Saturday, March 20, 2021

DEEPEN THE UNDERSTANDING OF MARXISM IN THE COURSE OF STUDY, APPLICATION AND PRACTICE

It is 172 years since the MANIFESTO OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY authored by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels was first printed and released on Feb 21st 1848. Since then, it continues to guide the ideas and work of the Communists in the entire world.

It is a welcome move that 5 left Publishing Houses have jointly printed and released 1,00,000 copies of the MANIFESTO on Feb 21st 2020 in Telugu. It came at a time when the reaction is reining the world and crying hoarse about the death of Communist ideology. So, taking the Manifesto widely can be a part of the move to assert the continued validity of Communist ideology.

In its long life, the World Communist Movement had touched highest peaks in terms of its spread, influence and achievements. Not only the Communist Movement had led Great revolutions to victory but also had created the exemplary models of new life and new society. It had produced the great Marxist teachers like Lenin, Stalin and Mao who had superbly and successfully elaborated, interpreted and enriched Marxism in the course of applying it to concrete conditions and the concrete practice of class struggle. It had produced countless leaders, cadres, proletarian fighters, cadres and ranks and the Marxist intellectuals who valiantly upheld and defended Marxism in the face of unrelenting attacks from the alien class forces, bourgeoisie intellectuals and slanderers as well as from the petty bourgeoisie wobblers, vacillators and various types of deviators. It had developed crores of Communists who had set up inspiring and quite emulating examples of Communist convictions, values, Communist life styles, discipline and sacrifices and total dedication to the people.

At the same time, we also have seen the slackening of the study of Marxism, dilution of Communist convictions, spread of wrong trends, confusions, vacillations and pessimistic tendencies in the Communist Movement in the conditions when the Communist and revolutionary movements had suffered serious setbacks, reversals and losses at the international level as well as in individual countries.

Today, when reaction is on the offensive in the world and the attacks on the Communist and progressive forces have intensified, it is difficult for the Communist forces to withstand and effectively counter this onslaught without arming ourselves with the Communist ideology and strong communist convictions.

We see weak philosophical and ideological foundations in the present generation. We also see a fall in the number of senior and experienced comrades who can impart and train the younger generation in the fundamentals of Marxism. It is also true that the influences of alien ideologies and petty-bourgeoisie trends as well as the divisions in the Communist Movement also create a favorable ground to the spread of confusions, vacillations and desertions in the Communist Movement. So, making the Manifesto of the Communist Party available to the widest masses of Communist ranks, motivating them towards a deep-going study and application of its various aspects to the concrete conditions and concrete practice of class struggle will go a long way in arming ourselves with the weapon of Marxism.

The Manifesto of the Communist Party is not a statement of 'pious' wishes of two 'noble' men. It embodies all the fundamental ideas of Marx and Engels. As Lenin said: "Marxism was the first to transform socialism from a utopia into a science, to lay a firm foundation for this science, and to indicate the path that must be followed in further developing and elaborating it in all its parts. It disclosed the nature of modern capitalist economy by explaining how the hire of the laborer, the purchase of labor-power, conceals the enslavement of millions of property less people by a handful of capitalists, the owners of the land, factories, mines, and so forth." (Lenin, CW4, P. 216) “It taught us how to discern, beneath the pall of rooted customs, political intrigues, abstruse laws, and intricate doctrines – the class struggle, the struggle between the propertied classes in all their variety and the property less mass, the proletariat, which is at the head of all the property less. It made clear the real task of a revolutionary socialist party; not to draw up plans for refashioning society, not to preach to the capitalists and their hangers-on about improving the lot of the workers, not to hatch conspiracies, but to organize the class struggle of the proletariat and to lead this struggle, the ultimate aim of which is the conquest of political power by the proletariat and the organization of a socialist society." (Lenin, CW4, 210, 211)

One can understand the fundamental ideas of Marxism better by applying them to the concrete situations and concrete practice of class struggle.

The bourgeoisie know it well what great victories the Communist ideology had won since its inception. The models of new societies created by the 1871 Paris Commune; the 1917 Great October Socialist Revolution; the decisive role played by the Socialist Soviet Union, the Communists and Soviet people in the defeat of Fascism (1939-45), in defending world peace and weakening of imperialism; the victory of New Democratic Revolution in China; the great achievements in building socialism in Russia and China; the victories or advances achieved by the National Liberation, National Independence Movements and Peoples Revolutions in a number of Asian, African, Latin American Countries under the leadership of the proletariat; support and solidarity the revolutions had received from the Socialist Countries and people can never be wiped out from the pages of history and the hearts and memories of workers, oppressed nations and people in the world.

The achievements won by the bourgeoisie in the bourgeois-democratic revolutions are in no way comparable to the achievements won by the Communists and the proletariat in the New-democratic and Socialist revolutions. The bourgeois democratic revolutions led by the bourgeoisie were, no doubt, revolutionary in their historic periods, but they were basically aimed at replacing one system of exploitation by another system of exploitation. On the contrary, the revolutions led by the proletariat were aimed at ending the exploiting system as a whole or a definite step towards that aim. Thus the revolutions led by the bourgeoisie and the proletariat were basically different in nature. Bourgeoisie too is aware of this fact.

Bourgeoisie and its hangers-on are tirelessly talking about the end of Communism. Yet, they are not in a position to confidently assert that the proletariat can never recover from its setbacks and lead a victorious revolution because the bourgeoisie knows how their prophecies of doom were repeatedly proved wrong since 1871. They cannot also down play or brush aside the out bursts of people's anger and the revolutionary upheavals at one place or other in the world. They know that their own exploitative and oppressive policies carry with them enough cannon fodder which can explode into massive struggles of people. All their attempts to project the reversals suffered by the revolutions as a failure and end of Communist ideology; all their attempts to prevent the exploited and oppressed people from taking the road of class struggle and revolution and crush with heavy hand every expression of protest and struggle only point out how they are dreaded by the ghost of Communism.

