Socialist Unity Centre of
India (SUCI) (used with kind permission)
Date : March 18, 1969
First published : September, 1971
HTML Markup : Salil Sen for marxists.org October, 2007
Public Domain : Marxists Internet Archive (2007). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit "Marxists Internet Archive" as your source.
Building the SUCI as the genuine communist party on the Indian soil was a task undertaken from the realization that there could be no revolution without a genuine revolutionary party and that such a party was absent in India. The struggle to build the party had its basis in the Leninist principle of party organization, its two pillars, namely democratic centralism and collective leadership. Pinpointing the cause of failure of others in their attempts to build a communist party in India and tracing the history of growth of Indian capitalism, this speech emphasizes the criteria, in particular the cultural-ethical standard, by which to judge the party of the proletariat.
You have requested me to discuss why, despite the existence of two communist parties in our country, we are struggling so hard to build up the SUCI and calling upon you to support and strengthen it. Such a question is quite natural. But then the number of communist parties is no longer two. There are reports of attempts to launch a third one. Initially, there was only one party named the Communist Party of India. In 1964 this party split into two -- the CPI and theCPI(M. Very recently some leaders and workers, known as Naxalites, have come out of the CPI(M) and are trying to build up a new party Thus, the original Communist Party of India is now virtually divided into three. So, in my opinion, the question will be correctly put if it is framed this way: Why are we calling upon you to support and strengthen the SUCI instead of supporting any of the three factions of the old Communist Party?
At the outset, I like to clarify a point. It is not correct to say that we have built up the SUCI simply because the Communist Party of India has committed numerous mistakes. It is also wrong to think that a communist party can never commit any mistakes. Nor do we hold that any mistakes committed immediately warrant formation of a new party. No real Marxist thinks in this way. Because, only the do-nothings commit no mistakes. A Marxist should know that a party conducting a most complex, tortuous and protracted struggle for the emancipation of the working class may, of course, and sometimes does commit mistakes. At the same time he should also know that a party can commit two types of mistakes. One type stems from an utter failure to grasp the correct Marxist outlook, method of analysis and method of application, which results in failure to correctly apply the fundamental principles of Marxism not only in the economic and political fields but in every sphere of life and consequently in failure to determine the stage of a particular revolution, its strategy and tactics. It should be understood that this kind of mistake is inseparably related with the class character of a party.
The second type of mistake occurs when a party, in spite of having acquired an essentially correct Marxist outlook, method of analysis and method of application, fails to correctly analyze a particular situation and to apply correctly the fundamental principles of Marxism in a given condition owing to lack of adequate knowledge, experience and wisdom. This type of mistake of a party does not at once and ipso facto indicate a change in its class character. Of course, if a party continues to commit such mistakes one after another and fails eventually to rectify itself by drawing appropriate lessons from these mistakes, then slowly but surely the class character of the party is bound to degenerate eventually. But then the question of class character of a party is directly and inseparably linked with the first type of mistake, that is, failure to acquire the correct Marxist outlook, method of analysis and method of application. A party calling itself Marxist-Leninist and using the Marxist-Leninist vocabulary but which has failed to acquire the correct Marxist outlook, method of analysis and method of application in different spheres reflects in reality, knowingly or unknowingly, some other class outlook, method of analysis and method of application even as it waves the red banner of Marxism-Leninism and communism. Mere admission of mistakes is therefore not enough for a Marxist. What should be the prime consideration is determining the nature of the mistakes. Therefore, as it is not correct to think that a party that has developed as a genuine Marxist-Leninist party or, in other words, as a revolutionary working class party, can never commit a mistake, so also, in my opinion, no Marxist has the moral right to build a new party simply because an old party may have committed numerous mistakes. So it is obvious that we have not built the SUCI simply because the Communist Party of India committed innumerable mistakes in the past and is still committing mistakes at present. I have personal knowledge of the dedication, honesty and self-sacrifice of many among the founders, leaders and numerous cadres who were behind the formation of the party called the Communist Party, and I have deep respect for all of them. At the same time, I cannot disregard the fact any way that, in spite of all this dedication and sacrifice, they failed to develop their party into a genuine Marxist-Leninist revolutionary party of the proletariat because of their failure to follow the correct and scientific process of formation of a communist party.
If you would analyze, in the first place, the nature of the relationship of this party with the international communist leadership and the party's conduct in this respect, you will note that since inception, and till today, this party has failed to play its due role in the international communist movement as the vanguard of the Indian proletariat in discharging correctly and consciously its responsibility from the Marxist standpoint. Rather, it has mechanically copied the international communist leadership all through. As a result of its practice of copying blindly it has not only failed to develop ever a correct communist movement inside the country but has failed also, and very miserably at that, to contribute its due share in the development of the international communist leadership which grows and develops through ideological struggle, i.e. through conflict and interaction of ideas and experiences of the communist parties of different countries. Rather, owing to this practice of copying blindly, they actually weakened the international communist leadership.
If allegiance to the international communist leadership means blind obedience then it is never desirable. I firmly hold that obligation to the communist leadership can never, under no circumstances, mean blind obedience to it; rather it means a dialectical relationship among the communist parties on the principle of unity-struggle-unity, having the common object of revolution, emancipation and social progress. This relationship is governed by the principle of non-antagonistic contradiction, i.e. the principle of struggle and unity at the same time. And when this dialectical relationship between the international communist leadership and the different communist parties takes a living form in practice, then and only then does it open up the possibility of continuous intellectual enrichment and development of the ideological standard of the international communist leadership, not only to the benefit of the leadership but, through mutual exchange of experiences, to the benefit of the communist parties also in conducting the communist movement correctly in their respective countries. And this becomes possible if the nature of contradiction between them is non-antagonistic or, in other words, mutually conducive in the background of the struggle against the common enemy, i.e. world capitalism-imperialism. In course of this common struggle of the different communist parties on the principle of unity-struggle-unity some serious differences are bound to crop up. But here we should always bear in mind one thing. The differences which may crop up between the different communist parties or between them and the international leadership often look antagonistic in nature, if viewed in isolation, appearing to be separate elements of a contradiction. But if judged in the greater perspective of the accepted fundamental principles of the international communist movement, this antagonistic contradiction at once gets transformed into a non-antagonistic one. This is why, in the common struggle against capitalism-imperialism, it becomes the bounden duty and responsibility of all the communist parties to maintain cohesion and solidarity of the socialist camp for united action against the common enemy, even as they are in the midst of an intense ideological struggle amongst themselves.
If this process of unity and struggle, that is, maintaining firm unity and solidarity against the common enemy, i.e. capitalism-imperialism, is correctly followed while simultaneously pursuing an uncompromising struggle in the ideological sphere, then it will not only help revolutionary movements in different countries grow invincible but will also, through this process of conflict and interaction of ideas, enrich the treasure house of Marxism-Leninism with newer and newer experiences. Thus, only through correct application of the fundamental principles of Marxism-Leninism in concrete conditions and thereby continuously elaborating, concretising, developing and enriching its revolutionary theories and Marxism as such can revolution be really organized and made victorious in different countries. So you find Lenin or Mao Zedong, whoever did shoulder the responsibility of organizing and leading a successful revolution in his country, contribute something new to the treasure house of Marxism -- short of which revolution cannot succeed in a country. To suggest that the Indian revolution will take either the Chinese or the Russian road at best means, in my opinion, that it gives an indicative line, nothing more. Going an inch further means sinking into blindness; and the more the blindness, the more the fanaticism. That is what we are witnessing at present.
Now, back to our initial discussion. In its relation with the international communist leadership the so-called communist party in our country, now virtually split into three, never followed in practice this correct Marxist method of dialectical relationship. Making the plea that the CPSU was the leading party, the undivided CPI blindly toed the Soviet line from its very inception. After the Sino-Soviet rift, this party was split into two, dividing their allegiance -- one faction to the Soviet and the other to the Chinese leadership. It is immaterial here which of the lines, the Soviet or the Chinese, was correct. Each faction blindly followed one of the two international authorities. If you carefully examine the theories of these parties you will clearly recognize the correctness of our analysis. Due to various factors, official recognition either by the CPSU or by the CPC is eluding the CPI(M) at present. After the Naxalite leaders and cadres came out of the CPI(M), the party is no longer being recognized as a communist party by the CPC. As for the CPI, it never got the CPC's recognition. And the CPI is already officially recognized by the CPSU. And so long as the CPI will continue to be officially recognized, the CPI(M) cannot get recognition at the same time from the CPSU. Though, of course, from the talks the CPI(M) leaders had with Kosygin, especially during his recent visit to Delhi as also from the Soviet invitation to Mr. Ranadiv and from reports on Kosygin's move to this end, it seems that the CPSU is developing of late a soft corner for the CPI(M). But the trouble is that at the time of formation of their party the leaders of the CPI(M) so patterned the rank and file with anti-Soviet hysteria that even if they wished it they cannot go over to the Soviet side overnight. So, outwardly it may appear that the CPI(M) leadership is continuing to pursue its old line, but in reality it is backing out slowly, surreptitiously and in a subtle way -- so subtle that unless one is equipped with a high power of critical examination of theories, it is impossible for one to detect this change. Even as it is continuing with the 'revolutionary' slogans as before against the revisionist Dangeite clique this party has been shifting its position in a very subtle way so that it is practically impossible for the workers or supporters of the CPI(M) today, in view of their low standard of political consciousness, to detect the fact that under cover of a revolutionary verbiage the party has been pursing the same revisionist line. Examining a bit more carefully, you will find that this party is now making an utmost bid to establish friendly relations with those communist parties in Europe which not only do not support the CPC but oppose it strongly. On the one hand, it claims that it is fighting revisionism while, on the other, it has developed a cordial relation with right revisionist party like the Romanian Communist Part which considers any fraternal international communist relationship and acceptance of an international general fundamental line to be submission to interference in its internal affairs, and is opposed to the principle of forming an international centre of leadership and subscribes to the concept of ultra-independence and is, therefore, more revisionist in its stand than the CPSU itself. No wonder that these two parties will develop mutual admiration! Placed in a position where it can neither directly toe the Soviet line nor align itself with the CPC, the CPI(M) is posing itself to be neutral. But the fact is that as the leaders of the CPI(M) came out from the old Communist Part ybecause of power conflict and group squabbles, and not because of any differences on the fundamentals, they cannot win Soviet recognition, nor go the Chinese way because, whatever their apparent militant posture, they are out and out revisionist. But that does not mean that those who are blindly toeing the Chinese line are real revolutionaries. I shall come to this question later on.
Thus we see that the CPI(M) is pursuing at present a so-called middle-of-the-road line of neutrality between the Soviet and the Chinese lines. But what does this neutrality actually mean for them? They are in reality trying to build an independent, national type of communist party. Although, being deprived of any international recognition, they are becoming today a national type of communist party, it does not automatically follow that they will cease to become a national communist party, if they get international recognition tomorrow. The CPI(M) cannot but aspire after and try hard for international recognition so that it can usurp the credit and appeal which the international communist movement still enjoys in our country. But there is no doubt that the CPI(M) is slowly yet definitely giving itself a nationalist orientation.
However much the CPI may talk of internationalism, both in orientation and in make-up, it has long since degenerated into a national type of party in all respects. The CPI(M), too, has of late stepped onto the same line, i.e. giving a national type of orientation to its make-up. The CPI(M)'s claim of fight against vested interests and jotedars notwithstanding, any honest man or conscious worker with a rudimentary understanding of Marxism-Leninism, one who does not keep his eyes shut but closely watches the soft attitude of the ruling class of our country towards this party --as will be evident from the quite appreciative words of the bureaucracy, the big business and even The Guardian, the mouthpiece of the British big business, for Jyoti Basu and from the attitude of the Birlas towards the government run by the CPI(M) in Kerala, the lenient attitude of the big business and bureaucracy and especially the compliments of the Birlas to this party in West Bengal when now it is handling the labour portfolio compared to the stern attitude of the bourgeoisie to the labour ministry led by our party in the last United Front government -- will not find it difficult to realize the type of communist party the CPI(M) is.
However, let us come back to our original discussion. If you trace the history of the undivided Communist Party of India and the history of all its three factions after splits you will find that whatever formulations they made, whether on political or on economic theories, they always did these by blindly copying the international leadership. All along, they tried to interpret the Indian society blindly and mechanically, copying in toto the formulations by the CPSU or the CPC or any general line accepted at the international conference. I should bring in here another point which all these parties have failed miserably to grasp. When a general line evolves in the process of conflict, exchange and interaction of ideas, opinions and experiences between the communist parties of different countries at an international conference, it becomes the fundamental general line in the given international situation. But nowhere and in no country can revolution be organized by copying in toto this general line even while it may be correct in the given international situation. Because, to whatever you may apply this general line in a country, certain differences and contradictions are bound to crop up depending upon the specific concrete conditions, particular situations and peculiarities of that country. And if you are able to realize these contradictions correctly, then and then only can you formulate the particular line of revolution by objectively analyzing the particular concrete conditions of the country, and that becomes the particular line of that particular revolution. A contradiction between the fundamental general line, even if it has been adopted unanimously in the international conferences, and the particular line of revolution of a particular country, though the two are mutually conducive in character, is no doubt bound to appear; it will appear again and again. Neither the undivided party under the signboard of the Communist Party of India nor any of the present three factions has, as in the past, been able even today to grasp the nature of this conflict and contradiction between the general and the particular. To them, abiding by the decisions of the international communist leadership means copying the same in toto or imposing this general line after making at best certain additions, alterations or changes in the mode of expression on the particular situation of our country. If you analyse the strategy of revolution of the CPI, the CPI(M) or the Naxalites --the CPI's strategy of people's democratic revolution via the immediate and intermediate stage of national democratic front along with the national bourgeoisie through the process of national democratic movement, which in reality reflects a bourgeois democratic trend and nothing else; the CPI(M)'s strategy of people's democratic revolution straightway, and the Naxalite strategy of encircling the towns by creating liberated zones in the countryside on the assumption that the Indian state is a semi-feudal and semi-colonial state --you will find that all these parties have in fact failed to take cognizance all through of the realities of the Indian society by blindly copying in toto the general line adopted at the international communist conferences and meets or the formulations made by the Soviet or the Chinese leadership and imposing them on the objective situation of India. So what do we find? We find that the practice of all these parties is to make subjective formulations, first, in regard to the strategy of revolution and then to cook up materials as would suit their subjective and fanciful formulations.
They never tried to acquaint the international leadership with the correct picture and the objective condition of India, nor did they ever provide the international leadership with their own independent analysis to help it make a correct appraisal. On the contrary, by giving false pictures and exaggerated reports of the Indian situation these parties have always helped the international leadership only to be misled just as the Naxalites are misleading the Chinese leadership by providing it with a false picture and exaggerated reports on the peasant struggle led by them. This practice of blindly following the international leadership has done immense harm to the communist movement in our country on the one hand, while, on the other, time and again through blindness and other failings, they have misled the international leadership to wrong conclusions about the Indian situation which I shall deal with later on. They have maligned the nobility and lowered considerably the honour and prestige of such a noble ideology as communism which was once held in high esteem by the people in our country. They have also tarnished the image of the international communist leadership which was in the exalted position of admiration and reverence before the exploited masses and the intelligentsia of our country. Needless to say, this blindness and sycophancy of these so-called communist parties are primarily responsible for the denigration of the international communist leadership in the eyes of the people, though we know what they will say when we take account of this reality, especially the change in attitude of the intelligentsia. They would say: Why do you talk of the intelligentsia? What are they? They are none but petty bourgeois. Does it matter when the workers and peasants still today hold the international communist leadership in high esteem? I would say: It is true that if the international leaders are correctly projected, the workers and peasants as also the majority of the toiling people in our country would surely respect them. But it is also true that most of our peasants and workers do not even know who was Marx or Engels or Lenin or Stalin and who is Mao Zedong. The reality is that in our country the bulk of the people who are drawn to the communist movement are coming from the intelligentsia, the educated section of the lower middle class in towns and villages. Could we really build up revolutionary political organization and leadership from among the workers and peasants of our country? The truth is that we are only attempting to build it up. If this be the truth, to talk otherwise is to avoid the main issue. So if the position of the international communist leadership has been lowered from its earlier position of respect in the eyes of the middle class intelligentsia of towns and villages, which is a matter of serious concern and anxiety at the present moment, then I must say that the onus and responsibility of this lie with these sycophants.
So, after a thorough analysis of the history of the struggles of this party, namely the Communist Party of India, right from its very inception, its method of conduct and outlook governing all these struggles, its strategy and tactics of revolution formulated on different occasions, its analysis of the fundamental political situation of the country as also the characterization of the Indian state and, above all, the ethical-cultural standard reflected by its leaders and cadres in their day-to-day behaviour and outlook in every aspect of life, to which I will come back again for detailed observation, and being fully convinced that notwithstanding its 'communist' signboard it is no better than a petty bourgeois party, we built up our party, the Socialist Unity Centre of India, as a genuine Marxist-Leninist party of the Indian proletariat. Because, as Marxists, we know that a political party is not a mere conglomeration of some individuals and that in a class-divided society any political party is nothing but the political organization of one class or another. In other words, at a particular historical stage of development of production, a political party is the political instrument of a particular class among those classes which exist in that given society, to fulfil the economic, political, ideological and moral aspirations of that particular class. Hence, to a Marxist, a political party means a class party that grows and develops on a definite class methodological approach to problems, which the leaders and cadres of the party may be conscious of or may not be, but, nonetheless, this particular class outlook and methodological approach are bound to influence and guide not only the fundamental process of analysis of that party but also its cultural-ethical life including the day-to-day behaviour, habits and practices as also the ethical-cultural standard of the leaders and the rank and file of the party in all fields of activities.
In this context you should bear in mind another point, a very important point, that there can be one and only one Marxist-Leninist party, i.e. a genuine revolutionary working class party in a country. There cannot exist more than one revolutionary working class party in a country, and even if for various reasons two genuine working class parties develop separately, at two corners of a country, then because of their same outlook, same methodology and same objectives, they will surely unite some day and form a single party. Formation of a new party on communist ideals despite the existence of a party named communist can only be justified if, on the basis of dialectical reasoning and history, it is proved beyond doubt that in the name of defending the interest of the working class this party is in reality upholding the interest of the bourgeois or the petty bourgeois class. It goes without saying, therefore, that the eight or nine parties that are claiming themselves as Marxist-Leninists and clamouring as revolutionary working class parties in our country cannot be so all at a time. Naturally, two possibilities exist --either one or none of them is a genuine communist party. So, if there is a genuine working class party among these, we have to find it out with a correct analysis on the basis of history and science.
