the leader of Indian revolution and CPI (Maoist) Politburo member!
and 48-hour ‘Bharat Bandh’ on December 4-5!!
by Saroj Giri
Kishanji is not just a fighter against oppression, a brave and courageous soul. He presided over something unique in the history of resistance movement in the country – and maybe he was not even so aware of it. Several forms of resistance seem to have come together in his leadership – synchronizing armed fighting power of the people with open rallies, processions and demonstrations. If one is really serious about democratic mass upsurges then one cannot wish away ‘strategy’, the ‘use of force’ or ‘armed resistance’; that the life-veins of mass struggle extend into the zone of armed resistance – these otherwise old Leninist lessons were restated, reasserted, renewed afresh in the life and activity of Kishanji.
It is in this sense that Kishanji in a way rehabilitated the status of both mass movements and ‘military strategy’ within the left. The left today is prone to reject anything to do with discipline and military as just some kind of right-wing, fascist obsession. Philosopher Slavoj Zizek points out that, against the ruling ideology of hedonistic permissivity, the left should “(re)appropriate discipline and the spirit of sacrifice: there is nothing inherently ‘Fascist’ about these values” (http://www.lacan.com/zizhollywood.htm). Kishanji’s contribution stands out here –raising great fear and alarm among the ruling classes who hunted him down.
This is a crucial contribution at a time when the left is suffering from ‘loss of strategy’, when mass demonstrations at Tahrir Square or the Occupy Wall Street seem to hit a dead-end, simply tiring itself out, or unable to withstand state repression. Some might say that the militant mass demonstrations in Jangalmahal ended with the Maoists ‘taking over’ in June 2009. Instead this ‘taking over’ was nothing but the much needed backbone of the mass movement, able to now express itself as an organised force with a strategy.
This is the first step towards seeking clarity about the class struggle, defining what Marx in the Communist Manifesto calls a ‘line of the march’ for the movement as a whole – apart from being able to withstand the armed might of the state. Not that the Maoists have gained major success here but they have got some of the basics right. The usual story of mass activities and rallies frittering away after the initial upsurge did not therefore repeat itself here. The mass movement continues in many new forms. In fact, a new mass women’s formation, the Nari Izzat Bachao Committee has come up even as big rallies like the August 2010 mass rally attended by Mamata and Swami Agnivesh continue – unless banned or ‘denied permission’ by the government.
Such is Kishenji’s contribution, with something original – not just some bland ‘sacrifice’ or ‘martyrdom’ which Maoists themselves so often glorify. Maoists must guard themselves from this entrenched habit of not seeing anything specific or original about its leaders and painting them all in this barren seriality of ‘yet another martyr who heroically sacrificed his life for the revolution’. Otherwise the movement will be going round in circles, will stagnate in spite of the dynamism of its concrete practice.
Perhaps we can here identify something like a ‘Jangalmahal model or path’ of the Maoist movement, which can be compared to say the ‘Chattisgarh model or path’. There are many problems with talking in terms of ‘models’. And yet the specificities of the movement in particular areas must also be grasped so that we do not club all experiences and forms as one and the same. Otherwise, we are not learning anything new, not synthesizing, not learning from practice but endlessly repeating a set formula. Kishanji stands out in this respect. We do not know whether he also made conscious formulations about the specificity of the movement in Jangalmahal model (like a Hunan report?) but his concrete practice brilliantly shines forth.
Just in the month of September, Varavara Rao, myself and comrades from Kolkata had made a ‘fact-finding’ (for want of a better term) trip to Jangalmahal. We could not meet Kishanji but witnessed the atrocities committed by security forces and the private armies (bhairav bahini). I talked to a very young adivasi comrade, deep inside a village off Jhargram town: a member of the armed squad. I asked him if he had met Kishanji. He said yes. Then he said, that he cannot follow all that Kishanji says in meetings. Then I asked him if he heard of Marxism from Kishanji (I was curious). ‘Yes Kishanji talks about Marxism, but I find it very difficult to follow’. Then I ask him what has he understood of Marxism, what is it? I think he felt cornered but after some reflection came with a reply: it is something very good but some people have spoiled and distorted it. ‘We guerillas are fighting such people’.
