Past, Present and Future

Nagi Reddy Line and CPRCI(ML)

Harsh Thakor

In 1988 Five groups, namely the CPI(ML) led by Chandrasekhar, the RCPI led by Takra, the 2 UCCRI (ML) factions led by Harbhajan Sohi and Anand and the OCCPI(ML) led by Jitender merged to form the Centre of Communist Revolutionaries of India (CCRI) after a continuous process of bilateral and multilateral negotiations. The 1977 Appendix documents written by Harbhajan Sohi were taken as the Organisation's internatinal line.

It's main premises of unity were :
1.   If there are groups which have similar political lines unity discussions should take place and the groups should merge.
2.   If there are groups adhering to the proletarian revolutionary line in practice but have important differences on certain questions of the line, the differences should be resolved through bilateral talks and mutual co-operation.
3.   With groups which have similarities on important aspects of the line but whose line and practice are affected by the chief deviationist trends of the day, effort must be made to extricate such groups from the hold of the opportunistic trends. At the mass organisation level unity can be brought about.
4.   To groups who have been totally captured by revisionism, efforts must be made to win over cadres who still are revolutionary.
5.   Strong effort must be made to win over cadres from the revisionist left parties.

The organisation claimed that despite the historic demarcation of Communist Revolutionary Forces from the revisionist Communist Party of India (Marxist), the communist revolutionaries were unable to re-organise the Communist Movement. In that period two erroneous lines played havoc. The first was the line of 'Annihilation of Class Enemies' and the second was the line of the 'Broad Democratic Front' which was principally the influence of the Deng Clique.

In Punjab CCRI played a vanguard role in leading the movement and no organisation contributed more on the theoretical or practical plane towards massline. It made a major contribution in the revolutionary democratic movement in the Khalistani period with the Central Team of the CPI(ML), and developed a large number of resistance-movements against Khalistani Terrorism. Major mass resistance rallies were led by a mass resistance front formed by them at Moga in 1987 and at Sewawala in 1991 and 1992. True, they were unable to work in all districts of Punjab but their experience was a heroic lesson. It also played a major role in the building of mass agrarian revolutionary line of the Adivasi movement in Malkangiri in Orissa. In Andhra Pradesh its forces attempted to consolidate the Srikakulam Girijan movement and did notable work toward building agitation for protecting Article 70 for the Girijans and with democratic revolutionary approach ideologically opposing wrong squad actions of PWG with leaflets.Played an important role in guiding the Democratic Rights movement in Mumbai in Maharashtra. In West Bengal Trade Union movement was consolidated and major Trade Union struggles were led capturing the Revisionist Unions. It also had revolutionary peasant Movement work in Bihar which later was absorbed by the Party Unity Section. For some time some struggles carrying the torch of the mass line were implemented, particularly against the Bhagalpur riots in 1989. In spite of split in 1988 of UCCRI (ML) the All-India Federation of Organisations for Democratic Rights was formed in 1982. It flourished in its total capability with significant conferences in 1990.

A New Marxist Leninist Revolutionary Centre, the Communist Party Re-Organisation Centre of India (Marxist Leninist) [CPRCI-ML] was formed in August 1994 through the merger of the Centre of Communist Revolutionaries of India with the Central Team of the CPIML (CTCPIML) ,the Communist Unity Centre of India and the Marxist Leninist Organising Centre. Significantly the Unity Declaration was signed in December 1993 in the month of Mao tse Tung's 100th birth anniversary. At that juncture it was theoretically and in specific regions in practice the most correct exponent of what was Mao's thought. The formal conference took place in 1995 with delegates from Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Orissa and Uttar Pradesh. S Pratap was elected the secretary.

The merger of the Centre for Communist Revolutionaries of India with the Central Team CPI(ML) had great significance as both groups evolved from different streams with divergent ideological positions. The Central Team descended from the Charu Mazumdar sponsored CPI(ML) Stream while the CCRI belonged to the Tarimela Nagi Reddy stream. Historically the relationship between Nagi Reddy-D V Rao with Charu Mazumdar or CPI(ML) of 1969 was antagonistic. D V Rao termed it terrorist while CT group from 1978 always upheld the 1969 CPI(ML) and negated Nagi Reddy as a revisionist. The united work in the mass political movement against Khalistani terrorism brought them together. The non-Punjab section of CT continued to uphold the CPI(ML) of 1969 and morally upheld the armed struggle of People’s War group in Dandkaranya.

After a continuous process of bilateral transactions this unity took place. The fact that it took such a long, protracted process reflects the principled approach of Unity. The organisation states that the proletarian revolutionary trend lies within various Communist Revolutionary groups and that the proletarian revolutionary party has still to be formed. They brought out their basic Documents in 1995 after their Inaugural Conference.

