Published: Liberation, July 1969
Source: Selected Works of Charu Mazumdar
HTML Markup: Nik McDonald for MIA, June 2006
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In the article which Parimal Dasgupta has written on the Czechoslovak event and in his letter to the editorial board of the Deshabrati, he has placed the recent happenings in Czechoslovakia on the same footing as the Hungarian event of 1956. In Hungary, at that time, counter-revolutionaries from outside infiltrated into the country and joining forces with the reactionaries inside, attempted to occupy the country. They carried out a large-scale massacre to finish off the revolutionary comrades with a view to imposing by force the capitalist system. At that time, Hungary was still a socialist country. Referring to the Hungarian events of 1956, Chairman Mao pointed out: "It was a case of reactionaries inside a socialist country, in league with the imperialists, attempting to achieve their conspiratorial aims by taking advantage of contradictions among the people to foment dissension and stir up disorder." That is why the intervention of the Soviet government there was justified and it fulfilled the task of helping to defend socialism in that country. But now in 1968, when the Soviet Union has committed aggression against Czechoslovakia, neither the Soviet Union nor Czechoslovakia is a socialist country both having degenerated into capitalist countries. That is why the sending of troops into Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union and other East European countries is nothing but an out and out imperialist aggression. So, to place these two events on the same footing means denying the fact that the Soviet Union has degenerated into a social-imperialist country, and endorsing the Soviet imperialist aggression against Czechoslovakia as a correct action, an action to defend socialism.
Parimal Dasgupta, in his article, has sought to make out that reaction hatched a plot to destroy socialism in Czechoslovakia. The truth is, capitalism had already been restored in Czechoslovakia, and it was the Czechoslovak ruling clique which, with the active collaboration of the Soviet revisionists, did so after destroying socialism there. So, to try to look for the existence of a reactionary plot there means supporting the Soviet imperialist aggression.
Parimal Dasgupta has found the points raised in the Deshabrati editorial (of August 29, 1968) strange, but has not cared to indicate what particular issues he has in mind. There is, however, one issue that he has not raised in the article he has written, the issue of US-Soviet collaboration. In the article he points only to US-Soviet conflict but has failed to show that it is within the framework of US-Soviet collaboration. No wonder he finds the points raised in the Deshabrati editorial strange. There is enough ground, therefore, to believe that what he finds baffling and strange is that anyone should find US-Soviet collaboration behind the Czechoslovak event. The fact that the Soviet aggression took place with the knowledge of Johnson has little importance for him. This is because he either rejects or fails to understand the fact that Soviet social-imperialism, in collaboration with US imperialism, is striving to dominate the world. This leads to one thing ? to deny in effect the fact that the Soviet Union is a social-imperialist country. This is why he did not hesitate to use even the propaganda materials supplied by the Soviet Union to bolster up his own argument. No wonder Deshabrati's editorial seemed laughable to him.
Those who consider the Soviet Union as a socialist state cannot but find Deshabrati's editorial laughable. But then, why should it seem so laughable to Parimal Dasgupta? Does he stand by the May Declaration (1968) of the All India Co-ordination Committee of Communist Revolutionaries? Did not that Declaration point out that the Soviet Union had already degenerated into a social-imperialist state? Why, therefore, the editorial should appear so laughable to him? Since it does appear so to him, the question naturally arises: Does he at all support the stand taken by the Communist Party of China? Does he, so to say, support the leadership of Chairman Mao Tsetung? Does it not follow from what he wrote in his article and from what he chose not to write, and also from his remarks, that he does not support the stand taken by the Chinese Party and Chairman Mao's analysis of the nature of the Soviet Union? In his article he has criticized Soviet revisionism and described the process by which the Khrushchev clique usurped power in the Soviet Union after the death of Stalin and restored capitalism there, but has failed to draw the conclusion which he should have drawn ? the conclusion that the attack on Czechoslovakia is an imperialist aggression. Were he able to see this as an imperialist aggression he would also have known that even the resistance of the bourgeoisie of a country against aggression has a revolutionary role and that the proletariat of that country is called upon to work for unity with that bourgeoisie. When faced with Japanese aggression, the Communist Party of China led by Chairman Mao correctly adopted the programme of united front and united with Chiang Kai-shek (Sian incident). Chairman Mao pointed out that Chiang Kai-shek was closely linked with the British and the US imperialists who did not want Japan to occupy China. But, on the other hand, Wang Ching-wei, closely linked as he was with Japanese imperialism, followed the policy of abject surrender to and cooperation with the Japanese, and thus turned into an enemy of the Chinese people. Because he failed to see that the Soviet attack was an imperialist aggression, Parimal Dasgupta was unable to welcome the resistance that developed in Czechoslovakia against it; he slighted the resistance and considered it to be an expression of a struggle of the reactionary ruling clique for a share of power. It is true that no mass resistance led by a correct party has developed as yet; but it does not follow from this that we can slight or look down upon whatever resistance has developed. We must never forget that such resistance is an expression of the principal contradiction of the Czechoslovak people.
