Marx, Stalin, Mao

Rebellion and Pseudo-rebellion

Murzban Jal

This article is in response to Bernard D'Mello's article 'On Some Peremptory 'Critiques' of India's Maoist Movement' published in Frontier, Vol. 53, Nos. 22-25, November 29-December 26, 2020. He begins with a quote from Marx, "To leave error unrefined is to encourage intellectual immorality." He sees "errors". Since he is highly influenced by quotations of Marx he decides to reclaim intellectual morality. What is this "intellectual morality"? This "intellectual morality" is to defend Stalin and Mao. Defend Stalin and Mao against whom? This he does not answer. The answer is of course against Marx.

And since Stalin and Mao have fortunately disappeared from public memory only to appear as religious fetishes in holy books penned by the faithful followers of the two saints, all memories of them must be preserved and consequently anyone who disagrees with the saints must be condemned. Before proceeding to our analysis, one must ask the question: "What is the economic goal of Stalinism and Maoism?" The answer is specific and concrete. For them the goal is state capitalism or what they themselves called "socialist commodity production" . That this answer is in complete reversal of Marx's critique of political economy must be mentioned. For Marx, it is the commodity that is the root of all the problems. For Stalin and Mao, it is the commodity which is the roots of all the solutions. For Marx, the commodity cannot be controlled. For Stalin and Mao, the commodity can be, and must be, controlled. For Marx, there is an era that lies beyond the commodity. For Stalin and Mao, nothing exists beyond the commodity. For Marx, one must transcend and destroy the commodity and with this transcendence and destruction, capitalism likewise is transcended and destroyed. For Stalin and Mao, one must destroy the capitalists, but not capitalism. In fact for them, the leitmotiv of their politics is capitalism without the capitalists!

That an extremely wide gap exists between Marx on the one side and Stalin and Mao on the other are apparent in their opposing ideas of political economy. The question of violence, in fact unbridled violence of Stalinism and Maoism stems from their desire controlling not only people, but primarily controlling the commodity. The politics of command of Stalin and Mao and the union of free people of Marx are two completely opposed principles. One can either be a Marxist and affirm the union of free people or be a Stalinist and Maoist and affirm authoritarian politics.

While D'Mello wrote his India after Naxalbari. Unfinished History and he himself asked me to write a review of the same, I responded with my article 'Naxalbari and the Specters of Marx: A Contemporary Reflection on the Maoist Movement in India'. While my essay is composed of 12,292 words this is what D'Mello reduces my understanding of Indian Maoism to the following:

The Maoists represent "'primitiveness' in the communist movement"; their "terrorist methods led by their phantasmagorical People's Liberation Army" and their "amateurship methods" lead "thinking comrades" to call the Maoist phenomenon a "'a disease'" (p. 72). The "idea of communism of the Indian Maoists" is "'a crude and thoughtless communism'" (p. 72). "Human freedom, the central part of Marxism, is completely absent in the Maoist framework"; what the Indian Maoists are peddling is a "'duplicate communism'" (p. 72). Jal takes it upon himself to condemning "Stalinism and Maoism" and denigrating the Indian Maoist movement in a verbal assault and defamatory diatribe on it that not merely is deeply prejudiced, sweeping and extreme, full of distortion and slanders, and snide denunciatory assertions, but crudely misleading. Dr Jal even imagines that he knows what has been going on in the heads of the Maoists, for he has diagnosed the "disease" that afflicts them! Constant empirical verification be damned! But there must be many references to feign a scientific approach.

What do we learn from this? We learn that Stalinism and Maoism have been condemned, where the Indian Maoist movement is denigrated. Not only this, there is a "verbal assault and defamatory diatribe" against the Indian Maoists. This, of course, is terrible, isn't it? How dare one assault Mao? And how dare one condemn Stalin and Mao? Does not one know that saints are above all condemnation? Should not one fear that in the netherworld Stalin and Mao are waiting for our damned souls? Not only this. One is then found distorting, slandering and passing "snide denunciatory assertions" against Stalinism and Maoism.

