Marxist Theory

The Path of Naxalbari

The Path of Naxalbari: An Appraisal

Kunal Chattopadhyay

In this essay, the discussion will remain mostly confined to the original Maoist movement in India, between the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s, and focused not on narratives[1] but in terms of the relationship between this movement and classical Marxism.

To begin with, we need to understand that the early history of communism in India went through a rupture. The Meerut Conspiracy Case dealt the emerging communist party a sharp blow. By the time the fragmented party had reassembled, the Communist International had come under the complete grip of Stalin and Stalinism, and it had baneful effects on the CPI.[2] This did not mean the CPI achieved nothing. But it meant that the revolutionary-democratic traditions of classical Marxism were distorted in a number of crucial ways, and that later conflicts within the major currents of the Indian communists remained locked within Stalinist parameters. In the case of Bengal/West Bengal, I would argue, an additional component was the influence of the revolutionary nationalist tradition. The very significant number of revolutionary nationalists (the “terrorists”) who became converted to communism in jail accepted certain political ideas (not mere political independence, but social change through revolution), certain philosophical views (materialism, atheism), but they brought their own prejudices. Notably, their rejection of Gandhism had been based on a simple counterposition of violence and non-violence, and therefore the equation of revolution and violence was sometimes carried over. Equally important was the top down approach of the revolutionary groups, and the seamless manner in which this merged with, and provided an indigenous basis for the acceptance of Stalinist vanguardism, which replaced Lenin’s real concept of building a class vanguard that would be in constant dialogue with the mass of workers, by the imagery of transmission belts and commands or instructions from above being implemented by those lower down.

Classical Marxism:

There are many things that one can learn from classical Marxism.[3] For an assessment of any movement claiming to be Marxist, however, we need to begin by looking at the core political components. Repeatedly, Marx and Engels argued that “the emancipation of the working classes is a task of the working classes themselves”. This was the central plank of their politics. In the rules of the International Working men’s Association written by Marx, he argued that the goal of workers’ societies was “the protection, the advancement and complete emancipation of the working classes.”[4] As Marik points out, in the Third Thesis on Feuerbach, Marx “opposed the idea of educators from outside teaching the masses, pointing out that any ‘educator’, that is socialist theorist, must oneself learn the meaning of socialism through revolutionary practice. In other words, socialist theory as the ideological change in human beings could only be continuously developed through revolutionary practice which would also change the material circumstances.”[5]

The concept of working class self-emancipation meant that the revolution was not going to be a process where a small number of wise people would dominate the masses and decide what would be good for them. This was the principal tradition of the socialist/communist currents of the period, however, and Marx and Engels stood out by their break with this tradition. This also made inevitable their next key point. This was the nature and role of the revolutionary party. They did not mean to ignore the need to build a revolutionary party by hiding behind the talk of working-class self-emancipation. But they saw the revolutionary party as comprising the most militant and aware members of the working class. And while they did not deny the role of elements from other classes, they made it clear that the communist party could not be made up chiefly of such elements. Such a generalized picture, of course, does not give us the full complexity of their views. But they did go on to elaborate their positions by, on one hand, developing analyses of concrete situations, and on the other hand, by presenting critiques of other socialisms. Thus, in a number of critiques of the theorists of conspiracy and insurrection, they showed that conspiracy kept out the masses of workers, but not the police. And in a telling comment, they dubbed advocates of such methods the “alchemists of revolution”. For their own part, they laid stress on two key issues – the creation of independent working class political action including working class participation in elections, and the development of socialist theory within independent working class parties. In an 1850 essay, Marx argued that secret organizations led by professional conspirators could not draw in the broad masses of the proletariat in their organizations:

These conspirators do not confine themselves to the general organization of the revolutionary proletariat. It is precisely their business to anticipate the process of revolutionary development, to bring it artificially to crisis point, to launch a revolution on the spur of the moment . . . they are the alchemists of the revolution . . . and have the profoundest contempt for the more theoretical enlightenment of the proletariat about their class interests.[6]

Thus Marx was explicitly counterposing a scientific theory of a communist party, capable of explaining theory and organising the proletariat for struggles, to the pre-scientific (“alchemical”) party which advocated substitutionism and was contemptuous about developing real class-consciousness.[1]

