October 18, 2009
THREE people were shot to death during a prize giving ceremony of a football match in Mayurbhanj district of Orissa. A bus carrying pilgrims to the Ajmer Sherif was shot at in Isri in Jharkhand's Giridih district, seriously injuring twelve passengers. Railway tracks have been blown up in various parts of Bihar and Jharkhand. Tourists were looted in the Similipal tiger reserve in Orissa, while forest offices were ransacked looting rifles and wireless communication sets. Schools in Lakhi Sarai district and the Nawadih Middle School in Chatra were dynamited. Roads and bridges have been damaged disrupting traffic on the highways. Explosives have been repeatedly used to damage telecommunication towers.
This is the track record of the first three days of this week of Maoist violence that is sparing not even innocent women and children. The murderous attacks in Medinapur district of West Bengal continue with the latest victim being a member of the Jharkhand party. As reported earlier, nearly 130 members and activists of the CPI(M) have lost their lives in such attacks in recent weeks. The CPI(M) continues to be targeted as it is in the forefront of the battle against such motivated violence and to protect the lives and properties of the innocent people. This is apart from the `ideological' reasons that are advanced to attack the CPI(M), to which we shall return later.
Contrary to the infatuated romantic description that Maoist influence is spreading because they espouse the cause of the most marginalised sections like the tribals, the truth is that control over administration of a territory provides substantial pecuniary as well as political power. This is the driving force behind much of their violent activities. This has been confirmed by the outpouring of information that the Maoist leader, Chatradhar Mahato has provided following his arrest in Lalgarh, West Bengal. Contrary to the propaganda that the People's Committee against Police Atrocities was a spontaneous creation by local tribals, Mahato has revealed that this was a front created by the Maoists to be used to cordon off an area out of bounds for the police and civil administration. The so-called Maoist `liberated zone'. This was to shelter the Maoists who were then being hunted by the police following the land mine blast near Salboni targeted to assassinate chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya. In their typical style, like they did earlier in Nandigram, all roads and communication channels leading to this area were disrupted. Simultaneously, all those who resisted such a capture by the Maoists, mainly the CPI(M), were targeted for elimination.
Mahato also revealed that the Maoists received complete support and protection from the Trinamool Congress. This assisted them in spreading the reach of the `committee' to many neighbouring villages. Local Trinamool leaders would provide both shelter and assistance for the Maoists to spread their activities. Clearly, the Trinamool Congress both patronised and provided the political cover for the Maoists to spread their activities and target the CPI(M) leaders and the Left Front's support base for advancing its political and electoral fortunes. Mahato has also revealed that the so-called `intellectuals' mobilised by the Trinamool Congress also provided huge amounts of monetary donations for sustaining their activities. The Maoist-Trinamool nexus has become so integrated that one of the Maoist leaders in an interview, in Ananda Bazar Patrika (October 4), openly declared their desire to see Mamata Banerjee as the next chief minister of West Bengal!
It is, therefore, little wonder that the ministers in the union cabinet belonging to the Trinamool Congress are pressurising the union government to withdraw the central security forces which are currently in joint operations with the state security forces against the Maoist activities. Apart from legitimising the brutality of Maoist violence, the Trinamool Congress is directly negating the assessments of the prime minister and the union home minister that Maoist violence constitute the greatest threat to India's internal security. This sounds appropriate given the fact that the same number of 17 lives were lost in the Maoist attack at Gadchiroli as in the Taliban terrorist attack on the Indian Embassy in Kabul. Yet, the Trinamool Congress ministers continue to remain in the union cabinet. The UPA and Congress party owes an answer to the country.
That the Maoists represent the voice and champion the interests of the downtrodden sections of the people has, once again, been belied when their call for a boycott of elections in Gadchiroli failed to evoke the expected response. The polling percentage here was much higher than that in the country's commercial capital city of Mumbai. Their domination in any area is, thus, mainly out of terror rather than the support and sympathy of the exploited and the marginalised people.
