By Harsh Thakor
On December 8th 1977 we will be commemorating the 30th anniversary of he formation of the Central Team of the Communist Party of India(Marxist Leninist)In the 40th anniversary year of the Naxalbari Movement it is worth recollecting the historic contribution of this organization to building the mass line. By no means do I claim that they completely developed or implemented a mass line but in certain states, particularly Punjab their work was of great significance. It's formation was the culmination of a historic 2 line struggle waged 30 years ago against the line of SaytaNarayan Singh and Chandra Pula Reddy that supported the participation of Elections by Communist Revolutionaries.Infact it is 30 years since he opportunist line of participation in elections was introduced. The change and toppling of the Socialist Government in China played a great role in this stand.(Hua Guofeng toppled Mao's followers).
The major struggle for the formation of the new organsiation occurred in Punjab .Comrades such as Mahendra Singh from Uttar Pradesh and Sunder Navalakar for Maharashtra also played a historic role.4organisations merged,namely
1 Punjab-Himachal Comitee,C.P.I(M.L)
2.West Begal State Organising Committee
3.Maharashtra SateOrganising Comitee
In the view of he new organization
"The Central Leadership of the C.P.I(M.L)failed to resolve correctly certain questions of policy regarding mass line ,military line and style of work. Instead of devicing correct CT Marxist Leninist policies in the light of objective analysis, the cental leadership started divicing such policies subjectively. Consequently our revolution receive setrbacks.The Central leadership gradually deviated from the very ideological foundation of the party. They revealed a sectarian, individualist and bureaucratic trend. The failed to mobiles all the sincere C.R's in he party,through ideological persuasion and political struggle. Although the 8th Congress of the C.P.I(M.L),boldly drew a clear line of demarcation between Marxism and Revisionsism, upheld the correct general orientation and path of Indian Revolution, yet adopted certain left adventurist policies on the questions of mass and military line.It asserted that mass struggles and mass movements wee indispensable and that the principal contradiction was that between feudalism and the broad masses.
It is significant that later in their April 1993 issue of Liberation they wrote, 'The C.P.I(M.L) had failed to understand the significance of consistent struggle of ideological, political nature within the party and outside for further quantitative and qualitative consolidation of revolutionary forces in and around he C.P.I(M.L)Early success led them to sectarian politics and organizational authoritarianism.They failed to realize the significance of consistent struggle in each and every activity of party leadership brought forth from C.PI.and C.P.M. Revolutionary broadness and flexibility was replaced by authoritarian principles .The leadership failed to realize the dimension of the converging process of revolutionaries in and around the party. Opportunist onslaught within the party gave rise to organisational centralism.
The Central Team however upheld the formation of the C.P.I(M.L)in 1969.Quting their journal, "The heroic ideological struggle through concrete actions leading to armed agrarian upsurge by the peasntry ,the main force of revolution gave birth to the re-organised Communist Party-the Communist Party of India(Marxist Leninist)In 30 years the party has split into several fractions.Some of them claim to be he party while othrs operate as part of the paty.Many Communist evolutinaries are divided inj these gropups.There has been failure of Communist Revolutionaries to evaluate correctly the original/correct formulation on which the structure of he party was built.The time is most suited for the true communist Revolutinaries to merge with he whole.i.e.with the "C.P.I.M.L". and form the centre to take up the responsibility of the Indian Revolution which is New Demoratic and principally an armed agrarian revolution.We must establish the monlolithic Centre of emocartic Centarlim which was lost after 1972.9When the original C.P.I.M.L disintegrated)The All India Revolutionary Centre(re-esatablish the 8th Central Committee) of the party must be re-established."
The above document is significant as there was once a conflicting viewpoint on thr formation of the party in 1969.Groups like Peoples War Group,Party Unity or C.R.C upheld it unchalengingly,while factions like Maoist Communist Centre ,Chandra Pulla Reddy Group,U.C.C.R.I.(M.L0' OF Nagi Reddy opposed it. Today the C.P.I.(Maoist) concludes that there were 2 founding parties the Maoist Communist Center and the Charu Mazumdar led C.P.I(M.L).
On coming into Existence the organization published 2 major documents.One was on their political line while the other was their organizational criticism of all the revolutionary Groups.It also produced a document on the life history of the martyrs in Punjab of the Naxalbari period.
It also founded a mass political revolutionary paper called the 'Surukh Rekha.'In the last 30 years this journal has played the greatest role in the revolutionary Movement in Punjab,from the 1980's till today. In the Khalistani period it played the greatest role in challenging the Khalistani Movement.It was theonly Naxalite journal that was sold on the stands.It revealed the secrets of the Khalistan Movement. It adopted a style of writing that brilliantly related to the masses, much the way the Chinese Communist Paryt brought out literature during their revolutionary struggle.