In discussing the strategy of revolution for backward countries (of particular interest for us), Marx and Engels came to argue, by looking at Germany, that the bourgeoisie was utterly incapable of leading a genuine democratic revolution. If it triumphed, it would enter into a deal with the landlords and the semi-absolutist monarchy. So the task was to build a bloc of the working class, the peasants, and the petty bourgeois democrats, and within that, to strive to create working class hegemony.[7] This was summed up in the famous Address of the Central Authority to the Communist League, where they talked about a “revolution in permanence”. An added point of great significance, very often ignored, is that their revolutionary strategy involved a struggle for consistent democracy, and that this meant, not repudiating the gains made by liberal-democracy, but extending it far beyond anything liberalism could achieve.[8]

Communism in India and the Maoist Revolutionaries:

If we look at these founding premises of classical Marxism, communism in India appears utterly unlike it. A distorted reading of Lenin resulted in equating Leninist party building with party-led substitutionism.[9] From the late 1920s, the Comintern doctrine of Socialism in One Country served to turn communist parties into organizations defending Soviet foreign policy. Moscow dictated flip-flops, like an ultraleft line of 1928-1934, followed by class-collaboration dressed as anti-imperialist unity (the Dutt-Bradley thesis). And the campaign against “Trotskyism” meant a general imposition of a two-stage theory of revolution, according to which the first stage would be carried out in alliance with the progressive bourgeoisie.

Though the Comintern was disbanded in 1943, Moscow’s control and influence remained crucial for a long time. Between 1951 and 1964, debates within the CPI, while couched in theoretical rhetoric about national democratic revolution versus peoples’ democratic revolution, really involved a search for bourgeois allies either within the Congress or outside it. The post-1964 evolution of the CPI(M) confirms this.[10] However, in the early 1960s, many militants assumed that the fact that CPI(M) leaders upheld Stalin against Khruschev and talked of Peoples’ Democratic Revolution made them revolutionaries. So they sided with CPI(M). This also meant that radicals tended to see Stalin as a bastion of revolution, instead of being the leader of a bureaucratic political counter-revolution. The CPI(M) was thus formed as a party composed of class-collaborationist Stalinists, along with Maoist radicals also infused with Stalinist ideas. The left reformism was soon unmasked, between 1966 and 1969. Mass radicalism was harnessed for electoral gains. In 1967, the CPI(M) proved as willing to join hands with bourgeois oppositions to form a coalition government in West Bengal as the CPI. It was at this point that the revolutionaries, or those who wanted to be revolutionaries, decided to split with the reformists. There were differences over the pace and tactics (Nagi Reddy versus Charu Mazumdar, for example). But by the time the CPI(ML) was founded, the principle that had won was to present two alternatives as the strategic poles in communism. The draft constitution of the party said: “To overthrow the rule of the above [defined in the previous paragraph – K.C.] enemies of the people, the CPI(ML) places the path of armed struggle before the Indian people.”[11] Parliamentary work was viewed as an entirely strategic option, and rejected en bloc.[12] The strategy of “peoples’ war” was to be based on the path shown by Lin Piao, that is, relying on the peasantry, building base areas, consistently developing armed struggle and using the villages to surround the cities and ultimately capture them. That which, in China, was a compulsion caused by the defeats suffered in the cities, was turned into a voluntarily accepted strategy in the Indian case.[13]

We will return to the fundamental flaw involved here later. But I would like to begin with a positive note. The party documents, the writings of several outstanding leaders of this current, or the party papers, like Deshabrati (Bangla), Liberation, all showed a refreshing return to the concept of class struggle. Ever since the dismissal of the 1957 Kerala government, the underlying content of the inner-party debate in the CPI was whether the “progressive bourgeoisie” were in the Congress or in the bourgeois opposition parties, and who should be the allies in the bid to form governments. This has of course been the recurrent debate in the mainstream Stalinist left all the way to the present. Prakash Karat’s Third Front was an attempt to patch together a bloc of regional forces, in opposition to the line advocated by others, such as Sobhanlal Datta Gupta in Mainstream.[14] Stripping aside the veil of theory and polish, the Maoists of the 1960s revealed that debate for the opportunistic struggle for loaves and fishes by bureaucratic leaders that it really was. And by raising the slogan, “Never forget class struggle”, they made class struggle a reality, in a way it had not been for a considerable period.

