The Proletarian Mass Line

By Harsh Thakor[1]

Proletarian Revolutionary Line

The chief distinguishing features of the organisation representing the proletarian revolutionary trend in the movement [the Communist Party Reorganisation Centre of India (M-L)] have been:

1. The correct understanding on the agrarian revolutionary movement.

The revolutionary trend believes that armed struggle can only be staged when people's political consciousness has been developed to a required level and democratic organ's of people's power have been set up.

A most well designed railway engine cannot complete a journey without adequate fuel or competent railway tracks. Political consciousness and democratic organs of people's power are like the adequate fuel supply and competent tracks for a journey. To facilitate armed revolutionary peasant struggle these two factors are like the base of a building. However soundly the building is built it will collapse without a firm foundation. Only in an adequate correlation between the strength of revolutionary forces to the strength of the state can armed struggle take place.

The correct revolutionary conditions are a necessary perquisite like the necessary temperature to mould steel. Only at a particular temperature can the iron be moulded into steel in a blast furnace. Liberated base areas have to be set up to lay the foundation for armed struggle. To create such conditions mass revolutionary struggles have to be enhanced. People have to be prepared to set up their own revolutionary democratic mass organization. The people must also be educated in organising self defence against the landlords and the organs of the ruling state.

The most significant struggle with the light of the agrarian revolution was the Telengana Armed Struggle between 1946-1951. Here, applying Maoist methodology, thousands of acres of land were distributed from the landlords who were tried in People's Courts. Revolutionary Committees re-distributed land and Red Army Corps were set up to resist the enemy. The armed actions of the Red Army Corps were based on the people's movements and supplemented them rather than substituting for them.

In 1967 the mass Naxalbari Uprising is also of historic significance. In Naxalbari the movement had its roots in the joint movement of the peasants and the tea plantation workers. A huge struggle erupted by the tea workers and the peasants. The peasantry was so overwhelmingly boosted by this that in September 1966 they started their struggle over crop seizures. Armed workers and peasants harvested paddy and even snatched guns. Displaying rock-like resistance they combatted the armed police who came forward to seize crops.

Just after the 1967 general elections, the sharecroppers of Naxalbari gave heroic resistance to the Jotedars. Various area conferences were staged procuring seizure of the Jotedar's land. Sixty incidents of land occupation and forcible harvesting were reported in 274 square miles under Naxalbari, Kharibari and Phansidewa police Thanas. On May 7th 1967 a sub-divisional joint conference of workers and peasants gave an official call for the confiscation of the Jotedar's land and establishment of the armed power of the workers and peasants.

On May 23rd the Naxalbari peasant struggle began. On May 23rd a clash took place between the police and tribal peasants, in which a policeman was killed. In retaliation the police killed 7 women and children. The seeds of the movement were laid down.

The Malkangiri Adivasi Sangh in Orissa, Punjab Dehati Mazdoor Union and the correct trend in the Bharatiya Kisan Union Ekta is a living example of correct agrarian revolutionary practice. On a mass political plane the political struggle of the Front against Repression and Communalism in Punjab (Please refer to Article on Punjab during the Khalistani Period for a clearer background), although it was not conducted directly against the landlord classes, was a classic example of carrying out self defence and political mass resistance. The Front's performance of creating bastions of people's revolutionary resistance in contrast to revolutionary terrorism is of great significance.

The 1987 Rally in Moga in Faridkot District wrote a chapter in the history of the Punjabi Peoples' resistance against the dual terror of Khalistani and State terrorism. Earlier in April in Faridkot Mass Front activists beat up attempts by Khalistani fundamentalist forces in implementing their fundamentalist programme and assassinating Front leader Megh Raj Baghtuana. Through the Front's encouragement even two Hindu shopkeepers beat up terrorists. Various families were also trained in carrying out self-defence against the dual monsters. In areas in which there was no peoples' resistance to the terrorists, the Front initiated resistance.

The 1991 Sewewala Conference commemorating the 18 Martyrs including Comrades Megh Raj and Jagpal Singh also displayed tactical soundness. Special arrangements for self-defence were made through barricades. In this light, of greater significance was the preparation and staging of the Martyrs Commemoration Conference in 1992 where special efforts were made to win over the landless scheduled caste peasants and neutralize the landed Jat peasantry. The way the guarding was organized on thee day of the program is of great relevance.

Later in Rajeana, the same organizations of the Front staged a martyrs' commemoration rally on November 12th, 1994. Here 12,000 people were mobilized who learnt that Naxalbari was a mass-based peasant movement and not a terrorist movement. The fact that the platform of the conference did not discriminate between the martyrs of groups belonging to the revolutionary trend in contrast to those having deviations was of great bearing. The commemoration committee also prevented the forum being used as a pan arena for debating mutual polemics. No work had been done in the Rajeana area and the revolutionary activists had to start work from scratch. This showed their concrete application of the mass line.

