overwhelming domination of the enemy in the urban areas. Secret functioning and the long-term preservation of our forces are only possible within the context of a wide and deep mass movement.
Since we are working in the back drop of the semi-feudal and semi colonial conditions, we need to go in for militant struggles and actions against the management as the majority of the industrial working class is employed in the unorganized sector and is forced to work under unbearable conditions without any access to minimum protective labour laws. However, we cannot repeatedly replicate in the city the offensive tactics suited to the rural movement and expect to survive merely on the basis of stricter tech functioning. Strategically understanding the strength of the enemy in the city means accepting that we cannot openly challenge him on a military basis. Thus we cannot expect to regularly use armed strength to threaten factory owners, conduct negotiations through secret organizers, or annihilate managers, as would be possible in rural areas of a guerilla zone. And we cannot hope that we can do all such things and still survive merely by using better tech methods.
This does not of course deny the absolute importance in urban work
of the strict maintenance of tech precautions, natural covers, functioning through layers, and all other means of proper secret functioning. We must thoroughly re-evaluate our tech methods in all cities and a total revamping of our secret mechanism should be an essential part of reorganizing our urban work. We must however understand that secret functioning is only one important aspect of the strategic approach of preserving our forces for a long time. Secret functioning itself is based on the mobilization and support of the broad masses.
4.2.5 Lack of clarity on combining the various types of mass
We did not have the clarity regarding the various forms of mobilizing the masses in the urban areas and how to skillfully use these in combination depending upon the concrete situation, ebb and flow of the movement.
We first placed main stress on the open revolutionary mass organizations, which maintained clear links with the Party. With the onset of repression we tried to operate these organizations secretly and still tried to mobilize the masses principally through them. It was only much later that we realized that secret mass organizations could not be the only form of mass mobilizing in the urban areas in the repressive conditions. It was only then that we introduced the concept of the cover organization.
Even at this time we laid excessive stress on the formation of new cover organizations by us and did not give sufficient importance to fractional work within the existing mass organizations already working among the people. We did not understand that such type of fractional work is an important form of mass organizing in the urban areas, which are all controlled and repressed by the enemy. We thought that only those organizations explicitly under the control of the Party are revolutionary organizations. We did not see that through proper fractional work we could remain under cover and yet guide an organization to play a revolutionary role.
Our education regarding cover organizations too gave a one-sided emphasis on the aspect of maintaining the cover of the organization and preventing its exposure. We did not stress the aspect that the broadest mobilization of the masses and the unification of large sections of the non-party masses under the mass organizations provide the best cover possible.
Further we did not understand the concept, role and importance of the legal democratic organizations and movement. Here too we only understood that we should restrict the programme and tasks so as to maintain legality. We did not see the importance of uniting the broadest sections ready to work resolutely on a minimum programme. After years of experience we have corrected some sectarian misconceptions. But we yet need to further develop our understanding and education at all levels regarding the role, importance and use of the legal democratic organization within the urban movement.
We formed several secret mass organizations at various times. Many of these secret mass organizations were formed after severe repression on the open revolutionary mass organizations, which prevented them from functioning. Our response to the repression then was to run these same organizations from the underground.
Our only change while running the secret organizations was regarding the methods of secret functioning. We expected that the secret organizations would perform the same functions and tasks that were earlier performed by the open organizations. We did not see the need to substantially change the role, tasks and structure of the new secret organization.
We should understand the limitations of the secret organizations in carrying out broad mass mobilization like the earlier open revolutionary mass organizations. We should therefore assign such tasks to the secret organization, which it is best able to perform – like secret revolutionary propaganda, organizing the masses secretly and carrying out militant actions when necessary. Further we should reallocate those unexposed forces of the old open revolutionary organization, to fractional, or other type of cover work. This would ensure the continuation of the task of mass mobilization through other means.
4.2.6 Negligence in Secret Functioning
Our POR has listed in detail the various lapses in secret functioning like not building covers, not building and functioning through layers, and other technical errors. At the root of these errors is our superficial understanding of our long-term strategic approach, and our lack of a proper grasp of the balance and relationship between open and secret work. A quick results, short cut, approach and liberalism are further reasons for the mistakes.
