-Rajesh Tyagi; 10 June, 2009
Several activists, allegedly linked to the Maoist party, CPI(Maoist), have been arrested by the police in Haryana, on the charges of inciting the villagers to boycott the polls in recent general elections and instigating them against the landlords and the government. The arrestees, which include agricultural labourers belonging to dalit castes, a female teacher, a doctor and students, were first abducted, kept in illegal custody for days together, and physically tortured by the police. Alleged incriminating recoveries from the arrestees, apart from the firearms, also include paint, brush, paper, pen, handwritten draft, leaflets, CDs etc. etc. which according to police are the virtual instruments of terror.
Those who refused to work on the fields of landlords demanding a higher wage, have been selectively rounded up on the suspicion of being ‘naxalites’. The arrests are clearly politically motivated as the interrogation of the arrestees by the police as to “why then they refused to work on the fields of landlords if they are not naxalites”, itself makes the point amply clear. Others are obviously arrested for instigating the rural youth to rebel against the landlords and the government.
These arrests of political activists made by the police in Haryana, expose, on the one hand, the fallacy of Maoist path, while on the other, lay bare the class essence of the pro-rich government and its policies.
The government at the centre, since its re-election and even before that, has repeated time and again its resolve to take offensive against the growing peasant movement, in the name of fighting against ‘naxal terrorism’, identifying the same to be the biggest danger to the country. Huge funds have been allocated to curb ‘naxalism’ for the states affected by it. As the past history shows, such funds are the most cherished ones for wholesale swindling by the bureaucrats and the political masters. Many states have thus lined up themselves to grab their share in this huge pool of central grants, by creating farce of ‘naxalism’ in their regions. Haryana is the recent entrant to that queue.
In the backdrop of this direct motive, the arrests and the charges made by the police, together bring forth the anti-poor character of the government and its policies with double standards, with special focus upon the arbitrary, discriminatory and pro-rich arms policy of the state.
Boycott of elections is the legal right of citizens in this country. How the call to exercise that right can be an act of terror, is inconceivable. The government is terrified at the humble attempt to educate the poor of this simple legal right! Slogans on walls that the bourgeois parliament is a pigsty, is another act of terror in the opinion of the government. All dissent of the poor is terrorism, in the estimation of the government, and thus any attempt for political education of the poor, inciting dissent, must be crushed with hard hand!
The rich and the affluent, whether urban or rural, possess the arms with due consent of the government, validated through the licensing policy of the state. Interestingly, possession of the licensed gun itself is not only the status symbol for the elite, especially in rural India, but a real assertion of their class authority. The rich obtain the licence to keep arms, first and foremost through the strings which connect them as a class to the ruling elite. The process is then perfected through bribing of concerned officials from top to bottom, to facilitate the issue of license. Weapons are then purchased, pursuant to such license, through the controlled market at a price which is several times higher than the actual price, and is thus affordable by the rich and out of the reach of the poor. All these factors, taken together, ensure it beforehand that a person of ordinary means, much less those from the working class or peasant toilers, are completely deprived and denied access to the arms. Neither, they have the means sufficient to acquire a weapon so licensed, nor they could expect to obtain a license from the officials of the government, which consciously deprive the poor people from having access to arms. It is only the rich and the elite, then, who in the eyes of the government, have the right to defend themselves- their property and their person. Arms in the hands of the poor, invite the wrath of the government! It is therefore ensured, through numerous ways, that arms do not reach the hands of the poor. Any effort to acquire or possess the arms by the poor, is consciously crushed by the pro-rich governments through brute force. If the poor may also get the arms, what the licensing policy is then worth of, ask the rich.
It is not only the permitted weapon for which these elite can obtain a license from their government, but even the licence for expressly prohibited bores can be issued, if the aspirant occupies a more privileged position among the class. Even more privileged and affluent, who can afford so, are generously granted with armed guards, who are maintained separately as an elite force. Most fit, physically and mentally, are dedicated to these forces, while the weird out are left to maintain the law and order among the common people. This, apart from the maintenance of the huge reserve of armed forces, to serve and defend the rich, e.g. Rapid Action Force, Central Industrial Security Force, Central Reserve Police Force etc. etc. Then there remains the army to reinforce the armed might of the elite, and substitute the police and para military forces, if the need be. This way, the ruling class arms itself to the teeth, to subjugate the huge mass of the working people.
The very same arms- the double barrel guns, revolvers, pistols etc. which the government itself authorises the rich-the capitalists and landlords- to acquire and possess under valid licences, are prohibited for and thus become an illegality in the hands of poor-the workers and peasants! This is how the arms policy of the government, refracts itself through the prism of ground reality!
The policy of arms licensing of the state, making mockery of the declarations of equality under its own legality, exposes the whole farce of the bourgeois democracy.
