By Mike Talavera
On September 21, 2004, somewhere deep within the forests of India, the official merger of the Maoist Communist Centre of India and the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist)[People’s War] was declared, and the Communist Party of India (Maoist) was founded. Fifteen years later in 2019, at the Andhra-Odisha border, an announcement was made at a meeting celebrating this anniversary that the name of the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) would soon be changed to People’s Guerrilla Army (PGA), signifying the expansion of the People’s War throughout the entire country.
In a press statement released shortly after the 2004 founding, signed by the two general secretaries of the merging parties Kishan and Ganapathy, the CPI (Maoist) stated that its formation was a historical milestone.
“The new Communist Party of India (Maoist) will continue to act as a consolidated political vanguard of the Indian proletariat,” the statement reads. “Marxism-Leninism-Maoism will be the ideological basis guiding its thinking in all the spheres of its activities. It will continue its struggle against right and left deviations, particularly against revisionism, by taking this as the main danger for the communist movement as a whole.”
“The immediate aim and programme of the Maoist party is to carry on and complete the already ongoing and advancing New Democratic Revolution in India as a part of the world proletarian revolution by overthrowing the semi-colonial, semifeudal system under the neo-colonial form of indirect rule, exploitation and control,” the statement continues.
India’s subjugation under colonialism, beginning in the mid-18th century with the East India Company, and its continued oppression today under US imperialism have generated bureaucratic capitalism, a semi-feudal society where imperialism’s interests are served first and the people are super-exploited. Today, nearly three quarters of India’s population depend on agriculture for their livelihood, but the old state forsakes the masses to accommodate imperialism, leading to mass starvation, suicides, and suffering. The ideology of Hindu fascism has also terrorizes the people in defense of the old state and has enforced the oppressive semifeudal caste system.
The armed struggle in India began in Naxalbari, West Bengal in 1967 when villagers began to seize lands under the revolutionary slogan, “Land to the Tiller!” In response, the landlords and government retaliated, culminating in a police massacre on May 25 of that year, which killed several villagers, including two children, who were protesting for their right to a piece of land. This event sparked the armed confiscation of lands around Naxalbari, Kharibari, and Phansidewa by the peasant committees, supported by workers’ strikes in the Darjeeling region.
Since then, decades of armed struggle forged revolutionaries and eventually led to the formation of a People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army. In 2004, the CPI (Maoist) took leadership of this armed force. Less than one year after its founding, US imperialism declared the Party a terrorist organization. In 2006, then-Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called the Maoists India’s “biggest internal security threat.”
The fears of the reactionary old state are provoked not only by the militant forces but the proletarian ideology leading it. The People’s War soon conquered vast areas of East India where servants of the ruling class were targeted and expelled. Under the New Power, the broad masses participate in political decisions and elect people’s delegates. Land and productive forces are organized for the benefit of the collective, and a new culture has emerged which combats the caste system and women’s oppression.
“The revolution is going as strong as the rivers in the region,” said revolutionary poet, activist, and political prisoner Varavara Rao. “Here in Bastar, people’s justice is being implemented. Before police delegations can arrive, quarrels and conflicts are resolved by the peasant committees. Water resources are developed with the participation of the masses. The guerrillas are engaged in agriculture, education and health. The land is distributed. There is no drought, prostitution, murder or drugs in the area under guerrilla control. Even petty crimes have no place.”
In 2009, the old state launched a massive counterinsurgency effort against the CPI (Maoist) and PLGA which would become known as “Operation Green Hunt.” The effort represented the first centralized government attack on Maoist-held areas of the country. Hundreds were killed over the next few years as the old state attempted to extinguish the fire of People’s War. In the end, this military fiasco only fueled the anger of the masses against their oppressors.
“Repression breeds resistance,” said comrade Azad speaking on behalf of the CPI (Maoist) in a 2009 interview. “And the more [Minister] Chidambaram’s men go about terrorizing people, killing, torturing, raping and creating havoc in the adivasi [tribal] areas, the more intense and extensive will be the armed resistance of the masses, and the stronger will our army become.”
The CPI (Maoist) has since led the PLGA in conquering a guerrilla zone comprising eight districts, and the People’s War rages on stronger than ever. The consistent military actions carried out against class enemies, the sabotages of imperialist ventures, the boycott of elections, and victories like the release of Comrade Ajith in July of this year all point to the inevitability of the New Democratic Revolution and the future People’s Republic of India.