But if it is concluded through a scientific analysis that no genuine communist party has yet emerged in our country then those who genuinely stand for revolution and want to free themselves, the working class and the country as a whole from the prevailing economic exploitation, political persecution, social injustice and cultural degeneration can have no option but to come forward and shoulder the historic responsibility, however arduous, of building up a genuine communist party without which no revolutionary struggle can be built up and made victorious in this era, nor can the revolution be consolidated and eventually a classless communist society ushered in. So, for the emancipation of the oppressed masses of our country, for smashing the exploitative capitalist state machine that stands as the stumbling block to uninterrupted development and progress of our society we need revolution and for that revolution a revolutionary party, too. So, howsoever difficult the task may be owing to a thousand and one confusions created by the varieties of revolutionary theories of these parties, we have to find out the genuine revolutionary party.
Now, what should be our approach to this most complicated question and what should be the yardstick of judging whether a party is a genuine communist party or not? Should we be carried away by the fiery speeches and 'revolutionary' vocabulary of these parties? In that case, there could be no way to ascertain which party is the genuine working class party because none of us lags behind others in the matter of revolutionary rhetoric! Lenin has taught us that there can be no revolution without a revolutionary theory and so without a revolutionary theory there cannot be any revolutionary party. But by revolutionary theory Lenin did not mean just the political programme and policies of a party, he actually meant a complete epistemological category developed by the central leadership of the party by dialectically coordinating the understanding and experiences of different branches of knowledge including science and covering all aspects of life.
So, to judge a party we will have to, first of all, analyze and examine its political theory. We shall have to ascertain whether the political theory of the party which claims to be revolutionary is truly revolutionary or not. In other words, we shall have to examine very carefully whether its political theory correctly reflects that objective process of revolution and its complexities which exist in the particular society. Secondly, whether that party has any independent analysis and stand of its own about the international situation, and if it has got any, whether the same is in conformity with Marxism. Thirdly, along with all these, we are to examine very carefully which class methodological approach guides this party in analyzing any event, any phenomenon and also in formulating its strategy and tactical plan and programme and its method of conducting struggles. Lastly, we have to see which class culture and what ethical standard the leaders and rank and file members of the party reflect in their life, day-to-day conduct, habits and practices in all spheres of their activities. We must not forget that if, in mutual relations and conduct of the leaders and the rank and file as also the relation between the party and the masses, dogmatism, blindness, indulgence in and platitude to unreasonable behaviour, impact of vile bourgeois habits, e.g. ego-centricism, vulgar individualism, lack of discipline in life, double-talks and such other vices are reflected, then we can reasonably conclude that this party is a victim of feudal and bourgeois culture and sense of values. Thus, it is clear that in judging the class character of a party not only the political theory of the party has to be tested on the anvil of Marxism-Leninism and dialectical materialism but in that light the methodological approach, outlook and culture that its leaders and members reflect in their day-to-day conduct, too, have got to be tested in order to come to a correct conclusion. Because, without acquiring the proletarian culture, which is much superior to and nobler than the bourgeois humanist culture, one can neither have the ability to grasp a revolutionary theory properly, nor apply it correctly. Those who are acquainted with the basic method of analysis applied by Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao Zedong would be able to appreciate our contention. In this connection, we should try to understand one more point very clearly. Both bookish knowledge of Marxism-Leninism divorced from practice, i.e. having no application in daily life, and experience derived merely from mass struggles and not correlated with theoretical understanding, which does not, therefore, add to the storehouse of Marxism-Leninism, are nothing but partial knowledge. Every Marxist should know that without coordinating theory with practice, dialectically and not mechanically, a complete and comprehensive knowledge of Marxism-Leninism cannot be acquired. So, remember that it is only by acquiring a higher cultural standard through struggles that one can attain an all-round and comprehensive knowledge of Marxism-Leninism by dialectically coordinating the partial knowledges and can develop the ability to make a critical examination of theories. We have to take into cognizance all these aspects in this complicated task of ascertaining the class character of a party. In this context, another important point cannot be lost sight of, too. We are to critically examine by what process and through what sort of struggle the party has come into being and what its concept of leadership is. Is it the same formal democratic concept as of a bourgeois or petty bourgeois party? Or is it the concept of collective leadership that develops through democratic centralism which is a fusion of proletarian democracy and centralism? What I mean to say is that the bourgeois revolution is a revolutionary transformation, on the basis of individual ownership, of productive forces, mode of production and the means of production and is, after all, a revolution to ensure development of the individual and establishment of individual rights. Therefore, even in the model bourgeois democracy, whatever model democratic form it may assume, it is the individual leadership that is bound to operate.
In such a bourgeois democratic form, the individual is the focal point, and naturally whether there is a conscious realization or not, it is the individual leadership that is bound to operate centring round one or more individuals. For this reason, as individual leadership is established in the name of democracy in bourgeois democracy, its character is nothing but formal. But as the object of socialist revolution is to establish social ownership and as it is a revolution to establish collective control over the means of production under the leadership of the proletariat, the concept of leadership in proletarian democracy is bound to be collective.
What does this collective leadership actually mean? Lenin has said that the collective knowledge of all the members of the party is collective leadership. Thus collective leadership is the concrete and personified form of expression in an individual of the collective knowledge of all the members of the party derived through conflict and interaction of ideas and experiences not only on political and economic questions but on questions covering all aspects of life.
In my discussion entitled The Cultural Revolution of China, I have dealt with this point more elaborately. I have shown there that in the present era, by eliminating individualism and individual leadership from the internal democratic life of the party, collective leadership can be established only when the collective knowledge of the leaders and members of the whole party derived through struggles and interaction of ideas, knowledge and experiences has been personified and concretised in the best manner in a leader of the party. Hence the concept of collective leadership or the sense of authority can never be abstract. And, for this reason, when we say that collective leadership has emerged in a party we mean that the collective knowledge of the party has been personified in the best way in an individual of the party. So, the leader of the party in whom the collective knowledge of the party has its best and concretised expression, is the thinker, leader, teacher and guide of the party.
Perhaps a little more elaboration is necessary for better understanding. For instance, when we say 'your thinking', or 'my thinking' --what do we actually mean by this? By that we mean individual thinking. But what is individual thinking? Social thinking personified in an individual is individual thinking. Similarly, the collective knowledge and experiences of the party which develop and continually grow through the struggles of its leaders, members, supporters, the class and the masses take concrete and personified expressions in all the individuals involved in these struggles. But as we know that no two phenomena in this material world can ever be identical, so too, the degree of understanding of the collective knowledge and experiences gained through struggles cannot be the same for all of them. The individual in whom personification of this collective knowledge and experience takes the best form of expression emerges as the concrete form of expression of the collective leadership. The emergence of Lenin's leadership in the Russian Bolshevik Party or that of Mao Zedong in the Communist Party of China is nothing but the emergence of the collective leadership in its concrete form in those parties. Thus we see that the collective knowledge is the knowledge derived from the struggles conducted by the leaders, workers, the rank and file, the class and the masses, personified and concretised in the best way in a person in the highest organ of the party. And only when such a personification of the collective knowledge and experience of the party takes a concrete shape, is an objective condition created inside the party for elimination of individualism, individual leadership and groupism from the party life, and the party can be said to have established the norms of proletarian democracy and given birth to collective leadership only at this stage. So, always bear in mind that so long as such a situation does not prevail in a party, however much may it clamour about democratic centralism and collective leadership, what actually is at work in it is nothing but formal democratic leadership. This collective knowledge does not merely concern the collective knowledge on economic and political questions but means the coordinated and comprehensive knowledge covering all aspects of life --starting from art, literature to personal or private life, including day-to-day conduct even. This collective knowledge which develops through the struggles of the leaders and the rank and file of the party covering all aspects of life on the basis of Marxism-Leninism actually guides not only the political, economic and cultural thinking and ideas of the members and leaders of the party but also their personal life and day-to-day conduct. And when the individual members, being equipped with this collective knowledge of the party, apply it in their political, social and private life, a contradiction is sure to appear between the collective knowledge and their individual knowledge and experiences which, in turn, continually enriches both the collective knowledge and individual experiences and uplifts their cultural and ethical standard.
It is to be noted that if the relationship between the leaders and the rank and file members is not dialectical then it is bound to be mechanical. If such a situation prevails, it indicates that individualism, far from being rooted out, is operating as the dominant feature inside the party. If that be so, then the party, though communist by name, has, through the process of fusion of formal democracy and centralism, virtually reduced itself to a mechanically and bureaucratically centralised bourgeois or petty bourgeois party and this invariably leads to the formation of a bureaucratic leadership at the top. As a result, instead of acquiring revolutionary character, the leaders become bureaucratic and they cannot avoid falling victim to the filthiest type of individualism. This leads to a virtual separation of the leaders from the rank and file. On the one side you will see the bureaucratic leaders, completely isolated and divorced from practice and, on the other side, a batch of unquestioning followers who are honest, dedicated, sincere but are fanatic owing to practice of blindness. So you can well understand that in such a condition there cannot exist a proper relationship between theory and practice inside the party.
Hence, theory becomes subjective and abstract while practice becomes blind and fanatic in nature. Now, if you notice the activities, method of organization and level of consciousness of the workers of the parties like the CPI, the CPI(M) and the Naxalite groups, you will find exactly this phenomenon prevailing in all these parties.
The struggle to develop collective leadership is the principal struggle for a working class party in order to develop its internal party structure on the foundation of democratic centralism. And as long as this scientific concept of collective leadership has not developed in the party, it means that the internal structure of the party is yet to develop on the principle of democratic centralism. And you should realize that the principle of democratic centralism is the living soul of a communist party organization. While the struggle to develop democratic centralism is the real struggle to build a genuine communist party, so also the struggle to protect it as the apple of one's eye is the actual struggle to save the party from the danger of revisionism or sectarianism. Now, what do we actually mean by democratic centralism? If we can dissect democratic centralism, as is done in anatomy, we shall have two parts -- ideological centralism and organizational centralism. This ideological centralism grows out of the struggle to develop one process of thinking, uniformity of thinking, oneness in approach and singleness of purpose on the basis of Marxism-Leninism and dialectical materialism not only on the economic and political questions but on all questions covering all aspects of life. When a party through such an all-out struggle has been able to develop this ideological centralism, then and then only can it be said that the principle of proletarian democracy is operative inside the party. Remember, in a class-divided society the concept of democracy cannot be one and the same --it is a class concept. It is either bourgeois democracy reflecting private ownership, private control over production and bourgeois way of life, i.e. individualism, or it is proletarian democracy reflecting collective ownership, collective control over production and distribution and proletarian way of life, i.e. collective way of life. When organizational centralism is built up on the basis of this ideological centralism which makes the principle of proletarian democracy effective, it gives the real structural shape to the principle of democratic centralism inside the party. And that is why Lenin said that democratic centralism could be established in a party only through the process of fusion of proletarian democracy and centralism. We must not forget a point in this connection. The necessary condition for the operation of proletarian democratic principle in a party can be guaranteed only when the level of consciousness of the party cadres has attained a minimum of standard which enables all of them, or at least most of them, to express their thoughts in an articulate form, i.e. they are able to play an effective role through dialogue and discussions in the inner-party polemics and ideological struggles. Attainment of such a minimum of standard to make critical analysis of theories requires, as a precondition, attainment of a higher cultural-ethical standard by the cadres through concrete struggles covering all aspects of life. Only after the attainment of such a standard, can the rank and file members play an effective role in the inner-party polemics and ideological struggle and does the relationship between the leaders and the rank and file really assume a dialectical character. Unless the political consciousness and cultural standard reach such a minimum of level, the ideological struggles and polemical discussions, i.e. inner-party struggle virtually becomes a formal affair.
Now, from what I have discussed so long about the character of proletarian democracy, you can judge for yourselves whether the same exists in any of the so-called communist parties in our country. But Mr. Namboodiripad, a member of the CPI(M) Politburo, and said to be a theoretician of that party, has reduced this concept of democratic centralism, the living soul of a communist party organization, to a concept of mere 'majority-minority'; and more astonishing is the fact that the leaders and the rank and file members of that party have accepted this queer concept without any protest. While expounding democratic centralism, Mr. Namboodiripad has said that since their party acts as per majority decision and follows the principle of submission of the lower party bodies to the higher ones, so it is abiding by the principle of democratic centralism, and for this reason he says that their party is a real communist party. Mr. Namboodiripad said: "The three-fold submission --the individual to the organization, the minority to the majority and the lower unit to the higher --such is the law of Organization".
So, according to Mr. Namboodiripad, to work on the principle of the majority decision is to practise democratic centralism and to establish collective leadership within the party. But this means, in effect, reducing the concept of collective leadership to that of an average formal democratic leadership, and this principle of abiding by the majority decision can be found in all the bourgeois and petty bourgeois parties as well. Should it be proper then to conclude from this that the principle of democratic centralism is operative and the collective leadership established in those parties? It may sometimes be necessary, even in a communist party, if unanimity cannot be achieved, to act as per the majority decision to which the minority has to submit. By this alone it cannot be concluded that the principle of democratic centralism is working in a party. Any Marxist knows that the principle of democratic centralism is inextricably linked up with the question of establishment of proletarian democracy and collective leadership in a party. Hence no Marxist who has some common sense would say that the principle of democratic centralism is operative in a party only because it works on the principle of majority decision and submission of the lower body to the higher.
Hence, in order to assess whether a party is being guided by the concept of collective leadership, it would first have to be seen if, in order to build up and develop the collective leadership on the basis of Marxism-Leninism, one process of thinking, uniformity of thinking --not on political and economic aspects alone but covering all aspects of life --has grown in the party or, in other words, whether ideological centralism has been achieved and whether the struggle for attaining uniformity in approach and singleness of purpose is being conducted consciously and correctly.
Secondly, we are to examine whether the leaders of the party, in the name of ensuring discipline and oneness in approach, are actually cultivating a sense of blind allegiance and party fanaticism similar to religious fanaticism among its members and supporters, or, far from encouraging practices like irrational conduct and fanaticism and various other bourgeois vices of blindness, obstinacy, indiscipline, ego-centricism and falsehood among the workers and supporters, the leaders are actually conducting a principled and determined struggle against all these and are continuously endeavouring to instil in them a rational approach and philosophical tolerance. Because, communists ought to know that fanaticism and blindness are conducive to growth of fascism and hence are totally alien to Marxism-Leninism.
It should be borne in mind in this connection that among the social democratic parties affiliated to the Second International, those who were more liberal in their approach could not bring in fascism because of looseness of their organizational structure; rather it was those social democratic parties who subsequently turned revisionist and national chauvinist and who possessed a more militant character and fostered fanaticism and blindness in their ranks that gave birth to fascism, internationally. Social democracy after committing suicide in Europe and after having been thoroughly discredited and isolated as an organized political force from the proletarian revolutionary movement is, no doubt, still continuing as a powerful political trend in the world communist movement. And modern revisionism is nothing but an outcome of this trend. In our time, those communist parties within the international communist movement who have already degenerated into revisionist parties and reduced themselves to the position of national communist parties or, in other words, who are communists in name only but social democratic parties in practice do have every possibility of turning into fascist parties, if these parties, while they wave the red banner and move under cover of Marxism, combine blindness and fanaticism with their so-called militant character.
In this connection, it should be remembered that militancy born of revolutionary ideology is not one and the same as the so-called militancy bred by fanaticism, blindness and superstition. They are qualitatively different.
Besides, while we judge the character of a party we should always keep in mind another very essential point. We are to examine through which process of struggle the party has been built up and, to be precise, whether its leaders have conducted an intense and painstaking struggle for the building of a communist party before giving an organizational shape to the party.
In 1964 when some leaders came out of the CPI to form the CPI(M), a group from the Calcutta District of the party met me before their 7th Congress. I told them: Before forming a new party you should see whether or not there exists a real communist party in the country. If there is any, you are in duty bound to strengthen it. But if, in your consideration, there is no such party in the country, then, before giving a final constitutional-organizational shape to the party you are going to build up, you will have to fulfil, following the Marxist methodology, the preliminary conditions for building a communist party. Otherwise, in your process of thinking you will continue to carry the same tradition and heritage of the old party, although you will be doing so in the guise of a new name and new phraseology. Now let us see what are those primary conditions essential for the formation of a communist party. First, those who have taken the lead in forming the party would have to lay the foundation of ideological centralism first among themselves through a socialist movement based on dialectical materialism covering all aspects, including the minutest details, of their personal lives.
Secondly, it is always to be borne in mind that the struggle for developing a concrete concept of collective leadership is, in essence, the primary struggle to build up a communist party. For this, unless ideological centralism, that is to say, one process of thinking, uniformity of thinking, oneness in approach, singleness of purpose has been developed the concrete conception and personified expression of collective leadership within the party cannot be made possible at all. And unless this condition is fulfilled, it is to be understood, the time has not yet come to give a final organizational shape to the party. For, if finalisation of the formal structure of the party is attempted before that, the party will invariably be mechanically centralised instead of being democratically centralised and, in course of its development, will surely give birth to formal and bureaucratic leadership in place of collective leadership.
Thirdly, through a relentless and painstaking struggle a band of professional revolutionaries is to be developed from among the leaders and cadres who have taken up the cause of formation of a revolutionary working class party. And you should clearly understand that, in the Marxist terminology, a 'professional revolutionary' does never mean a paid whole-time worker. Professional revolutionaries are those who constitute the most advanced section of the militant and conscious proletariat who, through a socialist movement, not merely in economic-political fields but in all aspects of life, have been able to embrace Marxism-Leninism, that is the revolutionary ideology of the proletariat, in such a manner that they are capable of engaging themselves constantly in the very many complex battles of the revolutionary life --gladly, unwaveringly and without any reservation --rising above all their personal considerations, needs and difficulties and who can unhesitatingly and happily submit everything personal to the party in the interest of revolution. If the leadership of the party, at different levels, is constituted from among such professional revolutionaries, then only can a party acquire the character of a real communist party. Only when all these three conditions are fulfilled, can the formal constitutional shape be given to a real communist party through a congress. And without fulfilling these three primary conditions, a formal constitutional shape to a real working class party should never be given.
