On the Policy and Strategy of the Trade Union Front of the Party

Parimal Dasgupta

(Presented at Kolkata Zila trade union convention on 30 and 31st July 1960. Distributed among representatives with the permission of the Kolkata Zila council)

Parimal Dasgupta was a remarkable Indian communist and trade unionist. He was a critic of the developing reformist line in the CPI from 1953. Parimal Dasgupta analysed the 1964 draft programme of the CPI (M) which revealed its rupture with the Programme and Tactical Line of the CPI which had been elaborated after the discussions in Moscow of the party leadership with the CPSU(b) and Stalin. He also critiqued the pro- focoist Che Guevara tactics adopted in the countryside by the founder of the CPI (ML), Charu Majumdar. The formation of the CPI (ML) meant that effectively the industrial working class was given no role in the Indian revolution. Much the same was true of the understanding of the communist revolutionary trend headed by D.V. Rao which was opposed to the tactic of individual terrorism in town and country. Both these trends echoed the tactical line of the Andhra Committee which had been headed by Rajeswara Rao and Basavapunnaiah. The severe shortcomings of the tactical line of the Andhra Committee led to its rejection by the CPI in 1951. The consequences of the revival of the discredited tactical line of the Andhra Committee may be seen half a century later as the industrial working class still plays little or no role in the parties which emerged from the tradition of the CPI (ML). Here we publish an article of Parimal Dasgupta which analysed the absence of a revolutionary trade union policy by the CPI. In a letter to this journal the Editor of Frontier, Timir Basu, writes: ‘He could not elaborate his ideas further because the Naxalite leadership did not want to continue the debate. I worked with him very closely in his West Bengal State Electricity Board Workers’Union for long — it was the most radicalized labour union of the day’. Through his writings and his practical trade union activity Parimal Dasgupta elaborated a revolutionary trade union policy which has its relevant today.

Vijay Singh.

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