The principal area of work of the organization in India was in Punjab, although inroads wee mainly in Maharashtra,West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh.The Group's main base was in Jalandhar and Ludhiana .It played a major role o organizing agricultural workesr and building the Punjab Kisan Union. During the Khalistan Movement the Organisation led major actions against the Khalistani factions to isolate them. With the Centre of Communist Revolutionaries of India it played amajor role in the anti-repressio and anti-communal Front and was one of the founding groups of that structure.The party organized armed combat forces .In both the villages and the cities they implemented amass revolutionary action programme. It is significant tht the Central Team is with the Centre of Communist Revolutionaries, one of the precursors of the C.P.R.C.I.(M.L),which is the strongest group in Punjab today ,leading an important movement.(most correct in practice.)Today the big movement of agricultural labourers in Punjab and of the Bharatiya Kisan Union(Ugraon Group) has a base in the work of the 2 organizations.The Central Team had done some truly ouitsatnding work amongst the agricultural..
In Maharashtra an impact was made on the trade Union Movement. A revolutionary paper named 'Jasood' was brought out regularly and commendable work was done amongst Construction and Air India Workers. Major efforts were made to differentiate the mass organization with the Party,and to maintain the secret party structure. Public meetings wee held upholding the Naxalabri Movement,the Bolshevik Revoltio Etc.The author remembers attending a meeting in November 1991 when the Soviet Union crashed, which defended Socialism in the 1917-56 period and explained that since 1956 from the Kruschev Period it was revisionism and not Socialism that existedinI Russia.It was comrade Sunder Navaakar who played a vanguard role as a trade Union leader.She did her utmost to defend the politics of her organization in the most difficult situations.Great efforts were made to politically indoctrinate workers.The current permanency of Air India Workers is indebted to Comrade Navalakar.No Journal has been as regular or defended Mao Tse Tung Thought so consistently in Maharashtra.as 'Jasood"It dealt with all types of socio-political issues from Communalism,International questions, state repression to trade Union and peasant struggles.
Quoting their report on work on the Trade Union Front, "Contract labourers were given greatest importance in our work. Being migratory labour great efforts wee made amongst construction workers.I 1984 he Constructin workers historically rebelled against the govt,to win their dearness allowance. They also fought against contract labour.A Red Union was formed which was steered by our ranks. We differentiated our methods opf work from the Revisionsits. Ilegal forms of struggle were adopted like Gherao,flash strike. Despite being migratory, the construction workers could perform painstaking work,when organized. Through protracted work class consciousness was created, who could now lead and fight struggles against the Government and management forces and take the command of any situation under the banner of the Red Union.
Workers should now choose their own union through the secret ballot. Keeping the secret ballot demand ,we pressurized the Govt.deploying all forms of struggle(Flash Strikes,indefinite Gheraos,Systematic postering and leafleting,Newspaper coverage tc.)Though the management and the paper Unions engaged in goondaism and filing legal cases against the Union,t he workers strength and determination overcame it and the management was compelled to surrender.
However the work in the yellow Unions was slow.
After the 1992-1993 post Babri-Masjid Communal riots the group in it's article on Communalism stated, "The need of the hour is to tear apart the complete mask of the reactionary ruling classes and he real face of the Communal fascist agents and parties through enhancement of class struggles and organizations. Our party observes that the reactionary ruling classes and all shades of Communal forces have miserably failed to rally the common masses. The communal fascist forces have no connection with the masses ,but posses better striking power. Only by developing combat forces, enhancing class struggles sharper and sharper and building mass struggles can we isolate such forces. We need to strengthen the unity of the common masses in day to day movements and class struggles agaisnt the ruling class and the fundamentalist agents, develop combat forces amongst the masses ,in mass struggles under the leadership of revolutionary forces."
Another important theoretical aspect brought out by the party was that of open functioning. "Some forces, in the name of taking opportunity of open activity make the whole party apparatus work openly I the name of the party, and organize mass programs and movements under the party banner. They fail to understand that the task of the party is to lead the masses in the path of protracted Peoples War. Only when masses come to realize the party politics through day to day movements. class struggles under the revolutionary leadership of the party, then only the party forces, can move like a fish in water of masses, even when they have become completely exposed. Any short-cut system of building closer association with the people by presenting the party banner and identity will open the whole party forces to the enemies. The reaction ill remain superficial. The revolutionary party presents itself directly and openly to the masses in it's own ways and actions but dose not expose it's cadres to the enemies. Revolutionary methodology must be adopted to lead the masses and present the party.Consistent work must be done in leading the masses in their struggles and organizations."