That is why, I told those leaders who met me before the formation of the CPI(M): So, you who have come out of the old CPI to form a new party, will have to fulfil all these three conditions in order to bring about a complete break from the non-working class methodological approach of the old party which is still acting in your thought process, consciously or unconsciously; only then will you be able to form a real working class party on the basis of dialectical materialist working class outlook. But if some individuals or political groups, avoiding this essential struggle for fulfilling the pre-requisites of the formation of a real working class party, form, in hot haste, a party accepting the Marxist theories superficially, giving verbal declarations about their adherence to Marxism, then it can at best serve as a platform to conduct the day-to-day political-economic movements but can never develop as a communist party, adequately trained and capable of leading and conducting the most complex and protracted struggles of the working class revolution. The leaders of the CPI avoided this hard and painstaking struggle to fulfil the preliminary conditions during the process of formation of that party and, precisely because of this, they failed to build up a genuine revolutionary party of the proletariat. Now again, another party congress, as before, prior to the completion of such a struggle will simply mean the formation of another such platform of common action on the accepted political line and programme of pro-communist individuals and political groups. As a result, you can give birth to a petty bourgeois party under cover of revolutionary phrasemongerings similar to the revisionist Dange Party but can never form a real revolutionary party of the proletariat.
But the CPI(M) leaders avoided this preliminary process of party formation and the intense painstaking struggle through which alone a break could have been brought about with the non-working class methodology and revisionist line of thinking of the CPI, and organized most hastily their pompous and colourful 7th Congress (1964) in Calcutta and formed the party with some old leaders and groups having the same old CPI orientation and grown up in the CPI tradition, and by devising certain clever and subtle changes in the tactical approach of the old theory of the CPI passed it for a revolutionary theory. I had then pointed out that this party, too, would split in the near future. And now you see that within so short a span of three years, the Naxalite leaders and workers have come out of the CPI(M) branding it as neo-revisionist, and they are attempting to build up a new party. And I assert here, in this very meeting, that the same fate will befall the Naxalites. And I am sure you will see this come true hundred per cent within a year or two. How do I predict? Is it with the help of astrology? No, I say this, analysing three things.
Firstly, the class character, the process of thinking and the methodological approach of the party carry the tradition of the same old party.
The second is the wrong political theory of this party. You cannot develop a genuine revolutionary party of the working class without trying to understand scientifically the complex and objective process of revolution operating within the society; it cannot develop by blindly copying parties and their leaders abroad and by imposing utopian thinking in the name of a revolutionary theory on the objective conditions of the country, interspersing it with some occasional movements on the day-to-day problems of the people with pseudo-militant postures. As the theory of people's democratic revolution is not the objective reflection of the most complicated process of Indian revolution but is actually a utopia, superimposed in a subjective way on the objective conditions, this so-called revolutionary theory itself is giving birth to two opposite trends inside the party. Moving along the path of parliamentary politics, whenever some sort of stability is growing, a section of the party leaders are trying to arrest the party within the narrow confines of parliamentarism though, of course, with revolutionary vocabulary and catchwords. Another section within this party who have become thoroughly disgusted with the opportunism of the parliamentary politics and in whom there is an urge for revolution, because of the wrong methodology of the party and the wrong political formulation of people's democratic revolution which does in no way reflect the objective conditions, or in other words, because of the wrong political theory, are showing ultra-revolutionary trends or tendencies and untimely pushing the unprepared and unorganized forces of revolution before the repressions of the state machinery, thereby inflicting harm on the cause of revolution by objectively helping the coercive apparatus of the state to be tightened up.
Thirdly, the evil influence of individualism and existence of group mentality which are the characteristic features of the bourgeois and petty bourgeois parties and due to which the CPI was split, were inherent in the CPI(M) since its birth. Hence, so long as these groups are able to accommodate each other a patch-work unity will be maintained inside the party but it is sure to split, the moment this adjustment will fail. Similarly, so long as these three traits -- this old non-working class thinking, influence of individualism and group mentality and this most subjective and utopian theory of people's democratic revolution imposed artificially on the objective reality --would remain inside the party they will give birth to two opposite tendencies leading to split and further split, each faction carrying inherently in it the same two opposite trends. One tendency will always be there to sink the party in parliamentarism and arrest it within the narrow confines of parliamentary politics, while the other would always try to step into extremism and adventurism. For this very reason, the CPI(M) also split as soon as it was formed. The same fate awaits the Naxalites if they form a party. Because, they are also going to form their party on the basis of a combination of groups, and their theory of revolution is the same old theory of people's democratic revolution as of the CPI(M). To them, formation of a new party always means combination of some other groups against some group or groups. Has it got any relevance to the question of building a revolutionary party of the proletariat? Is it anything else than forming a new party with the same political line, same methodological approach, same cultural standard with variations only in some political vocabulary and behaviour, i.e. in tactical approach?
Hence, those who came out of the CPI and engaged themselves with the avowed object of building up a genuine communist party, accepting the ideology of Marxism, failed to accomplish it and reduced the party to a loose political platform of certain petty bourgeois groups and individuals on the basis of a generally accepted political and economic programme for common mass action. This happened because, as I have already discussed, they avoided the long and complex struggle to develop oneness in approach, uniformity of thinking, singleness of purpose and concrete conception of collective leadership essential for building up a genuine communist party. Though they claim themselves to be communists, the leaders and most of the cadres of this party conduct their personal life in typical individualistic manner and outlook, and most of the leaders are the living symbols of ego-centricism and political careerism, just like the bourgeois leaders. If you enquire, you will know that each of the leaders has his own group inside the party. So long as these groups can compromise and adjust with one another the party remains united. When that is no longer possible, the party splits giving birth to a new party. But, leaders always do it on the plea of political difference only to hide from the rank and file and the people the real cause, i.e. the group squabbles and power conflict. Whether the leaders do it consciously or not is not so much important here. When the practice of individualism becomes the dominant trend such group mentality, cliques, coteries, squabbles, power struggles and all other vices, the worst type of vices of bourgeois ideologies, are bound to be at work inside the party.
I feel that one more serious and important point should also be discussed in this connection. In a multi-nationality country like ours, where nationality complex is deep-rooted among the people and this, in my opinion, would persist for a considerable time in spite of democratic movements, individualism is not the only factor contributing to the growth of group mentality. Besides individualism, nationality mental complex is also playing a very important role in the formation of groups inside all these all-India bourgeois or petty bourgeois parties. For all these reasons ideological centralism is a must --the most essential precondition, the only guarantee for developing and maintaining unity and solidarity in the party by giving defeat to individualism and groupism.
A genuine communist party never tolerates any tendency of groupism inside the party, because groups mean parallels and existence of parallel trends of thought in it, which is the characteristic feature of bourgeois parties. A genuine communist party never allows such a thing. Rather, in a genuine communist party a conscious and collective struggle to free the leaders and members from the evil influence of individualism is always to be kept alive in order to eliminate the possibility of its growth in party life.
Even Mr. Namboodiripad could not deny the fact that there were groups in his party. In an attempt to distinguish between the character of groupism in his party and in the Congress, he said that groupism in the Congress was due to bickerings for power, and in his party it reflected the contradiction between different trends of thoughts. All the better! Mr. Namboodiripad was not aware how, in this attempt to defend his party, he actually admitted such a harsh reality that exposed the very class character of his party. Though, of course, I am sure that they would not admit it. But had he got a little knowledge of Marxism-Leninism it could not have been unknown to him that in a class-divided society different trends of thinking signify different class trends of thinking. True, differences on some issues may of course arise at times even in a genuine communist party. But such a difference is a difference or contradiction of ideas, views and experiences of the individuals of the party within the framework of the same methodological approach or trend of thinking. But existence of such differences or contradictions within a communist party does never mean existence of different trends of thinking. But Mr. Namboodiripad holds that whatever differences they have in their party they reflect different trends of thinking. That the point of different trends of thinking is directly related to the question of class methodological approach, Mr. Namboodiripad is either ignorant of or had missed it altogether in his frantic bid to defend his party.
We must never forget that, unlike a bourgeois or petty bourgeois party, a communist party is not a mere conglomeration of individuals or groups. Lenin compared a communist party to a living organism. A communist party is not a mechanical whole but an organic whole like a human body --a monolithic organism with a centre of nerves or a brain. The brain is the centre, the guiding force of a living organism. It is the brain that guides all the limbs and sense organs; whereas the limbs and the sense organs, on their part, influence the functioning of the brain through various processes by their activities. So the relation of the sense organs and the limbs with the brain is dialectical. So too is the organism of a communist party. In a real communist party the relationship between the leaders and the rank and file, between the central committee and other party bodies down to the cell, is just like that between the brain and the limbs and sense organs. Again, the different party bodies, from the lowest to the highest, are not merely different conglomerations of some leaders and workers. In their own spheres of activities these bodies have their own leaders, the centre of attraction. Now, as I have already pointed out, the collective knowledge of the party that grows and develops through the process of collective struggle between the party bodies and the leaders and cadres of the party can never be abstract but concrete; therefore he emerges as the thinker, the leader, the teacher and the guide in whom this collective knowledge of the party is concretised and personified in the best way. He is not a leader who is chosen through adjustment or compromise among the different group leaders. The leader in a genuine communist party emerges in the process of conscious and collective struggle to build up the concrete conception of collective leadership in the party. It is to be noted that the phenomenon of leadership within a communist party is not one of parallel leaders but of the leader of the leaders. During his lifetime, Lenin was the leader of the leaders in the CPSU. He was the thinker, the leader, the teacher and the guide of the party. Even when Lenin was sick and bed-ridden and Stalin was the general secretary of the party, Lenin remained the leader and teacher of the party. Stalin, too, acknowledged it from the core of his heart. Mao Zedong is the thinker and the leader of the Communist Party of China. This is exactly what we call the true form of collective leadership or, in other words, the concretised expression of collective leadership. Who is that leader of leaders in any of these so-called communist parties of our country whom the members of the central committee and other leaders of the party really acknowledge as the thinker, teacher and guide of the party? In reality, in these parties nobody is nobody's leader --all are leaders! All these leaders in these parties have their difference with each other on both personal and ideological questions. In a situation like this, how can the party bodies from the lowest to the highest, i.e. from the cell to the central committee, take the form of an organism? So, only to meet the exigency they somehow carry on within the same party accepting the principle of majority-minority. And this they call the collective leadership of the party.
Let me now cite another observation of one of the leaders of the CPI to show the real class character of these so-called communist parties. When Ajoy Ghosh  became the general secretary of the party after Joshi and Ranadive he said that his party, from its very inception till his coming to the leadership, failed to reflect the working class outlook. So, according to his own statement, it naturally follows that the working class outlook was so long absent in the very thought process of the party. No doubt, he deserves thanks for his candid confession of truth about his party! But this is just the negative aspect of the truth. What is its positive aspect? Any communist knows that in a class-divided society thinking means class thinking based on definite class interest. Ajoy Ghosh said that his party from its very inception till his coming to power, that is, during the long period of twentyfour or twentyfive years, did not reflect working class outlook in its process of thinking, meaning thereby, that the ideology or thinking of the party was not working class ideology or working class thinking. But surely, it had not reflected any supra-class outlook which in a class-divided society is a sheer utopia. If this be the case then which class outlook did Ajoy Ghosh's party reflect during these long years? If it had not reflected working class outlook then it must have reflected either the bourgeois or petty bourgeois class outlook. He had not the courage and honesty to admit this truth.
Obviously, this party reflected the non-working class outlook in its process of thinking and methodology for such a long time since its birth and formulated its political programmes either with the bourgeois or petty bourgeois class outlook and conducted mass struggle accordingly. Despite devotion and sacrifices, how can a party conducting mass struggles on the basis of a political programme formulated with the bourgeois or petty bourgeois class outlook and thought process become a communist party at all? Does it follow then that just because a party calls itself communist, clamours about sacrifices and is conducting many mass struggles, it can become a communist party when it is actually guided by the bourgeois or petty bourgeois class outlook and methodology? It hardly requires any knowledge of Marxism to understand that even the bourgeois and petty bourgeois social democratic parties sometimes conduct mass struggle on popular issues and even, at times, militant mass struggle, if need be. When this is the reality, what relevance has this confession of mistakes, discussion on success or failures of these struggles other than strengthening the bourgeois or petty bourgeois parties? How does the question of transforming such a party into a genuine communist party by reforms arise at all? But strangely enough, none among the cadres, the leaders even, felt the necessity of placing this question boldly before the leadership.
Not that the present leaders of the CPI(M), or the Naxalite leaders were not then in this party. They were, all of them, in the same party, but none of them raised this question. To them, admission of mistakes was, as if, enough. Nobody even cared to find out the nature of the mistakes, whether it was of fundamental nature or not. They were not interested even in understanding whether this confession of mistakes proved the revolutionary character or revealed all the more the petty bourgeois character of the party. The leaders remained content with performing their revolutionary duties simply by confession of mistakes and talking about reforming the party and all that.
These 'revolutionaries' do not even care to know this basic class theory of Marxism that, just as the state of a particular class cannot be transformed into the state of another class through reforms, so also, through reforms, the party of a particular class can never be transformed into the party of another class. Such an idea is thoroughly unscientific and ahistorical. When the great genius of Karl Marx found that the First International founded by him had degenerated into a petty bourgeois organization, he did not think in terms of taking the unscientific course of rectifying and reforming it, but himself dissolved it. Such is also the history of the Second International. When he found it to have degenerated into an organization of the national chauvinists, Lenin himself moved the resolution for the dissolution of the Second International at the Zimmerwald Conference which he had striven to strengthen with every drop of his blood. Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht of Germany, though accepting Lenin's first proposition defining the Second International as the organization of the national chauvinists could not, however, agree at first to his second proposition, i.e. demand for its dissolution. They were rather in favour of keeping intact the Second International, built through long struggles and toils, and transforming it through reforms into a genuine working class organization. So, Lenin alone came out of the Second International, successfully led the Russian revolutionary struggle to victory and formed the Third International. Karl Liebknecht, through practical experiences, later realized the futility of reforming the Second International, came out of it and formed the Spartacus Group in Germany. Drawing the correct lesson from the history of the communist movement we, therefore, did not adopt the unscientific course of trying to reform the Communist Party of India, in reality a petty bourgeois party, into a working class party.
Let us now examine one by one the main political theory of each of the three factions which claim themselves to be correct. As for the old undivided CPI, we have shown many a time in our earlier writings that whenever it formulated its political line, i.e. the strategy that guides a party in a given period, it always committed mistakes of fundamental nature. Still then, in order to help you understand, I would place here a short outline of those discussions.
Perhaps many of you are aware that during the period of anti-imperialist struggle when the Communist Party of India was formed, the Indian National Congress was not strictly and directly the party of the bourgeoisie as it is today. This fact was admitted even in the document of the Comintern. All the political parties of India were then within the Congress which was then more or less a platform of action in the freedom struggle. At that time, therefore, there was the bright prospect of shaping out the Congress into a genuine anti-imperialist people's front by isolating the national bourgeois leadership and establishing, instead, the hegemony of the working class over it and it was incumbent upon the revolutionary working class party to make continued efforts towards that end. But this so-called Communist Party under the leadership of the Ranadive group pursued a narrow sectarian policy, branded the entire independence struggle under the leadership of the Congress as a struggle of the reactionary bourgeoisie and thus isolated itself from the mainstream of the freedom struggle. They also disrupted the united platform of the trade union movement by forming separately the Red Trade Union. So, isolating themselves from the independence movement, they rather helped the national bourgeoisie to consolidate their hegemony over the entire national movement. So, by such a political stand and behaviour they not only isolated communism from the main current of patriotism but also created a somewhat sceptic attitude and apprehension in the minds of the majority of our patriotic people about communism. But in 1934, they made an admission of this mistake and in the name of rectification adopted a diametrically opposite stand. To them the national bourgeoisie was reactionary in 1930 and on this pretext they kept themselves aloof from the freedom movement led by the Congress. This very national bourgeoisie became, in 1934, not merely progressive but even revolutionary, so much so that they felt the necessity of forming a 'national front' under the joint leadership of the working class and the bourgeoisie and thereby introduced, in practice, though not formally, Plekhanov's theory of united front discarded by Lenin long before.
Marxism-Leninism teaches us that the more the class struggle sharpens, the more reactionary the bourgeoisie becomes, or in other words, with the passage of time the bourgeoisie as a class becomes more and more reactionary. But according to the analysis of this party, the extremely reactionary bourgeoisie of 1930 became not only progressive but also revolutionary in 1934. And this is how they corrected their mistake!
Thus you see that the leaders of this party first isolated themselves from the freedom movement and helped the national bourgeoisie to establish its hegemony over the movement. Again, in 1934, by projecting the same national bourgeoisie as progressive and even revolutionary before the people, through their so-called theory of 'national front', they enhanced its prestige and thereby helped the national bourgeoisie to further consolidate its hegemony.
Then again, in 1939, they supported the Muslim League' demand for Pakistan, putting forth the argument that the Muslims by religion constituted a nation and deserved the right of self-determination, which in fact was a total distortion and utter vulgarization of the well-known Marxist theory of 'the right of nations to self-determination'! Afterwards, in continuation of their unique revolutionary (!) line, they raised the slogan of the Congress-League unity. They started arguing as if the attainment of freedom was never possible unless the Congress, representing the capito-feudalist leadership and the Muslim League representing the feudo-capitalist leadership (the party in which the influence of religion was more pronounced) joined hands. If you can collect some information on the activity of this party at that time, you will learn that this party had been rending the sky then with the slogan "we demand the Congress-League unity" at innumerable meetings and processions organized by it and hoisting the red flag with the flag of the Congress and of the League flanking it on either side. I believe, by now, you can well understand what novel course they adopted to rectify their mistake of 1930!
Whatever might have been their theory and analysis of the war, when, in 1942, during the Second World War, the people at large throughout the country burst forth in revolt against British imperialism, they not only opposed it by branding the whole patriotic struggle as a pro-Japanese and pro-fascist movement, but also objectively acted as stooges of imperialism by joining hands with them, in the name of fighting fascism, through what is known as the 'Joshi-Maxwell Pact'. But whether this pact was a written one or not, only the leaders of the CPI can say. By this act they not only isolated themselves from the entire current of the patriotic movement, but also belittled and even maligned the noble ideology of communism in the eyes of the patriotic people of our country. All the veteran leaders and cadres of the CPI know what dangerous reactions followed although the new cadres may not be able to comprehend it properly today.
