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Friday, 02 June 2017 08:55

Small Naxal Group’s Land Stir Becomes Mamata Banerjee’s Big Headache

On 22nd February The Indian Express published a report with the above title by Anirudha Ghosal saying “2 people have been killed in firing, and police can’t enter a village where a key protester against land acquisition is holed up. The Indian Express explains the standoff at Bhangar, where some are hearing echoes of Singur and Nandigram”. While this report gives some important insights about the unfolding Bhangar Movement, its analysis of the emergence and growth of CPI(ML) Red Star is far away from facts.

THE Bhangar people’s movement, which is really challenging Mamta Banerjee’s goonda raj in the service of corporate forces, has entered a new phase with even all parliamentary parties except TMC and BJP coming out in support of it during the 8th May Raj Bhavan March. It continues to successfully beat back the 12-13 May like attacks on the villages indulged in by TMC leader Arabul Islam’s goonda vahini supported by the police. In the course of reporting about this six months long militant democratic movement, a number of newspapers have written on the emergence and development of CPI(ML) Red Star, which was not known much in the state earlier. As most of these pieces were prepared, it seems, by collecting details from secondary sources, the history sheets on CPI (ML) Red Star presented are either partial or far away from facts. When the Intelligence Wings of central and state governments who abducted its GS, com. K.N. Ramachandran on 22nd January evening, the officers who came to ‘interrogate” him during his illegal detention were also having many cock and bull stories including its alleged relation with Maoists on this “small Naxal group” and on the way the Bhangar movement emerged and developed. This note is sent to the media friends in W. Bengal to bring to light a short factual history of the organization and on the course of development of this movement.

It is well known that the CPI(ML) was formed by the communist revolutionaries on 22nd April, 1969, who revolted against the CPI(M) leadership and organized the Naxalbari Uprising of 25th May, 1967, with com. Charu Mazumdar, as its first general secretary. By 1971-72, following barbarous state repression and due to theoretical, political weaknesses, and differences on the left adventurist ‘annihilation line’ pursued by it, the party splintered in to many groups. Following this the CPI(ML) comrades in different states or groupings started a process of reorganization according to their theoretical-political analysis. In Kerala also the CRs started a reorganization process, adopting mass line, initiating activities among workers and oppressed sections, and publishing Comrade and Mass Line monthlies in Malayalam and English. During the 1975-1977 emergency period once again they came under suppression like the CRs in other states and lost some leading comrades during police torture. After the emergency was revoked Kerala comrades united with a section of CRs from AP, forming Central Reorganization Committee-CPI(ML). It denounced the capitalist roaders led by Dengists in CPC who had captured power and turned China to capitalist path after Mao’s death. Analyzing the rich peasant led agrarian struggles taking place in many parts of the country then and the fast changes taking place in agrarian sector under neo-colonial domination of imperialism, it rejected the “semi-colonial, semi-feudal, people’s war” analysis of Indian state society, and path, and put forward the stand that India is a country under neo-colonial domination. In 1982 it convened its first All India Conference with comrades from ten states and international delegations from Nepal, Sri Lanka and US participating. It launched an Anti-Caste Secular Movement, Anti- Nuclear Power Movement and movement for the release of political prisoners besides starting peasant and workers’ struggles in some areas. Following ideological differences on analysis of neo-colonization, there was a split in 1987, when it was reorganized as CPI(ML) Red Flag.

In 1990s a section of Dalit Sangharsh Samithi in Karnataka, Marxist sections from Odisha, Maharashtra, MP, Chhattisgarh, TN etc joined it. It rejected the neo-liberal policies from the very beginning. It pursued unity efforts among the CRs, struggling against the right opportunist line of CPI (M) and its Left Front as well as against the anarchist line of CPI(Maoist). Initiative was taken to forge an international platform of the communist revolutionary parties also. It was then, a section of its comrades in Kerala embraced the revisionist line of supporting CPI(M). Following ideological struggle, in its Sixth All India Conference, 2003, this section was expelled.

Pursuing the unity efforts, in 2003 discussions were started with the CPI(ML) section led by Kanu Sanyal. But the KS section was still advocating the “semi-colonial, semi-feudal, people’s war line”, though in practice it was recognizing many of the changes taking place in the country. As both sections recognized the significance of developing an all India organization to lead the class struggle forward, it was decided to merge with differences, with the agreement that these differences will be resolved through a conference within two years, in a massive unity conference at Vijayawada in 2005, the two organizations merged calling itself CPI (ML), with KS as the general secretary.

