Comrade U. Sambasiva Rao, well known among his comrades and friends as ‘Usaa’, passed away on the early hours of 25th July in a Hyderabad private hospital. As soon as the information was received, I posted a brief condolence message which stated: “Usaa Passes Away: A Great Loss to the Revolutionary Movement: Com. U. Sambasiva Rao, known to all his close comrades as Usaa, left us. He was admitted to hospital in Hyderabad three days ago after he was tested positive to Covid19. He joined the ranks of communist revolutionaries following the Naxalbari Uprising and was part of the UCCRI (ML) stream. But he had differences with the leadership on the approach of communist movement to the question of caste system and on the importance to be given to caste annihilation. As this difference could not be resolved even after a plenum, he left UCCRI in 1987 and from that time was spearheading this question. Later when com. Sathyamurthi left the CPI(ML) People’s War on the same question, they worked few years together. But as SM decided to join the BSP, he criticized it as an opportunist line and left him.
We met in 2011 and started our discussion on the caste question, in which we had basic agreement, as Red Star was already thinking of launching the caste annihilation movement (CAM). We became ideologically closer on most of the basic questions and started working together in different fields in later years. Presently he was one of the conveners of CAM with responsibility for coordinating the work in South India. He was president of OPDR Telengana committee. He was also president of the broad based Anti-Fascist Movement, Telengana. He was very active in the struggle against alien trends among the CRs and attended the Seminar on caste question during the 11th Congress of the CPI(ML) Red Star.
Unexpectedly, when he passed away on 25th July early morning in a Hyderabad hospital one week after he proved positive to Covid19, immediately a statement was issued which concluded with thee words “It is difficultnot only to me, but to the very large number of comrades active in all fields to think that Usaa will not be with us anymore. Red Salute to Usaa whose departure is a great loss to the whole revolutionary movement”. Our comrades in Telengana and AP reported that many condolence meetings were held, and messages from large number of comrades and friends, colleagues, leaders of other political, cultural, social and democratic rights activists were received showing how much importance they give to his contributions to the communist movement in general, and especially to his tireless efforts to bring the discourse on the approach towards the caste system by the communist movement in our country. A joint effort is already started by his close friends and activists to bring out a memorial issue as early as possible including his contributions in different fields written by comrades who know him for decades as well as reports of his activities in different fields including the caste annihilation movement (CAM), OPDR, and Anti-Fascist Front, Telengana.
During our long discussions during 2011-12, almost 25 years after he left the UCCRI, Usaa explained that his debate was on ideological questions, mainly focusing on the extent of influence of caste question in the socio-cultural-political reality in India. Though the struggle was bitter, he had no personal criticism against any of the old leaders. His fight was ideological, he repeated. Born in a backward caste family, from the childhood itself he could feel the bitterness in the caste divided society and the sufferings of the people belonging to SCs/STs and BCs under Brahmanical, Manuvadi system. He joined the Marxist-Leninist movement for creating a new society, egalitarian in every sense. Degeneration of Soviet Union even after almost four decades of socialist transition had proved that giving answers like ‘everything will become all right once the working class capture power’ is not sufficient. If China also could degenerate to capitalist path even after the Cultural Revolution, the struggle against all inequalities, not only economic, but caste, gender like inequalities also should start from the pre-revolutionary phase itself. It was when these feelings were becoming stronger, the Karanchedu massacre of dalits took place in 1985. Immediately after the massacre, Usaa prepared a press statement with the title “Condemn the massacre of Dalits by Kamma upper caste landlords.” That the party leadership did not like it, he felt from their attitude and words.
By this time, there were heated discussions on the contributions of Dr. Ambedkar, especially on his paper of 1936 on “Annihilation of the Caste”, were taking place. Usaa started studying more of Ambedkar’s works, and the approach of the neo-Ambedkarites. One of these trends had taken Ambedkar’s critic of the communist party’s (CPI) refusal to take up the caste question in relation to the class formation in India when he discussed with its leadership in 1936, to anti-communist positions; upholding identity politics. For them the protection of dalit identity and reservation were main planks of dalit liberation; they became part of the ruling class politics, like BSP, most sections of Republican Party etc; another school of identity politics, who were also taking anti-Marxist positions, and influenced by the post-modernist theories like ‘theory of de-construction.’ pursued the line of NGO politics promoted by imperialist think tanks. But Usaa’s position was different.
He wrote more profusely on these questions and tried to put forward the Bahujan line with Marx-Phule-Ambedkar ideology, calling for unity of dalits, Adivasis and BCs with all revolutionary classes in the concrete situation created by the publication of Mandal Commission Report, and RSS parivar’s reaction to it by intensifying the Brahmanical-Manuvadi offensive for Ram temple issue, putting it in the forefront. In the complex situation then, on the one hand, the Congress and other ruling class parties were competing with each other to strengthen their vote banks using the caste and religion. The CPI(M) led Left Front parties and many of the CR organizations, in spite of these new challenges were refusing to go beyond repeating the old dogmatic positions that class struggle shall resolve all problems. Any discussion about Ambedkar’s approach based on annihilation of the caste system, or linking caste annihilation with class struggle was anathema to them. While taking up these studies, Usaa had allied with many forces including com. Sathyamurthi, who had left the CPI(ML) People’s War mainly on the approach to caste question. Many of these allies had later deviated to ruling class positions. But Usaa, as he used to say, showing his writings during this period, did not abandon Marxist positions; he was trying to apply it to Indian conditions. As Marx himself had pointed out, the European mode of production and class formation cannot be mechanically applied everywhere. Usaa argued that the Indian communist movement has failed to comprehend the caste-class relation in India. When comrades raise questions, the dogmatic leaderships become irritated and get them expelled through mechanical application of ‘democratic centralism’. Since Usaa had questioned them, even after his death they are coming out with slanderous statements in the name of condolence!
