Interview with Ganapathy, General Secretary, CPI(Maoist)
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Source: we received the following interview by an email.
[The questions that follow have been sent by various newspapers to Ganapathy, General Secretary, CPI(Maoist). More than half of these were sent by BBC. The answers by Ganapathy are being sent to the media in the background of the successful completion of the Congress of the CPI(Maoist) and other recent developments—Azad, Spokesperson, CPI(Maoist), 24th April, 2007]
On the Unity Congress of CPI(Maoist):
Q: We heard that you had successfully held your Congress recently after a gap of almost 37 years. Why has there been such a long delay?
A: It is true that we held our last Congress—8th Congress—way back in 1970. The reason for not holding it for almost 37 years is the condition of the revolutionary forces in the country. Two years after the last Congress the movement suffered a serious setback; the highest committee, the CC, became disintegrated following the martyrdom, arrests, and even betrayals by some members like SN Singh who had, in fact, split the Party in September 1971 itself. After the martyrdom of comrade Charu Majumdar, the entire CC ceased to exist as it got splintered into several factions. I say factions because they were all part of the original CPI(ML). Prolonged existence as separate groups gave them distinct identities in course of time as independent groups and parties with their own respective programmes and tactics. Moreover, they made their own self-critical reviews of the past. Such a state of affairs had rendered the prospects of unity all the more difficult.
Some groups began to traverse the same old path of the Danges and Joshis, although they claimed to oppose their line, such as the "Liberation" group led by Vinod Mishra whose degeneration began in the early 1980s after a history of glorious struggle during the 1970s. There were some that went on postponing the initiation of armed struggle against the state indefinitely to some auspicious day in the future with the plea that the state is too powerful and armed confrontation with it required more time and preparation. Hence they confined themselves to so-called phase of armed peasant resistance or the anti-feudal phase of struggle. Till today these groups have not completed their preparations to begin their armed confrontation with the state! These were the Right opportunist groups such as TN-DV, ND, various factions of CP Reddy etc. Then there were some others that stuck to the original programme of the CPI(ML) but refused to adopt a critical outlook towards the past mistakes. They continued dogmatically with the Left sectarian mistakes such as over-assessment of the international situation and the subjective strength, and an underestimation of the enemy forces and hence could not build any movement of significance. It was only a few Parties such as the CPI(ML)[PW] and CPI(ML)[PU] which had upheld the basic line of the 8th Congress, made a self-critical review of the past tactical mistakes and shortcomings in the movement thereby enriching the line further, carried on the people's war based on the enriched line, and hence could develop relatively strong movements in different parts of the country.
While this was the condition of the CPI(ML), on the other hand, the MCC led by comrades KC, Amulya Sen and Chandra Shekhar Das, grew up as a separate party with almost the same programme as that of the CPI(ML). Both parties would have been part of a single party but due to some historical reasons this did not materialise during the time of comrade CM. Later, as the CPI(ML) itself got split by 1972, unity became a thing of the future. From then on unity of the Communist Revolutionaries remained one of the principal tasks in the agenda of every revolutionary organisation. But unity cannot materialise due to the desire of the revolutionaries itself. The will, i.e., the sincere desire for unity, is no doubt, an important factor but what is decisive is the political line and practice of the parties. Hence it was only during the 1980s and 90s when movements were built by Parties such as the MCC, CPI(ML)[PW] and CPI(ML)[PU] that a strong basis for unity was laid. However, the unity between these Parties could not materialise for a long time due to political differences and also due to shortcomings on the part of the leaderships to make conscious efforts for unity. I can elaborate this if needed. The main reason for the long delay in holding the 9th Congress has been the failure to achieve unity among the major revolutionary forces in the country.
Q: How is democracy ensured in the Party when you could not hold the Congress for so many years? How are the cadres involved in formulating the line, tactics and policies of the Party?
A: The specific feature that I had described above, i.e., not holding the Congress for a long period due to our failure to achieve unity of all the genuine communist revolutionaries in the country, does not negate inner-Party democracy. Each revolutionary Party had its own internal democratic process of involving cadres in policy-making. The erstwhile MCCI, CPI(ML)[PW] and CPI(ML)[PU] had their respective central conferences, plenums, special meetings etc at regular intervals where they summed up their past work and the positive and negative aspects in advancing the people's war, made the necessary changes in the policies and tactics, and enriched the line. A central conference is, in essence, similar to the Congress. The only reason for not naming it as the Congress is the recognition of the existence of various revolutionary parties and groups in the country. It was generally felt that a Congress could be held after achieving the unity of all the revolutionary forces in the country. The erstwhile parties that are now part of the CPI(Maoist)—the MCCI, CPI(ML)[PW] and CPI(ML)[PU]—had held their central conferences and plenums at regular intervals. The PW had organised its first regional conference of Telangana way back in 1976. It had its state conference in 1980, its central plenum in 1990, its All India Special Conference (AISC) in 1995, and its Congress in 2001. Likewise, the MCCI had its central conference in 1996 and the PU in 1983, 87 and 1996.
Thus through these conferences and plenums the entire Party was involved in the democratic process of discussions, internal struggle, and resolution of all disputed issues democratically. In fact, the CPI(ML)[PW] began preparations for holding the Congress in 1995 after the break-down of the merger talks with MCC. The AISC of erstwhile PW in 1995 was actually planned as a Congress but at the eleventh hour we decided to change its name to that of a special conference but having the significance of a Congress. This was done keeping in mind the prospect of unity with the CPI(ML)[PU]. In 2001, the unified CPI(ML)[PW] held the 9th Congress but it was the Congress of revolutionaries belonging basically to only one stream of the Indian revolution, the CPI(ML). The Congress was held due to an assessment by the PW leadership that unity with MCC may not materialise for a relatively longer period of time especially in the background of strained relations between the two parties at that time. Later, this assessment proved to be wrong. Within 3 ½ years after that Congress the new Party, CPI(Maoist), was formed with the merger of CPI(ML)[PW] and MCCI. To sum up, healthy democratic processes were in place throughout the histories of the major Parties constituting the present CPI(Maoist) even though we could not hold the Congress for a long period.
Q: We heard from some media reports that serious differences had emerged in the recently-held Unity Congress, that there was strong opposition to your re-election as General Secretary, that the Congress could not even elect the central bodies, and so on. Are these true?
A: Such concocted reports are based on speculation by some media personnel but are mainly part of the disinformation campaign unleashed by the Intelligence agencies. The APSIB, in particular, has a special department for such disinformation with the sole purpose of spreading confusion among the people and Party cadre. They have been circulating such stories ever since the merger of the two Maoist Parties, particularly over the past one year. They have been desperately trying to spread the rumour that the merger was not a principled one, that there are serious differences between the two erstwhile parties, and that both have different lines of thinking which are reflected in their respective practices, and such trash.
And we know from where the so-called media reports that you are referring to had originated. These police stories had been faxed from Hanamkonda by the SIB and were published in some Telugu dailies on March 26. Through these reports these liars had desperately tried to project a totally false picture about the situation in our Party. They tried to prove that while the erstwhile MCCI wants to intensify the people's war by resorting to more and more military actions, the erstwhile PW comrades think it is better to put off the actions for a while and concentrate on building militant mass movements. It is indeed amusing to see such reports just 10 days after the PLGA had carried out the biggest ever action in the history of the Maoist movement by eliminating 68 police personnel including SPOs in Rani Bodili in Chattisgarh and after we had declared that more such actions would follow if the reactionary ruling classes do not give up the brutal campaign of mass murder and destruction in the name of salwa judum. There isn't an iota of truth in these fabricated lies.
