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Monitoring Indian Communists - 2
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->- Initiating Diplomatic and economic sanctions against military regimes
<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
What about non-democratic commie regimes like China?

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Peaceful political settlement of peoples’ aspirations,
including Kashmiris, Tamil and Baluchis , according to widely accepted
international principles and practice
<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
political aspirations of the people of Tibet are settled I suppose...

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Reduce and chanellise defence spending for social development and demilitarise the region including nuclear disarmament.
Elimination of the US hegemony and domination of imperialist
states
<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Do they know how much is defense budget of China?
What about Chinese imperialist domination?

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Ensure Rights of Migrant Workers: Assure migrant workers the security
of movement and right to livelihood, facilitate easy visa and
naturalisation and penalise human trafficking. In particular, provide
mechanism for work permits for South Asian countries
<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Give work permits to illegal Bangladeshis? Try doing that in "People's republic" of China.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->And affirm the following Plan of Action: drafting specific policies on:
- Indigenous people
<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Who are the indegenous people? Just above, did they not say 'assure migration' and 'security of movement' and 'right to livelihood'? Then whats the problem?
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->
<b>The Three Contemporary Currents among Indian Communists</b>
- Dipankar Bhattacharya
CPIML (Liberation), General Secretary.

<i>[This is the full article of the abbreviated and edited version published in Economic and Political Weekly, Volume 41 No 50, December 16, 2006]</i>

Recent developments in Nepal seem to have triggered a renewed debate in the Indian communist movement around the most vital questions of programme and tactics. In an interesting reversal of roles, the CPI(M) has emerged as the most enthusiastic admirer of the Nepali Maoists (EPW, July 22, 2006) while the Indian Maoists are quite understandably uncomfortable with several recent pronouncements and steps of their Nepali counterparts (People's March, June-July 2006; EPW, October 14, 2006).

<b>Yechury's Caricature of Ideological Trends</b>

Sitaram Yechury who went to Nepal as a de facto emissary of the UPA government after the obvious failure of the Karan Singh mission seems to believe that the Maoist experiment of Nepal corroborates the CPI(M) line in India and can be used to rubbish, for the umpteenth time, the entire history of the Naxalite or CPI(ML) movement in India.

In the name of "learning from experience and analysis", Yechury has presented us with a highly simplistic and crude caricature of the ideological-political struggle in the Indian communist movement which, according to him, led to the crystallisation of three trends - revisionism, Marxism and Left adventurism - epitomised respectively by the CPI, CPI(M) and the various groups of Naxalites and Maoists.

This of course raises one interesting question. If the CPI is the repository of revisionism in the Indian communist movement and the CPI(M) is the custodian of Marxism, how come the two parties are working so closely together, prompting many observers to suggest that the time has come for the two parties to merge into one? <b>Every student of Marxism knows that Marxism can only be defended and developed in the course of a relentless struggle with both reformism/revisionism and Left sectarianism/adventurism/anarchism</b>.

We are all aware of the CPI(M)'s differences with the Naxalites and Maoists, but what about the CPI(M)'s differences with the CPI? Are there any still left - except perhaps the fact that while both of them are united by their shared ties of mutual collaboration with the Congress, the CPI(M) prefers Laloo Prasad to Ram Vilas Paswan while the CPI prefers the latter to the former? Where has all the revisionism gone, comrade?

Yechury would like us to believe that the CPI(ML)'s characterisation of the Indian bourgeoisie as comprador meant that it considered the big bourgeoisie to be pretty weak and devoid of a "solid social base". Similarly, he tells us that landlords too were considered so weak that <b>it was presumed that the whole class could be eliminated just through 'physical annihilation' of individual landlords</b>. Well, the first phase of the CPI(ML) movement (1969-72) was definitely premised on the assessment of the maturing of a revolutionary crisis in the country which led to the call for direct action and boycott of many of the familiar forms of struggle and organisation. No revolution can ever be waged by treating the system as rock solid and the ruling classes as invincible. True, Naxalbari did not succeed in terms of its immediate goals, but it <b>certainly succeeded in blazing a new trail and future revolutionary attempts in India would always recognise it as an important dress rehearsal.</b>

While mocking at the revolutionary campaign inspired by the Naxalbari uprising and unleashed by the CPI(ML), Yechury tends to give the impression that it was the formation of the United Front government in which the CPI(M) shared power with one section of the Congress that inspired all the agrarian and working class struggles in the late sixties. He has got his sequence completely wrong. It was the great people's struggles of the sixties that had facilitated the formation of the UF government and the government proved its worth to the central authority of the Indian state by drowning the Naxalbari uprising in blood. It is of course another story that the repression let loose on the Naxalite movement under the UF regime did not spare the CPI(M) and eventually the anti-Naxalite semi-fascist terror was universalised as anti-Left and even anti-Opposition repression during the infamous reign of Emergency.

