Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Blog Shifted

I have shifted to wordpress blog service, as I was facing some complications with the blogger.com

Please visit my new blog at: http://reddiarypk.wordpress.com/

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Abominable Empire

"Whatever we think we know about the US foreign policy, Rogue State makes it clear that we don't know nearly enough," said Norman Solomon, author of The Habits of Highly Deceptive Media, while describing William Blum's famous book "Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower" (2001).

What might appear to be just another U.S. basher with an unimpressive cover-page, Rogue State is a heavy rock hurled towards Imperialism with full power by a conscious citizen of U.S.A. William Blum, with the help of concrete exhaustive evidence and thorough argument, draws out a revealing picture of the role played by U.S. subsequent to World War II. Starting from the U.S. invasion in Greece in latter half of 1940's, Blum vividly presents the crimes committed by U.S.A. against the people of the world, including their own citizens, which entails, amongst others, gross human rights violations, support of dictators, bombings, torture, use of biological and chemical weapons, assassinations, kidnapping, looting, eavesdropping, drugs trade, suppression of national movements, protections of war criminals, and support of apartheid in South Africa. Ironically as ever, according the ruling class of U.S.A, their actions in various corners of the earth are propelled by the "force of peace and freedom, for democracy and security and prosperity."(Clinton, 1996)

This book faces a very noticeable short-coming, i-e., it misses on the events following the September 11 for it was published in 2001. With the initiation of the "War on Terror" the criminal role of USA is becoming more highlighted. The incidents of invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the issues involving treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and Abu-Gharib, the attack of Israel on Lebanon, are unveiling new faces of the devilish character of U.S.A. in our time.

Nevertheless, given this short-coming, Blum's work is a substantial reply to the a-historical argument that postulates that the post-9/11 world is different. Uncle Sam has been roaming around protecting this planet from "International Communist Conspiracy" and "Terrorism" under his self-assumed role as the "world's policeman" consistently for more than the last fifty years. While performing her "responsibilities", U.S. inflicted hunger, misery, death, and war on the innocent masses thought out the world.

William Blum effectively demonstrates that imperialism is an epidemic, which if not curtailed and treated properly can result in destruction of the whole of mankind. I will strongly recommend the readers to read this book as soon as possible.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

UN on DPRK's nuclear tests

"I hold that it is bad as far as we are concerned if a person, a political party, an army or a school is not attacked by the enemy, for in that case it would definitely mean that we have sunk to the level of the enemy."- Mao Tse Tung

According to the latest news, "the U.N. Security Council has unanimously passed resolution imposing sanctions on North Korea for conducting an apparent nuclear test." (VOA News, 14 October 2006)

U.N. has once again shown that it is only fit to serve the global interests of US Imperialism. It is nothing but a tool, a loyal servant, of imperialism and capitalism. UN posses no power to save any country from armed aggressions of imperialism, as we saw in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other countless cases. No country in the world can prudently regard U.N as a safeguard against any violent outrage of USA. UN was wordless and spineless when USA was threatening North Korea by deploying troops and nuclear arsenal in South Korea. Nevertheless, when North Korea, under extreme circumstances, had to strongly assert its rights to self-defense against imperialism, it immediately imposed "economic and weapons sanctions" on it.

The DPRK's successful nuclear test is a great victory for the anti-imperialist revolutionary struggle of the masses of the world oppressed under the yoke of imperialism. DPRK's powerful declaration of freedom, independence, and self-defense is indigestible for the imperialist vultures and their lackeys. Let them whine, for they can never tolerate anything contrary to their class interests of imperialism and capitalism.

The masses of the world will have to defeat imperialism to redeem itself from its claws. They will have to kick Uncle Sam and his band out of this planet in order to ensure peace and harmony.

"People of the world, unite and defeat the U.S. aggressors and all their running dogs! People of the world, be courageous, dare to fight, defy difficulties and advance wave upon wave. Then the world will belong to the people. Monsters of all kinds shall be destroyed." - Mao Tse Tung

Long Live the DPRK!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Free-Market World Holocaust

"In persuit of counterrevolution and in the name of freedom, U.S. forces or the U.S. supported sorrogate forces slaughtered 2,000,000 North Koreans in the three-year war; 3,000,000 Vietnamese; over 500,000 in aerial wars over Laos and Combodia; over 1,500,00 in Angola; oer 1,000,000 in Mozembique; over 500,000 in Afghanistan; 500,000 to 1,000,000 in Indonesia; 200,000 in East Timor; 100,000 in Nicragua (combining the Samoza and Reagan eras); over 100,000 in Guatemala (plus an additional 40,000 disappeared); over 700,000 in Iraq; over 60,000 in El Salvador; 30,000 in the "dirty war" of Argentina (though the government admits to only 9,000); 35,000 in Taiwan, when the Kuomintang military arrived from China; 20,000 in Chile; and many thousands in Haiti, Panama, Grenada, Brazil, South Africa, Western Sahara, Zaire, Turkey, and dozens of ohers countries, in what amounts to a free-market world holocaust."
(Micheal Parenti, Black Shirts and the Red, 1997, p. 25)

The picture presented by Micheal Parenti leaves nothing much to say about the dimensions of crimes committed by U.S. imperialism against the people of the world. The "free-market world holocaust" is not over. We see it being conducted by the same old criminals -- U.S. imperialism and its servants, guided by the corterie of financial capitalists -- in front of our eyes in Lebanon, Philippines, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Yet, if we choose to close our eyes like a pigeon, or don't take a concrete action to oppose imperialism and its lackeys, the future generations will remember us as those who capitulated with tyrants and oppressors against the oppressed for "there comes a time when silence is betrayal."(Martin Luther King Jr.)

"We shall fight and destroy imperialism....We want freedom by any means necessary. We want justice, by any means necessary..." - Malcolm X

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Trotskyism, a defeatist path

This post entails the text of my discussion against the counter-revolutionary ideology of Trotskyism.

Trotskyism, a defeatist path

Is the inherent defeatism in the above theory not clear to you? Permanent revolution would say that if a revolution occurs in Pakistan, and doesn't spread to India, and other countries, it will be dead, revolution will fail. It must also be clear, according to law of uneven development of capitalism, that it is not objectively necessary that revolution in Pakistan will cause a simultaneous revolution in India.

If the revolution didn't occur in Germany in the first quarter of the last century, inspite of a vibrant revolutionary workers' movement present there, what could Lenin have done? Should the leadership of USSR had announced that the Bolshevik revolution of 1917, the heroic struggle of workers and peasants of USSR, has failed and there is no point in building a better lifestyle?

We, CMKP, reject defeatism. If workers and peasants can defeat the forces of capitalism and imperialism in their country, then very well, they can also build socialism in their country.

Nevertheless, the final victory of socialism, that is the ultimate defeat of capitalism and imperialism all over the world, is possible only with the world revolution. However, that doesn't mean that revolution can't exist on one country.

Lalbadhsha (trotskyite) wrote, "i want to suggest the upper leadership of CMKP please guide your comrades in better way and Not just idealists but also be a little more practical, Leave luxury rooms and come between people then tell whats going on and that time ur Stalian Theory will see how it effective ."

My Reply:

Writing out it in bold will not make it correct. The leadership of CMKP has facilitated a detailed study of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and other great Marxist-Leninist. Therefore, the members of CMKP have the ability to impart correct and accurate understanding of Marxism-Leninism to the working masses.

Let me ask you a question? If the members of CMKP have never left their "luxury rooms", then how are they able to form an alliance with All Pakistan Trade Union Federation, the largest trade union front in Pakistan; Working Women's Organization, one of the very few women workers' front; Anjuman Mazareen Punjab, the militant landless peasant organization of Okara; and Bhutta Mazdoor Ittehad, the brick kiln labour front that has been fighting for their rights since 1967.

In additing to this, those members of CMKP who are living in "luxury rooms" have been conducting study circles among industrial workers for years.

Moreover, I must warn you that personal remarks don't suit a Marxist. If you want to launch personal slanders, then stop calling yourself a Marxist.


Che Guevara

"It is very clear for anyone who has even touched the economic works of Che Guevara that he took a very clear anti-Trotskyite position:"In Cuba there is nothing published, if one excludes the Soviet bricks, which bring inconvenience that they do not let you think, the party did it for you and you should digest it.It would be necessary to publish that complete works of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and other great Marxists.Here would come to the great revisionists (if you want you can add here Khurschez), well analyzed, more professionally than any other and also your friend Trotsky, who existed and apparently wrote something."