The struggle of the revolutionary trend within the Bharatiya Kisan Union led significant struggles. The heroic resistance offered by the peasantry in Jethuke to police repression will never be forgotten. It was like a volcano erupting. Protesting for just demands like getting electricity transformers replaced, against a hike in bus fares, protesting re-paying of bank loans, implementation of a trolley service, a huge series of struggles had erupted. At Jethuke the Union was protesting against the arrest of leaders. They combated the police by forming an impregnable barricade impossible for the enemy to penetrate.

The peasants emerged like many streams flowing into river. Contingents of 10 to 50 people were organized who drove the police out of the village lanes. Two innocent peasants were killed by the police in False Encounters. The police covered this by not allowing peasants to assemble at the cremation ground. Now a huge series of struggles were launched demanding a judicial inquiry into the killings. A big ceremony was held in commemoration of the peasants. Speakers from the B.K.U. Ekta condemned the State police firing and demanded the arrest of the guilty and compensation for the families of the victims. Protests were held not only in Bhatinda, but in Ludhiana, Nakodar, Banga, Kadian, Mansa, Saunke, Singhewala, Ramdas, etc. On February 29th, 2000, a rally was organized by the B.K.U. Ekta protesting against the injustice perpetrated. The supporters of the Union on their way to the rally in different directions, were organized into 12 detachments comprising 200-500 men and women.

Another significant protest with regard to the mass agrarian line was the struggle led by the correct trend within the Bharatiya Kisan Union Ekta protesting against extortion of loans from peasants, forced re-payments and peasant suicides due to being cheated by moneylenders. A famous struggle was held protesting the unjust death of a farmer Mithoo Singh who was cheated by a commission agent Ashok Kumar. The Union has led several heroic struggles confronting and getting Commission agents to the book who cheated farmers into borrowing loans and also demanded huge loan re-payments on interest.

A popular peasants march was staged at Mour Mandi in the case of Mithhoo Singh and later a well-planned conference was held in Maiser Khanna where the peasants heroically resisted the attempts of the police to sabotage the conference. Police forces were deployed at two ends of the village to block participants from participating in the conference but the peasants reminiscent of an army breaking an impregnable barricade or a fort broke through the police defence. Earlier, for the Conference the peasants had set up village barricades at the outer openings of many village streets like an army defending a fort. Later massive rallies were held in protest in Bhatinda District. Sixty vehicles carrying about 1700 to 2000 people swarmed the villages like bees. A week later a massive state-wide rally was held in Chandigarh, the Capital City, protesting the police attack. Through protracted struggles several commission agents were forced to repay the amount that they cheated that particular peasant.

The Correct trend played the major role in leading the peasant masses on their burning issues. The do-or-die spirit of the peasantry was tapped. The ranks of the Union were taught from this experience that the correct trend was to fight against usury while the wrong trend was to abandon the struggle. The political preparation of the peasantry in this regard was of great significance.

The Punjab Agricultural Labourers Union in Balahar Vinju gave a vivid lesson on the correct policy of agrarian resistance. At first meetings and rallies were staged protesting the auction of 18 acres of government land. Through protracted struggle the Union made the peasants understand the tricks played by the ruling class Congress Party politicians and the ruling class collaborationist nature of the police. The Harijan community at a Union meeting decided to fight for the land. They went to the field and hoisted the Red Union Flag and also made arrangements for the protection of the flag as well as made long run preparations for the struggle. Continuous protracted struggles were staged at the police stations demanding Union leader Tarsem's release. When the Union was refused permission to stage a joint Unity convention on August 11th, it held it's conference secretly. 500 peasants participated. Only when demonstration had reached the district courts did the police come to know of the convention. This displayed tactical skill.

At a later stage the political maturity of the Union was shown through its method of struggle depending on mass mobilization and mass resistance in contrast to legal redress. Heroically in Balahar Vinju the peasants resisted the Congress-I leaders who formed a clique with the district authorities and the Sarpanch of the village. The Union held a conference which was banned by the authorities in Balahar Vinju, in Sewewala. The police attempted to thwart the conference, but at one checkpost the Harijan community combated the police force present to such an extent that they had to vacate their post. Later an innocent young activist was detained. 150 villagers gheraoed the police jeep in which the boy was detained and procured his release.

However the most significant struggle took place on 15th July, where 200 enraged men and women from the Harijan community emerged like a gushing torrent to hold a vociferous demonstration in the district courts of Bhatinda. Their hearts seemed to be burning like a red flame. A memorandum was given to the district authorities. The revolutionary mass line of the Union as depicted by the struggle could not only defeat the conspiracy of the Congress-I leaders but build a movement in surrounding areas.