Bourgeoisie is trying to show the revolutions continuing in the state of serious setbacks in the world as a living proof for the correctness of bourgeois ideology and capitalist system. But everyone in the world know that no sooner the bourgeois assumed power, it had abandoned or turned its back to the slogans of bourgeois democratic revolutions. The capitalist system carried in its own womb the seeds of class antagonisms, class contradictions, crises and decay. They continued to intensify and explode at one point or other. The bourgeoisie had thrown out the banners of free economy, free trade, free competition among the capitalist producers and embraced the banner of monopolization of capital, markets and profits by a few. Then came on the world scene imperialism at the highest stage of capitalism. Imperialism had neither abolished the capitalist contradictions, weaknesses and crises nor put the capitalism on the high road of development. Not only this. Imperialism has become a serious road block in the way of development of capitalism. Imperialism had further intensified the contradictions and competitions among the monopoly capitalist groups for markets, spheres of influence and world domination. We have seen how there emerged two belligerent imperialists groups and clashed in the First World War in an attempt to settle the question which of the groups can grab a major share of the loot in the world. We have also seen the Second World War. It began as war between the two imperialist groups and in the course developed into a war to defeat of Fascism. What is to be kept in mind here is: The imperialism - an offshoot of capitalism - is a roadblock in the way of free and independent development of capitalism in various countries of the world. For a long time, we see a situation where not only the proletariat has to fight imperialism to the end in order to consummate the new democratic revolution or socialist revolution, but the bourgeois too have to fight imperialism if it wishes to break itself from the shackles of imperialism.

We see in the countries under the semi-feudal, semi-colonial as well as capitalist systems the economic disparities; the concentration of wealth in the hands of few; the exploitation of labor; oppression; state terrorism; massive loot and destruction of natural resources and environment; the accumulation of weapons which has nothing to do with the protection of national interests, lives, safety and peace of common people, but for the purpose of imposing oppressive rule of exploiting classes on the people; massacres and genocides against people had grown many a times. Hunger, lack of shelter, medicine, literacy, employment, security and discrimination, migrations, costs of daily life, prices, atrocities, etc., had increased several times. Despite all their tall claims about development and welfare, the exploiting systems and regimes are miserably failing to solve any problem of the people.

The imperialist countries which claim to be leading the world capitalist system have their own horrifying stories. Using the so called aid, credit, investment, trade, agreements and sanctions etc., the imperialists are spreading their tentacles of plunder and oppression throughout the world. Poking their roses into the internal affairs of other countries; inciting tensions and clashes between the countries, arming the regimes and indulging in regime toppling games; creating the ghost of terrorism and resort to armed interventions, armed invasions and occupations against other countries and using the control - thus gained to loot their rich natural resources; setting up the military bases to keep the countries and people always in a state of terror and subjugation continues to be the policy of imperialist powers. Thus the imperialism stand as a most plunderous and oppressive system that must be buried by the people in the world.

The fact cannot, however, be denied that the Communist and revolutionary movements today are struggling to overcome the serious setbacks in the world including India. This situation places us in a weak and disadvantageous position vis-à-vis our enemy classes. The imperialists and the exploiting ruling classes are using every method- crude and soft- to frustrate our efforts to overcome the setbacks and divisions in the movement and set it on a road of advance.

In the background of this situation, we hear some Communists raising the questions like, 'is the Communist Manifesto applicable even today? Some say: True; revolutions that were won decades back under the guidance of Communist ideology are great; But they had suffered serious setbacks and reversals is also a fact. Some Marxist intellectuals are proposing amendments, changes and improvements to the Manifesto of the Communist Party.

In his Preface to the German Edition of the Communist Manifesto (1872), Engels had said that "However much the state of things may have altered during the last twenty five years, the general principle laid down in this Manifesto are, on the whole, as correct today as ever. Here and there some details might be improved. The practical application of the principles will depend, as the Manifesto itself states, everywhere and at all times, on the historical conditions the time being existing......"

Neither Marx nor Engels had insisted that the Manifesto must be memorized by rote and recited word by word and page by page. Engels said Marxism is not a dogma, but guide to action. The point here is, one must grasp the essence of the fundamental principles of Communist Manifesto well and apply to the concrete situations and concrete practice of class struggle. This is the meaning of Communists using Marxism as a guide to action.

Here we quote at length from the Manifesto of the Communist Party to draw attention to its fundamental ideas:

"The history (all written) of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles."; "The Communists do not form a separate party opposed to other working class parties."; "They have no interests separate and apart from these of the proletariat as a whole."; "They do not set up any sectarian principles of their own by which to shape and mould the proletarian movement."

"The Communists are distinguished from the other working-class parties by this only: 1). In the national struggles of the proletarians of the different countries, they point out and bring to the front the common interests of the entire proletariat, independently of all nationality. 2). In the various stages of development which the struggle of the working-class against the bourgeoisie has to pass through, they always and everywhere represent the interests of the movement as a whole."

"The immediate aim of the Communists is the same of all the other proletarian parties: formation of the proletariat into a class, overthrow of the bourgeois supremacy, conquest of political power by the proletariat." "The communist revolution is the most radical rupture with the traditional property relations; no wonder that its development involves the most radical rupture with traditional ideas." "........the first step in the revolution by the working class is to raise the proletariat to the position of ruling class, to win the battle of democracy."

"The proletariat will use its political supremacy to rest by degrees, all capital from the bourgeois, to centralize all instruments of production in the hands of the state, of the proletariat organized as the ruling class; and to increase the total of productive forces as rapidly as possible."

"The Communists fight for the attainment of the immediate aims, for the enforcement of the momentary interests of the working class; but in the movement of the present, they also represent and take care of the future of that movement."

"...... The Communists everywhere support every revolutionary movement against the existing social and political order of things.

"The Communists......openly declare that ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions."