The history of October Revolution teaches that Lenin could lead it to victory by building the Bolshevik party by waging uncompromising ideological struggle against the right opportunist Mensheviks as well as the anarchist Narodniks, and mobilizing the working class and its allies, the oppressed classes and sections for revolution. So, in Indian conditions only through this ideological struggle we can put revolutionary Marxism in the leadership, unite all genuine communist forces and build a powerful communist party. And, if we have to unite the basic masses, the working class and oppressed masses, we have to fight against the Manuvadi caste system, which divide them. It calls for developing a correct approach towards caste annihilation along with class struggle; it basically means developing a comprehensive, all embracing understanding about class struggle. So, more than ever, as we are passing through a critical phase which demands that the working class should make revolution, the central agenda before them is to overthrow the imperialist system and their junior partners in power in countries like ours, to develop the socialist alternative at global level. At this critical juncture, we should learn from mistakes, and making concrete analyses of the vast changes that have taken place, and are taking place, develop Marxist-Leninist teachings according to these present conditions, and use it as our guide to action.
When our discussions reached this stage, he made his position clear. He will try to study more about the Marxist writings on class struggle; but his long experience of working inside the Marxist parties, and his evaluation of most of these organizations including the Naxalite organizations, he is yet to come across an organization with such a concept of class struggle. So, if Red Star is calling for advancing the struggle for caste annihilation as part of class struggle with such an understanding, he shall work with the CAM. But he will continue the discussion on caste-class relation in the Indian socio-economic formation, which is a complex question. When he came to Kolkata in September last year to participate in the “open dialogue to form a revolutionary left coordination” as a step towards unity of the CR forces to build a powerful Bolshevik style communist party capable of leading the antifascist struggle towards people’s democracy and socialism, and with the immediate task of working as a revolutionary left core to inspire, mobilize the broad based anti-fascist movement, participating in the debate he called for such bold experiments with concrete understanding of the Indian situation to achieve system change with anti-brahmanical, anti-Manuvadi approach. As we were staying together we could continue our discussion on the working of the CAM and other people’s movements.
Usaa was a Marxist and revolutionary in the true sense. Through his ideological, political work, mobilization of the masses, and the struggles he led, and even in his family life after marrying a Brahmin woman who was also working with the party, he has left behind a rich experience which the younger generation can emulate. For me, and for many other comrades and friends of Usaa it is still difficult to believe that he with his broad smile and simple life, always eager to cook something non-vegetarian for his comrades in his house where he was living alone after his wife’s death, which he had turned in to a centre for studies and publications, including a studio for social media work including preparing U tube, it is difficult to think he will not be there when I go to Hyderabad next time.
I first met comrade Soren Bose (SB) in early 1994. Comrade Arup Mazumdar had seen him in early seventies itself inside Presidency Jail. At that time Arup was a very young activists and comrade SB was a very senior comrade. After Arup became active in CRC, CPI(ML), which is now known as CPI(ML) Red Flag, he had reported about comrade SB. Once he put an end to his association with Asim Chatterjee when latter started moving closer to Left Front, and started taking positions nearer to that of Red Flag, comrade Arup suggested a discussion with comrade SB. That is how we first met him in his rented flat at Dumdum road.
In our first discussion we found that there were many differences between our positions. But his approach to various basic questions confronting the Communist movement both nationally and internationally, and his Communist culture tremendously attracted me. They inspired us to continue the discussions. And a visit to his place and a long discussion with him became an integral part of my frequent visits to Calcutta.
Comrade SB, we used to call him, explained that after coming out of jail in 1980 he did not play any leading role in any of the organizations to which CPI(ML) was split since he was not convinced about the ideological-political positions of the organizations he came across. Though he attended many programmes and even played major role in some of the class/mass organizations or mass movements during this period, he did not identify himself with any of the CPI(ML) factions.
Starting from the discussions he held with top CPC leadership in 1970 as representative of CPI(ML) he had taken an uncompromising position against sectarianism. The degeneration of CPC leadership to revisionist positions in the post-Mao years had given new dimensions to anti-revisionist struggle. The severe setback suffered by the international communist movement with the degeneration of all socialist states and communist party leaderships to capitalist path, and later disintegration of Soviet Union had posed a major challenge before the Communists everywhere. Both right and left opportunism were causing severe damage to the movement.
Within the various factions to which CPI(ML) was split and among other revolutionary organizations a major section continue to uphold Dengist positions and are erasing the line of demarcation between themselves and the CPI-CPI(M) brand of Krushchevite revisionism. On the other hand, some other are clinging to the very sectarian positions of late 1960s which the CPC leadership had soundly criticized during discussion with him. Even many of those who oppose these extreme opportunist positions are reluctant to make a concrete analysis of the present situation when imperialism in its neo-colonial phase has launched an all out aggression against world people in all fields.
