People’s March Criticism of the New CPI (M-L)
Group With Regard to the Mass Line, Etc.


People's March, Volume 6, No. 7, July 2005


Polarisation within the M-L Camp : Maoists & Revisionists

— Suman

With the merger of the PW and the MCCI and formation of a revolutionary Centre in the CPI(Maoist), the line of demarcation between Marxism and revisionism is getting more clearly drawn. All fence sitters are being forced to take a stand — either with revolution or against it. And so it was with the formation of the ‘new’ party, the CPI(ML) at a conference in Vijaywada. It is yet another ML revisionist centre following in the lines of the Liberation. But this new grouping, unlike the Liberation, which has a programme similar to that of the CPM, maintains some rhetoric of its Maoist past. Other such types of revisionists and right-wing groups are also going in the same direction. Of course, all these revisionist parties claim to be the inheritors of the great Naxalbari struggle, with which they have nothing in common today. They even evoke the name of Charu Mazumdar whose great legacy they have betrayed. All this is only to usurp the past revolutionary glory to justify their present revisionist practice.

In end January of this year the Kanu Sanyal led CPI(ML) {which itself was formed by the merger of some groups} and the CPI(ML)Red Flag merged to form yet another CPI(ML). As per their Bulletin released in March 2005 the basis of their unity was against revisionism and left-sectarianism (i.e. the Maoists). Both of which they have put on an equal plane. In fact there is greater emphasis on attacking the Maoists, with a separate article devoted to that, and entitled "Maoists are not the inheritors of Naxalbari". In this article and throughout the Bulletin, just like the government, they call the Maoists "anarchists and terrorists". In the entire Bulletin there is not a single mention of armed struggle, or the need to prepare for it, and merely continue to harp on mass struggles and mass line as the point of demarcation with the so-called terrorists. All armed struggle is clubbed as "individual annihilation" and as being opposed to the mass line. But nowhere through the Bulletin do they say how they will seize power, or how the mass struggle will be linked to the armed struggle.

In fact Lenin has said that the seizure of state power by armed force is the central task of any revolution. But on this key question they are totally silent. And this is where their revisionism comes in, no matter even if they invoke Mao’s name. Theirs is not a mere deviation from the path of protracted people’s war but the very negation of it. It is then not surprising that their Conference was held in AP just at that time when the State government had begun to launch a massive killing spree not only against the Maoists, but even against three to four other ML groups.

Question of Mass Line

Right through the Bulletin the main point on which they keep harping is mass struggle and mass line. They use the two interchangeably as though those involved in mass struggles automatically adopt the mass line while those involved in armed struggle go against it. As this is the central point that they seek to make, particularly in order to demarcate themselves from the Maoists, it is necessary to expose the confusion sought to be created on this issue.

Firstly, mass struggle is not equivalent to mass line. A mass struggle entails the mobilistation of the masses, whether on partial demands, or political demands or even for armed struggle. On the other hand the mass line is an ideological approach to be adopted in one style and method of work. It is an attitude that should be adopted in all work, whether amongst the masses or in the Party or even in the Army. It demands of all cadres and leaders to be attentive to the needs and views of the masses with whom they are working and is diametrically opposite to a bureaucratic style of work. As is well known even those leading mass struggles have, in many places, not at all been adopting a mass line, as is evident with most trade union leaders and their bureaucratic style of functioning. Amongst the masses the mass line entails the approach "from the masses to the masses". In the Party the mass line entails taking into consideration the views of all cadres and not lording it over them, and being concerned with their well being. In the Army it entails mobilising the entire masses for the people’s war and building vast militias in addition to the regular forces. It also entails not functioning like a bourgeois army with commanders acting in an autocratic way.

In 1945 the CPC in its Resolution on Certain Questions in the History of Our Party explained the question of Mass Line thus: As Comrade Mao Tse-tung says, the correct line should be "from the masses to the masses". To ensure that the line really comes from the masses and particularly that it really goes back to the masses, there must be close ties not only between the Party and the masses outside the Party (between the class and the people), but above all between the Party’s leading bodies and the masses within the Party (between the cadres and the rank-and-file); in other words there must be a correct organisational line. Therefore, just as in each period of the Party’s history Comrade Mao Tse-tung has laid down the political line representing the interest of the masses, so he has laid down an organisational line serving the political line and maintaining ties with the masses both inside and outside the Party.

So, from this it is clear that along with the political line based on the mass line an "organisational line" has to be adopted both within the masses and the Party. Within the masses it entails going deep amongst them, finding out what are their needs and thinking and then linking these to the immediate tasks of the revolution. To merely go by the views of the masses and not link it to the tasks of the revolution would result in tailism; to not consider their views and needs would result in sectarianism and dogmatism. The former would negate the role of the vanguard Party; the latter would result in alienating the masses as the views we express would in no way be connected to their existing level of consciousness. The new CPI (ML) type revisionists have, in fact, no need to go deep amongst the masses and study their life and consciousness as they only plan to mobilise them in mass struggles and not for revolution. Such mass struggles come out of their existing life conditions and is easily seen; the task of drawing them towards revolution is far more difficult and therefore requires deep study of the masses and their situation.

Such mass struggles have been undertaken by the CPI, CPM and in fact all bourgeois parties on a bigger scale than either Red Flag or the erstwhile COI(ML) could even dream about. And as for mobilization of the masses, did not the CPI(Maoist) in AP indicate the massive mass support through the lakhs that attended their meetings in spite of the repressive hurdles just a couple of months earlier, before the crack-down was once again started? The same type of support is seen to exist in most areas of armed struggle, like Jharkhand, Bihar, Dandakaranya — that too in an atmosphere of repression, arrests, killings and various other forms of harassment. In fact the Maoists have built large mass organisations amongst the peasantry and tribals, and to some extent amongst the workers, students and also various other sections of the masses. For their three decades of existence can this ‘new’ party indicate even a fraction of the mass mobilization as that of the Maoists?

