Revolution in South Asia

An Internationalist Info Project

7 Questions on the Revolution in India

Posted by Mike E on August 24, 2010

This is an interview with the group “To the Struggle” (based in Norway) conducted by Nickglais, editor of Democracy and Class struggle.

1. Can you tell us briefly about Communism in India?

The Communist Party of India was founded originally in 1919 in Kolkata then re-founded in Soviet Tashkent in 1925 under the impact of the Russian Revolution.

The Communist Party of Great Britain was closely involved in the formation and British Indian comrades like Saklatvala and Rajani Palme Dutt were early influences on the Communist Party of India. N M Roy an Indian Communist also distinguished himself with contributions to the Comintern.

The Communist Party of India concentrated on the urban areas in the 1920’s and 1930’s and faced repression by the British authorities who banned the party. Of the repression the most famous case in the 1930’s was the Meerut trial.

The Second World War brought out some contradictions within the Communist Party of India especially when the party refused to support the quit India Movement.

However some of the finest years of the Communist Party of India manifested themselves in the 1940’s with the famous Telengana struggle from 1946 -1951 when the Communist Party of India supported the struggle of the rural poor in Hyderbad.

With the defeat of the Telengana struggle the Communist party of India embraced Krhuschevite revisionism under the leadership of Dange.However revisionism pre dates Dange in the Indian Communist movement with the rejection of the Maoist model by Indian Communists in the 1930’s. However in the great debate the Namboodiripad faction in the Communist Party of India sided with China and broke away to form the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in 1963.

However the anti revisionist promise of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) was soon exposed by the Spring Thunder of 1967 which saw the Naxalbari uprising. When the tribal poor rose against the West Bengal State they were met with serious repression including from the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

It was the Darjeeling District Secretary of The Communist Party of India (Marxist) Charu Muzumbar who created the revolutionary third trend in Indian Communism which led to the creation of the Communist Party of India (Marxist Leninist) by the 1970’s.

However severe repression of the third trend within Indian Communism which championed India’s rural poor led to a splintering of the movement

By the late 1970’s and early 1980’s new groups of the third trend emerged in different parts of India in Andhra Pradesh we saw the rise of the Communist Party of India Marxist Leninist Peoples War) and in Bihar and West Bengal the of the Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) which has a long history back to the 1960’s. Other groups like Communist Party of India Marxist Leninist (Party Unity) also emerged.

By the 1990’s these forces met up geographically in central India with violent clashes unable to resolve contradictions in a comradely way.

This low in the Indian Maoist movement then gave way to a drive for unity first with the Peoples War Group with Party Unity and then with the Maoist Communist Centre to create an all India Communist Party – The Communist Party of India ( Maoist) in 2004. For the first time Maoists in India could work on an all India revolutionary strategy

2. The Indian Maoists have criticised the line of the Nepalese Maoists – what is their critique all about?

Comrade Azad of the Communist Party of India Maoist who was recently murdered by the Indian authorities wrote a polemic attacking the Nepalese Maoists after 2006 for participating in bourgeois elections and agreeing to the cantonment of the Peoples Liberation Army.

The Indian comrades believed that the People’s War in Nepal should have been continued. Of course the Nepalese comrades think that they are continuing Peoples War in another way by developing a strategy to take control of the urban centre’s like Kathmandu. The Nepalese Maoists are utilising elections to win mass urban as well as rural support.

The exchanges between the Nepalese Maoists and the Indian Maoists reflect the different level of struggle in the two countries. Comrade Ganapathy of the Communist Party of India Maoist in his interview with Jan Myrdal approvingly notes that the Nepalese Party is involved in a two line struggle of the issues raised by Indian comrades.

However I would like to add that we should not seek to exacerbate the real differences that exist between the Indian and Nepalese comrades has some so called revolutionary groups do in the West.

It is our duty to help Indian and Nepalese comrades resolve differences to advance the cause of revolution in South Asia

3. How do Communists unite the mass movement with the Communist movement in India?

This is a difficult question but we know the outlines of the problem. Has Bernard D’ Mello of the Economic and Political weekly has said the Communist Party of India Maoist has raised the struggle of the rural poor to new heights in India with the Adivasi struggle.

However on its own the rural struggle cannot produce the Indian revolution – it can provide the spark – the urban areas need to be won over to the cause and the Communist Party of India Maoists recognises the problem and welcomes criticisms by urban groups involved in the struggle to build unity with the rising communist movement. See Ganapathy interview with Jan Myrdal.

Has the urban struggle unfolds and unites with the struggle of the rural poor practice will provide an answer to the question of uniting communists with the mass movement.