4.2.7 Lack of an All-India Perspective
This is also a shortcoming. In the earlier period when urban work was restricted to a few pockets the seriousness of this deficiency was relatively less. However with the intensification of the people’s war and the spread of the Party to most of the major urban centres in the country, the need to have an All-India urban and working class perspective has become urgent. We should draw up such a perspective and plan the deployment and utilization of our subjective forces on that basis.
4.3 Principal Defect in Our Understanding
The above shortcomings are basically rooted in our defective understanding regarding the role of urban work and particularly the role of the working class in the Indian revolution.
As mentioned earlier in this document (point 3.1.1), the Ninth Congress has given a precise and unambiguous understanding regarding the role of the working class in the revolution. Though we had the correct understanding about the role of working class leading the revolution, we could not provide sufficient cadre to concentrate on the working class. There was not much concentration on the part of the leadership as we concentrated on building the agrarian revolution. Though we allotted cadre for the development of working class movement, because of the lakh of long-term approach and due to repression, we lost many valuable cadre who were working in the urban areas, and we faced severe losses. Though not existing at a theoretical level, there was to some extent a wrong notion in the minds of the party committees at various levels, that we need to depend upon the petty bourgeois sections, like students, for developing leading cadre. This was reflected in our practice in various states, to a considerable extent. An important factor that had contributed to this practice is the relative ease with which we can recruit cadre from the students and youth when compared with the workers and the pressure of immediate needs of revolution to be fulfilled.
The Ninth Congress has given the task of building proletarian base and to develop leadership cadre from the working class. If we rectify our mistakes, taking lessons from the past, we can certainly overcome the present shortcoming.
5. IMMEDIATE TASKS
After formulating the policy and guidelines for urban work, and after reviewing our past, the Ninth Congress POR calls upon the Party to launch a campaign to reorganize the work according to the new guidelines. Implementing this campaign call of the POR systematically and thoroughly should thus be the main focus of our immediate tasks. Depending upon the objective reality and subjective situation in our respective areas, and basing on our Policy and Guidelines, we should draw up a step-by-step area wise programme to educate the Party, evaluate our work, identify the areas for change, and draw up concrete plans and perspectives, and follow-up their implementation in a thorough manner.
5.1 Introduce Urban and Working Class Specialization in the
The highest committees must be the starting point. In the CC, PB, and RBs, and in those SCs where there is possibility of substantial urban work, there must be allocation of members to specialize in the urban work. Where the volume and nature of work demands it, sub-committees should be formed.
Their tasks will be to thoroughly implement the urban policy and guidelines; to closely study and solve problems in the field; to study the enemy, anticipate its moves and preplan accordingly; to theorize based on the field experiences, and to thus centralize the wealth of new ideas constantly emerging from the field so that they may be quickly implemented at all places. At this stage the same comrades will also have to concentrate on the tasks of the working class field. This means coordinating the working class work in various centres, guiding the working class organizations and fronts, preparing syllabus and materials for political education and training of cadre in the working class work, studying the developing trends in the working class movement and planning accordingly, and responding with quick decisions at the political and tactical level to the numerous spontaneous events occurring amidst the ongoing upsurge of working class struggles.
5.2 Draw up All-India and State-level Perspective-plans
The higher committees (and particularly the comrades allocated to specialize) should formulate and decide upon the perspective urban areas and industries at their respective levels. Deciding on the perspective gives the priority and direction in which to concretely plan. It ensures that the allocation of subjective forces does not move spontaneously but according to a plan.
By studying the urban process in the light of our policy and strategy, and on the basis of a town analysis and industrial analysis, the cities/ towns and industries to be focused upon should be decided. Simple class analysis of existing work areas and potential towns should also be conducted. This will help in deciding the priority and taking concrete decisions.
The actual allocation will naturally be on the basis of the subjective forces available and the overall plans of the responsible committee. However we must while allocating forces for the urban work be cautious and only allot comrades who will have a good chance of adjusting to the urban work and continuing for some time. Unlike the rural areas where retreat by a comrade need not lead to much exposure, the retreat of an urban comrade can lead to considerable problems for an urban organization.