We learn something more, but this is not merely from the earthy followers of Stalin and Mao. What is this something more that we learn? We learn that there is freedom of speech. Of course, so the followers may say, there is freedom of speech. We know this from France. But then do not we learn from France that there is a limit to this freedom? And since Stalinism and Maoism have been defamed would not the earthy followers of the saints move from the heavenly courts to the earthy courts suing for defamation?

D'Mello wants to defend Stalinism and Maoism. He does not want to defend Marxism. In fact he does not even want to talk of Marxism. This is good because it shows that there is a severe "epistemological break" (to borrow a term of Louis Althusser) between Marx on the one side and Stalinism and Maoism on the other side. This brings us to the question: "What is Marxism?" The answer is that Marxism is not only "the doctrine of the conditions of the emancipation of labour" (the definition that Engels chose), but the philosophy of dialectical and historical-humanist materialism. It is essentially internationalist and humanist. But primarily it is scientific and thus also democratic. It not only keeps the masses at the centre of discourse, but keeps what Marx called "the human essence" (das menschliche Wesen) at the centre of philosophical reasoning and democratic praxis. For Marx, it is the commodity and long with it exchange value, money, capital, class society and the state that stood against humanity. It was either humanity or the commodity.

Stalinism is exactly the opposite of this. Stalin chose the commodity, exchange value, money, capital and the state against humanity. And when the dying Lenin saw that Stalin was both crude and rude and showed possibilities of complete and absolute misuse of power, he dictated notes to the Central Committee that Stalin be removed from the post of General Secretary. For Marx, the arena of communist action is world history. There could be not socialism in one country. Revolutionary Marxism has always believed that the subject of revolutionary politics is the "class conscious worker" for whom "socialism is a serious conviction"  whose first task is to create revolutionary theory. This was the task before the Maoists and how they failed!

Marx sought "what is true for all humankind, not what is true for some people" . Stalinism destroyed all quests for truth. What Stalin bequeathed was not only state capitalism run by an authoritarian despotic state. What he left us is the Stalin school of falsification. According to Marx, "truth is general, it does not belong to me alone, it belongs to all, it owns me, I do not own it".  Further:

Truth includes not only the result but the path to it. The investigation of truth must itself be true; true investigation is developed truth, the dispersed elements of which are brought together in the result.

What Marx now says is pertinent to the Stalinists:

You conceive truth abstractly and turn the spirit into an examining magistrate, who draws up a dry protocol of it.
D'Mello says that I have a "motive to denigrate Stalin." This is in relation to Stalin's hand in the 12 April 1927 massacre of the Chinese Communist Party vanguard fighters of the revolution by having them disarmed and leaving them at the mercy of Chiang-Kai-shek. It must be noted in Europe of the 1920s and 1930s where fascism was on the rise, Stalin refused to have a broad front to counter fascism. In China he adopted the Menshevik line of the bloc of four classes which thwarted the independent activity of the communists and then leaving them to be massacred by Chiang-Kai-shek. Instead of studying the documents related to the Chinese revolution of the 1920s, D'Mello says that Stalin merely had "utterly naïve expectations from an alliance with a thoroughly unscrupulous and conditional associate." What does this mean? This means that Stalin was at the most naïve. Instead D'Mello says that "temporary, conditional alliances, even with unscrupulous parties in order to utilize a conflict of interest among one's adversaries, is an accepted tactic, but there is always a risk of thongs going badly wrong." D'Mello is horrified when I have quoted Stalin that alliances with right-wing landlords is a good thing and that in the end he (Stalin) would squeeze them like a lemon. Stalin was saying this when Chiang-Kai-shek was preparing for a bloody massacre of the Chinese comrades. O, so we learn from D'Mello: "This is because Stalin was simply naïve". D'Mello like the faithful follower of the saints sees naivety instead of bloody counterrevo-lution. He simply has not understood that Stalinism was a counterrevolution against the Bolsheviks and that his continuous purges and massacres (which includes in the infamous Moscow trials of 1936-8) was not because he was naïve. What would D'Mello say of Stalin's alliances-from that with Chiang-Kai-shek to Hitler (remember the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact?)-that these were naïve? And where would Stalinism and Maoism stand? Instead of seeing facts, D'Mello says that I am "tarnish(ing) the integrity and reputation of the Indian Maoists".

