Harsh Thakor

On October 20th we will be commemorating 50th birthday of the erstwhile Maoist Communist Centre which is a historic landmark being one of the most defining moments in the history of the Communist Movement.Although not joining the C.P.I.(M.L.) in 1969 it lit the spark for the prairie fire of the later armed struggle in Bihar and the formation of the Unified C.P.I.(Maoist) in 2004.Few parties ever in history defended the flame of Maoism so resolutely like a boulder resisting a storm.For 35 years it virtually stood on its own legs which was remarkable.Whatever serious errors or sectarian trends it heroically waged an armed struggle and with dialectical precision maintained secret party structure .It had a more dialectical analysis on agrarian revolution than even C.P.I.(M.L) on aspect of agrarian revolution and building mass organizations.Arguably it emulated the Chinese Communist party led by Chairman Mao even more than the C.P.I.(M.L.) in building Red army corpses or tightness of party organization .or even the erstwhile C.P.I.(M.L.) Peoples War group later.No organization contributed so much to building revolutionary movement in Bihar.MCC displayed the mobility of fish swimming in water ,with the methodology of an architect and the creativity of an artist. With surgical precision it launched armed actions to enhance the striking capacity of the masses. It’s growth from the embryonic stage to a cohesive machine resembled the CPC more than any organization of its era. Today the Maoist Movement in Jharkhand and Bihar is virtually the continuity or legacy of the work of the Maoist Communist Centre. Arguably theoretically Comrade Kanhai Chatterjee was sounder than even Charu Mazumdar on massline. At its height it carried out paramilitary actions in regions of Gaya and Aurangabad in intensity comparable with any armed struggle in the world, let alone the PWG. Sadly, in its time it hardly received adequate publicity. It staged successful conferences in 1989, 1996 and 2002.I can never forget the words of G.N Saibaba in 2014 when he praised the contribution of the Maoist Communist Centre on par with that of the C.P.I.(M.L.) Peoples War Group, claiming at one stage it was stronger than the PW and PU group together. It is fitting that late Comrade Sushil Roy spoke about how liberalism and open functioning killed the Maoist movement killed the movement in Lalgarh, acting against the Bolshevik spirit. It is my strong wish that all the past documents of the MCC and copies of its organ Red Spark are posted on the internet for cadres to study. After the pioneers like Kanhai Chaterjee, Amulya Sen and Chandrashekar Das we must speak volumes of the great contribution of comrades like Kishenda. I recommend all readers to read the newspaper report by Aloke Banerjee "Inside MCC Country" in 2004 which highlights its great achievements.

The MCC had its roots in the Dakshin Desh group that from 1964 split of the Communist Party of India. A Magazine called 'Chintha' was published in 1965 highlighting all the important aspects of demarctaion from revisionism. In October 1969 the MCC was formed. Comrades Amulya Sen, Chadrashekar Das and Kanhai Chaterjee sowed the seeds to germinate to defend legacy of revolutionary ideology against revisionism. It was Com. Kanhai Chatterjee who laid the basic line for their Centre in the very first issue of “Lal Pataka” brought out in 1969.

The important topics dealt with were:
(a) the importance of Maoism (then called ‘thought’) in the present era,
(b) in the present situation the tactical line and tactical slogans, the correct policy towards the participation in elections and a correct analysis of the boycott of elections, saying that though it was a question of tactics, it acquires the significance of strategy in the concrete conditions of India,
(c) the Correct line regarding the armed agrarian revolutionary war, that is, protracted people’s war including army building and base areas
(d) correct orientation towards forms of struggle (open and secret, legal and illegal, peaceful and armed),
(e) the programme, tactics and methods of the peasant struggle,
(f) approach and method towards the UF, (h) political propaganda
(g) on the women’s question, the student movement and the nationality question in India, and
(h) methods of leadership. (excerpted from Peoples March Nov-Dec 2004 issue) The founding documents of the M.C.C. stressed the importance of base areas in the revolutionary process.

