Written/Delivered : April 1967 (8th document)
In the post-election period our apprehensions are being proved correct by the actions of the party (CPI-M) leadership itself. The Polit Bureau has directed us to “carry on the struggle to defend the non-Congress ministries against reaction”. This suggests that the main task of Marxists is not to intensify the class struggle, but to plead on behalf of the Cabinet. So a convention of party members was convened to firmly establish economism within the working class. Immediately thereafter, an agreement for a truce in industry was signed at the Cabinet’s initiative. Workers were asked not to resort to gheraos. What could be a more naked expression of class collaboration ? After giving the employers full right to exploit, the workers are being asked not to wage any struggle. Immediately after the Communist Party joined the Government that was installed as a result of a mighty mass movement, the path of class collaboration was chosen. The Chinese leaders predicted long ago that those who had remained neutral in the international debate would very soon take to the path of opportunism. Now, the Chinese leaders are saying that these advocates of a neutral stand are in reality revisionists and they would soon cross over to the reactionary camp. In our country we are experiencing how true is this prediction. We have witnessed the betrayal of the working class. To this is to be added the announcement of the Communist Party leader, Harekrishna Konar. In the beginning he promised that all vested lands would be distributed among the landless peasants. Then the quantity of land to be distributed was slashed. In the end he informed that the existing arrangement would be left undisturbed this year. Remission of land revenue was left to the mercy of junior land reforms officers (JLROs). The peasants were shown the path of submitting petitions. They were further told that forcible seizure of land would not be permitted. Harekrishna Babu is not only a member of the Communist Party’s Central Committee, he is also the Secretary of the Krishak Sabha in West Bengal. It was in response to the call of the Krishak Sabha led by him that the peasants had waged a struggle for recovery of vested and benami land in 1959. In the interest of landowners the Government had resorted to repression and had given decisions in favour of eviction, yet the peasants had not given up possession of land in many-cases and had stuck on to the land on the strength of village unity. Did the Krishak Sabha leader support their movement after becoming a Minister ? No. The meaning of what he said was that vested land would be re-distributed. Who will get it ? On this point the JLROs would seek the Krishak Sabha’s views. But would such views be accepted? No such assurance has been given by Harekrishna Babu. But if the JLROs reject the Krishak Sabha’s views, the peasants would under no circumstances be permitted to occupy land forcibly. Harekrishna Babu lost no time in making himself clear on this point. What is this? Is it not acting like a bill-collector of the government and jotedars? Even Congressmen would not have dared plead on behalf of the feudal classes so unashamedly. Therefore, obeying the instructions of the party leaders would mean blindly accepting the feudal classes’ exploitation and rule. So the responsibility of the Communists is to expose the anti-class and reactionary role of this leadership to Party members and the people, to hold on to the principle of intensifying class struggle and march ahead. Suppose, the landless and poor peasants accept Harekrishna Babu’s proposal and submit petitions. What will happen then? Some of the vested lands are no doubt fallow, but most of it is cultivable land. There are peasants in possession of such lands. Today, they are enjoying the land by virtue of licenses. Or, they are giving a share to jotedars. When that land is redistributed, it will inevitably result in frictions among poor and landless peasants. Taking advantage of this, rich peasants will establish their leadership over the entire peasant movement, because as the rich peasant has opportunities for canvassing, so also he is a partner of feudal influence. Therefore, Harekrishna Babu is not only trying to forsake the path of struggle today, but he is also taking steps so that the peasant struggle may not become militant in future also.