Let us go back to his extremely selective reading of my paper. He says that I have called Maoism a disease. Firstly I have not said anything which the good follower of the saints claims. I never said that Maoism is a "disease". It is Lenin in What is to be Done? who critiqued the Russian radical student movement from 1891-1901 which literally worshiped "spontaneity" (revolutionary terrorism to be precise) or action that was not thought of, praxis devoid of theory.  The section in Lenin's book is titled 'What is Primitiveness?'  Primitiveness, so Lenin says, is where students joined the working class movement almost refusing to engage theory or the proletariat movement itself. Instead they decided to wage war against the state. Thus:

Of course these students were not only, or even not so much, interested in Marxism as theory; they were interested in it as an answer to the question, 'What is to be done?', as a call to take the field against the enemy. These new warriors marched to battle with astonishingly primitive equipment and training. In a vast number of cases they had almost no equipment and absolutely no training. They marched to war like peasants from the plough, armed only with clubs. A students' circle establishes contacts with workers and sets to work, without any connection with the old members of the movement, without any connection with study circles in other districts, or even in other parts of the same city (or in other educational institutions), without any organization of the various divisions of revolutionary work, without any systematic plan of activity covering any length of time.

……..the police, in almost every case, knew the principal leaders of the local movement, since they had already 'gained a reputation' for themselves in their student days, and the police waited only for the right moment to make their raid. They deliberately allowed the study circle sufficient time to develop its work so that they might, obtain a palpable corpus delicti, and they always permitted several of the persons known to them to remain at liberty 'for breeding' (which, as far as I know, is the technical term used both by our people and by the gendarmes). One cannot help comparing this kind of warfare with that conducted by a mass of peasants, armed with clubs, against modern troops. And one can only wonder at the vitality of the movement which expanded, grew, and scored victories despite the total lack of training on the part of the fighters. True, from the historical point of view, the primitiveness of equipment was not only inevitable at first, but even legitimate as one of the conditions for the wide recruiting of fighters, but as soon as serious war operations began (and they began in fact with the strikes in the summer of 1896), the defects in our fighting organizations made themselves felt to an ever-increasing degree. The government, at first thrown into confusion and committing a number of blunders (e.g., its appeal to the public describing the misdeeds of the socialists, or the banishment of workers from the capitals to provincial industrial centres), very soon adapted itself to the new conditions of the struggle and managed to deploy well its perfectly equipped detachments of agents provocateurs, spies, and gendarmes. Raids became so frequent, affected such a vast number of people, and cleared out the local study circles so thoroughly that the masses of the workers lost literally all their leaders, the movement assumed an amazingly sporadic character, and it became utterly impossible to establish continuity and coherence in the work. The terrible dispersion of the local leaders; the fortuitous character of the study circle memberships; the lack of training in, and the narrow outlook on, theoretical, political, and organizational questions were all the inevitable result of the conditions described above. Things have reached such a pass that in several places the workers, because of our lack of self-restraint and the inability to maintain secrecy, begin to lose faith in the intellectuals and to avoid them; the intellectuals, they say, are much too careless and cause police raids!

It is consequently Lenin who says that for thinking comrades this type of action is considered a "disease".  D'Mello refuses to engage what is written. He refuses to read the history of revolutionary Marxism. He refuses to see how the Bolshevik movement emerged from a radical critique of not only reformism (of the Edward Bernstein type), but also of revolutionary terrorism. Instead he is involved in a phantasmagoria. He says that the Maoists are great revolutionaries who sacrifice their lives to some higher cause. And those who do not like their revolutionary activities call this a "disease". But then did D'Mello miss something? Or was he involved in the Stalinist school of falsification where truth needs to be manipulated? After all, did not Stalin do that and nothing but that?