(Che Guevara, Letter to Armando Hart Davalos published in Contracorriente, Havana, September 1997, N9; quoted by Bruce Mellado, Che Guevara and Political Economy of Socialism, Revolutionary Democracy, Vol. XI, No. 1, p. 94)


Leninist Internatinalism

"There is one, and only one, kind of real internationalism, and that is -- working whole-heartedly for the development of the revolutionary movement and the revolutionary struggle in one's own country, and supporting (by propaganda, sympathy, and material aid) this struggle, this, and only this, line, in every country without exception."-Lenin


I would ask the Trotskyites present on this forum, while hoping against hope, to answer my following question in lucid and clear terms:

The proletarian revoltionary movement didn't succeed in Germany after the World War One, depite of the vibrant struggle of workers led by remarkable figures like Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg. October revolution was not followed by a revolution in Germany or over-throw of capitalists in any other Western European country. This, as we know, is history. Now, what could Lenin have done after the failure of German revolution, if at all, merely for the sake of arugment, socialism can not develop in one country?

Monday, August 28, 2006

Death Anniversary of Suleman Petras

The Anjuman-e-Mazreen Punjab (Landless Tenants Union of Punjab- AMP) organized an event on the 4th death anniversary of one of their martyred comrades-- Suleman Petras. The Communist Workers and Pesants Party (CMKP) participated whole-heartedly and expressed solidarity with AMP.

Please, read the detailed report of the event written by Taimur Rahman.

Jhera Wahway, Oh hi Khaway (He who tills the soil shall eat!)

Following are some of the pictures taken by a cadre of CMKP on the death anniversary of Suleman Petras:

The participants of the event paying attention the speeches of their leaders.


As can be seen the participation of women is higher than that of men.


The flag of AMP masted at the grave of Suleman Petras.


Trotskyite Decepetion Once Again

The tactics of deception and mis-representation to mislead the communist movement is the defining feature of Trotskyism. This method has been used over and over by a number of Trotskyites to propagate their bankrupt proposition of permanent revolution, which must be correctly categorized as 'permanent gloominess', to borrow the phrase from Comrade Stalin.
During a discussion with a group of Trotskyites, a small passage from the Ted Grant's book "Russia, from Revolution to Counter-Revolution" was pointed out to show statements of Lenin in support of the concept of permanent revolution. While this passage, filled with misquotations and misrepresentations, might be able to satisfy the thirst of philistines, it is no better than an example of opportunist writings for a Marxist.

The passage I am dealing with is "Lenin's internationalism" and is available at http://www.marxist.com/russiabook/part1.html

Quotations from 'Extraordinary Seventh Congress of the R.C.P.(B.) (1918):

Ted Grant wrote:
"On the 7th March 1918, Lenin weighed up the situation:
"Regarded from the world-historical point of view, there would doubtlessly be no hope of the ultimate victory of our revolution if it were to remain alone, if there were no revolutionary movements in other countries. When the Bolshevik Party tackled the job alone, it did so in the firm conviction that the revolution was maturing in all countries and that in the end - but not at the very beginning - no matter what difficulties we experienced, no matter what defeats were in store for us, the world socialist revolution would come - because it is coming; would mature - because it is maturing and will reach full maturity. I repeat, our salvation from all these difficulties is an all-European revolution." (LCW, Vol. 27, p. 95.)

He then concluded: "At all events, under all conceivable circumstances, if the German Revolution does not come, we are doomed." (LCW, Vol. 27, p. 98.)"

Ted Grant has completely misrepresented the conclusion that Lenin drew. One can easily observe the flawed methodology of Ted Grant by reading the complete article from which the quotations are taken.

Lenin was not waiting for the revolution in Germany at all. He wrote in "Extraordinary Seventh Congress of the R.C.P.(B.)" (the same article from where Mr. Grant is picking up his quotations):
"The [German] revolution will not come as quickly as we expected. History has proved this, and we must be able to take this as a fact, to reckon with the fact that the world socialist revolution cannot begin so easily in the advanced countries as the revolution began in Russia—in the land of Nicholas and Rasputin, the land in which an enormous part of the population was absolutely indifferent as to what peoples were living in the outlying regions, or what was happening there. In such a country it was quite easy to start a revolution, as easy as lifting a feather." (Lenin, Extraordinary Seventh Congress of the R.C.P.(B.), 1918)

What is the conclusion that Lenin highlight? Is it, as Ted Grant points out, that if "the German Revolution does not come, we are doomed"? No, it is not. If we complete the second quotation of Lenin, as used by Mr. Grant in the afore-mentioned passage, we can see what Lenin is pointing towards:

"At all events, under all conceivable circumstances, if the German revolution does not come, we are doomed. Nevertheless, this does not in the least shake our conviction that we must be able to bear the most difficult position without blustering."(Ibid.)

Isn't it like saying that if the revolution in Germany doesn't occur then we are going to face some very hard times, yet if we try our best, socialism in one country can survive? This very obvious point has been deliberately ignored by Ted Grant. Many other philistines and opportunists, who are incapable to check from the original sources, who were finding it difficult to propagate their defunct ideas, are jubilated for the help that came from misrepresentations. Ted Grant, knowing that those who support him will never pay attention to what great Marxist intellectuals actually said, finds it convenient to quote randomly and inaccurately from the works of Lenin.

In the same article, Lenin sheds light on his stance on internationalism:

"One may dream about the field revolution on a world-wide scale, for it will come. Everything will come in due time; but for the time being, set to work to establish self-discipline, subordination before all else, so that we can have exemplary order, so that the workers for at least one hour in twenty-four may train to fight. This is a little more difficult than relating beautiful fairy-tales. This is what we can do today; in this way you will help the German revolution, the world revolution." (Ibid.)

Quotation from "Third All-Russia Congress Of Soviets Of Workers', Soldiers' And Peasants' Deputies":

Ted Grant presents the following quotation of Lenin:

"We are far from having completed even the transitional period from capitalism to socialism. We have never cherished the hope that we could finish it without the aid of the international proletariat. We never had any illusions on that score. The final victory of socialism in a single country is of course impossible. Our contingent of workers and peasants which is upholding Soviet power is one of the contingents of the great world army, which at present has been split by the world war, but which is striving for unity. We can now see clearly how far the development of the Revolution will go. The Russian began it - the German, the Frenchman and the Englishman will finish it, and socialism will be victorious." (LCW, Vol. 26, pp. 465-72.)

The above quotation is taken from "Third All-Russia Congress Of Soviets Of Workers', Soldiers' And Peasants' Deputies", where it appears in a very different shape. Mr. Grant has combined different parts knowing that philistines will never bother to check the original sources.
The first part of the "quotation" is taken from what following excerpt:

"We are far from having completed even the transitional period from capitalism to socialism. We have never cherished the hope that we could finish it without the aid of the international proletariat. We never had any illusions on that score, and we know how difficult is the road that leads from capitalism to socialism. But it is our duty to say that our Soviet Republic is a socialist republic because we have taken this road, and our words will riot be empty words."(Lenin, Third All-Russia Congress Of Soviets Of Workers', Soldiers' And Peasants' Deputies, 1918)

The second part of "quotation" is taken from somewhere else, tough from the same article.
What does Ted Grant wants to suggest by using Lenin's quotations? According to Ted Grant, these quotations proved that "he [Lenin] thought that the October Revolution could not survive for any length of time."

Much to the dislike of Ted Grant and his friends, Lenin wrote in the same article that "The example of the Soviet Republic will stand before them for a long time to come. Our socialist Republic of Soviets will stand secure, as a torch of international socialism and as an example to all the working people." (Ibid.)

Perhaps, Ted Grant is firm that his work would be appreciated only by unscholarly opportunists, who have never bothered to read Lenin from the original sources.
In conclusion, the example of Ted Grant strongly reaffirms the observations of Lenin regarding Trotsky:

"Trotsky unites all to whom ideological decay is dear, all who are not concerned with the defence of Marxism; all philistines who do not understand the reasons for the struggle and who do not wish to learn, think, and discover the ideological roots of the divergence of views. At this time of confusion, disintegration, and wavering it is easy for Trotsky to become the `hero of the hour' and gather all the shabby elements around himself. The more openly this attempt is made, the more spectacular will be the defeat." (Lenin, Letter to the Russian Collegium of the Central Committee of the R.S.D.L.P., 1910)

Saturday, August 12, 2006

CMKP Poster Campaign

Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party (Communist Workers and Peasants Party- CMKP) Lahore has decided to launch a poster campaign. Posters will be placed in the workers' living quarters in the Industrial Area of Lahore.

Following are the posters designed by the CMKP for the campaign:

Workers of the World, Unite!

The Capitalist system is based on the exploitation of Workers.

Communism is the thoery of emancipation of the Working class.

Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party


Theory of Communism, a solution to the Capitalist system!

Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party



Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Transfer of power in Cuba

Many people have raised the argument that the provisional transfer of power from Fidel to his brother Raul in Cuba is a dictatorial move and similiar to transfer of power in a monrachy. This view is incorrect.

Article 94 of The Constitution of the Republic of Cuba 1992 provides that "in cases of the absence, illness or death of the president of the Council of State, the first vice president assumes the president's duties." Who is the first vice president of the Council of State of Cuba? Happens to be Gen. Raul Castro Ruz (since 1976). Moreover, the first vice president of the Council of State is elected by National Assembly of People's Power, not appointed by the Presedent.