Yet we have adopted the programme of a people’s democratic revolution and the task of that revolution is to carry out land reforms in the interest of the peasants. Land reform in the peasant’s interest is possible only when we are able to put an end to the sway of feudal classes over the rural areas. To do this, we shall have to seize land from the feudal classes and distribute it among the landless and poor peasants. We shall never be able to do this if our movement is confined to the limits of economism. In every area where there has been a movement for vested land it is our experience that the peasant who has got possession of vested land and secured the license is no longer active in the peasant movement. What is the reason ? It is because the poor peasant’s class has changed within a year — he has turned into a middle peasant. So, the economic demands of poor and landless peasants are no more his demands. Therefore, economism causes a breach in the unity of fighting peasants and makes the landless and poor peasants frustrated. Advocates of economism judge every movement by the quantity of paddy in maunds or of land in bighas that the peasant gets. Whether the peasant’s fighting consciousness has increased or not, is never their yardstick. So they do not make any effort to raise the peasant’s class consciousness. Yet we know that no struggle can be waged without making sacrifices. Chairman Mao has taught us that where there is struggle, there is sacrifice. At the initial stage of the struggle the strength of reaction must be greater than the strength of the masses. Therefore, the struggle will be protracted. Since the masses are the progressive force, their strength will increase day after day but as the reactionary forces are moribund, their strength will decline steadily. So, no revolutionary struggle can be successful unless the masses are roused to make sacrifices. From this basic revolutionary outlook, economism leads on to the blind alley of bourgeois outlook. This is what the party leaders are trying to achieve through their activities. A review of all our past peasant struggles will show that the Party leaders have imposed compromises on the peasants from above. Yet it was the responsibility of Party leadership to establish the fighting leadership of the working class over the peasant movement. They did not do this before, they are not doing it even now. Now they are suggesting reliance on laws and the bureaucracy. Lenin has said that even if some progressive legislation is enacted but bureaucracy is given the charge of implementing it, the peasants will get nothing. So, our leaders have gone a long distance off the revolutionary path. Agrarian revolution is the task of this very moment; this task cannot be left undone, and without doing this, nothing good can be done for the peasants. But before carrying out agrarian revolution, destruction of State power is necessary. Striving for agrarian revolution without destruction of State power means outright revisionism. So, destruction of State power is today the first and principal task of peasant movement. If this cannot be done on a country-wide, State-wide basis, will the peasants wait silently? No, Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought has taught us that if in any area the peasants can be roused politically, then we must go ahead with the task of destroying State power in that area. This is what is known as peasants’ liberated area. The struggle for building up this liberated area is the most urgent task of the peasant movement today, a task of this moment. What shall we call a liberated area ? We shall call that peasant area liberated from which we have been able to overthrow the class enemies. For building up this liberated area we need the armed force of the peasants. When we speak of the armed force we have in mind the arms made by the peasants. So also we want arms. Whether the peasants have come forward to collect awns or not is the basis on which we shall judge whether they have been politically roused. Wherefrom shall the peasants get guns ? The class enemies have guns and they live in the village. Guns have to be taken forcibly from them. They will not hand over their arms to us voluntarily. Therefore, we shall have to seize guns forcibly from them. For this, peasant militants will have to be taught all tactics, right from setting fire to the houses of class enemies. Besides, we shall secure guns from the armed forces of the Government by attacking them all on a sudden. The area in which we are able to organise this gun-collection campaign shall quickly be transformed into a liberated area. So, for carrying out this task it is necessary to propagate extensively among the peasants the politics of building up armed struggle. It is, moreover, necessary to organise small and secret militant groups for conducting the gun-collection campaign. Simultaneously with propagating the politics of armed struggle, members of these groups will try to successfully implement specific programme of gun-collection. Mere collection of arms does not alter the character o f struggle — the guns collected have to be used. Only then will the creative ability of the peasants develop and the struggle will undergo a qualitative change. This can be done only by poor and landless peasants, the firm ally of the working class. The middle peasant is also an ally, but his fighting consciousness is not as intense as that of poor and landless peasants. So he cannot be a participant in the struggle right at the beginning — he needs some time. That is why class analysis is an essential task for the Communist Party. The great leader of China, Chairman Mao Tsetung had, therefore, taken up this task first and was able to point out infallibly the path of revolutionary struggle. So the first point of our organisational work is establishing the leadership of poor and landless peasants in the peasant movements. It is in the process of organising peasant movement on the basis of the politics of armed struggle that the leadership of the poor and landless peasants will be established. Because, of the peasant classes, they are the most revolutionary. A separate organisation of agricultural labourers will not help this task. Rather, a separate organisation of agricultural labourers encourages the trend towards trade union movement based on economism and intensifies conflicts among peasants. The unity of the allied classes is not strengthened, because in our agricultural system the exploitation of feudal classes is foremost. Another question that comes up in this very context is that of compromise with small owners. What shall be the Communists’ outlook in this regard? In regard to compromises we shall have to consider whom do we support. So, we cannot support any other class as against them. In the peasant movement (in India) the Communists have always been compelled to give up the interests of poor and landless peasants in the interest of the petty-bourgeoisie. This weakens the fighting determination of the poor and landless peasants. In regard to middle and rich peasants also we should have different stand. If we look upon rich peasants as middle peasants, the poor and landless peasants will be frustrated. Again, if we look upon middle peasants as rich peasants, the fighting enthusiasm of the middle peasants will diminish. So, the Communists must learn to make class analysis of peasants in every area in accordance with Chairman Mao’s instructions.