Again in 1947, when the national bourgeoisie came to power through compromise with the British imperialists and when a national government was formed under the leadership of Pandit Nehru, the CPI, once again, admitted its mistakes in the usual manner without going into the question clearly as to what the nature of their mistakes was, and declared the Mountbatten Award as 'one step forward' and raised the slogan, "All support to Nehru : build people's democratic republic". In the background of the conflict for leadership within the Congress that developed between Jawaharlal and Patel at that time, they branded Jawaharlal as progressive and Patel as reactionary, just as they are at present differentiating between the Indicate and the Syndicate, and said : "Nehru, don't resign, we communists are behind you". Thus they invented a unique theory of gradually establishing new democracy by democratic means, by forming a national democratic front with the progressive section of the national bourgeoisie under the leadership of Pandit Nehru.
In 1948, the so-called revolutionary group of Ranadive again came to the leadership with the 'noble' objective of extricating the party from the vicious circle of right opportunistic politics practised so long. Ranadive presented a long list acknowledging the mistakes committed by the party in the past. Among all his admissions two were really unique. 'There was no democratic centralism inside the party so long' was one such admission. And to the question as to how the party could remain a communist party at all without democratic centralism operating for all these long twenty years, he did not care to provide any explanation, and it so happened that none of the delegates to the party congress raised the question either. However, according to Mr. Ranadive the party was not working on the principle of democratic centralism because its constitution did not provide any right to the members of the lower bodies to make representation to the central committee directly. And so, by inserting such a clause in the constitution of the party, he made a readymade introduction of democratic centralism inside the party, and declared that the party had been, for the first time, 'bolshevised'. But this 'bolshevised' party of Ranadive took only three years to become 'menshevised'!
And when Ajoy Ghosh took over the leadership we came to know from his statement that Mr. Ranadive had put an end to whatever little democratic centralism had earlier existed inside the party and had made it totally bankrupt. The second mistake of the party which Mr. Ranadive admitted was no less excellent! He said that the party's theory of people's war and the policy of keeping production unhampered in the interest of imperialist war preparations were correct but what the party had forgotten was the irreconcilable contradiction that existed between labour and capital, the bourgeois and the proletariat, that is, they had forgotten the very essence of the theory of class struggle! And this piece of extraordinary document was adopted at the party congress in presence of the seasoned leaders of the CPI and the present-day leaders of the CPI(M)! Surprisingly enough, this party, even after all this, still goes by the name 'communist' and its workers accept that without any question!
Despite all these verbiage, the political resolution, that is the strategy of revolution, adopted in 1948 at the Calcutta congress under the leadership of the so-called revolutionary group of Ranadive remained essentially the same as that of Joshi except for some changes in vocabulary and tactical approach. Just like Mr. Joshi, Mr. Ranadive too characterised the Indian state as semi-colonial, semi-feudal and the object of revolution, according to him, also remained anti-imperialist and anti-feudal. Like Mr. Joshi, Mr. Ranadive also characterised the national bourgeoisie as progressive and an ally of revolution. In short, the strategy of revolution remained 'new democratic' as formulated before by the Joshi leadership, but only the name was changed to 'people's democratic revolution'. This is how Mr. Ranadive rectified the past mistakes of the party and salvaged it from the politics of right deviation so long pursued by Mr. Joshi! What Mr. Ranadive added, in his old characteristic left adventuristic fashion, was a call for direct war against the state for seizure of power on the basis of his sudden discovery that the masses had emerged as a new force, just as Mr. Ranadive and Mr. Promode Dasgupta discovered that a new force had emerged during the UF Ministry, before isolating the compromising forces and establishing in its stead the working class hegemony over the masses, before building up the invincible revolutionary instruments of struggle and political power of the people through the complex process of democratic movements.
But when, in the name of revolution, he started his battle against the state, paradoxically, however, he found himself face to face with the bourgeois class and the bourgeois state machinery notwithstanding their strategy of people's democratic revolution adopted at the party congress. Being pressed by such objective reality, Mr. Ranadive, without caring a bit for the strategy of people's democratic revolution adopted at the party congress or without rectifying it even, declared: We cannot fight imperialism without fighting the bourgeoisie and the bourgeois government.
But, as a result, there remained absolutely no link between the theory and the practice of the party. Activities of the party became totally divorced from theory and Mr. Ranadive, by these utterances, landed himself in a complete theoretical mess. Because, when the fight is against the bourgeois government, the national bourgeoisie cannot have any place in the revolutionary alignment of forces and, again, unless capitalism is the dominant feature in the economy, the class struggle against the bourgeoisie cannot reflect the main contradiction in the society. So, at once, Mr. Bhabani Sen, the party theoretician on agrarian questions, the then righthand man of Mr. Ranadive, and a revisionist leader at present, started presenting facts and figures to show how rapidly capitalism was infiltrating the Indian agriculture. The same theoretician, Mr. Bhabani Sen, after Mr. Ajoy Ghosh became the leader of the party in 1951, started collecting and marshalling just the opposite statistics to show how dominant and deep-rooted was the influence of feudalism in Indian agriculture, and he is still continuing to do so.
However, the ultra-left adventurist policies of Mr. Ranadive dealt a severe blow to the party. He was removed from the leadership again, and Mr. Rajeswara Rao became, for a short time, the party chief. He, too, endorsed in toto the strategy of anti-imperialist, anti-feudal people's democratic revolution. Only some differences on tactical questions with Mr. Ranadive could be seen. Blindly toeing the Chinese experiences, he adopted the 'guerrilla war tactics' in rural belts just what the Naxalites are propagating today. The very same Rajeswara Rao is being branded today as an arch revisionist by the Naxalites. Anyway, after some time when Mr. Ajoy Ghosh's leadership became established against both the trends, he declared that since the party could take lessons from both the extreme right reformism of Joshi and the ultra-left adventurism of Ranadive-Rajeswara Rao, the party was free from all these deviations and now it was the real Communist Party. You should know, amongst those who agreed with this declaration were all the present leaders of the CPI(M) and the Naxalites.
The main theoretical document on the strategy of revolution adopted in 1951 at Madurai under the leadership of Mr. Ajoy Ghosh, leaving aside the question of tactical approach, remained absolutely unchanged on questions of strategy from that of the earlier stands taken by Mr. Joshi, Mr. Ranadive and Mr. Rajeswara Rao. Not only that. If you carefully compare the theoretical formulations of the Naxalites on the present situation, the character of the Indian state and the stage of revolution, you will find that their basic strategic approach, too, is almost identical. Ajoy Ghosh, just like the others, formulated the stage of Indian revolution as "anti-imperialist, anti-feudal" and characterised the Indian state as nothing but a stooge of imperialism. The only difference with the present-day Naxalites that was there in his formulation was that, despite characterising the Indian state as a stooge of imperialism, he attached utmost importance to participation in parliamentary elections. Because of the analysis, like the Naxalites', that the Indian independence is a 'formal' one and the Indian state a veritable stooge of imperialism, serious contradiction between theory and practice appeared very soon within the party under the leadership of Ajoy Ghosh. That was the time when India was, on the one hand, trying to combine the newly independent resurgent nationalist countries of Asia and Africa against the western imperialist countries through meetings and conferences as in Colombo, Bandung, etc., and, on the other, evincing a growing urge for development of more and more cordial relations with both the powerful socialist states --the Soviet Union and China --and had in fact established a friendly relation with China, and co-sponsored with China the Panchsheel, i.e. the five principles of peaceful coexistence and mutual cooperation, at Bandung, and that was the time when both the Soviet Union and China were highly eulogizing the foreign policy of the Indian government, branding it as a positively anti-imperialist and pro-peace policy. Placed in such a situation, the Ajoy Ghosh leadership, not quite unexpectedly, became all on a sudden a staunch and blind supporter of the foreign policy of the Indian government, branding it as a policy of peace, echoing what the Soviet and Chinese leaders were saying. I already told you about their habit of blindly copying others -- here also they did the same thing --without caring a bit whether or not it contradicted fundamentally the strategy of revolution they had adopted at the Madurai congress. So, there developed a fundamental contradiction between their declared strategy of revolution and the day-to-day practice of the party --they were faced with the question as to how India could have an independent foreign policy and how its foreign policy could be a peace policy if the Indian independence was just a formal one and the Indian state was just a stooge and moved under the dictates of imperialism.
So, in their bid to patch up this inconsistency or self-contradiction, they suddenly discovered at the Delhi meeting of the central committee that it was possible for the Indian government and the state to adopt an independent foreign policy since the influence of the national bourgeoisie on the Indian economy and over the government and the state was on the increase, and since the conflict between the imperialists and the national bourgeoisie in the economic spheres was getting more and more intensified --and all these, in their opinion, were reflected in the consolidation of the leadership of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.
So, right after the Delhi meeting of their central committee, they started acknowledging in reality, though not verbally or in writing, the hegemony of the national bourgeoisie over the Indian state and hence the existence of an independent sovereign national state of India. But that did not resolve the basic contradiction at all, even though, forced by the circumstances, they had to acknowledge the domination of the national bourgeoisie over the Indian state and government --which apparently, but not really, provided the explanation as to how the Indian government could pursue an independent foreign policy because the existence of the independent sovereign national state in India remained unrecognised in their theory, that is, the characterisation of the Indian state as a stooge of imperialism adopted at Madurai congress still remained unchanged.
After the Delhi meeting of the central committee, the next party congress was held at Palghat. Here, too, they totally failed to resolve the self-contradiction between their fundamental political line and practice. The main content of the political resolution adopted at Palghat was again 'anti-imperialist, anti-feudal people's democratic revolution' and in their analysis of the class disposition of forces they considered the national bourgeoisie as an ally of revolution. But since they acknowledged the growing influence of the national bourgeoisie over the Indian state and government just to explain away the independent peace policy and independent foreign policy of the Indian government, they no longer openly called the Indian state a stooge of imperialism as they did before. But they could not also admit that the Indian state was an independent national sovereign bourgeois state because in that case revolution would no longer remain a people's democratic one. Faced with such a ludicrous position over characterisation of the Indian state, they said: It is a bourgeois-landlord state headed by the big bourgeoisie.
Naturally, the pertinent question that arises now is: Who are these big bourgeoisie leading the bourgeois-landlord state? They said that the big bourgeoisie was the monopoly capitalist class that collaborated with imperialism. That is why their fight was against monopoly capitalism and feudalism, and not against the national bourgeoisie as such. By thus characterising the monopoly capitalist class as the collaborator of imperialism, they attempted to differentiate them from the national bourgeoisie. The question which now comes up is: If monopoly capital exists in India, which they too are forced to admit today, then where has this monopoly capital come from? Has it fallen from the blue? Lenin has shown clearly in his Imperialism --the Highest Stage of Capitalism that capitalism always comes with two inherent tendencies. First, capitalism in its early stage remains national in character and strives hard for the establishment of a sovereign national state. Second, this national capital, in the course of its development, gives birth to monopoly, and capitalism becomes cosmopolitan and acquires imperialist character at this stage of its development. Thus, according to Leninism, it is the national bourgeoisie that is transformed into monopoly bourgeoisie in the course of development of capitalism. So, to admit that monopoly capitalism has grown in India means, according to Marxism-Leninism, to admit the fact that, however weak and relatively backward it may be compared to the affluent and traditional western imperialist countries, Indian capitalism has not only given birth to national capital but in the course of development has itself, through the formation of monopoly capital, already acquired imperialist character as well. Naturally, to say that the big bourgeoisie, i.e. the monopoly capitalist class, is heading the state means, according to Marxism-Leninism, that it is the national bourgeoisie which is at the helm of the state. So, judging it in the context of the specific national and international situation obtaining at present, how can anyone deny the existence of an independent sovereign national state in India?
Secondly, while characterising the Indian state, they hold that it is the big bourgeoisie, the monopoly capitalist class, which is in the state power and who, according to them, is comprador bourgeoisie, or the stooge of imperialism, and not national bourgeoisie. But in the same breath they say that the contradiction and conflict between the Indian national bourgeoisie and the imperialist powers in the economic field is getting intensified so much and the influence of the national bourgeoisie on the state and the government has grown to such extent that these are finding expression in the anti-imperialist and pro-peace independent foreign policy of the Indian state under the leadership of prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru himself. So, if the overriding influence and control of the national bourgeoisie over the state and the government be admitted and the character of the state be defined as a 'bourgeois-landlord state headed by the big bourgeoisie', as has been done by them, then those whom they are calling the 'big bourgeoisie' cannot be in fact other than the national bourgeoisie, and it is they who are firmly established in state power today.
Thirdly, had they possessed even a rudimentary understanding of the Marxist-Leninist theory on imperialism, they would have easily understood that if the Indian monopoly capitalist class was a stooge of imperialism, then such a stooge or satellite of imperialism could not be a member or partner of the international trust and cartel which is nothing but the international economic organization of the imperialists. But the fact remains that the Indian monopoly capitalist class is already a partner of such international trust and cartel, the international economic organization of monopoly finance capital --may be a junior partner but still a partner and a competitor, too. So, judged from all aspects, it is clear that it is this very Indian national bourgeoisie which has transformed itself into monopoly capitalist class in the course of its development and which, being firmly established in the state power, is standing as the main obstacle in the path of emancipation of the exploited people of our country. If the national bourgeoisie is considered as an ally in revolution, then such a revolution can never mean the overthrow of the present state structure. Therefore, the fight against the monopoly capitalist class means, in reality, fight against the national bourgeoisie. Naturally, when the national bourgeoisie stands as the main enemy of the Indian revolution and when the revolution can only be accomplished by overthrowing this very national bourgeoisie from the state power, then how this national bourgeoisie can be an ally in the revolution is a matter which should better be left to the 'theoreticians' of that party to be explained! It is really beyond the comprehension of a genuine Marxist-Leninist! Only one question remains to be considered here, which is, how best can we handle the contradiction that exists between monopoly capital and small production in our country and, taking advantage of this contradiction, how far can we use small production in favour of revolution, which the revolutionaries in all countries strive to do. There may be differences as to the tactical aspects of it. But what has that got to do with the question of considering the national bourgeoisie as a class to be an ally in the strategic alliance of revolution when this very national bourgeoisie has already been transformed into the monopoly capitalist class against which the revolutionary struggle has to be directed and without overthrowing which revolution cannot be accomplished? Even after all this, if they still cling to their pet theory that the national bourgeoisie is an ally in their 'revolution', then the very object of such a revolution can in no way mean the overthrow of the present capitalist state machine, rather it boils down to nothing but the programme of parliamentary election battles within the framework of a national bourgeois state, and their ideal of 'revolution' is thus reduced to empty talks and meaningless slogans, which their cadres and theoreticians have so hopelessly failed to grasp.
It is, therefore, clear that the contradiction between their theory and practice which became vivid in their political stand and behaviour since the Madurai congress --the contradiction which had earlier become palpable in 1948 at the time of Mr. Ranadive, when they were out to conduct struggles directly against the state --could not be resolved by them even at the Palghat congress. This self-contradiction became more acute when, at the Amritsar congress after Palghat, they declared, going a step further, that by forming a 'national front' in alliance with the national bourgeoisie they could achieve people's democratic revolution not only peacefully but even by parliamentary means. By this declaration they openly admitted the independent and active role of the Indian parliament. But they did neither care to explain how a parliament can have such an independent role without having a sovereign national bourgeois state at its base, nor did they accept the Indian state as a sovereign bourgeois national state. In the Amritsar congress, too, their characterisation of the Indian state remained the same --'a bourgeois-landlord state headed by the big bourgeoisie' -- and the strategy of revolution remained the same old people's democratic revolution.
As it moved with this self-contradiction, a crisis developed within the party centring round the Sino-Indian border conflict. Group squabbles had been all along there inside the party. The so-called 'revolutionary group' led by Mr. Ranadive which was subdued during both Mr. Ajoy Ghosh's and, after him, Mr. Dange's leadership, found an opportunity to organise a separate part, exploiting the sentiment of proletarian internationalism of a section of the rank and file members of the party, which manifested itself centring round the Sino-Indian border conflict, and they came out of the old party branding the 'Dange clique' and 'Joshi clique' as revisionists and formed a new party, the CPI(M). I have dealt at length with the history of this party before the formation of the CPI(M) and you have seen that all the present leaders of the CPI(M) were no less committed to the policies and political stands of the old party. Be that as it may, let us now examine whether the basic theoretical differences which the CPI(M) leadership claimed, had existed when they came out of the old party and formed the new party in 1964, really involved any fundamental theoretical question or whether these were merely some differences on tactical questions and in vocabulary which they tried to pass off as major theoretical differences.
In the first congress of the CPI(M) at Calcutta which they declared as the seventh congress in continuity with the old party, and necessarily carrying its heritage, there, too, while characterising the Indian state, they echoed the same old formulation of the revisionists : 'It is a bourgeois-landlord state headed by the big bourgeoisie'. The strategy of revolution adopted at that party congress remained, as before, the same anti-imperialist, anti-feudal people's democratic revolution. On the class alignment of revolutionary forces, they, too, considered the national bourgeoisie and the rich peasants, i.e. the rural jotedars, as allies of their revolution. They even went so far as to mention in their political report of the congress that they visualised the possibility of a peaceful revolution in the concrete Indian situation. The difference boiled down to this point only: Who comprised the national bourgeoisie? Were they to be found within the Congress party or outside? The whole difference between the two parties was over this assessment. The CPI held that the section within the Congress led by Jawaharlal was in fact representing the national bourgeoisie. The CPI(M), on the contrary, took the stand that the Congress as a whole was a stooge of imperialism, a collaborator, an organization of the monopoly capitalists having no place for the national bourgeoisie. But if the national bourgeoisie were not inside the Congress, then who are these national bourgeoisie and what is their political organization --the CPI(M) leadership preferred to keep mum on these very pertinent questions.
On the other hand, they, too, like the CPI, recognized the reality of the existence of an independent Indian state, although they did not do it in writing or in any of their public statements. Besides, whether there should be a 'national front' or a 'united front' on issue to issue basis with the national bourgeoisie, whom both the CPI and the CPI(M) considered progressive and an ally in their 'revolution', was the point of their much trumpeted 'fundamental' difference at the time of split!