Those like Kishanji have taken Marxism to the masses when doing so immediately means ‘organising’, planning, strategizing, taking the struggle ahead and putting yourself in the line of fire. Kishanji’s daring is not ‘speaking truth to power’, in postmodern Zapatismo-style, but making power come out of its democratic garb exposing its lies and falsities, including its violence to which our man fell.
I find it a bit of an enigma that Kishanji never put away his gun when on camera – one can prominently see it and so he is clearly not bothered to play the democratic card of being democratic, peaceful and so on. He talks nothing about the gun, no glorifying violence and so on, as some would pathetically expect. Instead he talks about a meticulous patient fight for real democracy and power to the people (http://www.ndtv.com/video/player/news/who-is-kishenji/216926). So why is the gun so visibly present, slung on his shoulders, surrounded as he is by curious journalists in his own camp? It can only mean that he had no pretense here of liberal bourgeois leaders of being non-violent and democratic, even as they preside over huge standing armies, hidden away.
Here we are only traversing a key insight of Marxism – that the question of power must be foregrounded, hence no point playing games that there is no power in society, no class power, no armed power, it is all democracy and free competition and so on. That is why Lenin would say that socialism is not a better or true radical democracy (this would have sounded respectable and acceptable to all), but the dictatorship of the proletariat – this is far more honest that saying that there is democracy for everyone even though it is really class dictatorship. If you feel kind of uncomfortable in whole-heartedly supporting Kishanji because of his gun then you might be uncomfortable with a key insight of Marxism itself – this is the double bind he throws us in.
Kishanji was not the man of ‘its blowing in the wind’ but precisely of another Bob Dylan song. He is the man of ‘the hour when the ship comes in’, one who must have imagined that he is fighting to usher in this grand hour, perhaps even when ‘the answer might not be blowing in wind’: “the chains of the sea will have busted in the night and will be buried at the bottom of the ocean… And oh the foes will rise with the sleep still in their eyes and they will jerk from their beds and think that they are dreaming; but they will pinch themselves and squeal and know that it is for real. And they will raise their hands, saying we will meet all your demands, but we’ll shout from the bow, your days are numbered….”
The Communist (Maoist) Party of Afghanistan is strongly desirous of the international reorganization of Marxist-Leninist-Maoist parties and organizations throughout the world. This international organization can—and should—include all the parties and organizations that were members of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM) and also parties and organizations that were out of RIM. From the political and ideological perspective this international organization should be based on Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and on the summation of the positive and negative experiences of RIM and other Maoist parties and organizations in the past three decades.
1.Marxism-Leninism-Maoism—and only Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, and nothing less and nothing more than that—in the present situation is the ideological weapon of the international communist movement. (By nothing less we mean "post MLM" "Marxism" or "Marxism-Leninism"; by nothing more we mean the formulations that have been added like “thought” or “path” or “new-synthesis".) In other words, a genuine international communist movement can only be a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist movement, which includes all Marxist-Leninist-Maoist parties and organizations of different countries of the world. Marxism-Leninism-Maoism can, and must, develop; however, at this present juncture the international communist movement as whole is not in the position to have made such a leap forward. We cannot reach that stage with spurious, reckless and premature pretentious assertions that would only lead toward deviation and damage the international communist movement.
