Masses make their own histories, not in the best of circumstances
of their own choice but in the circumstances given to them. -Marx
The old is dying and the new is struggling to be born;
The old is dying and the new is struggling to be born;
in this interregnum there arises a great diversity of morbid symptoms. -Gramsci
As more and more write-ups and commentaries on the people's uprising in Lalgarh is pouring in, it is important to respond to some of the salient points that keep coming up albeit couched in political sophistry. Whether it is from the sensation-crazed media or from Karats to Yechury, Biman Bose or Buddhadeb and their likes in the Liberation, or the SFI and AISA in this campus, all have striking similarities. The most striking aspect which also speaks volumes of their political bankruptcy is their latent and mortal fear to accept that people, the masses of the people, can also think. They do have a political will determined by their objective and subjective experiences of the harsh realities of eking out a livelihood in some of the most economically backward regions of the subcontinent. This is a deliberate vice of all ruling class ideologies and their practitioners to portray people as lifeless beings, empty receptacles who can only be 'gullible' and 'innocent'. So like the "white man's burden" it is for the righteous CPM, Liberation and their torchbearers in the campus -including some of the learned faculty- to show the people the 'true' path. But this path is of servility to the existing exploitative, blood-thirsty policies promoted by all the political parties that have put their money-bags in the parliament.
Why are these parties insisting that the people of Lalgarh are gullible, ignorant, innocent, illiterate…? It is only in that way they can justify their massive police-paramilitary build up in the region to 'liberate' the people from the clutches of the Maoists who have led them astray under the barrel of the gun. What CPM, Liberation, SFI and AISA is conveniently forgetting is that the same people of Lalgarh has long been fighting the harmads, the fascist goons of the CPM armed to the teeth with ammunition provided from the government ordinance factories. These storm-troopers were the forces through which the CPM used to maintain their control over the people, enforce elections, corner government money meant for the development of the adivasis, and maintain an informers' network which used to work in tandem with the police. So to say the Maoists have terrorised the people of Lalgarh into submission to indulge in their 'infantile disorder' is to refuse to admit the bold and daring initiative of the masses of Jangalkhand, their efforts to build a future free from all forms of exploitation and domination. The efforts to build health centres, roads linking up all the villages, small check dams and other water harvesting methods through which they have managed two crops a season are all definite indicators of the political will of the people, their vision of their future. Through these efforts where the people -adivasis and dalits were at the centre of development and not CPM and its village strongmen - the impoverished masses of Lalgarh has succeeded in freeing themselves from CPM's stranglehold in the last eight months of the movement against state repression, and to reverse their dependency on migratory labour outside the region. This people who have dared to manage their own future can rebel against any form of domination and exploitation, and as per SFI if the Maoists are doing that, then they too will be taught a lesson by the masses. The People's Committee have given an open call for everyone to visit these areas to have a first hand knowledge of what is becoming and what is passing away in the unfolding struggle of Lalgarh. Perhaps the SFI and AISA members should go to these areas and see the initiative of the masses for themselves, and discover the truth.
SFI was quoting Mao perhaps to teach the DSU a lesson or two on the need for politics to be in command of all the actions by the revolutionaries. But strangely one thing that is missing in all the SFI and AISA pamphlets was politics from the point of view of the oppressed, deprived, discriminated and exploited. While reading Mao, SFI might have also come across this great insight from that Marxist practitioner-to have faith in the masses and only the masses. All the parliamentary parties fear the masses. Whenever the masses rise in revolt they grab the constitution which normally and conveniently they forget. They turn upside down all dissidence of the people into a 'law and order' question. So when Yechury is busy asking Manmohan Singh to show his seriousness by deploying the forces with immediate effect in Lalgarh and adjoining areas, Prakash Karat makes a song and dance about the virtues of dealing with the Maoists politically and 'administratively'. To add to this, Brinda Karat has gone senile to the extent that she has harped on the imperialist backed (for CPM's alleged opposition to the Nuke Deal) efforts of the Congress-Trinamul-'Ultra Left' combine to dislodge a democratically elected government of West Bengal. In all this double-talk of the CPM leaders, their fascist face could not be hidden from the masses. Soon they set the gun on Chidambaram's shoulder to declare the CPI (Maoist) as a terrorist organisation. So much for their political and ideological dealing with the Maoists. They have even declined to differentiate between the Maoists and the members of the People's Committee leading the struggle, paving way for the persecution of one and all resisting state repression. When we look into the arms-haul made from the CPM office in Khejuri near Nandigram-which Mamata Banerjee had declared as 'liberated from the clutches of CPM'-nobody asked as to how a party could have police uniforms and ammunition from the ordinance factories in its office. Predictably, there was no police-paramilitary operation against Mamata's 'liberated' Khejuri. This also shows the class character of ruling class oppression of all forms of dissent -whether armed or unarmed- that are genuinely from the masses of the people. As long as it is turf war between CPM and Trinamul, Congress or BJP, it is not a law and order question.