Thus, it may be seen that just as the revisionists did at Palghat, the CPI(M) leaders, too, differentiated the national bourgeoisie from the monopoly capitalist class by characterising the latter as 'big bourgeoisie' and stooges of imperialism. But just now I made it amply clear that this 'big bourgeoisie' whom they are branding as 'monopoly capitalist class', the 'collaborators' with imperialism, are none else than the national bourgeoisie who in fact were transformed into monopoly capitalist class in the course of development of the capitalist economy of our country. Naturally, by holding the national bourgeoisie an ally of their revolution, their revolution, too, like that of the CPI, was bound to remain a revolution in verbiage, and in reality they would continue to practise and remain totally engrossed in the parliamentary politics despite mouthing revolutionary slogans at the same time --a fact which has been already very much reflected in their day-to-day behaviour. But in the Congress, which they now depict as totally reactionary and a stooge of imperialism, they would discover in the course of time a section of progressive bourgeoisie, and would unite with it at times and oppose it at others to suit their exigency.
Later on, the CPI(M) leaders admitted at the Burdwan plenum that the influence of the national bourgeoisie on the Indian state and government was on the increase. When the Congress split into two --the 'Indicate' and the 'Syndicate' --the CPI(M) considered the Indira wing of the Congress to be relatively progressive compared to the 'Syndicate' faction. They hailed the bank nationalisation by Mrs. Indira Gandhi as a "progressive" measure and "one step forward" and even went on to conclude that it was the "anti-monopoly", "pro-people democratic forces" within the Indira Congress that were gaining in strength. Moreover, when the Naxalites, coming out of the CPI(M), started to propagate, on the lines similar to those of the document adopted in 1951 at Madurai, the theory of people's democratic revolution and to declare, by characterising the Indian state as semi-colonial and semi-feudal, that the independence of India was merely a formal one, Mr. Ranadive, while combating them, even went so far as to declare through one of his writings that the very national bourgeoisie which had led the freedom movement was now established in the state power in India. He thereby admitted that the Indian state, instead of being a semi-colonial, semi-feudal one, was an independent national sovereign state. Now, how can an independent national state be anything other than an independent sovereign bourgeois state? But even after observing that the national bourgeoisie was in the state power, Mr. Ranadive said in conclusion: However, the object of our revolution remains anti-imperialist, anti-feudal --as it was in Madurai. To admit that it is the 'national bourgeoisie which is in the state power' and to characterise in the next breath the same national bourgeoisie to be an ally in revolution cannot but raise a pertinent question as to whether their 'revolution', meaning people's democratic revolution, at all implies the overthrow of the present state machine. Otherwise, how can the national bourgeoisie which, according to Mr. Ranadive, is in the state power, and the rural rich peasants be deemed to be allies of their revolution? This question should better be left to be answered by theoreticians of Mr. Ranadive's standing and his revolutionary compatriots! Thus, it is proved that with regard to the fundamental theoretical questions of revolution, i.e. the evaluation of stage of revolution, character of the state and the alignment of revolutionary class forces, the CPI(M) had no difference with the CPI at the time of their split, nor do they have any now.
Another 'fundamental difference', which they used to speak about very loudly as being responsible for the split of the party, was that the CPI(M) considered the Soviet Union to be out-and-out revisionist in the international sphere and it was the CPC that was pursuing a correct revolutionary line. Therefore, the CPI(M) at that time took a pro-Chinese position. But they have changed this position since then. The CPI(M) now holds that the CPC was correct upto the 14th June letter[26 but has deviated since then. According to the CPI(M), the CPC is now suffering from dogmatism and practising the cult of individual in Mao Zedong which has nothing to do with Marxism. They are saying all this practically in the same manner like the revisionists, with only a slight difference here and there. They are, of course, careful about coining of words so that the rank and file members cannot detect that their position has become today identical with that of the revisionists. Their present position is that they are neutral --neither pro-Chinese nor pro-Soviet. But despite all their hue and cry against revisionism and despite their anti-Dange slogans, they are, as I have already told you, surreptitiously trying to develop friendship and intimacy with the Soviet Union. But because of the opposition of the CPI from outside and of their rank and file from inside, they have not been successful yet to proceed much in this direction. Mouthing 'revolutionary' slogans against revisionism, they are trying to befriend those European parties like the Romanian Party, a party that is more rightist than even the CPSU in its revisionist outlook. Not only are they maintaining liaison with such a party but both of them are very much appreciative of each other. And even then the Dangeites are revisionists in the eyes of the CPI(M)!
It is, therefore, clear that although the CPI(M) leaders formed a new party on the plea of and raising high sounding slogans about 'fundamental difference' on theoretical questions with the CPI, they have, in reality, no such difference. It was mainly due to group squabbles that they formed this new party which differed only on minor tactical approach and certain vocabulary. And whatever little difference the CPI(M) had in their tactical approach with the CPI at the time of the split is almost absent today excepting some local conflicts here and there manifested in day-to-day movements.
Besides, while forming their party, the CPI(M) leaders failed totally to grasp the all-important point that in order to build up a genuine communist party based on correct revolutionary theory it was an absolute necessity to bring about, first of all, in their own thought process a break with the revisionist and non-Marxist process of thinking of the old party. They took it for granted that the CPI(M) was undoubtedly the real communist party. And perhaps that is why they did not care to provide a scientific and Marxist explanation to the question as to how the leaders and cadres of this party, whose process of thinking, process of study, process of analysis, culture and education, as also political life patterned, moulded and shaped for long thirtyfive or thirtysix years of revisionist and non-Marxist thought process of the old party, could acquire and maintain true communist character. As they formed the new party in all haste with the leaders and cadres brought up under the influence of the old revisionist party's process of analysis, and as they did not conduct the primary, all-essential and painstaking struggle to accomplish the threefold task in order to bring about a break with the non-Marxist process of thinking and analysis of the old party --the tasks I have mentioned earlier --they carried along the heritage of the same old mental make-up, method of analysis and method of approach. And that is why their theory of revolution, too, except for certain changes in vocabulary and tactical approach, remained more or less similar to that of the old party. This party, therefore, has also become a neo-revisionist party and, like the old party and despite all attempts, it would never be possible to transform this party through reforms into a genuine revolutionary party of the proletariat.
I should now say a few words about the Naxalites. When the present leaders of the CPI(M) formed their party out of sheer group squabbles, drawing a good number of workers from the old party while fanning up their impatience for revolution and working on it, but later on let themselves be swayed by the easy-going life of parliamentary politics, this impatience for revolution among a section of the workers actually led to the emergence of the Naxalites.
But coming out of the CPI(M), they too, in complete disregard of the concrete objective condition of India, are carrying on with the same old revisionist theory of 'people's democratic revolution'. According to them, India has not attained political independence at all --as though this independence is on paper only. They say that India is in reality a semi-colonial, semi-feudal state. In their opinion, the stooges of imperialism --the comprador bourgeois class and the feudal lords --are practically ruling India in league with the imperialists, which means that their theory of revolution, too, is similar to the theory of revolution adopted at Madurai in 1951, except for some differences in tactical approach and vocabulary. So we see that they are trying to pass off the very same Madurai document of the old CPI, adopted under the leadership of the arch-revisionist Ajoy Ghosh, as a revolutionary document in the name of following the Chinese line. If you would examine carefully, you will note that the only difference they have with the Madurai document on the question of the tactical line of struggle, is basically more or less the same as that adopted for a short period during the leadership of Mr. Rajeswara Rao.
All this is because they have formulated their theory of revolution simply by making a carbon copy of the Chinese line under force of their old habit of copying blindly, which they inherited from the CPI. And the exaggerated reports furnished by them to the Chinese leadership on the concrete situation, various incidents and the picture of mass movements in our country actually contributed to the CPC's arriving at a wrong conclusion regarding the stage of revolution in India.
But is the present economic condition of India similar to that of pre-revolution China? According to the analysis of the great leader of the Chinese revolution, Mao Zedong, the pre-revolution Chinese economy was essentially a semi-colonial, semi-feudal, localised, self-sufficient agricultural economy. Economically, in China, national capital had not grown well even, not to speak of its acquiring imperialist features through development of capitalist economy. Capitalism was just developing there, that is, national capital was in its nascent stage. This national capital had been trying to develop by struggling against imperialism and feudalism. This is why the Chinese national bourgeoisie had a progressive role in the anti-imperialist, anti-feudal revolution in China. And who, then, were these national bourgeoisie in China? By the term national bourgeoisie, Mao Zedong while discussing the stage of revolution in China, meant the urban middle class, and this has been referred to in Thirty Years of the Communist Party of China. But is this the condition in India now? Because of the old trend of these parties in our country to impose fanciful theories borrowed from others on the concrete conditions of our country and marshal fictitious and subjective arguments, so-called facts, figures and materials, in their support, they have ignored the history of development of capitalism in our country.
Indian mercantile capital with its handicraft merchandise substantially developed before and even after the East India Company (British mercantile company) started trading till the fall of Siraj-ud-daula. The Indian merchants carried on flourishing trade not only inside the country but also in the markets of East Asia, South Africa, different European countries, including Great Britain even. At the time of Siraj-ud-daula his relation with the mercantile capitalists started deteriorating. As a result, a section of the mercantile capitalists, particularly the houses of Jagat Seth, Umichand and others, joined hands in a plot with the enemies of the nawab along with the East India Company in the hope of getting a better deal in trade and business. This resulted in the fall of Siraj in the battle of Plassey and Mirzaffar, a lackey of the East India Company, was installed as nawab. But what followed was completely contrary to the expectations of the mercantile capitalists for which they had extended their all-out support to make Mirzaffar the nawab. Whatever additional facilities and advantages the Indian merchants used to enjoy over the British merchants during Siraj's regime were all lost at the time of Mirzaffar. Not only this; discrimination was resorted to in trade practices through the exemption of the British traders from taxes and imposition of taxes at an enhanced rate on the Indian traders.
During Mirkashim's regime, the Indian merchants strove hard to restore the additional privileges and advantages once enjoyed by them and if that was not at all possible they demanded to be treated at least on a par with the British merchants. Pursuant to this, Mirkashim exempted the Indian merchants from paying taxes, like the British merchants. This led to a war between Mirkashim and the East India Company. Mirkashim's defeat in this war not only firmly laid the foundation of British rule in Bengal but brought the native mercantile capital under total subjugation of the East India Company in trade and commerce. It was in the interest of the British merchants that the thumbs of the textile weavers of Dhaka were cut off to bring ruination to the indigenous textile crafts, and gradually all other indigenous crafts were destroyed. In this way, the powerful trade and commerce system with handicraft merchandise that had been built up over a long period in the country by the native mercantile capitalists and once extended even to overseas markets, was gradually facing extinction. As a result, the Indian mercantile capitalists who in normal course would have given birth to industrial capital and national capital became totally reduced to comprador bourgeoisie, dealing merely in foreign produce as agents of the British concerns in this country.
A section of the comprador bourgeoisie, accumulating capital over a long period, in this process, was showing signs of developing into national bourgeoisie through the gradual formation of national capital at about the time of the Sepoy Mutiny. Marx's note on the Sepoy Mutiny also confirms this very fact. And when this section of the comprador bourgeoisie took initiative in giving shape to industrial capital, on the basis of it, the new consciousness of nationalist movement dawned on the people. As one section of the comprador bourgeoisie was thus gradually transformed into industrial bourgeoisie, the remaining section continued to exist, side by side, with its comprador character. During the freedom movement of our country, even upto 1930, the bourgeoisie was divided into two sections --the comprador and the national. At the sixth congress of the Comintern, Stalin also took cognizance of this very fact in his Colonial Thesis. In that Colonial Thesis, this section, the national bourgeoisie, which was there in the Congress during the freedom struggle, was referred to as the 'Swarajists'. As part and parcel of this section of the national bourgeoisie the Tatas and Birlas, the leading monopoly houses of today, all through patronized the national bourgeois leadership of the freedom movement.
Through a compromise reached between the national bourgeois leadership in the Congress and the British imperialists, India's political freedom was achieved and the Indian state power was consolidated in the hands of the national bourgeoisie. Thus, it is clear that the development of Indian national capital started long back and it became sufficiently consolidated much before the political freedom was achieved. The leadership of the international communist movement also could not deny this. So, we see that, in 1925, Stalin, while he spoke on the liberation movements of the colonies of the East at the University for the Revolutionaries, pointed out that even at that time India was capitalistically the most advanced and powerful among all the colonies of the East, and the Indian national bourgeoisie, according to him, had already emerged as a homogeneous class. And the same national bourgeoisie became far more developed and stronger through trade and commerce during the period of the Second World War and transformed itself into monopoly bourgeoisie.
But the Naxalite leaders and cadres are completely denying the existence and rise of Indian capitalism and the growth of monopoly capital through the process of development of capitalism in our country. The birth of national capital in India, the development of indigenous industries, the transformation of national capital into monopoly capital, the birth of financial oligarchy through the merger of industrial capital and banking capital, the exercise of control by the Indian monopolists over the industrial and even the agricultural produce and over the whole economic life of the country through stock exchanges and banks, as also the birth of Indian finance capital and its export not only to the markets of Asia and Africa and different European countries but to the USA and the UK even --that is to say, the attainment of imperialist character by the Indian capital --all these, according to the Naxalites, are the activities of foreign finance capital labelled as Indian capital. And according to them, the Indian monopolists are wholly subservient to the foreign imperialist powers and are working as their paid servants. They say that what is passed off today as the Indian finance capital exploiting the peoples of Asia and Africa is in fact either the US or the British finance capital --labelled Indian though not of Indian origin. So, when Indian finance capital has been working, even if in a limited extent, in the markets of the USA and the UK, it follows then, if their queer logic is to be accepted, that the US and British finance capitals after first coming to India were put on the Indian label and then going back even to their home countries with the Indian label put on to exploit the masses there. Even if, for argument's sake, this perverse logic be accepted, the question remains as to how the Indian monopolists who are, according to this analysis, nothing but stooges of imperialism, can enter into competitive partnership with the foreign imperialists as members of the international trust and cartel --the international organization of the monopolists of different countries. That the compradors, the stooges of imperialism, can enter into competitive partnership in the international trust and cartel of the monopolists is a preposterous proposition nowhere to be found in any principle or formulation of the Marxian political economy. This is a fact, one has to admit, if of course one abides by the conclusions of Leninism which Mao Zedong also accepts. But the Naxalites are arrogantly advancing their queer logic in support of the wrong theory they arbitrarily impose on the objective conditions in our country and they are wishing away the long history of development of Indian capitalism as the maya  of Sankaracharya.
While analysing the character of the pre-revolution Chinese economy, Mao Zedong said that it was a localised, self-sufficient agricultural economy, instead of a unified national economy, i.e. a centralized capitalist economy. So, whereas the agricultural produce in China was, in the main, the commodity of the localised rural market, the rural economy in India has come under the complete control of a centralised capitalist national economy --the agricultural produce here being transformed into a commodity of the national capitalist market, and the monopoly capitalists, through their full control of banks and stock exchanges, are completely regulating this market of the agricultural produce, too. Not much knowledge of economics is required to understand it. Anybody listening to the daily market bulletins on the radio can very well get to know this truth. Thus, there is a fundamental difference in the character of the economy of India and that of pre-revolution China. In this connection, you should know that the rich peasants, too, along with other sections of the peasantry, were considered an ally in the strategy of Chinese revolution.
This means that in pre-revolution China, the struggle of the poor peasants against the rich peasants did not assume the character of the major contradiction in class struggles in the villages. But, here in our country, the landless labourers, the sharecroppers and the poor peasants are actually engaged in a life-and-death struggle against not only that section of the big landowners who have land in their possession much above the ceiling laws, held by means of benam transfer, but even against those who own 60 to 75 bighas of land and who belong to the rich peasants or the jotedar class in villages. All, without exception, starting from the Naxalites, who speak of organizing struggles in the interest of the landless peasants, share-croppers and poor peasants, have in reality to wage struggle against the rich peasants or jotedars. Otherwise, despite phrase mongering and tall talks of upholding the cause of the poor peasants, they will subserve, in reality, the interest of the jotedars or rich peasants in villages. Are not the struggles of the peasantry which are being conducted against the jotedars in the villages today in fact struggles directed against the rich peasants? It is obvious then that rich peasants, whose counterparts were allies of the Chinese revolution against the feudal lords there, are enemies of the Indian revolution, and as a class they stand as allies of the national bourgeoisie in power in our country who have transformed land into a means of capitalist production of agricultural commodities for the national capitalist market.
Let us now make a comparative study of the character of the Indian state with the character of the state in pre-revolution China. According to the analysis made by Mao Zedong the character of the state of China before revolution was semi-colonial, semi-feudal, that is to say, it was pre-capitalist, decentralised and medieval in nature. Moreover, there was no unified, consolidated and centralised administration in China. The whole of China was divided into spheres of influence of some or other of the imperialist powers. And these areas were under the separate and effective control and administration of different warlords who were the stooges of one or the other of the imperialist powers. A central government to maintain liaison existed in Nanking only on paper. These warlords had their own army and they were often engaged in war amongst themselves. At times, the warlords revolted and engaged themselves in war even against the so-called central government in Nanking. Naturally, in such a situation, it was not possible for a national sovereign parliament or a centralised national army to grow and function, and these were, in fact, non-existent in China then. Has this any semblance with the present Indian state structure? Rather, just as in any other modern capitalist state, there exists in India a well-knit, centralised, modern state structure with a highly centralised national army at the centre and a sovereign parliament with which pre-revolution China had no similarity whatsoever.
So, you see, in terms of the class character of the state, formation and character of the national bourgeoisie, character of the rural economy, class disposition of forces, character of the main contradiction of class struggles in the countryside --in all this the strategy of revolution in our country can on no account be one and the same with that of the Chinese revolution.