"Working Men of All Countries, Unite!"

1871 Paris Revolution came 23 years after the release of the Communist Manifesto and in the life time of Marx and Engels. Here not only the proletariat had led a victorious proletarian revolution for the first time in history, but also established the proletarian state in the form of Paris Commune and continued it for 71 days. This Commune brought several earth-shaking revolutionary reforms and changes in the lives of working and oppressed people. Marx and Engels had whole-heartedly commended the Paris Commune, analyzed the causes for the fall of Paris Commune and drew the lessons from it. They saw the Paris Revolution as a necessary and most valuable rehearsal and practical training for the proletariat and the toiling people of the world to prepare themselves better for future revolutions. Marx noted that the Paris Commune has proved that "the working class cannot simply lay hold of the ready-made state machinery, and wield it for its own purpose."

Lenin had to wage a bitter ideological battle in defense of Marxism while applying it to the concrete conditions and concrete practice of Russian revolution.

Lenin had rejected “Bernstein saying that Marx's theory was 'unfinished', and left 'many problems that are by no means fully explained', Marx theory is not a last word in science' and 'History bring new facts and new methods of investigation that require the further development of the theory.' Lenin also said "if Bernstein had made an attempt to utilize new facts and new methods of inquiry for the further development of the theory, everybody would have been grateful to him. But Bernstein does not dream of doing that ..." (Lenin CW4, P. 196.) He also said: "Our aims are in complete accord with the fundamental ideas of Marxism ........ We stand for the consistent development of these ideas in the spirit of Marx and Engels and emphatically reject the equivocating and opportunist corrections a'la Bernstein which have now become so fashionable." (Lenin CW4, P 327)

Russian Revolution- had come and was victoriously concluded in the era of imperialism. As the imperialism was not present with all its features in the period of Marx and Engels it had become the task of Lenin to thoroughly study the emergence of imperialism, point out its basic features, disastrous consequences of imperialism to the Russian as well as the world revolution and workout suitable slogans and methods of struggle to fight imperialism. "The imperialism - Highest stage of Capitalism"; various writings of Lenin on the strategy and tactics of revolution and on the methods of building a proletarian party only came in this wake. Lenin's teachings on the need and inevitability of the proletariat leading the democratic revolutions as the bourgeoisie lost its will and capacity to lead the bourgeois democratic revolutions in the era of imperialism; the proletariat to base itself on the firm worker-peasant alliance in order to successfully lead the democratic revolutions and advance towards the socialist revolution; the need of the proletariat and the revolutionary classes targeting imperialism along with domestic exploiting ruling classes to lead a democratic revolution in a thorough-going manner and on the road of victory. Lenin's writings on the revolutions in colonial, semi-colonial and dependant countries; his struggle against opportunism of all hues in an effort to retain and strengthen the revolutionary orientation of the Communist International and his writings on the questions of war and peace and the utilizing the contradictions and war among the imperialist powers in the interests of revolution, etc., - all were a part of Lenin's struggle to uphold, elaborate and apply Marxism to the concrete conditions and concrete practice of class struggle and revolution.

The Great October Socialist Revolution has heralded the "Era of Imperialism and Proletarian Revolutions” in the world. The revolutions in this era are required to develop as the socialist (in capitalist countries) or national and people's democratic (colonial, semi-colonial and dependent countries) revolutions as the concrete situation of each country demand. As the imperialism in this era stands as the main bastion for every exploiting system in the world and, as such, a serious road-bloc for any type of revolution, opposing and fighting imperialism has become a common cause for the proletariat in all Countries of the world. While the 'Working Men of All Countries, Unite' – the clarion call of the Communist Manifesto- continue to blaze the path of the proletariat and the Communists in the world, "the Workers and Oppressed People of the World, Unite" – the clarion call of Lenin strengthens the struggle and leadership of the proletariat at the world level further.

The revolution in Russia had developed in accordance with its own conditions. It had gone through democratic and socialist stages. Lenin had guided and led it from the beginning to the socialist Revolution and even some years more. He based himself on the fundamentals of Marxism, used the Marxist stand, view point and method to study the concrete conditions of Russia and formulate the programme and tactics for revolution. He took the help of Marxism to learn from the experiences of the Paris Commune of 1871, other revolutions and also of class struggles and revolutionary movements in Russia and guide the revolution to victory. He never faced a situation where Marxism did not help him and where he had to compromise with the non-Marxist and petty bourgeoisie ideologies, trends or deviations. He was never a blind believer or a casual follower. He acted with abundant confidence, clarity and boldness when he was required to apply Marxism to a specific problem of revolution, elaborate and explain various Marxist fundamental principles. He had done all this not to raise doubts about the adequacy of Marxism but to assert its validity and use it as a weapon.

Today it has become a fashion for some to raise questions like, how Marxism-an ideology of twentieth century- can solve the problems of twenty first century? To be frank, here they are trying to pass judgments without taking pains to go deep into the content of Marxism and without making serious attempts to apply it to the concrete conditions. Had the classes lost their class character? Is the society continuing as a class society or had transformed into a non-class society? Is the state still an organ of class oppression and rule or had transformed itself into a non-class and non-oppressive welfare state? Had the social conditions changed to say that the communist revolution now is possible without “radical rupture with the traditional property relations" whose development "involves the most radical rupture with traditional ideas”? Will the ghost of imperialism disappear from the world scene on its own or should the mighty hands of working class, oppressed people be raised to overthrow and burry it? There are many such questions. Proper answers can be found nowhere but in Marxism.

It is an undeniable fact that the social relations have become complex, new problems have cropped up and the bourgeoisie and the exploiting classes are using many new forms and methods to camouflage their own ideas, the class nature of the society and state, the class contradictions and blunt or divert the class conflicts. This situation demands from the Communists to make a thorough-going study of the developments or changes in the situation. They have to make a hard work to straighten and class struggle and adopt suitable strategy and tactics to steer and navigate the ship of revolution to its destine. Finding fault in the ideology for our failures in using the Marxist stand, viewpoint and method to find answers to the problems is a great injustice to the ideology of Marxism.