The Malkangiri Adivasi Sangh's Struggle has become a textbook for a comrade on how to implement mass agrarian revolutionary struggle. The Sangh has not only recaptured land for the Adivasis but has also organized heroic self-defence. The Sangh always made a sound tactical assessment of the Enemy's strength. The greatest struggle waged by the Sangh was the Padmagiri-Pandrapani Struggle against the onslaught of the contractors, politicians and adminstration. The Adivasis waged death-defying resistance against the criminal looting of forest assets. The forest contractors, politicians and administration formed a joint team in denying the Adivasis their forest assets. The struggle involved the Adivasis right to security of land and right to control their forest assets. A contractor Subhash Chandra Bose with the collaboration of the local politicians and the adminstration was carrying out mass felling of trees.

The Sangh had to devise adequate methods of winning the confidence of the people. The Sangh team walked for days raising revolutionary slogans. At first the masses failed to respond out of fear, but after protracted campaigning they were eventually won over. One youth who was won over by the Sangh played an instrumental role in mobilizing the tribal villagers. Villagers now came onto the stage with traditional weapons and volunteers were sent to other surrounding villages. Heroically the villager's detachment resisted the might of the contractors army, assembled in a truck. The Aduvasi team blocked the road. What was significant here was the winning over of Adivasi labourers who were a part of the contractors' Army. It was explained to these sections that they were oppressed Adivasis and were fighting on the wrong side. This heroic struggle instilled a sense of confidence which spread to other districts of the State who took up extensive propaganda and mobilization work. The story of the peoples' heroic deeds had spread far and wide. The struggle gave the Sangh activists renewed courage and gave realization to cadres and militants that their numerical organized strength can not only contain the enemy forces but defeat them.

Later in Padmagiri 6 to 8 self-sufficient Sangh cadre emerged capable of leading struggles. In Tulengudu-Kanjoli pocket, the Adivasis of all villages opposed fresh felling and on their own initiative set up 2 or 3 defence checkposts. In Rangamatiguda-Podarappali pocket the people's development was even greater. Collectively, they discussed with 6 Koya tenants from whom the contractor purchased trees and launched an agreement with them. A series of all-round repression and attacks were launched by the Enemy forces. These met with heroic resistance from the Adivasis. Art Rangamatiguda on January 16th, at the time of spot verification, the contractor's men broke all limits. The masses clustered in large numbers, armed with traditional weapons, resisting the attempts to negotiate a settlement with the contractor. The people beat up a Congress politician Burda, an Agent of the contractor. The womenfolk gheraed the collector. The fury of the people was like a fire burning and the officials were forced to flee.

Burda retaliated with the armed might of the police. The police went to the extent of taking the Sangh leaders into custody. All the democratic mass revolutionary leaders of the Sangh were arrested. To protest the arrests, on 17th January the Sangh members armed with traditional weapons encircled a police Camp at Padmagiri Panchayat blowing their horns. The people took hold of 12 policeman and locked them in a room of the Panchayat's Office in retaliation. On the 20th and 21st, 500 people encircled the contractor's trucks with traditional arms, pooled dry wood around the tyres of trucks and warned the contractor that unless the trucks were unloaded, the villagers would burn them up. (Earlieir on the 19th the contractor gave the Tulenguda peasants respective passbooks, stating that he had deposited Rs 2.60 Lakhs in their name, which was the price of the earlier felled trees. On January 20th-21st he brought 7 trucks and loaded them with timber at the site.)

On the 22nd and 23rd the people gathered at the Sangh office and after discussing with the available Sangh cadre, made a route march in batches of 50's covering the entire 50 to 60 Km., in a determined bid to fight back. Everday scores of Adivasis were visting the arrested leaders at the Malkangiri Jail. They even proposed to break the jail but the arrested leaders persuaded the militants not to resort to any such actions. However on January 28th-29th the Adivasis wrote an epic. The contractor deployed his full forces to overthrow the Adivasis. He arrested 3 Sangh cadre and captured 10 truckloads of timber. When the word reached the villagers, 2500 people protested with traditional weapons. The Sangh cadre demanded the release of the captured people. Ultimately the Sangh cadre were forced to resort to bows and arrows. The contractor's forces escaped in jeeps. The people caught hold of 5 of the contractors men and took them into hostage.

During the entire period of the enemy's all round attack, the democratic revolutionary mass leaders were in jail while the main Sangh cadre went underground. However the people's mass revolutionary resistance held the enemy forces at bay. The Sangh cadre's vigilance a preparedness was instrumental in this. Eventually on February 2nd the democratic revolutionary mass leaders were released. The correct tactical and democratic approach of the Sangh had great relevance. Against such a mighty oppressor, through upholding a democratic approach of relying on the mood and direct action of the people at various places. Significantly the Sangh did not raise the issue of the criminal felling of forest trees at first. At first it had to deal with the fear psychosis instilled in the people. The Sangh was thus left with the task of explaining different aspects of the fraud created by the enemy so that people would begin to understand the issues at hand and express their discrepancies and desires in respect to them. The Sangh negotiated these problems by taking up the forest issue from the perspective of the Adivasi's immediate grievances and on the other hand leading from the Front the people's blockade of the transport of timber by the contractor.