5.3 Reorient and Reorganize the Urban Organizations with a
Long-Term Strategic Approach
Many of our urban work areas are not working according to a long-term strategic approach. Many areas have had to close down because of exposure and losses. Many areas have tried to introduce a strategic approach through a trial and error method derived from the day-to-day field experiences of facing the enemy. They have made considerable progress but deficiencies remain. Thus today different areas follow different practices based not only on the different levels of repression they are facing, but also on subjective factors like the approach of the area and state leadership or the differing work patterns and styles inherited from the past. This has continued due to the neglect of urban work in general, and in particular due to the absence of a common set of policies and guidelines throughout the Party. Having now adopted common policies and guidelines we should work to reorient and reorganize the urban work throughout the Party with a long-term strategic approach.
This task should be taken up as a campaign closely guided and monitored by the state committees. It should be a step by step process involving the education of all urban cadre according to the urban policy, particularly stressing on various aspects of the long term strategic approach; evaluating the functioning and structure of the urban organization at all levels – both Party and mass organizational – and taking decisions to correct or improve existing practices; setting targets for implementing the changes decided upon and following up so that they are implemented according to plan; and if necessary reallocating of forces according to the above evaluation and also according to the perspective plans drawn up by the higher committees.
The essential element in the effective implementation of such a campaign is the closest participation by the higher committees. Questions, doubts, and practical problems are bound to emerge in the course of implementation. To solve this requires the involvement of higher committee members who can provide answers and devise ways to resolve any problems that may come up. What we should aim to do is to see that every PM and activist operating in the city deeply understands the long term strategic approach, has full faith and confidence in this understanding, implements it in day-to-day practice, and tries to develop it to new levels.
5.4 Widely Mobilize the Urban masses, particularly the
Regarding mass mobilization, we must firstly correct the misconception that the long-term strategic approach of preserving our forces means restricting our mass organizing only to narrow secret mass organizations. All comrades must understand that the preservation and protection of our forces is only possible in the lap of the broad masses. We must therefore resort to the widest possible legal mass organizing while maintaining a correct balance between legal and illegal forms of organization and struggle. This direction towards broad mass organizing should therefore be one of the crucial components of the campaign to reorient and reorganize the Party.
We should mobilize through fractional work in various types of existing organizations and through different cover organizations and constantly devise new creative means to go among the masses without being exposed. We should not worry excessively that our struggles and slogans are not red and revolutionary enough. As long as we are among the masses and drawing them into struggle, we will be able to politicize them and draw them to the revolutionary line and Party.
Where necessary, and where it is possible to mobilize on a large scale, we should also form, or participate in, legal democratic organizations. We can thus bring out the masses in large numbers on a democratic programme. We should however not do such mobilizations where the numbers are likely to be small and our forces are likely to be exposed.
The main focus of mass mobilizing and organizing in the cities should be the working class. We should pay particular attention to the trade unions and other working class organizations. We should also organize in the bastis where the working class resides along with other sections of the urban poor. After the working class and urban poor we should pay attention to the organizations of the students and other sections of the petty bourgeoisie.
5.5 Recruit and Develop Party Leadership from the Working
We should have a strong proletarian orientation in our Party-building process. In this regard we should pay particular attention to the Ninth Congress resolution in this respect. We should therefore concentrate on building the Party in the factories and other centres of working class work. Even within the organizations of women, youth and students, we should pay particular attention to recruiting from proletarian backgrounds. We should pay particular attention to the education of proletarians in order to quickly bring them into the Party in larger numbers. After recruitment we should have measures and programmes for training and developing Party leadership from among them.
5.6 Reorganise the Tech Mechanism in the Cities
Except for the cities and towns within and adjacent to the guerilla zones, facing severe repression, the tech mechanism in most cities is very loose and primitive. We are mostly developing our tech methods as a process of reacting to the immediate enemy threat, rather than as a plan based on a long-term strategic approach. This spontaneous approach is very dangerous and must be drastically changed.
We must therefore thoroughly overhaul the tech mechanism and methods of coordinating our open and secret work. For this a gradual piecemeal process will not work. Such a process remains at the most partial and does not bring about the change required. Besides the enemy is moving fast to set up its network in cities throughout the country. We should therefore drastically revise our basic assumptions regarding tech requirements. We must realize that we cannot plan on the basis of the immediate actions and appearances of the enemy. The state is planning on a long term and all-India basis. Our planning too has to be on a long-term basis and cannot make much distinction between repression and ‘non-repression’ cities.