Some say that the Indian revolution is neither a copy, nor a repetition of the Russian or Chinese Revolution. There is nothing new in it. No revolution can be a copy of another revolution. But this assertion must not lead one to blindly refuse to learn from and utilize the rich experiences of great revolutions. India is in the stage of democratic revolution and definitely not in the stage of Socialist Revolution. The experiences of Russian Communists in building the party of Bolshevik type; raising the proletariat from the level of leading the partial struggles to the level of leading the Country wide revolutionary workers and peasants upsurges that resulted in the victory of Socialist Revolution; the experiences of Chinese Communists in developing worker-peasant alliance and a powerful agrarian revolutionary movement, which served as the main axis of NDR; the experience of Chinese proletariat in withstanding and waging prolonged armed battles defying many odds and imperialist growing from a small force into a force that can inflict devastating defeat to the enemy classes are definitely invaluable for us. The revolutions, including that of India can avoid many mistakes or deviations and escape from losses or disasters if the Communists show the modesty to learn from the experiences and apply them to the concrete conditions of their own struggle and revolution.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

THE THREE SOURCES AND THREE COMPONENT PARTS OF MARXISM - V. I. LENIN

 PUBLISHER'S NOTE

The present English translation of The Three Sources and Three Component Parts of Marxism is reprinted from the text given in V. I.Lenin, On Marx and Engels published by Foreign Languages Press, Peking, in 1975.

 

Foreign Languages Press, Peking

Printed in the People’s Republic of China


    THROUGHOUT the civilized world the teachings of Marx evoke the utmost hostility and hatred of all bourgeois science (both official and liberal), which regards Marxism as a kind of “pernicious sect.” And no other attitude is to be expected, for there can be no “impartial” social science in a society based on class struggle. In one way or another, all official and liberal science defends wage slavery, where as Marxism has declared relentless war on wage slavery. To expect science to be impartial in a wage-slave society is as silly and naive as to expect impartiality from manufacturers on the question of whether workers’ wages should be increased by decreasing the profits of capital.

    But this is not all. The history of philosophy and the history of social science show with perfect clarity that there is nothing resembling “sectarianism” in Marxism, in the sense of its being a hidebound, petrified doctrine, a doctrine which arose away from the high road of development of world civilization. On the contrary, the genius of Marx consists precisely in the fact that he furnished answers to questions the foremost minds of humanity had already raised. His teachings arose as the direct and immediate continuation of the teachings of the greatest representatives of philosophy, political economy and socialism.

    The Marxist doctrine is omnipotent because it is true. It is complete and harmonious, and provides men with an integral world conception which is irreconcilable with any form of superstition, reaction, or defence of bourgeois oppression. It is the legitimate successor to the best that was created by humanity in the nineteenth century in the shape of German philosophy, English political economy and French socialism.

    On these three sources of Marxism, which are at the same time its component parts, we shall briefly dwell.

 

I

 

    The philosophy of Marxism is materialism. Throughout the modern history of Europe, and especially at the end of the eighteenth century in France, which was the scene of a decisive battle against every kind of mediaeval rubbish, against feudalism in institutions and ideas, materialism has proved to be the only philosophy that is consistent, true to all the teachings of natural science and hostile to superstition, cant and so forth. The enemies of democracy, therefore, exerted all their efforts to “refute,” undermine and defame materialism, and advocated various forms of philosophical idealism, which always, in one way or another, amounts to an advocacy or support of religion.

    Marx and Engels defended philosophical materialism in the most determined manner and repeatedly explained the profound erroneousness of every deviation from this basis. Their views are most clearly and fully expounded in the works of Engels, Ludwig Feuerbach and Anti-Duhring, which, like The Communist Manifesto, are handbooks for every class-conscious worker.

    But Marx did not stop at the materialism of the eighteenth century: he advanced philosophy. He enriched it with the acquisitions of German classical philosophy, especially of the Hegelian system, which in its turn led to the materialism of Feuerbach. The chief of these acquisitions is dialectics, i.e., the doctrine of development in its fullest and deepest form, free of one-sidedness, the doctrine of the relativity of human knowledge, which provides us with a reflection of eternally developing matter. The latest discoveries of natural science – radium, electrons, the transmutation of elements - have remarkably confirmed Marx's dialectical materialism, despite the teachings of the bourgeois philosophers with their “new” reversions to old and rotten idealism.

    Deepening and developing philosophical materialism, Marx completed it, extended its knowledge of nature to the knowledge of human society. Marx's historical materialism was the greatest achievement of scientific thought. The chaos and arbitrariness that had previously reigned in the views on history and politics gave way to a strikingly integral and harmonious scientific theory, which shows how, in consequence of the growth of productive forces, out of one system of social life another and higher system develops – how capitalism, for instance, grows out of feudalism.

    Just as man’s knowledge reflects nature (i.e., developing matter) which exists independently of him, so man’s social knowledge (i.e., his various views and doctrines philosophical, religious, political and so forth) reflects the economic system of society. Political institutions are a superstructure on the economic foundation. We see, for example, that the various political forms of the modern European states serve to fortify the rule of the bourgeoisie over the proletariat.

    Marx's philosophy is complete philosophical materialism, which has provided humanity, and especially the working class, with powerful instruments of knowledge.

 

II

     Having recognized that the economic system is the foundation on which the political superstructure is erected, Marx devoted most attention to the study of this economic system. Marx’s principal work, Capital, is devoted to a study of the economic system of modern, i.e., capitalist, society.

    Classical political economy, before Marx, evolved in England, the most developed of the capitalist countries. Adam Smith and David Ricardo, by their investigations of the economic system, laid the foundations of the labour theory of value. Marx continued their work. He rigorously substantiated and consistently developed this theory. He showed that the value of every commodity is determined by the quantity of socially necessary labour time spent on its production.