According to the constitution of Cuba, Comrade Fidel Castro had no option but to transfer his powers the Comrade Raul Castro. Had Comrade Fidel Castro done otherwise, his action could have been termed as dictatorial.

List of Council of Ministers of the Government of Cuba:

Constitution of the Republic of Cuba 1992:

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

On Revolutionary Intelligentsia

The question about the role of revolutionary intelligentsia in the communist movement of Pakistan is extremely important. The erroneous slogan of "only workers should lead workers" turned out to be extremely expensive for the progress of revolutionary struggle, and became a potent factor in the decline of the movement. This incorrect resolution was a product of the misguided understanding of Marxism-Leninism of the past leaders of the communist movement of Pakistan.

To start with, who is an intellectual? "The term "intellectuals" refers to all those who have had middle school or higher education and those with similar educational levels. They include university and middle school teachers and staff members, university and middle school students, primary school teachers, professionals, engineers and technicians, among whom the university and middle school students occupy an important position". (Footnote from Selected Works of Mao Tse-Tung, Volume II, p. 303)

The role of revolutionary intelligentsia in the proletarian struggle was first presented by founders of scientific socialism, Karl Marx and Fredrick Engels, in their most famous pronouncement "The Communist Manifesto":

"Finally, in times when the class struggle nears the decisive hour, the process of dissolution going on within the ruling class (in fact, within the whole range of old society) assumes such a violent, glaring character, that a small section of the ruling class adrift, and joins the revolutionary class, the class that holds the future in its hands. Just as, therefore, at an earlier period, a section of the nobility went over to the bourgeoisie, so now a portion of the bourgeoisie goes over to the proletariat, and in particular, a portion of the bourgeois ideologists, who have raised themselves to the level of comprehending theoretically the historical movement as a whole."

With these words, Marx and Engels described the evolution of revolutionary intelligentsia from the ranks of bourgeoisie as a historical necessity. It is for this reason that even when the attitude of the communist movement was antagonistic towards intellectuals, the latter kept on springing up, and waged a protracted struggle to correct the line of the movement and bring it in conformity with Marxism-Leninism.

Once the principle was laid down by Marx and Engels, it was, just like any other part of Marxist theory, elaborated and highlighted by Lenin. Lenin wrote in his eminent work "What is to be Done?":

"Finally, when the class struggle nears the decisive hour, the process of degeneration going on within the ruling class and the entire society becomes so glaring that a section of the ruling class joins the revolutionary workers. Therefore, just as at an earlier period, a section of the feudals went over to the capitalist class, now a portion of the capitalist class goes over to the workers. Especially a part of the intellectuals who have understood the laws of history and can see that the working class holds the future in its hands."

Lenin further provided:

" We have said that there could not have been Social-Democratic consciousness among the workers. It would have to be brought to them from without. The history of all countries shows that the working class, exclusively by its own effort, is able to develop only trade union consciousness, i.e., the conviction that it is necessary to combine in unions, fight the employers, and strive to compel the government to pass necessary labour legislation, etc. The theory of socialism, however, grew out of the philosophic, historical, and economic theories elaborated by educated representatives of the propertied classes, by intellectuals. By their social status the founders of modern scientific socialism, Marx and Engels, themselves belonged to the bourgeois intelligentsia."

While expounding on the tenants of Marxism-Leninism, Comrade Mao Tse-Tung not only emphasized the role of revolutionary intelligentsia in the revolution, but also exposed the incorrect stance of those who undermined the importance of intelligentsia.

The decision of the Central Committee of Chinese Communist Party "Recruit Large Numbers of Intelligentsia" (1939), drafted by Comrade Mao, clearly laid out that "without the participation of intellectuals victory of revolution is impossible." (Selected Works of Mao Tse-Tung, Volume II, p. 301)

According to the Comrade Mao, the reason behind the discrimination of intellectuals is "due to the failure to understand the importance of the intellectuals for the revolutionary cause, the difference between intellectuals in colonial and semi-colonial countries and those in capitalist countries and the difference between intellectuals who serve the landlords and the bourgeoisie and those who serve the working class and the peasantry..." (Ibid.)

The ultimate objective of the inclusion of intellectuals in the party activities is to raise the intellectual level of the workers and peasants, to facilitate the development of intellectuals from amongst workers and peasants. In this mission, the help from the the 'bourgeois class traitors' is meaningful and critical as "the proletariat cannot produce intellectuals of the its own without the help of the existing intellectuals." (Ibid., p. 303)

Moreover, Mao further elaborated on the principle: "The revolutionary forces can not be successfully organized and revolutionary work can not be successfully conducted without the participation of revolutionary intellectuals." (Mao, "Chinese Revolution and Chinese Communist Party", Selected Works of Mao Tse-Tung, Volume II, p. 322)

Mao suggests that the tough revolutionary intellectuals have some sort-comings, due to their class background, these are not incurable infections. These short-comings can be removed if these intellectuals throw themselves "heart and soul into the mass revolutionary struggles, or [make] up their mind to serve the interests of the masses and become one with them". (Ibid.)

In conclusion, while elaborating on an importance of revolutionary intelligentsia, Mao provided very clear and accurate directions to the Communist Party of China:

"On admitting intellectuals into the Party, more attention must be paid to their degree of loyalty, so as to ensure still tighter Party organization in those areas. We should maintain suitable contact with the huge numbers of non-Party intellectuals who sympathize with us and organize them in great struggle for resistence to Japan and for democracy, and in the cultural movement and the work of the united front."(Mao, "Recruit Large Numbers of Intelligentsia", Selected Works of Mao Tse-Tung, Volume II, p. 303)

Therefore, the slogan of "only workers should lead workers", which discriminates against the revolutionary intelligentsia, is in contradiction with the scientific theory of Marxism-Leninism. Countless revolutionaries, including the most brilliant minds-- such as Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Chou En Lai-- emerged from the ranks of bourgeoisie and played an extremely instrumental part in the progress of the revolutionary struggle.

CMKP and Revolutionary Intelligentsia

The stance of CMKP on the role of revolutionary intelligentsia is attached below

(excerpts from www.cmkp.tk "Marxism for Beginners").

In every society a special segment of the population is separated from the general work of production to perform of the role of thinkers. Their role in society is not to engage in the direct process of production but to conceive, think, reflect, ponder, contemplate, study, examine, research and analyze all the different elements of society. This group of individuals are called the intelligentsia (danishwar). In a society divided between rich and poor, the intelligentsia (danishwar) are also trained by the rich and serve the rich. They not only develop new scientific discoveries, they also develop ideologies through which the rich can control the poor. However, as the process of scientific inquiry and human understanding develops, a tiny section of the intelligentsia (danishwar) begins to scientifically uncover the economic basis of the exploitation of the working class. They begin to understand the laws of class struggle and history. They begin to unravel all the different mechanisms through which the ruling class is able to control the working class. As they uncover this truth, the truth makes them more and more revolutionary minded. Thus, a small portion of the intelligentsia that has grasped the scientific basis of exploitation and class struggle becomes the revolutionary intelligentsia (inqalabi danishwar). In other words, they are class traitors to the capitalist class...

... The revolutionary intelligentsia plays a very important role in bringing a scientific understanding of the dynamics of history and class struggle to the entire working class. The fact is that the deeper the depth of knowledge of the revolutionary intelligentsia, the greater their loyalty to the working class. That is why the greatest leaders of the workers of the world have been the greatest intellectual minds of the last two centuries. For example, Marx, Engels, and Lenin were all from privileged backgrounds, but their vast knowledge about the capitalist system forms the basis of the principles of class struggle of all the workers of the world today. Thus, on the one hand, workers must learn to distinguish genuine revolutionary intellectuals from impostors, and on the other hand, safeguard and learn from genuine revolutionary intellectuals. But it is not necessary that revolutionary intellectuals come exclusively from privileged backgrounds. Workers who have been hardened by many years of class struggle posses an extraordinary instinct and natural understanding of the dynamics of society. Battle hardened workers are an invaluable asset of the working class movement. Thus, the leadership of the working class (the vanguard) should be composed of the most knowledgeable and revolutionary elements recruited from the revolutionary intelligentsia and battle hardened workers.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Isreal's attacks on Lebanon

"At this stage we do not think we have to activate massive ground forces into Lebanon but if we have to do this, we will," Moshe Kaplinsky, Israel's deputy army chief, shamelessly declared through the Israel Radio on July 18th. The statements coming out from the Israeli offices indicate that they plan to continue the attacks on the Lebanon on the pretext of rescuing its two Israeli soldiers, while ignoring hundreds of Arabs suffering in Israeli jails. Israeli president has also expressed that Israel is not going to back out even if the situation leads to a conflict between two countries.

Israeli attack have entered their seventh day, killing more than 227 people, including 203 civilians, and causing massive damage to Lebanese civilian transport infrastructure built over decades to support the struggling economy.