<b>Doing Business with Big Business</b>

However much the CPI(M) may try to restrict the meaning of the word comprador to the original Comintern usage, the whole world knows that the word has evolved since then. In China, Mao used the word more as a political category to differentiate the Chinese bourgeoisie on the basis of their ties with imperialism.

Comprador was synonymous with pro-imperialist while the non-comprador or national (in one place Mao also explained the distinction as that between more comprador and less comprador) section of the bourgeoisie was considered anti-imperialist and hence an ally of the revolution which was directed against imperialism as well as powerful feudal remnants. In India too, the term comprador is increasingly used not only by ideologues of the ML movement but also by many other economists and political commentators, not to suggest that the Indian bourgeoisie lacks any manufacturing muscle <b>but to emphasise the growing and open pro-impelialist tilt in the economic policies of the Indian state and increasing organic integration between the Indian big business and the imperialist global capital.</b>

Yechury claims that the CPI(M) programme has turned out to be more in tune with the concrete Indian reality because only the CPI(M) recognises the fact that the Indian state is led by the Indian big bourgeoisie. The big bourgeoisie leading the Indian state is certainly not a unique CPI(M) discovery.

Nobody is arguing that feudal landlords have the ultimate say in the affairs of the Indian state or that imperialism enjoys a direct stake in state power in India. In spite of growing imperialist intervention and domination in India's internal affairs, few would equate India with a banana republic or with the kind of puppet regimes currently installed by the US in Afghanistan and Iraq. But even after we all agree on the leadership of the Indian big bourgeoisie over the Indian state, the question of characterisation of this bourgeoisie still remains.

The CPI(M) describes the character of the Indian bourgeoisie as 'dual', implying thereby that the relationship of the Indian bourgeoisie with imperialism is marked by both conflicts and compromises. Now as a party of professed Marxists, the CPI(M) would still have to answer whether conflict or collaboration is the dominant aspect in this relationship. And this is where the updated CPI(M) programme expects the conflicts to grow in the era of globalisation, something that clearly flies in the face of the actual state of affairs and one does not have to be a member of the CPI(ML) to recognise this obvious fact. While the economic and foreign policies of the Congress and the BJP show a growing pro-US concurrence or convergence, the CPI(M), which began propping up the <b>Congress-led UPA government in the name of keeping the BJP out of power, is now awaiting the right 'policy platform' that would enable it to share power with the Congress at the Centre (Prakash
Karat in conversation with the Indian Express, 29 October, 2006).</b>

<b>Underestimating Feudal Power</b>

Imperialism apart, the other important question of a democratic revolution in India concerns the role of feudal remnants, and the CPI(M) programme is equally vague on this score. Even after nearly six decades of 'Independence', five decades of zamindari abolition and four decades of green revolution, feudal remnants in India remain quite visibly powerful and stubborn. And they are not to be found only in some obscure villages in 'backward' Bihar where state-sponsored landlord armies and massacres of dalits and other sections of the rural poor are more rampant.

Feudal atrocities on dalits, adivasis and women are very much still a pan-Indian reality, and so are patterns of usury and semi-bondage that are currently thriving right in areas of advanced agriculture in Punjab, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. The CPI(M) programme does not lay any particular emphasis on the crucial task of sweeping away the vestiges of feudalism and no wonder the party looks more like a political stranger to the real world of feudal oppression, landlord-kulak violence and anti-feudal awakening of the rural poor in large parts of the country. By contrast, the CPI(ML)'s vigorous opposition to feudal remnants and its consistent commitment to the anti-feudal task of India's democratic revolution has enabled it to break new ground in many parts of rural India.

The CPI(M)'s claim to 'correctness' rests primarily on its 'successful experience' with multi-party democracy in India. Apart from ruling West Bengal for nearly three decades, and periodically returning to power in Kerala and Tripura, the CPI(M) has now also accumulated a fair amount of experience of doing political business with the Congress and several regional parties both at the Centre and in different states. As a ruling party or friend of a ruling coalition, its job has now become primarily one of implementing the whole range of official policies formulated at the central level, or at best designing a 'human face' for the package of liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation and forcing it on the very people the party had once promised to fight for.

<b>From Naxalbari (1967) to Singur (2006), whenever the CPI(M) in power has been confronted with a 'choice'between the people and the state, it has turned against the former and sided with the latter.</b> In Naxalbari, Yechury may say that the fighting rural poor were 'misled' by the 'absurd dream' of intensifying and advancing the peasant movement to the point of capturing state power, but what about the peasants, sharecroppers and agricultural labourers at Singur? The latter have merely been trying to defend their land and livelihood while the CPI(M)-led state government has invoked the land acquisition act and unleashed police repression and organisational intimidation to dispossess them with a view to enabling the Tatas to set up an automobile plant on their highly fertile, multi-cropped land. It is the CPI(M)'s theoretical understanding of the Indian big bourgeoisie and its 'solid social base' which is illuminating the CPI(M) on its current journey to power-sharing with the Congress and fulfilling the wish lists of the Tatas and Ambanis, and ADB and DFID.