2. The correct tactical perspective on elections: "Active Political Campaign".

At this stage of the revolutionary movement it is not suitable to adopt the tactics of active boycott or to participate in the elections. To propogate 'Active Boycott', parallel organs of people's power have to be set up. Today people's polkitical consciousness is not adequate and they have to be encouraged to form their own democratic institutions of peoples' power. For participation in elections there has to be an adequate organizational structure and development in the organisation of the Party of the Proletariat.

The best example of this is that of the election campaigns in Punjab in 1997, 1998 and 1999. The 1997 Lok Morch election rally in Moga and the 1997 and 1998 election campaigns projected the revolutionary alternative in a most effective way. Here the politics of active political campaign was depicted in contrast to participation and boycott. People were educated in the need for enhancing their own class struggles and forming their own revolutionary democratic mass organization representing their striking power. The reactionary ruling class politics was explained. The effect it had on the Revolutionary masses was like a red flame lighting the villages and towns or a prairie fire being lit. (Refer to Article on Mass Line Struggles.)

3. The correct relationship between the mass organization and the Party.

The political Party can only raise the politics compatible with the majority of members of the mass organization. Mass Organisations must be given their own identity. It is essential that party forces do not convert such forums into mere fronts. Only when the majority of members in a mass organization can identify themselves with the politics of a political group can a mass organization function as a Front Organisation.

The relationship of a mass organization and a party in the revolutionary movement is like the relationship of a wheel to an axle or the brain to the heart. In a human body if either the brain or the heart fails, life will come to an end. The party is like a heart in the human body pumping blood which travels all around the human body. The blood is the equivalent of the mass organization (links to the various parts of the body) and the parts are like the masses. The mass organizations are the blood traveling to all parts of the body.

The Punjab Experience of the Front Against Repression and Communalism and the current Lok Morcha is a perfect example. So is the Malkangiri Adivasi Sangh in Orissa. In the earlier phase of the movement of the 1970's the movement of the Punjab Students Union in the 70's and the People's Literary and Cultural Federation is of significance. The correct trend refutes the imposition of Mao Tse Tung Thought on the mass organization. In the 1970's the lesson of the Punjab Student's Union was of great significance. The struggles it led of the students for fees, against bus fare hikes and the connection it launched with the peasant's struggles was of great relevance. It not only showed the essential need for revolutionary mass organization but the need of the revolutionary party to function democratically within them.

The People's Literary and Cultural Federation, Democratic Students Organisation and the Organisation of Protection for Democratic Rights played a similar role in Andhra Pradesh. They prevented the philosophy of Mao Tse Tung Thought being imposed on the mass organizations and emphasized the building of a mass revolutionary movement.

The formation and functioning of the Front against Repression and Communalism in Punjab is a perfect lesson in the relationship between the mass organization and the party. The Front was formed as a mass revolutionary resistance center to combat the twin onslaught of State and Khalistani terror. No political force could use it to project its political image and the Front would disallow its use as a forum for polemic debate or political controversy. In this way the mass section of people would be won over. This played a major role in the successful resistance launched during the Khalistani movement.

In recent years the best examples of correct relationship of the Party with the mass organizations with the party have been those of the Lok Morcha, Punjab Dehati Masdoor Union, the correct trend within the Bharatiya Kisan Union Ekta and the Malkangiri Adivasi Sangh.

During the 1999 election campaign the revolutionary party introduced a separate handbill for the party cadre to educate them. Separate handbills were printed for advanced sections and separate handbills for mass sections. Within mass organizations only the level of politics compatible with the political understanding of the masses was introduced and for this reason the Mould and Steel Workers Union introduced a handbill of lower political content which reached out to broad sections of less politically conscious workers. The Electricity Workers, with more advanced political consciousness, formed a Revolutionary Workers Front, a forum with more advanced political consciousness.

Within the B.K.U.(Ekta) the revolutionary trend has fought against imposing the party policies on the mass organizations. This facilitated the major campaigns, protesting globalisation policies, G.A.T.T., etc., protesting peasant suicides, defying police barriers, etc. Mantaining the mass organisation's independence played a great role in that.

The Revolutionary Group work leading the Malkangiri Adivasi Sangh ensured that the party politics would never be imposed on the mass organizations. Idioms for the commom Adivasis were introduced where politics was introduced in ways the tribals could understand them. Indian folk tale figures were made equivalents of figures in revolutionary struggle. An animal folk tale was narrated to explain imperialism. Handbills were only introduced after the acceptance of the committees. Political resolutions of the Sangh would only be passed with the approval of the committeee. Democratic discussion and persuasion was an essential feature in the Sangh's method of work. Activity was regularized. People were encouraged to take up programmes on their own initiative. Mass organization members were made to draft their own leaflets and programmes. Special Charter of Demands were made on every May Day which were distributed on a mass scale. The significance of each demand was discussed in each village committee. (Please refer to Mass Line Compilation on the Malkangiri Movement.)

