Idea Of Dissent

'Urban Maoists' and their Strategy

Manu Kant

Lenin famously said that 'without revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary movement'. But this statement doesn't hold true for 'urban Maoists'. Armed just with the concept of 'dissent' Naxalites have taken on the Indian government. Perplexed, the Indian govt. has failed to come up with an effective mechanism to respond to the 'flag of dissent' that the 'urban Maoists' are waving at its face.

Every time 'urban Maoists' are arrested they come up with a standard response: 'dissent is the life & blood of democracy'. Even the Indian judges concur with them. Last year, no less than a SC judge remarked that "Dissent is the safety valve of democracy. If dissent is not allowed, then the pressure cooker may burst". The result is : a section of the educated Indian community is taking recourse to dissent', be it the intellectuals or writers & artists or students.

Then the No 1 security threat to India is not the AK-47 totting 'jungle Maoists' nor the Kashmiri separatists but those 'urban Maoists' who are waving their banner of 'dissent'. It is the 'urban Maoists' who give the theoretical cushion to 'jungle Maoists, 'Muslim terrorists' & 'Kashmiri separatists'.

However, this is no cause for despair. 'Urban Maoists' ka bhi tod hai! (There is also a solution to the problem of 'urban Maoists') First, one has to understand what 'urban Maoists' are? What 'urban Maoists' want?
This is what Lenin wrote about liberals of the variety of 'urban Maoists' in his remarkable 1912 essay ' Two Utopias' :

"In politics, utopia is a wish that can never come true-neithere now nor afterwards, a wish that is not based on social forces and is not supported by the growth and development of political, class forces. The less freedom there is in a country, the scantier the manifestations of open class struggle and the lower the educational level of the masses, the more easily political Utopias usually arise and the longer they persist."

The liberal Utopia alleges that one could bring about appreciable improvements in Russia, in her political liberty, and in the condition of the mass of her working people, peacefully and harmoniously, without hurting any one's feelings, without removing the Purishkeviches, without a ruthless class struggle fought to a finish. It is the Utopia of peace between a free Russia and the Purishkeviches.

They are engendered by the interests of the classes which are waging a struggle against the old order, serfdom, lack of rights—in a word, "against the Purishkeviches", and which do not occupy an independent position in this struggle. Utopia, or day-dreaming, is a product of this lack of independence, this weakness. Day-dreaming is the lot of the weak.

The utopia of liberalism is a utopia of impotence in the matter of the political emancipation of Russia, a Utopia of the self-interested moneybags who want "peacefully" to share privileges with the Purishkeviches and pass off this noble desire as the theory of "peaceful" victory for Russian democracy. The liberal utopia means day-dreaming about how to beat the Purishkeviches without hurting them, to break them without, hurting them. Clearly, this Utopia is harmful not only because it is a Utopia, but also because it corrupts the democratic consciousness of the masses. If they believe in this Utopia, the masses will never win freedom; they are not worthy of freedom; they fully deserve to be maltreated by the Purishkeviches.

Now, do 'urban Maoists' want a revolution in India? The resounding answer is: 'No'. They don't desire a revolution. Just dissent for the sake of dissent. What they want is a perpetual state of siege! The likes of 'urban Maoists' are using dissent the way the capitalist class uses the power of capital aka money to control the State. 'Urban Maoists' through their activism, through 'dissent' merely, want to exercise their intellectual control over the State. In the same article 'Two Utopias' Lenin sets in sharp relief the ideological content of liberals (read: 'urban Maoists'), thus:

"The liberal bourgeoisie in general, and the liberal-bourgeois intelligentsia in particular, cannot but strive for liberty and legality, since without these the domination of the bourgeoisie is incomplete, is neither undivided nor guaranteed. But the bourgeoisie is more afraid of the movement of the masses than of reaction. Hence the striking, incredible weakness of the liberals in politics, their absolute impotence. Hence the endless series of equivocations, falsehoods, hypocrisies and cowardly evasions in the entire policy of the liberals, who have to play at democracy to win the support of the masses but at the same time are deeply anti-democratic, deeply hostile to the movement of the masses, to their initiative, their way of "storming- heaven", as Marx once described one of the mass movements in Europe in the last century.

Let fundamentalist Hindus & 'urban Maoists' be at each other's throats One advocating 'hindutva' & the other countering it with 'dissent' A battle royal would then break out between the 'anti-nationals' & 'patriots'! Not Pakistan but each demanding that the other should be sent to India.

Alternatively, the Indian government can imitate Nehru's brilliant idea of creating a 'left-oriented' university, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) by creating a full-fledged 'ministry of dissent' at the centre & in the states. Thereby, co-opting the disgruntled elements into the system a la JNU. All literate Indians, intellectuals, writers, poets, artists, film actors & producers etc & students dissatisfied with the state of affairs in the country could then be employed in this department. This would herald the end of unemployment in India. Arundhati Roy could be made the Cabinet Minister overseeing this ministry.

'Urban Maoists' would be- kept busy day in & day out plotting secret revolts, mutinies & uprisings against the govt. & sending notices & circulars to citizens & students to join protest marches, rallies against the govt.. Candle light vigils would be held whenever an unwonted incident in India happened. Artists would design posters, hand-bills, invites etc for the protests while the film people would make short films on them ,In times of emergencies when the required number of citizens can't be gathered for the protests, the actors could fill in their place.

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Vol. 52, No. 10, Sep 8 - 14, 2019