In the same way, it was the Maoist current that made internationalism a real, revolutionary force. The Chinese Communist Party, when it inspired splits in many countries, had the aim of building its own support base. But in order to fight Moscow, it had presented a mixed ideological bag. On one hand, it appeared as a fervent champion of Stalin.[15] But on the other hand, it also highlighted the class collaborationist politics pursued under Moscow’s pressure, even though it (falsely) exonerated Stalin from such practices. The combination of all this was to promote a more militant form of internationalism than clapping because the Soviet Union had launched the sputnik before the USA. Recovering the old traditions of the communists, Charu Mazumdar called for active internationalism. Similar to Che Guevara’s call to build “two, three, many Vietnams” was the statement. “Chairman’s China may be attacked – speed up the Indian revolution”. This was not a call for diplomatic manoeuvring to help the chosen fatherland. This was, or could be understood as, proletarian internationalism at its best, and left a lasting imprint. Many radicals who have moved a long distance from Maoism, have this starting point for their understanding of proletarian internationalism. The struggle of the proletariat for the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism cannot be secured within one country. Capitalism itself cannot function in one country but must spread its tentacles across the world. A higher system than capitalism cannot be built on a lower economic level. The idea that superior relations of production can be built on a low level of productivity and maintained there is an illusion.  So even if unintentionally, Maoism brought back the idea of world revolution and international socialism.

Another important achievement was to critique the nature of “progress”. This involved certain major oversimplifications. But a basic discourse shift happened around this time, because the Maoists asked, in effect, whether it was the task of communists to be cheerleaders for capitalist development, on the ground that capitalism was “progressive” compared to feudalism?[2] This once more overturned a growing consensus among the mainstream Stalinist parties, that if the capitalists were progressive, or if the capitalist state took a progressive role, then the task of communists was to simply support it.  Of course, few parties wrote texts that expressed their ideas so crudely. But this was precisely the achievement of the Maoists – to blast though the verbiage and expose the linear, undialectical concept of progress and the resulting class-collaborationist political tasks, including supporting the “progressive” foreign policy of the Indian state.

The Contradictions of Maoism:

The key contradiction of Indian Maoism flowed from its inability to break the shackles of Stalinist substitutionism. Who will play the leading role in the revolutionary process? Formally, all “Marxists” begin by answering, “the working class”. But then, for the Social Democracy, the role of the working class is exhausted by voting for the socialist party periodically. For the Stalinists, the party represents the working class. The voice of the party is the voice of the working class for all practical purposes. Whether “revolutionary” or “reformist”, parties of Stalinist orientation agree that the party is the conscious section of the class, not because it continuously replenishes itself by recruiting the best, most militant elements of the working class and ensures a continuity of proletarian leadership, but because by self-proclamation and definition, the party is the vanguard of the class.  By accepting the Chinese CP’s leadership, including its glorification of Stalin, the CPI(ML) was opening itself to the same errors. The programme of the party said that “the working class can and will exercise its leadership over the Peoples’ Democratic Revolution though its political party”, the CPI(ML).[16] This assumed that the working class has only one political party. Moreover, the working class does not have any other organisational forum through which it can express its viewpoint. This suspicion hardens, when we also read that the working class will play its vanguard role by sending its class conscious vanguard elements to organise and lead the armed struggles of the peasants.[17]In other words, the central task of the party was seen as organising an agrarian armed revolution. In a country with its rich working class history, decades of patient communist work among the workers, the development of trade unions, this was an utterly destructive line. About the cities, Charu Mazumdar had only vague hopes, not a political strategy. The Political-Organisational Report adopted by the first Congress of the CPI(ML) asserted that through the process of building the party, the revisionist line had been defeated. One aspect of this revisionist line was the building of mass movements and mass organisations for economic demands.[18] In addition, it was claimed that the armed struggle of the peasants was inspiring the workers and the petit bourgeoisie.[19] In other words, the leading role of the working class was a token genuflection to the canons of Marxism. Majumdar’s speech on that occasion said that building the party means the development of armed class struggle.[20] (missing out the “armed” was tantamount to instant degeneration). About the cities, he just expressed the hope that a revolutionary tide would come among the workers, not only in Calcutta, but everywhere.[21] How it would come, by withdrawing revolutionary cadres from the mass movements and organisations, was left totally unexplained. Revolutionaries who opposed giving up the trade unions had already found themselves being ignored, then pushed out. Parimal Dasgupta in Bengal, Purnendu Majumdar in South Bihar (now Jharkhand) had to go their own ways. Further articles by majumdar showed the real content of his strategy. Thus, the article ‘A Few Words About Guerilla Action’, reveal that ctually it was a petty bourgeois led peasant action, and had nothing to do with the working class.[22] Another article by Majumdar, ‘To the Working Class’, repudiated general strikes as ineffective, repudiated economic struggles in the name of opposing revisionism, and simply exhorted workers to participate in armed peasant struggles.[23]Indeed, he argued that it was not possible for workers to defend themselves with trade unions, so the party should not build or bother about trade unions, but only build secret party organizations among the workers.[24] Bloodshed and barricade fighting were envisaged, but without struggles that would really enhance the consciousness of the working class – unless exhorting them to read Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse Tung and attacking the revisionists count as real struggles.[25]

