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Maoist Movement-II

Letters

Maoist Movement

I

I
n his article (July 22, 2006), the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] leader Sitaram Yechury makes two important points. One, he lauds the Nepal Maoists for entering “the democratic mainstream” and contrasts this with the approach of Indian Maoists. Two, he claims that the split of CPI in 1964 into CPI and CPI(M) was a logical extension of the latter’s characterisation of the Indian ruling classes as “an alliance between the bourgeoisie and the landlords”, which came in “direct conflict with the [CPI’s] assessment of revisionism ... in terms of collaboration and support to the Indian ruling class”.

I find no dichotomy in the approaches of Indian and Nepalese Maoists. Nepal Maoists waged an armed struggle since their founding in 1995 and by the time they entered the “democratic mainstream” in April 2006, they controlled more than one-half of Nepal with significant influence in the rest of the country. They then got the other seven parliamentary parties to essentially adopt their original programme. How does Yechury know that Indian Maoists will not do the same if, by some chance at some future time, they succeed in establishing decisive control over the Indian polity?

The assertion of Yechury that CPI(M)’s characterisation of the Indian ruling classes was correct in 1964 and remains correct now raises two issues.

First, Marxism does not envision an alliance between feudalism and capitalism; it has not happened elsewhere and is not happening in India. If the feudal landlords, whose highest rungs under British rule were the various maharajas and rajas followed by assorted nawabs and large zamindars, were an integral part of the ruling alliance, they would not have agreed to the abolition of 562 princely states controlling one-quarter of the Indian population and the zamindari system. Capitalists, on the other hand, especially the large capitalists, have exercised significant economic power both under the licence-permit raj and under liberalisation, while not suffering any major restrictions on capital accumulation. Incidentally, CPI(M) and Indian Maoists have almost identical views on the character of the Indian ruling classes.

Second, if CPI’s support for the Congress, especially Indira Gandhi, was incorrect then why is CPI(M)’s support for governments led by the V P Singh-Jan Sangh alliance, Deve Gowda and Sonia Gandhi correct, since there has been no change in the nature of the ruling classes? And how is CPI(M)’s position “that the Indian bourgeoisie, as a whole, had a dual character” and “also has conflicts with imperialism” different from the position of the undivided CPI?

In order to retain consistency between their respective analyses and political positions, the CPI(M) should unite with the CPI into a single party and adopt the original name CPI.

DAYA VARMA

Westmount, QC, Canada

II

A
t a time when there is a spurt of interest about Maoists and Naxalites, the special section on the Maoist movement in India was useful. But providing an opportunity only to a leader of the CPI(M) to present his party’s position and not providing the same to leading cadres of the Naxalite movement made the discussion lopsided. The inclusion of the views of Kanu Sanyal, general secretary of CPI(ML), would have given a concrete picture about the beginning of the movement and its further developments. The EPW has tried to put forward its own perception of the movement by presenting the views of mostly those who support the Maoists.

Yechury implies that the CPN(Maoist) has already come nearer to his party’s position and hopes that the CPI(Maoist) and other Naxalites will rectify their line similarly. In order to attack the characterisation of the Indian big bourgeoisie as comprador bureaucrat,

(Continued on p 4384)

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Economic and Political Weekly October 14, 2006

Letters

(Continued from p 4302)

he has misrepresented the Comintern documents. The Comintern advocated “the revolutionary method of fighting against the imperialist yoke and survivals of feudalism” by putting forward the strategic slogan of “the democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry which does away with all monopolies and with all the privileges of imperialism, which accomplishes the agrarian revolution and thereby creates (in alliance with the proletariats of the advanced countries) the postulates for the non-capitalist development of the colonial countries”. This was based on its analysis that the bourgeoisie in the colonial and semi-colonial countries are comprador in character and cannot lead the democratic revolution. The Marxist-Leninists can understand the difference between independent, comprador and puppet, and so Yechury’s attempt to confuse the issue is not going to help him. Today, when even whatever sovereignty the country had, and whatever progressive character Indian foreign policy had are also being thrown to the winds (to serve US imperialism) by the UPA government supported by his party, it is becoming clearer than ever that the big bourgeoisie is comprador in character.

The way Yechury is lauding the Maoists in Nepal should make one careful, for the appreciation from a social democrat like him means many things, especially when he has gone to Nepal as the UPA government’s emissary to bring around the Maoists. His party, the CPI(M) has degenerated to such an extent that it is not only implementing imperialist globalisation and reversing even the existing agrarian reforms and ceiling laws in the states where it is in power, but it is also interfering in the internal affairs of Nepal to serve the ruling classes in India. So to have included Yechury in the debate only helped to distort it. While we can learn some lessons from the experience of the revolutionary struggle in Nepal, they cannot be mechanically applied in India or elsewhere. At the same time, some of the theoretical questions put forward by Prachanda about multiparty democracy and democracy in general call for an in-depth discussion.

K N RAMACHANDRAN

Secretary, CPI(ML), New Delhi

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