In our first discussion itself many of these questions were taken up by us. The fact that CPI(ML) Red Flag has taken concrete positions on many of these questions or has initiated discussions to develop better understanding about them made him happy. With each round of discussion we started coming closer. His participation in the all India Convention organized by TUCI (Trade Union Centre of India) at Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu) as its main speaker and his discussions with many of the leading comrades, as he later said, further convinced him that he can play a leading revolutionary role once again by joining Red Flag.
To concretize this unity process we decided to start discussions on the changes taking places in the agrarian field and to draft an approach paper for working in agricultural workers and peasant front. Based on the understanding he had gathered about the changes in class relations taken place at micro level in Naxalbari like areas and about the macro level data collected through the young comrades in Bengal, he himself prepared an initial draft. In a three day long discussion with some of the leading comrades of Red Flag during his visit to Kerala in 1996 his initial draft was developed. Later it was discussed and adopted in the Central Reorganization Committee (CRC) and is now distributed among the activists in agricultural workers and peasant front (published in Red Star, July-September, 1997 issue). It clearly shows the consequences of neo-colonization in agrarian field and the necessity for developing the approach towards struggles according to these concrete changes. It was also decided to hold a camp for the activists in agricultural workers and peasants front at Naxalbari (we are compelled to postpone this now in his absence).
When the initial drafts for the Fourth All India Conference to be held in April 1997 were prepared in late 1996, we discussed the main points at length with comrade SB. He was in full agreement with all the basic positions put forward in these drafts and formally decided to join Red Flag. As a result, in the West Bengal state conference held in April 1997 he played a leading role and he was elected secretary of new state organizing committee. He played an active role in the All India Conference held later in April and based on his vast experience reiterated in the necessity for uncompromisingly struggling against both right opportunism and sectarianism. He expressed his happiness over the democratic process he witnessed in the conference. He was elected a member of CRC and in his concluding speech pledged to serve the party reorganization process to the best of his ability.
He was already elected as the leading member of the 28 July Committee formed in West Bengal uniting all revolutionary organizations to observe the 25th anniversary of the martyrdom of comrade Charu Majumdar. In the rally organized on 16 July, in spite of heavy rains, about six to seven thousand comrades participated and the marched to Writers Building demanding enquiry in to the killings of large number of communist revolutionaries including comrades CM and Saroj Dutta in early 1970s in police custody and in the name of encounters. Probably this was the first time after the peak of the movement in early 1970s that such a large number of comrades with such enthusiasm could be mobilized entirely from West Bengal alone for such a rally. As far as both party reorganization and united activities of revolutionary organizations are concerned, this signaled a positive turning point. Comrade SB was in the forefront of this new initiative.
When CRC decided to organize all India programmes from May 25 to July 28 to observe the 25th anniversary of the martyrdom of comrade CM, and later to observe from August 15, 1997 to next August 15 as a period to expose the celebrations organized by the ruling classes in the name of 50 years of so-called independence, comrade SB was playing a significant role in both. As he repeatedly stressed wherever he went reorganizing CPI(ML) on Bolshevik lines and based on the ideological-political orientation put forward by the Fourth Conference was the primary task at all India level before him and the organization. Even during the last programmes he attended at Mumbai, in the press conference on 14 August, in the seminar on transfer of power on August 15 and in the public meeting on 16 August he reiterated these points.
During our numerous discussions he was always stressing on the importance of the Party. He was a dedicated cadre of CPI and then CPI(M) before he rebelled against their revisionist line under CM’s leadership. He firmly supported CM’s call to reorganized the party in to CPI(ML) and played a leading role in putting this to practice. Till his arrest he continued to uphold the party line as a Polit Bureau member of its CC. after coming out of jail though he did not join or form a party organization for long, he was against all forms of non-party concept. He used to strongly denounce the petti-bourgeois, sectarian trends prevalent in West Bengal. And when he found that CPI(ML) Red Flag can be the best vehicle for carrying forward the rectification process and rebuilding CPI(ML) at all India level, without hesitation he joined it and appealed to all of his younger comrades to join it.
After his sudden departure on the early morning on 17th August at Mumbai, when I went to Calcutta, Naxalbari and Siliguri, met his old comrades and friends as well as the young comrades, I could feel how much respect, love and attention they had for him. He was a veteran communist revolutionary with great proletarian culture. While strongly criticizing the sectarian mistakes of the early period, he always presented it as a self-criticism. And even in his personal habits, like insisting on carrying his own bag, he was always ready to share all difficulties with his younger comrades. At Naxalbari many comrades told us that even during his last visit to that area in May he went round the villages walking, over sitting on the carrier behind a cycle. At the memorial meeting at Siliguri we heard many of his friends and party comrades from 1940s narrating his versatile character, as a dedicated communist, agitator, artist, journalist of the party paper.
His departure at this crucial juncture when we have taken up party reorganization with all its seriousness is an irreparable loss not only to Red Flag, but to the Communist movement in India as a whole. The best we can do to do justice to the memory of this great veteran revolutionary is to dedicate ourselves with more determination to realize the goals for which he stood and fought throughout his life as a great Bolshevik.