Why did Marx and Engels stress the historic role of the working class and why did they insist on protracted learning processes through participation in concrete struggles?[26] Two points are made here. The first is again the basic Marxist strategy, that the emancipation of the working classes is a task of the working classes themselves, not handed over to a group of self-proclaimed revolutionaries even if they drape the Collected Works of Marx and Engels over their bodies.

But why the working class? Marx’s reply was that capitalism reproduced itself by exploiting alienated labour. The historical tendency of the struggles of the workers goes far beyond the tendency of peasant struggles. The poorest of peasant, as a peasant, wishes for a little bit of land, a space, however illusory, within the existing system. The worker realizes that the existing system gives to workers only wages. The separation of direct producer from the means of production can only be overcome by the socialization of production, by workers management of publicly owned property. Secondly, as a class who occupy a concentrated position in capitalism, workers can stop the economy functioning, Finally, objectively, as collective producers, the working class has the power to create an exploitation free society. A rejection of this meant that the revolutionary aspirations of the large number of cadres who went to the new party and groups were wasted.

The Greatest “Socialist” Myth of the Twentieth Century:

The contradictions of Maoism also meant that the Maoist forces in India, whether the CPI(ML) or those outside it, had a complicated and mistaken view of “socialism”. For them, the Soviet Union was “social imperialist”, while China was “socialist”. Having accepted that despite the little blemish here and thee, Stalin and the Stalin era had meant the construction of socialism, they ended up accepting the view that abolition of private ownership constituted socialism, without any serious discussion on the essential need for workers’ democracy. On the other hand, since they condemned the Soviet Union as “social imperialist”, the line of the political party at the helm was seen as the crucial factor between socialism and capitalism. Finally, an utterly idealist attitude, following the “Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution”, was taken about the nature of class struggle under socialism. Rotten apples in the superstructure were supposedly capable of overturning a basically sound base.

A correct understanding of the fate of the Russian revolution had been among the most important issues in deciding a revolutionary line anywhere, throughout most of the twentieth century. Socialist democracy, the meaning of the dictatorship of the proletariat, the transition from capitalism and the economic issues involved, all have implications for the future of revolutionary movements elsewhere. Here, the Maoist revolutionaries failed, because they were unable to question the basic arguments of Stalinism. One party rule remained unquestioned. Only if the party turned bad, the country changed from socialist to capitalist. The role of soviets, or analogous forms of institutions was ignored. Bourgeois democracy was not to be extended by socialism, rather, bourgeois democracy was to be simply rejected.