In contrast to D'Mello's rendering of "disease" and "cure", what I have said is that the financialisation of the Indian economy and the corresponding criminalisation of politics has led to the rise of fascist forces and a weak secular opposition, there are also those who want to see a radical democratic alternative who think that the Indian Maoist movement is a movement that defies all that is bourgeois and criminal. This how I begin my paper:

The financialisation of the economy and the criminalisation of politics in India which has led to the rise of the Indian neoconservatives to power led by the Bharaitya Janata Party (BJP) have created a splintered secular democratic opposition and a declining parliamentary left. Without doubts the collapse of the Soviet Union led to the consequent entry of India into the not so brave world of neoliberal capitalism. The old ideologies of secularism, socialism and non-alignment (the three pillars of the ruling ideology of India till 1991) are now forgotten for an aggressive hyper-capitalist and ethno-nationalist ideology. For those who are pessimist about the given course of things, especially with the complete surrendering of the parliamentary left to bourgeois politics, the Maoists seem a ray of hope. However a counter-narrative is put up by the ruling elite for whom the Maoists are not only terrorists but anti-nationalists declaring a war on not only the Indian state, but the Indian republic itself. This essay while being a review of Bernard D'Mello's book India After Naxalbari is also a reflection on the Indian Maoist movement. The following questions are fundamental to understand the Indian Maoist movement, namely whether it is a genuine democratic and revolutionary mass movement or left adventurism that degenerates into "anarcho-terrorism" which instead of helping the cause of the working class, is actually helping the state move in a more rightwards direction. It also states that the Maoist movement in India itself has to be located within a rigorous epistemological break from Marx's original repertoire and that this Maoist ideology has to be understood less with dialectics and people's movements and more with sophistry and messianic apocalypse.

Any review has to be scientific and not based on sentiment and the worship of the cult of personalities. It thus has to be historical where origins of the movement and the contradictions of how it emerged must be noted. Neither sloganeering nor condemnations would do. It is thus to the origins of the Maoist movement in India we go. While the communist movement in India was rooted in strong peasant and working class movements, the unfortunate legacy of bureaucratic centralism and inability of capturing the essence of Marx's repertoire has also played its part which has led to its alienation from the masses. While the Stalinization of the communist movement followed by Khrushchev's accession to power symbolized the retreat from the terrain of revolutions, Maoism in the 1950s was seen as an alternative to this bureaucratization of the communist movement. This is what I said:

What followed in the Indian communist movement since the 20th Congress of the CPSU was the debate between revisionism (Khrushchev) and armed struggle (largely following Mao's idea of protracted war). In 1964 the Communist Party of India split when it was felt that Soviet revisionism and the abandonment of class struggle had taken a firm grip on the party and the CPI(M) was born. But within it the same debate and struggle took place and Charu Mazumdar along with other CPI(M) mass leaders like Kanu Sanyal, Sauren Basu, Susheetal Roy Chaudhary, Parimal Dasgupta, Asit Sen, Satyanarayan Singh rebelled against the party leadership and were consequently expelled from the CPI(M) along with D.V. Rao and Nagy Reddy (2 leaders of the Inner Party Anti-revisionist Committee, a group within CPI(M)). By this time Mazumdar's idea of annihilation of class enemies or simply individual terrorism modeled after the 19th century Russian anarchists (Narodnikis) was put to action. While Khrushchevean revisionism and the Mao protracted war line were debated in the higher echelons of the communist parties, the internal contradictions of Kulak capitalism were reaching a climax. In May 1967 in Siliguri subdivision, a remote block in Darjeeling district of West Bengal called "Naxalbari", with a mix of class struggle and Mazumdar's annihilation, the class contradictions burst forth. Something had to happen. It happened. History knows this as Naxalbari.