SFI has blamed the Maoists for making people's struggles a 'law and order' question. Does that mean the people do not have any right to defend themselves against the flagrant violation of their right to livelihood, dignity, and security? There was also an indication that in Kandhamal it was due to the Maoist killing of the Hindu Fascist Lakshmanananda that the people of Kandhamal had to suffer the persecution of the RSS-Bajrang Dal goons. So does that mean by the same standards, the people of Lalgarh have to suffer in the hands of the security forces because the Maoists sided with the oppressed masses? The SFI should come clear. They would make even an RSS and ABVP proud with their findings, which lacks any class analysis and reads like the handout of the officialdom.
Today anyone who defiantly speak against the anti-people policies of the government and at the same time keep all ruling class parties away from their struggle are branded Maoists. And Chidambaram-Buddha combine have also called the Maoists as terrorists. The SFI taking cue from that has also started profiling the very ideology of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. If they have differences with the ideology of the revolutionaries, they should state first their ideological-political differences. Who is the genuine representative of the revolutionary ideals of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Mao and all people's heroes will be determined by those who have dared to make their own histories not in circumstances of their own choice but in circumstances given to them. Lalgarh and its people have dared to do it. The progressive and democratic forces including the Maoists have said they are with them. It is only the CPM, SFI, Liberation and AISA by indulging in duplicity have turned against the fighting masses, or are parroting the oft-repeated sophistry that 'innocent' [read ignorant] people are caught between the state and the Maoists. They should know that the failure of the revisionist CPM in West Bengal or Kerala does not mean the defeat of communist ideology in the subcontinent. It only shows the failure of a party that turned against the cause of social change by caricaturing Marxism, by becoming a part of the Indian ruling class, and thereby the trusted agents of imperialism, feudalism and the big bourgeoisie. The complete failure of CPM in addressing the genuine demands of the adivasis and poor peasants even after their 30 years of virtual reign in West Bengal is a tell-tale sign of the party's deviation from the basics of Marxist politics. Their reactionary political ideology as is visible from the failure of land redistribution among the masses, and also from the invitation to the Tatas and Jindals for establishing the industries at the cost of poor peasants and adivasis. It is no different from Congress and BJP's pro-imperialist political line.
Branding anyone who is standing against state oppression as Maoists has become a license to torture and kill. And it is not a new tactic, it was employed when dalit Christians were burnt alive by the RSS goons in Orissa, in persecuting adivasis in the name of Salwa Judum, in the cold-blooded murder of adivasi youths on mere suspicion of being Maoist supporters in Chattisgarh, and in the present state repression in Lalgarh. The SFI is trying hard to justify the butchering of poor adivasis because they have started to resist the perpetuation of decades of organized and systemic violence on the most oppressed sections of the society. The SFI is ruing the punishment of Avijit Mahatos and Anuj Pandeys of the CPM, who has generated people's wrath because of their fascist stranglehold over the poor masses. SFI must understand that Marxist politics is not what is propagated by CPM, but what is manifested by the conviction of Lalgarh's adivasi masses to fight against the ruling class's dictatorship. No amount of 'course-correction' and 'introspection' can save CPM from its eminent doom, and no amount of repression can break the resolve of the heroic Lalgarh masses for their liberation.