This made the difference between the CPI(ML), or the other Maoist organisations, on one hand, and the CPI(M) on the other, a difference based on the will of the cadres, and nothing more. The revolutionary struggle was begun in 1967 (taking the announcement of “Spring Thunder” as the beginning). Yet the working class that had grown up already was ignored. The reality of bourgeois democracy in India was brushed aside. For certain Maoist groups, like the CPI(Maoist) they continue to be basically irrelevant. As a matter of fact, this meant a refusal to engage with the objective reality of India, and to impose an utterly illusory line.  Of course, reality proved stronger than the utopian illusions. The experience of China, or even of Russia, in both of which countries there was little or no real civil society, and where the ruling class ruled almost entirely through force, do not provide all the lessons for revolutionary strategies in countries where there have existed some form of bourgeois hegemony.  At the same time, by removing all revolutionary cadres from a number of areas, the struggle to establish the hegemony of the revolutionary forces was given a go by. It was assumed that the example of rural armed struggle would replace concrete struggles in working class areas.  Moreover, this was based on an extremely deformed reading of a few passages of What Is To Be Done?, according to which the party injects class consciousness from outside and the working class by itself can only develop bourgeois consciousness.

The assumption that only the most exploited were revolutionary, meant the exclusion of the organised workers, those having a little better pay or working conditions. This of course ignored the reality that they had obtained those slight gains because of militant struggles, not because the ruling class was buying them up through bribes.

If ultraleftism of a very old kind was behind these mistakes (after all, Lenin had criticised exactly these errors – boycotting elections, boycotting unions, and so on – in Left Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder), inability to look sufficiently into the shortcomings of Stalinist communism was at the root of another set of mistakes. Notably, special oppression remained originally ignored. Even later, it was often not theoretically discussed, so measures taken were sometimes ad hoc. Gender, caste, indigeneity, were not taken as important markers. The party programme simply mentioned that the Peoples’ Democratic State would, inter alia, “abolish the caste system, remove all social inequalities... and guarantee equality of status to women.”[27] That class unity in reality could not be forged till these inequalities were addressed in the revolutionary process and within the working class received no recognition. A big part of the Communist movement, including its revolutionary wing, was extremely suspicious of feminism, seeing in it a bourgeois or petit bourgeois current, even though in India, feminism had a strong socialist component right from the beginning in the early 1970s. Neither the party, nor its struggles, were often gendered. At the same time, the Maoist movement did provide an impetus for many young women as well as men.[28] As Kalpana Sen points out, the inspiration provided by the movement was immense. Till the mid-sixties, in most women’s colleges, there were no directly elected unions. Girls nominated by the authorities ran the unions. The militant student-youth movement of the mid to late 1960s changed that picture. Women also took part in the ideological struggles around the Naxalbari peasant struggles. They fought in the jails, put up red flag, and confronted the jailers. Moreover, the path of Naxalbari meant challenging existing values in a way that the mainstream left had not been doing for a long time. Among these was a rebellion against domestic discipline and conservatism. That so many young women came to the new party was because, in Sen’s words, “the opportunity to breathe in free air”.[29] Failure to identify patriarchy as a distinct enemy to be combated may have limited the endeavours of these cadres. But the call to immediately join the revolution was something that enabled them to overcome in practice many of the constraints of patriarchy. So if the CPI(ML) did not provide all the solutions, nor did it stand as a force of traditional conservatism.

In the same way, the formal position of the party talked only about class, in an abstract way. But the struggle to bring in poor peasants, after the end of the first phase, meant entering into new terrains. The focus on the landless peasants led to a recognition of the complex interrelationship between caste and class in India. However, while the far left (both Maoists and Trotskyists) were grappling with the complexities of caste-class relations, for the mainstream Stalinist left caste was simply semi-feudal remnant that would be overcome with the development of capitalism, till the Mandal Commission Report implementation forced them into some kind of awareness (even then limited to electoral purposes).[30]