(Red Star October 1997)
It Was on 28th July comrade Charu Majumdar, the first General Secretary of the CPI(ML) died in police custody in 1972. It is also the day comrade T Nagi Reddy, General Secretary of UCCRI(ML) died in 1976 while in underground during emergency Central Committee of the CPI(ML) Red Star has called for observing it as the All India Martyrs Day to remember all the comrades who led and participated in the ideological, political inner-party struggle in CPI(M) against its neo-revisionist stand, leading to the Naxalbari Uprising in 1967, all the leaders and participants of this great mass uprising, leaders and activists, the Communist Revolutionaries, who were directly or indirectly part of the All India Coordination Committee of the Communist Revolutionaries (AICCCR) formed in 1968, and all the comrades who became martyrs in these struggles. The state committees can decide the dates to be observed as martyrs’ days based on this general understanding, and according to the practice followed so far to remember the martyr comrades from the states
The Central Committee has taken this decision as part of its efforts to settle accounts with the sectarian past and to unite all the CR forces who have general agreement on the analysis of the present international and national situation, and on the strategic approach for capture of political power by mobilising the working class and oppressed people under the leadership of a powerful communist party built on Bolshevik lines.
Remembering martyrs is not a ritual for the Communist revolutionaries. Presently, internationally and nationally, the working class and the oppressed peoples are going through a period of unprecedented exploitation and impoverishment, when utilizing Covid19 pandemic as a cover, the global imperialist system and its junior partners in power in countries like ours have launched barbaric attacks on the toiling masses, even on the humanity as a whole, dragging them to the verge of ecological catastrophe and extinction of the human species on earth through horrific plunder of labour as well as nature. The international communist movement is confronting the gravest ever challenge today; it has only one alternative before it, overthrow the imperialists of all hues and their junior partners and lead the working class and all oppressed classes and sections towards a socialist future. But, in spite of the objective condition reaching such a critical phase, many of the ‘left’ forces are either tailing behind the ruling system, or compromising more with it. All of them have removed revolution from their agenda in practice!
How could it happen? The Communist Manifesto explained that capitalism is re-creating the whole world in its own image. So, the working class can save the world only by overthrowing it and building a socialist world. From the Paris Commune onwards all advances made by the working class and its party were with this orientation. But nothing is static. When obstacles are faced every force tries to advance according to concrete conditions. It is true with the working class, it is also the case of capitalism.
For example, when finance capital emerged, capitalism faced crisis from its own inherent contradictions and growing resistance from the working class, it underwent transformation to monopoly capitalism, imperialism, with the world divided among the imperialist forces. But as the leaders of the Second International could not understand this transformation, they compromised with it, leading to its collapse. Only when Lenin analysed imperialism scientifically, developed the strategy of revolution according to concrete conditions, built the Bolshevik party fighting against Mensheviks and Narodniks, the October Revolution could take place, Soviet Union was formed, socialist construction launched and the Communist International was formed which helped the growth of ICM. This advance of the socialist forces reached its hitherto highest levels by early 1950s, when it had reached a stage when it could challenge the imperialist system and even overthrow it, if it had developed the Marxist-Leninist understanding according to the new situation and continued the struggle against imperialism and its lackeys.
This was a great challenge since the imperialist system which had faced many crises including the Great Depression in 1930s, emergence of fascism in its camp and Second World War, had equipped itself under US leadership in the post-War years, transforming colonial plunder, when it used pre-capitalist forces and relations as its social basis in the colonies, to neo-colonial phase, when the ‘de-colonized’ neo-colonially dependent countries were exploited and controlled mainly through enhanced export of finance capital and technology, along with market control. To facilitate this IMF and World Bank and later WTO were formed. ‘Land reforms from above” dictated by WB, and Green Revolution like policies, with finance capital and technology followed by market system entering the agricultural sector aggressively from 1950s itself started the transforming the relations of production. India was no exception. As a reflection of these changes, the mode of production debate had started in 1960s beginning itself (in Economic and Political Weekly and other publications) and some of the intellectuals closely related with the Naxalbari movement were also participating in it. But the evaluation of a new era of ‘total collapse of imperialism and worldwide victory of socialism’ in the ‘Long Live the Victory of People’s War’ and the characterisation of India in The Spring Thunder Over India in People’s Daily following Naxalbari Uprising, (both representing the sectarian Lin Biaoist line which had its sway over the CPC during 1966 to early 1970) as ‘semi-colonial, semi-feudal’ and path of revolution as ‘protracted people’s war’, had influenced the communist revolutionaries so much that, in spite of other differences, all upheld the slogan: ‘China’s Path is Our Path. Though Mao had repeatedly stressed on the importance of concrete analysis of the concrete situation for developing our understanding, and that he started with the study of Honan Uprising, we failed to recognize and study the vast differences between semi-colonial China and colonial India, what were the changes taking place in our country including the growing trend of capitalist relations in the agricultural sector by the time of Naxalbari itself. Such a sectarian strategic understanding naturally led to ‘annihilation of class enemy’ like sectarian tactics also. As a result, we lost the great opportunity of organizing the millions of students, youth, workers, poor peasants and agricultural workers including dalits and Adivasis, women, who came forward greatly inspired by the Uprising and call for revolution, in to a Bolshevik style communist party capable of using all forms of struggles to develop class struggle to capture political power.
