In this wide-ranging interview, Gopalji discusses many important issues including:
-The development of Revolutionary People’s Committees and the Maoists’ efforts to establish fully liberated base areas;-the agriculture, education and health projects the Maoists have built;-how they conduct military operations to avoid harm to local people;-Operation Green Hunt and moves towards a fascist police state;-the challenge of developing the revolutionary movement in the plains and among the working class and petty bourgeoisie in the cities;-how the Maoists plan to defeat the powerful Indian military and state; and-what a New Democratic state would look like in India.
Interview with Gopalji, Spokesperson of the Special Area Committee of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) in a Forest in Jharkhand, Eastern India
by Alpa Shah
Communism in the rest of the world seems to have collapsed. What hope do you have of achieving a socialist state in India?
The claim that there is no hope for socialism and communism, that they are dead, is mere propaganda unleashed by the imperialists and the apologists of capitalism. The 20th century saw the first round of revolutions led by the working classes and the toiling masses of the communist parties in various parts of the world — the Russian Revolution, the Chinese Revolution, the Revolution in Vietnam and many more. The 21st century will see a new wave of revolutions led by communist parties such as ours in India.
Massive socio-economic and political transformation takes time. The bourgeoisie took at least 400 years to achieve victory over feudalism and even then they entered into unholy alliances with the feudals in order to fight the working classes. These alliances are still prevalent today in many countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America in order to stop the revolutions of the toiling masses led by the communist parties.After the Great Depression II, the recent economic crisis, there are very few takers of the bourgeois philosophy TINA, `There is No Alternative,’ to capitalism. Many intellectuals, many people in the developed countries, in the capitalist countries, have turned to Marx’sDas Kapital. Recent developments in the world have proved the theory of Marx, the invincibility of Marxism and the inevitability of socialism and communism. Only socialism and communism can eradicate hunger, poverty and inequality and solve problems, such as that of climate change, which our planet is facing. In India we are trying to achieve a New Democratic Revolution as part of the world’s socialist revolutions.
What stage are you at in the Indian revolution?
In general we are in the phase of guerilla warfare. This means that the armed struggle against the state is the principal form of struggle and armed organization is the principal form of organization.
In some places, such as in Dandakaranya and in some parts of Jharkhand, we have formed Revolutionary People’s Committees (RPCs) which are the organs of alternative people’s power. If this continues, we will be able to build base areas. Base areas are places where the enemy, the ruling classes (that is the Indian big-bourgeoisie and the landlords) do not have any organ of power — any military, any police force, or any administrative apparatus — and where people develop their own organs of power, their own army and their own administrative apparatus to implement economic policies of the people by the people’s government. Our immediate target is to build base areas in certain pockets of our country.
What are the strategies you are using to achieve a base area?
Our guiding ideology is Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. Our strategy is `protracted people’s war’. Comrade Mao taught us that the poor nations, the nations where semi-colonial, semi-feudal systems are in existence, should take the path of protracted people’s war — making bases in the countryside and then encircling the towns from the countryside. This is the strategy taken by the communist party here in India and it is the strategy taken by Maoists in semi-colonial, semi-feudal countries all over the world. In India, there are certain changes; it is not exactly similar to pre-revolution China. So we have made certain changes in our tactics to suit the changes in our concrete conditions.
What are the main differences between the conditions that existed at the time of the protracted people’s war in China and the conditions in India now?
Internationally we are operating in a world where there is no socialist country or bases to seek help from. After the WWII, various national liberation struggles forced the imperialists to renounce the old form of direct colonial rule. So they resorted to neocolonial forms of exploitation. Internally, India now has a centralized and militarized state which has reached the remotest parts of the country. Transport and communications are far more developed. Chieftains who had their own armies dominated the Chinese countryside.
In India we don’t have such a situation. The loathsome caste hierarchy with a strict Brahminical order is the backbone of Indian feudalism and there is uneven development in every aspect of the socio-economic and cultural realms. The Indian ruling classes ruled this country for over 60 years in a so-called `democratic’ framework. India has a much bigger urban petty bourgeois class and a huge working class force. It is a county of numerous nationalities at varying degrees of development. India has a long history of revisionist practice that still has considerable influence over the toiling masses and these revisionists have proved themselves an apologist of this reactionary rule.
There are also big differences in the process of building the army and the base areas. In China they already had a base area and an army. Even before the formation of the Communist Party, the Kuomintang was leading a bourgeois democratic revolution against imperialism and feudalism. We had neither a base area nor an army when we began. We started with a small squad and have been able to form a People’s Liberation Guerilla Army. So our struggle will be longer and different. Additionally, we have vast plain areas which need a somewhat different treatment than hilly and forested regions. The importance of urban work and the need for organizing the working class is greater in our country. Apart from organizing a strategic united front of the four classes, we are also making a special effort to organize adivasis, dalits, women, minorities and various nationalities.
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