The major problem that the legacy of the original path of Naxalbari left was however its rejection of the rality of bourgeois democracy and the need to work out a new strategy to fight for revolution in a country where a bourgeois democracy does exist. An idealisation of bourgeois democracy does no good. It is a very restricted democracy. Yet even that, by providing certain apparent alternatives, keeps a grip on masses. Secondly, the legacy of Stalinism, its distorted democratic centralism where the leadership has too little accountability to the party ranks, also has been a major problem. Moreover, the legacy of Stalinism has meant a legacy of the two-stage theory of revolution and popular frontism, or alliances with bourgeois partners, as revealed by the Trinamool-supporting Naxalites of 2009. Finally, if workers who demand democracy, or party members who form tendencies over ideological conflicts, are immediately branded capitalist roaders, or thrown out of the party, then one will forever split into two, two will never unite into one. Not “revolutionary authority”, but workers democracy is the answer here. But in order to carry this task to the end, to turn to revolutionary Marxism, one has to subject the path of Naxalbari to a more thoroughgoing critique, without giving up its revolutionary inspiration.


[1] Das Gupta, B. (1974) The Naxalite Movement. Calcutta: Allied Publishers; Johri, J.C. (1972). Naxalite Politics in India. New York: The Institute of Constitutional and Parliamentary Studies; Ram, M. (1971). Maoism in India. Bombay: Vikas Publications; Franda, F.M. (1971), Radical Politics in West Bengal. London: The MIT Press; Jawaid, S.(1979) The Naxalite Movement in India. New Delhi: Associated Publishing House; Basu, P. (2000), Towards Naxalbari (1953-1967) an account of inner-party ideological struggle. Calcutta: Progressive Publishers; Banerjee, S. (1980). In the wake of Naxalbari a history of the Naxalite movement in India. Calcutta: Subarnarekha.

[2] Datta Gupta, S. (2006). Comintern and the Destiny of Communism in India : 1919-1943 : Dialectics of Real and a Possible History. Kolkata: Seribaan.

[3] For a single volume survey of the main tenets of classical Marxism and the Bolshevik tradition, see Marik, S. (2008). Reinterrogating the Classical Marxist Discourses of Revolutionary Democracy. New Delhi: Aakar. Marik’s book has the added benefit of a systematic gendering of the account. For a more massive study of Marx and Engels, see Draper, H. (1972-2005). Karl Marx’s Theory of Revolution, (5 volumes). New York: Monthly Review Press. See further LeBlanc, P. (2007). Marx, Lenin, and the Revolutionary Experience; Studies of Communism and Radicalism in the Age of Globalization. New Delhi: Aakar.

[4] K. Marx, ‘Provisional Rules of the International’, in K. Marx and F. Engels, Collected Works (hereafter MECW), vol 20, Moscow, 19xx, p.15. For a full discussion of the principle of self emancipation in Marx and Engels see S. Marik, Reinterrogating the Classical Marxist Discourses..., pp.36-42.

[5] S. Marik, Reinterrogating the Classical Marxist Discourses..., p. 38.

[6] K. Marx, ‘Review:Les Conspirateurs, par A. Chenu; ex-capitaine des gardes du citoyen Caussidière. Les societes secretes; la prefecture de police sous Caussidière; les corps-francs. La naissance de la Republique en fevrier 1848, par Lucien de la Hodde’, in MECW:10, p. 318

[7] See on this Lowy, M. (2005). The Theory of Revolution in the Young Marx. Chicago: Haymarket. See also Marik, S. Reinterrogating the Classical Marxist Discourses..., chapter 4. My brief discussion is to be found in Chattopadhyay, K., ‘Marx and the Origins of Permanent Revolution’, Jadavpur University Journal of History, vol.X, 1989-90.

[8] When I say very often ignored, I mean by on one hand the liberal anti-communists, and on the other the Stalinists. For studies that do stress this, see apart from Draper and Marik, Nimtz, A. Jr. (1999). ‘Marx and Engels -- The Unsung Heroes of the Democratic Breakthrough’, Science and Society, 63(2) 203-231.

[9] See Lih, Lars T. (2006). Lenin Rediscovered: What Is to Be Done? In context. Brill, Leiden and Boston: Historical Materialism Book series; Paul Le Blanc (Ed), (2008). Revolution, Democracy, Socialism. Selected Writings, V.I. Lenin. London: Pluto Press., and my review of Lih in EPW for the distortions involved.