A very pertinent demarcation is that unlike C.PI. (M.L), the MCC held mass organizations and mass movements as a necessary component of a revolutionary movement. Statement below was the chief demarcating factor of the M.C.C with the C.P.I. (M.L).

"If we are to build armed agrarian revolution, a people’s army and red base areas, we will always have to remain firm on some basic principles regarding their inter-relation. The building up and consolidation of the armed agrarian revolution, people’s army and base areas -these tasks are related to each other. “If we are to build up an agrarian revolution no people’s army can be built up.

Similarly, an agrarian revolution cannot be built up without a People’s Army. Again, without a people’s army no base area can be built up. Similarly, without base areas the very existence of people’s army cannot be maintained.

It is only through agrarian revolutionary guerrilla struggle and the establishment of the people’s army that a red base area can be built up Again through this work alone can the revolutionary high tide can be accelerated throughout the country, and depending on the base are and with the help of the People’s Army, the agrarian revolution also can be consolidated, deepened an expanded.”

Fascinating that MCC in important ways differed with the C.P.I. (M.L) Peoples War Group before the merger. It described India as a neo-colony unlike the C.P.I.(M.L.) who termed it semi-colonial and semi -feudal and also analyzed the era as that of "Total Collapse of Imperialism" as stated by Lin Biao. instead of "Imperialism era' as that of C.P.I.(M.L.) PWG.MCC unlike the C.P.I.(M.L.) Peoples War group felt that the Comprador bourgeoise had no independent power. Also felt Muslim fundamentalism was an equal threat to Hindu communalism. while PWG felt it was Hindu Communalism was the greater enemy. Unlike PWG it felt Imperialism was the principal contradiction. Unlike PWG it disagreed with forming open mass organizations initially only forming Krantikari peasant committees.

Ironical that MCC was a separate branch from the C.P.I. (M.L) which is testimony that the formation of the C.P.I.(M.L.) had strong bureaucratic and sectarian tendencies negating mass line in important respects Had Dakshin Desh group originally merged into it MC would never had reached its ultimate stature.

In a very subtle manner MCC from 1969 itself practiced a version of armed struggle incorporating mass struggles like the later PWG or Party Unity did from 1980 .It negated stages theory of Andhra Pradesh Co-ordination Committee but also 'Individual annihilation of the class enemy of the C.P.I.(M.L.). With meticulous mass approach it's red army corpses sowed the seeds for building later guerrilla zones by staging red resistance.

Morally MCC lit the first spark in Sonarpur region of West Bengal when it was still known as the Dakshin Desh group. However, in a very short time they were suppressed by the state and the struggle was short-lived. Nevertheless, it was an invaluable lesson gained by the cadres von the problems and complexities of the agrarian revolution relating to creation of secret units or, self-defence squads or people’s militia. The failure of the Sonarpur struggle made the MCC leadership understand that in such a vast and uneven country like India where the enemy was much stronger than the revolutionary forces guerrilla struggles had to be initiated in geographically favourable zones .Above all it gave them the capacity to locate Ares with the long term strategic perspective of launching peoples war.

After the struggles in Sonarpur, Howrah, Hooghly, Maldah and other places suffered heavy repression through fake encounters -area of Kanska became the new base of Struggle.2 struggles were raised .One was "Land to the hands of the Real tillers," and the other was "Political power and Administration in the hands of the revolutionary Committees. Thousands of armed peasants attacked government godowns seizing the grains for distribution of the poor set up people's courts and handed out punishment to the oppressive among them. They also attacked police stations seizing weapons to form the guerrilla squads. During the period 1970-74, the revolutionary masses captured 11 firearms, directed attacks against the govt. godowns 85 times and hand out punishment to oppressive landlords through people’s courts in 45 cases. An MCC document stated that he revolutionary significance of the Kanska armed movement lay in the fact that when the C.P.I.(M.L.) suffered a setback due to state repression, Kanska illuminated the flame of Naxalbari. Sadly, this hardly got publicity.