This unity enthused many sections of CRs who joined the party. But the KS section went on postponing the Conference to resolve the differences. Moreover, this section created obstacles for organizing class/mass organizations at all India level, for developing the mass struggles, and for expanding the international relations. It was in this situation the CPI(ML) Red Flag section separated from the KS section in the beginning of 2009. An All India Special Conference was held at Bhopal in November, attended by comrades from 13 states and international delegations. In this the CR group from W. Bengal led by com. Alik Chakravarthy participated as observers and later joined it. Many comrades of CPI (ML) Liberation dissatisfied with its line also joined Red Flag in UP, Punjab etc. By the time of its Ninth Party Congress held at Bhubaneswar in 2011, it had expanded its activities to 15 states. It organized the Caste Annihilation Movement and the adopted that in the context of increasing ecological catastrophe the contradiction between capital and nature as one of the major contradictions, nationally and internationally. It expanded its participation in parliamentary struggles as part of class struggle and got the party registered under Election Commission as CPI(ML) Red Star in 2012. Expanding and consolidating the international relations with large number of revolutionary parties, it became one of the founding members of the International Coordination of Revolutionary Parties and organizations (ICOR).

During this period it led many peasant struggles and the workers movement in North Karnataka. It succeeded to build a powerful movement of the slum dwellers in Bhubaneswar and expanded this work to other states. At this time, the W. Bengal state committee and the jute workers initiated a number of major struggles for security of job and enhancement of wages. In the 2014 general elections to Lok Sabha, including five seats in WB it contested more than 50 seats from 15 states based on an Election Manifesto, putting forward an alternative development paradiigm. In the mass movements against the privatization of Shivnath River and Rajnandgaon Special Economic Zone in Chhattisgarh, in Chilka, POSCO, Kalinganagar, Vedanta like movements in Odisha, in the anti-nuclear plant movement in a number of states, in a number of workers’ struggles and land capturing movements the Red Star committees played a major role.

In W. Bengal, com. Pradip Singh Thakur, a veteran leader from the Naxalbari days, who was state secretary of CPI (ML) New Democracy for many years, left it due to ideological, political differences in 2003. He formed CPI(ML) Red Flag and started working separately in the state. In 2014 LS elections and later he along with Red Star were part of the Struggling Left Front. Unity discussions were started with com. PST and before the 10th Congress of the Red Star held at Lucknow in 2015, his organization merged with RS and he was elected as the state secretary of the party. In the Party Congress, the Marxist Leninist Committee of AP formed by com. Kolla Venkaiah in 1970 also merged with Red Star.

So today, this small Naxal group leading the Bhangar movement in W. Bengal has functioning state committees in 15 states (Kerala, TN, Karnataka, AP, Telengana, Maharashtra, Gujarat, MP, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, W. Bengal, Jharkhand, UP, Delhi and Punjab) and active contacts in other states. It has publications in a dozen languages along with its theoretical organs. It is active in social media. Its cadres are active in class/mass organizations among working class (TUCI), among peasantry and agricultural workers (AIKKS), among women (AIRWO), among youth (RYFI), among students (AIRSO) and in the cultural front (RCF). Its leading comrades and cadres are active in Caste Annihilation Movement, in Slum Protection and Housing Right Movement, in different ecological movements including Anti-Nuclear Power Movement, in democratic right movements etc. It is presently active in mobilizing for the 50th anniversary of Naxalbari Uprising culminating with a march to Naxalbari on 25th May. It has initiated a Democratic People’s Forum based on a Common Minimum Program rejecting the neoliberal policies and advocating a people oriented and sustainable development perspective. Contrary to what is repeated, the CPI (ML) Red Star is an all India organization with no soft corner towards the rightist line of CPI(M) or the anarchist line of the Maoists. Its Party program clearly declares: “rejecting parliamentary cretinism and the line of sectarianism and individual terrorism, upholding the path of revolutionary mass line, it resolves to utilize all forms of struggles and organizations to mobilize the working class and all revolutionary classes and sections for a massive countrywide people’s uprising to overthrow the Indian state and to seize political power”. 

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