As the humanity as a whole is led to extremely horrific situation by the capitalist-imperialist ruling system and their junior partners in the neo-colonially dependent countries, as it is becoming clearer day by day that without overthrowing this monstrous system and initiating an alternate path of development, the human species cannot be saved from extinction, the importance of all CRs who uphold the Naxalbari Uprising and remember the martyrs and millions of others who sacrificed their life or great part of their life for revolutionary change in the country, have a big responsibility to make an introspection, find the reasons for our incapability to mobilize the masses and to launch powerful movements to throw out the corporate fascist Modi regime, which will help the efforts of the working class and all oppressed people of the world to put an end to the barbarous imperialist system. Observing the 54th anniversary of Naxalbari Uprising and remembering the martyrs are great moments if it is followed by the unity of communist revolutionaries which will help us to advance the people’s movements according to present situation, understanding the newer and newer sinister and barbaric attacks of Imperialist system. Let us march forward to complete the democratic revolution against all monsters and for socialist transition for a communist future!
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)
Comrade Soren Bose left us on the early morning of 17 August. After three days of programmes at Mumbai, which enthused the comrades and all the well-wishers of the revolutionary movement, he was to leave for Calcutta a few hours later. His sudden death, when he was playing a leading role in the reorganization of CPI(ML) is an irreparable loss. It has greatly grieved the Communist Revolutionaries all over India.
Comrade Soren Bose was one of the architects of Naxalbari movement and CPI(ML) under the leadership of comrade Charu Mazumdar in the tumultuous decade of 1960s. For him working under the leadership of and together with com. CM started from the early 1940s when he joined the communist party. To CPI(M) and later to Naxalbari and CPI(ML) they advanced together. He became Polit Bureau member of CPI(ML). Till the last moment he upheld the glorious tradition of CPI(ML) and became a central pillar in the present efforts to reorganize the party based on the concrete analysis of present concrete situation. He became a great bridge between the glorious late 1960s and early 1970s when the communist revolutionaries all over India fought against revisionism, gave a basically Marxist-Leninist orientation to the Communist movement and launched uncompromising struggle for overthrowing the present reactionary Indian state and to create a New Democratic India under the leadership of CM, and the present when the communist revolutionaries are engaged in reorganizing CPI(ML) by rectifying all sectarian mistakes, continuing the struggle against all shades of right opportunism and by developing the basic orientation of the party in the concrete conditions of the neo-colonial phase of capitalist-imperialist system.
As he used to say repeatedly, he did not join any of the CPI(ML) groups for long years after coming out of jail in early 1980s not because he was in anyway influenced by the non-party thinking prevalent among many from the earlier CPI(ML) leaders and cadres and among many petti-bourgeois intellectuals, as he was searching for answers to the questions he started raising after he became critical of the tactical line of the movement from early 1970s and after his discussion with the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
He came in contact with the literature of CPI(ML) Red Flag and started discussion with its leading cadres only from 1994. But once he was convinced that the basic orientation of Red Flag is correct he did not hesitate to join it. He became member of Central Reorganization Committee of CPI(ML) Red Flag and secretary of its West Bengal state committee. He started actively participating in the reorganization of the party under the banner of Red Flag. During the last one year he visited Kerala, Tamilnadu, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi and Bihar and encouraged the comrades to carry forward the task of NDR in the new conditions taking lessons from the past. He repeated the necessity of uncompromising struggle against both right and left opportunism for building up a Bolshevik style party at all India level. It was during one of these trips, when he was attending the programmes organized by the Maharashtra state committee of the party at Mumbai, he breathed his last. Thus till his last moment he remained a Bolshevik in the true spirit.
When he returned from China in 1970 end after long discussions with top CPC leaders and a brief meeting with Mao, and submitted his report, there were many in the then leadership who suspected the bonafides of the report. As far as the leadership of CPC was concerned, it had begun a rectification against the sectarian deviations which were influencing the CPC during the 1969 Congress. The suggestions of the CPC leaders reflected the spirit of this rectification and the vast experience of the protracted struggle waged by it to achieve victory in the NDR. They repeated the necessity for concrete analysis of concrete Indian situation and for developing the ideological-political-organizational orientation based on it.
