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Maoist tendency of mechanically adhering to Chinese path ignores Indian conditions

By Harsh Thakor 

The C.P.I. (Maoist) formed in 2004 with merger of the C.P.I. (M.L) Peoples War and the Maoist Communist Centre has demonstrated courage in intensity compared to any great revolutionary struggle in the history of the world. It leads the largest armed movement of a Peoples Guerrilla Army in the world today and proved themselves as the true torch bearers of the Indian Communist movement.
Indeed, the people’s war in India, being led by the CPI (Maoist), is of equal importance in the current era, as the Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia, led by Comrade Lenin and the Bolsheviks, was to the decades of the 1910s and 20s. Communist Party of India (Maoist) is one of the strongest, most successful, most dynamic, most popular communist parties on the planet.
They have moved like fish in water and heroically withstood encirclement from the armed forces, brunt of fascist attacks of the state and even aerial attacks, through retaliatory actions in self-defence.
A most illustrative interview reflecting optimism at a helm was conducted last year with party secretary Basavraj which projects the unflinching resilience of the CPI (Maoist) .It deals with every aspect, be it mode of production, capitalist-imperialist destruction o the environment, strategy to combat imperialism, how the Maoist party combats revisionism, optimistic of victory of peoples War in India, LGBT Rights, and situation of revolutionary political prisoners.

Summary of Work

It successfully held the Unity Congress Ninth Congress of the party in 2007 January, which adopted the enriched basic documents and few policy papers.
After the Congress practice continued in the central main task of seizure of state power through armed struggle. In 2005, various state governments unleashed Salwa Judum, Sendra and other such repressive campaigns with the support and in the guidance of the centre in a bid to suppress our movement .The party bravely retaliated Salwa Judum and other campaigns by the end of 2008 through the three forces of PLGA namely the main, secondary and base forces, Revolutionary people’s organs, revolutionary people, progressive and democratic intellectuals and social activists in the leadership of our party.
Later the central and the state governments together embarked on the countrywide strategic multipronged offensive Operation Green Hunt since 2009. Maoist party rose to the hour in counter retaliating until 2017, the objective of Operation Green Hunt to be fulfilled After the state unleashed another multipronged strategic ‘Samadhan ’ offensive since 2017 May. PLGA, Revolutionary Mass Organisations and revolutionary people waged heroic resistance against the Special Police, the Para-military, and Commando forces.
The Maoist party strived to enlighten the people with the politics of New Democratic Revolution as the alternative to the fake parliamentary system and the state of the exploitive classes, organising them, taking up class struggles, developing its subjective strength and build People’s Army. Through waging People’s War-Guerilla War, it combated the exploiative state power of thee ruling classes and constructed the guerrilla bases. Revolutionary peasant committees were planted as the organ of new democratic state power at the village, area and division levels depending on the balance of forces of the movement. These people’s governments are striving to develop agricultural production through collective labour; achieve economic development and self-sufficiency; to cultivate New Democratic culture.
The party adopted a document ‘Changes in Relations of Production in India: Our Political Program’. It ‘answered’ the debate that the relations of production in India turned to be capitalist and affirmed that the Indian social, economic system is yet semi-colonial, semi-feudal. However, it also said, that as a result of the policies of the imperialists, comprador bureaucratic capitalists and feudal classes there are considerable distorted capitalist changes and formulated the Political program and tactics.
It formulated and released a document ‘Nationality Question in India Our Party’s stand’. It made the necessary changes and additions in the documents on Caste Question in India -- our perspective and China -- a new social-imperialist country and re-released those. It prepared and released the Central Political and Organisational Review from the Unity-Ninth Congress of the party held in 2007 until 2020. The CC released a document on the understanding of the party on the formation of an International organisation in its meeting in 2017.