Again and again the unrest among the peasants of India has burst forth. They have repeatedly sought guidance from the Communist Party. We have not told them that the politics of armed struggle and the gun-collection campaign constitute the only path. This path is the path of the working class, the path of liberation, the path of establishing a society free from exploitation. In every State throughout India the peasants are today in a state of unrest, the Communists must show them the path. That path is the politics of armed struggle and the gun-collection campaign. We must firmly uphold this one and only path of liberation. The great cultural revolution of China has declared a war on all kinds of selfishness, group mentality, revisionism, tailism of the bourgeoisie, eulogy of bourgeois ideology — the blazing impact of that revolution has reached India also. The call of that revolution is — “Be prepared to resolutely make all kinds of sacrifices, remove the obstacles along the path one by one, victory shall be ours.” However terrible the appearance of imperialism, however ugly the snare laid by revisionism, the days of the reactionary forces are numbered, the bright sunrays of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung thought shall wipe off all darkness.
So the question naturally arises : Is there no need for peasants’ mass struggle on partial demands in this era ? Certainly the need is there and will be there in future also. Because India is a vast country and the peasants are also divided into many classes, so political consciousness cannot be at the same level in all areas and among all the classes. So there will always be the opportunity for and possibility of peasants’ mass movement on the basis of partial demands and the Communists will always have to make full use of that opportunity. What tactics shall we adopt in conducting movements for partial demands and what shall be their objective ? The basic point of our tactics is whether the broad peasant class has rallied or not, and our basic objective shall be the raising of the class consciousness of the peasants — whether they have advanced along the path of broadbased armed struggle. Movements based on partial demands shall intensify class struggle. The political consciousness of the broad masses shall be raised. The broad peasant masses shall be roused in making sacrifices, the struggle shall spread to newer areas. The movements for partial demands may take any form but the Communists shall always propagate the necessity of higher forms of struggle among the peasant masses. Under no circumstances shall the Communists try to pass the type of struggle acceptable to the peasants as the best. In reality the Communists shall always carry on propaganda among peasants in favour of revolutionary politics, i.e., the politics of armed struggle and gun-collection campaign. Despite this propaganda, the peasants will possibly decide to go on mass deputations and we shall have to conduct that movement. In times of white terror the effectiveness of such mass deputation must in no way be underestimated, because these mass deputations will increasingly draw peasants into the struggle. Movements on partial demands are never to be condemned but it is a crime to conduct these movements in the manner of economism. It is a crime, moreover, to preach that movements on economic demands will automatically take the form of political struggle, because this is worshipping spontaneity. Such movements can show the path to the masses, help d evelop clarity of outlook, inspire in making sacrifices. At every stage of struggle there is only one task. Unless that task is done, the struggle will not reach the higher stage. In this era that particular task is the politics of armed struggle and the gun-collection campaign. Whatever we may do without carrying out this task, the struggle will not be raised to the higher stage. The struggle will collapse, the organisation will collapse, the organisation will not grow. Similarly, there is only one path of India’s revolution, the path shown by Lenin — building up the people’s armed forces and the republic. Lenin had said in 1905 that these two tasks must be carried out wherever possible, even if these were not feasible in regard to the whole of Russia. Chairman Mao has enriched this path shown by Lenin. He has taught the tactics of people’s war and China has attained liberation along this path. Today that path is being followed in Vietnam, Thailand, Malaya, Philipines, Burma, Indonesia, Yemen, Leopoldville, Congo, in different countries of Africa and Latin America. That path has also been adopted in India, the path of building the people’s armed forces and the rule of the liberation front which is being followed in Naga, Mizo and Kashmir areas. So the working class will have to be called upon and told that it must lead India’s democratic revolution and the working class will have to carry out this task by providing leadership to the struggle of its most firm ally, the peasantry. So, it is the responsibility of the working class to organise the peasant movement and raise it to the stage of armed struggle. The vanguard of the working class will have to go to the villages to participate in armed struggle. This is the main task of the working class “Collect arms and build up bases of armed struggle in rural areas” — this is called the politics of the working class, the politics of seizure of power. We shall have to rouse the working class on the basis of this politics. Organise all the workers in trade