[Marxism] Towards A New World: Via Maoist Insurgency?

Sukla Sen suklasenp at yahoo.co.uk
Mon Oct 26 23:19:04 MDT 2009

[The following is a short note to evoke informed discussions.


First thing first.
Nowhere in the world, till today, armed revolution has succeeded in any "functioning democracy". Whatever the inadequacies or grave problems with such orders.
That's very important.
The only apparent exception that one could point at is the first "Socialist Revolution" in Russia, back in 1917.
In February, Tsar was deposed and "democracy" established. In the following October (November), the Revolution took place overrunning the "democratic" order.
But then, one could very well argue, the October Revolution was in its essence a sort of briefly interrupted continuation of the closely preceding February Revolution. Under the conditions of tremendous flux - the WWI and at the end the failed Kornilov Revolt, a counterrevolutionary armed venture. 
In any case, if at all, that's the only, repeat only, exception.

Armed revolutions have, however, been more of a rule than exception in colonised countries, countries under autocratic/dictatorial/monarchic/apartheid rules.
(That’s precisely why Indian Freedom Struggle occupies a special place in modern human history.)

But even there, the legitimisation of "violence" and brutalities as the method for conflict resolution and putting an end to an unjust, and quite grossly at that, order did leave its stamp on the new order to emerge, pretty often.
Kampuchea is a much talked of rather recent illustration.

As regards the fate of Maoist insurgencies worldwide in the recent decades, we had three major hubs, other than India: Peru, Nepal, Philippines.

In Peru, the Shining Path, known for its brutalities, with its supreme leader Guzman captured in 1992 and stood wiped out by 2000.
In Philippines, the insurgencies have very significantly declined. 

In Nepal, after some initial spectacular success, Maoist insurgency faced a sort of stalemate. At the same time, there was (unarmed) mass upsurge – Jan Andolan II - in the valley, from where the Maoists had withdrawn quite some time back, against the monarchical rule. King Gyanendra had to abdicate under the massive impact of civil disobedience on April 24 2006. The Maoists initially rejected it and publicly derided the Seven Party Alliance and the civil society organisations for accepting that (ref.: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/4942378.stm). In three days’ time, however, they reversed the stand (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/4949066.stm). Declared a unilateral truce and then forswore insurgency to enter into an understanding with the Seven Party Alliance and join the "democratic" mainstream.
For that the Indian Maoists have sharply derided them. So much so that the Gen. Secy. of the CPI(Maoists), Ganapathy, has in a very recent interview has issued a call to the Nepali Maoists to revolt against their party leadership. Nothing less.
It is heartening to hear that a section of the leadership of the UCPN(M) has begun to struggle against the revisionist positions taken by Comrade Prachanda and others. Given the great revolutionary traditions of the UCPN(M), we hope that the inner-party struggle will repudiate the right opportunist line pursued by its leadership, give up revisionist stands and practices, and apply minds creatively to the concrete conditions of Nepal.
(See: http://marxistleninist.wordpress.com/2009/10/18/revolution-in-india-interview-with-cpi-maoist-leader-ganapathi/.)

In India, the Maoist insurgencies are restricted to the most backward regions: inhabited mostly by appallingly poor adivasis, typically in mountainous and/or forested terrains.
In the eastern and central regions.
These insurgencies, thereby, have strong ethnic dimensions.
Nothing in the metros, cities and towns. Not even in most of the villages.

In the recent years, particularly in Latin America, militant, but essentially unarmed, mass mobilisations have brought about significant shifts in regimes and their policies in a number of countries without actually breaching the limits of "democracy".
The processes are of course on. Not without ups and downs. Far from any definitive closure.

Even in India, myriad struggles are on, on myriad issues. Ranging from gender to caste, from land rights to ecology.
Struggles against the anti-people SEZ, fired up by the spectacular success of the militant - but essentially unarmed - struggle of Nandigram have made a very significant impact on state policies.
A comparison between Nandigram and Lalgarh could be highly instructive.
If Nandigram caused the SEZ juggernaut to significantly slow down its pace; Lalgrah has gone to radically raise the pitch of clamour for the Operation Green Hunt.

As regards the path, we’ll also have to look into three parameters:
Feasibility of the path.
Desirability of the goal.
(Possible) Alternatives as regards path and goal..

Feasibility: No precedence of success, in “democracies”.

Desirability: Monstrous orders came up in the name of "Socialism". Killing millions and sending innumerable people to the Gulags. The short-lived Kampuchea is just the most remembered illustration.
During the Great Leap Forward (1958-61), in China, an estimated 30 million people perished - extra deaths - unrecoginised and unmourned.
No one as much squeaked.
Years after, foreign demographers would decipher that.
Apologists are busy contesting the precise figure.
Forget about the deaths - however enormous the scale.
Just think of no one in China squeaked!
What a monstrous order!

Alternatives: We are to hunt for based on our experiences.
The term, "Socialism for the Twenty-First Century", which at least implicitly acknowledges the huge problems with the twentieth century version, as it actually obtained, deserves wide and serious attention.
It is no exclusive preserve of Michael Lebowitz or whoever.
Nor it should remain restricted to Latin America.
And various concerns – ecology, gender, race/caste, culture, nuclear holocaust etc. have to be integrated with the goal and also the path ahead. The looming ecological doom demands utmost attention.
And, of course, the central dream as captured in the Communist Manifesto, in socialism "free development of each is the condition for the free development of all', has got to be the guiding principle.
No readymade, off-the-shelf available, model is out there to be emulated. Have to be worked out as we struggle ahead.


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