4. The correct understanding of the international situation and era.

The revolutionary trend still believes that revolution is the principal trend at the international level and that it is the era of "Leninism' and the era of 'imperialism and proletarian revolution.' This trend always rejected Dengs 3 World Theory (which is irrelevant now with the demise of the Soviet Union as a superpower) and also rejects the formation of a new International until there is adequate development of the proletarian revolutionary line amongst Communist Parties in the world. The collapse of the Comintern in 1943 and the fact that even in Mao's era an International was not formed supports this argument. No Communist Party of one country can lead the political policy of another Communist Party. This occurred between Stalin's party and Mao in 1928 as well as on East European Countries in the late 40's.

The Trend also rejects Maoism replacing Mao Tse Tung Thought as it was never used by the Chinese Communist Party in the Cultural Revolution period. The Peruvian Communist Party has gone as far as adding Gonzalo Thought before completing the revolution. On completing the Chinese Revolution it was called Marxism-Leninism and the Thought of Mao Tse Tung. Lenin developed the colonial thesis and discovered imperialism as a higher stage of caplitalism. Mao only developed Leninism through his developing the theory of 'continuous revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat'. Even if Mao developed the military theory of protracted people's war, it is wrong to call Mao's theories as an 'Ism' in itself. (It's not an era of Maoism.)

The other significant aspect of the international line was despite the strategic fall of the Soviet Union as a superpower, U.S. imperialism could not be differentiated until there was a situation of sharpened imperialist contention for world markets. The present day imperialist drive represents the combined assault of imperialism of various countries. When both the superpowers existed they could be tactically differentiated from the other imperialist countries but after the demise of the Soviet Union as a superpower this tactical differentiation lost its relevance and their aspect of contention was demoted to a secondary position. Thus the proletarian revolutionary trend stresses on tactically not differentiating U.S Imperialism, but Imperialism as such.

5. The correct perspective on nationality question.

This trend does not uphold the armed nationality movements in the Country (e.g., Assamese People, Tamil Liberation Struggle, and Kashmiri armed struggle forces) as nationality struggles as the groups leading those struggles--however democratic is their cause--are affected or vitiated by imperialist forces. Even if one secular organization is fighting for the Kashmiri people's self-determination, its political content is still affected or vitiated by imperialism. It maintained links with fundamentalist organizations and often negotiated with imperialist countries, making no clear-cut demarcation from non-proletarian forces.

The nationality movements have made no clear cut demarcation from imperialist content in their political line or from the ruling classes for that matter. Only when nationality movements connect with the proletarian revolutionary struggles and demarcate from all ruling class or imperialist forces can they be upheld.

6. The correct approach towards the trade union movement.

Party forces should work within trade unions only as Fractions. The revolutionary Party must create politically conscious cores of the working class within trade unions and build up separate worker's platforms. Such revolutionary political platforms consisting of workers with advanced political consciousness play an instrumental role not only in mobilizing the workers but also instilling agrarian revolutionary politics and urging workers to lead the peasants. This trend has been particularly predominant amongst the Electricity workers in Punjab abd the Kanoria Jute Mill Workers in West Bengal.

7. Uphold the leadership and concept of the vanguard role of the Revolutionary Party and maintain the secrecy of the party.

The revolutionary trend opposes open functioning and maintains that such a tendency will capitulate the revolutionary forces to the enemy. The masses must through their day-to-day struggles have the party politics explained to them, and any shortcut system of opening the party forces to the masses would have a superficial effect. The Party forces would be opened out to the enemy.

In this regard revolutionary democratic struggle in Punjab against the Khalistani communal fascists is of great significance. The party banner had been used in an appropriate manner and the organization ensured that the main party forces were not exposed. The Naxalbari commemoration preparation and conference in Rajeana in Punjab in 1994 ensured that a balance was kept in exposing the party forces.

8. Upholding that India is a semi-feudal, semi-colonial country and that the principal contradiction was between feudalism and the broad masses.

Only by strengthening the contradiction between feudalism and the broad masses can the contradiction between imperialism and the broad masses be strengthened. This trend has refuted the 2 negative trends of either terming the Indian State of having political or semi-independence or the other that terms India as a neo-colony. The Indian State had its roots in the surrendering of the Congress regime to the British colonial power and the 1947 Independence was a mere transfer of power. However India is a slave of the policies of various Imperialist countries combined and no single country (like the Latin American countries) and thus cannot be termed a neo-colony.

9. The correct approach to the unity of the party.

This is that there is no re-organised proletarian party in India and all the revolutionary groups are merely components of the ultimate party and no group can claim to be the party. It has also shown the correct method of functioning with other organizations in the Front Against Repression and communalism. It also correctly dealt with groups of left adventurist understanding in Andhra Pradesh through the Srikakulam Girijan Sangham.