<b>Redefining the Democratic Mainstream in Nepal</b>

Yechury tells us that the "debates and divisions in the Indian communist movement ... have had and continue to have a profound impact on the communist movement in Nepal." Now, there are two major communist currents in Nepal today, the CPN(Maoist) and the CPN(Unified Marxist-Leninist). The 1990 movement for restoration of democracy catapulted the CPN(UML) as the main contender of the Nepali Congress and sixteen years later, the anti-monarchy upsurge has brought the CPN(M) to the political foreground of Nepal. If Yechury wants to understand them in terms of the debates and trends in India, here are the facts.

The CPN(UML) and the CPN(M) were both inspired by the Naxalbari uprising and the CPI(ML) movement in India. Over the years, the communist currents in Nepal that were historically associated with or corresponded to the CPI and CPI(M) in India have virtually faded away into political oblivion or coalesced around these two dominant trends.

It is also an incontestable historical fact that neither the pre-1990 CPN(UML) nor the pre-2005 CPN(M) had much connection with the CPI(M); it is only after becoming major players in Nepal politics that their proximity with the CPI(M) has developed, and the obvious diplomatic reasons underlying this newfound proximity are not difficult to understand. The CPN(M)'s current strength or stature is derived primarily from the gains made in the course of what it calls the ten years of people's war. It is sheer eclecticism in philosophy and opportunism in politics to laud the present of the CPN(M) while dismissing the past that has led to the present juncture.

What Yechury finds particularly laudable in the CPN(M) now is its "decision to enter the democratic mainstream and participate in competitive politics." This is where he starts drawing a parallel between the CPN(M) and his own party in India. And this is precisely where he goes wrong. There is no given democratic mainstream that is fixed for all time to come. There was a so-called democratic mainstream coupled with competitive politics all these years in Nepal with the King at its head and a Constitution giving him a whole range of arbitrary powers including that to dismiss the parliament. The recent popular upsurge in Nepal has effected a partial but significant breach in this order and opened up the possibility of a democratic republic. The CPN(M) has played a key role in bringing about this transition, which has a definite revolutionary significance and potential in the specific context of Nepal. By insisting on a new constitution and on a republican state, the CPN(M) is actually calling for a new democratic mainstream and a new plane for competitive politics in Nepal.

How far this would actually materialise in Nepal is still quite an open question. <b>It is also clear that even if monarchy is completely abolished, the new republican order may in all likelihood still fall far short of what could be described as a people's democracy or new democracy.</b> But at least in the context of Nepal, the present juncture can perhaps be viewed as a possible transitional step in that direction. Yechury abstracts the multiparty competitive form from the essential political content and context of the present transition in Nepal. Prachanda's quotation with which Yechury begins his article, saying that readers might well think that this was a resolution of the CPI(M), talks about "multiparty competition within an anti-feudal and anti-imperialist constitutional frame" (emphasis added).

For Yechury this just becomes "a multiparty democratic system within the stipulated constitutional framework." The entire debate in Nepal is now revolving precisely around the question of election of a constituent assembly, adoption of a new constitution and reorganisation of the army, but Yechury already talks about "the stipulated constitutional framework"!

One is not so sure about what the Nepali Maoists have in mind when they talk about learning "from the experiences of the revolutions and counter-revolutions of the 20th century." For Marxists the world over, there is of course one basic lesson of all revolutions that has been grasped since the revolutionary days of the Paris Commune. <b>Revolution means conquest of political power, it means the overthrowing, by the revolutionary classes, of the erstwhile ruling classes and the smashing of the state that has been the organ of the latter's class rule.</b> And without such a revolutionary overthrow, the state even in the best and most developed of bourgeois parliamentary republics remains in content nothing but the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie.

For all the rhetorical contrast between 'one-party communist rule' and 'multiparty competition', most bourgeois states are increasingly perfecting an almost institutionalised two-party system. The Indian ruling classes have also stepped up their efforts in this direction. Abolition of a US-backed monarchy and establishment of a democratic republic surely has a revolutionary significance for Nepal and if such a republic is achieved and consolidated under revolutionary communist leadership and led along new democratic lines it would indeed be an exciting development in our neighbourhood, but in no way can the form of multiparty competition be abstracted to gloss over the very question of the essential nature and class character of such a state.

<b>The Peril of Ignoring Internal Conditions</b>

Ironically enough, while the CPI(M) now waxes eloquent about the maturity of the Nepali Maoists, the Indian Maoists now find themselves in increasing disagreement with their Nepali comrades. The disagreements have been aired quite openly in an interview by Azad, the official spokesperson for the Indian Maoists, published in the June-July 2006 issue of People's March, following which the two parties have issued a joint press statement to the effect that debates on ideological, political and strategic issues would be conducted "bilaterally and also, occasionally, publicly."