    Where the bourgeois economists saw a relation between things (the exchange of one commodity for another) Marx revealed a relation between people. The exchange of commodities expresses the tie between individual producers through the market. Money signifies that this tie is becoming closer and closer, inseparably binding the entire economic life of the individual producers into one whole. Capital signifies a further development of this tie: human labour power becomes a commodity. The wage-worker sells his labour power to the owner of the land, factories and instruments of labour. The worker spends one part of the day covering the cost of maintaining himself and his family (wages), while the other part of the day the worker toils without remuneration, creating for the capitalist surplus value, the source of profit, the source of the wealth of the capitalist class.

    The doctrine of surplus value is the corner-stone of Marx’s economic theory.

    Capital, created by the labour of the worker, presses on the worker, ruining the small proprietors and creating an army of unemployed. In industry, the victory of large-scale production is at once apparent, but we observe the same phenomenon in agriculture as well: the superiority of large-scale capitalist agriculture increases, the employment of machinery grows, peasant economy falls into the noose of money-capital and declines and sinks into ruin under the burden of its backward technique. In agriculture, the decline of small-scale production assumes different forms, but the decline itself is an indisputable fact.

    By destroying small-scale production, capital leads to an increase in productivity of labour and to the creation of a monopoly position for the associations of big capitalists. Production itself becomes more and more social – hundreds of thousands and millions of workers become bound together in a systematic economic organism – but the product of the collective labour is appropriated by a handful of capitalists. The anarchy of production grows, as do crises, the furious chase after markets and the insecurity of existence of the mass of the population.

    While increasing the dependence of the workers on capital, the capitalist system creates the great power of combined labour.

    Marx traced the development of capitalism from the first germs of commodity economy, from simple exchange, to its highest forms, to large-scale production.

    And the experience of all capitalist countries, old and new, is clearly demonstrating the truth of this Marxist doctrine to increasing numbers of workers every year.

    Capitalism has triumphed all over the world, but this triumph is only the prelude to the triumph of labour over capital.

 

III

    When feudalism was overthrown, and “free” capitalist society appeared on God’s earth, it at once became apparent that this freedom meant a new system of oppression and exploitation of the working people. Various socialist doctrines immediately began to arise as a reflection of and protest against this oppression. But early socialism was utopian socialism. It criticized capitalist society, it condemned and damned it, it dreamed of its destruction, it indulged in fancies of a better order and endeavoured to convince the rich of the immorality of exploitation.

    But utopian socialism could not point the real way out. It could not explain the essence of wage slavery under capitalism, nor discover the laws of the latter’s development, nor point to the social force which is capable of becoming the creator of a new society.

    Meanwhile, the stormy revolutions which everywhere in Europe, and especially in France, accompanied the fall of feudalism, of serfdom, more and more clearly revealed the struggle of classes as the basis and the driving force of the whole development.

    Not a single victory of political freedom over the feudal class was won except against desperate resistance. Not a single capitalist country evolved on a more or less free and democratic basis except by a life-and-death struggle between the various classes of capitalist society.

    The genius of Marx consists in the fact that he was able before anybody else to draw from this and consistently apply the conclusion that world history teaches. This conclusion is the doctrine of the class struggle.

    People always were and always will be the foolish victims of deceit and self-deceit in politics until they learn to discover the interests of some class or other behind all moral, religious, political and social phrases, declarations and promises. The supporters of reforms and improvements will always be fooled by the defenders of the old order until they realize that every old institution, however barbarous and rotten it may appear to be, is maintained by the forces of some ruling classes. And there is only one way of smashing the resistance of these classes, and that is to find, in the very society which surrounds us, and to enlighten and organize for the struggle, the forces which can - and owing to their social position, must - constitute the power capable of sweeping away the old and creating the new.

    Marx’s philosophical materialism alone has shown the proletariat the way out of the spiritual slavery in which all oppressed classes have hitherto languished. Marx’s economic theory alone has explained the true position of the proletariat in the general system of capitalism.

    Independent organizations of the proletariat are multiplying all over the world, from America to Japan and from Sweden to South Africa. The proletariat is becoming enlightened and educated by waging its class struggle; it is ridding itself of the prejudices of bourgeois society; it is rallying its ranks ever more closely and is learning to gauge the measure of its successes; it is steeling its forces and is growing irresistibly.

 

Published in March 1913

Thursday, December 3, 2020

NAXALBARI PEASANTS STRUGGLE AND NEW ORIENTATION OF COMMUNIST MOVEMENT

The Indian Peasant masses recorded in the past several heroic struggles for their emancipation from the yoke of slavery and exploitative grip of Feudalism and Imperialism. In early period the struggles were spontaneous, without any conscious leadership with class ideology. After the historic November Revolution in Russia under the revolutionary Communist Leadership and formation of the Communist Party of India under the guidance of the THIRD COMMUNIST INTERNATIONAL the peasants' struggles in India entered the arena of conscious class struggle with class Objective. The peasants' struggle in 'Hojang', which was spread out throughout Bengal with the demand of one Third Share of crops and thereafter in Telangana the peasants struggle and Kakdip with the endeavour to drive out the feudal Landlords from Lands were under the Leadership of the Communist Party of India. The peasant masses in the struggles of Telangana and Kakdip were induced to take up arms in hands and were imbibed with the thought of armed struggle. The Kakdip struggle was a follow up of Telangana Struggle in diminutive form. 

The Naxalbari Peasants struggle was much smaller in dimension than that of Telangana Presents Struggle. Then why the Naxalbari Peasants struggle bore special significance and importance and wider sensation? It was/is because of - 

* The struggle was erupted when the communist party/ies came in share of the state power, in a slice, through parliamentary election in West Bengal, Orientating an 'United Front Government' with a combination of 'Left Parties' and a dissenting wing of Congress. The newly formed CPI(M), which claimed to be 'revolutionary' opposite to 'revisionist' CPI, but sharing power with the revisionist', possessed the dominant voice in the Government. 