The above method was particularly applied in Punjab by the Central Team Group
Another important analysis was the understanding on Armed Struggle. "In the present struggles of Dandkaranya and Telengana armed struggle has developed as principal content of people's struggle .While crushing the authorities of the reactionary state it is acting as a pivot to enhance the peoples revolutionary struggles. In Bihar armed squads are intervening in the struggle of peasants and backward masses. Armed squads are being developed in interaction with the development of mass organizations. Armed Struggle is reaching a much higher stage in Telengana ,Dandkaranya and Bihar.
In the period of setbacks several so called C.P.IM.L)Groups paid lip service to armed struggle ,in the name of mass line and mass struggle. They abandoned armed struggle as the principal form of struggle. Their armed bands remained to serve the sectarian interests of some party or some leaders. Inspite of having armed struggle their agenda,they kept delaying or deferring their task. They even condemned others for prematurely taking up arms. Armed development of peoples Movements was deferred.
We are not pleading armed actions here and there. Actual launching of armed actions depends on the tactical assessments of position of the enemy forces, preparedness of the masses and position of the laeding forces.i.e.the party at the very particular time and situation. To face armed counter-revolution we can sustain peasant struggle only through force and armed developments."
"During the last 30 years, peoples Movement in India continued in zigzags and ups and downs. There had been failures in the leadership in resolving the developing problems of armed struggle, developing problems of sustaining the authority of peasants and people, developing problems of strong mass mobilization, developing problems of work in the cities and amongst the workers, developing problems of conglomeration of work in and around the party and bring them to a single centralism, Armed struggle was compromised with armed actions and only armed activities went on without centralization. Peasants and workers associations found no let out through associations and Unions. Authoritarian principles came from revisionist culture. Whole of the party and it's activists gradually became isolated, decentralized and became easy prey to reactionary assaults. The revisionists and opportunists utilized this and helped split the party into fractions."
The Central Team condemned participation in elections "It has been proved time and again that participation in Indian elections has failed to boost revolutionary struggles, on the other hand it has counterposed the revolutionary development of peoples Movements. The movements of Satya Narayan Singh and Vinod Mishra are the best example. Even the treacherous diversion of the Telengana Armed Struggle to parlaimentarism was a historic lesson. Forces today that oppose participation plead for participation in the future."
Other aspects the organization profoundly defended were defending the principal contradiction as between feudalism and the broad masses of the people and against all trends opposing the fundamentals of Marxism -Leninism and Mao Tse Tung Thought.
"Some people in the Communist Revolutionary Camp find fault with Marx,Lenin-Stalin-Mao and advocate petit-bourgeois formulas.( like Maoism or New Left ideas.)They put forward new concepts above the shoulders of Mao Tse Tung.Such people fail to understand that their partial knowledge of social development and revolutionary struggle can be developed only through practicing the teachings of Marx.Lenin-Stalin-Mao."
"Without sharpening the contradiction between the broad masses and feudalism, the contradiction between Imperialism and the broad masses cannot be strengthened. We must ideologically combat those who place Imperialism as the principal contradiction. Such people advocate an anti-Imperialist Front ,patriotic Democratic Front Etc.They dilute the significance of anti-feudal struggle. Groups like the C.P.IM.L(Red Flag) and the Indian Peoples Front (Vinod Mishra)are the best Examples.Such Groups have changed the principal contradiction as between " alliance of imperialism and feudalism on the one hand and the broad masses on the other",or between " imperialism and the broad mases."We have to defend the formulation that the contradiction of feudalism with the broad masses is the principal contradiction with tooth and nail."
The most significant culmination of the Central Team Group was it's culmination into the C.P.R.C.I.(M.L) in August 1994.Sadly the Maharashtra, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh sections did not join. The organization had faced a split in 1991.A section led by Sunder Navalkar condemned the merging of their organization into the C.P.R.C.I.(M.L).It was the organization in Punjab that merged and the Sunder Navalkar faction condemned the Comrades as 'traitors ; in their journal. The Sunder Navalkar section had merger talks with Party Unity and Peoples War Group and also wished to join the All India Peoples Resistance Forum .However it opposed the merger of Party Unity with Peoples War Group in 1998 as it claimed to be the original party. Eventually the group lost it's nucleus and all the states sections were separated. (Maharashtra,West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh became separate groups)Sunder Navalkar felt that those comrades who joined the new organization were politically dishonest and the merger was unprincipled.