Israel's attacks and all such acts of brutality and barbarity must be condemned.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Mazdoor Action Committee Demonstration

Report by Hassan Nasir of CMKP (redpak2000@yahoo.com)

The demonstration of the Mazdoor Action Committee held yesterday was
an incredible success. Over a thousand people attended the rally
organized against the extention of the working day to 12 hours and
all the newspapers of Pakistan have carried pictures and/or articles
about our demonstration.

It was an incredibly hot and humid day yesterday and the July sun
was unsparing. Despite the heat workers came with red banners flying
in high spirits. Tons of buses came in from all industrial areas of
Lahore and each bus was not only brimming with workers inside,
workers an equal number of workers sat and stood on the roof of each
bus to attend this rally. Other workers from Gulberg industrial
area, Kot Lakhpat and Railway workshops came on motorcycles, cycles,
and by foot.

The first workers to get to the location assembled in the small
green area next to the press club unfurling their banners and
raising their flags waiting for their comrades. Spirits were so high
that even before the full force of the demonstration had arrived,
workers began to raise slogans, read poetry and make speaches
against the government. Bashir Zafar (leader of the APTUF--Kot
Lakhpat) and President APTUF General Secretary Railway Workers Union
Fazl-e-Wahid addressed the audience and argued that workers should
ensure that party of the government (PML(Q)) should not be able to
campaign in their areas. They argued that if this party, responsible
for extending the working day to 12 hours, enters a workers district
workers should get a hold of them and blacken their faces before
sending them packing back.

Later as bus after bus of workers arrived the demonstration swelled
to an enormous size and the diminutive green area was insufficient.
The demonstration moved to a small adjoining intersection area. The
tempo of slogans on continued to build throughout this period
especially when slogans were led by the leaders of the Working
Women's Organization.

Read the full Report.

Mazdoor Action Committee is the union of
Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party, All Pakistan Trade Union Federation, Anjuman Mazarin (Landless peasants organization), Working Women's Organization, and Bhatta Mazdoor Ittehad (Brick Kiln labour union).


Long Live the Revolution!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Sign the Petition

Please sign the online unity statement demanding the immediate release of UP students Karen and Sherlyn and justice for all victims of Arroyo's reign of terror.


Long Live the Revolution!

Monday, June 05, 2006

On Socialism in One Country

[This post includes a group of messages written by my comrade- Bhagat Singh-during the course of an open polemics.]

You have reverted into the tradition of Trotskyism. The tradition of slandering and fabrication. You said:

Lenin says in his article “On the slogan of a United states of Europe”:

”Uneven economic and political development is an absolute law of capitalism. Hence, the victory of socialism is possible first in several or even in one capitalist country alone.”

[Progress Publishers volume 21 , p 339-343]

The dictatorship of the proletariat is the class alliance between the proletariat and the labouring masses of the peasantry for the purpose of overthrowing capital, for achieving the final victory of socialism, on the condition that the guiding force of this alliance is the proletariat.
The theory of permanent revolution is not a question of "slightly" underestimating or "slightly" overestimating the revolutionary potentialities of the peasant movement, as certain diplomatic advocates of "permanent revolution" are now fond of expressing it. It is a question of the nature of the new proletarian state which arose as a result of the October Revolution. It is a question of the character of the proletarian power, of the foundations of the dictatorship of the proletariat itself.

page 123
"The dictatorship of the proletariat," says Lenin, "is a special form of class alliance between the proletariat, the vanguard of the working people, and the numerous non-proletarian strata of working people (the petty bourgeoisie, the small proprietors, the peasantry, the intelligentsia, etc.), or the majority of these; it is an alliance against capital, an alliance aiming at the complete overthrow of capital, at the complete suppression of the resistance of the bourgeoisie and of any attempt on its part at restoration, an alliance aiming at the final establishment and consolidation of socialism." (See Vol. XXIV, p. 311.)

And further on:
"The dictatorship of the proletariat, if we translate this Latin, scientific, historical-philosophical term into simpler language, means the following:
"Only a definite class, namely, the urban workers and the factory, industrial workers in general, is able to lead the whole mass of the toilers and exploited in the struggle for the overthrow of the yoke of capital, in the process of the overthrow itself, in the struggle to maintain and consolidate the victory, in the work of creating the new, socialist social system, in the whole struggle for the complete abolition of classes." (See Vol. XXIV, p. 336.)

Such is the theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat given by Lenin.

Lenin constantly reiterated that without an alliance with these masses of other nationalities the proletariat of Russia could not achieve victory. In his articles on the national question and in his speeches at the congresses of the Comintern, Lenin repeatedly said that the victory of the world revolution was impossible without a revolutionary alliance, a revolutionary bloc, between the proletariat of the advanced countries and the oppressed peoples of the enslaved colonies. But what are colonies if not the oppressed labouring masses, and, primarily, the labouring masses of the peasantry? Who does not know that the question of the liberation of the colonies is essentially a question of the liberation of the labouring masses of the non-proletarian classes from the oppression and exploitation of finance capital?

But from this it follows that Lenin's theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat is not a purely "Russian" theory, but a theory which necessarily applies to all countries. Bolshevism is not only a Russian phenomenon. "Bolshevism," says Lenin, is "a model of tactics for all." (See Vol. XXIII, p. 386 )

Such are the characteristics of the first specific feature of the October Revolution.
How do matters stand with regard to Trotsky's theory of "permanent revolution" in the light of this specific feature of the October Revolution?

We shall not dwell at length on Trotsky's position when he "simply" forgot all about the peasantry as a revolutionary force and advanced the slogan of "No tsar, but a workers' government," that is, the slogan of revolution without the peasantry. Even Radek, that diplomatic defender of "permanent revolution," is now obliged to admit that "permanent
revolution" in 1905 meant a "leap into the air" away from reality. Now, apparently everyone admits that it is not worth while bothering with this "leap into the air" any more.
Nor shall we dwell at length on Trotsky's position in the period of the war, say, in 1915, when, in his article "The Struggle for Power," proceeding from the fact that "we are living in the era of imperialism," that imperialism "sets up not the bourgeois nation in opposition to the old regime, but the proletariat in opposition to the bourgeois nation," he arrived at the conclusion that the revolutionary role of the peasantry was bound to subside, that the slogan of the confiscation of the land no longer had the same importance as formerly. It is well known that at that time, Lenin, examining this article of Trotsky's, accused him of "denying" "the role of the peasantry," and said that "Trotsky is in fact helping the liberal labour politicians in Russia who understand 'denial' of the role of the peasantry to mean refusal to rouse the peasants to revolution!" (See Vol. XVIII, p. 318.)

Let us rather pass on to the later works of Trotsky on this subject, to the works of the period when the proletarian dictatorship had already become established and when Trotsky had had the opportunity to test his theory of "permanent revolution" in the light of actual events and to correct his errors. Let us take Trotsky's "Preface" to his book The Year 1905, written in 1922. Here is what Trotsky says in this "Preface" concerning "permanent revolution":
"It was precisely during the interval between January 9 and the October strike of 1905 that the views on the character of the revolutionary development of Russia which came to be known as the theory of 'permanent revolution' crystallized in the author's mind. This abstruse term represented the revolution, whose immediate objectives were bourgeois in nature, could not, however, stop when these objectives had been achieved. The revolution would not be able to solve its immediate bourgeois problems except by placing the proletariat in power. And the latter, upon assuming power, would not be able to confine itself to the bourgeois limits of the revolution. On the contrary, precisely in order to ensure its victory, the proletarian vanguard would be forced in the very early stages of its rule to make deep inroads not only into feudal property but into bourgeois property as well. In this it would come into hostile collision not only with all the bourgeois groupings which supported the proletariat during the first stages of its revolutionary struggle, but also with the broad masses of the peasantry with whose assistance it came into power. The contradictions in the position of a workers' government in a backward country with an overwhelmingly peasant population could be solved only on an international scale, in the arena of the world proletarian revolution."

That is what Trotsky says about his "permanent revolution."

One need only compare this quotation with the above quotations from Lenin's works on the dictatorship of the proletariat to perceive the great chasm that separates Lenin's theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat from Trotsky's theory of "permanent revolution."
Lenin speaks of the alliance between the proletariat and the labouring strata of the peasantry as the basis of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Trotsky sees a "hostile collision " between "the proletarian vanguard" and "the broad masses of the peasantry."

Lenin speaks of the leadership of the toiling and exploited masses by the proletariat. Trotsky sees "contradictions in the position of a workers' government in a backward country with an overwhelmingly peasant population."

According to Lenin, the revolution draws its strength primarily from among the workers and peasants of Russia itself.

According to Trotsky, the necessary strength can be found only "in the arena of the world proletarian revolution."

But what if the world revolution is fated to arrive with some delay? Is there any ray of hope for our revolution? Trotsky offers no ray of hope; for "the contradictions in the position of a workers' government . . . could be solved only . . . in the arena of the world proletarian revolution." According to this plan, there is but one prospect left for our revolution: to vegetate in its own contradictions and rot away while waiting for the world revolution.
What is the dictatorship of the proletariat according to Lenin?