4. What kind of contradictions exists between the communist movement and the mass movement?

The Maoist movement is primarily a rural movement and need to develop its slogans and policies for the urban areas. Has Harsh Thakhor has written

“On the trade union front the CPI Maoist has not been able to form democratically functioning trade unions and has often ended up giving political slogans of revolutionary armed struggle not compatible with the political capacity of broad sections of the working class

The working class was not fully explained the link between their interests and the agrarian revolutionary movement but slogans glorifying heroes of armed squads.”

Harsh Thakor’s position could be criticised because it does not take account of the slowness of the development of urban infrastructure in India

Overcoming the contradiction between the rural and urban struggles is one of the primary questions addressed by the CPI Maoist today.

5. What is the Red Corridor and why do Communists have many sympathisers in that region or area?

The area of central and northeast India from Bihar which borders Nepal to Andhra Pradesh constitutes the Red Corridor of India some forty percent of rural India.

This area is also the forested and jungle area of India and it also happens to be the area where the poorest and most hunger stricken area of India which according to Binyak Sen and Arundhati Roy should be declared famine zones by the Indian Government.

However the Indian Government has chosen food has a weapon of war to fight the Maoist and Adivasi rebellion.

This area of the Red Corridor also happens to have rich mineral resources like coal and iron ore, bauxite, gold and diamonds. The Indian Government and State Governments has signed hundreds of Memorandums of Understanding ( MOU’S) with Multi National Corporations and Indian compradors selling both land and resources under the feet of the people who live there.

The Maoists have also operated in this area for 30 years originally as separate groups like Peoples War and Party Unity and Maoist Communist Centre. They have long campaigned for the defence of the Adivasis and the unified party in 2004 launched a campaign against the Multi National Companies and the Indian Compradors.

Hence this is the area of the greatest sympathy for the Maoists who are defending the Adivasis people against the Genocidal onslaught of the Indian Government with Operation Green Hunt. This is an Indian Government that would happily starve its Adivasis population to death so it can steal the minerals and resources for the MNC’s and the compradors.

6. What are the biggest challenges that the Indian Communist movement is facing today?

The first challenge is the enormous military offence launched against the Maoists and Adivasis people. A bigger military deployment than western forces in Afghanistan.

However the long term strategic challenge is developing a mass movement in the urban areas to create a coalition of forces to bring about the Indian revolution

The question of the nationality movements and the Dalit (untouchables) and the gender struggle require creative development of Marxism Leninism Maoism. Communists have not been very successful in the 20th Century in nationality movements and Indian Maoists need to advance the Dalit Question from caste struggle to class struggle.

Overcoming these challenges will help create the all India coalition for revolution led by the Indian Maoists.

7. What are the lessons can Communists in the West learn from the contradictions that the Indian comrades have faced, solved

Th first lesson that Indian Maoists have advanced is the question of resolving contradictions amongst themselves.

It was only in the 1990’s that rival groups of Maoists were killing one another by the 21st century not only are most Maoists united in one Party the Communist party of India Maoist but they are resolving contradictions in line with struggle transformation unity and not struggle split has in the past and a healthy two line struggle is the new weapon of communist advance in the 21st century.

The second lesson we can learn from Indian Maoists is the successful application of the mass line in the rural areas and particularly the success with the indigenous tribal peoples. The application of a mass line that “listens” to the Adivasis and not just “commands” them is an important development requiring emulation.

There are still many more contradictions the Indian comrades have to face especially in regard the nationality movements the gender question and the Dalit Question – however on past experience we can be confident the Indian comrades will resolve these contradictions and further advance the cause of the Indian and World Revolution.

Thanking for asking me such thoughtful questions please study the book India’s War on the People published by Democracy and Class Struggle and watch my site Democracy and Class Struggle on the Internet for updates on the Indian Struggle – Please build solidarity with our Indian comrades from Norway.

3 Responses to “7 Questions on the Revolution in India”

  1. It must be noted that nowhere in Andhra Pradesh,Dandkaranya,Jharhand or Bihar has any struggle been developed even half as strong as the Telengana armed struggle from 1946-1951 .Quoting the eminent intellectual and critique of Naxalite Movement Sumanta Banerjee ‘It should be pointed out however that despite their survival for almost four decades, the Naxalites do not yet control any large area comparable to the `liberated zone’ that the Chinese Communists could establish in Yenan within a decade or so in the 1930-40 period. They have not been able to reach out to the masses of the peasantry in the vast countryside of other parts of India, and have expanded only to a few isolated pockets and stretches of areas inhabited mainly by tribal and landless poor.” In my view the military line has shades of Che Guevera’s focoist tendency.. Historically there is a difference between revolutionary base areas and guerilla zones.

