Whither CPI (Maoist)?

Harsh Thakor

These days it has become a fashion in some communist revolutionary circles to criticize or condemn the CPI (Maoist). The Rahul foundation erroneously criticizes the CPI (Maoist) as non-marxist. But the CPI (Maoist )has defied all odds with their struggle in Dandkaranya. Irrespective of errors in their military line they have justified armed revolutionary resistance movement more than any organization in India. Whatever may be it's weakness in practice the CPI (Maoist) is the most correct of all revolutionary groups now operating in India on the far left fringe. They have proved how much they are ingrained with the masses. In spite of adverse subjective conditions they have formed revolutionary committees or 'Janata Sarkars'. There is an analytical article in RDF organ Jan Pratirodh by Ajay Kumar which elaborates how democratically the 'Janata Sarkars' are created and how they participate in the everyday struggles of the tribals. The innovations of the Maoists are absolutely unbelievable, literally creating subjective conditions for their cause. They have challenged groups who professed the ‘3 stage theory’ and prolonged armed struggle. In spite of Bernard D'Mello not accepting India as semi-feudal and colonial he has recognized the depths of their works within the guerilla Zones. In spite of not following orthodox Marxism-Leninism Mao-Tse Tung Thought they have innovated unique forms of struggle. Forces condemning them are actually speaking against the revolution. The Central Team of the CPI (ML) in 1997 in spite of not merging with the erstwhile PWG group or now the CPI (Maoist) supported the movement in Dandkaranya and Bihar, and leaders from the T Nagi Reddy stream that deferred armed struggle, who later merged into the CPRCI (ML) tooth and nail defended the CPI (Maoist) as a genuine revolutionary force.

The weakness in the CPI (Maoist) is the lack of building work in the urban areas as well as people's mass organizations. No doubt they have imitated Mao's thesis of protracted People’s War more than any organization since the Telengana Armed struggle. However there is a strong trend to copy the Chinese experience in toto and not differentiate the subjective conditions of India. India may not yet be fully capitalist and have strong remnants of semi-feudalism but there is a far greater impact of Imperialism on India’s politics and economy in the urban and rural areas. The concept of capturing the countryside and encircling the cities propounded by the Chinese Communist Party cannot be mechanically copied here.

The erstwhile All-India People's Resistance Forum and the current Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF) have not really evolved into mass forums of revolutionary mass resistance and basically functioned as a forum supporting the Maoist party… A clear demarcation of a revolutionary party and mass organization was not made here. The author gives the ideal example of the mass-political forum 'Lok Morcha' in Punjab which although sympathetic to the Marxist-Leninist revolutionary movement never functioned as a front organization of any communist revolutionary faction and popularized its identity as a democratic mass organization. Stating this the author does not deny the historical revolutionary contribution of organizations led by erstwhile PWG MCC groups like the Revolutionary Writers' Association (Andhra Pradesh), the Nari Mukti Sangh (Bihar) and the Andhra Pradesh Radical Students' Union. The CPI (Maoist) deserves its recognition from the International Conference to support the people's war and by intellectuals like Jan Myrdal but critical evaluations have to be made. There is a strong tendency of Maoist parties uncritically supporting the current struggle on par with the people’s war in the Phillipines or the People’s War in Peru in the earlier period which is incorrect. Another mistake of the CPI (Maoist) is its blind adherence to the tactic of Boycott of elections as the strategic path and its rejection of adopting participation in parliamentary elections as a tactic completely. This contradicts Lenin's teachings. In fact one observation of the author is when summing up the history the CPI (Maoist) mentions the armed struggles of the People’s War in Andhra Pradesh and that of Maoist Communist Centre in Bihar but obliterates the contribution of the CPI (ML) Party Unity Group in Bihar (particularly the peasant resistance in Jehenabad). Thus this analysis basically upholds the military line and not the mass resistance movements of the masses. The PU group in fact wished to ultimately utilize the tactics of participation in elections. In Jharkhand the current CPI (Maoist) practice is closer to that of the erstwhile Maoist Communist Centre while failing to consolidate the revolutionary peasant movement of the Mazdoor Kisan Sangrami Parishad led by the erstwhile PU group.

It must be noted that the conditions in India are not like what they were in China when the Red Army was formed there in the 1930s.There was far greater level of armed revolutionary peasant resistance in the era of the CCP in the 1930's. The subjective conditions in India do not really prevail for formation of a fully developed People’s Liberation Guerilla Army. The author read a report in a revolutionary journal 'The Comrade' depicting the mass line of a revolutionary peasant organization in 1986-1988 in North Bihar where the emphasis was placed on the revolutionary armed peasant resistance as against annihilation by armed squads. The village volunteer armed groups only defended the revolutionary resistance and did not substitute it. The movement led by the CPI(ML) Party Unity had more significance towards the mass line than the Maoist Communist Centre as it combined mass struggles with armed struggle. The Srikakulam Girijan Sangham in Andhra Pradesh in the early 1990's was critical of armed squad actions of the erstwhile People’s War Group. The Srikakulam Girijan Sangham in 1992 issued a letter addressed to the People's War Group on how they would participate in an agitation defending a regulation 70 which protected land rights of Girijans. In 1993 it published a leaflet critical of an assassination carried out by a People’s War Squad of one big landlord Yedida Satyam. It explained how it was not a people's armed action but the equivalent of killing a mosquito but not resisting the breeding pit which created the mosquito. Weaknesses in the erstwhile People's War Group were also shown by their supporting of the NTR government against the Congress in 1985 and using kidnapping as a political tactic. Armed squad clashes (inter-group rivalry) also occurred between the PW Group and the Chandra Pulla Reddy group in the early 1990's in Andhra Pradesh and between the PU and Later PW group with the MCC. This reflected their erroneous military line and dogmatic approach to people’s cause.

Vol. 46, No. 30, Feb 2 - 8, 2014

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