Sources of Incorrect Ideas in Revolutionary Politics

Parimal Dasgupta


The author of this article was one of the most remarkable communist activists of India in the period after 1953. His contribution to the communist movement is insufficiently unknown outside Bengal as his polemics were largely conducted in Bengali. Parimal Dasgupta retained a commitment to the Programme and Tactical Line of the Communist Party of India which had been elaborated in 1951 by the CPI.

The CPI in 1951 had rejected:

(a) the right-reformist policies which had been adopted by the party under the leadership of P.C. Joshi which inter alia had over-estimated the changes proposed by the Mountbatten Award, stressed the democratic possibilities of allying with the Nehru wing of the Congress Party and for some years until early 1946 had given support to the demand for Pakistan;

(b) the ‘Trotskyist-Titoist’ policies of B. T. Ranadive which spoke of the intertwining of the people’s democratic and the socialist revolutions in a colonial country;

(c) the line of the Andhra Committee of the CPI headed by Rajeshwara Rao and Makineni Basavapunnaiah which sought to emulate the Chinese path by engaging in peasant warfare.

The CPI dropped this last approach on the ground that the Chinese path had succeeded only after the intervention of the Soviet and Mongolian troops in Manchuria in 1945 which had defeated the Japanese army and so paved the way for the PLA to move south and defeat the Kuomintang. India did not have the advantage of having an adjacent socialist country which could decisively assist the democratic revolution. It required therefore the joint smuggle of an armed working class alongside an armed peasantry which was defined as ‘armed smuggle’. This was a contrast to the armed revolution of the Chinese revolutionary process. From 1953 the CPI began to drop its understanding of the semi-colonial and semi-feudal character of the Indian society and state as well as distanced itself from the tactical line of armed struggle. Parimal Dasgupta began his conflict with the CPI from 1953 itself. His collisions with reformism continued in relation to the draft programme of the CPI M which was authored by Makineni Basavapunnaiah in 1964. Parimal Dasgupta in fact saw no reason to replace the 1951 programme in 1964. His third major battle as a member of the All-India Coordination Committee of Communist Revolutionaries was directed to the reversion nominally to the discarded Andhra Line  but in reality adopting the focoist individual terrorist practices of Che Guevara and liquidating the work of the communist revolutionaries in the trade unions. This line was adopted by Charu Majumdar and the CPI ML in its initial years. The third section of the article here represents a searing critique of the line of individual terrorism in the countryside and the urban areas and stands by the tactical line adopted by the CPI in 1951. It has perhaps not been surpassed as an analysis of the politics of the early period of the CPI ML from the Marxist-Leninist viewpoint.

Vijay Singh

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