* The organizers of the peasant Front of CPI(M) in Darjeeling were in the Leadership of the peasants of Naxalbari in the struggle. The support to the struggle came from certain other leading cadres of CPI(M) of other front and places. The campaign in support of the struggle brought the issue before the people as open debate. 

* The CPI(M) Leadership condemned the struggle as 'prematured' and Left sectarianism or adventurism. They wanted surrender of the Leaders of the struggle to the police. 

* The theoretical proposition of the CPI(M) Leadership was that the peasants' struggle in other states was in immatured position and without simultaneous upsurge of peasants covering a considerable number of the states, the armed struggle of the peasants in a area would surely face disaster; and hence such step would be suicidal. 

Accordingly, the theoretical propositions of the CPI(M) Leadership were to be discarded by the Communist cadres, as Communist revolutionaries who stood up in support of the struggle of the peasants. Hence it became a serious ideological struggle in the Communist Polities and movement. The Communist Revolutionaries were to come out with the political proposition bearing revolutionary concepts. The new political propositions as evolved, were - 

* The theory of class 'upsurge' at a time to seize the state power by the proletariat, as happened in November Revolution in Russia would not operate as such in the present historical situation ; the Indian Revolution in its present stage of the Peoples' Democratic Revolution would generally be in the pattern of the Chinese Revolution - a long drawn struggle in the form of protracted civil war ; hence Mao Tsu Tung's concept of mass-based 'Peoples War' and of peasants struggle, with creation of rural 'base area' should be adopted; the 'Agrarian revolution would be the axis of the Revolution; the urban working class movement and other democratic movement should be shaped to strengthen the agrarian revolution; the working class would be considered as the Leader of the Struggle and should be trained for the purpose. 

* The objective of CPI(M) to achieve peoples Democratic Government with elimination of vested interests from the economy through parliamentary process would be a false illusion to the people ; A 'Revolution' would be necessary for creation of such Government. 

* The parliamentary polities of CPI & CPI(M) must be discarded and they should be considered as carriers of revisionism in Indian Communist movement. 

These propositions entailed the tasks of NEW ORIENTATION OF THE COMMUNIST MOVEMENT with revolutionary perspective. It would be shaped through development of new mass struggle. But this politics could not be blossomed in proper shape due to domination of certain erroneous thoughts or concepts to conduct revolutionary struggle. The concepts were : (1) To equipoise the class struggle with annihilation of class enemy with individual murder ; (2) To consider this annihilation of class enemy with individual murder as highest form of class struggle ; (3) To negative the role of class organisation ; (4) To abandon the mass organisation ; (5) To adopt individual - based - Guerrilla action as a substitute of class struggle ; (6) To deny the importance of urban movement and to for sake activities in working class front ; (7) to induce an idea of achieving 'liberation' of the toiling masses within shortest span of time through Guerrilla action ; (8) To adopt a wrong ideological concept taking 'Mao Tse Tungs' Thought in isolation depicting it as ‘highest stage of Marxism’ in the present day world. These concepts converted the new revolutionary politics to Terrorism and caused disaster on organisation. In my view, the timely intervention of the Communist Party of China, in appropriate manner could have saved the position. 

        The Communist Revolutionaries in India, having taken lesson from the mistaken thoughts and concept should reorganise the polities, which emerged in the context of the Naxalbari Peasants struggle for new revolutionary growth. It is evident that the Peoples Democratic Revolution in India has remained unfinished. An objective analysis of the present situation is necessary to play role in this Revolution. It is observed that all the ruling parties in India including the Communist Parties are now the open inventors of Imperialist capital in the economy of the country and the open supporters of the Native Big Capital in their ruthless exploitation of the mass. The main enemies of the Revolution are now the 'Friends' of the Ruling Parties. The imperialist capital and Native Big Capital, with mutual collaboration have obtained firm grip over the economy. The parliamentary governments are now tools in their hands. The powerful section of the rich peasantry are now in collaboration with these capitals. Hence the main objective of the Peoples Democratic Revolution is to smash these Vested interests. So the main blow should be hurled against the Imperialist Capital and Native Big capital and their political agents - the present parliamentary rulers, The masses of the people should be made conscious of this situation so that the main target of the peoples' movement will remain clear. The masses should be made free from the influence of CPI & CPI(M). The working class peasantry and the toiling masses should be led to new struggle. The rural masses should be organised strongly with creation of mass organisations. The village Panchayat should be considered as a part of 'State'. The movement should be organised against the Panchayat opposing and resisting imposition of rural taxes and for realisation of the demands of peasants and rural labouring people; and mass organisation should be created for the purpose, A PLATFORM FOR STRUGGLE AGAINST IMPERIALIST CAPITAL AND NATIVE BIG CAPITAL should be created. The Communist Revolutionaries must join together in this PLATFORM, commenting their unity with a view to develop new struggle of the masses. The new orientation of the Communist movement should be brightened. It will be the real remembrance of the NAXALBARI PEASANTS STRUGGLE. 

 

PARIMAL DASGUPTA 

Date : 24th May, 1997. 

 

Significance and Relevance of Naxalbari Peasant Revolutionary Movement

 (Paper presented in the All India Seminar held in Vijayawada on May 24th, 1997 in Commemoration of Martyrs of Naxalbari Peasant Revolutionary Movement) 

"A peal of spring thunder has crashed over the land of India. Revolutionary peasants in the Darjeeling area has risen in rebellion. Under the leadership of a revolutionary group of the Indian Communist Party, a red area of rural revolutionary armed struggle has been established in India. This is a development of tremendous significance for the Indian peoples revolutionary struggle".

Naxalbari-What it Means to Us?