    The C.P.I. (Maoist). in implementation of line often confused the difference between forming a guerilla zone and a base area. In their zones they retaliate and defend their areas through their guerilla squad actions and are not able to replenish their losses. They do not have sufficient support of the broad masses. There is insufficient development of mass agrarian revolutionary struggle and revolutionary democratic movement. A maoist mass military line has not been built.For many a action there is lack of adequate preparation of agrarian revolutionary Movement. What was defective was the nature of squad actions not properly evaluating the co-relation of the enemy with the masses..Over-emphasis has been placed on armed struggle without combining effective mass struggles. To a considerable extent the military actions reflect anarchist tendencies and have not adhered to a the maoist mass military line. Unable to withstand the counter-onslaught of the state the mass organizations of such groups were virtually crushed and forced to function underground. Now mass struggle is completely substituted by armed Struggle. They have not created the level of preparation for armed struggle which was done In the Telengana Armed Struggle of 1946-1951 where work was initiated in the AndhraMahasabha ,or in the 1924-1927 period in China where Peasant associations were formed and a base was built for mass agrarian revolutionary Movement., or even the preparation period for he launching of armed struggles in Phillipines or Peru I the periods of 1959-1968 a 1968-1980 respectively.

    There are strong tendencies of forming mass organizations as front organizations. Only when the major section of a mass organization accepts the politics of the revolutionary party can mass organizations function as front organisations.Although such sections have formed mass organizations there are still tendencies of confusing the mass organizations with the Party. Historically, the ideology of MaoTse Tung thought was introduced in manifestos of mass organisations, which was an erroneous tendency.This was true of organizations like Radical Students Union and All-India League for Revolutionary Culture.

    However great efforts have made to rectify the past errors and a serious plan to start urban work with mass-line approach has been launched. In areas where they have faced severe repression they have even floated effective platforms for survival. If they could extricate themselves from their wrong trends it may not be a long time before the India New Democratic Revolution would emerge.The manner in which they have combated the state repression in different junctures through organizing people’s court or famine raids was remarkable as well as their protests in term of armed actions or mass protests.The fact that they have heroically resisted the enemy forces f or a period of 30 years and form a Central Peoples Guerilla army to become the strongest Maoist party in the World when no Socialist Country in the World exists and when the forces of globalization are acting as tentacles is one of the greatest achievements in the annals of the world Communist Movement.

  2. Ka Frank said

    This is a shoddy analysis by Nick Glais and demonstrates a remarkable lack of understanding about the CPI (Maoist). Where is the discussion of the present line and substantial work of this party on nationality movements (in the northeast and Kashmir), gender, dalits and urban work?–prior to his advice to them that they should develop their thinking further on these subjects.

    For those who want to see how the CPI (Maoist) describes its work and political line, please visit http://www.bannedthought.net.

  3. Ben said

    The first successful new democratic revolution in modern history started out with the formation of a communist party with a substantial mass base in both the urban and rural areas of an oppressed nation such as China. The Maoist line of initiating the people’s war to seize nationwide power under the centralized leadership of the communist party was made famous by one of Mao’s quotations: “the party must control the gun …” which later gave rise to the successful intiation of people’s war under the leadership of a mass-based communist party in oppressed nations such as Philippines, Peru and Nepal with the exception of India.

    The first attempt in 1967 to initiate people’s war in Naxalbari to seize nationwide power in India was led by a small Maoist faction of a fragmented communist movement bogged down by decades of revisionism. Its leader, Charu Mazumdar was soon captured and brutally killed with the uprising in Naxalbari drowned in blood but that did not stop subsequent attempts by other Maoist factions inspired by Mazumdar to go among the rural peasantry to initiate people’s war. The matrydom of Mazumdar served to spur younger generations of Maoist activists to go to the rural masses to start the revolutionary armed struggle to complete the new democratic revolution against the three big mountains of imperialism, comprador capitalism and feudalism.

    It was after nearly 40 years of endless attempt at intitiating and sustaining a Maoist people’s war from the rural areas to surround and later seize the urban areas that a Maoist communist party was formed from two major factions of the Maoist revolutionary movement in India. This was achieved despite the merciless suppression of the centralized ruling comprador-feudal state from the begining until now; it was certainly not through lack of determination that the comprador-feudal ruling class alliance have failed to snuff out the flames of the new democratic revolution in India, it was the dire need of the rural and urban poor in India to resist super exploitation and oppression that has sustain two generations of Maoist activists to persist in their historical mission to go to the rural and urban poor to make revolution. Now that the revolutionary masses have finally sustained and facilitated the formation of a Maoist communist party with centralized control of a people’s army, I hope the revolutionary masses in India and their vanguard party will be able to forge a nationwide united front to win over the middle forces to bring the flames of people’s war even higher to complete their historical mission of completing the first proletarian revolution in the 21st century. The Euro-US imperialist powers and their reactionary neo-colonial puppets are scheming and scamming desperately but the rural and urban poor of the world are hoping fervently for another major historical breakthrough.

    Long live the revolutionary masses in India, lal salam.

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