These police stories also spread the lie that "the setbacks and differences were so serious that the Congress could not even reconstitute the Politburo, Central Committee, Central Military Commission, and various sate committees and that some of the key leaders are likely to face disciplinary actions." In fact, at no point in the history of the revolutionary movement in India we had such strong and closely-knit central and state Party structures. The Congress had unanimously elected the Central Committee which then set up the Politburo, CMC, various Regional Bureaus, and central departments and sub-committees. I would proudly say, the establishment of a strong, centralized leadership for leading the Indian revolution has been one of the significant achievements of the Congress. The state committees are elected by the concerned state conferences and not by the Congress. The press release shows the poor homework of the SIB.
It was even more amusing to hear from the report that disciplinary action, including demotion, is likely to be taken against some key leaders. There is not an iota of truth in these wild assertions. The above shows not merely the disinformation campaign but also the psychology of the SIB and the police in AP who desperately wish that the "key" leaders of our Party be demoted.
Q: Then you say there are no differences at all?
A: Why not? Ideological-political debates are the life-blood of any communist party. It is through such internal struggle that a Party's line gets further enriched and the Party becomes stronger and more unified. We never keep our differences secret. We had published the differences in the last issue of our theoretical magazine, the People's War. In the current issue of the magazine the debates which took place in the Congress are reported in detail. These debates indicate the strength of the party, not its weakness. It shows the democratic credentials of the Party which allows freedom of expression for all kinds of opinions and viewpoints, and its ability to digest various opinions if they are expressed in a constructive way to enrich the Party line and not with a malafide intention to wreck the Party. Whatever opinions had come up at the Congress were placed by the comrades in all sincerity, with a view to enrich the line and find solutions to the problems confronting the Indian revolution.
One very important point to be noted here is that differences which had come up at the Congress were not differences between erstwhile MCCI and CPI(ML)[PW] but were those within a single Party. If you are aware of the history of our Party you would find that even more serious differences had come up in our earlier conferences and Congress. In the AISC of PW in 1995 or the central conferences of PU in 1987 and 1996, or in the 2001 Congress of the unified PW, the differences were of quite a serious nature. There were differences on the principal contradiction in the world, on the contradiction between the CBB and the Indian people, mode of production in India, and so on. There was also a sharp debate on the question of Right deviation in the Party line during the 2001 Congress of erstwhile PW. All these serious differences were resolved through a healthy debate and by placing for vote where needed. This time the differences were not as much serious as in the past. The media reports, obviously, were wide off the mark. Thus the differences within the old PW, or the unified PW after the merger of PW and PU in August 1998, or in the CPI(Maoist) after the merger of the PW and MCCI, are very much normal in a Communist party. Any difference, even the most serious ones, can be resolved in a Communist party by adhering to the principle of democratic centralism. That is the greatness of the principle of democratic centralism which is the basis for the existence and functioning of a communist party.
It was only in Karnataka that a small group calling itself the Minority had split away from the Party after they had lost the majority for their Right opportunist line in the state conference. If they had the communist spirit and discipline and were not carried away by petty-bourgeois individualism and anarchic methods, they would have remained in the Party and fought for their line in the Congress. Of course, while carrying out the line and policy decided by the majority in the Congress, one has the right to bring up one's line or standpoint on any question once again as part of the next Congress.
Q: So you say there is no truth in the reports about the strong opposition to your re-election as the General Secretary and that you had to accede to many of the demands of your detractors as part of the compromise formula?
A: No truth absolutely. Reports of opposition to my election as GS are a planned fabrication by the Intelligence agencies like the central IB, APSIB etc., which had taken the task of spreading disinformation about the leadership as one of their principal tasks. My re-election was a unanimous decision of the CC. They saw no reason to make any change. And I do not understand what they mean by my detractors or their demands for neither of these is true. As regards the so-called compromise formula I can only laugh at the desperation of the enemy camp to establish fictitious differences and compromises.
The losses in AP are not seen as the losses of erstwhile PW but as those of the entire Party. The entire Party concentrated keenly on analysing the reasons for the losses and took lessons from the positive and negative experiences of the movement in AP. Synthesising the experiences of the movement in AP was very useful for the entire Party, which had imbibed its positive experiences and drew lessons from its negative aspects.
Q: Where was the Congress held? How did you manage to hold it when the government has been seriously trying to foil it?
A: (Laughs ) Let the Intelligence agencies keep guessing where it was held. As for the media, we can take you people to the place sometime later. As history is being built, these places will assume great historical importance for future generations. Then everyone will come to know. But one thing I can say for the present—it is held in the midst of people, protected by people and nature all around. And, of course, at the venue it is our heroic PLGA fighters who worked day and night, doing 24-hour duty, alert to every move of the enemy forces, sitting in ambushes for the police forces if ever they dared to venture into the area. Even if the enemy forces had entered the area our guerrillas would have ensured that there were no losses of leadership. Placing full confidence on the PLGA and the masses, we conducted the Congress without any tension or problem. In fact, we had even extended the Congress by a few days.
Holding the Congress was only the final act of the entire democratic process. As part of this process, we held conferences in about 15 states; 12 of these were state-level conferences, and these were preceded by regional, zonal/divisional/district conferences and in some places sub-zonal and area conferences too. There was a big education campaign with study camps, classes etc. All these had consumed a large part of our time last year. But for the extensive mass support and the protection provided by our guerrilla forces, these programmes would have been simply impossible given the continuous suppression campaigns unleashed by the enemy. We had to shift the conference venue in AOB and one or two other places when we were informed by the people that the enemy was surrounding the place. It is the people who are our eyes and ears and as long as we enjoy the support of the people, and maintain methods of strict secrecy, no enemy force can do anything.
There were serious attempts by the central and state governments to disrupt the conferences and the Congress. There was open declaration to that effect in the papers in the months of November and December last. A special wing was set up for a period of three months in the Home Ministry to foil the Congress. They knew it would be held in the months of January or February since it would be relatively difficult to hold after that due to the onset of summer. Thus holding the Congress was one of the biggest challenges the newly-unified Party had faced after the merger. More than a hundred delegates—the core of the Maoist Party—had to come from different states unnoticed by the enemy. A huge force of tested PLGA fighters had to be mobilised for protection purpose. And the arrangements for such a huge camp, that too in the coldest days of winter, were not easy. Any small leak anywhere would have disturbed the programme. Under these difficult conditions successful completion of the Congress is definitely a big achievement for the Party. It has shown that anything is possible with meticulous planning, secret methods of functioning, a committed guerrilla force and the strong support of the people.
One tragic incident that took place on the eve of the Congress was the martyrdom of our beloved comrades Chandramouli (BK) and his life-partner Vijayalaxmi (Karuna). Chandramouli was a member of the CC and the CMC and Karuna was a DC member. They were caught by the APSIB goons on 26th night and murdered in cold blood the next day after cruel torture. There was some tension when we heard the news of their martyrdom. However, the enemy did not find anything indicative of the Congress on their person and both of them stood like rock when unspeakable inhuman tortures were being inflicted upon them. The cruel enemy could not extract a single bit of information from these great communists, the proud son and daughter of the Indian people. Even in their martyrdom they made great contribution in blood for the success of the Congress. Their sacrifices will be remembered forever by all our Party cadres and the revolutionary masses.
Q: What are the major decisions of the Unity Congress? Will there be any change in your overall plans and tactics now?