On the International Line and on it's analysis of the agrarian revolutionary Perspective and military line it has outstanding Marxist-Leninist clarity. It has a most complete thesis of the relationship of the mass organisation with the proletarian party. It explains the distinct identity and the need to function democratically within the mass organisation and not impose party politics on the mass organisations. It also explains why theoretically armed Struggle and active boycott of election cannot be carried out in the present circumstances. A profound contribution of unity is not making the issue of whether 1969 formation of the CPI(ML) was correct or not. (It would be a matter to be decided only when the party was re-organised. Earlier this was a major controversy amongst revolutionary Groups) It is interesting that one of the components of this organisation the CPIML (CT) earlier insisted that the 1969 CPI(ML) led by Charu Mazumdar was the actual party.

In West Bengal the organisation made significant progress in capturing the unions working as fractions within the yellow unions. Working as fractions they did meticulous work in combating opportunist trends and building revolutionary circles. They gave emphasis on the linking of Trade Union Struggles of all sections of the workers. In Andhra Pradesh similarly it created significant Trade Union Solidarity movements in Bobbili region of Srikakulam. This is significant in the light of neglect of political mass work amongst the erstwhile CPI(ML) PWG on the labour front or in urban areas. It played an important role in guiding revolutionary mass work. It initiated the formation of revolutionary mass papers and strived to develop the correct practice in Trade Unions as against right opportunist and left sectarian practices. It initiated forming a revolutionary workers solidarity platform to co-ordinate workers struggles. One trade union Activist From Mumbai attended an Election programme in Punjab in January 1998 and thought he never witnessed such revolutionary democratic functioning. Similar views were awarded to the Malkangari Adivasi Movement by a team of Activists from Mumbai. In Mharashtra in Mumbai even if quantitatively small its forces played a major qualitative role in the development of important issue and programmes like that of the Tata Thermal plant workers’ protest started in 2003, airport workers’ struggles in basti areas near Mumbai airport from 1997, struggle of Mukund workers, protset against massacre in Laxmanpur bathe and upholding 50 years of the Chinese Revolution. No group had a clearer class-political content as the workers platform built by them and even if not so political and small in numbers it practised what it propogated with considerable consistency.

In Punjab for over 2 decades it has been the strongest group and implemented massline better than any other group. It has a strong mass base in the revolutionary mass movement of the landed peasantry leading a huge organisation of the poor peasantry. It also did significant work in bridging the gap between the landed and landless dalit agricultural labour. Heroic struggles were led combating corporates like Trident, getting compensation for suicide victims, and winning plots for landless dalits. Earlier in Orissa from 1995-2003 came many reports of the Adivasi Movement in Malkangiri revealing a greater mass revolutionary base and mass line practice from even the Maoist party.

Avenues have been created for militant peasant struggles of landless labourers in pockets in the State of Punjab and for miltant district or statewide peasant struggles amongst the landed peasantry. A revolutionary alternative had been projected through the Party Organisation and the manner of projection (especially as projected by the Rajjeana Campaign and the Election campaign) displays strong theoretical correctness. In 1998 and 1999, 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2017 the Organisations under their guidance carried out election campaigns in Punjab which created a major impact where the tactics of active political campaign in contrast to Active Boycott or Participation were implemented. Other groups could hardly make any effect. The content of the party leaflet encouraged the party ranks and followers to distribute it wide for mass consumption. The wide range of issues were explained in simple language. The immediate practical alternative was projected in the leaflet so that people could easily grasp its contents.

In Orissa a mass line was developed in Malkangiri region higher than the Maoist party did. Major struggles in Padmagiri-Pandripeni resisting the cutting of bamboo tress by the politician-contractor nexus, opposing the building of HAMCO pipeline etc. were launched. Democratic revolutionary mass organisation functioning reached its highest level and so did armed resistance of Adivasis with conventional weapons. The work was far more effective than that of erstwhile People’s War group armed squads. It was one of the finest ever implementations of mass line in the post-naxalbari period. Every year a successful May Day rally is held in Balimela mobilsing around 7500-10000 adivasis. Currently all the district level conferences are being organised to prepare for the state level conference later this year. A mass revolutionary peasant uprising may not have taken place but there have been demonstrations of peasants in Orissa and Punjab defending their rights or offering mass resistance against enemy forces carrying traditional armed weapons. The election programmes by mass organisations and fronts influenced by the party line in Punjab in 1998, 1999, 2004, 2012 and 2017 were striking examples of creating a base for a mass revolutionary political movement, particularly among the peasantry.