unions–this slogan does not raise the political consciousness of the working class. This does not certainly mean that we shall not organise any more trade unions. This means that we shall all not get the Party’s revolutionary workers bogged in trade union activities — it would be their task to carry on political propaganda among the working class, i.e., to propagate the politics of armed struggle and gun-collection campaign, and build up Party organisation. Among the petty-bourgeoisie also our main task is political propaganda and propagation of the significance of peasant struggle. That is to say, on every front the responsibility of the Party is to explain the importance of peasant struggle and call for participation in that struggle. To the extent we carry out this task, we shall reach the stage of conscious leadership in the democratic revolution. Opposition to this basic Marxist-Leninist path of the Party is coming not only from revisionists. The revisionists are taking the path of class-collaboration straightaway, so it is easy to unmask them. But there is another form of opposition within the party which is dogmatism. They accept that revolution is necessary, also agree that revolution can only be accomplished through armed struggle. But they imagine that armed struggle can only come about after the spreading of mass movement throughout India. Before that, small or large armed clashes may take place but the seizure of power is not possible. So far as they are concerned, they hope for another version of the October Revolution to occur in India. They apply their bookish knowledge about the success of that revolution to Inida’s case without alternation. They forget that the February Revolution took place before the October Revoluiton and that, through it, the bourgeois parties and also the workers’, peasants’, and soldiers’ Soviet came into power. Due to the existence of this dual power, working-class leadership became effective within the Soviets and when the petty bourgeois parties within the Soviets handed over power to the capitalists, the working class found it possible to carry out the October Revolution.
They do not analyse the objective conditions of India. They do not take lessons from the struggles that are being waged in India. The main cause of success of the Russian revolution was the correct application of the tactics of the united front. The question of united front tactics is equally important in India too. But the tactics of India’s democratic revolution will be different in form. In India also, in Naga, Mizo, Kashmir and other areas, struggles are being waged under petty-bourgeois leadership. In the democratic revolution, therefore, the working class will have to march forward by forming a united front with them. Struggles will break out in many other new areas under the leadership of bourgeois or petty-bourgeois parties. The working class will also enter into alliances with them and the main basis of this alliance will be anti-imperialist struggle and the right to self-determination. The working class necessarily admits this right, together with the right to secession.
Although those who dream of revolution in India along the path of October revolution are revolutionaries, they are not capable of providing a bold leadership because of their doctrinaire outlook. They do not realize the significance of peasant struggles and thus unconsciously become propagandists of economism within the working class. They are unable to assimilate the experiences of the peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America. A section of them becomes disciples of Che Guevara and fails to emphasise the task of organising the peasantry, main force of India’s democratic revolution. Consequently, they inevitably become victims of Left deviation. So we shall have to pay special attention to them and help them gradually educate themselves. Under no circumstances should we be intolerant in regard to them. Besides, there is amongst us a group of revolutionary comrades who accept the Chinese Party and the Thought of the great Mao Tsetung and also accept that as the only path. But they view the book ‘How to be a good Communist’ as the only road to self-cultivation and are consequently led into a serious deviation. The only Marxist road to self-cultivation taught by Lenin and Chairman Mao is the path of class struggle. Only through tempering in the fire of class struggle can a Communist become pure gold. Class struggle is the real school of Communists and the experience of class struggle has to be verified in the light of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought and lessons have to be taken. So the main point of Party education is application of the teachings of Marxism-Leninism in class struggle, arriving at general principles on the basis of that experience and taking back to the people the principles summed up from experience. This is what is called ‘from the people to the people’. This is the basic point of Party education. These revolutionary comrades are unable to realise this fundamental truth of Party education. As a result they commit idealist deviations in regard to Party education. Chairman Mao Tsetung has taught us that there cannot be any education apart from practice. In his words, ‘doing is learning’. Self-cultivation is possible only in the process of changing the existing conditions through revolutionary practice.
Revolutionaries of the world unite !
Long live the revolutionary unity of workers and peasants !
Long live Chairman Mao Tsetung !