From mid-1972, another armed resistance movement arose in parts of the Sundarbans area of 24 Parganas encompassing Basanti, Gosaba and Sandeshkahli police stations. Here it waged a relentless struggle against the oppressive landlords, confiscating their land and distributing them among the poor peasants. It was remarkable the manner the MCC withstood mainstream left parties like the C.P.I.(M.) and the Revolutionary Socialist Party to Make significant penetration. However, its work received a major setback from the hired goons of the C.P.I.(M.) and the RSP.

In Bihar the MCC lit its first spark in Gaya and Hazaribagh districts in the Parashnath and Zilga hills in the Dhanbad-Hazaribagh zone, and from the Neru Mehudia hills of the Bargaon area. It turned into a Prairie fire in Chalho hills in Gaya district and adjoining areas. It knitted the Revolutionary Peasant Committees to combat feudalism and imperialist control in several areas. Revolutionary peasants launched a series of attacks against feudal forces confiscated their movable and immovable property and distributed land among the landless and poor peasants through the peasant Commitee. Granaries owned by landlords were destroyed to the ground and thousands of acres of land was distributed to the tillers. Genuine organs of peoples power was created in the countryside. Weapons of landlords were confiscated and many were arrested for their crimes. Private armies of upper caste landlords had their flesh and hearts ripped off .Workers were also organized to wage struggles against forest contractors. Social issues were also taken up like rape, obscene dancing performances, liquor consumption, gambling, dacoity and theft, caste conflicts and communal riots.

The MCC expanded its network and struggles to Dhanbad, Giridh and Hazaribagh disricts of Jharkhand. A new slogan was raised that went above immediate issues "Transform Jharkhand into a Red Zone-"Jharkhand Ko Lalkhand me badal dalo".

The participation of women was remarkable which was reflected in the phenomenal mass base of the Nari Mukti Sangh. At rallies held in Patna and Ranchi around 30 to 40 thousand participated creating the impact of a tornado. Many women even joined the guerrilla squads. Sushil Roy confirmed that it was the sons of the soil, rather than the daughters who held the fort.

Inspite of intense repression the MCC expanded its base to regions like Ranchi, Singbum, Deoghar, Dumka, Jamui, Moghyr, Banka, Bhagalpur and some other areas. It also covered places like Chatra, Palamu, Latehar, Gumla and Lohardaga in Graw district. It also extended its political work to regions of Assam.

Still MCC reflected powerful tendencies of left sectarianism. Main weaknesses of MCC was replacing agrarian revolutionary movement with military actions or approach, military approach to party building not sufficient emphasis on building democratic mass organizations, negating urban work and ultra- secretist functioning neglecting open mass work. Also vacillated by joining Revolutionary Internationalist Movement which practiced deviationist trends in International Line. Inspite of most methodolical or surgical efforts it was unable to set up base areas like the CPC did earlier. A sectarian approach was displayed by its ranks which earlier caused it's exit from the All-India Peoples Resistance forum on grounds that the forum did not propagate slogan of 'Boycott of Elections’ or giving call to launch 'revolutionary armed struggle." MCC hardly gave importance to the struggles of the rich or middle peasantry like the Party Unity or PWG groups. Often when implementing tactic of 'Boycott' it did not place sufficient emphasis on building the revolutionary alternative organ sof power and indirectly gave tacit support even to ruling class opposition parties. It also never set up mass based peasant organization like the C.P.I.(M.L.) Party Unity.

Before the final formation of the C.P.I.(Maoist) a Black Chapter was inscribed in the history of the Indian revolutionary movement with a sustained tussle between the squads of the CPI(M.L) PWG group with the MCC from 1997-2000. In 2001 both parties made a historic self -criticism. Here Amal, a Central Commitee member made a most sectarian statement in the period of the clashes baling the PWG for encroaching areas of the MCC. A meeting finally attended by Sushil Roy, Kishanda from MCC with Ganpathy, Azad and Kishanji from PWG brought the mutual killings to the close. All comrades made a self-criticism at the very core of their hearts.

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Oct 19, 2019