Though the challenge posed by the socialist camp collapsed in the main with the usurpation of power by capitalist roaders in China in 1976, the imperialist itself was passing through one of its own cycle of crisis by that time. To overcome it, the British followed by US imperialists came forward with the neoliberal policies which called for abandoning all welfare policies and withdrawal of the state from all fields of production and services. IMF-World Bank called for globalisation-liberalisation-privatisation to promote corporatisation of all fields. When it was formally introduced in India in 1991, the CPI(M) leader and Bengal chief minister Jyoti Basu declared that ‘there is no alternative to it’!. World over these social democratic parties went for implementing it, weakening themselves further. In almost all the neo-colonially dependent countries, the finance capital entered aggressively in all fields, intensifying the corporatization of the agricultural sector also. In a way the recreation of the world by the capitalist imperialist system reached unprecedented levels, though feudal remnants were continuing in few areas and influence of feudal culture also continuing along with imperialist culture. But, the dominant feature is that the economy of these countries got increasingly integrated with the global imperialist system. In such a situation, if Mao had stated there is no China Wall between the two, one getting transformed in to other, the line of demarcation between the democratic and socialist phases of revolution becoming thinner or disappearing. As accumulation of wealth in the hands of a very small section is increasing, the attacks on the enormously large working class, the peasantry and oppressed people, including the dalits, Adivasis, women and other backward sections are also intensifying. In present pandemic like situation it takes horrific forms. As all the major contradictions are becoming sharper, people’s uprisings are becoming an increasing feature, the state as an instrument of suppression also taking neo-fascist forms in increasing number of countries. According to these changes a new narrative of revolution is needed. But what is happening? Very few forces are prepared to come out of their old out-dated frames and to think daringly. They are holding on to their old ‘positions’ religiously. This is the great obstacle today to unite the communist forces and building a powerful Bolshevik style party capable of leading the numerous struggles of various classes and people’s uprisings taking place in this vast country.
In words all accept that “ideological political line determines everything”. But this line can be developed only through ‘seeking truth from facts’, making serious studies on what are the changes taking place, developing Marxism according to present conditions and applying it. Facts about the changes taking place around us are visible if we look around. We have to collect them and take their help to develop our understanding. This is not happening even after repeatedly calling for the studies. When RSS has shown how it has used its reactionary ideas to become a material force and come to hegemonic positions, the Marxist-Leninists are facing the great challenge of developing their revolutionary ideas to become a greater material force capable of overthrowing all forces of reaction and advance to revolutionary capture of political power.
Hundreds of thousands of comrades have sacrificed their lives for revolution. Today remembering the martyrs becomes meaningful when we dares to overcome our mistakes, develop our revolutionary line according to present conditions and dare to struggle and dare to make revolution.
When the standoff between the Indian and Chinese military started in the beginning of May, in its statement (Where Modi’s foreign policy is leading our country to? What is Communist approach towards the border questions?) the Central Committee of CPI(ML) Red Star explained the developments leading to yet another standoff along the LAC which is still not delineated on the ground, and called for immediate discussion at all levels to resolve the dispute. But instead of solving the problem, the military level discussion failed to reach a resolution and on 15th the clash took place at Galwan Valley between the two forces. After an urgent meeting of the CC on 17th June following the clash between Indian and Chinese troops in the disputed Galwan Valley area along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), in which 20 Indian jawans were killed, we expressed our heartfelt condolences to their families, and adopted a resolution calling for “Stop war mongering; We don’t want another border war; Settle border questions through bi-lateral discussions peacefully.”
We continued our campaign against war mongering, and for permanent settlement of the border problems with China by delineating the LAC and resolving other differences on the border.
But, BJP tried to create war hysteria, and a it launched campaign for Boycott China in line with the statements of Trump as part of the trade war between US and China. As reports of the corps commanders’ level discussions reaching stalemate again came out, the editorial of party organ, Red Star, on 1st of July again called for political level intervention at the topmost level to start dis-engagement of the forces. But, instead of taking steps to solve the standoffs at three places in eastern Ladakh through immediate diplomatic and political level discussions as we repeatedly called for, disturbing reports of mobilization of the military followed by the air force continued on both sides started getting boosted by the media along with jingoistic statements from BJP leaders. On 3rd July, PM Modi visited Ladakh, and gave a speech exhorting the armed forces to defend our borders at any cost. Though it created an atmosphere of an imminent border clash as both sides raised claim for entire Galwan Valley, an analysis of his speech revealed that in spite of his sabre-ratttling, it was just another of his election speeches mainly intended to influence voters in MP, Himachal and Bihar, where elections are going to take place soon. As sabre-rattling from both sides continued, a very tense atmosphere was created by the media. In this situation, we again issued a statement on 5thJuly, reiterating our demand for political level discussions to ease the situation.
On 6th July morning we heard that discussion between Ajit Dugal of Modi’s PM’s secretariat and Chinese foreign minister took place, and based on the proposals arrived at in the corps commanders’ meeting earlier, both sides decided to withdraw 1.5 to 1.8 kms at the three disputed places along China-Ladakh border, creating a buffer-zone in between. The withdrawals started on 5thevening.
Following this temporary easing of tension, the war of words between BJP and Congress going on from the time the standoffs became more shrill, for one-upmanship, both sides trying to prove themselves more nationalistic. While India and China are accusing each other for intruding to their territory, BJP and Congress are engaged in a blame game to prove who compromised with “Chinese incursion” more. But both were concealing the fact that, neither Congress which was in power for about 4 -5 decades, nor BJP in power for six years earlier, nor during the last six years in power took any creative initiative for a permanent settlement of the disputes, even though standoffs were continuing.