But the sectarian influence was so profound in the movement that it was not possible then to start rectification based on CPC suggestions. This sectarianism went to the extent of some of the forces even rejecting the 10th Congress Report of CPC which had rejected earlier 1969 formulations regarding era and many connected positions. Later this metaphysical approach went to the other extreme in 1977 when most of the CPI(ML) forces mechanically accepted the Hua-Teng group’s total rejection of Mao’s revolutionary line, once again in the name of Mao! The upholding of the dialectical relation between developing the revolutionary movement in one country according to concrete conditions there and linking it with proletarian internationalism continued to elude the International Communist Movement. But comrade Soren Bose persisted to uphold his opposition to sectarianism and revisionism, repeated the cardinal points from the suggestions of the CPC leaders, and inspired the Bolshevik party building which is the pre-condition to mobilize the revolutionary masses for the NDR.
Both in his personal and political life he was one of the finest examples of Communist Culture. Starting his political life by organizing the tea-garden workers and peasants of North Bengal, he was always wedded to the mass line and thoroughly hated sectarianism. In his characteristic style he used to educate how mass line advanced the movement, and how sectarian mistakes distorted it and brought incalculable damage to it. In a humorous way he used to self-critically explain the past errors while highlighting the great contributions of the movement.
In these days when imperialism has intensified it frenzied attack on communism and non-party thinking is propagated by various petti-bourgeois, opportunist trends, his life with total involvement in the communist movement for a long period spanning more than five decades, and consistent advocacy of the socialist future are shining examples for the new generation to emulate.
We have received reports of memorial meetings not only from Calcutta, but also from numerous places all over the country expressing shock at comrade Soren Bose’s unexpected departure and pledging to follow the ideals for which he fought all through his life. Red Star joins the Communist Revolutionaries all over the country on this occasion in upholding the great revolutionary contributions of comrade Soren Bose to the communist movement and pledges to tirelessly work for realizing the socialist ideals.
(Editorial of Red Star, September 1997)
Naxalbari Uprising was a revolutionary mass upsurge of the landless and poor peasants and tea garden workers of North Bengal led by the communist revolutionaries with the slogan of ‘land to the tiller’ as part of the agrarian revolution. We are observing the 53rd anniversary of this mass upsurge on 25th May, the day on which the central and state forces fired on large number of the agitators, killing 11 comrades. This year we are observing it when after almost two months of lockdowns for fighting the Covid19 pandemic, the Modi government has started the process of easing down the restrictions hastily, similar to the way it imposed it, in a frantic bid to revive the economy which is in a great recession. Though many changes have taken place during the last five decades after Naxalbari, though corporatization has become the dominant trend in all fields under neoliberal offensive of the global capitalist imperialist system, it has only worsened the condition of the working class and peasantry. We are observing Naxalbari anniversary, when more than ever, the revolutionary restructuring of the society according to the new situation has become the urgent task before us.
The great Naxalbari Uprising was not just a movement for land. It symbolized the ideological political struggle then taking place in the international communist movement. When the CPI leadership started following the Soviet revisionist line, the first split took place, and CPI(M) was born in 1964. But, its leadership kept away from the struggle against Soviet revisionists, adopting a centrist, pragmatist line. In 1967 elections they came together, joined with split away groups of ruling class parties, and came to power in W. Bengal and Kerala. The first contribution of the Naxalbari Uprising was that it exposed degeneration of revisionist CPI and neo-revisionist CPI(M) to parliamentarism, as appendages of ruling class politics. During the last five decades, CPI(M) led Left Front parties have proved it in practice wherever they came to power. So, those who align with the LF are going against the lessons of Naxalbari.
Its second contribution was, it paved the way for uniting the Communist Revolutionaries and to reorganize the communist movement as CPI(ML). Inspired by Naxalbari, large numbers of students, youth, workers, dalits, Adivasis and other oppressed sections came forward to join the movement.
But, the CRs could not make a concrete analysis of Indian situation and to develop the program and path of revolution based on it; they came under the influence of the left sectarian line dominating the CPC then, the erroneous decision “Chinese path is our path” was taken. It led to adoption of the ‘line of individual annihilation’ which alienated it from the people. The movement came under fierce attacks, and by 1972, in spite of great sacrifices, the party was disintegrated.