In 2016 the CPRCI (ML) completed its regular conference after a long period. This conference was held after a plenum held 15 years earlier. All the delegates were congratulated for making it successful. It was attended by delegates from Punjab, Orissa, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Maharashtra .Tributes were paid to all the martyred activists and at the inauguration of conference a veteran leader from Srikakulam movement, Ankush was selected general secretary.

For one thing the trend of the movement guided by the CPRCI (ML) is the most progressive one in Punjab. Arguably nowhere have such progressive open struggles occurred in the entire country so consistently defending base of agrarian revolutionary movement even if it has not been built and so painstakingly educating the broad peasantry on revolutionary class struggle.

The line of T Nagi Reddy had a great role and impact in developing the mass line in the organisations in Punjab from the 1970's.

In recent years Nazar Singh Boparai, the owner and now editor of journal Surkh Rekha launched a vendetta on the practice of Harbhajan Sohi and the journal claiming that it was not supporting armed agrarian revolution but leaning towards economism. Unlike in the previous 2 decades now pages of Surkh Rekha endorse the line of the CPI (Maoist) while Surkh Leeh upholds the Nagi Reddy-HBS line even if it disclaims being an organ of any group. Still all the mass organisation leaders were vociferously critical of Boparai's criticism and stood with Surkh Leeh.

Recent struggle of the BKU (Ugrahan) resisting the administration for 50 days in Bathinda in July of 2016 and Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union capturing plots in Lambi region and its 3 day protest there in September 2016 display the progress. It was hardly reported in the mainstream media. Also memorable was the joint landed labour-landless labour protest for 7 days in Bathinda which won important demands after besieging the city in February 2014. In mass programmes they could mobilise upto even 15-20,000 Peasants amongst landed peasantry. Also of great significance have been the protests of the Democratic Front against Operation Green Hunt like in Moga and Barnala last April which have played a major role in building public opinion against fascistic acts of the state. Some great protests against false encounter in Malkangri last year, against death sentence on Maruti workers etc. On the youth front a famous rally and conference was held commemorating Shaheed Bhgat Singh last September in Barnala with over 10000 participants, mainly comprising landless and poor peasant youth.

Significant that Scott Harrison of Massline from USA and Nicholas Glais from Wales of Democracy and Class Struggle have been subtle admirers of the CPRCI (ML) in spite of being staunch supporters of the CPI (Maoist).

Even if theoretically the most correct overall it exhibited mechanical approach towards building party and agrarian revolution. It needs to develop protracted people's war concept applying more originality with the conditions in India and more flexibility towards party-building. Even if subjective conditions do not exist for launching armed struggle they have to sharpen building of agrarian revolutionary resistance and attract more intellectuals through seminars of open mass fronts.

Today, apart from the state of Punjab one witnesses no other major open mass struggles led by the organisation in any part of India. It projects the party banner with posters only in Punjab and rarely issues statements. Sufficient legal political forums have not been created to propagate the political line like other communist revolutionary sections, accounting for preservation of underground structure of party organisation.

In the times of D V Rao and Nagi Reddy in the 1970's open party organs were published and openly distributed. Correct not to function or hold meetings with the party banner but in certain times official party litearure should be displayed in political mass programmes. It was unable to stage an open seminar on 50 years of naxalbari or Russian revolution centenary. Only by adopting more open approach can it build mass organisations. It has also hardly formed open sectional organisations of youth, students, workers and peasants like the erstwhile constituents of the CPI (Maoist) or CPI(ML) New Democracy. There is also no all-India mass political front formed in any sector be it workers, peasants, cultural groups or students.

A strong foundation for movement of agricultural dalit labourers is lacking in Punjab who are not sufficiently integrated with the landed peasantry for agrarian revolution. There is also a decline in the base of students and workers front with forces considerably reduced in the urban centres, like the electricity workers and steel workers. The student and youth organisations cannot hold state level rallies like in the decade of the 1970's. Today there is a significant decline in the organised movement in Malkangiri Adivasi movement where the Maoist party is much more active. Activities continue but not with the impact of 10-15 years ago, combating the landlords and the state and protecting the armed movements. The party made an important note in the 2016 conference that in spite of taking the struggle of Adivasis in Malkangiri in Orissa against timber mafia to a crescendo it was unable to create a sufficient party base. It noted that in the end the struggle diminished because of inability to sufficiently develop the party organisation. In fact last September in view of the convenor of the Malkangiri Adivasi Sangh the Party placed undue emphasis on the factor of party re-organisation and not enough on agrarian revolutionary movement. It deferred building of agrarian revolutionary movement because of placing undue importance on party re-organisation.

Vol. 50, No.52, Jul 1 - 7, 2018