I think, the Naxalites have got confused on another issue also. They have confused the tactics of encircling the cities by creating liberated zones in the countryside and the theory of people's democratic revolution with the question of taking to guerrilla tactics as if the two were synonymous. But the theory of new democratic revolution and the tactics of encircling the cities by creating liberated zones in the countryside were not formulated to adopt the tactics of guerrilla warfare. The two main reasons for which the tactics of encircling the cities by creating liberated zones in the countryside were adopted in China were first, politically, the presence of a medieval decentralised state structure, absence of a modern type of communication and transport system in the country, existence of separate spheres of influence administered by the warlords who were stooges of various imperialist powers, and rivalry, clashes and conflicts among the different warlords; and second, economically, the existence of a self-sufficient localised agricultural economy instead of a unified national capitalist economy in the country. It is mainly these two political and economic factors that made it possible to effectively implement in China the tactics of encircling the cities by creating rural liberated zones. The tactics of guerrilla warfare has no direct bearing on encircling cities by creating liberated zones in the countryside and the theory of people's democratic revolution. You should realize whether in a national liberation struggle, a people's democratic revolution, or a socialist revolution, the tactics of guerrilla warfare will have to be adopted by the revolutionaries wherever the struggle against the ruling clique is going to be protracted in nature. Moreover, due to particularity of contradictions in every country, the revolutionaries, wherever they conduct guerrilla wars against the ruling clique, will have to concretise, elaborate and add to the tactics of guerrilla warfare, depending upon their specific situations. Otherwise, they will not be able to practise the tactics of guerrilla warfare merely by taking recourse to copying. So, you can see, the guerrilla tactics have nothing to do either with encircling the cities by creating liberated zones or with the theory of people's democratic revolution, though the Naxalites have bracketed all these together.
In this connection, another important point should be borne in mind which the Naxalite leaders and cadres are not at all taking into account. That is, before going in for a direct uprising, armed struggle and guerrilla war, the CPC, in the concrete Chinese situation, built up numerous co-operatives and peasant organizations. Without widespread and popular mass support the guerrilla war would not have lasted long even in China. In this regard also we find that the modus operandi of the Naxalites has nothing in common with Mao's thoughts.
From what the Naxalites are actually practising nowadays in the name of revolution, it is clear that they have gone a step further beyond the theory of Che Guevara and are following a line almost akin to the Debray theory, and this they are trying to pass off as Mao Zedong's thoughts. The Debray theory, in essence, virtually negates the indispensable necessity of conducting painstaking ideological-political struggles in each country to strengthen, step by step, the real revolutionary party of the proletariat and develop mass organizations under it --the very preconditions without fulfilling which no real struggle for seizure of power can begin. But this theory holds that if the revolutionaries can divide themselves into small groups and engage in stray individual terrorism that will attract the masses towards revolution, and the revolutionary organizations will automatically grow up. Thus, if the revolutionaries in small groups can endanger the state machinery by their continuous acts of stray terrorism, even the anti-socials who are also exploited under the present social system and political set-up will be enthused to join in these activities to harass the state machinery; seizing this opportunity the agent-provocateurs, too, will precipitate such activities; even police personnel and spies will, at times, engage in such terrorist activities from personal animosity to annihilate their rivals. Hence, in the name of revolution, there will be loots, robbery, arson, murders and individual terrorism, and a general feeling of insecurity will descend on the country, and revolution will arrive automatically. But these have nothing to do with Mao Zedong and his thoughts. Rather, these so-called theories are totally alien to Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong's thoughts. But the Naxalites are trying to pass off this theory after Debray's prototype as Mao Zedong thoughts. By providing wrong information to the CPC on the political situation and the actual state of the people's movement in our country, on the one hand, and, on the other, by indulging in such activities in the name of Mao, which are not consistent with Mao's teachings though, they are lowering the prestige of the CPC and of such a great leader as Mao Zedong himself in the eyes of the politically unconscious and uninformed masses.
From the entire discussion you can see that because of their habitual practice of blindly copying theories from abroad, leaving aside their stand during the entire freedom movement, more particularly their conduct and activities in 1942, the strategy of people's democratic revolution adopted by the party has remained unchanged except for some changes in its tactical line, since Ranadive had arbitrarily imposed the theory on the Indian situation in 1948 by copying it from Zhdanov's thesis enunciated in the Cominform's documents, no matter how much they tried to rectify their mistakes at the later party congresses as they faced contradiction between their theory and practice every time. We have also noted that although the party has split twice, ostensibly because of fundamental theoretical differences, the theoretical position of each of the factions remains unchanged even after the splits. Besides, from its very inception, as the party grew up with a non-Marxist process of thinking and methodology for which reason the CPI could not develop as a genuine communist party, the CPI(M), too, while it came out of the old party, failed to effect any break with that old non-Marxist thought process, because it did not conduct the necessary struggle to fulfil the essential preconditions for the formation of a genuine revolutionary party of the proletariat before giving a formal shape to the new party. That is, to put it precisely, they failed to (1) bring about ideological centralism by conducting a coordinated socialist movement covering all aspects of life and activities; (2) develop a concrete conception of collective leadership among the party leaders, rank and file, supporters and the masses; and (3) build up, through these struggles, a band of professional revolutionaries distinctly different from paid whole-time workers. Without fulfilling these three basic tasks which are the pre-conditions for the formation of a true revolutionary party of the proletariat, they formed, as I already told you, the new party in hot haste. The Naxalites, too, who, I believe, are going to form another party, are not conducting any struggles to fulfil the above primary conditions for the formation of a revolutionary party of the proletariat in order to achieve a complete break in their process of thinking and methodology with that of the CPI(M). As a result, if they build up a new party in the near future, it will be just another revisionist party like the CPI and the CPI(M). Since this new party will carry the old legacy and tradition, that is the same non-Marxist process of thinking and methodology and group politics, and their theory of revolution being the same people's democratic revolution with some differences only here and there in tactical approach and vocabulary, two opposite trends, which I mentioned earlier, are bound to appear in them. That is to say, one section will gradually seek to take refuge in parliamentary politics while the other, from their impatience for revolution, will manifest a growing tendency for adventurism.
And in future this party, too, will meet the same fate of split.
From all this, it should now be clear that neither the undivided CPI nor the other parties born of it did ever conduct their activities in a manner consistent with the Marxist-Leninist working class revolutionary outlook, be it on the question of assessing correctly the stage of revolution through an objective analysis of the concrete Indian situation, on the question of maintaining a correct dialectical relation with the international leadership, or on the question of following the correct method of formation of a revolutionary party of the proletariat. And so none of these three parties has proved its worth to lead the masses in the struggle for emancipation from the yoke of capitalist exploitation --the struggle to overthrow the capitalist state order.
Now, besides this political aspect, I would like to highlight the other extremely important criterion by which to judge the character of a revolutionary party. It is whether or not the parties in question have a programme of cultural revolution of their own, conducive to the revolution we aspire to achieve in order to build a new society free from exploitation. I mean, whether or not these parties have been able to project before the people and set before the mass movements of the country a guide to action on the basis of coordinated knowledge covering all aspects of life to develop the new outlook conducive to the revolution in our country, that is, the new higher cultural and ethical standard which is conducive to the growth and development of the proletarian revolution, by doing away with the old mentality still existing in the society -- more particularly, whether or not the leaders as well as the rank and file of these parties, who are the vanguard of this ideological-cultural movement, have, to start with, begun a struggle to pursue this new culture and ethics in their own life on the basis of this coordinated knowledge; in other words, whether they are at all striving for a cultural revolution as a prelude to the political revolution of the country. Because, there are leaders who, since it takes the cadres some time to reach a high level of consciousness and attain the requisite power of critical analysis, take the advantage of the existing low level of consciousness to invoke Lenin, Stalin and Mao Zedong, and speaking only in some general terms on revolutionary theories and dabbling in revolutionary jargons, occasionally conduct a few so-called militant struggles; and thus they want the cadres and masses to believe that if the analysis of a party on the stage of revolution and its strategy be correct, the party is correct, too. So, whatever the conduct of the leaders in different spheres and aspects of life, whatever their individual outlook on art, literature, ethics, morality, family relations and social ties, and howsoever low a cultural level and taste may they be reflecting in their day-to-day conduct --as though little do all these matter -- all that matters to them is only whether their theory of revolution or political concept conforms to Marxism or not. Very little do they bother about whether the leaders and workers remain slaves to the bourgeois culture in their day-to-day behaviour, conduct and attitude to personal life. How preposterous! Can proletarian revolution be brought about only by mouthing of proletarian revolutionary verbiage by leaders and cadres who still carry the legacy and influence of the bourgeois culture in their personal life, behaviour, conduct, habits and aesthetic taste? Is that ever possible? But there is a class of leaders who hold that if their theory of revolution is correct, the strategy of revolution is correct, and the party is correct, that by itself could bring about revolution. By this they seek to avoid the historical responsibility of conducting in the life of leaders and workers of the party the necessary all-encompassing cultural revolution as a prelude to every revolution and as one conducive to this revolution. Thereby they refuse to effect any change in their culture, habits, conduct and behaviour in line with the Marxian outlook. But Lenin has taught us that cultural revolution precedes technical revolution; the revolution for capturing the state power can be organized only after cultural revolution has taken place. So every genuine Marxist-Leninist knows that without integrating the political, economic, social and cultural programmes, revolution cannot be successful in any country.
Such conduct, as of these leaders, only proves that they do not feel the necessity of pursuing a programme for cultural revolution conducive to the political revolution in the country, as though cultural revolution will automatically follow the political and economic struggles. Because of this, the more the influence of these so-called Marxist-Leninist parties grows among the people and the democratic mass movements of the country, and the more their influence grows among the student and youth community, the more speedily the cultural and ethical standard of the people is falling instead of going up. Why this degeneration, what is its root cause? Have the leaders, workers and supporters of these parties ever spared a thought to this question?
I feel, I should discuss this point a little bit more. As the ideology and movement of nationalism, despite a thousand and one shortcomings in it, were in the main progressive and revolutionary during the freedom movement of our country, the students, youths and the intelligentsia participating in it were able to shake off the servile mentality implanted by the imperialists; they could get rid of the narrow outlook of the old feudal society and its superstitions; they were awakened and inspired by a completely new ideology and cultural-ethical standard. The students and youths not only left schools and colleges to participate in the freedom movement, they conducted numerous militant struggles as well. We found them reflecting a relatively higher cultural-ethical standard in all those anti-imperialist struggles. That is why nobody then called the student and youth community indisciplined or unruly; they were acclaimed as the flowers of Bengal.
We know that Marxism-Leninism is the only revolutionary theory, the most scientific and the loftiest ideology of this age, which alone can free man from this crippled capitalist society and give birth to a classless new society free from all sorts of exploitation of man by man. And we all know that a revolutionary ideology and revolutionary theory always give birth to a higher cultural and ethical standard. It is impossible to organize revolution in any country unless the people of the country attain the minimum necessary cultural and ethical standard. So, had these parties been really Marxist-Leninist, true to their assertion, it could well be expected then that as a sequel to their growing influence there would have been a corresponding and perceptible decline in the influence of the most rotten and vile bourgeois culture, at least among the masses, students and youths participating in the democratic movements, and they would have reflected a new higher cultural and ethical standard at the same time. But the reality underlines just the reverse. Does not this very fact prove that what they are practising in the name of Marxism-Leninism is anything but Marxism-Leninism? The essence, the living soul, the kernel of any great and revolutionary ideology of every age is ingrained in its higher cultural and ethical standard. That the communists of today must assimilate the living soul or kernel of the proletarian culture --a much higher cultural-ethical standard and sense of values than even the highest of the humanist culture, ethics and sense of values the bourgeois revolution of that age could attain --it is the failure to understand it correctly that is mainly responsible for this tragedy. At their hands Marxism-Leninism has become absolutely lifeless, bereft of its living soul. The so-called Marxist-Leninist parties, by their mere existence and growing influence, are proving themselves but an absolute nuisance, rotting as they are like dead bodies to the serious detriment of society and the revolutionary movement of the country. So long as the left and democratic mass movements will be conducted under the leadership of these so-called Marxist-Leninist parties, it would not be possible to put a halt to this trend of continuous deterioration in cultural standard of the masses in general and of the youths in particular just by these day-to-day struggles on political and economic demands --however militant they might seem to be. And if the masses remain slaves to the low standard of bourgeois and feudal culture, they may fall victim to reaction at any moment when faced with utter failure of democratic mass movements and countrywide frustration, and may even turn into a counterrevolutionary reserve force in the hands of reaction, as we witnessed in Indonesia.
If we correctly grasp the teachings of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao, we shall understand that the ability to appraise Marxist-Leninist theories critically cannot be acquired at all unless we can attain the higher cultural standard, that is the proletarian cultural standard. So, when they say that 'the party is correct since their theory of revolution is correct', they forget that they cannot even properly ascertain the correctness or otherwise of their theory because of their low cultural standard. This is one of the main reasons for the repeated mistakes these so-called Marxist-Leninist parties are committing in formulating their base political line, in ascertaining the stage of revolution in India, and in determining the day-to-day tactics of revolutionary mass movements.
In judging the character of a party, most people do not at all take note of this aspect, and those who do, they do not consider it so important anyway. But it is of paramount importance to take note in judging the character and the theory of revolution of a party. Because, it is impossible for a communist party to lead a revolution, which it is supposed to do, if it falls victim to a low and vile culture. Marx, therefore, said that to change the world the workers will have to change themselves first. It means that it is incorrect to think that simply because workers do desire revolution and have picked up revolutionary jargons, they can change the world. The workers who would change the world will have to change themselves first. Why did Marx say so? What prompted him to say so? He could very well say that the workers could provide an effective leadership in bringing about revolution if they could chant 'revolutionary' slogans and pick up the 'revolutionary' verbiage by their intellectual capacity or from the experience of day-to-day struggles. No, that is never possible. Because, without attaining the necessary higher cultural standard, that is the proletarian cultural standard, one can neither realize nor acquire the ability to appraise correctly the theory of revolution. This is why correct application or effective implementation of the revolutionary politics means bringing about revolutionary orientation of life itself by involving millions in the revolutionary struggle of the masses. And this necessitates cultural revolution as a prelude to each and every technical revolution. But if the leaders and cadres of the party, who would bring about revolution in the cultural field, are themselves victims of vile bourgeois culture in their personal habits, tastes, outlook and conduct, they would never be able to accomplish it. None of the parties going by the name 'communist' has so far paid any attention to this --not to speak of movements outside the party, even in struggles within the party for changing the outlook and raising the cultural standard of the cadres, and more particularly of the leaders themselves. By this they have deceived not only the people but also the innocent cadres of the party, capitalising on whose sacrifice they have become ministers and all that. I am sorry, I cannot help making the comment.
I have already said that the revolutionary party of the proletariat is, in essence, the instrument to fulfil all its class aspirations --political, economic, social and cultural. Lenin has said that it is the vanguard detachment of the proletariat --that is to say, it is the organization of the most conscious and revolutionary core of the working class. That is why the leaders of the revolutionary party of the proletariat are the cream of proletarian culture. Should they not reflect in their habits, behaviour and life style --be it in personal life or in conducting social movements --the proletarian class outlook and proletarian class culture? And what is the essence of proletarian culture --what do we mean by it? The acid test for whether they have acquired the proletarian culture lies in whether or not they have really been able to free themselves from all sorts of private property mental complex. By this I mean that their cultural outlook and ethical taste as also their day-to-day behaviour are free from the property sense --meaning private property complex -- or, in other words, they are completely free from the influence of the thought process of bourgeois individualism. That is why, while he defined communism or the communist culture, Marx said: It is humanism minus private property. So, the principal struggle to become a revolutionary proletariat, or a communist, is the struggle to acquire the cultural and ethical standard which enables one to submit one's individual interest most happily, voluntarily and unhesitatingly to the cause of the class, revolution and party by participating, first of all, directly and actively in the revolutionary movements of the toiling people, and thereby grasping the revolutionary politics of the proletariat. But, remember, this surrender of individual interest to the cause of revolution is qualitatively different from the bourgeois concept of sacrificing one's wealth, properties and everything in life for the sake of the country. But if this spirit of surrender is influenced by the bourgeois outlook then vanity, individualism and ego will surely get inflated creating thereby serious impediment in the path of becoming a communist. Remember, setting out correctly in this struggle marks just the beginning of acquiring communist consciousness, and it is through the success of this struggle only that one can acquire the ability to become a communist one day.
Do you find any reflection of this high cultural standard in the conduct of the leaders of our country who are known as communists? I do not mean the ordinary cadres of the parties because they are as yet engaged only in the struggle to acquire proletarian culture. But many of the leaders who are supposed to have attained that standard so as to be the leaders of a revolutionary party of the proletariat, a communist party, own huge personal property, palatial buildings, private cars and plenty of dresses, in addition to what they need for daily use, including dresses meant exclusively for tea parties and foreign tours. See the fun! When they go out to the masses, workers and peasants, they put on the commoners' dress, as if they were self-renunciating saints! Most of our swadeshi leaders, starting from Gandhiji, have set a wonderful tradition of taking to loincloths as the model of patriotism! The common people of our country do not bother about all this; they do not care to know what really is the standard of living of most of these leaders. They do not care to know either how many sets of dresses these leaders have in which they attend meetings and public functions. The people think that since these leaders move about in the commoners' dress, even being such big leaders, they cannot but be great patriots! Our common people view things in this way, even today. Ours is a country of blind faith in the leaders, and the cult of renunciation has its roots in the traditions of this country. But there is no greater trick than this to deceive the people. The bourgeois politicians have for so long fully exploited this psychology of the masses in their favour, and the so-called communists of today, in their bid to deceive the people, are taking recourse to the same hypocrisy. I say, whether they have money or not is a separate question, but when they do not consider it improper even for the leaders to possess, and in fact when most of them do possess, lots of personal properties, then what is the use of deceiving the people with these stances of the commoners' dress? If you enquire you will find that so many leaders possess personal properties amounting to several lakhs of rupees. They bring up their children like the rich do, and their wives too lead the life of the rich. Many of these leaders, of course, make big donations to the party fund. The people, or even the party cadres, do not examine critically these practices of the leaders. On the contrary, they publicise boastfully that such and such leaders have made such big contributions, so many lakhs of rupees to the party fund. They do it to show what big sacrifices the leaders have made! No doubt these leaders may have contributed lots to their party, but the fact remains that these big amounts constitute but a fraction of their total asset. But not a single party worker questions why a leader has not given up all he has. He is supposed to be a self-dedicated revolutionary, a communist who holds that the history of private property is the history of injustice and coercion which makes his fight a fight for the abolition of private property. He stands for social ownership of the means of production. So, why can't he who loudly asserts and makes tall claims that he can easily lay down his life for the sake of revolution part with his personal property for the sake of revolution? Why does he still retain and possess personal property? Why has he not given his all to the party? If asked, he would perhaps say that he has no objection to do so if the party asks for it. Why should the party have to ask for it? Is he not ready to give even his life for revolution? Then why has he not already given away voluntarily the insignificant possession of personal property to the party? Why should the party have to ask for it at all? Whether the party will ask for it or not is a matter entirely to be decided by the party.