According to the repeated statements of earlier UPA government, and present Modi government from 2014, though the LAC was adopted by both sides in I 993 in the Western Sector, while transferring the agreed line to the difficult terrain of Himalayas, there were many disputes about the actual controlled areas on the ground. “The entire Sino-Indian border (including the western LAC, the small undisputed section in the centre, and the McMahon Line in the east) is 4,056 km (2,520 mi) long and traverses one Indian union territory, Ladakh, and four Indian states: Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh. On the Chinese side, the line traverses the Tibet Autonomous Region” (Wikipedia). We are told, they are marked as disputed areas and both sides are trying to settle them through bi-lateral discussions at different levels. But, like UPA govt, earlier, Modi govt now also is not telling the people, about where the talks between both sides have reached or what are the disputes in the LAC as well as in the McMahon Line in Arunachal Pradesh region. We come to know about the disputes only when a standoff starts, or when Jingoistic statements are made, or when the defense budgets are steeply hiked.
Our consistent stand on the border dispute was clearly stated in the first Resolution: “Where Modi’s Foreign Policy is Leading India to?”: The border dispute is a leftover from the colonial times. A holistic approach should be worked out in continuation to the 1993 agreement on the LAC so that in all disputed areas along the 4056 kms of India-China border, it can be clearly delineated including deciding clear benchmarks taking the condition of the difficult terrain in to consideration. This agreement should include withdrawal of military of both sides to bases and deploying only border security forces to man the border. Only in his manner standoffs and skirmishes leading to unfortunate killing of jawans on both sides can be avoided. But, in the absence of such an agreement, even after the present truce for withdrawal both sides, it is not completed, at some points differences persist and the armed forces and Air Force have not started withdrawing from the area. Tension continues affecting the life of the civilians living in nearby areas. So we demand that initiative should be taken by Modi government to resolve the border disputes on a long term basis and for delineating the LAC on the ground.
Party’s accepted stand is that the LAC is still not delineated, and the standoffs have happened many times including presently in Galwan Valley, Pangong Tso and Gogra Hot Spring in the disputed land along it. Within the disputed land if any incursions take place, both sides accuse each other calling them intrusions or aggressions followed by standoffs, and for the first time after 45 years in the standoff at Galwan Valley from beginning of May, in the clash on15th June 20 jawans were killed. These are skirmishes within the disputed areas, where both sides have constructed roads and structures, where each side try to gain control of more areas, which the opposite side will characterize as an aggression to whip up jingoism as have happened repeatedly, and is again happening now, worsening the border dispute further. Our stand is that until a permanent solution acceptable to both sides is arrived at this situation will continue. So we do not call these movements by any side within the disputed area as an aggression or intrusion on the other country, but as a natural consequence of the present situation. We call for a permanent solution to the disputes. We appeal to people of India and China to put pressure on their governments to settle the disputed permanently so that the centuries old people to people relation can be strengthened further.
The border conflict is utilized, as always happens, by the Modi government to divert the attention of the people from the criminal acts of commission and omission in its handling of the fight against the Covid19 pandemic, from the acute distress it caused to crores of migrant workers and other sections of impoverished people, and from the economic crisis started in the pre-Covid days. As usual the burden of all these are thrown to their back. Besides, utilizing the tension on the border, Modi is carrying forward his militarization program, the burden of which also will come over the people. On the whole, any increase in the tension on the border shall lead to further attacks on the masses of people. The socio-economic condition of the already impoverished masses shall be further weakened, leading them to more acute distress.
As far as the ruling class in any country is concerned they use war mongering against a created enemy, and jingoism is unleashed to hoodwink the masses. During the last 75 years after Second World War, though there were no World Wars, there were numerous local wars instigated mainly by the US imperialists to prolong their hegemony, repeatedly proving that imperialism means war, and so long as it exists, wars are inevitable. The same is the case with the junior partners of imperialist powers also. Similar to what is happening in J&K, the ruling classes on both sides, India and Pakistan, shall go on fighting making life hell both in IOK and POK, spending a major part of their revenue for it at the expense of people’s welfare. In order to cover up the truth and to win over even ordinary people to back them, jingoism, hate politics based on communalism and national chauvinism are instigated. Our sub-continent is one of the worst examples for it. So, whether war is imminent or not, is not a point of our debate. As a result of extremely complicated conflict of several factors, it can break out any time; it is difficult to predict it. Our point should be how we can develop understanding about how the ruling class of our country have succeeded to deny the right of self determination to the peoples of J&K and Northeast, how they embittered relations with Pakistan to such a level that even cross-border trade and fighting locusts jointly which will benefit both peoples cannot be discussed, why relations with all other neighbouring countries are also worsening, while the country is opened to looting by the very same forces against whom we fought the independence struggle.
Under Modi this subservience went to the extent of organizing Namaste Trump, while we refuse to combat even Covid19 together with our neighbours. In such a situation, the US administration led by Trump and his allies are using the India-China border dispute like Hong Kong or South China Sea like issues as part of the inter imperialist contradiction and trade war between US and China. It has already happened with India banning 59Apps and cancelling many services and investments of China and has fully opened the country more for investments from US and other imperialist countries. So, the cardinal point is even when we are fighting the ever intensifying danger of Covid19, Modi government is creating war mongering and Trump could utilize it to prolong US hegemony and using it to win the November elections.