A: The general direction of the Congress is to intensify the people's war and to take the war to all fronts. Concretely it decided to take the guerrilla war to a higher level of mobile war in the areas where guerrilla war is in an advanced stage and to expand the areas of armed struggle to as many states as possible. The destruction of the enemy forces has come into the immediate agenda in these areas without which it is very difficult to consolidate our gains or to advance further. Likewise, there is an immediate need to transform a vast area into the war zone so that there is enough room for manoeuvrability for our guerrilla forces. And in expansion the element of secrecy is very important. Keeping in view the massive deployment of the central forces and special police forces of the states the Congress had drawn up plans to adopt various creative forms to cause serious damage to the enemy forces. The police and central forces will be taught how dangerous it is to enter our areas. We decided to strengthen the Party and the PLGA, mobilise the masses actively to resist the enemy forces, and to transform these areas into our strong bases by destroying the enemy's power in all forms. And all this will be achieved by wide mobilisation of the masses into the war. As it is, hundreds of people, and at times even more than a thousand, are involved in the attacks against the enemy as you can see from the recent counteroffensive operations as in Rani Bodili, Riga, CISF camp in Khasmahal in Bokaro district, and so on in the past one month itself.
With the experiences we gained in AP in the midst of ever-increasing and continuous state repression and state-sponsored repression, it is all the more important that our forces are not exposed wherever they are working. But at the same time we shall be in the forefront of every people's movement. The Congress has decided to take up struggles against the SEZs which are nothing but neo-colonial enclaves on Indian territory. They are not just snatching fertile farmlands of the peasants but are transforming the entire country into special zones for the unhindered ruthless exploitation and control by imperialists and the comprador big business houses. The Congress gave the call to go deep into these struggles. We have no illusions on the cruel, fascist nature of the Indian state, and hence there is utmost need for maintaining secret methods of work as well as to be prepared for every kind of sacrifice.
Q: Finally, how do you sum up the achievements of your Unity Congress and its significance?
A: Our Unity Congress is an event of great historic significance in the history of the revolutionary movement of India. It not only marks the near-completion of the process of unification of the Maoist forces in the country but also the consolidation of the Party and the political line for the Indian revolution. The reaffirmation and enrichment of the revolutionary political line established by our founder leaders-comrades CM and KC-is the biggest achievement of the Congress. Several ideological-political questions were debated and settled by the Congress thereby bringing about a higher level of unity. Another achievement of significance is the establishment of a unified centralised leadership for the Indian revolution.
After a long time in the history of the revolutionary communist movement in India since the 1970s, a single directing centre has come into existence, with the merger of the MCCI and CPI(ML)[PW] in September 2004 and this centre has become further consolidated and firmly established in the unity congress with the approval of the entire Party.
On the losses in Andhra Pradesh:
Q: There have been serious losses in Andhra Pradesh in recent times. What are the reasons? Has your movement become weakened overall? How do you plan to overcome these losses and regain the initiative?
A: I agree that the losses in the state of Andhra Pradesh are quite serious. They certainly have a considerable impact on the revolutionary movement in the country as a whole. AP, particularly the region of North Telangana, has been an important centre of revolutionary movement for a long period and a great inspiration to the revolutionary masses of our country. But we have to keep in mind that so far as the question of establishing base areas goes, it has been the more backward areas falling in central and eastern India that were selected by the Party with the immediate task of liberating these vast areas. Hence the focus of our movement had gradually shifted to Dandakaranya and Bihar-Jharkhand.
You must have known that AP was made into a model state, an experimental state where the imperialists, particularly the World Bank, and the Indian ruling classes had concentrated to implement their multi-pronged LIC strategy against the revolutionary movement, with its focus on brutal suppression and reform. No other state affected by the Naxalite movement has such a massive police commando force as in AP, nowhere do you find such extensive intelligence network, infrastructure, funds, training in counter-insurgency warfare, and unlimited powers to the police. No other state had witnessed such a bloodbath as AP had for the past four decades and particularly from the mid-1980s. There are hardly any political prisoners in AP jails since the policy had always been to bump off the revolutionaries—whether they are members of the central committee or sympathisers—after they are arrested. Fake encounter killings had been the tradition right from the time of Vengal Rao during the struggle of Srikakulam almost 40 years ago. Thousands of crores have been spent on so-called reforms with the aim of weaning away a section of the people from the revolutionary movement. It is a fact that a small but articulate and influential section in the countryside has been won over through these reforms. In a word, we can say that the Party and the revolutionary movement in AP bore the brunt of all the counter-insurgency measures initiated by the reactionary ruling classes in the initial stages. Today these are being implemented in several other states. We are making an in-depth study of enemy's counter-revolutionary tactics, plans and methods and taking lessons from these. The movement in AP, at the cost of huge sacrifices of thousands of comrades, has given us invaluable experiences on how to counter and defeat enemy's tactics and plans. With these, the Party is now more equipped to defeat the enemy's tactics in other states.
Setbacks and losses are not unnatural in protracted people's war. Revolution proceeds along a zig zag course and not along a straight line. The movement in AP has seen many ups and downs. But always it rose up like the proverbial Phoenix. No doubt, at the present juncture, we are facing a tough situation in AP and the enemy has the upper-hand from the tactical point of view. We had lost a good part of the state leadership and cadre but the most promising aspect is that the people are still with our Party. The support base of the Party has not eroded much although the They meet us secretly, ask us to solve their problems, and they work without getting exposed to the brutal State. For them our Party is the only hope. People are pained at every loss suffered by the revolutionaries. You can gauge the mass support from the turn out at the funeral meetings of our martyrs. In spite of the threats and restrictions imposed by the police goons, more than 20,000 people had turned up at the funeral of comrade Chandramouli (BK) and Karuna in the former's native village of Vadkapur in Karimnagar district. The pent-up anger and hatred of the people for the reactionary rulers and their police-Grey Hounds-SIB goons will grow into a movement of such great proportions that it will wash away the exploiters and oppressors and all the muck accumulated in society for long. No force on earth can stop this high tide of revolution whatever losses and setbacks we might be facing today in AP. The ruling classes are aware of the great potential for the revolutionary movement in AP. That is why while boasting that Maoists in the state had become completely weakened and that AP will serve as a model on how to deal with the Maoist movement, the fascist YSR government has initiated several measures with a long-term plan such as a hundred per cent increase in the strength of the Grey Hounds commando force, acquiring helicopters for anti-Naxal operations, sanctioning of Rs. 2000 crores of central aid to deal with the Naxal movement, and so on.
The present historical epoch is an epoch of great turmoil with tumultuous changes taking place worldwide. Even the most powerful militarised imperialist power like the US is finding it impossible to suppress the national liberation struggle in a small country such as Iraq or Afghanistan. In India, the ruthless exploitation and oppression of the people by the ruling classes in collaboration with imperialism has created an explosive situation. Utilising the excellent international and domestic situation prevailing today we are confident we will be able to come out of the temporary setback in AP.
And what is more important, we made advances in many other states in spite of the losses we had suffered in AP. The situation is now qualitatively different from that of the earlier periods in that we are now able to advance the movement in a number of states even if we suffer losses and setbacks in one or two states. Way back they could suppress a Naxalbari, a Srikakulam, a Birbhum, a Mushahari, a Kanksa or Sonarpur but today the revolutionary movement has become further strengthened, has spread to large tracts of the backward countryside, has well-knit Party structures, Army and vast mass base. It is advancing through centralised planning and direction. Hence it is not an easy thing for the state to suppress the movement as in the past although it might achieve an upper hand in one place. The Congress had chalked out a concrete plan to overcome the setback in AP by transforming the unfavourable factors into favourable ones. Overall there is great future for the Party and revolution.