1. Naxalbari is a struggle of historic significance.

It brought a revolutionary turn in politics and people's movement in India. It most effectively unmasked the neo-revisionist and class collaborationist politics of CPI (M) Leadership which surrendered to parliamentary politics. It forcibly brought the revolutionary path, the path of struggle on the agenda. It sharpened the contradiction and intensified the struggle between the revisionists and neo-revisionists on one side and the revolutionary forces on the other. It initiated the decisive break of Communist Revolutionaries from the neo-revisionists at the all India level.

2. Naxalbari is not just a name of an area in Darjeeling where the historic struggle has come up. It characterises a definite path-the path of struggle, the path of Agrarian Revolution. It provided rich experiences for the revolutionary movement in India. It symbolised the rising consciousness and readiness of our people for a basic change in the system. Naxlbari is Revolution.

Background of Naxalbari

1. International situation: It was a time when China was advancing in its socialist construction defying the imperialist blockade and revisionist sabotage. The CPC led by Mao held high the banner of revolutionary Marxism inside China and the world. The Great Debate it initiated and led, the firm support and solidarity it provided to the working class, oppressed nations and people of the world gave a great confidence, strength and impetus to withstand the onslaught of the exploiting ruling classes and imperialism. It exposed the betrayal and sabotage of the revisionists led by the Soviet Modern Revisionist Clique. It was a time when the fundamental contradictions of the world, more particularly, the contradiction between the oppressed nations and imperialism and the inter-imperialist contradictions were getting sharpened. It brought to the fore the contradiction between the oppressed nations and imperialism as the principal contradiction in the world. It was a time when the National Liberation Struggles, National Independence Movements and Peoples Revolutions in Asia, Africa and Latin America were on the upswing. The working class, the toiling masses, the students, youth, women, democratic and anti-war forces were on the path of struggle all through the world.

2. Situation in India: There was an all round economic crisis in the country. The plunder by the exploiting ruling classes and their imperialist masters had pushed the people into an abyss of misery, poverty and famine. This sharpened the contradiction between feudalism and broad masses of people, giving rise to a wave of revolt and struggles in various parts of the country. The growing anti-feudal struggles led to clashes and fights between the landlords and the landless, poor peasants. Rural India was awakening and presenting itself as a volcano ready to burst. The landless and poor peasants organised themselves in their class organisations took to militant forms of I struggle to achicve their immediate demands. The land 10 the tiller, seizure and distribution of land and the challenging of the power and authority of landlords came on the agenda giving the entire work among the masses and the struggle for the nights a revolutionary character. The conditions for an Agrarian Revolution were ripe in our country and the landless, poor peasants were ready to go into revolutionary action. 

The ruling classes in India were in a deep crisis. The gamble and dog fight for power got intensified: 'The omnipotent' Congress was decimated in many states and the ruling classes had to run for new combinations to perpetuate their rule. The discontentment among the masses was wide-spread and it led to a number of organised 11 and militant struggles. 

3. Betrayal of Neo Revisionists: Toeing to the line of Soviet Modern Revisionists, the CPI(M) leadership too shun and ran away from the path of struggle. This leadership which broke away from the revisionists in 1963-64, was, in the main, neo-revisionist in its ideological and political orientation. In spite this turn about by the leadership, vast sections of revolutionary ranks and even leaders continued to wage relentless ideological struggle so as to carry forward the task of completing New Democratic Revolution. 

The objective revolutionary conditions prevailing at the time provided the favourable political background for the revolution-oriented ranks and the sections of leadership to develop the class struggles and agrarian movements in several areas. The experiences of class struggle and revolutionary movements coupled with the struggle against revisionism and Modem Revisionism sharpened their commitment to the struggle.

Naxalbari, therefore, is the product of the objective revolutionary situation, of the struggle against revisionism and neo revisionism and the practice of class struggle and revolutionary orientation. Tebhaga - Telangana Precursor of Naxalbari 

1. Naxalbari took inspiration from the path of protracted peoples war pursued by the victorious Chinese Revolution, the people of Vietnam and the revolutionary movements in other colonial, semi colonial and semi-feudal countries. Also, it took inspiration from the great and heroic revolutionary peasant movements and armed struggles that had come up in Tebhaga (1946) and Telangana (1946-51). Naxalabari, thus, is a part and continuation of this revoltuionary heritage. 

2. Naxalbari developed as a result of consistent political, organisational and mass work for several years. The people agitated not only for minimum and immediate demands but also for maximum and basic ones. From issues like wage rise to the seizure and distribution of the landlord's lands, overthrow of their power and establishing the people's power were taken up in their struggle. They built up various mass organisations, the peasant organisations, in the main, and the one for self defence, apart from building the much needed party. In the whole course of struggle, open-secret, legal-illegal, non-violent-violent methods and forms of struggle-strike, protest rallies, armed mass demonstrations and armed defence (with conventional weapons, like bows and arrows, etc.) - were combined. The landless, poor peasants and other rural poor enmasse-women, children and people of all ages-have participated in thousands in these struggles. They had shown an exceptional revolutionary consciousness, preparedness, courage, resolve and unity in their fight against feudalism and the state. They refused to succumb to both sugar coated bullets as well as the real bullets used by the state and the revisionist, neo revisionist leaderships to contain and suppress the movement. 

3. Naxalbari exemplifies the revolutionary massline and is a result of concrete application of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse Tung Thought. It followed the path of protracted people's war in accordance with the Indian conditions. 

4. The leadership of Naxalbari peasant revolutionary movement had to work in the face of many odds. It had to confront the stiff opposition from the state and central leadership of the party as they still worked within the party. Not only it had to fight revisionism and neo revisionism, but also guard the movement from the left sectarian forces who sought to divert the movement from the orientation of mass line. Though the struggle was in the upswing, it lacked in the initial stages much needed solidarity and support from the revolutionary struggles in the rest of the country. 