The Indian Maoists would have perhaps loved to see a linear culmination of the people's war in Nepal, and they are uncomfortable with the growing departure of the Nepali Maoists from the classical Chinese course. Admittedly, the developments in Nepal merit a closer Marxist scrutiny and the theoretical and practical responses made by various schools of Nepali communists would surely be closely watched as the direction of the present transition in Nepal becomes clearer.

But the Indian Maoists' discomfort with the latest developments in Nepal seems to go beyond their anxiety over the future of the communist movement in Nepal, for they are aware that it could well spell some kind of theoretical crisis for the very revolutionary model they claim to be following.

Internationally, the Maoist trend has currently got its most visible presence in Nepal and India. In countries like Peru and the Philippines, where the trend was quite strong in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Maoists have suffered major reverses. The Indian Maoists seem to have a strange explanation for this state of affairs. In the words of Azad, "Due to the weakness in the international communist movement we see many a people's war bogged down in a struggle for survival for decades" (page 26, People's March, June-July 2006). <b>The success of the classical version of the strategy of protracted people's war depends primarily on the existence of favourable internal conditions.</b> If the Maoists could make such headway in Nepal and by contrast if they are 'bogged down in a struggle for survival' in neighbouring India, the answer cannot be sought in the weakness or strength of the international communist movement.

The answer clearly lies in the vastly different internal conditions obtaining in Nepal and India and in the strategy and tactics adopted by the Maoists in the two countries. The continued neglect of concrete internal conditions and dogmatic attempts to transplant the Chinese model to the Indian reality has led Azad to lay such lopsided emphasis on the external environment.

Azad is upset that the discussion on Maoism in EPW (July 22, 2006) has been preoccupied with the question of violence. Now, perhaps none of the contributors
whose articles were published in the said issue of EPW can be described as advocates of non-violence as a philosophy. In spite of that if the discussion has got bogged down in violence - and Azad in his rejoinder (EPW, October 14, 2006) has followed the same pattern - should not the answer be sought in the specific practice of the Maoists themselves? With their exclusive emphasis on armed action and thorough neglect of any kind of mass movement and political initiative, have not the Maoists made violence the most distinguishing feature of their identity?

Azad asks the EPW contributors to suggest ways as to how the people should "organise to improve their lives" and "fight back" in the face of increasing state violence and growing mass impoverishment. And then he tells us that "to negate the Maoist method ...without providing an alternative, in effect, is to push people into deeper despair (and poverty), even as the moneybags strut around flaunting their wealth." Now to tell the truth, millions of peasants and workers in this country are daily waging an organised battle to improve their lives and fight back. But Azad and his comrades, the self-styled followers of what they call the 'Maoist method', remain almost totally isolated from these everyday struggles.

Instead of arrogantly asking others to suggest alternatives, Azad
should have taken the trouble of showing how exactly the armed activities of the Maoist squads are helping the people to organise and improve their lives and fight back.

The question arises on the basis of Azad's own account. With respect to both Andhra and Chhattisgarh, it is clear from his account that their land struggles and so-called 'people-oriented projects' all belonged to a previous period when "the military operations were not as intense." As far as Bihar and Jharkhand are concerned, the land redistribution movement and the rural poor's wider campaign for livelihood, social dignity and political assertion continue to be led primarily by the organisation that Azad refers to as the 'revisionist Liberation group'. The same is true for the Orissa districts bordering Andhra and even the coastal Andhra district of East Godavari. The erstwhile PWG in Andhra and the Party Unity group in undivided Bihar did wage some anti-feudal struggles in the 1980s, but this was abandoned in the subsequent years as our Maoist friends got completely immersed (trapped?) in what can perhaps only be described as anarcho-militarism.

<b>"Absurd Negation of Politics in Bourgeois Society"</b>

Azad will surely take offence at the anarchist epithet. But this is again justified by the very arguments he has advanced in his rejoinder. We are not using the term anarchism as shorthand for armed activities. As Marxists we are perfectly aware that anarchism can assume all kinds of forms, from armed actions to Gandhian non-violence. We are going by Lenin's elaboration of anarchism: "Anarchism is a product of despair. ... Failure to understand the class struggle of the proletariat.

Absurd negation of politics in bourgeois society. .Failure to understand the role of the organisation and the education of the workers. .Panaceas consisting of one-sided, disconnected means. ... Subordination of the working class to bourgeois politics in the guise of negation of politics." (Lenin, Collected Works, Volume 5, pp 327-8)

How accurately does Lenin's description correspond to Azad's thought-process and logic! He argues that to negate what he calls the 'Maoist method' is to "push people into deeper and deeper despair". So the 'Maoist' method, as he understands it, is linked organically to despair (only the depth of that despair may be debated). This is characteristic of anarchism and has nothing to do with revolutionary violence and Mao's doctrine of protracted people's war. He wants EPW commentators to tell him how the people should "organise to improve their lives" and "fight back". This is precisely what Lenin has mentioned as "failure to understand the class struggle of the proletariat." The real life class struggle of the workers and peasants has no meaning or relevance for him, what matters is only the execution of the so-called 'Maoist method'. This is just an anarchist caricature of Mao's teachings, pure and simple.