Verdicts to this movement range from extremes. While the parliamentary left has always been wary of it, sometimes also calling it a CIA plot to criminalize the left movement, for example the ex general Secretary of the CPI(M) Prakash Karat in 1985 claiming that the movement is built on "left-opportunism" which is "dangerous for the left movement" because of their "potential for mischief" , there are other many critical and scientific analysis of the Maoist movement. Take Jairus Banaji who says that the entire repertoire of revolution of the Indian Maoists is a "rhetorical one" and "the Maoist grasp of theory is unbelievably primitive, a collage of abstractions that bear little relation to reality at any level (analysis or strategy)"  and Kunal Chattopadhyay who says that the Maoists are caught in "the shackles of Stalinist substitutionism".One must note that there is serious Marxism and one cannot let rhetoric substitute authenticity. Of course there are many who get seduced by Arundhati Roy's glorification of the Maoists in her 'Walking with the Comrades' , but one must understand that what Roy offers is what Banaji calls "anti-Marxist, tribal revolutionary romance" . D'Mello does not bother to read any of these. But then he also does not bother to recall his own previous work where he mentions the CPI(ML) Liberation calling the Indian Maoists "anarcho-militarist'. He dislikes when I call the Indian Maoist movement "anarcho-terrorist". He says that I have not discussed his book, that I am unfair in my critiques of Stalin and Mao. But he forgets that even when books are being reviewed one needs to continuously raising questions. This is what I have said in contrast to his own selective censored presentations on my rendering:

Bernard D'Mello's India after Naxalbari. Unfinished History is a timely work. It is timely because a critical understanding of the left movement in India 'from below' and 'from within' is necessary. It is also important because one needs to be freed from the extreme polarization that this movement evokes. An excellently researched book with ten chapters (besides an introduction and appendix), it talks of the three phases of what is known in radical thought as 'spring thunder'…… India after Naxalbari, like any Marxist text, cannot be read in a single-level reductionist text caught in the binary of revolution vs. reaction, insurrection vs. parliamentary politics. Instead a critical-historico-political reading is necessary to understand this movement and where it is going. That it has been declared a terrorist outfit by the Indian state in 2006 and also that a number of arrests have been made in 2018 has also to be noted. At this point the question that needs to be posed is: 'Is the Naxalite movement now metamorphosised as the Communist Party of India (Maoist) a revolutionary force that can really facilitate transformation of society from capitalism to socialism, or is it merely an anarchist movement which celebrates terror and violence?'

Without doubts the peasant and student insurrection in the 1960s was a rebellion against not only Kulak capitalism, but also against the bureaucra-tisation of the left movement. This what I said about the Indian Maoists:

The Naxals were, and are, rebels against this bureaucratic fetishism. But most of all they are rebels against the state of poverty, underdevelopment and super-exploitation. But then the rebellion is, to borrow from the repertoire of Lenin, an infantile rebellion-the rebellion of the child against the trauma-causing father.

Yet it must be noted that Mao could not escape the ghost of Stalin and despite the Maoist call for protracted people's war Maoism has never been able to escape the Stalinist counterrevolution. True, Stalin at all times feared the revolution. All his compromises were because of this fear. He loathed Trotsky for the very same reason. Mao, on the other hand, never feared the revolution. This is because he was an eternal rebel. This is what our Maoists have learnt. They have learnt to rebel. But their rebellion can never cause a revolution. Instead their rebellion can cause either a comedy or a tragedy. This is both the comic and the tragic parts of the Indian Maoists. For they are Stalinists in rebellion not only against the trauma-causing state-father, but rebellion against Stalinism itself!

Goethe's Faust had two souls in his unfortunate breast. The Indian Faust too has two souls trapped in his breast, the souls of parliamentary politics on the one side and armed resistance on the other side. Our Indian Faust cannot control his clashing souls. That is why we see him either shouting in the parliament even though no one wants to hear him, or he is busy plotting protracted war. The fact that in 2011 this protracted war that began in 2007 in Nandigram (West Bengal) hurled Mamta Banarjee to power and led to not only the downfall of the Left Front government, but the complete collapse of the left in Bengal must not go unnoticed.

That is why I have turned to Lenin's 1902 classic What is to be Done? that had analysed these two stands (reformism and left-adven-turism) in the Russian working class movement and analysed the necessity of the transcendence of these to create an authentic revolutionary movement. What is to be Done? is without doubts a classic for many reasons, a classic that could help if not enlighten comrades in the present era of late imperialism in permanent and terminal crisis, then at least give pointers to understanding problems encountered by the left movement.