The cause of the exploited and the marginalised forms the core agenda of the CPI(M) and the Left parties in our country. The elimination of such conditions of misery lies in the powerful mobilisation of the mass of the people in political actions that should eventually lead to the replacement of the Indian ruling classes and, hence, the reversal of the policies that are based on exploitation of man by man and the immiserisation of the vast masses of people. In the run up to such a powerful mass upsurge, popular protests and pressures will have to be mounted on the ruling classes at every stage to protect the livelihood of this vast mass of people. This means that all the neo-liberal economic policies, spearheaded by imperialist globalisation, that have been imposing unprecedented miseries on the people need to be opposed. During the course of this decade or so, in many battles that have occurred against the ruling class policies and imperialism, have the Maoists ever been seen, leave alone heard, to raise their voice on such vital matters?
Further, for the toiling people to succeed in their struggle against exploitation, it is of utmost necessity that their class unity is strengthened in such struggles. Communalism disrupts precisely such unity by exploiting the religious sentiments amongst the people. For the revolutionary advance of the Indian people it is necessary that the communal offensive must be weakened and defeated. Where do the Maoists stand in this battle? They are promoting a person to be the future chief minister of West Bengal who served as a cabinet minister in the Vajpayee government, remaining silent, thus implicitly supporting, the State-sponsored communal genocide in Gujarat. She is serving as a cabinet minister today in the Manmohan Singh government. Such is the opportunism of the Maoist `class assault' against the State.
Today's Maoists are the result of a partial reuniting of the hopelessly fragmented naxalite groups following their split with the CPI(M) in 1967. Following the formation of the Communist Party of India (ML) in 1969 by Charu Majumdar, this underwent various splits and re-splits for over three decades. Of these, the Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) in Bihar and the People's War Group (PWG) in Andhra Pradesh merged to form the CPI(Maoist) in 2004.
The Maoists split from the CPI(M) on the basis of their assessment of the character of the Indian ruling classes. According to them, the Indian ruling classes were `comprador', i.e., mere agents of imperialism not having any meaningful social and political base amongst the Indian people. Hence, all that was required was to arm the Indian people and launch a `people's war' to achieve revolutionary liberation. Thus, arose the naxalbari appraisal soon to be quelled by the State.
Despite the experience of the last four decades, which vindicated the CPI(M)'s understanding that the bourgeois-landlord Indian ruling classes had a strong political and social base among the Indian people, the naxal/Maoist groups continued with their earlier assessment. The CPI(M), on the other hand, has been working to change the correlation of class forces amongst the Indian people by using both parliamentary and extra parliamentary methods in order to bring about a revolutionary change. This, the Maoists see, as the legitimisation of the parliamentary democracy in India and, hence, they target the CPI(M) as their principal enemy.
Concrete analysis of concrete conditions is the living essence of dialetics, as Lenin said. If the conditions are not properly understood, then faulty analysis leads to a faulty political line. The task of mobilising the people and changing the correlation of class forces amongst the people, cannot be replaced by seeking the submission of the people through the terror of the gun. In the process, poor Mao Zedong, the legendary Communist who led the Chinese revolution to victory, through a powerful, then the mightiest in the world, people's movement is invoked to justify the very opposite of what he had practiced. Mao had taught all of us that no revolution can succeed unless Communists mingle with the people like fish takes to water. This can never happen through the terror of the gun.
In the final analysis, the praxis of the Maoists is benefitting those very reactionary forces like the Trinamool Congress and, in the absence of any opposition to either imperialism or communalism, they only ensure the continuance of the edifice of class exploitation. Since 1967 when they parted company with the CPI(M), we have been urging them to abjure the politics of violence and terror, and to return to the democratic mainstream and mobilise the people for a revolutionary change. After all, it was Mao who said, “Let a hundred flowers bloom, let a thousand thoughts contend”.
October 14, 2009