Lenin describes "absurd negation of politics in bourgeois society" as another characteristic feature of anarchism. This again follows from the failure to
understand the dynamics of class struggle. For students of Marxism, it is elementary knowledge that the society is divided into classes and that in the modern political system classes are represented by political parties. The contention among political parties, among different ideas and policies advocated by different parties, is a key expression and arena of class struggle. Now for our Maoist friends all political parties, with the sole exception of perhaps their own organisation, are either reactionary or revisionist. So they will have nothing to do with parties. They will also have nothing to do with parliament because it is an institution to dupe the masses, because it has been imposed from above and not
the product of an authentic bourgeois revolution. One wonders if such an 'authentically bourgeois' Indian Parliament would have been any less 'deceptive'!

Ignoring all real life political parties and political institutions, Azad and his comrades would like to deal with classes in pure abstraction. He pooh-poohs the idea of Left unity or a Left and democratic confederation and advocates in place of such an "amorphous conglomeration, ... a genuine United Front of the four classes of the workers, peasants, middle classes and the national bourgeoisie." Now the majority of the active elements of these classes are organised around and influenced by various parties - this is the concrete political physiognomy of the existing social reality. Now for Azad, the concrete is
'amorphous', and only the abstract is 'genuine'. If he wants to form a four-class united front, he can have no other way but to win over the masses of these classes through vigorous political struggle. And as dialecticians we know that struggle also involves unity - of course, struggle between opposites is permanent and unconditional while unity is temporary and conditional. Without an active political process of struggle and unity - the concept of a Left and democratic confederation is nothing but a theoretical framework for facilitating and accelerating such a process - the masses cannot be won over and united by merely parroting abstract revolutionary phrases. And for sure, military superiority too cannot be established or sustained in a political vacuum.

Our Maoist friends do not recognise the necessity of active and conscious communist intervention in the political process. Now dialectics defines freedom as the cognition of necessity. Refusal to recognise the necessity of intervention in the political process can only make one so much more unfree. Indeed the Maoists are not able to wish away the concrete political reality; they have had to adjust with it on terms dictated by the system. For all their long history, military might and mass influence, the Maoists in Andhra Pradesh have allowed themselves to be treated as a political football between the Congress and the Telugu Desam Party.

In the last Assembly elections in the state, they had to 'waive' their traditional boycott call to facilitate a Congress comeback. In Bihar their ties with the RJD have been widely known. For all the ten years when Chandrababu Naidu reduced Andhra Pradesh to a laboratory for World Bank policies and a veritable graveyard for cotton and groundnut farmers, the PWG could do little more than make a
failed attempt on Naidu's life. After the Congress came back to power, they embarked on 'negotiations' with the state government, but when the government reneged on its promises, the Maoists could again do nothing to hold the government accountable.

<b>Need for Independent Political Assertion of the People</b>

Azad believes that the EPW special issue with several articles on the Maoists reflected "recognition of the growing importance that the Maoist-led movement plays in the polity and economy of the country." Indeed there is a great deal of discussion on the 'Maoist insurgency' in the media as well as in official and academic circles. But what are the terms and nature of this discussion? A good deal of it is pure media sensationalism while the rest oscillates between 'law and order problem' and 'security threat' on the one hand, and democratic rights and 'alternative paradigm of development' on the other. Even in the pages of EPW, Azad feels that the whole discussion has been obsessed with violence with very little attention paid to the "horrifying conditions of the masses" and what the Maoists are doing or intend to do about them. There is nothing accidental about this, it is just a reflection of the fact that the Maoists have failed to
advance a political agenda and have failed to bring the oppressed masses to the political foreground. Indeed, it is significant that Azad wants the discussion to focus on the horrifying conditions of the masses and not on how they are heroically fighting against these conditions.

It is on this political plane that the Maoists in Nepal have stolen a march over their Indian counterparts. The anti-monarchy slogan of the Nepali Maoists coincided with a real political crisis of the monarchy and when that happened the Maoists were in a position to intervene effectively in the developing situation. Even though the situation in Nepal is still quite fluid and many of the theoretical propositions being advanced by the Nepali Maoists are indeed quite debatable, it cannot be denied that Prachanda and his comrades have displayed considerable political imagination and initiative.