The rise of right-wing populist movements globally, especially in India must provoke Marxists to outline a strategy for creating a popular United Front against right-wing populism. Inherited with the Stalinist understanding of fascism coupled with the theory that social democrats and fascists are "twins" creates every possibility that fascism will inevitably win helped by the Stalinists which would destroy of the gains made by the left. A number of basic issues emanating from this classic that one needs to highlight such that a scientific theoretical problematic can be constructed to organize the revolutionary movement. These issues are: social reformism, economism and left-wing adventurism which today not only plagues the left movement, but which in many a sense represses a democratic alternative to capitalism, imperialism and the entire fascist order. The question that emerges are: "Has the political left in India-from the reformist CPI, CPI(M) and its allies to the Maoists-created a viable alternative to capitalism, imperialism and fascism? Have they been able to give to the masses a programme which is essentially a genuine communist, i.e. a genuine post-capitalist programme?"

It is this question that is fundamentally important. And in the era of triumphant fascism, the alternative to the fascism regime must be sought. But then do the Maoists critique fascism? But most importantly do the Maoists have a theory of fascism, or are they hitchhiking of the Stalinist theory of fascism, and thus in the last instance compromising with fascism, in fact aiding their rise to power of fascism?

Probably no political term is as important as that of fascism. Also it is a fact that no political term that has been abused as that of fascism. Thus for Stalin, everyone and anyone who did not bow to his counterrevolutionary dictates was a fascist. Thus Trotsky was a fascist. And so was Bukharin, Zinoviev, Kamenev, Radek, Pyatakov, Tukha-chevsky... The list is of course too long. The who's who of the 1917 revolution and all the comrades and colleagues of Lenin suddenly became fascists according to Stalin.

But then what is fascism? Fascism, as we all are told, is "the open, terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary, chauvinistic, and most imperialist elements of finance capital". While we have been told that it was Stalin who spearheaded the struggle against fascism, the truth is far from this. It must be noted that the Comintern under Stalin did not see the danger of fascism from the early 1920s. Consider the 1931 Manuilsky Report to the Eleventh Plenum of the Comintern where it was said that "Fascism is not a new governmental method distinct from the system of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie". While it is clear that fascism is a new form of political dictatorship and could not be confused with earlier modes of bourgeois rule, for Stalin and the Stalinists:

….all too obvious mistakes are being made among us: it is said that bourgeois democracy and fascism, social democracy and Hitler's party are antagonistic. These mistakes are extremely harmful, even fatal.

Instead of articulating what fascism is and what harm it can do, Stalinism invented a new and bizarre term called "social fascism". According to in the Fifth Congress of the Comintern (1924):

….fascism and social democracy are two sides of the same coin of the dictatorship of big capital.

The idea of "social fascism" coupled with the bizarre idea that social democracy and fascism are "twins" and sides of the same coin emerged in the fabulous cranium of Stalin. Consider Stalin:

Fascism is the bourgeoisie's fighting organisation that relies on the active support of Social-Democracy. Social-Democracy is objectively the moderate wing of fascism...These organisations do not negate, but supplement each other. They are not antipodes. They are twins. Fascism is the informal bloc of these two chief organizations.

That there is an uncanny resemblance to the mistakes of the Comintern since 1924 and Indian left politics from the parliamentary left to the Maoists must be mentioned. For the earlier General Secretary of the CPI(M) Prakash Karat the Indian state under the BJP is not fascist since the dictatorship of finance capital has not yet announced itself in India. We dwell thus, so we are told by the Stalinists, in the era of "semi-fascism". Likewise for the ideologue of Indian Maoism-the Indian state is not fully fascist, it is only semi-fascist.

There is seems to be something of extreme schizophrenia emanating from the Stalinist rendering of fascism. Everyone is a fascist, except daddy, mummy and me. Thus Trotsky and his gang of "political double-dealers", "Whiteguard gang of assassins and spies", "gang of spies, wreckers and traitors of the country" (to borrow Stalinist terminology)  are fascists, not to forget the social democrats. Everyone is a fascist but Mussolini and Hitler. For long the extreme left in India (influenced by Maoism) have imitated Stalin's so-called "extreme left" thesis that social democracy and fascism are the same. In fact the Indian Maoists had called the Soviet Union "social imperialist", even supporting the CIA supported terroristic Mujahedeen against the Soviets in Afghanistan. Their supporting Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale in the 1980s as also the support of Mamata Banerjee in 2007 against the Left Front has questioned not only the intellectual abilities of the Maoists, but also their intentions.