[10] On this, see Kunal Chattopadhyay and Soma Marik, ‘The Left Front and the United Progressive Alliance’, (accessed 18 July 2009); and Kunal Chattopadhyay and Soma Marik, ‘The Elections and Left Wing Politics in India’, International Socialist Review, Issue 66, July-August 2009, pp.44-54.

[11] ‘Draft of the Constitution of the CPI(ML)’, in Suniti Kumar Ghosh, Ed, The Historic Turning-Point: A Liberation Anthology, vol. II, Calcutta, 1993, p.319.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Maoism, neither in China nor in India, has studied seriously the relationship between the defeats suffered by the Second Chinese Revolution and the historical specificities of the Third Chinese Revolution. For examinations of the Second Chinese Revolution, see Isaacs, H.R. (1938). The Tragedy of the Chinese Revolution.The Chinese Revolution: I: The Second Chinese Revolution and the shaping of the Maoist Outlook London: Secker and Warburg. For an assessment by a revolutionary Marxist of the relationship between the Second Chinese Revolution (1925-27) and Maoism that is quite sympathetic to Maoism, see Rousset, P. and II: The Maoist Project Tested in the Struggle for Power. Amsterdam: International Institute of Research and Education.

[14] Datta Gupta, S (2009). ‘The Left’s Exit: Notes for Consideration of All Concerned’, Mainstream: vol. XLVII, No. 23, 33-35.

[15] For an aggressive, but not inaccurate Marxist critique of Maoism’s revival of the Stalin cult, see Kerry, T (1964).  ‘Maoism and the Neo-Stalin Cult’, International Socialist Review, vol. 25, No.2, Spring 1964, 55-59. For a more sympathetic, though critical assessment, see Maitan, L (1976). Party, Army, Masses in China. New Jersey: Humanities Press. For an organisational assessment, see Fourth International (1965). ‘The Sino-Soviet Conflict and the Crisis of the International Communist Movement’. International Socialist Review, vol. 27, No.2, Spring 1966, 76-85.

[16] Programme of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist), in S. K. Ghosh (Ed.), The Historic Turning Point, vol II, p. 15.

[17] Ibid.

[18] ‘Political-Organizational Report Adopted at the Party Congress’, in Ibid, p. 19

[19] Ibid.

[20] Charu Majumdar, ‘On the Political-Organizational Report’, in ibid, p. 23.

[21] Ibid, p.25.

[22] Charu Majumdar, ‘A Few Words About Guerilla Actions’, in ibid, pp. 68-73.

[23] Charu Majumdar, ‘To the Working Class’, in ibid, pp. 82-84.

[24] Charu Majumdar, ‘Our Party’s Tasks Among the Workers’, in ibid, 84-88.

[25] Ibid.

[26] See MECW: 10, pp. 626-29 for a speech by Marx. For a later report by a former supporter of Marx on his strategy, see W. Blumenberg, ‘Zur Geschichte des Bundes der Kommunisten Aussagen des Peter Gerhardt Roser’, International Review of Social History, 9, 1964, pp. 81-122.

[27] Programme of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist), in S. K. Ghosh (Ed.), The Historic Turning Point, vol II, p. 16.

[28] For West Bengal, some of this complexity is captured in Sen, K (2001). ‘ Paschimbanglay Naxal Andolane Meyera’, in M. Chattopadhyay (Ed.) (2001). Eso Mukta Karo: Narir Adhikar O Adhikar Andolan Bishayak Probondho Sankalon, Kolkata: Peoples’ Book Society: 159-186.

[29] Ibid, 166.

[30] The Inquilabi Communist Sangathan (Indian Section of the fourth International) had taken a stand supporting OBC reservations before V.P. Singh unpacked the Mandal Commission report. The CPI(ML) led by Santosh Rana, Vaskar Nandy and others was analyzing the complexities of caste, and campaigning for dalit rights, for a long time. Other ML groups also tried different strategies, including bringing in more dalit or OBC forces into the party and into the leadership. By contrast, the mainstream left in West Bengal, ruling the province for decades, has an abysmal record of either implementing constitutional provisions, or transforming the outlook of basic class forces on the caste question.