The dictatorship of the proletariat is a power which rests on an alliance between the proletariat and the labouring masses of the peasantry for "the complete overthrow of capital" and for "the final establishment and consolidation of socialism."

What is the dictatorship of the proletariat according to Trotsky?

The dictatorship of the proletariat is a power which comes "into hostile collision" with "the broad masses of the peas antry" and seeks the solution of its "contradictions" only "in the arena of the world proletarian revolution."

What difference is there between this "theory of permanent revolution" and the well-known theory of Menshevism which repudiates the concept of dictatorship of the proletariat?
Essentially, there is no difference.

There can be no doubt at all. "Permanent revolution" is not a mere underestimation of the revolutionary potentialities of the peasant movement. "Permanent revolution" is an underestimation of the peasant movement which leads to the repudiation of Lenin's theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat.

Trotsky's "permanent revolution" is a variety of Menshevism.
This is how matters stand with regard to the first specific feature of the October Revolution.
What are the characteristics of the second specific feature of the October Revolution?

In his study of imperialism, especially in the period of the war, Lenin arrived at the law of the uneven, spasmodic, economic and political development of the capitalist countries. According to this law, the development of enterprises, trusts, branches of industry and individual countries proceeds not evenly -- not according to an established sequence, not in such a way that one trust, one branch of industry or one country is always in advance of the others, while other trusts or countries keep consistently one behind the other -- but spasmodically, with interruptions in the development of some countries and leaps ahead in the development of others. Under these circumstances the "quite legitimate" striving of the countries that have slowed down to hold their old positions, and the equally "legitimate" striving of the countries that have leapt ahead to seize new positions, lead to a situation in which armed clashes among the imperialist countries become an inescapable neces sity. Such was the case, for example, with Germany, which half a century ago was a backward country in comparison with France and Britain. The same must be said of Japan as compared with Russia. It is well known, however, that by the beginning of the twentieth century Germany and Japan had leapt so far ahead that Germany had succeeded in overtaking France and had bcgun to press Britain hard on the world market, while Japan was pressing Russia. As is well known, it was from these contradictions that the recent imperialist war arose.

his law proceeds from the following:

1) "Capitalism has grown into a world system of colonial oppression and of the financial strangulation of the vast ma jority of the population of the world by a handful of 'advanced' countries" (see Preface to the French edition ot Lenin's Imperialism, Vol. XIX, p. 74);

2) "This 'booty' is shared between two or three powerful world robbers armed to the teeth (America, Britain, Japan), who involve the whole world in their war over the sharing of their booty" (ibid.);

3) The growth of contradictions within the world system of financial oppression and the inevitability of armed clashes lead to the world front of imperialism becoming easily vulnerable to revolution, and to a breach in this front in individual coun tries becoming probable;

4) This breach is most likely to occur at those points, and in those countries, where the chain of the imperialist front is weakest, that is to say, where imperialism is least consolidated, and where it is easiest for a revolution to expand;

5) In view of this, the victory of socialism in one country, even if that country is less developed in the capitalist sense, while capitalism remains in other countries, even if those countries are more highly developed in the capitalist sense -- is quite possible and probable.

Such, briefly, are the foundations of Lenin's theory of the proletarian revolution.

What is the second specific feature of the October Revolution? The second specific feature of the October Revolution lies in the fact that this revolution represents a model of the practical application of Lenin's theory of the proletarian revolution.

He who has not understood this specific feature of the October Revolution will never understand either the international nature of this revolution, or its colossal international might, or the specific features of its foreign policy.

"Uneven economic and political development," says Lenin, "is an absolute law of capitalism. Hence, the victory of socialism is possible first in several or even in one capitalist country taken separately. The victorious proletariat of that country, having expropriated the capitalists and organized its own socialist production, would stand up against the rest of the world, the capitalist world, attracting to its cause the oppressed classes of other countries, raising revolts in those countries against the capitalists, and in the event of necessity coming out even with armed force against the exploiting classes and their states." For "the free union of nations in socialism is impossible without a more or less prolonged and stubborn struggle of the socialist republics against the backward states." (See Vol. XVIII, pp. 232-33.)

The opportunists of all countries assert that the proletarian revolution can begin -- if it is to begin anywhere at all, according to their theory -- only in industrially developed countries, and that the more highly developed these countries are industrially the more chances there are for the victory of socialism. Moreover, according to them, the possibility of the victory of socialism in one country, and one in which capitalism is little developed at that, is excluded as something absolutely im probable. As far back as the period of the war, Lenin, taking as his basis the law of the uneven development of the imperialist states, opposed to the opportunists his theory of the proletarian revolution about the victory of socialism in one country, even if that country is one in which capitalism is less developed.

It is well known that the October Revolution fully confirmed the correctness of Lenin's theory of the proletarian revolution.
How do matters stand with Trotsky's "permanent revolution" in the light of Lenin's theory of the victory of the proletarian revolution in one country?
Let us take Trotsky's pamphlet Our Revolution (1906).
Trotsky writes:
"Without direct state support from the European proletariat, the working class of Russia will not be able to maintain itself in power and to transform its temporary rule into a lasting socialist dictatorship. This we cannot doubt for an instant."

What does this quotation mean? It means that the victory of socialism in one country, in this case Russia, is impossible "without direct state support from the European proletariat," i.e., before the European proletariat has conquered power.

What is there in common between this "theory" and Lenin's thesis on the possibility of the victory of socialism "in one capitalist country taken separately"? Clearly, there is nothing in common.

But let us assume that Trotsky's pamphlet, which was published in 1906, at a time when it was difficult to determine the character of our revolution, contains inadvertent errors and does not fully correspond to Trotsky's views at a later period. Let us examine another pamphlet written by Trotsky, his Peace Programme, which appeared before the October Revolution of 1917 and has now (1924) been republished in his book The Year 1917. In this pamphlet Trotsky criticizes Lenin's theory of the proletarian revolution about the victory of socialism in one country and opposes to it the slogan of a United States of Europe. He asserts that the victory of socialism in one country is impossible, that the victory of socialism is possible only as the victory of several of the principal countries of Europe (Britain, Russia, Germany), which combine into a United States of Europe; otherwise it is not possible at all. He says quite plainly that "a victorious revolution in Russia or in Britain is inconceivable without a revolution in Germany, and vice versa."

"The only more or less concrete historical argument," says Trotsky, "advanced against the slogan of a United States of Europe was formulated in the Swiss Sotsial-Demokrat (at that time the central organ of the Bolsheviks -- J. St. ) in the following sentence: 'Uneven economic and political development is an absolute law of capitalism.' From this the Sotsial-Demokrat draws the conclusion that the victory of socialism is possible in one country, and that therefore there is no reason to make the dictatorship of the proletariat in each separate country contingent upon the establishment of a United States of Europe. That capitalist development in different countries is uneven is an absolutely incontrovertible argument. But this unevenness is itself extremely uneven. The capitalist level of Britain, Austria, Germany or France is not identical. But in comparison with Africa and Asia all these countries represent capitalist 'Europe,' which has grown ripe for the social revolution. That no country in its struggle must 'wait' for others, is an elementary thought which it is useful and necessary to reiterate in order that the idea of concurrent international action may not be replaced by the idea of temporizing international inaction. Without waiting for the others, we begin and continue the struggle nationally, in the full confidence that our initiative will give an impetus to the struggle in other countries; but if this should not occur, it would be hopeless to think -- as historical experience and theoretical considerations testify -- that, for example, a revolutionary Russia could hold out in the face of a conservative Europe, or that a socialist Germany could exist in isolation in a capitalist world."
As you see, we have before us the same theory of the simultaneous victory of socialism in the principal countries of Europe which, as a rule, excludes Lenin's theory of revolution about the victory of socialism in one country.

Carried away by his criticism of Lenin's theory of the proletarian revolution, Trotsky unwittingly dealt himself a smashing blow in his pamphlet Peace Programme which appeared in 1917 and was republished in 1924.

But perhaps this pamphlet, too, has become out of date and has ceased for some reason or other to correspond to Trotsky's present views? Let us take his later works, written after the victory of the proletarian revolution in one country, in Russia. Let us take, for example, Trotsky's "Postscript," written in 1922, for the new edition of his pamphlet Peace Programme. Here is what he says in this "Postscript":

"The assertion reiterated several times in the Peace Programme that a proletarian revolution cannot culminate victoriously within national bounds may perhaps seem to some readers to have been refuted by the nearly five years' experience of our Soviet Republic. But such a conclusion would be unwarranted, The fact that the workers' state has held out against the whole world in one country, and a backward country at that, testifies to the colossal might of the proletariat, which in other, more advanced, more civilized countries will be truly capable of performing miracles. But while we have held our ground as a state politically and militarily, we have not arrived, or even begun to arrive, at the creation of a socialist society. . . . As long as the bourgeoisie remains in power in the other European countries we shall be compelled, in our struggle against economic isolation, to strive for agreements with the capitalist world; at the same time it may be said with certainty that these agreements may at best help us to mitigate some of our economic ills, to take one or another step forward, but real progress of a socialist economy in Russia will become possible only after the victory[*] of the proletariat in the major European countries." Thus speaks Trotsky, plainly sinning against reality and stubbornly trying to save his "permanent revolution" from final shipwreck.