In the author's view some views the original Central Team endorsed were defective like that of their view that participation in election could never tactically be deployed in India or their unconditional recognition of Charu Mazumdar's organization as the only party.However it is fascinating that the group merged after consistent work wit the C.C.R.I which upheld the views and organization of T.Nagi Reddy.Their criticism of all organizations that deferred armed struggle can also be debated.
What we need to remember is their great efforts to maintain ideological firmness in defending Mao Tse Tung Thought. It laid a major foundation in the major part of the group merging into a larger organization promoting he mass line.(We can't give the verdict at this stage)The heroic struggle it waged to defend aspects of the proletarian revolutionary Struggle will not be forgotten in the annals of Indian Communist Revolutionary history.
Written with reference from
1.Liberation -April 1993
3.Bulletin =Dec 1977
Also met former activists. First met comrade Mohan Bose from United Labour Union who gave me great attention. Also talked to Sunder Navalkar)
The author recommends Punjabi readers to read earlier issues of the 1-22 issues of Surukh Rekha. 1980-1982- period on Punjab Students Union and Naujavan Bharat Sabha and 1986-1992 copies combating the Khalistani movement.I t would be great if a translation in English was done.-perhaps of historical importance .Earlier documents of the C.T would be useful for an activists or scholars archive.I would recommend readers in Maharashtra to buy the combined volume of Jasood-in commemoration of 25 years of the journal.
Significant martys of the Central Team of the C.P.I(M.L).
Darhan Singh Dosanj-
A central committee member of the Central Team of the C.P.I.M.L.This veteran joined the communist movement in the 50's.In the second half of the 60's he joined the barricades of communist revolutionary ranks who were holding high the banner of Marxism -Leninism-Mao-Tse-Tung thought.Comrade Dosanj braved police torture as can activist.He originally belonged to a Bengal family who abandoned him as an orphan.He was picked up by a lorry driver on his way to Punjab who brought him up. He came back to Calcutta as bad street vendor where he was unsuccessful. He came back to Punjab where he was adopted by a family of communist ideology. Here he was baptized with the communist ideology. He worked with the electricity board and became a communist part-timer. He refused the lures of marriage within a rich family who would easily have adopted him as he was so handsome. He abhorred the revisionist politics of the C.P..I.and later the C.P.I.M. During the Naxalbari role he played a great role, especially in the Doab region.He was falsely convicted in 10 murder cases.He was severely tortured and his leg had to be eventually amputated.During the emergency he was again arrested. On coming out of jail he played a major role in combating the rightist trend in the communist movement being upheld by the Satya-Narayan Singh and Chandra-Pulla Reddy group and was instrumental in the formation of the Central Team of the C.P.I.M.L...It stressed on the re-organisation of the 8th central committee of the C.P.I.M.l.However the errors of left adventurism were critically analyzed and mass organisations and movements were regarded as indispensable. During the Khalistani movement he bravely lead the Central Team . Under his guidance the Central team co-operated in the movement with the Center of Communist revolutionaries of India' Comrade Dosanj defended all the correct aspects of the theoretical line. He fought against trends of soft-pedaling with Khalistani terrorism and earlier fought against parliamentary elections. However, he erred on certain political questions His major error was not to agree with the Central Team merging with the C.C.R.I.into the C.P.R.C.I.M.LHowever he lived his life as an outstanding personality of the Communist revolutionary camp. He was one of the bravest comrades in the Communist movement. C.P.I(M.L).
Nidha Singh Gudhan
He was an Active member of theCentral Team of the C.P.I.M.L.He was hanged by a Khalistani gang and tortured to death for not disclosing the secrets of the C.P.I.M.L central Team. Comrade Nidhan was the founding editor of the revolutionary Journal "Surkh Rekha."He was a great peasant leader, who was once president of the Punjab Kisan Union. At the time of his death was leading the Kisan Sangharsh Samiti,Ropar district.Father of Comrdae Nazar Singh Bparai,printer,publisher and owner of 'Surukh Rekha.'
Com.Bhaskar from UtarKhand
Died in April 2000 after suffering from Lung cancer.A follower of Com Mahendra Singh.Started work in Nainital where he organized students, peasants and forest workers. Upheld armed struggles in Bihar,Andhra Pradesh and Dandkaranya and despite of adverse health fought for the revolutionary cause with the tenacity of a tiger.Polemically differed wit the P.W group.
Comrdae Surjit Singh Uppali
Cashier of the Punjab Dehati Mazdur Union.Kidnapped and tortured to death on May 11th 1992 in his native village Uppali.(Sangrur)An active member of C.T C.PI.(M.L)
Monday, August 20, 2007
By Harsh Thakor