On SEZs, Nandigram and role of CPI(M):
Q: How do you see issues like Singur and Nandigram? Are your people involved in inciting violence in Nandigram as claimed by the CPI(M)? Do you intend to get actively involved in such issues?
A: One should only be surprised if we are not involved in such life-and-death issues of the masses. We intend to mobilise the masses against the conspiracies and treacherous policies of the rulers to snatch the land of the people and hand over the same to the MNCs and the comprador big business in the name of development through creation of hundreds of SEZs. The policy of SEZ is aimed at creating neo-colonial enclaves within our country where no laws of the land can be applied. The SEZ policy is being aggressively pushed by the Indian ruling classes goaded on by the imperialist MNCs as part of their globalisation offensive. Struggles against the SEZs acquiring fertile farmland of the peasants and also huge projects are turning more and more militant as witnessed in Kalinga Nagar, Singur, Nandigram, Lohandiguda, Polavaram, etc. Kalinga Nagar, Singur and Nandigram, in particular, have become important symbols in this struggle against exploitation by the big comprador houses and the imperialists.
As regards Maoists inciting violence in Nandigram, the entire world would laugh at the temerity of these "Left" Front rulers. Even Goebbels would turn in his grave seeing how much his art of lying has been improved by "Marxists" like Buddhas, Karats, Yechuris etc. These political brokers have been desperately trying to divert the issue by repeating ad nausea that Maoists from outside had incited the local people and hence the police had no other alternative than to open fire in self-defence. Like every reactionary ruling class the "Marxist" rulers of Bengal too are harping on themes such as "foreign hand" for the mess which they themselves had created. Brinda Karat had commented that Maoists had used the sea-route to enter Nandigram. It is sickening to see the utter political bankruptcy of these so-called ideologues and the poverty of their logic. In the eyes of these hypocrites and double-dealers, a Salim or a Tata, are not outsiders while Maoists, who live and die for the people, become outsiders. Worse still, like ostriches, they think that the world does not know how thousands of armed goons had been brought by their Party from different parts of the state to Nandigram along with a huge police force to enact the massacre. Karats and Yechuris are placing this on outsiders in their sheer desperation to justify their savage massacre in Nandigram.
Nandigram reveals the ugly cruel face of the social-fascist CPI(M) whose goons along with the police shad committed indescribable atrocities on the people, raped women, killed over a hundred people including even children, and, what is most abominable, had buried the corpses or thrown them into the river. Buddhadeb had emerged as Bengal's Dyer and has proved himself to be a loyal servant of the big comprador houses and the MNCs. Like a true dalal, his government had taken up the task of acquiring lands from the people to hand over to the big business. One thing has become established beyond a shadow of doubt with the state terror and state-sponsored terror in Nandigram: the CPI(M) is the best bet for the MNCs and comprador big business for securing their class interests in the country. It will not be a surprise if they choose to bring these most loyal servants in Marxist guise to power even at the Centre in the future.
As for our role in such movements we shall definitely make all efforts to be in the forefront and lead the movement in the correct direction. We call upon the people to turn every SEZ into a battle-field and assure them that we will render all support to the people's movements against SEZs.
On the annihilation of Sunil Mahto:
Q: Last month JMM leader and MP from Jamshedpur, Sunil Mahto, was gunned down by your guerrillas along with five others. There have been reports that Dy Chief Minister Sudhir Mahto was also warned. How far are these acts justified? Is your Party planning more such political assassinations in the near future?
A: We do not kill everyone just because he/she is an MP or a minister. Although all legislators are directly or indirectly responsible for all the policies made by the government, it is mainly a small coterie of political leaders that play a crucial role in finalising the policies under the dictates of the imperialist-CBB-feudal combine. It is such political leaders that we single out for attack.
In the case of Sunil Mahto, we had to eliminate him only because he has been actively involved in unleashing brutal repression on the revolutionary movement in Jharkhand. He is not just a leader of JMM but is associated actively in the vigilante gang called the Nagrik Suraksha Samiti (NSS) which had taken part in the cold-blooded murder of 11 of our Party cadres in Lango village in Dumaria bloc in East Singhbhum district in 2001. Although he was not the main architect of this massacre, he had encouraged the activities of this private mercenary gang sponsored by the state. Of late, he had come to the forefront organizing the armed campaign against the Maoists movement according to the game plan of the reactionary ruling classes to divide and pit a section of the adivasis against the revolutionary movement in the name of Sendra. We already have bitter experiences in Chattisgarh where the so-called peace campaign in the name of salwa judum is playing havoc with the lives of thousands of adivasi people. Over 700 villages had been razed to the ground, almost 60,000 people were uprooted from their homes, over 400 were murdered, several women were raped and property of the people was destroyed by these salwa judum vigilante gangs accompanied by the police and central forces. We also have the experiences of AP where vigilante gangs such as Cobras, Tigers, etc had created a campaign of terror in some areas. A similar plan is being sought to be unleashed in Jharkhand in the name of sendra and Sunil Mahto was one of the main leaders spearheading this campaign against the Maoists. The so-called Tritiya Prastuti Committee (TPC) too has been playing a similar role in Bihar with the support of the state. Hence we had to eliminate the main leader, Murari Ganju, in a daring attack by our PLGA on the 9th of April. Such punishments will be carried out where necessary on cast-to-case basis in a selective manner and this must not be treated as our general policy.
We wish to make one thing clear: we are not for indiscriminate killing of leaders or ordinary members of political parties. We basically rely on mobilization of the masses to isolate, expose and fight the anti-people policies of various political parties and the attacks by the vigilante gangs while engaging our PLGA squads and action teams where needed. Annihilation of Sunil Mahto should not be interpreted as our antagonism towards JMM as a whole. We are not against JMM as long as it desists from indulging in anti-people activities and attacks against the revolutionary movement. We appeal to the activists and ordinary members of JMM to understand the conspiracy of the ruling classes to divide the adivasi people in the name of sendra and call upon them to fight the state-sponsored private vigilante gangs like NSS as well as all those leading the notorious campaign of sendra against the revolutionary movement in Jharkhand.
On the biggest ever attack by the Maoists in Chattisgarh:
Q: Recently your PLGA had inflicted one of the biggest blows to the police force and the salwa judum by killing a huge number of police and SPOs in Rani Bodili in Chattisgarh. Do you foresee more such attacks in near future? And do you believe the salwa judum can be stopped through such actions?
A: The daring tactical counteroffensive operation carried out by the PLGA led by our Party, the CPI(Maoist), on March 16 on a police base camp in Ranibodli in Bijapur police district in Chattisgarh in which 68 policemen including Special Police Officers (SPOs) were wiped out is an inevitable consequence of the brutal reign of terror unleashed by the state and central governments in the name of salwa judum. You must know the actual ground situation in Dandakaranya to understand why such a massive operation had to be planned.
For almost two years since June 2005, the BJP government in Chattisgarh and the Congress-led UPA government in the Centre had sponsored a counterrevolutionary terrorist campaign of mass murder, torture, and arrests of thousands of the adivasi peasantry, gangrapes and murder of hundreds of women, destruction of thousands of houses, foodgrains, and all property of the adivasis, killing or taking away thousands of cattle, forceful evacuation of tens of thousands of people from almost eight hundred villages and issuing threats and intimidation to anyone suspected of being a member of revolutionary mass organization or sympathetic to the Maoists in Dandakaranya, particularly in Dantewara, Bastar, Kanker, Bijapur and Narayanpur districts. Over 5000 youth were inducted into a state mercenary armed force, paid monthly salaries, and pitted against the native adivasis who are fighting for land, livelihood and liberation under the leadership of the CPI(Maoist). The Naga and Mizo Battalions were specially brought in along with a huge CRPF and other special police forces to Chattisgarh who had been committing the most barbaric and inhuman acts against the adivasi population.