His inability to see the fact of Soviet social-imperialism lands him in a position where he equates the standpoint of the Deshabrati editorial with that of the reactionary parties like PSP, SSP etc. But how can one overlook the fact that this inability to see the fact of Soviet imperialist aggression has brought Parimal Dasgupta's standpoint very close to that of the CPI (M)? Instead of condemning Soviet armed aggression against Czechoslovakia, Parimal Dasgupta, in his article, sought to be neutral and sat in judgement to portion out the guilt between the two ? the aggressor and the victim of aggression. This amounts to shirking the revolutionary duty towards the Czechoslovak people and to refusing to attach importance to the heavy burden of new exploitation and indignity that were heaped on the Czechoslovak people by the Soviet aggression. What revolutionary, worth the name, can ever think of adopting such an attitude? On the contrary, such an attitude perfectly fits one who is going to turn a traitor to the people's cause sooner or later. Don't we find that only those who have turned traitors to the people's cause are the ones who have come out in support of the Soviet aggression? It is, therefore, most unfortunate that Parimal Dasgupta should have chosen to act in the manner he has.
It appears from the frequent hints that he dropped that Parimal Dasgupta had quite a few things to say about the working of the State Co-ordination Committee (West Bengal). But unfortunately, busy as he was with the strike in the State Electricity Board and unable as he was to attend meetings of the Committee for quite a long period of time at a stretch, his criticism could not be thoroughly discussed at the State Co-ordination Committee. There can be no doubt whatsoever that, if he could attend the Committee meetings his criticisms would have been heard and thoroughly discussed, making our differences clear. Such discussions help develop our political education. We feel unhappy that such discussions could not be held, and it is he who is to blame for this.
Parimal Dasgupta and others have formed a rival Co-ordination Committee on the State level and have also published a document. In the document they have stated that certain allegedly erroneous trends, conceptions and deviations have appeared among the communist revolutionaries, and have also described what these errors are. They have discussed their viewpoint only briefly and this makes it very difficult for us to understand them.
They have stated that work in the cities is being neglected and that there is a trend which refuses to participate in trade union activities and have stressed the necessity of building mass organizations.
The question is: if everyone concerns himself with building mass organizations, who is to build up the underground party organization? Do we expect the mass organizations to organize the agrarian revolution? Certainly, no one is thinking like this, and it is correct not to think like this. It is precisely for this reason that the All India Co-ordination Committee (AICCCR) has laid the utmost stress on building underground party organizations. Parimal Dasgupta and his fellow-travellers chose not to criticize this stand of the AICCCR openly and preferred to lay stress on the work of mass organizations instead, that is, on open work. They also speak of class organization and class struggle in the peasant movement. There are different classes within the peasantry, namely, the poor and landless peasant, the middle peasant and the rich peasant. It is not clear which class or classes they have in mind. Again, if they take the entire peasantry as a single class and try to build organizations accordingly, these will inescapably turn into organizations like the Kisan Sabha led and dominated by the rich and the middle peasants. Moreover, such an attempt on our part will strengthen the tendency to carry on open movements through those open mass organizations inevitably turning us into another set of leaders of revisionist mass organizations. The leadership of the poor and the landless peasants over the peasant movement can be established only if we build underground Party organizations among the peasant masses.