Clearly these leaders talk in their public speeches of sacrificing their lives and everything for the sake of revolution, but they cannot even part with their personal properties for the cause of revolution. Whatever else these leaders are fit for, the historic responsibility of leading a revolutionary party can never be entrusted to them.
All this is mainly responsible for the popular belief that politics is a profession suiting the rich. As for myself, I can recollect my father's advice during my boyhood that only the rich could afford to fight for the country's independence. Even today there are many among the poor and the middle class people who believe in the communist ideology and do seriously feel that something has to be done about it, but the conduct and mode of life of these so-called communist leaders make them think that only men with money and security in life can take to politics. By this the leaders are destroying the militant fervour, the soul of revolutionary movement; they are only maligning the nobility of communism.
These leaders call upon the students of the country to dedicate themselves to revolution. They exhort the students and youths: Fight on, don't fear the jail; face the lathis and bullets, do not care for your career. But to their own children they say: Be good students. Build up your career first, be established in life and then decide what you would do. For their own sons they seek out lucrative employments and for their daughters they find out well-placed grooms. But for the sons and daughters of the masses of the people, their advice is to fight for revolution. For this unabashed hypocrisy of these leaders the noble ideology of communism remains shackled in the narrow bounds of economism-reformism, failing till now to inspire the people towards the cause of revolution.
There are many so-called communist leaders in our country who pose themselves to be simple and openhearted, but are very much conscious and particular about their bank balance and comforts. They are quite lavish when it comes to personal expenses and the family life. They have amassed personal properties and wealth but go out to the workers, peasants and the public in the commoners' dress. Why do they pose as self-renunciating saints, disguising their personal mode of life? Is it not to deceive the workers? Is it anything other than cheating the people? This is the sort of path the so-called leftist and communist leaders, in their zeal to win cheap popularity and praise of the people, have taken to in order to propagate the ideology of communism!
There are leaders of another kind who do not belong to this category and who have no personal property of their own. But even these leaders expect much from the party in return for their sacrifice. There are some who want position in the party. Others grumble at difficulties in day-to-day life because they seek comfort. If the party feels the necessity of and can provide, in the normal course, a somewhat comfortable living then they should accept it, but should never harbour any longing for comfort. If the living conditions are bad, that is not to be grumbled at --that sort of attitude is the correct revolutionary attitude. But there are leaders who desire something in exchange for their 'limitless' sacrifices. And for this 'something', whether a position in the party, or some comfort in life, they exert influence on the party in diverse ways. They harbour a feeling that since they have sacrificed a lot, struggled hard and have given up 'everything' for the party, they are now entitled to 'something' from the party in return. This concept of 'sacrifice' begets a desire to get something in return. The nature of this expectation varies from man to man. Some would expect money, some would hanker after name and fame, some would clamour and quarrel for position and some would seek privileges in some form or other. Behind all these the vile influence of bourgeois culture and bourgeois individualism is at work.
First of all, it must be understood that the ideology of communism is not an ideology of renunciation. Being communists we have sacrificed nothing. Leaving a petty, commonplace and filthy life, we have only stepped into a nobler life. Would anyone like to call it a sacrifice? What do we then mean by sacrifice? Say, you are living in a hut. Now you are given a palace to live in and leaving the dilapidated, damp and dirty hut you start living in the palace. Would you consider this act a sacrifice? Nobody would. You too would not. Sacrifice means giving up something without asking for anything in return, or giving up everything in lieu of nothing. But is that the case here? In reality in accepting the communist life you have got more than you have given up. The communists consider their revolutionary life more precious than a royal living. To a revolutionary the life he has left behind is not only filthy and painful, like life in a dingy hut, it is petty, mean and humiliating as well. So, viewed from this angle, a real revolutionary has sacrificed nothing. On the contrary, in place of what he has left behind --a house, a car, some money and means, property and wealth, comfort and luxury --he has achieved something a million times greater; he has regained dignity. The wants and privations, thousands of sufferings and oppressions which the revolutionaries have to put up with may seem very painful to common people, but the peace and happiness which the revolutionaries enjoy, even being in the midst of an apparently painful and constantly struggling life, cannot be fathomed by those who live in comfort and security. So, whatever a revolutionary gives up while he takes to the life of a revolutionary for the sake of revolution, he never considers it a sacrifice for that, even if it means sacrificing his own life. Had it not been so, had even a bit of attachment or desire been left in them for what they have given up, the revolutionaries of China could not have carried on such a death-defying struggle on the plains and mountains for long thirty years. Wherefrom do the revolutionaries of Vietnam get their strength of mind and conviction to continue this bloody struggle against such a mighty power, day in day out, night after night, year after year, if they had not found the road to a high sense of dignity and happiness in the revolutionary life?
One can become a revolutionary only when this urge for a revolutionary life grows into a tremendous force in one. But strangely enough, whenever they have to give up something, the so-called communists of our country consider it a great sacrifice. What have they given up? Property, car, wealth, comfort --what else? The Gandhiites in our country have, in that sense, sacrificed more. But how is it that those who claim themselves to be communists consider this to be a sacrifice? It is of course true that when a real revolutionary becomes inspired with revolutionary ideals and when the necessities of life --all important to a common man --become insignificant to him, the people may take him to be a self-sacrificing saint in the sense that he has given up everything and dedicated his life to the cause of revolution. But why should communists take it as a sacrifice? Would it not mean then that they consider property, a car, wealth and comfort, etc., more precious than revolution? It would mean that at the core of their heart they feel a great attraction for all this. So, the desire to get something --wealth and property, or power and position --in return owes its origin to the very feeling that they have made great sacrifices for the country. The so-called communists of our country, too, are after something in return for their sacrifice. Their renunciation has become a burden on the country.
It is of course true that there are some among them who do not aspire for property and wealth, or power and position; what they all want is nothing but revolution. But they too nurture a notion that they have sacrificed or are sacrificing a lot for revolution. What happens if such a feeling of sacrifice persists in our minds? Faced with some difficult and adverse situation, when the desired result is not forthcoming, despite bitter struggles, one is prone to gradually fall victim to a state of despair losing all faith in the efficacy of human efforts. What has become the fate of those Gandhiites in our country who were not after property and wealth, who were least interested in power and position? They were exceptions, exceptions in the sense that they were not after property, wealth, power and position; still they have become frustrated and cynical and have lost all faith in human effort. That is, they have lost all faith in man and man's struggle to shape out his destiny. They have become inactive. They have grown cynical. So, the cult of sacrifice is bound to lead one to either of these two extremes. Either it begets a desire to get something in return in some form or other, or if, with the passage of time, one does not get the coveted success in life and meets with failure in the complexity of the struggle, one succumbs to frustration, losing all faith in human effort, and in the end becomes averse to struggle. In such a situation one starts losing whatever qualities of revolutionary character one had and, in the process, even falls from one's once-acquired standard. This is why I reiterate: See, what happens to those even who are not after property, wealth, power and position, if they lack a correct Marxist concept about sacrifice. Ultimately, they become frustrated and cynical and lose all faith in human effort. You should bear in mind that it is not the ideology of renunciation that the revolutionaries believe in. That is why I was saying that we sacrificed nothing. Leaving behind a petty, commonplace and filthy life, we have accepted the noblest and the most precious life of the time, because we know that we cannot step into revolutionary life without forsaking this commonplace life. This is no sacrifice to us --to no genuine revolutionary in fact. Then again, putting on rags and living in slums can never be the workers' ideal. We forget that these are nothing but the inevitable outcome of capitalist exploitation in their life. So, what they reflect in their standard of living, culture and ethics, being pressed under the grinding machine of the capitalist exploitation on the one hand and influenced by the vile bourgeois culture and lack of proper education on the other, is not the revolutionary proletarian culture. They have been, in fact, pushed to such a deplorable condition. Their struggle is the struggle to overthrow capitalism for a higher standard of living and noble life on the basis of higher ideology, culture, ethics, and sense of values. What is the meaning of going to workers in rags as an epitome of sacrifice? If you do not possess a good dress, go out in what you have. But why this falsehood of going out in rags, putting off a good dress if you have one? This falsehood is mainly responsible for prevalence of a wrong notion among the common people of our country. They do not go in for a critical examination. Rather if they find a leader wear a suit, though it is not the leader's own, not a personal property of his --he has truly given up all he had for politics and for the party, the suit may have been presented to him by a friend or a sympathiser of the party and is now his only set of dress in which he can go out in the winter --even then people would take him to be a big boss, a well-off and moneyed man. Thanks to the conduct of the Gandhian swadeshi leaders, the people have a common belief that all is lost and no longer the leader loves the country and the people the moment a leader puts on a good dress and travels in a car when necessity demands it. Such belief is firmly rooted among most of the people! Again, there are some leaders who dismiss all these as prejudices, cite the instances of some international communist leaders, use cars, live in luxury flats and put on costly dresses without even considering whether the masses and the party have the capacity to provide for these or not.
None of these is the correct revolutionary attitude. What is the correct revolutionary approach to all such questions? The revolutionary leaves the whole question of his life voluntarily and happily to the party and the people in the interest of revolution. He accepts quite gladly and without any grievance the standard of life the party can afford. He does not bother about all these. If the party cannot even provide for two square meals a day then he shall have to arrange for it himself, or otherwise, he would go without food and this he would do happily, without nursing any grievance in him --this is the real test for a communist revolutionary. Then again, if the party can afford a good dress, a car when required, he should not develop any attachment to all these --he should never fall victim to the cult of comfort; he can at any moment give up everything, without any reservation if necessity arises. That means, as he will not nurse any grievance, or any resentment when there is no comfort, so also he will not develop in him any attachment to all these even when these are available. Such is the real revolutionary attitude, a correct ethical approach to questions like this.
I can still recollect those early days when we started building up the party --there were very few people to support us; we could not even arrange a room as shelter and, day after day, in our fierce battle to build up a new party in the midst of severe obstacles and a completely adverse situation, we had to strive hard even without food, but we had no grievance for all this. For years together we shared a grass-mat only, and so many winters we passed like that. Our old friends will bear it out even today. They will relate that never could they trace any lack of composure in us. How many days we went without food, but we felt ashamed to tell about it! That we could not arrange our provisions, we could not collect even the minimum was considered to be our own failing. What was there to be proud of? How could it be the height of 'sacrifice'? Even to spell it out was a matter of shame to us. Such was the kind of feeling we nurtured at that time. We did not have any sense of pride, nor did we harbour a feeling that we were making a great sacrifice for the country. But what haunted us was a feeling of shame for our inability and failure. As for myself, I can tell you, leaving aside the question of health, age, etc., the comrades find me quite energetic even today and also in a jovial mood always and lively, as before. But in comparison to those early days the party has grown considerably bigger and enjoys today a very good support of the masses with much better resources. Comrades would rush to if anything happens to us, and would take care of even a little discomfort of ours. If they find me wearing a torn shirt, a number of comrades and dozens of supporters come forward and offer a new one. They press for it and if refused they feel injured and their sentiment is hurt. What does all this prove? Generally, people look after the leaders on their own. Why should then the leaders have a longing, a desire for comfort? If the people do not feel for a leader it will mean that he is a leader imposed from above like a parasite. If the leaders really serve common men, they too, on their own, will look after the leaders. But what happens if a leader is not conscious of it? Unless he can free himself completely from all sorts of attachment to comfort, even as he goes on getting the same he may one day fall victim to it. That poses the real problem. As he could once put up with utter discomfort without any grumble, it does not ipso facto mean that he will be able to maintain that quality throughout his life. A revolutionary, therefore, has to conduct a constant struggle within himself and subject himself to continuous tests and critical self-examination to judge for himself his position as a revolutionary. Then why should a revolutionary have any grievance for discomfort, for not getting anything at his will, and why should he feel concerned for his belongings? He is not supposed to bother whether he gets something or not --even if he does not, he is expected to carry forward. If somebody presents him a dress, he will use it --but even in that case he should not resort to hypocrisy. Possibly he has only one set of suit which somebody presented to him, but if he does not put it on lest the people might take it otherwise and puts on an ordinary dress loaned from someone to give the air how simple he is --what does that mean? This is hypocrisy, pure and simple. It means trailing the public psychology and not educating the public. How should we conduct ourselves while moving about among the masses? We must not run ahead of the people and at the same time we must not lag behind the people. That is to say, we should no doubt remain with the people, but should do so in order to educate them and eradicate by our behaviour and conduct the very many confusions and misconceptions created by the bourgeoisie in the mass mind. The peculiar confusions and influence of vile bourgeois culture which pervade the mass mind and pattern their thought process and spread into their taste and outlook like fine cobweb, cannot be eradicated only by so-called revolutionary slogans. To eradicate all this, the people should be drawn into and engaged in the revolutionary movement and political and economic struggles no doubt, but it can be accomplished completely only when we shall be able to remove culturally, in every minute detail, the influence of the bourgeois culture from among them through our examples. It is then only that the influence of the bourgeois culture, attraction to saints and fakirs, and emotion for the ideal of sacrifice will start dwindling and the people will be able to see through the true class character of all these. They will be able to realize who is truly dedicated, who is really ideal, which is the correct ideology, which is the correct base political line, and wherein lies their emancipation. The day they will be able to realize this, the more they will grasp all these, the more the influence of the bourgeois culture and bourgeois politics will decrease, and the influence of the stunt-happy revolutionaries will be waning more and more. So, we will have to take the revolutionary politics to the people but along with it we will also have to carry the proletarian culture to them, with a crusading attitude against the bourgeois culture. But the so-called communist leaders of our country are not only not making people conscious of this, but, on the contrary, by their behaviour and conduct --their hypocrisies --they are objectively helping continuance of the influence of the bourgeois ideology with its tentacles on the culture, ethics and method of judgement of the people. And if the influence of the bourgeois culture continues to exist among the people it will act as a serious hindrance, despite militant struggles on economic issues, to the growth and development of the revolutionary outlook and revolutionary ideology and building up of the revolutionary organization of the people.
Whenever questions are raised on the various aspects of the public conduct and personal behaviour of a leader, the only answer these so-called communist leaders usually provide is: Oh! That is his personal affair and we need not bother about it. Even the rank and file members of these parties consider such matters their personal affair. That is to say, they have a personal aspect in life quite distinct from the political --as though it does not matter if they allow their concepts of life, likes and dislikes, sense of responsibility or sense of duty and their ethical understanding to be guided by the bourgeois culture and bourgeois sense of values, and can still become proletarian revolutionaries or Marxist-Leninists merely if they are able to deliver some fiery speeches on political matters and quote at random from Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao, and can organize some so-called militant movements on economic demands only. How simple has become at their hands the question of unflinching dedication and complex struggle to be a communist! As a result, just see, how simple has become the enrolment of members in these parties. It does not matter to them whether the cadres are actively engaged in or directly linked with the revolutionary struggles of the people, or whether they conduct uncompromising struggles according to the communist ideology covering all aspects of life in order to mould the outlook, concepts and mode of life in all spheres of activities. What matters most to them is whether they accept the party's theory of people's democratic revolution or national democratic revolution, whether they are active during the election and can cast false votes to the satisfaction of their leaders or not. So, unless they show the party cards from their pockets, nobody would be able to say from their behaviour, cultural standard, personal conduct and life style whether they are communists at all.
I would, therefore, suggest to the revolutionary cadres and workers of our country --those who really aspire to learn Marxism-Leninism --that you must learn this revolutionary theory only from those who are trying to conduct their life, or are still conducting and have become successful in this very struggle following the principles of Marxism-Leninism. Do not learn Marxism-Leninism from those who are still victim to the vile bourgeois culture in their conduct, taste, habits and behaviour in their personal life, because what they teach in the name of Marxism-Leninism is bound to be erroneous. Political verbiage apart, the leaders and cadres practising whatever they like in their personal life, giving interpretations to cultural and epistemological questions individually and as per their sweet will --this may go quite all right in a petty bourgeois party, but surely it should not or cannot be the norm of a Marxist party. A party which indulges in such practices and behaves in this fashion in the name of Marxism is in reality a petty bourgeois party in the name of Marxism. The struggle they conduct in the name of revolution is not for revolution at all; what they preach in the name of revolution is simply revolutionary verbiage, full of empty revolutionary slogans, lacking the vitality of revolutionary theories and hence of revolution itself. So to learn Marxism from such people would mean in reality to learn something else in the name of Marxism. As a result, what has been practised in this country in the name of Marxism has not been revolutionary Marxism-in fact, there has been hardly any real cult of the essence of the theoretical aspects of Marxism and its culture, and revolutionary politics has never been practised on the basis of its ideology. The fact remains that the conduct and behaviour of these so-called communist leaders have been mainly responsible for the nobility of such a great ideology as communism being maligned in the eye of the people. That is why I would request you once again that if you must learn Marxism-Leninism, if you must acquire the revolutionary theory, learn it from those leaders and from that party, the lives of the leaders and cadres of which are revolutionary. Those who talk of revolution but lead the life of a bourgeois or petty bourgeois, who can take classes on revolution but whose conduct and behaviour, taste and habits and nature of social relations are typically influenced by the vile bourgeois and petty bourgeois culture, whose behaviour in personal life is in no way consistent with nor guided by the Marxist philosophical outlook, and, in fact, those who are not willing to conduct that painstaking struggle covering all aspects of life --I would request you all, please, at least do not go to those slogan-mongering revolutionaries to learn Marxism or the theory of revolution. The further you can keep yourselves away from such leaders, the more you can make yourselves immune to such empty revolutionary verbiage, the better it is for the genuine revolutionary struggle and the better for you too.