All these cruel attacks against an entire population are meant to establish peace of the graveyard and clear the way for the unhindered loot by rapacious hawks like Tatas, Ruias, Essars, Mittals, Jindals and imperialist MNCs. Over one lakh rupees worth of MOUs were signed by the Chattisgarh government with these corporate comprador big business houses to drain the rich mineral and forest wealth of the state. At the behest of these day-light robberers, adivasi dalals like opposition leader of the Congress, Mahendra Karma, Home Minister Ramvichar Netham of the BJP and others have been leading this counter-revolutionary war against the adivasi population.
A huge central force is deployed which is now more than 13 battalions, recruited 10 additional battalions of state forces, and inducted even minors of 14 years of age into their mercenary police force. KPS Gill, notorious for the mass murders of youth in Punjab, was specially appointed as advisor to the Chief Minister. A carpet security system is initiated with police camps in close proximity in order to strike terror among the people.
We, on behalf of the CC, CPI(Maoist), once again warn the state and central governments that our Bhumkal Sena and PLGA and people will carry out attacks on a much bigger scale if the murder campaign in the name of salwa judum is not disbanded immediately. We declare that the sole responsibility for such needless loss of lives of hundreds of policemen and SPOs lies squarely on the shoulders of the state and central governments. Large-scale armed retaliation by the adivasis led by our Party is inevitable if the atrocities on the adivasi people continue in the name of salwa judum. Like George Bush who can only think in terms of using more brute force to control the fire of national liberation in Iraq, the Indian ruling classes too can only think of sucking in more and more repressive forces in order to suppress the people's war and grab the mineral wealth of Dandakaranya. However, they will only end up in further escalating the civil war in Dandakaranya.
We do share the grief of the families of the dead policemen and SPOs but we are being compelled to wipe out the police and mercenary gangs who are obeying the orders of the ruling classes and their imperialist mentors to suppress the revolutionary movement for looting the wealth in the state. We appeal to the jawans of the central forces, particularly the Naga and Mizo battalions, to disobey the orders of the rulers and to withdraw from Chattisgarh. We appeal to the SPOs who are being pitted against the adivasi people to quit the mercenary force as they are fighting an unjust war against their own brothers and sisters in the interests of the reactionary rulers. We call upon the democratic organizations and individuals and the vast masses of the country to condemn state terrorism and state-sponsored terrorism on the adivasi people of Dandakaranya, to demand immediate disbandment of salwa judum and the mercenary SPO force, to fight for the withdrawal of the notorious central forces from the region, set up a judicial enquiry into the killing of over 500 adivasis by the police-salwa judum mercenary combine.
On the Party's plans to win over the middle class:
Q: History shows, the middle class wants status quo. Indian middle class is growing more powerful. How do you plan to co-opt them?
A: It is true that the Indian middle class has grown in number. At the same time, a sizable chunk of the middle class is facing cute crisis due to soaring prices, unemployment, growing insecurity of life, steep increases in family expenditure due to high cost of education, health, transport etc., which have become privatized to a great extent and had gone beyond the reach of a significant section of the middle class. In short, despite the numerical growth of the middle class it is at a receiving end. Hence we see that the growing frustration in large sections of the middle class is forcing them into streets for their demands as witnessed in strikes and other forms of struggles by teachers, government employees, students, and even shopkeepers who are affected by the shopping malls and FDI in retail sector. Another important factor has to be noted—most of yesterday's luxury consumer goods have become today's daily necessities. And the list of necessities is growing by the day with the large-scale proliferation of consumer goods and the promotion of consumerism by the market-place. Hence frustration is growing among members of this class as they are unable to procure these goods since much of their incomes have to be spent on the basic necessities such as food, clothing and shelter.
Middle class is terribly affected by such issues as price-rise, insecurity, corruption, unemployment for their children, high cost of education and health-care, threats from real estate mafia etc. Keeping these in mind, our party has drawn up plans to mobilize the middle class into struggles on such issues.
In Defence of armed struggle:
Q: Why armed struggle is a must? (Isn't it a fact that violence pushes a large chunk of people away from the Party?)
A: The question of armed struggle or non-violent struggle is not based on the subjective whims and wishes of any individual or Party. It is independent of one's will. It is a law borne out by all historical experience. It is a fact of history that nowhere in the world, nowhere in the historical development of the class society, had the reactionary ruling classes given up power without resorting to violent suppression of the mass protests, without violent resistance aimed at clinging on to power until they are thrown out by force. Of course, one can cite instances of regime changes occurring through peaceful movements, through massive protests, but all of these were mere regime changes—not systemic changes. A section of the ruling classes might give up power to another section of the same class without the need for a violent upheaval but the same is not the case when one ruling class is replaced by another with diametrically opposing class interests. However, we find that even these regime changes are not infrequently marked by violent clashes as witnessed in several parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America. We will indeed be the happiest people to bring about systematic change without the need for armed struggle.
When we began the struggle it was basically a peaceful movement on the various issues of the people such as land, livelihood and liberation from feudal and imperialist exploitation and oppression. It needs hardly any genius to grasp the fact that no feudal lord would give up his land or power just because the masses demand it as their democratic right. The landlord would use all means at his disposal to suppress the mass resistance by brute force. He would get the local police and special forces, the central para-military forces and, if needed, the army. We had seen this whenever we had initiated the anti-feudal struggle. ----in Jagtyal during the late 1970s, social boycott of the landlords imposed by the peasantry had forced them to flee the villages our revolutionary movement had spread to over a hundred villages which shook the powers that be. What happened next to this non-violent struggle should be an eye-opener to all those who harbour illusions or biased against armed struggle. After few weeks the landlords came back with the mercenary forces and unleashed large-scale violence and cruel repressive measures such as arrests, torture of peasants, destruction of their property, declaration of the area as disturbed, clamping down on the civil rights of the people, and so on. It was at that juncture that the Party was compelled to take up arms and not out of any romantic notion. ---the same is the case with anti-imperialist struggles and nationality movements. Who would want to give up their precious lives and undergo harsh, rigorous lives tortures and hardships when the demands of the masses such as land, national self-determination and liberation from imperialist exploitation and oppression are achieved through peaceful means? All movements began as peaceful movements but had to take the form of armed struggle due to the moves of the reactionary ruling classes. The case of Iraq is a classic illustration of how an entire population has been compelled to take up arms due to the unbridled violence unleashed by the imperialists for satisfying their unsatiated greed for oil. The same is the case with Palestine, Kashmir or elsewhere.
The second part of your question is a big myth. Nowhere had the masses been repelled from the Party on account of armed struggle. Rather, it is the lack of effective resistance that is acting as a discouragement wherever the state had bared its fangs. Without destroying and defeating the armed forces of repression it is impossible to rally the people or give them confidence. In fact, it is not our guerrilla squads alone that are putting up resistance. The people are playing a great role in heroically resisting and actively supporting the PLGA in its armed resistance to the police forces. Well, that's the ground reality notwithstanding what the intellectuals analyzing events from their ivory towers might think and theorise.
Q: Why there cannot be protest in a non-violent way?