It is in this context, instead of getting satisfied with a passive stand, the Communist Revolutionaries should take a pro-active stand; an independent communist stand on this question. They should call for political settlement of all issues including border disputes with all neighbouring countries, which are continuing from colonial times, through bi-lateral discussions, using advanced scientific tools. They should oppose any armed conflict for settling border questions. They should firmly oppose India’s alliance or strategic partnership with any imperialist country or bloc. In spite of the best efforts of the CRs and all progressive forces, still the border war breaks out, we should come out openly opposing it, while continuing the struggle for revolutionary transformation of the society.
What is given below is a note presented in the webinar on 14th June on the subject: When Crises like Covid19 pandemic threatens ecological catastrophe, Significance of the struggle for system change with people oriented alternate development perspective. Based on the discussion in the Webinar on 14th June, with the above subject in which scientist Soumya Dutta and environmentalist Nityanand Jayaraman participated along with comrades Sanjay Singhvi, Arun Velaskar and Vijaykumar – KN Ramachandran
- When whole humanity is in the grip of Covid19 pandemic, the warnings of Stephen Hawking like scientists that ecological destruction intensified by the arrogant ruling political class shall lead to a catastrophe, to possible destruction of this species itself sounds very relevant. Still the capitalist-ruling system wants to push forward with its re-creation of the world in its own image under neoliberal globalization. Not satisfied even with the accumulation of 73%of the wealth of the society already with the top 1% of the corporates, developing nuclear weapons capable of destroying the earth a hundred times, building great cities with glittering malls, highways, fly-overs and techno parks, bringing most of the people under the sway of consumerist lust, they want more and more of them. They laugh at suggestions that climate change, global warming like phenomena are due to the ecological destruction caused by their brand of development; that if not curbed it shall cause devastation, that it shall lead to global environmental catastrophe. So, Trump walked out of Kyoto Protocol, or all of them assembled at Madrid during last year’s climate conference dumped all talks about environmental dangers as rubbish!
- But Covid19 has surprised the globalized world; it has frozen the world for weeks. Is nature reacting in its own ways through SARS in 2003, MERS in 2012 and now more dangerous novel corona virus, Covid19 apart from more frequent super cyclones, forest fires etc? Scientists have recently warned also about old viruses getting mutated, and appearance of more dangerous viruses, dormant for many millennia, now coming out with the breaking of huge glaziers at both poles under global warming.
- In spite of these warnings, what happened? China, soon after its partial recovery from Covid19, rushed to its old ways! In all other countries also, after initial panic, once the lockdowns are being unlocked, they are hurrying back to business as usual, even when millions are newly affected and tens of thousands are still dying daily due to fast increasing infection of Covid19. They are seeking ways to loot the human labour and nature more voraciously, to recover the losses! They are intensifying the use of new intelligence machines and digitization at unprecedented scale for it. At the same time, they are shifting the whole burden of the pandemic to the backs of the workers and oppressed people once again with tragic consequences as we are witnessing around us.
- It is based on our studies on how the intensifying capitalist loot during the phase of neoliberal corporatization has taken the ecological destruction to by the imperialist powers and their junior partners in power in the dependent countries to unprecedented levels and how all the proposals of the scientists and environmentalists are rejected in practice by them, the CPI(ML) Red Star in its Program adopted by its 9th Party Congress in 2011, pointed out that, along with the plunder of labour and world people, the plunder of nature is also intensifying from the time of emergence of the capitalist system. In The Capital and other studies, Marx and Engel pointed out that from the time of emergence of the class divided society and beginning of exploitation of humans by humans, the interference in nature by man also had started. But, this interference started taking an antagonistic form, a quantitative leap, with the beginning of industrial revolution, and the advent of the capitalism. As it led to colonization of the whole world, the was further intensification of the loot of the oppressed peoples and the natural resources there. After, Second World War, transforming colonial forms of plunder to neo-colonial forms characterized by the ever increasing export of finance capital, market system and technology, the capitalist imperialist system along with the junior partners to whom they had transferred power in former colonies, further intensification of the exploitation of labour, massive entry of capital and technology in to agricultural sector under the banner of Green Revolution, and looting of nature. From 1970s, to surmount another bout of serious crisis inherent to capitalist system, they adopted neoliberal globalization and corporatization, taking imperialist plunder to a still higher phase.
- History teaches that, just because its barbarous character is exposed, just because the vast masses of people are facing more brutal plunder and oppression, the ruling system is not going to change on its own will, or it can be transformed from within through reforms. The latest example for this is its present mad rush for returning to Business as usual, even when the pandemic is spreading fast. For further accumulation of wealth, they are intensifying uncontrolled plunder of labour and nature, unconcerned about the threats of ecological catastrophe and extinction of human species, as they do not show any concern even after already damaging the eco system and bio-diversity. So, if we want to protect what is left of nature, and the human species, the one and only way out is to throw out the capitalist system with the perspective of putting in to practice a sustainable alternate development outlook.
- Celebrating the severe setbacks suffered by the socialist countries and their degeneration to capitalist path, the global capitalist system and its junior partners, launched the neoliberal corporate offensive based on globalization-liberalization-privatization in the 1970s , repeating ‘there is no alternative to neoliberal policies,’ asserting their world outlook. It is against this world outlook which has taken the humankind to verge of disaster, starting with Marx, the revolutionary forces are consistently fighting in spite of many ups and downs, taking lessons from their past experiences, for another world, by overthrowing the capitalist system at global level and initiating socialist transformation under people’s democracy , towards an exploitation free egalitarian society, progressively bringing all means of production under co-operative, social control..
