The Letter of New Central Committee – A Review

(23rd July 1950)

Jyoti Basu

This statement by Jyoti Basu was written in the period when the ‘Trotskyite-Titoite' line identified with B.T. Ranadive, Bhowani Sen and G. Adhikari had ended in 1950 and when the Andhra line led by Rajeshwara Rao and Basuvapunniah had come to the fore. Jyoti Basu summarised many of the problems connected not just with the BTR line but also with the shortcomings of the new and short-lived Andhra programme and tactical approach. The critique of the two lines retains its value in the contemporary world as the adherence to socialist revolution as the immediate stage of revolution is prevalent in the interstices of the democratic movement in India today whilst the limitations of the Andhra line re-emerged with the formation of the CPI ML in 1969 and have become a generalised idée fixe which is dominating amongst communist revolutionaries for half a century. Both approaches were negated by the CPSU(b) and Stalin in the 1951 discussions with the CPI leadership which were held in Moscow. In the post war period the CPSU(b) rejected the advisability of socialism as the immediate stage for any country, including the United States, and recommended People’s Democracy as the universal immediate objective. In his response to the Andhra line Jyoti Basu accepted the need for armed struggle in India. At the same time in common with other CPI leaders involved in the working class movement Jyoti Basu, who was a national leader in the railway workers unions, adverted to the absence of a role for the working class and working class unity in the projected revolutionary programme of activities of the Andhra communists. While lauding the role of the struggle in Telengana, he stressed also that conditions for guerilla warfare were not present in large areas of India. Further unlike the writings of Mao and the CPC at that time the centrality of the Soviet Union, the democratic camp and the world working class in the revolutionary process was ignored by the Andhra communist leaders, as was the importance of the national bourgeoisie and the petty- bourgeoisie in the revolutionary process. Jyoti Basu also noted that the Andhra committee came out with its theses only some months after the Cominform editorial of January 27th, 1950 had assailed the line of B.T. Ranadive. The CPI programme and tactical line adopted in 1951 went far beyond the limitations of the Andhra line and suggested the necessity of armed revolution combining working class insurrection and partisan warfare. It took several years of sustained effort in the period 1953-1969 for the main three streams of the communist movement, including the endeavours of Jyoti Basu himself, to demolish, from different angles, the revolutionary programme and tactical line elaborated in 1951.

Vijay Singh

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