The Maoists love rebellions. They cannot exist without it. But so does capitalism love rebellions. After all, it is a new commodity to be sold in the global market. The problem is that now a New Rebellion is taking place-the rebellion of the fascists against secularism and democracy. One only needs to recall Mussolini's 1929 speech 'The Achievements of the Fascist Revolution' where he talks of fascism as the "new and unprecedented event in the history of Italy and the world." That fascism without doubts involves rebellion, albeit a pseudo-rebellion, in the form of riots and wars has to be noted.

D'Mello is angry for chiding the Indian Maoists as an anarcho-terrorist movement. He dislikes the idea of the "alchemists of the revolution", forgetting that this term is that of Marx. In my article I had recalled Marx's 'Les Conspirateurs' where he talked of the "rebel" and the "professional conspirator" appearing as the "alchemists of the revolution" . I also said that for Charu Mazumdar it was this idea of the professional conspirator which forms the basis of his political repertoire. One only has to recall Mazumdar's bizarre words: "he who has not dipped his hand in the blood of class enemies can hardly be called a communist".  Besides recalling Lenin's What is to be Done? I also recalled Marx:

Such dangers constitute the real spice of the trade; the greater the insecurity, the more the conspirator hastens to seize the pleasures of the moment… They are the alchemists of the revolution and are characterised by exactly the same chaotic thinking and blinkered obsessions as the alchemists of old. They leap at inventions that are supposed to work revolutionary miracles: incendiary bombs, destructive devices of magic effect, revolts which are expected to be all the more miraculous and astonishing in effect as their basis is less rational. Occupied with such scheming, they have no other purpose than the most immediate one of overthrowing the existing government and have the profoundest contempt for the more theoretical enlightenment of the proletariat about their class interests.

The conspirator is seized by chaotic thinking and like the alchemist of days long by is obsessed with magical inventions, imagining that with dynamites he will be able to blast out the existing government. And since he cannot see the existing government and also since they have no theory of the state he picks on anyone and everyone who comes in his way. He thrives on danger, the danger of the daily battle with the police:

The chief characteristic of the conspirators' way of life is their battle with the police, to whom they have precisely the same relationship as thieves and prostitutes. The police tolerate the conspiracies, and not just as a necessary evil: they tolerate them as centers which they can keep under easy observation and where the most violent revolutionary elements in society meet, as the forges of revolt, which in France has become a tool of government quite as the police themselves, and finally as a recruiting place for their own political informers……. The conspirators are constantly in touch with the police, they come into conflict with them all the time; they hunt the informers, just as the informers hunt them. Spying is one of their main occupations. It is no wonder therefore that the short step from being a conspirator by trade to being a paid police spy is so frequently made facilitated as it is by poverty and prison, by threats and promises.

While the conspirator of the 19th and 20th century battled with the police, imagining that the state will wither away after killing some policemen-not to forget firstly killing comrades of the CPI and CPI(M)-our conspirator of the 21st century picks up directly from Mao. After all, what is this mere battling with the police? Can one not go further?

Yes, we are advocates of the omnipotence of revolutionary war; that is good, not bad, it is Marxist… Experience in the class struggle in the era of imperialism teaches us that it is only by the power of the gun that the working class and the labouring masses can defeat the armed bourgeoisie and landlords; in this sense we may say that only with guns can the whole world be transformed.

The problem is that guns emanate not only from bourgeois factories but are essential products of the Military Arms Complex. This, our conspirator, understands and understands it well. And since, to transform the world, the Military Arms Complex would rely more on the fascists than the conspirator:

The revolutionary is a doomed man. He has no private interests, no affairs, sentiments, ties, property nor even a name of his own. His entire life is devoured by one purpose, one thought, one passion-the revolution. Heart and soul, not merely by word but by deed, he has severed every link with the social order and with the entire civilised world; with the laws, government manners, conventions, and morality of that world. He is its merciless enemy and continues to inhabit it with only one purpose-to destroy it.

Vol. 53, No. 34, Feb 21 - 27, 2021