By contrast, Azad and his comrades continue to epitomise political inertia and bankruptcy, and at times even downright political degeneration (like in the infamous Paliganj incident on 18 August 2004 when, at the behest of the RJD MLA of Paliganj in Bihar, a Maoist squad attacked the local CPI(ML) office in the dead of the night and gunned down five leading activists of the CPI(ML) even as they were fast asleep). When even some sympathetic observers raise some points of debate they are accused of being either revisionist or post-modernist and NGO-ish. Well, from AIPRF to Mumbai Resistance 2004 to the latest PDFI, all the united front platforms floated by our Maoists have been peopled primarily by post-modernists and NGOs of different hues. Just indiscriminately branding people and organizations cannot eradicate the poverty of mass struggles and political initiatives.

For all their acrimonious exchanges - Yechury even goes to the extent of describing the Indian Maoists as mercenaries donning the radical cloak of Marxist politics - both Yechury and Azad appear united in equating Maoism and Naxalism. The fact is that the trail blazed by the Naxalbari uprising, i.e., the CPI(ML) movement, has evolved in two clearly different directions. Following the early setback of the first revolutionary attempt and the systematic state-sponsored slaughter of thousands of revolutionaries, the movement received a new lease of life in the plains of Bihar and the CPI(ML) was reorganised in the midst of all-round confusion and splits. The reorganised CPI(ML) - registered as the CPI(ML)(Liberation), after the central organ of the Party - has resurrected the revolutionary movement of the rural poor in different parts of the country and emerged as a rallying centre for not only Marxist-Leninists from different streams but also for many communists from the CPI and CPI(M) and activists of socialist and general democratic movements. While the CPI(ML) has made necessary tactical changes in keeping with the changing situation without in any way diluting its revolutionary strategic perspective, the Maoists have over the years immersed themselves increasingly in what can perhaps only be called anarcho-militarism. The departure made by the Maoists from the historical trajectory of the CPI(ML) is now also reflected in the new name they have got for themselves, viz., CPI(Maoist).

To come back to Yechury's three trends, he is  certainly not wrong in talking about the three historical currents in the Indian communist movement; only he has to slightly update his categorisation. Both the CPI and CPI(M) now twin-share the same slot -call it opportunism, reformism or revisionism. The main identity of this stream is now as India's 'Left' face of governance, combining shades of Blair's New Labour and Lula's Workers' Party. At the other end of the spectrum, the Maoists are busy carving a full-blown anarchist identity for themselves.

Despite their apparently diametrically opposite forms and slogans, the two trends often end up in the same destination - both ensure subordination of the working people to bourgeois politics. And fighting consistently against both these deviations, it is the CPI(ML) which is defending and developing the revolutionary wing of the Indian communist movement in the face of all odds.


<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<b>An Indian Deng?</b>
<i>The CPI-M wants to change, but doesn't know how.</i><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The success of China should spur the CPI-M to change, but not in a muddle-headed way. As we observed in an earlier commentary, Kerala is going in the opposite direction of West Bengal, and the central CPI-M leadership is turning in circles. Again, one shouldn't be hypercritical. It is good the CPI-M is undergoing this ferment. The Indian genius for change with continuity suggests the CPI-M will overcome its crisis. But it must draw the right lessons from China. The CPI-M should attempt a full comprehension of socialism with Indian democratic characteristics. There is not and never will be single party rule in India. India will bias towards markets because we are, at bottom, a trading and entrepreneurial society <!--emo&<_<--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/dry.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='dry.gif' /><!--endemo--> . Also, if the CPI-M has ambitions for national power, which it has, then it must burn its bridges with the Marxist brotherhood. No trucking with the mad Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez, or undercutting India to benefit China<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->CPM cadres raid Nandigram
8 dead; TMC, Cong call for bandh today
Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, January 7
A group of CPM cadres, armed with automatic rifles and other weapons and wearing police uniforms, raided Nandigram village last night and gunned down at least six farmers in accordance to the party’s suddenly adopted policy of applying force against the Krishi Bachaoo Committee, opposing the land transfer to Indonesia’s Salim group.

In the clashes that followed between the two groups, two CPM workers were also killed. Over 12 were severely injured either by gunshots or blasts and they had been admitted to different hospitals in Midnapore town and Kharagpur, where the condition of seven was stated to be critical.

The villagers killed included Biswajit Maiti, Bhudeb Mondal, Sk. Salim, Bharat Mondal, Sankar Samanta and Bishnu Maiti.

According to official reports, the CPM workers encircled Nandigram village around midnight and attacked the farmers assembled in the Garchakraberia, Sonachura and Tekhali bazaar areas. The attacks were retaliated and soon followed an armed clash between the two groups.

Oddly enough, there was no police force posted around the place at the time of the incident as it had been withdrawn earlier following the decision of the all-party meeting in the morning.

The Trinamool Congress (TMC), Congress, SUCI and several other parties have givev a call for Bangla bandh tomorrow demanding the resignation of Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and the imposition of President’s rule in the state.