The proletarian revolutionary trend stresses building a re-organised revolutionary party. Today in the Communist Revolutionary Camp there are right deviationist and left deviationist tendencies. There are major differences between the strategic and tactical line amongst various groups. For unification issues connected to all aspects of the line have to be clinched and resolved.

The differentiation of the proletarian revolutionary trend had been the tortuous process taken up for their unification to their latest stage and the principled unity. In contrast there have been unity of 7 Groups in 1993 of the Janashakti Group which has now split into 4 streams. In Bihar armed squads of groups belonging to the same left adventurist trend have clashed. This was principally because they were unable to have a correct unity approach. Instead of concentrating interests on building the revolutionary party as a whole, they put greater emphasis on the building or interests of their group. There has to be a proper revolutionary method of conduct through which mutual differences are resolved. Groups competing wuth each other and challenging other groups from entering their ares negates the longterm interests of the revolutionary movement.

10. Implementation of democratic centralism within the party organization.

Democracy and centralism of a party organization are linked together in a party like a skin to a bone. Overstress on one aspect lowers the party's capability of formulating or developing the proletarian revolutionary line. Neglecting or denying one aspect is like a skeleton of the human body without flesh or vice versa. Inner party democracy is like the organs of a human body co-ordinating with each other.

Democracy stresses on building the correct policies or line of action through participation of ranks and sharing their views and experiences. Centalism demands forging the correct policy through reviewing the experiences of implementing the correct line and then implementing the collective will. In this way the striking power of the party of the people is built up against the enemy.

11. Correctly dealing with castes and communalism.

The Chinese Communist party never had to contend with the problems of casteism and communalism which are major hurdles for Indian revolutionaries (a unique feature of the Indian situation) to climb over. To combat communal terror mass political forums have to be set up explaining the relationship between the State and communalism. Such Fronts must enhance people's self-defence capabilities creating mass combat during riots or communal attacks.

During the 1992 Communal Riots in India after the demolition of the Babri Masjid, the revolutionary trend played an instrumental role in encouraging and building people's self-defence committees, confronting the communal Hindu fanatic Vishwa Hindu Parishad forces led by the Bharatiya Janata Party, with the blessings of the ruling Congress party. In States like Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra such committees orgainsed self-defence in stopping riots and giving mass resistance to Hindu and communal Muslim forces.

The Mass Revolutionary Trend

The mass revolutionary Trend had it's origins in the Telengana Armed Struggle between 1946 to 1951 and culminated in Tarimala Nagi Reddy and Devullapali Venkateswara Rao's line. In 1964 there was the historic demarcation of Communist Revolutionaries from the revisionist Communist Party of India (Marxist) in Andhar Pradesh. At a national Level Charu Mazumdar combated revisionism within the CPI-M and ultimately formed the All India Co-ordination Committee of Communist Revolutionaries (AICCCR). This ultimately took a left adventurist path. Nagi Reddy refuted Charu Mazunmdar's left adventurist line which upheld individual anihilations and 'China's Chairman as Our Chairman.'

Nagi Reddy was a leading figure in the Andhra Pradesh Co-ordination Committee of Communist Revolutionaries of India. In 1968 he joined AICCCR, but on February 7th 1969 disaffliliated himself from it. Nagi Reddy and D.V Rao opposed the formation of the CPI(ML) onApril 22nd 1969. They claimed that it was a premature stage to form the party and that the time of party formation had to be deferred. Charu Mazumdar vehemently propgated against Nagi Reddy, slandering him as a revisionist.

The Party had not been formed in accordance with the mass revolutionary line. To some critics it was formed from above (eg Mohan Ram). The reasons were that Charu was not followong Mao's line of protracted people's war but wase following the line of individul annihilations. Charu also called for abandoning of mass organisations. Nagi Reddy and D.V.Rao opposed this. They also opposed boycott [of elections] as a strategic slogan for the Indian revolution.

The armed struggle was prematurely launched before the adequate co-relation of revolutionary forces with the ruling classes. Charu also labeled the entire bourgeoisie as comprador. He refused to recognize that the Indian national bourgeoisie was an ally of the revolution and not antagonistic.

In 1975 Nagi Reddy founded the Unity Centre of Communist Revolutionaries of India [UCCRI(ML)]. Devullapali Venkatewra Rao was appointed the Secretary. Both these Comrades had played a significant role in the Telengana Armed Struggle and Comrade D.V. even wrote the historic Andhra Thesis. On July 28th 1976 Nagi Reddy died. In 1976 the Punjab Coordination Committee of Communist Revolutionaries joined UCCRI(ML).

In 1979 the UCCRI(ML) split on the grounds of Comrade Devullapali Venkateswra Rao propagating the Three Worlds theory and upholding Deng's leadership in China. A major Comrade was instrumental in forming his own section of UCCRI(ML) around this issue. Later on, in 1988, another Comrade split off another section of UCCRI(ML) on the same grounds.