The poor find themselves completely helpless, not only in the face of collective might of the ruling class-the urban capitalists and the rural landlords- but also in their day to day dealing with individual members of the ruling class. Poor, cannot fail to see, that the whole power of the rich, both urban and rural, rests upon the bayonets of the guns, in their own hands, which supplements and further reinforces the power of the guns under the command of their state, which is always at their disposal.
Instead of seeking ways and means for a nationwide exposure of this pro-rich class policy of the government and instead of mobilising workers and peasants on this basis against the government, our Maoists, the peasant-socialists, propose, the arming of the individuals, primarily their own cadres, and through gradual extension of this chain, arm the peasantry against rural landowners and their state. This bogus policy, which again and again has turned into a fiasco, has been instrumental in preventing the generations of the youth and the workers from really arming themselves with a revolutionary program, and around it the whole peasantry. Maoists have diverted the mass revolutionary stream to the blind tunnel of virtual terrorism. Venturing to subject the partisan peasant movement to itself, the Maoist leadership, has prevented the working class from emerging as a political axis, to consolidate around it, the rural peasantry and thereby taking the leadership of the agrarian revolution in its hands. The peasant oriented Maoist leadership, not only bye-passes the urban proletariat as a class, but rejects its weapons of political struggle-the political mass mobilisation and the general strike, and rather resorts to the methods which are essentially partisan and peasant in their essence. Their whole strategy of ‘protracted war’ is directed in opposition to the methods of working class, towards a path which is alien to that of the working class, more specifically that of the urban proletariat.
The working class, consciously rejects all attempts of Maoist bureaucracy to idealise the partisan warfare, and present itself as an axis for consolidation of the agrarian revolution. It presents its own fighting platform of political mobilisation and the general strikes, as the sole pivot around which the whirlwind of the agrarian revolution would build up and develop.
As against the false programme of the Maoists, whereby they propose to contain the pro-rich arms policy of the state through arming the isolated individuals, one after the other, the working class, puts its own revolutionary programme of winning over the rural peasantry, through its own resolute programme and action.
To the arms policy of the pro-rich government, which permits and ensures the arming of the rich and perpetual disarming of the poor, the working class presents the most revolutionary demand of universal arming of the people as a whole, with an end to the policy of licensing. It raises its hand in favour of the right of the people to defend themselves, even through arms, if the need be. It demands not only recognition of the right, but the universal arming of the people-the working people and the peasantry. It staunchly opposes the pro-rich and discriminatory policy of the licensing of arms and demands its scrapping off, which bestows upon the rich a privilege to keep the arms, while deprives the poor from the same.
From the point of view of the proletariat, however, the attempts of the government to deprive the poor of handling the arms are only laughable. More and more proletarianisation of the armed forces of all of the bourgeois states since the two world wars, has already armed the huge sections of workers and peasants. The revolutionary program must therefore be directed towards the mass political agitation among the proletariat and the poor peasantry, out of which is drawn the mass of armed forces, and this way to arm the proletariat and disarm the bourgeois.
No class in history has succeeded in resolving the question of acquiring arms and seizing the political power, through such bogus and fragmented policy, as is practised by the Maoists. Disoriented Maoist leadership is further disorienting the generations of youth and workers. After utter failure of their project in Latin Americas, African countries and more recently in Nepal, now India remains the last bastion where the peasant socialism of Maoism, executed through bureaucratic command structures of the Party apparatus, decimating the urban working class, is making a desperate attempt to hold its very limited base among the peasantry.
Peasant struggles, politically incapable of consolidating themselves on a national platform, to be able to challenge the centralised rule of the capitalists and landlords, are historically imbued with this limitation. Doubtlessly the peasant struggles would play a very significant and decisive role in the agrarian revolution, but this role would neither be leading nor independent. These partisan struggles would acquire a revolutionary meaning only when the urban working class takes to their leadership and consolidates them around it, on a national scale, as part of its international struggle against capitalism. The inability of Maoism to understand the framework of peasant struggles, as limited by its narrow dimensions, and further inability to appreciate the role and significance of the working class and its methods of mass struggle, chief among them the strike, has pushed them into the blind tunnel of anarcho-populism, from where no road leads to revolution.
Arming of the working class and disarming of the bourgeois, is doubtlessly an issue of prime political significance. However, it no way means that the whole political struggle be reduced to the question of arms, as the Maoists want us to conceive. Finally, it is not the arms, as Maoists think, but the politics, the ideas, the program, which remain at the helm of any real class struggle. The core issue for the proletariat, is thus to consolidate itself politically, gravitating behind it the rural peasantry, distracting it away, thus at the same time, from the hands of bourgeois and landlords. A whirlwind of mass uprising of the poor under the leadership of the working class would thus gather, against the regime of the rich-the capitalists and landlords- which no arms would be able to defend then and all efforts and policies of the rich and their governments to disarm the poor, would remain no more than the laughing stock.