Appraisal

If one assesses the subjective strength of the state forces or the complexities of India possibly the overall achievement of the C.P.I. (Maoist) is as creditable as that of the Peruvian Communist Party earlier or the Communist party of Phillipines today. Late Nicholas Glais of ‘Democracy and Class Struggle’ blog or late journalist Steve Otto in ‘Ottos War Room’ expressed great admiration for them, even if acknowledging gross errors in preparation from attacks like in Orissa, Chhattisgarh and Gadricholi and undertaking no proper review.
Gautam Navlakha in ‘Days and Nights of Heartland o the Rebellion' was convinced that the Maoists were spiritual heirs of Shaheed Bhagat Singh. No force in his view since 1947 has shown such fortitude or relentless commitment to ‘serving the people’ through social transformation.
Quoting Professor Amit Bhattacharya in ‘Storming the Gates of Heaven’ “In DK a new society has been built and is consolidating itself.” People oppressed for ages have stood up with their heads held high. The DK region is the scene of numerous new social, economic and political experiments and these become possible because of their inseparable ties with the ongoing armed revolutionary struggle. In DK region, even when the rest of the Country witnessed a huge famine in 1997 taking a heavy toll of lives, not a single person perished.
It is most positive that it has adopted a self-critical attitude towards policy of extortions committed by leaders and comrades and undertook a campaign to expel such members.
Prashant Bose gave one of the most encouraging interviews where he asserted that inspite of gross setback the Maoist movement was not dwindling. It could be stated that the C.P.I. (Maoist) is not blindly emulating the CCP under Mao but taking into account India’s unique features, in terms of capitalist and imperialist penetration.
Significant that the Maoist have seen a major thorn in the flesh to the corporate plunder in the Bauxite mines of Chhattisgarh. It is laudable how they have resurrected themselves from the deepest depths of despair with counter-retaliatory actions.
Quoting Anirudh Rajan,“Witnessing how long they've sustained revolutionary war in central India, I believe they must have a significant mass base because there would be no other way to hold out against the state when they are both out gunned and outnumbered. This is not to say that they successfully uphold the mass line or not, but that I believe that they struggle to do so in the given circumstances.”
Ajith (Murali) who recently came out of jail has lucidly summarised how the C.P.I.(Maoist_ has testified the credibility of the path of protracted peoples War in part of his interview, “Despite mobilising such a huge force and deploying CRPF, BSF camps every three or four kilometres they couldn’t liquidate out the Maoists. More than 10000 troops have been added after the first Modi government came to power. Despite that this extension took place after that, during 2015-2018. S the facts show that they are not able to tie them down. This is something they themselves admit. At one point the state had claimed that the Maoist movement had been completely wiped out from Andhra. But now once again they themselves are admitting in the newspapers that CPI (Maoist) squads are active in the northern parts of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Similarly, there has been an extension in the trijuncture of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Jharkhand, that took place after 2015. That is we must recollect that this development took place after 10 years of Operation Green Hunt. It took place at a time when there were CRPF, BSF camps every 5 kilometres. So what I am saying is that this growth and development is taking place at a new level.”
Alpa Shah in her writings illustrated how the C.P.I. (Maoist) was based in the soul of the masses and vividly throws light on the relations of intimacy which develop between the mobilizing Maoist forces and the people in the area of struggle.
Bernard De Mello even if not in agreement with the Maoist evaluation showers high praise to the level of resistance in Bastar and building of people’s organisational structures. He doubts it is one the verge of extinction and feels it will prolong. I recommend readers to read his writings on Maoists in 50 years after Naxalbari, which critically defends the resistance. In an article ‘he brilliantly refutes the criticisms of the writers like Ramachandara Guha and Murzban Jal who describe the movement as an infantile rebellion in ‘On some peremptory 'critiques' of India's Maoist movement, published in ‘Monthly Review.’