It appears, then, that, twist and turn as you like, we not only have "not arrived," but we have "not even begun to arrive" at the creation of a socialist society. It appears that some people have been hoping for "agreements with the capitalist world," but it also appears that nothing will come of these agreements; for, twist and turn as you like, "real progress of a socialist economy" will not be possible until the proletariat has been victorious in the "major European countries."
Well, then, since there is still no victory in the West, the only "choice" that remains for the revolution in Russia is: either to rot away or to degenerate into a bourgeois state.
It is no accident that Trotsky has been talking for two years now about the "degeneration" of our Party.

It is no accident that last year Trotsky prophesied the "doom" of our country.
How can this strange "theory" be reconciled with Lenin's theory of the "victory of socialism in one country"?

How can this strange "prospect" be reconciled with Lenin's view that the New Economic Policy will enable us "to build the foundations of socialist economy"?

How can this "permanent" hopelessness be reconciled, for instance, with the following words of Lenin: "Socialism is no longer a matter of the distant future, or an abstract picture, or an icon. We still retain our old bad opinion of icons. We have dragged socialism into everyday life, and here we must find our way. This is the task of our day, the task of our epoch. Permit me to conclude by expressing the conviction that, difficult as this task may be, new as it may be compared with our previous task, and no matter how many difficulties it may entail, we shall all -- not in one day, but in the course of several years -- all of us together fulfil it whatever happens so that NEP Russia will become socialist Russia." (See Vol. XXVII, p. 366.)

How can this "permanent" gloominess of Trotsky's be reconciled, for instance, with the following words of Lenin:

"As a matter of fact, state power over all large-scale means of production, state power in the hands of the proletariat, the alliance of this proletariat with the many millions of small and very small peasants, the assured leadership of the peasantry by the proletariat, etc. -- is not this all that is necessary for building a complete socialist society from the co-operatives, from the co-operatives alone, which we formerly looked down upon as huckstering and which from a certain aspect we have the right to look down upon as such now, under NEP? Is this not all that is necessary for building a complete socialist society? This is not yet the building of socialist society, but it is all that is necessary and sufficient for this building." (See Vol. XXVII, p 392.)[2]
It is plain that these two views are incompatible and cannot in any way be reconciled. Trotsky's "permanent revolution" is the repudiation of Lenin's theory of the proletarian revolution; and conversely, Lenin's theory of the proletarian revolution is the repudiation of the theory of "permanent revolution."

From the masterpiece "On the Opposition" written by none other than the greatest Marxist-Leninist of our epoch: Joseph Stalin. The man who DESTROYED the ideological roots of the decadent theory of Trotskyism

Long Live Marxism-Leninism!
Long Live Stalin!
Long Live Mao Tse Tung!
Long Live Ho Chi Minh!
Long Live Che Guevara!
Long Live Kim Il Sung!
Long Live the victory of Socialism!

Death to revisionism!
Death to Trotskyism

Bhagat Singh can be reached at bhagatlives@gmail.com

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Rally in Kathmandu

Rally of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) against the Nepali monarchy in Kathmandu.
Long Live the Revolution!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The radical muse

Books and Authors

April 23, 2006

The radical muse

This book documents the rise of the Progressive Writer’s Association, its period of ascendancy, its crucial role in the struggle for independence and its unflagging spirit of resistance against injustice

Ali Husain Mir and Raza Mir write about the emerging of a movement that grew into the Progressive Writer’s Association

On the evening of November 24, 1934, the atmosphere at London’s Nanking Hotel must have been electric. A group of young Indian intellectuals were engaged in an intense discussion over a draft document, that had been circulated by the convenor of the meeting, Sajjad Zaheer. The document was audacious in its scope, for it sought to articulate a manifesto for the future of Indian literature.

Some of the faces in the meeting were to become familiar personalities. Jyotirmaya Ghosh would rise to prominence as a key figure in Bengali literature. Mulk Raj Anand had already begun to gain global prominence as an English novelist. Mohammad Din Tasir was to go on to become the founder of the magazine Nairang-i-Khayaal in Lahore. The British writer Ralph Fox was attending in the capacity of an adviser. The fog of history has blurred the names of other attendees, but the institution that was emerging through this meeting was destined to majestically straddle the traditions of Indian literature in general and Urdu poetry in particular for a long time.

The fact that this meeting was being held in London was no accident. Rather, it was a curious outcome of the history of the colonial experience of India. Many among the gathering were students in England, who had been sent by their affluent parents to develop professional skills in areas such as law and medicine. Yet, their experiences with colonial servitude back home were fresh in their minds, and this smouldering energy was readily spurred by the emerging anti-fascist and socialist currents all over Europe. The formation of the United Front in France, the protest against the persecution of writers like Georgi Dimitrov, and the workers’ rebellion in Austria in the early 1930’s, had galvanised the attendees of the Nanking meeting. In their minds, the literary manifesto that was being discussed would serve to lay the framework for the emergence of a new, emancipated identity.

This gathering had its genesis in an interesting episode that had taken place in 1932 with the publication of a book in India called Angaare (Embers), a set of 10 short stories written by Sajjad Zaheer, Rashid Jahan, Mahmuduzzafar and Ahmed Ali, which had attacked a whole range of sacred cows. The stories dealt with prevailing familial and sexual mores, the decadence and hypocrisy of social and religious life in contemporary India, and took more than one potshot at religious orthodoxy, attacking it with what Ahmed Ali later referred to as “the absence of circumspection”.

Within months of its publication, the book generated an uproar within Muslim circles, and was condemned by a variety of organisations as being “obscene” and “blasphemous”. The All India Shia Conference, for example, passed a resolution in 1933 sharply condemning “the heart-rending and filthy pamphlet called Angaare ... which has wounded the feelings of the entire Muslim community by ridiculing God and His prophets and which is extremely objectionable from the standpoint of both religion and morality.” Responding to this outcry, the Police Department of the United Provinces promulgated an order on March 15, 1933 declaring “forfeited to his Majesty every copy of (the book) ... on the grounds that the said book contains matter the publication of which is punishable under Section 295A of the Indian Penal Code.”

The Angaare authors were unrepentant. Writing in the April 5, 1933 issue of The Leader, an Allahabad-based newspaper, Mahmuduzzafar’s article “Shall we submit to gagging?” declared:

The writers of this book do not wish to make an apology for it. They leave it to float or sink of itself. They only wish to defend the right of launching it and all other vessels like it ... They have chosen (to critique) the particular field of Islam not because they bear any “special” malice towards it, but because, being born into that particular society, they felt better qualified to speak for that alone ... Our practical purpose is the formation immediately of a league of progressive authors, which should bring forth similar collections from time to time, both in English and the various vernaculars of our country.

Undettered by the widespread criticism, Sajjad Zaheer, the leader of the Angaare group had set about trying to use the field of literature as a battering ram to break down the orthodox and conservative fortifications of Indian society. The Nanking Hotel gathering was a significant step in that direction.

By the end of the meeting, the attendees had resolved to formalise their group as an institution, which would be called the All India Progressive Writers’ Association (henceforth, the PWA). The PWA was to be based in India, and Sajjad Zaheer volunteered to give it institutional shape in the subcontinent.

Their experiences with colonial servitude back home were fresh in their minds, and this smouldering energy was readily spurred by the emerging anti-fascist and socialist currents all over Europe

By the middle of 1935, the final manifesto of the PWA was ready. Zaheer returned to India with the document and circulated it among prominent Indian literary figures. The manifesto found an immediate champion in Premchand, one of the most highly respected figures in Hindustani literature, who published its Hindi translation in the October 1935 issue of his journal Hans (Swan). Subsequently, the English version of the manifesto was published in the February 1936 issue of London’s Left Review. The text of the manifesto was as follows:

Radical changes are taking place in Indian society. Fixed ideas and old beliefs, social and political institutions are being challenged. Out of the present turmoil and conflict a new society is emerging. The spirit of reaction however, though moribund and doomed to ultimate decay, is still operative and is making desperate efforts to prolong itself.

It is the duty of Indian. writers to give expression to the changes taking place in Indian life and to assist in the spirit of progress in the country. Indian literature, since the breakdown of classical literature, has had the fatal tendency to escape from the actualities of life. It has tried to find a refuge from reality in spiritualism and idealism. The result has been that it has produced a rigid formalism and a banal and perverse ideology.