The lesson learnt from this experience is that we have to fight against both right opportunist and sectarian/anarchist lines, develop the program and path of revolution based on correct evaluation of the international and national situation, and pursue mass line to unite all revolutionary forces and build the party capable of overthrowing the ruling classes and lead the people towards people’s democracy and socialism.
During the last three decades of neoliberal offensive, based on IMF-World Bank-WTO directives and imperialist globalization, has helped the corporate forces to accumulate huge wealth resorting to neo-fascist offensive, while the working class, with 40 crores of them reduced to contract/casual workers, is depraved of all rights, and agrarian sector is in deep crisis. Outbreak of Covid19 pandemic and the manner in which Modi handled it shows how fascistic the ruling classes have become, and how barbaric their approach towards the working class and all other oppressed sections. The only path before us is to throw out this corporate fascist ruling system and advance towards socialism. This calls for unity of all communist revolutionary forces, building a powerful communist party, mobilizing the working class, peasantry, all oppressed sections including the dalits, adivasis, women and minorities, along with youth and students. On the occasion of the 53rd anniversary of Naxalbari Uprising we appeal to all CR forces, let us come together to realize this historic task
This year we are observing 53rd anniversary of Naxalbari Uprising on 25th May under 4th lockdown Modi. At this critical time, should we not evaluate what is happening around us daily. Even after the outbreak of Covid-19 devastated people’s life internationally and India, the capitalist imperialist system and its junior partners responsible for the Covid19 pandemic are once again on the offensive to carry forward business as usual throwing the whole burden of the unprecedented crisis over the working class and all oppressed people! That they delayed preparations to fight the virus and abruptly imposed the lockdowns as the panacea to fight it, are now saying we should learn to live with it for long time, let us take up economic recovery as main agenda giving Rs 20 lakh crores stimulus package for the corporate and others involved in it!
In his 12th May speech, once again, Modi did not say why the migrant workers are walking back to their native places and dying on the road, why millions of them are undergoing horrific distress all over India and abroad from 24th March. He did not explain why the number of patients and dead jumped from 500 and 10 on 24th March, to 70, 000 and 2300 on 12th May, the worst performance in South Asia. He did not say why these tens of millions of migrant workers and urban and rural poor had to starve and face all distress when FCI godowns are full and large funds were collected in PM Cares. He was silent how the workers who were turned in the contract/casual ones under neoliberal years are being turned in the bonded labourers now. He also did not say why Islamophobia was spread by RSS/BJP telling lies, under cover of Covid19 why students and other activists are detained, and fascist terror is imposed all over the country. Comrades, we can point out hundreds of such things to show how Modi-Shah rule is carrying forward the corporate fascist rule ruthlessly,
By the second half of 1960s, the imperialists and their junior partners had launched neo-colonial plunder. Workers, peasantry and all other toiling masses were in distress. Food riots and land capturing had started. But, the revisionists and neo-revisionists had abandoned the path of revolution. It was then the Communist Revolutionaries brought revolution back to the agenda of the people and led the Naxalbari Uprising! Today it is a much worse situation internationally and in India compared to 1960s. Under neoliberal fascist offensive of imperialists and their junior partners, the plunder of working class and the oppressed people as well as of nature have reached devastating levels; at this time, not only the old time revisionists, but the modern revisionists as well as the so-called liberals, progressives of all hues and opposition political forces are contended with calling for some neo-Keynesian recipes everywhere; and even some from the camp of CRs have withdrawn to safe slogans. But, even if the trees want rest, wind will not allow them! The working class and the oppressed peoples are on the streets challenging their tormentors. As they have nothing to lose, but the chains of wage slavery binding them, they are continuing to fight. Now, while observing the Naxalbari Uprising Day, the challenge before the Communist Revolutionaries is to understand how the objective situation has reached a new stage, and get prepared to mobilize the working class and the oppressed people for revolutionary transformation of the society! Comrades, let us take up this challenge, let us dare to think, dare to struggle, and dare to win victory!