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A Review of the 8th Party Programme by a Friend of Libertarian Communism

An Open Letter by Punkerslut to
the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist)

By Punkerslut, Made with Graphics by Jotquadrat
Image: By Punkerslut,
Made with a Photograph by Jotquadrat,
Released Under the Creative Commons
"Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported" License

Start Date: February 24, 2011
Finish Date: February 24, 2011

               Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist), 8th Party Congress: General Party Programme

               Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist), 8th Party Congress: Agrarian Programme


     I have recently taken some taken to look through the documents of the 8th Congress of the Communist Party of India. There are more than a few points that I think deserve elaboration. For example, you have described yourselves as a "Communist Party," but much more than that, you specifically outline your position as "Marxist-Leninist." Lenin is quoted here and there, along with Marx and Engels, but there is one fact that stands out in my mind deeply from reading your material. After reading all your material, I have no idea what Communism or Socialism means, or what you think it means.

     There's much discussion in the General Programme of the Party in defense of independent nationalities, universal suffrage, civil liberties, and other basic "democratic reforms." Yet, in conclusion to the section "Stage of Revolution," you state, "Beyond creating conditions for a decisive victory of democratic revolution, the struggle against big capital will also pave the way for an uninterrupted transition from the democratic to the socialist stage of revolution." What is the Socialist stage of revolution? Not much is said about that.

     In fact, this section of the programme is like a disclaimer: "Beware -- from here on out, the rest of our revolutionary tactics will be toward democratic reform, with no description of the Socialism we wish to achieve once we have gained power and decided that we entered 'the socialist stage' of society." Also from the program, there's this line: "This determines the stage of our revolution – the stage of people’s democratic revolution with agrarian revolution as its axis." Although, there will be "Socialist Aspects" of the Revolution, the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) is fighting for a Democratic Revolution.

     Consider your basic programme, you outline your major points, "To establish its leadership over the people's democratic revolution, it is imperative for the working class to, 1. unite itself by paying special attention to its biggest contingent in the countryside and emerge as an independent political force..." The others have to do with fighting imperialism, colonialism, sexism, and poverty, but this first statement really captures the spirit of the document. The unity of the workers on behalf of the party, because this is the democratic revolution, which shall pave the way for the socialist revolution -- that we all have to wait for, even the Socialist Party.

     "Class struggle" is encouraged in the peasants and the wage laborers of the cities. What this entails isn't concerned so much as who it entails: all of the working class, rallying around the Socialist Party, to achieve the 'democratic phase of social change.' Does it mean unions? Workers' unions and tenants unions? Does it mean revolutionary groups? Organizations that socialize and communize the land and its productive forces? I'm not sure, because it doesn't quite say, but the purposes of such organizing become more clear the more that I read...

"...in a country where democratic institutions are based on essentially fragile and narrow foundations and where even small victories of popular forces and partial reforms can only be achieved and maintained on the strength of mass militancy, the party of the proletariat must fully prepare itself for accomplishing the revolution by securing and sustaining the ultimate decisive victory in the face of all possible counter-revolutionary attacks. A people's democratic front and a people's army, therefore, remain the two most fundamental organs of revolution in the arsenal of the Party."

     Ah, "the arsenal of the Party" is the essence of organizing workers and peasants for a Democratic Revolution. "A people's democratic front," then, is just a means of organizing workers behind the party, even if it intends to offer only Democracy "with Socialist aspects." Somehow, also, "a peoples' army" is necessary. This is the first mention in the document of anything having to do with an army. For the most part, it was just rhetoric about rights and revolution and stages of revolution and democracy. Not one single word about "people's army," or the school of thought associated with it: Maoism. But, you conclude with it as being one of the "two most fundamental organs of revolution."

     The army has little to do with Democracy or Socialism, in Capitalist or Marxist nations. Who is it that operates the prisons, that stands guard at the concentration camps, that rounds up the "undesirables," and that executes people in the street? Why it's the armed forces. What is it that Democracy stands for? Against every single one of these abuses of the state's armed forces. The conclusion, then, that a "peoples' army" will have anything to do with creating Socialism or Democracy is rather baffling. Especially since not one single mention was given to it earlier, though in one sentence, it's automatically "fundamental."

     In your "Agrarian Programme," you stated that all lands of the landlords and the public "shall be confiscated and distributed among the rural poor." But, there is a very major addendum that comes to this in the next paragraph: "All agricultural implements, livestock, buildings, irrigation resources and assets of the landlords shall be confiscated and taken possession of by the People’s Government..." The lands shall be owned by the people, but everything necessary to make them useful shall be owned by the government -- unless, of course, you mean that the land with be figuratively distributed among the poor. That is, distributed among some large, party bureaucracy in the name of distributing the lands among the poor.

     The more I read, the more I feel like your ultimate message is, "We are going to encourage socialism and workers revolt, so long as its power ultimately rests within our hands." That is to say, you have a program for empowering the workers, only insomuch as they walk the line of the Socialist Party. The Democratic Phase versus the Socialist Phase of society is highly dubious. At what point did Lenin decide that Russia transitioned from the Democratic Phase to the Socialist? Oh, just about after the first election voted against the Bolshevik Party only a few months after holding power. With the "Democratic Revolution achieved," it was no longer fundamental to have democratic rights.

     I don't know if you believe any of what Lenin did here specifically, despite that you're self-described Leninists. In fact, I don't think anyone except those in the party might know, because very little is said about what is going to happen with "the Socialist phase" of society. Dribbling over the "Democratic phase" is mildly disheartening. Suffrage and free speech aren't revolutionary concepts to democracy. What people might want to know about the Communist Party, instead, is what it thinks Communism means. That would be slightly more interesting, but little of it can be found. Perhaps, it is because the Communism and Socialism of Lenin or Marx, expressed plainly and simply, isn't very appealing to the working class?

     Thank you for reading this far. I patiently await a response.

Andy Carloff

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