Witness the mystical devotional obsession of our literature, its furtive and sentimental attitude towards sex, its emotional exhibitionism and its almost total lack of rationality. Such literature was produced particularly during the past two centuries, one of the most unfortunate periods of our history, a period of disintegrating feudalism and of acute misery and degradation for the Indian people as a whole.

It is the object of our association to rescue literature and other arts from the priestly, academic and decadent classes in whose hands they have degenerated so long; to bring the arts into the closest touch with the people; and to make them the vital organs which will register the actualities of life, as well as lead us to the future.

While claiming to be the inheritors of the best traditions of Indian civilisation, we shall criticise ruthlessly, in its political, economic and cultural aspects, the spirit of reaction in our country and we shall foster through interpretive and creative work (with both native and foreign resources) everything that will lead our country to the new life for which it is striving. We believe that the new literature of India must deal with the basic problems of our existence today — the problems of hunger and poverty, social backwardness and political subjugation, so that it may help us to understand these problems and through such understanding help us to act.

With the above aims in view. the following resolutions have been adopted:

• The establishment of organisations of writers to correspond to the various linguistic zones of India; the coordinations of these organisations by holding conferences, publishing of magazines, pamphlets, etc.

• To cooperate with those literary organisations whose aims do not conflict with the basic aims of the association.

• To produce and translate literature of a progressive nature and of a high technical standard; to fight cultural reaction; and in this way, to further the cause of Indian freedom and social regeneration.

• To strive for the acceptance of a common language (Hindustani) and a common script (Indo-Roman) for India.

• To protect the interests of authors; to help authors who require and deserve assistance for the publication of their works.

• To fight for the right of free expression of thought and opinion.

The manifesto was unabashedly modernist and anti-religious in its tenor, and utilised a left-liberal vocabulary that was popular at that time. It sought to play an integrative role in the Indian literary landscape through the acceptance of a common language and script. It made a case for building international solidarities. Importantly, it emphasised realism, with its insistence that literature be used as a tool to display the “actualities of life”. Finally, despite the stridency of its tone, it sought to leave the door open for coalitions with other literary groups “whose aims did not conflict with the basic aims of the association.” The manifesto was an astute political document, and a highly ambitious one that sought to position the PWA as the harbinger of revolutionary changes in the literary landscape of India.

The publication of this manifesto had a huge impact, especially in Urdu literary circles. The ideas it espoused were, however, not entirely new. Just a year earlier, a young literary critic named Akhtar Husain Raipuri had published an essay called “Adab our Zindagi” (Literature and life), in which he had attempted to analyse the entire corpus of Urdu literature, and had denounced all works of fiction and poetry that did not directly link themselves to the material conditions of the society in which they were produced. Raipuri’s essay in some measure made the manifesto easier to sell to Urdu literary figures, just as Premchand’s support (and subsequent endorsements by the Hindi poets Sumitranandan Pant, Maithilisharan Gupt and Suryakant Tripathi ‘Nirala’) succeeded in broadening the horizon of the PWA’s influence.

Stalwarts of Indian literature like Mohammad Iqbal and Rabindranath Tagore also provided legitimacy to the PWA through their approval, and eventually Urdu poets like Hasrat Mohani, Josh Malihabadi, and Firaq Gorakhpuri also joined it, as did the Telugu poet Sri Sri, the Gujarati poet Umashankar Joshi, the Punjabi writer Gurbaksh Singh and the Marathi writer Anna Bhau Sathe. The PWA’s anti-colonialist reputation was enhanced and its credentials endorsed by the fact that the British government expressed its deep suspicion of the group. On September 7, 1936, the Home Secretary of India sent a private circular to relevant authorities, which read:

I am directed to address you in connection with an organisation known as the Progressive Writers’ Association ... The proclaimed aims of the association are comparatively innocent and suggest that it concerns itself solely with the organisation of journalists and writers and the promotion of interest in literature of a progressive nature. The inspiration however comes from ... organisations and individuals who are ... advocating policies akin to those of the communists ... I am desired to suggest therefore, that suitable opportunities may be taken to convey, preferably in conversations, friendly warnings about this association to journalists, educationists and others who may be attracted by its ostensible programmes.

It appeared that the PWA had perceptively tapped into the groundswell of a great upheaval in Indian society. The first all-India meeting of the PWA was held at Lucknow in 1936, and was presided over by Premchand, whose inaugural address “Sahitya ka uddeshya” (The purpose of literature) remains one of the most important documents of the movement. The manifesto of the association was reworked to make it more inclusive of those whose politics were not avowedly socialist. Further the demand for a common language and script for Indian literature was dropped, reflecting the political realities of the country’s multilingual structure.

The Hindi version of the manifesto also attempted to articulate a definition of “Progressive” which could accommodate a wide spectrum of views and attract as many people as possible, and included the following additional paragraph:

All those things which take us toward confusion, dissension, and blind imitation are conservative; also, all that which engenders in us a critical capacity, which induces us to test our dear traditions on the touchstone of our reason and perception, which makes us healthy and produces among us the strength of unity and integration, that is what we call Progressive.

From its very inception, the PWA had a group of committed socialists at its core but its larger membership was not limited to writers of any particular political persuasion. In fact, it was consciously opened out to include all writers who shared the manifesto’s basic commitments. The PWA thus functioned as an umbrella under which progressive writers of all stripes could find a place. The PWA understood its mission to be that of constructing a “united front” of writers against imperialism and reactionary social tendencies, and for a life-affirming art. For the longest time then, taraqqi-pasandi or “progressivism” in Urdu literature was justifiably identified with the PWA. Never before had writers across India been mobilised around a single platform so effectively, and in no previous movements had a literary school so redefined the terms of its creative output and its engagement with its society and times.

Excerpted with permission from
A Celebration of Progressive Urdu Poetry: Anthems of Resistance
By Ali Husain Mir and Raza Mir
India Ink/Roli Books Pvt.
Available with Liberty Books, Park Towers,
Clifton, Karachi.
Tel: 021-5832525 (Ext: 111)
Website: www.libertybooks.com
ISBN 81-86939-26-1
248pp. Indian Rs395

Ali Husain Mir and Raza Mir are university professors. They grew up in Hyderabad, India, on a steady diet of progressive Urdu poetry. They divide their time between India and the US

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The making of a democracy

The making of a democracy


in Kathmandu

A road map exists, and the people of Nepal are anxious to get moving. But there are also seven roadblocks to be overcome.

FROM every corner of Nepal they came, triumph, hope and anxiety writ large in equal measure on faces as ethnically diverse as any you will find in South Asia. The date was April 28 and the country's House of Representatives, newly restored by Royal proclamation, was meeting behind the imposing gates of the Singhadurbar. In the streets outside, the marginalised and voiceless tried their best to make sure their concerns were not ignored. From the west of Nepal was the Magar Mahila Sangh, its members wearing traditional Magar attire, with their demand for an end to the `Hindu kingdom' ("Hindu rajya chahidey na") and its replacement by a secular state. The Nepal Sherpa Sangh wanted elections to a Constituent Assembly to be held quickly. Then there were Gurungs and Newars and a sprinkling of Rais and Limbus from eastern Nepal. Young men and women from Kathmandu, many of them middle-class and upper-caste, were there in large numbers too, as were representatives of the disabled. Dalit activists made their presence felt. Finally, the leaders of Nepal's vibrant pro-democracy civil society movement - Dr. Devendra Raj Panday, Krishna Khanal, Shyam Shreshta, Krishna Pahadi and Kanak Mani Dixit, besides others - were also present, joining the festive melting pot that had decanted itself on the streets in front of the parliament building in a raucous vigil that lasted until the first sitting ended some hours later with the tabling of a resolution calling for elections to a Constituent Assembly.

One of the most dramatic but least analysed aspects of Nepal's April revolution is the manner in which the Maoist slogan of a nishart samvidhan sabha, or unconditional Constituent Assembly, has managed to capture the imagination of the entire people of Nepal. The Nepali Congress of Girija Prasad Koirala was fixated on the restoration of Parliament but it was only the promise of genuine constitutional change that brought the people of the country on to the streets in their hundreds of thousands.

True, different sections of the population read different meanings into the demand for a Constituent Assembly. For some, it was simply a way of getting even with King Gyanendra, a monarch widely reviled for a host of real and imagined sins, including his supposed involvement in the Royal Palace massacre of 2001. For others, it was something Nepal simply had to do to convince the Maoists to end their decade-long `people's war'. But for many, and probably the majority, the slogan of a democratically elected Constituent Assembly was instinctively appealing, precisely because it was seen as the key which could open the door to a more inclusive and equitable society. Stubbornly turning the worn-out tyres of his wheelchair until he was as close to the Singhadurbar as the police would let him get, Rukmangat Neopani, a disabled rights activist, declared that it was now or never. "Throughout the world people are talking of the rights of the disabled. We are here to make sure Nepal's new Constitution is inclusive in every sense of the word."