Further, they have sought to discover Che Guevara-ism in our peasant movement. This leads to repudiating the necessity and inevitability of guerrilla war in the peasant movement. Obviously, the peasantry as a whole does not participate in this guerrilla warfare. What happens is that the advanced class-conscious section of the peasant masses starts the guerrilla war. For this reason, guerrilla war, at its initial stages, may appear as a struggle of only a handful of people.
However, this kind of guerrilla war has nothing in common with what is advocated by Che Guevara ? the guerrilla war which is waged by the petty bourgeois intelligentsia without the peasant masses. The guerrilla war that we speak of, on the other hand, is initiated by the class-conscious elements of the poor and landless peasants and can be led and carried on only with the active cooperation of the poor and landless peasant masses.
This kind of guerrilla war has nothing in common with the kind advocated by Che Guevara for the further reason that this kind of guerrilla war is launched not by relying on arms and weapons ? so characteristic of a Che-type war, but is launched without arms and by relying confidently on the cooperation of the masses. Precisely for this reason, this war can be started only through an intensive propagation of the politics of seizure of political power among the peasant masses. And this work can be performed only by the Party units among the peasantry ? units that are composed of the poor and landless peasants. And these Party units can carry out this task only by organizing guerilla war of the poor and landless peasants. We must remember that the poor and landless peasants can establish their leadership over the peasant masses only by conducting a guerrilla war. Guerrilla warfare is the only tactic for carrying on peasants' revolutionary struggle. And no mass organization can ever accomplish this through open work.
It follows from the above that the tactic adopted by Parimal Dasgupta and his fellow-travellers with respect to the peasant movement is completely opposed to the line laid down by Comrade Lin Piao. They seek to give a new explanation of the politics of the Naxalbari peasant struggle. A new explanation ? but why? Is it not because they have ceased to consider the conclusions and politics of Comrade Kanu Sanyal's Report on the Naxalbari struggle as correct? They do consider them as not correct, and so it is no wonder that they should feel the need for seeking a new explanation. According to them, Comrade Kanu Sanyal's evaluation of the Naxalbari struggle is based not on Mao Tsetung Thought but on the theory of Che Guevara. That they should at all think like this is because they do not think of guerrilla warfare and are unable to comprehend its significance and importance.
Another point they have raised is that the four main enemies of the Indian people are being considered and their importance judged in isolation from one another. This naturally leads to the question whether by pointing out the principal contradiction between the Indian masses and their enemies we are isolating it from other fundamental contradictions and laying undue emphasis on it. Of course, not. No doubt there are four main enemies and that they must be defeated and eliminated. But in order to defeat and eliminate them we must first find out the principal contradiction and then apply our main force to resolve that contradiction. Only thus can we eliminate all our enemies. Not to find out the principal contradiction is to negate the main aspect of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought and to open the gates wide for Right and 'Left' deviations. In India, as we know, all sorts of deviations raised their head because the problem of finding out the principal contradiction was consistently ignored. Now, it seems Parimal Dasgupta and his fellow-travellers have opted to act in exactly the same old way.
Lastly, the question of building mass organizations about which Parimal Dasgupta and his fellow-travellers seem to be greatly concerned. Now, what do we mean by mass organization? As Lenin has said, even the trade union organization represents a united front of different ideologies among the workers. And as such it is the ability of the Communist Party to act independently that determines the way this united front will work. The extent to which organized revolutionary cadres are present in a mass organization and whether these revolutionary cadres are propagating revolutionary politics independently or not ? these two things determine whether a mass organization is a revolutionary one or not. We all know how, during the period when we were suffering most under the spell of revisionism, we built numerous mass organizations and also Party units inside them. But we functioned the Party units merely to supplement the trade union work. As a result, we were unable to win the workers over to our political views, even to our revisionist politics. All those who have done trade union work have the bitter experience of how the workers rallied round the communist leaders in order to win their economic demands and yet how they voted for the Congress Party during the parliamentary elections.
We must understand that the members of a trade union do not necessarily turn into communists simply because its leader happens to be a communist. The Party units have to shoulder a great responsibility. They must independently propagate the revolutionary politics, that is, the politics of agrarian revolution, among the working class in order to inspire them with it. They must do so, because the proletariat will never be able to grasp the necessity of carrying out agrarian revolution by waging its struggle for economic demands. The politics of agrarian revolution must be brought to the proletariat from without, from outside the trade union struggle. For this, we require revolutionary worker cadres, equipped politically, that is, equipped with the Thought of Chairman Mao. And such cadres can be brought up only through underground Party organizations.