The basic norms regarding operating under natural covers, functioning strictly through layers, cover organization methods, and techniques of communication should be brought into implementation in all our urban work. This however should only be the first step. We should remember that our enemy is constantly studying and developing new methods against us. Our approach and method too therefore has to be dynamic and creative. Thus in the course of implementation of our guidelines, each one of us should further make additions, adaptations and developments to these guidelines. Our tech mechanism, while standing on certain basic concepts and principles, should always advance and improve, thus always proving to be one step ahead of the political police.
5.7 Prepare the Self-Defence Organs of the Urban Movement
In this respect we are relatively backward. Though all city organizations form teams for performing specific actions, there has been hardly any progress and very little experience in building more stable self-defence formations. This is true of both open teams as well as the secret self-defence squads.
We should fix targets and not now delay this task any longer. Where preparations are necessary we should make the necessary preparations and form the teams. For open teams, a simple political-organizational basis and a code of conduct should be drawn up. For secret squads, preparations for the necessary political and military education are important. There should also be full clarity among concerned comrades about the squad’s line of command. Senior comrades should take responsibility to see to the successful completion of this task.
5.8 Take up Work in Key Industries
Our presence today in the key industries is extremely low. With the advance of the people’s war, it is a pressing need that we enter into key industries and establish a strong base there. All higher committees should therefore keep this in mind while drawing up plans. We should make plans for key industries basing on the importance of the industry, the openings available for entry and the subjective forces we have available for such type of work.
5.9 Infiltrate into Enemy Organizations
This too is another area where we are practically non-existent, and where we must make a beginning. We should thus plan for this at various levels.
We should make use of opportunities for entry into the police, para military and military forces. We should very secretly follow up contacts of those already within these forces. Where possible we should enter into them from outside. Such work should be guided directly by the higher committees without informing the local bodies.
We should regularly conduct propaganda regarding the problems of the ordinary constables and soldiers. We should pick up the burning issues concerning them and arouse them to agitation.
We should also make a study of cantonment towns, ordnance factory areas, etc. with the purpose of formulating a plan for work in such zones. We should also try to collect and generate the type of forces who would be able to do such sort of work.
5.10 Build the United Front in the urban areas
Our urban united front work involves on the one hand, the building and strengthening of the worker-peasant alliance, and on the other hand, the building of unity between the working class and other urban sections and classes.
As mentioned earlier, the worker-peasant alliance is not only the task of those towns adjacent to the guerilla zones and other areas of rural struggle. The metropolitan and industrial cities relatively delinked from the countryside should particularly concentrate in various ways to advance the worker-peasant alliance. Propaganda, solidarity struggles, participation of workers in peasant agitations, direct help to the rural struggles, is some of the programmes to be undertaken. At the same time, basing on the concrete situation, other new and more creative ways of strengthening the unity of the two basic revolutionary classes should be developed.
The united front with other classes will mainly be through issue based or programme-based joint front organizations. Though these may be legal for quite sometime depending on the broadness of the front, we should be prepared to run the UF organizations from underground too, like the NDF in the Philippines, when confronted with brutal, fascist rule. While participating widely in these we should correct our sectarian errors in building such joint fronts and our bureaucratic dealings within them. The higher committees should constantly guide and plan for advancing and broadening our united front work.
As pointed out throughout this chapter, the policies of liberalization, globalization and privatization have had great impact on the urban areas. Almost all the toiling sections in the cities have been hit badly by these policies. This has time and again led to spontaneous outbursts of various sections on various partial issues without a clear direction. Now however the struggles have got more organized and focused against the very policies themselves, with the working class coming out in the leading role. Since the beginning of 2000, numerous major working class struggles have broken out, and continue to spread and grow unabated. Not only are these struggles spreading to all corners of the country, they are also marching in time with the anti-capitalist struggles going on in various parts of the globe. Even the reactionary wind after the military advances of imperialism in Afghanistan, has not been able to beat back the growing struggles.
These working class struggles have been joined by the struggles of the employees, teachers, etc. They are also inspiring the urban poor in the slums and the struggles of the semi proletariat with anti-demolition and anti-eviction struggles again taking on a militant character. Even the national bourgeois small capitalists are militantly taking to the streets against industry shifting, new taxes, high electricity rates, etc. The roots of most of these struggles emerge from the imperialist policies of globalization, liberalization, and privatization, and are therefore being focused more and more directly against these policies. Thus a favourable condition exists in the urban areas for the building of broad fronts against imperialism and this situation is likely to continue for quite some time more.