Meanwhile, Mr Bhattacharjee, who was busy today negotiating with a Dubai-based industrialist, Sheikh Suleman, for an investment proposal at Kulpi in the Sunderbans where some 640 acres would be needed for the project, regretted the incident at Nandigram but reiterated that the industrial expansion programme would continue.

The incident was an outcome of a provocation call to the party cadres by Mr Benoy Konar, senior central committee member, who is also a prominent leader of the party’s Kishan Front, for confronting the unwilling farmers and their supporters with force for ensuring an easy transferring of 10,000 acres there to Salim industries.

He said their policy would now be “gun for gun and lathis for lathis”, alleging that some Naxalites and the branded criminals had been behind the farmers’ agitations who needed to be firmly tackled. Mr Konar had asked the Left front partners like the CPI, RSP and the Forward Bloc either to support the government or quit.

Leaders of the three major front partners, namely the CPI, RSP and the FB demanded that the government should immediately stop “land grabbing policy” and hold all-party talks and adopt a decision on the future land acquiring for industries.

Ms Mamata Banerjee, who has been recuperating at a nursing home, and Mr Pradip Bhattacharyya, working WBPCC president, squarely blamed the chief minister for acting as an agent of the capitalists and held him responsible for the innocent killing in the Nandigram village.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2007/20070108/main1.htm<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>The Empire strikes again </b>
Left hand drive |Sitaram Yechury
January 11, 2007


With much fanfare, the government had formed a committee to observe the 150th anniversary of India’s first war of independence. From its very inception, the composition of the committee was flawed — no historian of consequence was included. Though some sporadic advertisements have appeared, the significance of the anniversary has been lost. This needs to be urgently corrected. Such observations carry significant relevance to contemporary realities. Such commemorative events, in fact, begin a century prior to 1857.

Two hundred and fifty years ago, on January 2, 1757, Robert Clive recaptured Calcutta from the Nawab of Bengal, Sirajuddaulah. The earlier developments of 1756 — the Nawab’s capture of the East India Company’s Fort William in Calcutta and its recapture by the British — led to the decisive Battle of Plassey in June 1757, which firmly established the beginning of British colonial rule in India. The circumstances in which the British overpowered the Nawab are now part of folklore, especially the betrayal by the Nawab’s army general Mir Jaffer. Many years later, Jawaharlal Nehru commented that the British won their way to establish the Empire, "by promoting treason and forgery”.

A century later, following the British triumph in quelling India’s first war of independence in 1857, the trial of Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar began on January 7, 1858, on charges of leading the rebellion, which constituted, according to the laws of the colonial power, grounds of treason against the British Crown.

The British, having established their presence in 1757 through treason and forgery, later consolidated their empire in 1857 through a ruthless butchery of those who rose in revolt against their rule. Prior to this, the British had murdered, in broad daylight, the entire lineage of the emperor, including his two sons. The emperor himself was then incarcerated in the Mandaley Jail in Rangoon, from where he emerged only four years later — after his death in 1862.

A century and a half later, it is impossible not to note that the barbarity of the imperial empire has not changed much.

The mock trial of Saddam Hussein and his outrageous execution was preceded by the murder of both his sons. Like the British sought to consolidate its empire in 1857 through deceit, brutal repression, death and mayhem, US imperialism today seeks to consolidate its hegemony through precisely such means. To meet these ends, there is no human law that they would not trample upon and there are no scruples they would observe.

Bahadur Shah Zafar, blind as he was in the Rangoon Jail, used to compose his poetry using coal to scribble on the prison walls. In a famous couplet, he bemoaned that he was so unfortunate that he could not even get two square yards of land in his homeland — for his burial.

Once again, it is impossible not to notice parallels in contemporary Indian political realities. While Zafar yearned in vain for a burial in his homeland, the RSS/BJP characterise him and his ancestors as ‘Babar ke aulad’. The consequent whipping of hatred against Muslims is based on the spread of communal poison, on claims that the Mughal empire was established by usurping <b>so-called Hindu lands.</b> 

Historical reality — such as that of Babar defeating another Muslim emperor Ibrahim Lodhi in the first battle of Panipat to establish the Mughal empire — does not bother the conscience (if they have one) of the communal forces.

The British concluded from the 1857 experience that if they were to, ever again, permit the unity of the various religious and other linguistic, ethnic identities in India — for a struggle against their alien rule — then they, the British would stand no chance of survival. A contemporary British chronicler, Thomas Lowe, in Central India during the rebellion of 1857-59, wrote in 1860: “To live in India, now, was like standing on the verge of a volcanic crater, the sides of which were fast crumbling away from our feet, while the boiling lava was ready to erupt and consume us.”

Further, he exclaimed: “The infanticide Rajput, the bigoted Brahmin, the fanatic Mussalman, had joined together in the cause; cow-killer and the cow-worshipper, the pig-hater and the pig-eater… had revolted together.”