A: You must rather put the question the other way round. You must ask the reactionary ruling classes—the big landlords, the big business houses, the imperialist MNCs, the powerful Indian state and its armed forces, the state police and the bureaucracy—if at all they would listen, as to why they do not allow protest in a peaceful way. Why do they beat up, arrest, torture, and kill people who dare to go on strike? Why do they terminate the services of workers and employees for going on strike? Why do they send their mercenary police forces, the CRPF and the army to open fire upon people staging peaceful marches, dharnas and meetings without any provocation, why do they allow the khaki gangs to rape women, destroy property, enact fake encounters in violation of all provisions of the Indian Constitution, and for all these crimes against humanity, are let scot-free? Why do they create a Kalinganagar, a Nandigram, an Arwal, an Indravelli, and scores of such barbaric acts? Why peaceful protests of people in Kashmir against disappearances are not just ignored but even attacked with such ferocity? Why do they continue to enforce the savage Armed Forces Special Powers Act in Manipur when it is actually the Indian army and the police forces that are committing atrocities upon the people as the case of the rape of Manorama classically illustrates? Can you ever forget the savage beatings of the protestors by these khaki-clad or olivegreen goons breaking their skulls, and not sparing them even after they fall down seriously injured?
No ruling classes anywhere in the world had allowed the people to achieve their basic demands of land and liberation from oppression in a peaceful way; even the so-called democratic states allow it only to the extent they do not pose a threat to the status quo, to their exploitation and amassing of super profits. Ahimsa (non-violence) and Karma (fate) are the ideological bases and the dubious catch-words of the exploiting classes to perpetuate their violence and hegemony over the vast masses.
To begin with, none would or could go directly to violent ways to solve their problems. It is only after their peaceful marches, rallies, dharnas, hunger-strikes, general strikes etc., go unheeded or sought to be crushed that they are forced to resort to violent methods. This is an incontrovertible fact whether it is the anti-feudal armed agrarian struggle led by the revolutionaries, nationality movements of the North East, Kashmir or the anti-imperialist struggles. You only have to take a glance at the origin of the armed movements anywhere in the world, not just India, to appreciate this universal truth. To put it shortly, forms of struggle adopted by the people always depend upon the moves of the ruling classes and not vice versa. And you should also bear in mind that even today we use both violent and non-violent forms of struggle and not just violent forms.
Q: Is your violence for self-defence or to grab state power?
A: Strictly speaking, you cannot separate the two. In the long-term perspective, or ultimately our goal is to seize state power without which it is impossible to liberate the people of our country from the clutches of imperialism, feudalism and the big comprador bourgeoisie i.e, change the existing unjust socio-economic system. But in the process of preparing the people for the ultimate goal of establishing their own power, the ruling classes are resorting to savage repression on the party, the masses and the revolutionary movement as a whole. Hence in the course of mobilizing the masses into movements we are compelled to take up arms for self-defence even at an early stage. And for a relatively long time our war will have this nature and all our tactical counter offensive operations and campaigns should be seen as part of the war of self-defence at this stage.
On the fight against the "mighty" Indian state:
Q: Indian state is getting increasingly powerful. How do you plan to fight the Indian state?
A: Tactically speaking, yes. There has been a massive growth in the repressive forces and a strengthening of the Indian state. It is spending huge amounts on defence and "internal security", liberally disbursing funds to the states to suppress the revolutionary forces, nationality movements and other democratic movements.
However, this growth of repressive forces brings one important point to the fore i.e., the Indian state is finding it impossible to control the growing people's movements without continuously increasing its forces. Seen this way, the massive growth in the security forces does not signify the strength but rather the weakness of the Indian state and that it has lost its legitimacy to rule in the old way. It shows the desperation of the Indian ruling classes and the imperialists to rely more and more on the coercive methods in order to cling on to power and ensure their exploitation. If it were not for the ever-growing democratic and revolutionary movements in the country there would not have been the need to desperately strengthen the state apparatus and resort to such massive increases of repressive forces.
But let me tell you one oft-forgotten fact. No state, however powerful it might seem to be, can surpass the power of the people. As comrade Mao had correctly pointed out, even the mightiest state is, after all, a paper tiger. Yesterday we saw how the mightiest army of the most powerful state in all human history had to tuck its tail after the humiliating defeat in Vietnam. Today the entire world is watching with disbelief in their eyes as the mightiest imperialist armies led by US imperialism are being trounced in Iraq by ordinary ill-trained, ill-equipped but resolute national liberation fighters. In the ultimate analysis, it is the freedom-loving people who are mightier than any state. And one must not forget the universal truth that wherever there is oppression there will be resistance. However strong and powerful the state might appear to be it can and will be defeated through the resistance of the masses.
Our recently held Unity Congress—9th Congress had addressed this issue in much detail and worked out plans to counter the state by relying on the vast masses of our country who are oppressed by imperialism, feudalism and the comprador big business. And, of course, by enhancing our military capabilities as well. A specialised study of the strength and weaknesses of the Indian state is taken up. As you might be aware, even the mightiest enemy will have the weakest points. We have to correctly identify these weak points and deal effective blows so as to achieve victories.
On the question of Parliament and Party's stand:
Q: Why can't you fight election and go to Parliament and raise issues in a democratic way?
A: It is indeed a logical question which anyone who sees only the outer shell of so-called parliamentary democracy would ask. What is important is the kernel, the essence, the content and not just the form. When you strip off the outer garment of democracy you find the rotten, stinking corpse inside. That is why Lenin described Parliament as a pig-sty and a mere talking shop. Why are we calling it a talking shop?
Firstly, the real problems of the people can never be addressed by the Parliament and Assemblies, not to speak of solving them. The Parliamentary institutions are not meant for that. They have no real power. They may pass some resolutions that seem to do good for the people but these have to be implemented through the Executive which has the real power. We know the fate of the Land Ceiling Acts, legislation on untouchability, dowry, etc which are only showpieces. It is the executive which carries out everything. In periods such as Emergency during Indira Gandhi's regime, when the Parliament itself was subverted, the real power of the Executive had come openly to the fore. But the man on the street knows how it is the revenue official, policeman, and the local magistrate who decide his life. However good a legislative act might seem to be, it is money power, muscle power and nepotism that decide every aspect of his life.
Secondly, Parliamentary institutions are meant to defend the status quo, not to change the system. They do, of course, make some cosmetic changes now and then to maintain their credibility among the masses. Most important of all, it is the imperialists, comprador big business houses, big landlords, contractors and the mafia which control the Parliament. Those who enter the Parliament are the representatives or mere puppets in the hands of these powerful lobbies. Even a good-intentioned parliamentarian cannot go beyond the rules drawn up by these bigwigs. If you see the business transacted in the parliament, you would find that more than 90 % of it is just trash, with no bearing on the real problems of the country.
That the system of elections is a big farce needs no elaboration as it is known even to a schoolchild. Do you call it democracy to purchase votes with liquor and money, whip up caste, religious, and ethnic sentiments? And even after the election, purchasing the legislators as you purchase any other item in the market-place? If a Narendra Modi, the butcher of thousands of Muslims in Gujarat, can win elections and get reelected as the chief minister; if criminals, dacoits, and most notoriously corrupt politicians can get elected; and if votes can be obtained at gun-point and through booth capturing and rigging, then do you really think that there is any meaning in this so-called democracy?
That is why our Party has complete clarity on the nature of legislative system unlike some other parties that swear to be revolutionary but indulge in parliamentary politics in practice. We are firm in our belief that it is only through struggle that people can solve their problems and the parliamentary institutions can do nothing good except creating illusions. Parliament is a safety-valve to let out the pent-up anger of the masses lest the system blow to pieces. You think raising issues in the parliament is the democratic way whereas we believe that people are raising their issues in a democratic way through organised protests. We shall always be at the head of such struggles and not step into the mire of the undemocratically elected powerless talking shop called Parliament that serves as the instrument of the big business and the feudal forces, and is subordinate to imperialist dictates.