Significance of Naxalbari 

1. It most effectively brought to the fore the task of agrarian revolution- the main content of New Democratic Revolution. It taught us that the struggle for land, i.e.., the essence of agrarian revolution and the struggle for political power are inseparably linked. It asserted that Marxism Leninism Mao Tse Tung Thought the guiding ideology of the oppressed in the world. It pointed out that the revolutionary situation was ripe and the people were ready for revolutionary action and to bring revolutionary changes when provided with a revolutionary leadership. It confirmed that revolution is not an act of heroism of a few individuals nor an adventurous act of a band of militants. Revolution is a movement of the conscious, organised and revolutionary masses led by the working class vanguard with the aim of overthrowing the present exploitative system and establishing a new society. It affirmed the need and importance of three weapons-party, Army and UF-for the success of revolution. The three weapons are inter-related and they must be developed all along the course of struggle of the revolutionary movement.

2. The Communists must be ready to use all forms of struggle and organisation necessary to raise the consciousness and organisational level of the people to higher stage, i.e., from the present level of ordinary resistance to the level for waging a protracted armed struggle. 

3. Naxalbari has proved that the working class and the peasantry are natural allies and the New Democratic Revolution can be completed only with a firm worker-peasant alliance.

Naxalbari-A New Ray of Hope 

1. Naxalbari has given an impetus and a political direction to the peasant, girijan revolutionary movements like Srikakulam that were already developing at that time. It inspired many peasant revolutionary movements in Debra-Gopiballabhpur, Mushahari, Lakhimpur-Kheri, Bhojpur, Khammam, Warangal, East Godavari and other areas. It became a source of inspiring various sections of our people in their struggles. It aroused a powerful solidarity and democratic movement drawing thousands of dedicated youth, women, students, middle class sections and intelligentsia fighting hand in hand with workers and peasants for the fulfillment of revolution in India. 

2. We still look for a comprehensive review of the Naxalbari Peasant Revolutionary Movement from the comrades who led this movement. As for us, we firmly are of the opinion that Naxalbari has an important significance for the path of Indian revolution, i.e. the path of Agrarian Revolution. It confirms the need and role of mass organisations and also for the adoption of necessary forms of struggle keeping in mind the level of the movement. 

3. A correct understanding of Naxalbari can be arrived at only when we go into its weaknesses, i.e., when it drifted from the correct mass line to the line of individual annihilation of class enemies. This line denies the decisive role and participation of masses in making the revolution. This adventurist line ultimately isolated the movements from the people and the rest is known. 

4. It is an undeniable fact that Naxalbari spread like a prairie fire. It is also a fact that it faced a setback. Our failure to probe into the ideological and political roots has caused tremendous harm to the revival and advancement of the movement. Also, we succumbed to the phenomenon of splits, instead of rising ourselves to admit and accept where Naxalbari went wrong.

Relevance Today of Naxalbari 

Our people continue to reel under the semi-colonial and semi-feudal system and the rule of comprodar bourgeoisie-landlord classes. The imperialist powers are busy in their attempts to re-colonise the world in new form in the name of globalisation, liberalisation, and its IMF WB, WTO, MNCs. With the growing and naked aggression of imperialism, the task today to fight imperialism has become more imperative. So to break the shackles of imperialism, comprodar bourgeoisie and landlord classes, the people of India have no alternative but to follow the path of Naxalbari, the path of Agrarian Revolution, the path of protracted peoples war. With all its ups and downs and setbacks, Naxalbari still remains the torch bearer of revolution for the masses of our country. The introduction of the capitalist mode of production, known as Green Revolution in some areas of Punjab, Haryana, Western UP, Maharastra, A.P. has not fundamentally affected the production relations. The vast parts of our rural India continue to reel under feudalism.

The legislations such as Land Ceiling Act have remain sealed on paper. Only a few states have carried of semblance of land reforms. On the contrary, land grabbings by the landlords, big business and MNCs have increased in an alarming manner pushing thousands of landless and poor peasants into the already existing immense army of unemployed. 

Private armies and goondas of landlords backed by the State roam around freely in the villages imposing their rule at gun-point in Bihar, UP and A.P., etc.

In A.P. the existence of article 1/70 which assures the land owning rights to girijans is only an eye wash. The girijans are today victims of the growing attacks from the plain area landlords. The state turning a nelson's eye to these attacks. 

Thus, from the above facts, we can assert that the relevance of Naxalbari today remains as essential in its content and orientation as in 1967 with the Agrarian Revolution as the main axis of our revolution.

The experience of Tebhaga, Telangana, Punnapra-Vailar, Mogha, Naxalbari, Srikakulam, Debra- Gopiballabhpur, Mushahari, Lakhimpuri-Kheri, Bhojpur, East Godavari, Godavari Valley and many other peasant revolutionary movements confirm that the revolutionary mass line is the only correct path of struggle-however difficult it might be-to lead our people to victory.

Comrades,

We have come a long way inspite of all the onslaught by the enemy. Comrades, let us not forget that Naxalbari belongs to all of us. Thousands have laid down their lives and we owe to them to carry the struggle forward. This demands from all of us an objective and dispassionate approach. We may have been a victim of some wrong trends, mistakes and setbacks. Today, the peasant revolutionary movements and girijan movements are developing in many parts of our country. We have to lead, protect and develop them along the path of Agrarian Revolution and for a protracted peoples war. We must pursue this task keeping in mind the concrete conditions in the area and must be flexible in adopting the tactics to the level of movement. We need to be mature to go deep into the causes of present state of the movement by reviewing our 30 years of struggle experiences in various parts of the country. Let us resolve to close our ranks and live upto the expectations of our people at this moment, in this struggle. ELSE, History will not absolve us. Thirty years have been a long way. We need to act. Let Naxalbari continue to illuminate our path. 

                                             Follow the Path of Naxalbari!

Advance in Revolutionary Mass Line!!

Victory to Revolution!!!

 

With Revolutionary Greetings 

P.K.Murthy

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