Precisely to prevent such unity from resurfacing, emerged the infamous policy of divide and rule. This also generated some ‘native’ (as the British would call it) expressions. The Muslim League, on the one hand, and the RSS, on the other, very ably assisted the British in perpetuating their colonial rule. The demand for an Islamic State, post-Independence, eventually led to the partition of the country and its horrendous consequences that continue to haunt and affect us to date.

The RSS, on the other hand, seeks the establishment of a rabidly intolerant fascist version of Hindu rashtra. Having been born with a vision that is completely antagonistic to the aspirations of the Indian freedom struggle, which sought and established a secular democratic modern republic, the RSS has never reconciled to these modern realities. Having created the conditions and circumstances that consumed the life of the Mahatma and lakhs of other innocent lives through communal holocausts, the RSS and its current political arm, the BJP, continue to reaffirm that their political raison d’etre can only be based on sharpening communal polarisation.

This is the precise message conveyed at the BJP’s recent national executive meeting. The recourse to prakhar (aggressive) Hindutva as the mainstay of their electoral strategy and tactics is an ominous forewarning.

The British learnt 150 years ago that the unity of India’s vastly diverse peoples is the surest guarantee for the nation’s freedom and prosperity. They worked assiduously to prevent this and thereby consolidated their rule. In today’s India, such unity among our people, so crucial for our advance and prosperity, is once again prevented from being realised by the communal forces in pursuit of their political objective of establishing a Hindu rashtra. Victory over such communal machinations is thus imperative, if India wants to march forward as a modern nation aiming to be an economic powerhouse and a knowledge society in the 21st century.

Ironically, therefore, the current battles being waged by us are essentially against such forces that either enslaved India in the past or seek to subjugate India in various ways today. The battle is against those who are preventing Indians from consolidating their freedom and prosperity.

The struggle against imperialism, steadfast safeguarding of our political and economic sovereignty, and the struggle against communal forces that seek to destroy the unity and integrity of India, must engage our attention this year.

Two and a half centuries since the Battle of Plassey, one and a half centuries since the first war of Independence and 60 years since our freedom from British colonial rule, are occasions that need to be recollected, and appropriate lessons must be drawn in order to strengthen this modern Indian republic in 2007.

<i>Sitaram Yechury is MP, Rajya Sabha and Member, CPI(M) Politburo </i><!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The consequent whipping of hatred against Muslims is based on the spread of communal poison, on claims that the Mughal empire was established by usurping so-called <b>Hindu lands.</b>  <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Sitaram Yechury should really drop his 'communal' first name and change last name to '<i>Yeh chori</i>' as he frequently robs Indians of their place in history with all sorts of convenient interpretation of dates and obscure facts to fit his argument. In this article, seems like history of India started 250 years ago with Clive. In past articles, if historic clock is turned back, he hovers around around 2300 years ago with his beloved tall fair and lovely 'aryans' bringing lands, horses and vedas across Khyber pass into India.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->With much fanfare, the government had formed a committee to observe the 150th anniversary of India’s first war of independence<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Coming from a party which celebrates 'October revolution' long after Soviet Union has collapsed and holding dharnas in Chennai and Kolkata for Lenin/Mao statues being dismantled in Russia/China!! <!--emo&Rolleyes--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/rolleyes.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='rolleyes.gif' /><!--endemo-->

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The British learnt 150 years ago that the unity of India’s vastly diverse peoples is the surest guarantee for the nation’s freedom and prosperity. They worked assiduously to prevent this and thereby consolidated their rule.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--emo&:roll--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/ROTFL.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='ROTFL.gif' /><!--endemo--> Pakistan and Bangladesh were created by Brits to strengthen India's prosperity and cultural diversity, I guess? <!--emo&:roll--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/ROTFL.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='ROTFL.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<!--QuoteBegin-Viren+Jan 12 2007, 01:01 PM-->QUOTE(Viren @ Jan 12 2007, 01:01 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->
<!--emo&:roll--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/ROTFL.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='ROTFL.gif' /><!--endemo--> Pakistan and Bangladesh were created by Brits to strengthen India's prosperity and cultural diversity, I guess? <!--emo&:roll--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/ROTFL.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='ROTFL.gif' /><!--endemo-->
[right][snapback]63033[/snapback][/right]
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can u imagine an India with both pakistan and bangladesh? Would india have seen even this relative "peace" of the last 50 years? We only fought 4 big wars and about 20 years of militancy in about quarter of india's territories.

If gandhi was father of india's independence from the british, jinnah is father of india's prosperity. had it not been for jinnah's long term thinking, we would still be pulled down by larger population of muslims (although gandhi offered Prime minister post to jinnah, jinnah wondered what would happen after he and gandhi died. he knew he was dying soon of cancer anyway)
LSrini: See your point - it's a different debate. My remarks were in reference to that red ant's comments about benevolent Brits. No doubt they collaborated with Brits back in 42 to sabotage Quit India movement.
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