Trade unions serve as training schools for the proletariat only when there is no revolutionary situation in a country and when the bourgeoisie appears to be quite strong and the proletariat considers itself very weak.
In such a situation trade union struggle creates self-confidence among the workers and increases their confidence in struggle and they learn the tactics of fighting in the course of their struggle against the bourgeoisie. In this way trade union struggle becomes a training school for the proletariat.
But in another situation, that is, when a revolutionary situation prevails and when any struggle rapidly develops into an open clash with the state power ? in such a revolutionary situation, the Party organization becomes the only class organization of the proletariat. Particularly in a country like India, where the main centre of revolution lies in the rural areas, the Party is called upon to shoulder much heavier responsibility and the task of building Party organizations among the proletariat becomes most urgent. This is so because the proletariat cannot play its leading role without the Party organization. So, when we say that a revolutionary situation now prevails in India, it necessarily follows that in India, our task today is to build underground revolutionary Party organizations and not mass organizations. It is this underground Party organization that will lead the class struggle. We must remember what Chairman Mao has taught us: "Never forget class struggle" Only through such class struggles can the broad masses of workers feel the necessity and inevitability of smashing the existing state apparatus and realize that an agrarian revolution is necessary in order to seize state power. Only thus can the proletarian leadership be established over the agrarian revolution.
Instead of emphasizing the need for building underground Party organizations, Parimal Dasgupta and his fellow-travellers have put the emphasis on the need for building mass organizations. By acting like this, they are actually trying to avoid the task of building revolutionary Party organizations.
The politics that Parimal Dasgupta and his fellow-travellers are preaching through their writings and their 'Co-ordination' is most harmful to the revolutionaries. This is so because with their revolutionary phrase-mongering they are rendering every single target of attack of the revolutionaries vague and indistinct. They are inventing arguments cloaked in revolutionary guise in order to induce us to drift along with the old revisionist current, to let ourselves be carried away by the old revisionist way of doing things to which we have been so long accustomed.
On the Czechoslovak event Parimal Dasgupta and his fellow-travellers weakened the anti-revisionist struggle by not arousing hatred against the Soviet social-imperialists. In the present-day India when the revolutionary masses, after rejecting the parliamentary road, have begun to take to the new road ? the road illumined by the Thought of Chairman Mao ? Parimal Dasgupta and others are trying to divert the masses from that new road and to drag them back to the parliamentary road. And they are doing all this in the name of Chairman Mao and behind a revolutionary facade.
At a time when we have begun building the revolutionary Party, we must defeat this harmful, politics. Unless we defeat it, the Party will not be able to advance along the correct revolutionary path and will not be able to master the revolutionary style of work as taught by Chairman Mao. That is why all revolutionaries must actively fight against the political views of Parimal Dasgupta and his fellow-travellers.
1. This refers to an article "After Hungary, Czechoslovakia" by Parimal Dasgupta in which he made known his assessment, different from and opposed to the stand taken by the West Bengal State Co-ordination Committee of Communist Revolutionaries and the revolutionary journal Deshabrati in regard to the Soviet social-imperialist aggression against Czechoslovakia.
2. This refers to the letter (dated 31.8.68) which Parimal Dasgupta addressed to the editorial board of Deshabrati. In it he stated that he was feeling "worried and uncomfortable" over the editorial of Deshabrati (of August 29, 1968) on the Czechoslovak event. According to him, this editorial endorsed the standpoint of reactionary parties like SSP, PSP etc. Such stand, according to him, "has caused grave harm to our politics". He sent his article ("After Hungary, Czechoslovakia") with this letter with a request to publish it in Deshabrati. His request was, however, turned down. But his article was published in the above issue of Ghatana-Prabaha.
3. This refers to the editorial entitled "Rise Up in Protest Against the Barbarous Soviet Aggression Against Czechoslovakia", which appeared in Deshabrati on August 29,1968. In it the social-imperialist nature of Soviet aggression was exposed and sharply condemned.