According to the experience of RIM's struggle in the past three decades, until RIM's activities was based on Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, it reached important theoretical and practical contributions, that are to be cherished and are worthy of protection, and that should also be further developed. However, the premature proclamations produced by the labels of “thought,” “path” and “synthesis” not only lead certain parties away from the path of peoples war, revolution, and revolutionary struggles at different degrees, but also towards confusion and ideological and political disorientation; this has resulted in the current organizational fragmentation and paralysis of the entire Revolutionary Internationalist Movement. Without a clear stance against, and distancing from, this overt deviation, whose worst form is nothing but an apparent post-Marxism-Leninism-Maoism––and without conducting a serious struggle against it––we cannot lead the struggle for the formation of an international organization of Marxist-Leninist-Maoist parties and organizations towards a principled success and conclusion.
2. The international organization of the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist parties and organizations of different countries of the world should be based on the Revolutionary internationalist comradery and solidarity of all the participants, including those smaller or bigger, stronger or weaker, older or newer. There should not be father or fathers, big brother or brothers, within its ranks. Our aspirations can only be achieved if the international movement will act as an international collective of the independent parties and organizations of different countries, each with equal rights, rather than as a global party. Thus, all the participants should have direct participation and contribution in the leadership of the international movement.
According to RIM's previous experiences, the existence of a permanent leadership committee was a positive point that provided continuity to the organizational existence and activities of RIM. This positive point not only deserves to be protected, but also strengthened and further expanded. however, From the very beginning of the formation of the Committee of RIM (CoRIM), and despite the stance of the Declaration of RIM against the centralizing tendency of Comintern, participants were formally divided into first class and second class members––that is, those who had the privilege of a permanent presence in CoRIM and those who were disenfranchised. Therefore, this committee never became a committee representing all members of RIM.
Even worse, in actual fact CoRIM, during the many years of its activities, was unconditionally under the hegemony of one particular party––even during the period when the collective decisions of RIM were in contradiction with the positions of that party. In such a situation the committee under the hegemony of that party, instead of implementing the collective decisions of RIM, directly or indirectly led to a direction that propagated the views and recently the " new synthesis " of that party at the level of whole movement. In particular, it was the unsolvable contradiction that finally led towards the decimation of the CoRIM.
It should also be acknowledged, unfortunately, that the organizational principles and of rules RIM––with an unprincipled and incorrect stance based on separation of organizational principles and rules from ideological and political line––led RIM to the disregard and discount for the organizational principles and rules. In fact it was this organizational problem that paved the ground for the aforementioned party's unconditional hegemony within leading committee of RIM.
3. The most principled and appropriate international communist organization is a new International and we should strive for its formation. At the same time, however, we should acknowledge that in the current situation the immediate formation of a fully formed International is not immediately possible: we can only form an international organization at a lower level, fostering and developing it towards a new International.
According to the past experience of RIM, despite the fact that the strategic orientation of the struggle for the formation of a new international was theoretically accepted, in practical terms it was not given enough attention. In recent years, with the dominance of the post-Marxism-Leninism-Maoism in CoRIM, this goal has been forgotten as a whole.
In this current situation the new international communist (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist) organization, towards the formation of which we are struggling, can and should benefit from the formation and struggles of RIM. Thus, this international organization should be more advanced, ideologically and politically, and organizationally more extensive.
4. Recently, the Communist (Maoist) Party of Afghanistan held a broad party seminar to provide a summation and analysis of the experiences of the struggles of RIM, and will soon publish its results, a humble theoretical contribution as part of a broad international summation. In the final analysis, the formation of a new international organization of the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist parties and organizations throughout the world requires reaching a consensus on the fundamental points of a general summation of the experiences of the struggles of RIM and other Maoist forces. Carrying out a general debate and discussion amongst Marxist-Leninist-Maoist parties and organizations for reaching such a consensus is necessary. In the process of forming and carring forward coordinations, competitions and bilateral, regional and transregional alliances in principle, this process of debate and discussion should continue during a reasonable and possible time amongst the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist parties and organizations for the purpose of the formation of a new international organization.
Long Live Proletarian Internationalism!
Communist (Maoist) Party of Afghanistan
jaddi 1389 ( January 2011 )