Q: Do you fear that if you go to Parliament, the party can become corrupt?
A: The answer to this question is already covered in my earlier elaboration. To say in one word, more than being corrupted after entering Parliament, which is also true in the case of the ML parties, it is the corrupt parties and individuals that can really become part of the parliamentary system. Our Party firmly believes that as against the money power of the Parliament the real alternative before the people is the establishment of genuine people's democratic power. We had built such organs of people's power in some parts of the country such as janthana sarkar in Dandakaranya. These revolutionary organs of power show how real power is exercised as compared to the impotent, corrupt and criminal parliamentary institutions.
On the mass base of the Maoists:
Q: What is your mass base?
A: Our mass base is the vast oppressed masses, the wretched of the earth, the impoverished, deprived, destitute, alienated masses. The workers, peasants, middle class, dalits, women, advasis and all the toiling millions upon millions of masses are our base. These vast masses constitute the real India, not the fatty upper layer of five or ten per cent of the society. It is these vast masses who need revolution and they see us the alternative even if most of them have not seen us. As our subjective forces grow we shall enter these vast sections throughout the country. Today we have a strong mass base among these sections in all the areas where we are leading the anti-feudal armed agrarian struggles. There is still the need to go deeply into other sections in the urban areas—the working class, students, youth, middle class, small traders, hawkers, and so on.
Q: Can you give statistics how much of your cadre base has increased in last one year?
A: I cannot give the exact statistics as we do not want the enemy to know about the actual growth of our Party. Let them keep guessing and produce statistics through so-called research foundations, intelligence agencies, and so on. Anyway we are a bit flattered to see the statistics given by these agencies about the rate of growth of our Party and areas of our struggle and influence. But one thing I will make clear—we have certainly increased our overall cadre strength, our mass base and its quality in the past one year despite severe losses in some states.
Q: How much of Indian territory is under Maoist control? Indian PM once said 160 out of 604 districts –was it an exaggeration?
A: As I said earlier, we are indeed flattered by such statistics regarding our movement. But one thing we can understand from the Prime Minister's statement i.e., how much of a nightmare we have become to the reactionary ruling classes of India. In fact, several agencies and foundations churn out figures to show how much of a threat the Maoists have become. One author says we are increasing at the rate of two districts per week! Another says we had expanded from a mere 64 districts in 2005 to 169 districts by the beginning of 2007, yet another researcher assertively says that the Maoists had expanded to most of AP, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh and Orissa, and so on. Most of these figures are only their imagination and are deliberately presented in an exaggerated manner in order to deploy more police forces and allot greater amount of funds to suppress the revolutionary movement.
It is an exaggeration to say Maoists control that many districts. But as far as our influence goes I should say it is even more than that.
On People's Power:
Q: What do you mean by 'people's power—we have seen in a communist state in West Bengal what communists do when they come to power. How would you ensure you will be able to give power to people?
A: It is not surprising that like most people, you too are confused by the names. Just because a Party calls itself Communist does not make it communist just as a party calling itself bharatiya janatha party does not make it an Indian people's party or a samajwadi party into a socialist party. The stark fact is that the CPI(M) had long back abandoned the communist project and Marist ideology though it calls itself a Marxist Party. It had become a social fascist party from the time of the outbreak of Naxalbari armed peasant uprising in 1967 when thousands of revolutionaries were massacred upon the orders of the then Home minister Jyoti Basu in West Bengal during the late 1960s and early 1970s. The recent massacre of scores of people in Nandigram on March 14, the brutal suppression of the people's struggle in Singur, and its open declaration to allow the MNCs and big comprador houses to set up SEZs and transform the state into a haven for these sharks had shown how the Bddhadeb's Marxist party is acting at the behest of the Tatas, Salems and imperialist MNCs. The pre-hatched systematic execution of the massacre in Nandigram by the police-CPI(M) goons combine, in particular, has revealed their social fascist character to the new generation of the Indian people. So what you are referring to in West Bengal is nothing but social fascist rule.
Now coming to your question about people's power—we call it people's power only when real power is exercised by the people themselves. You can see it in parts of Dandakaranya, Bihar and Jharkhand. We had developed it in some villages in AP but these were destroyed due to the weakness of our armed strength which could not counter the massive offensive by the central and state's special forces. Wherever we had established organs of people's power in embryonic form, there you can see the initiative and energy of the masses being released and coming into full play, active participation of masses in administering their own lives, collectively developing their villages through construction of schools, tanks, hospitals, etc and increasing production, resolving the local disputes by themselves without ever the need to go to the bourgeois-feudal courts, in short shaping their own destiny. Where our people's army and people's militia are relatively strong and succeeded in destroying the state's armed forces, there the people are no more oppressed and exploited by the tribal elders, landlords, forest officials, bureaucrats, big contractors, policemen. The people's assertion has also kept the big industrial sharks and the imperialist MNCs at bay. Women enjoy relatively greater freedom than their counterparts in the rest of the country.
We have to develop this people's power from the local to higher levels by strengthening the people's army and transforming it into a mighty force, destroying the enemy power by intensifying the people's war, and establishing the base areas. It is in the base areas that this power becomes relatively more consolidated. However, until the final capture of state power on a countrywide scale there will be severe constraints to the exercise of the people's power at the village and area levels. You have to look at the power the people are exercising in these areas of struggle keeping these limitations in mind.
On the Islamic Upsurge:
Q: But globally the fight is now becoming pro-globalisation versus Islamic upsurge—in this scheme of things how do you see a classless society?
A: Globalisation is a war on the people and on every value cherished by the people for centuries. Globalisation is the ideology of the market fundamentalists. The market fundamentalists are destroying everything a nation had possessed and preserved for centuries. They promote nothing but sheer greed and self-interest with the sole aim of global hegemony and the means to achieve it is a war on all fronts—military, economic, political, cultural, psychological. And to achieve this "lofty" goal, they think even the destruction of the world is collateral damage.
There is a people's upsurge against globalization all over the world and Islamic upsurge is an integral part of the worldwide people's upsurge against imperialism, imperialist globalization and war.
A classless society-Communism—is a conscious human project and has to be built through the transformation of human consciousness. And to achieve this, the first step is to destroy imperialism on a world scale and domestic reaction in every country. Islamic upsurge is a reaction to imperialist globalization and imperialist oppression and exploitation of the world people, and Muslim masses in particular. As long as imperialism exists, and as long as it bolsters up decadent reactionary comprador Islamic regimes in countries of Asia and Africa, it is impossible for the Muslim masses to come out of their fundamentalism. It is only after the destruction of imperialism on a world scale can the Islamic masses come out completely from their obscurantist ideology and values. This will pave the way for the establishment of a classless society.
Q: What is your opinion about Islamic upsurge?
A: The answer to this question is already contained in the above explanation. In essence, we see the Islamic upsurge as a progressive anti-imperialist force in the contemporary world. It is wrong to describe the struggle that is going on in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestinian territory, Kashmir, Chechnya, and several other countries as a struggle by Islamic fundamentalists or as a "clash of civilizations" long back theorized by Samuel Huntington and which is being resurrected by all and sundry today. In essence all these are national liberation wars notwithstanding the role of Islamic fundamentalists too in these struggles. We oppose religious fundamentalism of every kind ideologically and politically as it obfuscates class distinctions and class struggle and keeps the masses under the yoke of class oppression. However, "Islamic fundamentalism", in my opinion, is an ally of the people in their fight against market fundamentalism promoted by the US, EU, Japan and other imperialists.