But the question is not only the ability to mobilise the masses or not. The question is as to what direction are we leading the masses. Is it for people’s war and for the seizure of power or for something else? This is the cardinal question before any serious Marxist. If it is the former the approach will get reflected in all aspects of one’s practice, including methods of organization and methods of struggle. If it is the latter, that too will get reflected.

So, for example, the entirely legal functioning of the leaders of this new party for decades is an indication of their lack of seriousness about revolution. India is not a developed country where there may exist such legal functioning of a genuine revolutionary Party for quite some period (even that may now get affected in the post 9/11 growing fascistic environment). It is a country which has no such democratic niceties as can be seen by the brutal repression on even any militant trade union struggle, let alone revolutionary struggle. What happened to the recent Rajasthan peasant struggles, what happened to the struggles of the UP electricity employees; what happened to the numerous struggles of the government employees; and what happens to the hundreds of struggles of workers in the unorganized sector who are allowed absolutely no rights what-so-ever? Though we will use legal opportunities to the extent that it exists, it is unforeseeable that a supposedly communist party having revolutionary tasks in a country like India can remain legal for so long. The continuous legal existence of the top party leaders, let alone leading revolutionary struggles, indicates that they restrict even the mass struggles so that it stays within legal confines.

So, there is mass struggle and mass struggle — done by the ruling class parties, done by the revisionists and also done by genuine communist revolutionaries. The question is as to what is the aim and direction of these mass struggles even while taking up the partial demands. Most use it to create and electoral base for their future vote-banks, while CRs use it for furthering the armed revolution. If revolution is not on the agenda of such parties as the new CPI(ML) the State feels no threat and they allow such a legal existence. And this new party’s continuous attacks on Maoists as "anarchist and terrorists" are nothing but music to the ears of the enemy forces. Not surprisingly the AP government gave full freedom to these people to launch their new party, while at the same time mowing down others in cold blood. And through this entire Conference there was not a word of condemnation against the state government’s actions though it had already reached cruel and brutal forms by the time of their Conference. By then, in AP, even liberals had come out in condemnation against the brutalities and the fake encounters, but not these so-called proletarians. Why? That too when the Conference was being held in AP!!!

So, the genuine cadres in this party should seriously consider as to what is the real role of the leaders of this party and not get misled by their subterfuge of counter-posing their so-called mass struggle to the armed struggle and totally distorting the understanding of the question of "mass line".

Question of Unity of CRs

Here there is one other important question that revisionists and right-deviationists seek to capitalize on — i.e. the desire for unity amongst the rank-and-file of the various ML groups and parties. Unity is not a goal in itself but one aspect of a means to the goal. The goal is the New Democratic Revolution and the unity of communist revolutionaries is an important step for the achievement of that. But, at the level of the Party, Unity must be of those who really desire revolution and are working in a revolutionary way. Not revisionists, who merely use the Maoist label to dupe the people. After all, the unity one seeks at the level of the party is that of a vanguard — no flabby ‘vanguard’ can lead a revolution, for that it requires decisiveness, determination, foresight and revolutionary practice. It should not be forgotten that there was a united party in this country for nearly half a century but the revolution did not go even one step forward due to its revisionist line. It required Naxalbari to make the clear break from this past and bring revolution onto the agenda in India. Though then a small force compared to the revisionists, the future lay with the new forces, not the degenerate and old worn-out ‘Marxists’.

As Lenin said, in order to unite, clear lines of demarcation needs to be made between Marxism and revisionism. He further clarified that unity must be based not only on ideological and political questions but also on the question of the tactics of the proletariat. The point before us all, is to further the revolutionary process for the seizure of power. Mass struggles have gone on in this country for nearly eight decades under different types of ‘communists’; a full century has nearly passed. But are they even one step nearer the revolutionary transformation of society? They are not. So, any unity must further the revolutionary struggles and organisations and not act as a hurdle to it, or dilute it in any way.

So the unity must be principled, and so only by a common understanding and practice on all the above questions can this process be furthered. As has been reported in the media the unity between the MCCI and the PW was achieved only after five detailed documents were first finalized and a full critical review of their past was done, before going for oganisational unity. Unless there is a commonality on all basic questions, the unity can be short-lived as has been seen with some earlier unities. It is utopian and harmful to expect unity between those serious on armed struggle and those not. Of course, at the mass level and on specific issues there can and must be unity with many for basic minimum tasks. What we are talking about here is the unity to form an effective vanguard to lead the revolutionary movement forward and build a new society free from exploitation.

No doubt, with the unity of the bulk of the genuine Maoists into the CPI(Maoist) — the process has been going on since the past decade with many forces merging with the two main revolutionary streams of the M-L (PW, PU) and the MCC before both themselves merged — the polarization will fast take place between those serious about revolution and those not. The formation of this second CPI (ML) is part of this process where the revisionists are also being polarized to save themselves from extinction. Now, within the M-L camp there are two clear-cut centres — the revisionist centre of the two CPI(ML)s and the revolutionary centre of the CPI(Maoist). In between there lie many groups and individuals all will have to choose on which side they stand. Do they stand on the side of the real revolutionaries or do they jump into the revisionist quagmire. These are the only two alternatives before all; any centrist position in effect means joining with the latter.

It is also reported that the CPI(Maoist) maintains that there are still genuine revolutionary forces and individuals outside their party. And they will endeavour their best to have unity with them in the course of development of the revolutionary struggles. It may be commented here that the revolutionaries outside the CPI(Maoist) too have to take initiative. No doubt, the coming tide of revolutionary people’s struggles will make the lines of demarcation even sharper.



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