Two days later, on the eve of May Day, the House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution calling for elections to a Constituent Assembly. And the Koirala government has followed that vote up with the announcement that it was reciprocating the three-month ceasefire announced by the Maoists in the wake of King Gyanendra's proclamation restoring Parliament, as well as revoking the terrorist tag from the party and its front organisations.


Anti-Monarchi Slogans and party flags on a statue of former King Prithvi Narayan Shah outside the gates of the Parliament building on April 28.

There is one last gesture of goodwill left for the Seven-Party Alliance (SPA) government to make before the road map for peace and genuine democracy in Nepal starts getting implemented in earnest. This is the decision to release top Maoist leaders from jail and to ask India - which is holding nearly 25 leading cadres of the Nepalese party without charge - also to do the same. To say that the peace road map will soon be implemented, however, is not to minimise the hurdles that lie ahead in any way. The obstacles are legion, both domestic and international, and how they are overcome will depend to a large extent on the maturity and statesmanship that the SPA and Maoist leaderships display in the difficult months that lie ahead.

Obstacle one

In order to insulate the proposed election for a Constituent Assembly from any motivated or frivolous legal challenge, the SPA government needs to amend the preamble to the existing 1990 Constitution. The preamble, akin to the basic structure of the Constitution, specifies the four walls within which amendments are to be made, and this includes constitutional monarchy. In order to ensure that the Supreme Court of Nepal - which has shown itself beholden to King Gyanendra in a variety of ways - does not stay the election, the preamble itself has to be amended to take cognisance of the sovereign people's right to decide the nature of the political system they wish to live under. "Once this is done," says Shambhu Thapa, president of the Nepal Bar Association, "there is no principle of jurisprudence that can be invoked by any court to derail the process of elections to a Constituent Assembly."

But amending the 1990 Constitution's preamble is not a simple matter. King Gyanendra's Royal proclamation did not reconvene the Upper House of Parliament, the National Assembly. Either he will have to be prevailed upon to do so or the government, invoking the doctrine of necessity, can summon the Upper House. There are also nearly 20 vacancies that have to be filled, an additional headache that someone will have to attend to.

Obstacle two

General Pyar Jung Thapa, chief of the Royal Nepal Army, played a key role in persuading King Gyanendra to step back from the brink and agree, in his proclamation of April 24, to the recall of Parliament and the implementation of a political road map that includes constitutional change. As part of the last-minute negotiations leading up to the King's announcement, Gen. Thapa sent a message to the parties that the Army would report to them once they formed a government. How true Gen. Thapa will be to that assurance, however, remains to be seen, especially since his second-in-command, Lt.-Gen. Rukmangat Katuwal, is someone especially beholden to the Palace.

Prime Minister Koirala has announced a ceasefire but must ensure that the RNA scrupulously abides by whatever `code of conduct' his government develops with the Maoists. This is where the international community has a crucial role to play. A clear message must be sent out to the RNA brass that any deviation from the principle of civilian command will be taken serious note of. If it is part of a sustained pattern of indiscipline, the RNA should be told that its future participation in United Nations peace-keeping operations would be put on hold. For such an approach to work, the international community needs to speak in one voice.

Obstacle three

Elections to a Constituent Assembly cannot be treated as just any other election. There are complex issues of representation which have to be sorted out to ensure that every major community and collective in Nepal - the ethno-linguistic groups, the backward regions, the Madhesis, the religious minorities, Dalits, women and youth, not to speak of the disabled - either win direct representation in the Assembly or have confidence that their interests will be protected there. Engineering a balanced and representative composition of the Assembly, without falling into the trap of creating ethnic or communal electorates, will be a major challenge for the SPA, the Maoists and the professional sociologists and political scientists who will no doubt be involved in the process.

To a certain extent, the regional dispersal of ethnic diversities suggests the mission could be accomplished by a fresh delimitation of constituencies based on an increase in the number of seats. Managing this within a reasonable timeframe so that the elections do not get inordinately delayed will be a key challenge.

Obstacle four

Once the modalities for the election are worked out, the SPA and the Maoists will have to turn their attention to establishing a mechanism for the sequestering of all armed men and women for the duration of the elections. The Maoists have said they are prepared to confine their fighters to fixed locations under international supervision provided the RNA is similarly bound down. But who or what will ensure this supervision? Ideally, a job of this magnitude and complexity should be handled by the U.N. In Angola, Cambodia and East Timor, as well as in Afghanistan, the U.N. has had varied experience in holding elections in a variety of military environments.

As long there is no big-power involvement, there is no reason why the U.N. cannot accomplish the task of supervising the confinement of soldiers to their barracks, if not the actual polls to a Constituent Assembly in Nepal. The only other alternative is for the SPA, the Maoists and the RNA to work out domestic arrangements, but this seems unlikely at the moment. If not the U.N., it is possible some `contact group' of European countries might volunteer for the job but their involvement is likely to come with far greater strings than the U.N.

Obstacle five

As elections approach, cleavages between political forces that are working together will possibly increase. And there is every chance that King Gyanendra will try and take advantage of these either to derail the elections or to ensure an outcome more favourable to the monarchy.

The first cleavage is between the Right and the Left. The Nepali Congress may apprehend the Communist Party of Nepal (UML) and the Maoists forging common ground on certain constitutional questions and this may lead it to forge an alliance with either the Palace or the Army. But the Nepali Congress support base, and especially its youth wing, is increasingly republican and this may weaken the leadership's hold on the party.

A second source of tension could be between the Maoists and the CPN(UML), with the latter apprehending the desertion of some of its support base to the former.

A third source of tension could be within the Maoists themselves. Historically, no insurgency has drawn down without more violent factions emerging and denouncing the mainstream as turncoats. Will the Nepalese Maoists produce their equivalent of the `Real IRA,' which in turn provokes the RNA into ending the ceasefire?

Maoist leader Prachanda has said the doctrinal divisions within the party on the need for `competitive democracy' ended at the Rolpa plenum in 2005. But the proof of the pudding will be in the eating. The history of the Maoist movement in South Asia - with its numerous `ideologically pure' factions, most at loggerheads with each other - does not provide grounds for optimism. And yet the Nepalese Maoists have so far proved to be far more disciplined and cohesive a force than any of their naxalite counterparts in India.

Perhaps one factor that might help to dampen any incipient divisions between parties is the plan to have an interim all-party government - with the participation of the Maoists - running the country during and after the Constituent Assembly elections and until the new Constitution is adopted and fresh elections are held.

Obstacle six

Assuming that elections take place and a representative Constituent Assembly meets sometime in 2007, its members are likely to find the task of creating a new Constitution to be an extremely challenging one.

The Indian Constituent Assembly was created on the basis of a partial franchise - by and large, only tax assessees, graduates or property owners were eligible to vote - and had as a constitutional guide the 1935 Government of India Act. Still, this fairly homogeneous, largely elite body took nearly four years to craft a Constitution. In contrast, the Nepalese Constituent Assembly will be far more heterogeneous. They will have the 1990 Constitution as a reference point but that document is so riddled with discriminatory clauses on grounds of religion, gender, ethnicity, language and caste that the temptation will be to go in for a wholesale revision. Especially if the Maoists and the ethno-linguistic groups insist on a robust federalism based on maximum devolution to the country's regions. However, the longer the Assembly deliberates, the greater the danger that the old order will regroup and consolidate itself. The people of Nepal are alert and conscious but they cannot remain in a state of active political mobilisation for an endless amount of time.

But if there is a political imperative to act swiftly, there are many good reasons for the representatives not to hurriedly draw up a new Constitution. Apart from ridding itself of the monarchy, Nepal has the chance of pioneering new forms of inclusive political participation. It can develop political institutions that genuinely empower citizens rather than elites and enact enabling laws to guarantee economic and social rights that elite-driven democracies such as India and the United States ignore - for instance, education, employment, health care and housing. It would be a pity if in the rush to checkmate King Gyanendra, these objectives are sidelined or forgotten.

Obstacle seven

One of the issues the Constituent Assembly will surely settle is what kind of Army Nepal should have. Shyam Shreshta, editor of the weekly Mulyankan, says Nepal should have an Army like that of Switzerland, a purely defensive but well-trained force that relies more on the involvement of citizens rather than on professional soldiers. There will likely be other views. Once this debate is settled, the task of integrating the People's Liberation Army with the RNA to create a new national Army will have to be undertaken.

If enough political confidence has been established, elements of the PLA might even conceivably get demobilised in the interim and be integrated into, say, a new national police force or militia. Integrating Army units is one thing but resolving the status of commanders and officers will be an entirely different ball game, with the Maoists opposed to those senior officers with strong connections to the monarchy.

If the people of Nepal are successfully to negotiate these obstacles, they will need the unstinting support of the government and people of India. At each stage, the choices India makes can help or hinder the implementation of the road map, beginning with the question of the release of Nepalese Maoist leaders incarcerated in Indian jails. So far, the Indian government has done the right thing, though the process by which it ultimately came out in favour of democracy might have been a little muddled.

Let it not be found wanting in the months that lie ahead.