The upsurge is bound to raise the anti-imperialist democratic consciousness among the Muslim masses and bring them closer with all other secular, progressive and revolutionary forces. I see the Islamic upsurge as the beginning of the democratic awakening of the Muslim masses despite the domination of fundamentalist ideology and outlook in the Islamic movement at present. Our Party supports the Islamic upsurge and seeks a unity with all anti-imperialist forces.
Q: Nasarullah of Hizbollah has recently said that Left should come close to Islamists. In Indian context—what do you feel?
A: I basically agree with what Nasarullah of Hizbollah has said. One must understand that Nasarullah is referring to the struggles for national liberation from imperialism in Islamic countries.
The need of the hour is to achieve the unity of all forces opposed to imperialism, particularly US imperialism, which is aggressively destroying every human value handed over to us by thousands of years of history and is oppressing every nation of Asia, Africa and Latin America. The Left cannot even claim itself to be democratic if it does not initiate steps to unite with the forces in the Islamic movement which are fighting for national liberation from imperialism, particularly US imperialism. All the ongoing movements which are supposed to be led by Islamic forces in various countries as I had mentioned above, are national democratic movements in content. The strong religious language used by the leadership of these movements does not alter their national democratic essence and their anti-imperialist character.
On the developments in Nepal:
Q: What do you think of Nepal?
A: Our Party's official stand has already been given in the form of statements, interviews and articles in the last issue of our theoretical magazine, People's War. There was also an Interview by our Party spokesperson last year. We are having a debate with various Maoist Parties on the developments in Nepal.
The people of Nepal had shown great mettle in fighting the monarchy but the fight is only half-way through. The real fight is not against Gyanendra and the monarchy which is but a symbol of the feudal-imperialist oppression and exploitation of the vast masses of Nepal. Without throwing out the feudal forces, the imperialists, the Indian big business and the local compradors, mere ouster of Gyanendra would not solve any of the problems of the Nepali masses. And this can be done only by firmly carrying on the people's war to final victory. No Parliament can touch the seat of these reactionary forces who de facto rule the country.
We believe there is a serious danger of diversion to the people's war in Nepal after the CPN(Maoist) had taken the stand of multi-party democracy in the name of 21st century democracy. While saying that such a step is necessary to prevent the restoration of capitalism after the revolution, what they are actually doing is to participate in elections even before the seizure of political power!! And this will harm the interests of revolution. We are having debates with the Maoists in Nepal on these questions. We are telling them not to have illusions in parliamentary democracy. The history of parliamentary democracy the world over as well as in India for almost six decades shows what a farce it is.
The most dangerous part of the deal is the disarming of the PLA by depositing the arms and placing the fighters in cantonments. This will do no good except disarming the masses and throwing them to the mercy of the oppressors. Neither the imperialists nor big neighbours like India and China would allow any fundamental change in the socio-economic system in Nepal. They cannot remain passive spectators if their interests are undermined by the Maoists whether through a people's war or through the parliament. Hence the Maoists can never achieve their aim of putting an end to feudal and imperialist exploitation by entering the parliament in the name of multi-party democracy. They will have to either get co-opted into the system or abandon the present policy of power-sharing with the ruing classes and continue the armed revolution to seize power. There is no Buddhist middle way. They cannot set the rules for a game the bourgeoisie had invented.
On the role of the Party in the contemporary world:
Q: Developments are taking place at a rapid pace in both international and national arena. How do you see a role for your Party in this turmoil?
A: Our Party has a great role to play in the contemporary international and domestic situation. Our Congress has analysed the present political situation and issued calls to the Party and the people. It drew up the necessary immediate tactics and tasks to utilise the situation and achieve advances and leaps in the ongoing people's war in India. The new Central Committee had further concretised these in the form of time-bound programmes and plans. Several resolutions were adopted by the Congress on the issues confronting the people in our country as well as the world. We hope to actively intervene in these issues and build a broad-based militant political mass movement.
The next ten to twenty years will witness massive political and social upheavals all over the world and our country is going to witness mass upheavals in several states against the onslaught of imperialism, anti-people policies of the Indian ruling classes such as carving out neo-colonial enclaves called SEZs, massive displacement of the poor in both urban and rural areas, against draconian laws, state repression, unemployment, corruption, inflation, neglect of social welfare, and so on. Militant confrontation between the people and the state will become a general feature throughout the country and I am sure our Party will be at the head of these movements. It will grow to the status of providing leadership to the vast majority of the oppressed masses of our country. Imposing ban on our Party and the mass organisations, murdering our comrades, unleashing cruel repression on the people, intimidating and harassing all those associated with the revolutionary movement and all their repressive measures cannot prevent this inevitable establishment of our Party's leadership over the vast masses. The reactionary and revisionist parties, the Parliamentary system are very much discredited in the eyes of the people and they cannot but see our Party as the only alternative before them to achieve their real liberation.
Q: And finally do you feel it is a very crucial moment in history of India's Maoist struggle? If so, why?
A: I do not know what exactly is in your mind when you placed the question. But I would say yes, for several reasons. When for the first time you see the emergence of a single directing centre for the Indian revolution after the merger of the two major Maoist streams in the Indian communist movement, when you hold a Congress—the highest authority in the Party—after over 3 ½ decades, 37 years to be precise, it indeed becomes a crucial moment in the history of India's Maoist struggle. And it is more than that. Holding the Unity Congress itself has been the greatest challenge to or Party in recent times. The reactionary ruling classes, of course with the advice of the imperialists, had tried by all means at their disposal to disrupt the Congress. However, with meticulous planning by our Central Committee and various leading committees of our Party, with the protection provided by the heroic fighters of our PLGA, and the ever-vigilant people's militia and revolutionary masses, we could complete this gigantic democratic exercise that was initiated two years ago. It is a matter of pride that we could give a fitting rebuff to the enemy by successfully holding the Congress for over a fortnight.
It is a crucial moment for another reason too. Today the Maoist movement is facing the great challenge of building a strong PLA and establishing the base areas in the remote countryside as an immediate task. The reactionary ruling classes are sparing no stone unturned to prevent the emergence of such Red bases (democratic government of the people) in India's heartland as that would mean the emergence of a real alternative to the rotten, Parliamentary system and the criminal, communal, fascist, comprador parliamentary parties. Hence we see the massive deployment not only of the central forces, state's special forces but also setting up huge armed force from the local population, arming and training them, and pitting them against the revolutionary movement organizing massacres that remind us of the pogroms of the Black Hundred in pre-revolutionary Russia, and the Nazi gangs of fascist Hitler. Such is the scenario enacted in Dandakaranya in the name of salwa judum and to a lesser extent in Bihar-Jharkhand in the name of Sendra. They would not hesitate to send the Indian army to create more bloodbaths and, the Maoist movement can advance only by smashing these attacks by the enemy forces. That is how we see the present moment as a crucial moment in the history of the Maoist struggle in India.
And the last reason why we should call the present moment a crucial moment is that we, the Maoists, are confronted with the great task of providing revolutionary leadership to over a billion people at a time when the entire country is being transformed into a neo-colony, when the country is being sold away to the imperialists and the big business in the name of SEZs, when millions upon millions of people are being displaced by so-called development projects, when workers, peasants, employees, students, sections of the intelligentsia, dalits, women adivasis, nationalities, religious minorities and others are seething with revolt.