- What you mean by this alternative is the central question asked by all? Our answer, of course, is: based on past experiences, and our socio- political –theoretical orientation it has to be evolved, and developed through practice. From what capitalist imperialist system has done, we have the clarity that if further attacks on the boundaries of nature should be ended forthwith, we have to drastically do away with the ‘parameters’ of development assiduously cultivated by the capitalist system, like the uncontrolled use of energy and consumerist lust. An alternative to capitalism can never be another mere economic model. A new socio-cultural-political outlook is to be developed, redefining human needs, and democracy as a way of life with the perspective of internationalism, a world without war, with co-operative, social ownership in all fields.
It means planning everything from the grass root level, with democratic institutions which ensure all power to the people. It calls for outright replacement of the bureaucratic-corporate-fascist model of governance with a people’s democratic model starting from the neighbourhood committees under Gram Panchayats, as a pyramid, with the power vested maximum at the panchayat level, then at bloc/taluk, district and state levels progressively diminishing as you go up, with very little power at the centre. It shall be built up as part of an international system, totally de-militarized, with open borders, where every country ensures food, clothing, housing, healthcare, education and employment to all as primary needs to begin with. Towards such a people’s model, many lessons can be drawn from the positive contributions of the models initiated in Paris Commune, Soviets in Soviet Union, People’s Communes in China and other countries during their socialist days; the attempts made by various progressive governments in Latin America, Asia and Africa, and what is done by the Scandinavian countries in Europe. Though presented from different political outlooks, there are alternate perspectives put forward by many including the concept of Gram swaraj of Gandhiji. According to concrete conditions in each country, and based on a critical study of all these, a new alternative can be developed.
Alternative development model means a society where democratic way of life and sustainable egalitarian path of development are integrally linked. In order to advance to such a development paradigm, the pre-condition is that the capitalist imperialist system is thrown out; and secondly, the recognition that people’s democracy means a direct rule of the people, people’s political power starting with the grass root level neighbourhood committees, which promotes progressive relation between humans and nature, put an end to all forms of exploitation of humans by humans, replacing present family system with a progressive partnership, putting an end to Manuvadi caste system, racism like revanchist systems, customs and habits and patriarch, where gender inequality and all other social and economic inequalities will be ended, with scientific temper and humanism guiding the world outlook Mobilization of the toiling masses and the oppressed classes and sections of people calls for a great cultural revolutionary approach, in short a vigorous fight for transforming the thinking among humankind cultivated by the oppressor classes during last many millennia. An evaluation of the experience of the former socialist countries show that at a critical time during the socialist transition, the leaks from the roof, the capitalist, consumerist influences which started influencing the super structure, started corroding the economic base, speeding up the degeneration of the former socialist countries. This can happen to the communist parties, groups and individuals also, if they do not engage in class struggle without a comprehensive approach, and do not pursue a cultural revolutionary perspective.
- To conclude, human society has reached a critical stage when either the capitalist imperialist system shall lead it towards ecological catastrophe and its own extinction, or the toiling and oppressed masses and the revolutionary intelligentsia shall come together, create public opinion and overthrow the capitalist system, and march towards a new socialist future, where humans, as a part of the nature shall co-exist with it friendly, giving birth to new blossoms of democracy and an alternate development paradigm.
The daily Covid19 count of the country has jumped from around 6,500 cases a week ago, close to 10,000 cases daily, with a record single-day spike to 9,887 cases and 294 deaths by 7th June, pushing the tally to 2,36,657, the fifth highest in the world. However, India is still far behind in number of fatalities caused by the disease, which now stands at 6,642. WHO has warned that there is risk of an explosion in the number of patients and dead anytime, as the medical facilities are still lagging behind. There are reports from most of the states that even pregnant women are not admitted by hoapitals, and that the private hospitals are charging heavy amounts. Many are dying due to lack of beds and satisfactory arrangements for quaranteeing. At the same time, Modi government has shifter the whole burden of the pandemic to the backs of the states and people. At the same time, it is trying to cover up its gross mistakes on many counts including not preparing the country to face the pandemic, after the first case was detected in India on 31st January, not arranging testing and quarantining the passengers coming from abroad from then, not preparing the medical sector for it including bringing the whole private hospitals also under government control to fight Covid, and finally the lockdown was abruptly announced giving just four hours notice. The fast spreading of Covid during this period, the colossal human trgedy the migrant workers and their families are continuing to suffer even after three months, the ever intensifying economic recession are linked to these acts of Modi government.
In order to divert attention from these criminal negligence and nepotism, firstly the hate campaign against Muslims, spreading Islamophobia, using Tablighi Jamaat incident, was further intensified. Once the disturbances on the border started with the opening of the raod to Mansarovar, first with Nepal and then with China now the whole attention is diverted to them, with RSS parivar launching hate campaign against China, with the call boycott Chinese goods by developing self-reliance,when the entire policies of Modi government are making the country ever more dependent on imperialist sysyem and their products, whether it is of US, China, Japan or others. Still Modi government is not prepared to leave aside its jumlabaji and to concretely address the implementation of the advise of WHO and other expert bodies for containing the risk of the explosion warned by WHO.
With such an irresponsible, fascist government in power, we are going to face more horrific situation in coming days. Only option to save the country is to come out on the streets as the people of US are doing and challenge it.
K N Ramqchandran
CPI (ML) Redstar
7th June 2020