In 1988 a new formation, the Centre of Communist Revolutionaries of India (CCRI), was formed by these two splitoff sections of UCCRI(ML) together with three other groups [CPI(ML) Chandrashekar Group, the Revolutionary Communist Party [of India], and the OCCPI(ML)]. The influence of the two Comrades who had split the UCCRI(ML) earlier (forming separate factions of the UCCRI(ML) in 1979 and 1988) had a major influence and they acted as the chief mediators of the unification. The documents upheld were the 1976 documents with the addition of an appendix in 1977 with regards to the international line. The major stress was on the correct relationship between the party and mass organizations and the correct unity process.

For a considerable period of time these groups had negotiations with each other, exchanging experiences. A unity line was declared. This stated:

  1. If there are groups which have similar political lines unity discussions should take place and the groups should merge.

  2. If there are groups adhering to the proletarian revolutionary line in practice but have important differences on certain questions of the line, the differences should be resolved through bilateral talks and mutual co-operation.

  3. With groups which have similarities on important aspects of the line but whose line and practice are affected by the chief deviationist trends of the day, effort must be made to extricate such groups from the hold of the opportunistic trends. At the mass organization level unity can be brought about.

  4. To groups who have been totally captured by revisionism, efforts must be made to win over cadres who still are revolutionary.

  5. Strong effort must be made to win over cadres from the revisionist left parties.

The organization claimed that despite the historic demarcation of Communist Revolutionary Forces from the revisionsist Communist Party of India (Marxist), the revolutionaries were unable to re-organise the Communist Party of India. In that period two lines played havoc with the revolutionary movement. The first was the line of 'Annihilation of Class Enemies' and the second was the line of the 'Broad Democratic Front' which was principally the influence of the Deng Clique.

In 1994 a historic unity took place where four organizations merged to create the most recent unity development in the proletarian revolutionary trend: the Communist Party Reorganization Centre of India (M-L). [The four groups were: the CCRI, the Punjab section of the CPI(ML) Central Team, the Communist Unity Centre of India (CUCI), and the Marxist-Leninist Organising Centre (MLOC).]

Here the most significant development was the merging of a CPI(ML) organisation into the newly formed organisation. They had earlier:

  1. Advocated the boycott of elections as the path for the revolution and termed participation in elections as revisionist, and advocated that the situation was ripe for launching armed struggle and deferring it was revisionst.

  2. Insisted on the recognizing of Charu Mazumdar's CPI(ML) as the re-organised party and that the need of the movement was to restore the eighth Central Committee of the CPI(ML) led by Charu Mazumdar. It also termed Nagi Reddy as a revisionist.

The CPI(ML) Central Team had its major work in Punjab where it was known as the Surkh Rekha Group. For a prolonged period during the Khalistani movement through the Front against Repression and Communalism this group co-operated with the Nagi Reddy Group (CCRI). Finally in 1994 it merged into a single orgnisation. This group now accepted the view that:

  1. Boycott of elections was not a strategic path and the launching of armed struggle had to be deferred. Under certain conditions the tactics of participation could be used and in today's situation only the tactic of "active political campaign" could be used.

  2. That the question of the formation or recognizing of the 1969 CPI(ML) of Charu Mazumdar would be resolved only after the formation of the re-organised party and it was not an obstacle in the unity of the proletarian revolutionary line.

The lesson learnt that through correct work methods and mutual co-operation on the practical plane major groups can extricate themselves from earlier wrong aspects of line. The struggle and joint experience of the Punjab struggle had a great bearing on this.

The Nagi Reddy Group (CCRI) merged with three other groups. It is significant that the CCRI earlier conducted bilateral talks with all the three groups. The CCRI prepared the foundation for multilateral unity talks among the four organisations. It acted as the chief mediator. The important difference in this formation with the other formations of the Nagi Reddy Trend (both in 1976 and in 1988) was the historic evaluation of the formation of Charu Mazumdar's CPI(ML) as a debatable one in contrast to the earlier assessment which totally negated the correctness of its formation.

The most significant aspect of this latest unification [the CPRCI(ML)] of this proletarian revolutionary trend in the Communist Revolutionary Camp took place after a tortuous process of bilateral talks where all aspects of the line and mutual experiences were discussed. It is like climbing a mountain where all the steepness of rocks, tortuous path, thick dense forests, weather conditions and all such factors have to be assessed before and during the mission.

The possible weaknesses of this new unified organization are:

  1. Inability to maintain an all-India political perspective. In States like Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Madhya Pradesh, this group has no work.

  2. Inability to build a mass agrarian revolutionary movement in certain areas of work. Only in Punjab and Orissa have they been able to implement the perspective. In Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal in recent history the impact of this trend has been only on the trade union front. True through peasant fronts, like the Girijan Sangham and the Peasant's Association, marginal work was done in Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal. However it has not been able to create a significant impact. In Bihar the proletarian revolutionary line lost its mass base in the Northern parts of the State (Khagaria, Begusurai, etc.) as a result of the capitulation of a Comrade to the left adventurist line.