Defects of Maoist party


However the C.P.I. (Maoist) is vitiated with defective tendencies. Severe shortcomings, weaknesses and limitations sprouted in the process of development of the Party, People’s Army and United Forums. Due to the shortcomings and limitations in adopting and implementing tactics according to the changes in the relations of production owing to imperialist globalisation policies and in the conditions of war, due to the lack of enough bolshevisation of the party, and constant counter-revolutionary offensive on the party and the revolutionary movement, of the Indian ruling classes, the party faced considerable losses. Scores of central and state leaders were arrested since 2005 and the party faced a severe loss. 21 members of the CC were arrested after the Congress. Seven became martyrs in fake encounters, encounter and 13 CCMs out of ill health. The losses were mainly in the urban and plain areas. The party could not protect the revolutionary leadership and the subjective forces in the severe enemy offensive and thus a grave setback arose.
In Gadricholi the Maoists claim to have sent a ‘guerrilla company’ to salvage the strength of the PLGA. The rare admission has come in a Maoist document titled ‘The Growth of People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army in the Long-term Democratic People’s War (2000-2020),’ issued by them recently, to mark the PLGA’s formation in December 2000.
The document gives an account of the Maoists’ major accomplishments, failures and challenges towards the goal of attaining ‘a new democratic people’s revolution’ through a ‘people’s war’. This document, which has been reviewed by the FPJ, while referring to Gadchiroli and Gondia districts in Maharashtra state (identifying these as ‘guerrilla zones’, along with the ‘Balaghat-Bhandara divisions’ in Madhya Pradesh state), claims that they had faced ‘serious oppression’, as a result of which their ‘movement’ had to effect a ‘temporary retreat’.
“The party and the PLGA had to make sacrifices in a bid to carry forward the movement, while facing formidable attacks that came in the course of the enemies’ counter-guerrilla war against us, which became more serious by the day. The urban movement had to make a temporary retreat. Due to the losses suffered in those areas, the movement there had to retreat temporarily,” the document states.
Regrettably today the backbone is being broken of the Maoist resistance with hundreds of their important leaders or activists are being liquidated day by day, either in false encounters or stage managed offensives. In most cases the Peoples Liberation Army has been unable to replenish its own losses and many members have deserted it to join Border security forces.
CPI (Maoist) doesn't see the relationship between it's practice and line and squarely blames on state repression.CPI (Maoist), when it reviews for its setbacks in terms of subjective forces, it says that it was due to spontaneity and liberalism. To rectify these as well as to face state repression, it advises the Party vaguely to increase dedication, sacrifice, etc., it blames only state repression mainly and not absence of mass line .It has undergone no proper review. In essence, CPI (Maoist vitiates massline with militaristic practice.
The CPI (Maoist) is unable to establish genuine agrarian revolutionary movement, revolutionary base areas or mass organizations with genuinely democratic functioning, like the CPC in the 1930-40s. It is doubtful it is on the path of expanding beyond the tribal belt into the plain areas and urban regions.
Overall even if it emulates mass line in important certain respects, in totality it cannot be described as an adherent of the mass line. Real self-governance has not been not established, with genuine liberated areas not established, Practice within mass organisations is controlled by dictates of the party. Frequent instances have arisen of stray armed actions without centralisation of the party. Tendency not to separate the role of the party with the people’s guerrilla army, with insufficient Bolshevisation of the party.
In Jharkhand and Orissa there are many cases of people’s guerrilla army members abandoning their organisations and the armed squad actions not able to sustain people's movements of tribal’s or peasantry. Prominent trend of functioning as multiple groups in Jharkhand..In Orissa in stages after organising a movement against it, the party even joined hands with Essar mining group, and abandoned a struggle.
Writer Alpa Shah in ‘Night March of the Guerrillas reflects the glaring lack of genuine democracy in Jharkhand the Maoist Movement., not respecting the democratic culture of the Adivasis. Civil rights activists like Bela Bhatia have been critical of many undemocratic practices of the Maoists in Bastar.
It is also regrettable that even there have been cases of extortion from the tribals by the party members, demanding levy from contractors and assassinating heads of panchayats or rich peasantry. The party has adopted tactics of ‘Boycott of Elections’ with Lenin even stating that extra- parliamentary tactics could be utilised. Often the ‘boycott’ tactic has operated in favour of ruling class parties, indirectly backing parliamentary party candidates.
Tendencies still exist of mechanically adhering to the Chinese path instead of devising a path of protracted peoples or forming a red army in accordance with the unique conditions of India. Not only does India have a firmly entrenched parliamentary system unlike China but significant changes have also taken place after advent of globalisation and electronic age.
Tilak Dasgupta said the party was ineffective in breaking out of its narrow confines and reach wider sections of the people – the working class, as well as the small producers and farmers who were waging a last ditch battle against big corporates.
Bernard De Mello questions why the Maoist has not succeeded in converting a Guerrilla Zone into base area and its inability to penetrate the plain areas. He also projected the weakness o the Maoist in fortifying their defence and becoming vulnerable. Overall it is questionable whether subjective factors exist in India to pave way for an armed struggle

Recent confrontations

Police arrested CPI (Maoist) Pamedu Local Organization Squad commander Gotta Bujji alias Kamala at Taliperu dam in Cherla mandal in Bhadradri Kothagudem district last Friday. An encounter between a squad of CPI (Maoist) cadres and security personnel took place in the jungle of Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district on June 7.
Three personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were injured on Monday when a pressure improvised explosive device (IED) planted by Naxalites went off in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district. A Divisional Committee Member (DCM) of the CPI (Maoist) suffered a gunshot wound in an encounter with a joint team of the district police and the Border Security Force (BSF) in Chhattisgarh’s Kanker district Friday night.
Two commandos of the Central Reserve Police Force’s jungle warfare unit CoBRA were injured in an encounter between security forces and a squadron of cadres belonging to the CPI (Maoist) in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district, police said on May 22.Several Maoists also received bullet injuries in the firefight which took place at around 8 p.m. on Sunday in Bijapur district, located around 400 km from the State capital Raipu.
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Harsh Thakor is a freelance journalist who had done extensive research on Indian Maoist movement. Owes gratitude to Bernard De’Mello, Alpa Shah, Amit Bhattacharya

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