You should keep in mind that the struggle to become a communist is an arduous task. Revolutionary politics is itself an all-embracing struggle which grows only by integrating political, economic, social and cultural movements. It is possible to conduct the proletarian revolutionary movement correctly only when we can achieve this integration. Otherwise, despite hundreds of militant struggle the emergence of the political power of the workers and peasants and the growth of people's own revolutionary organizations, the instruments of struggle cannot be built up. Not of the leaders only, the sole object of dedication of the cadres of proletarian revolutionary movement will be to unleash a struggle covering all aspects of life so as to develop this process of revolution. It is an all-out struggle covering all aspects of life --from the private to the politico-cultural life, even in matters of sex and love --so noble is this struggle to become a communist. We cannot forget for a moment even that the sense of morality and ethics, the sense of duty and responsibility, or in a word the sense of values which still today guides all of us in the present society is nothing but the bourgeois moral values. It is only by conducting a correct, conscious and relentless struggle to acquire the communist moral values in place of the bourgeois moral values, to replace the bourgeois outlook by the proletarian class outlook which we call dialectical materialist or Marxist outlook that we can develop ourselves as communists. This struggle should be a constant and living struggle inside the party and even outside we should simultaneously build up such ideological and cultural movement as a prelude to the cultural revolution that will help develop a mental make-up conducive to revolution in our country. It should always be borne in mind that this struggle to become a communist can never be successfully conducted individually outside the party --it is the collective struggle inside the party which is its only guarantee.
Let us now examine whether we can become a communist the moment we accept Marxism as the philosophy of our life. Lenin said: No, by that we simply express our desire to be a communist. I have already told you earlier that one cannot become a communist unless one voluntarily and consciously subjects oneself to the relentless struggle for becoming a communist which goes on inside the party. But curiously enough, the leaders of the so-called communist parties have tried to build up their parties bypassing this all-essential struggle to become a communist. As a result, in place of giving birth to collective leadership -- one of the essential characters of a real communist party --they have reduced the leadership to a formal democratic one and the party, instead of being democratically centralised, has been reduced to a loose platform of political groups clustered around individuals on the basis of a common political programme.
There are some who harbour the idea that the party has come to such a pass since the leaders are all of petty bourgeois origin. By this they mean that a genuine communist leadership could have been developed only if the leaders came from workers' families. Had this been correct then Marx, Engels, Lenin, Mao Zedong --none of these leaders could become a communist. For, all of them came from petty bourgeois families. Similarly, if it were true, then the Labour Party of England should have been the genuine communist party there. Because, all the leaders of this party came from workers' families and at the initial stage of formation of this party they used to declare themselves as Marxists. But what is our experience about this party? The Labour Party of England is engaged in shameless servitude to the British monopoly capital. In our country, too, Niharendu Dutta Mazumdar once formed the Labour Party on this wrong concept. But he could not succeed in building up a genuine communist party. Again, let us consider the example of the Bolshevik Party of India which is almost non-existent today. What was its preaching at the initial stage that once attracted a large number of workers to its fold? The leaders of this party very often used to say: 'The middle class babus cannot build up a working class party. There is no genuine communist party here since there has been no attempt to build up a party with the proletariat. Lenin has said that in a proletarian party sixty per cent of the members of all committees --from the central committee down to the lowest units --should come from working class families. Otherwise, there is no guarantee for the future of the party. Therefore, a real working class party will have to be built up by leaders coming from working class families.'
Lenin said it as an ideal for providing a solid foundation for the party from the class point of view. It is good if such a condition comes true in a party. But Lenin was a realist. That is why he formulated at the same time the theory of declassed intelligentsia on the question of providing leadership to the working class parties in backward countries. But these leaders chose to attach no importance to this theory of Lenin. In fact, what was the condition of the party built by Lenin himself --the party that once successfully led the proletarian revolution of Russia? Similarly, what is the condition in the CPC? In both these parties, most of the leaders and cadres were of petty bourgeois origin. In all such backward countries most of the party cadres come from the rural and urban intelligentsia, lower middle class and petty bourgeois families, because of social conditions, level of education, etc. That is why the struggle to develop the cadres into declassed proletarian revolutionaries in order to guarantee the class character of the party is a very important struggle in such countries. The former theory rather holds good for building up the party of the proletariat in industrially advanced countries like the USA, Great Britain, or France. But this is completely untenable in backward countries. To cling mechanically to Lenin's first thesis on forming the party mostly with workers virtually means that the middle class babus who will be there in small numbers in the party will play up the workers' ego and continue their individual leadership very easily by taking advantage of the big gap in intellect between the workers and the babus. These handful middle class elements want to restrict the inflow of cadres from the intelligentsia to the party on the above plea for fear of losing their position in the leadership.
Guided by the idea that revolution would succeed only if workers step into the leadership, these people have fallen victim to another wrong idea. They have not been able to detect the flaw in their concept. They have failed to understand that a worker, just because he is so, does not automatically become a revolutionary. Because of his very existence within the bourgeois social system, his thinking and contemplation, his culture, conduct and habits --all get influenced by the vile bourgeois culture. On thorough examination it would be revealed that the workers' complex that operate in him are complex of one or other kind centring round individual malice and jealousy prevalent within the framework of the bourgeois class consciousness. But the proletarian class consciousness is altogether different. To one imbued with proletarian class consciousness the fight against the bourgeoisie is impersonal and a class fight. The consciousness of his struggle against the bourgeois system is not born of the jealousy that he is not rich himself, nor is his struggle on economic and political demands personal in character --these are impersonal. His hatred is against the class --not personally against an individual. If the hatred is personal and not born of class consciousness, even a worker can be reduced to a bourgeois under favourable circumstances and conditions. Just as it was casteism when the Brahmins exploited the so-called low caste Hindus invoking scriptural edicts, so also those who are trying to resist the Brahmins by inciting the 'low castes' against the former on caste basis are indulging in casteism in the reverse. Are these called class struggles by anybody? Only when the workers can transcend the level of consciousness which spontaneously arises out of the day-to-day economic and social movements, and become imbued with revolutionary class consciousness and grasp the Marxist theory of class struggle, can the cadres coming from the working class learn to fight correctly on the basis of correct impersonal class consciousness and not from any personal malice against the bourgeois domination and humiliation of casteism, that prevail in our society. Only then would they really understand the class character of the caste humiliation within themselves and would try to become communists by a ceaseless struggle against their sense of class humiliation as well. This universally accepted proposition among the Marxist-Leninists that one has to mix with the people and the proletariat in order to acquire the true proletarian character is being used now-a-days in an oversimplified and distorted way. It is true that to go to the masses, to mix with the proletariat and workers and to live with and work among them, according to the revolutionary theory and party programme, are indispensable preconditions for becoming a revolutionary and these do help in bringing about some changes in outlook of the cadres. But to say that the cadres from the middle class intelligentsia would automatically acquire proletarian revolutionary character just that way is an oversimplified statement. Had it been true, then the Gandhiites who worked among the masses and many of the Marxists who lived with the masses and worked among them, but deviated later, would have become communist revolutionaries. It would not be fair to say that all of them simply gave sermons to the masses. There are numerous examples of Marxist or communist leaders and cadres in our country who, in spite of having lived with the people and having conducted all sorts of militant struggles, have now turned into rank communist haters. Again, you can see that even today most of those who are working ostensibly for the communist ideal and the red flag and are spending day and night in the midst of workers are typical opportunists in the labour movement, and many have turned into lackeys of the capitalists. They have not been able to transform the workers into communists or to impart the revolutionary consciousness in them by working in their midst, but have themselves fallen victim to the degraded culture of the workers crushed under the bourgeois social set-up.
Lenin said: Go to the worker, not to become the worker as he is but to lift him to the standard of the communist. It means, we do not go to the workers to pick up what is vile in them. To say that we go to them to learn from their lives means, we improve by learning from their lives our concept and realisation of the proletarian politics and culture acquired from science, epistemology and experience, and instil in them the same. We go to them in order to inspire them and mould them into communists. Can we make them revolutionaries just by canting communist political jargons and vocabulary if we ourselves, who would elevate them to become communists, cannot acquire communist culture? No, that is never possible. Therefore, those who would establish a link with the masses and lead the mass movements would have to examine, while they do so, whether their theory is correct, their politics revolutionary and whether a living struggle is constantly guiding them to change their culture and outlook on life. So, there is no simple and short cut solution to this. A worker in this society is but a worker influenced by the bourgeois thinking. It is to be always kept in mind that their very existence and culture are constantly influenced by the vile bourgeois culture. It is true that since he is a worker it is easier for him to acquire a revolutionary class character but even then he would have to free himself from the bourgeois ideology and elevate himself to the level of communist consciousness and thus transform himself into a communist. This is why Marx said that the workers of this society would have to transform themselves into revolutionaries first, and only then could they lead revolution.
In this context, you should also bear in mind that until the lumpen proletariat --the section of the proletariat which, being caught in the vices of bourgeois exploitation and being victim to its degraded culture, has become reduced to lumpens --can free themselves from this lumpen culture, adopt Marxism-Leninism and change their life accordingly, they cannot even take part in the revolutionary movement, let alone organizing revolution. From Marx to Mao Zedong all have said that under certain circumstances these lumpen proletariat can form organizations and can even engage themselves in struggles over various economic and political demands, but by that alone they can never organize revolution. Rather, it has been found in history that organizations of the lumpen proletariat generally oppose revolution in practice and are used as instruments against revolution by the pseudo-revolutionary parties.
Now, in this process of becoming communist the middle class cadres must have to give up their middle class mentality, petty bourgeois vacillations, individualistic behaviour and conduct, and above all ego-centric thinking, while the workers will have to give up their rustic habits --that is, they will have to free themselves from the influences of the old feudal prejudices, variants of degraded bourgeois culture and vulgar bourgeois individualism. In a backward and reactionary capitalist country like ours, three types of influences of the existing social system are found in the workers. So long as they are not imbued with revolutionary consciousness the workers may be classified into three categories. The section of workers who have come from peasant families and who still maintain a link with the peasantry carry with them many rustic habits, prejudices and orthodox feudal outlook still prevalent in our rural social life. Even though they are workers, they are victims of the hangover from the old feudal culture of rural life. They shall have to free themselves from these influences. There is another section of workers who have come from the lower middle class families and have turned into the ranks of workers owing to economic reasons; even though they have become workers, they still carry to the workers the seeds of middle class mentality, petty bourgeois vacillations and economism, and quarrel over leadership as they have not been able to break the cultural-ethical link with the middle class. There is another section of workers constituting a third category. Even though they are small in number, they are the most revolutionary section of the proletariat from the class point of view, detached as they are from both of those two categories. They constitute the most revolutionary section among the workers, in the sense that all their social links with the old society have been completely cut off. But they, too, are wholly victims of the most reactionary culture of the bourgeois society, that is, they are victim of vulgar individualism and of a desperateness which is aimless and therefore blind in nature. The kind of vulgar individualism which we find among the educated or the so-called enlightened bourgeois individuals and which looks somewhat different because of a coating of education, this vulgar individualism minus education is what we find among this section of the workers. Naturally, if this most advanced section of the workers, who are the most revolutionary section from the class point of view, cannot develop a sense of obligation and sense of responsibility for the collective by freeing themselves from the influence of this vulgar individualism, and if they cannot be elevated to the stage of communist consciousness, they, too, likewise cannot become communists. Hence, they too will have to acquire the communist character.
So, you can understand from the whole discussion that to be a Marxist or a revolutionary communist, everyone will have to conduct a conscious struggle in a correct way, individually and collectively, by accepting Marxism as the philosophy of life which will greatly influence all aspects of life and change one altogether. 'Marxism is a mere political theory meant for analysis of political situations only' --to accept Marxism like that or to memorise the three principles of dialectical materialism --by this alone no one can become a Marxist-Leninist. One can become a leading member in a communist party only by engaging oneself with one or another of the units of mass or class organizations of the party in the struggle for developing the people's revolutionary movement through a relentless struggle for identifying one's individual thinking and interest with the revolutionary thinking and interest of the proletariat, that is, with the interest of revolution, attaining thereby a higher cultural standard. Avoiding this struggle none can become a communist, however talented one may be. Even a powerful intellectual like M. N. Roy could not ultimately become a communist since he avoided this struggle in practice. The intellectual ability of M. N. Roy was of such a height that Subhas Bose, Jawaharlal Nehru and even many socialist and communist leaders of the time acknowledged it with deep respect. He was then the only known Marxist leader who had entered into almost all branches of science and epistemology. In spite of having such an intellectual ability, as also the privilege of acquaintance with Lenin and a direct link with and knowledge of the communist movement he became ultimately a communist hater out-and-out. Neither his high intellectual aptitude nor his proficiency in so many branches of knowledge could ultimately save him from degeneration. He failed to become a communist as he could not dialectically coordinate the various theories of science and epistemology while acquiring mastery over them and since he failed to conduct correctly the struggle within the party for identifying the individual interest with the interest of the working class, keeping constantly in view whether each and every reflection of the habits, behaviour and ethics of personal life was in conformity with Marxism-Leninism and the revolutionary movement of the proletariat. As a result, in spite of his talent, he ultimately became an out-and-out reactionary and diehard anti-communist.
Thus, it is clear from the critical examination of the history of the undivided CPI and the factions born of it, as also from the activity, conduct and behaviour of the leaders and cadres of these parties that all of them took to building up their respective parties bypassing this all-important and essential struggle to build up a genuine communist party. Despite honesty, dedication, sacrifice and struggle of the cadres, none of these had developed into a genuine revolutionary party of the proletariat because of their failure to conduct the struggle of identifying their life with the party and revolution consciously and collectively so as to free themselves completely from the influence of individualism. As a result, despite accepting Marxism as their ideology, since they avoided the protracted and complex struggle of developing (1) ideological centralism covering all aspects of life and every activity, that is, one process of thinking, uniformity of thinking, oneness in approach, singleness of purpose, (2) concrete conception of collective leadership, and (3) a group of professional revolutionaries in the party in order to build up the working class character of the party and communist character of those who dedicated themselves to building up the party, both the CPI and the CPI(M) have been reduced to mere platforms of some petty bourgeois political groups and individuals for conducting political struggles unitedly on the basis of some common political programmes. And if the Naxalites form a party they, too, will meet the same fate.
Thus it is clear that whatever else they may be capable of doing, it is not at all possible for any of these three factions of the original undivided Communist Party of India to lead a complex struggle like the anti-capitalist socialist revolution to achieve the emancipation of the toiling masses of our country. Leaving aside the various flaws and blunders in their theories what poses today as the greatest danger to the communist movement and is causing incalculable harm to the country is that the opportunism in the mode of day-to-day life as also the conduct of the leaders and cadres of these parties and the low cultural standard reflected in their utterances, dealings and behaviour, which I have discussed at length earlier, are more and more lowering the prestige of such a scientific and noble ideology as communism in the eyes of the people. Therefore, it is imperative to form a genuine communist party and strengthen it in order to uphold the nobility of the red flag, the noble symbol of revolution and communist ideology, and to lead the anti-capitalist socialist revolution of our country through to success. And to fulfil this historic task the SUCI has emerged through a long and arduous struggle with all the qualities of a communist party.
1.the new party was formed on 22 April 1969 and named the CPI(ML)
2.late B. T. Ranadive, one time general secretary of CPI (undivided) and later politburo member and theoretician of CPI(M)
3.name by which one group, which after split became CPI(M), used to refer to another group within CPI (undivided) led by Sripad Amrit Dange, the then general secretary of the party
4.despite its revisionist leadership the Romanian party fought a heroic battle under Ceausescu's leadership against imperialist intrigues and renegade Gorbachev's counterrevolutionary blueprint of perestroika and glasnost
5.big landowners, i.e. rural bourgeoisie
6.politburo member of CPI(M) and present chief minister of West Bengal
7.leading industrial house of India
8.CPI(M)-led front had also formed a government in Kerala state in 1967
9.in second United Front government installed in West Bengal in 1969 CPI(M) handled labour portfolio
10.government of left and democratic parties in West Bengal installed in 1967 in which SUCI was a constituent
11.E.M.S. Namboodiripad, who later became general secretary of CPI(M)
12.New Age, Organ of CPI, Vol. XI, No. 5, May 1962
13.name by which CPI(M) used to call CPI at that time
14.in less than a decade the Naxalites split into numerous factions
15.late general secretary (in the fifties) of CPI (undivided)
16.late P.C. Joshi, general secretary of CPI (undivided)
17. Muslim religious-political organization
18. understanding reached between P.C. Joshi of CPI (undivided) and Reginald Maxwell, the then home secretary of imperial British government, to work together for war
19. late Jawaharlal Nehru, bourgeois leader and statesman of renown, first prime minister of India
20. decision of the British rulers to transfer power to Indian National Congress implemented through Lord Mountbatten, last British Viceroy in India
21. late Ballavbhai Patel, eminent bourgeois leader and statesman with religious-conservative outlook
22. that faction in the Congress using radical slogans led by Indira Gandhi.
23. that faction of the Congress opposed to Indira Gandhi and led by some veteran Congress leaders with conservative outlook
24. politburo member and secretary, West Bengal State CPI(M).
25. held in 1968
26. letter of CC, CPC, of 14th June 1963 in reply to CC, CPSU's letter of March 30, 1963; CPC's letter was : "A proposal concerning the general line of international communist movement"
27. last nawab (Muslim ruler) of Bengal who lost to East India Company's army under Robert Clive in 1757
28. nawab of Bengal who succeeded Mirzaffar
29. major centre of silk and cotton textile under nawabs, now capital of Bangladesh
30. Indian Mutiny of 1857-58
31. illusory phenomenon
32. Sankaracharya -- great Vedantist philosopher of medieval India, who stressed that sensory experience was an illusion, not reality
33. nominal transfer of title
34. a bigha is one third of an acre
35. refers to the heroic struggle and sacrifice of the students and youths of Bengal during freedom movement of India which were highly acclaimed and acknowledged throughout the country
36. of national independence movement
38. a renowned left-oriented labour leader during and after freedom movement and a close associate of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose
39. those not engaged in physical labour.
40. highest caste in Hindu caste hierarchy
41. late M.N. Roy (Narendranath Bhattacharya) who started as a young revolutionary in pre-independence period, went abroad while in underground to help freedom movement in India from outside, accepted Marxism while abroad, came in contact with Lenin and was engaged in revolutionary activities in different countries, later deviated and turned away from Marxism and became a propounder of Radical Humanism
42. Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose who spearheaded the uncompromising trend in the freedom movement of India