However on the whole I think the unified group, the Communist Party Reorganisation Centre of India (M-L), has played a positive role. It has theoretically strived to maintain the proletarian revolutionary line through implementing democratic centralism. However from a Marxist perspective one has to see in the future how this unification can implement democratic centralism and create the grounds for mass revolutionary armed peasant struggle.

In this light it is important to study the history of the Communist Party of China under Mao and the Peruvian Communist Party. Mao refuted the left sectarian Li Li San Line that advocated "Soviet" style of urban-based uprising where the countryside would be neglected and there would be insurrectionist attacks in the cities, as well as Chang Kuo Ta's right deviationist line. Mao was the first revolutionary to practically discover the role of the peasantry as the main force in the agrarian revolution, inspite of the proletariat's leadership role. Mao struggled within the Communist Party of China, within a unified party organization and followed the line and discipline of the party even when his line was not adopted. Through correct political struggle in 1935 Mao's line was upheld in Tsunyi and Li Li San and Chang Kuo Ta's lines were rejected. (Mao was expelled from the Comintern in 1928 but accepted again after the long March.)

The Chinese Communist Party would launch armed actions only after base areas had been consolidated and revolutionary people's organs of power were set up. Not only did they ensure the participation of people in mass struggles but based the Red Army's actions on their movements, whose principal recruits were the revolutionary masses.

The Peruvian Communist Party had its origins under Jose Carlos Marituegi whose line was revolutionary, but in the 1960's a revisionist line came up within the P.C.P. The Red Fraction led by Abimael Guzman launched a hard two line struggle and the revisionist El Prado was expelled. The P.C.P. had to fight two tendencies. The first was against the party resorting to open mass work, the second was the party not using any legal form of struggle, and confining activity to only underground activities. People were sent from Ayacucho, to establish party links with the masses in other parts of the country. This was done in accordance to the strategic needs which flowed from the line and programme around which the unity was emerging.

The Party founded mass organizations and People's Schools. Only after the June 1979 Conference the party held an expanded conference which marked the culminating of the re-organised party. Here it was decided to launch the People's war. Only after careful prepararation and military training was the People's War launched.

The major difference in the Indian situation is that a two line struggle could not take place within a single organisation. However it must be noted that comrade Charu Mazumdar gave no room to T. Nagi Reddy or D.V. Rao to join his organization and slandered them as revisionists. Had there been one group in India even after the splits in the pro-Charu Mazumdar groups, it would have been impossible for Communist Revolutionaries in India to struggle within one unified organisation. It would have been impossible to revive the Punjab Students Union in the 1970's, form the Front against Repression and Communalism, the Lok Morcha and the Malkangiri Adivasi Sangh. The correct understanding of the international line would not have been correctly depicted.

True, Chairman Mao and Comrade Gonzalo's experiences have been based within a single party organisation, but in India the situation was different. In India groups with a left adventurist understanding are no doubt leading big movements in Dandkaranya, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar, but what is being implemented is not Mao's People's Protracted War but "Individual Annihilation of the Class Enemy." No doubt mass organizations have been built but they virtually function as Front organizations and lose their revolutionary mass character in contrast to a tightly knit party organization. The cadres of these groups are no doubt revolutionaries and have fought like lions, several dipping their blood. In contrast rightist groups are becoming a part of the Parliamentary system in no time and their mass fronts are mere economist organisations with hardly any proletarian politics.

The latest unification representing the mass line must pay great emphasis on studying the experiences of the Chinese Communist Party before and during launching armed struggle, particularly Mao's Hunan Report and the way he retreated into the mountains after the Shanghai massacre in the aftermath of the Nanchang Uprising. There is still a long way to go for the proletarian revolutionary line until forming the Red Army and the revolutionary base areas. However the mass revolutionary trend in struggles like the Lok Morcha (in addition to the Punjab Agricultuaral Workers Union and the correct trend within the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta) and the Malkangiri Adivasi Sangh have been closest to Mao's line in today's context. There struggles have set up the base for later creating organ's of people's revolutionary power in contrast to the activities of armed squads of revolutionary groups. (Refer to Mass Line Struggles.)

Thus the formation of the latest organisation, the CPRCI(ML), is like many streams flying down the mountain to form a river or many rivers flowing into a sea or ocean. It is the equivalent of mountain climbers traversing through different paths to climbing a mountain top and in the end converging on one path. The groups pursuing the left adventurist trend are like those of groups struggling to find the correct path while the revisionist groups are lost on the way and are returning.

[August 6, 2003]


[1] Written with reference to the following revolutionary journals:
  1. The Comrade
  2. Frontier
  3. Red Star
  4. A World to Win
  5. In Defence of Democratic Rights
  6. Revolutionary Activist

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