The Indian Government Should Surrender To The Maoists: An Immodest Proposal

June 6, 2010

June 6, 2010

by Jesse Ross Knutson, Sanhati

June 6, 2010

Two waves of bourgeois opinion have been crashing back and forth in the mainstream Indian media coverage of the ongoing armed activities of the CPI(Maoist) and the government’s most recent and psychopathic phase of counterinsurgency: “Operation Green Hunt”. A mildly progressive voice lapses into economism from the get-go: assessing the causality in poverty and brutalization, and suggesting that the problem could be addressed socioeconomically; implying that ‘nonviolence’ on the part of the oppressed could emerge from an amelioration of conditions. Not far off in this framework—it might be cynical to add—could be a big role for that gem of doublespeak ‘social entrepreneurship’. The political imaginary underlying this wave is social democratic at best.

The voice of upper class-caste triumphalism on the other hand, much better represented not coincidentally by the corporate media, responds that the state has priorities more pressing than social or economic justice. The bloated, rich loudmouth says resistance—whatever its origins—should be obliterated by force. The political imaginary underlying this wave is Czarist, i.e. proto-fascist plutocrat.

Yet both sides stare off into a horizon of some imagined possibility of ‘nonviolence’—the void on which these bourgeois-Buddhists meditate—which if either party were pressed to define it, might share all the key points in common: the market and private property, etc.., the very conditions of uneven development that starve, enslave, torture, and kill the poor. To make a long story short, ‘nonviolence/peace’ has an intrinsic relationship to the most longstanding and pervasive acts of war against the people.

Large sections of the poor recognize this fact. Now things have come to a head in several areas of the country. A stalemate has been reached. The mainstream ideology in all its varieties—from the liberal to the libertarian—has proven totally inadequate to dealing with the full scope of the underlying contradiction, which is now between the regime of capital and the aspirations for livelihood and empowerment of the people at large who form the majority of the population.

Now the conflict is clearly not just between the people and the backwardness of feudal oppression, which had confronted them, but between the people and capital. Capital has taken off some of its feudal finery and put on battle gear: we behold the finance minister turned home minister, Chidambaram himself and his corporate cronies greedily eying the jungle. Paradoxically, now that things have advanced this far, it may only be a rigorously utopian frame that can allow one to deal concretely with the question of the poorest of the poor and their insurgency.

Sweet Surrender

Sovereignty already changed hands long ago in the so-called Red Corridor. First it was administered by landlord goons. The Maoists won over the people by liquidating their authority and in cases of serious obstruction, administering justice over the landlords’ dead bodies. The ‘divide and rule’ policy of the state, pirated from the colonial masters, was replaced with ‘unify and lead’.

Sovereignty simply cannot be regained—in order of course just to be repackaged and sold off to the multinational mining corporations—even at the cost of massive bloodshed. Likewise the positive potentials of the Maoist presence—for proto-socialist construction—cannot be fully realized under conditions of permanent war. It is obviously absurdly premature to talk of a separate state in central India, which could be judged on the effectiveness of its welfare programs, medical services, development schemes, etc.—Nirmalangshu Mukherjee has recently displayed the poverty of philosophy on this question (Outlook, May 19th 2010)—but it would be worthwhile to begin constructing one. The construction has indeed already begun in microcosm, but it is under fire. Collectivization, direct people’s democracy, welfare schemes, medical services, and education have been introduced, in stride with the CPI(Maoist)’s military advances— these should be lauded, but at present there seems to be no standard readily available to judge them from the outside.

The Government of India will never be able to train fighters well enough to stand up to the Maoists for several reasons. The crucial one is motivation. No one, especially not the poor people being sent to fight, can ever be motivated enough to fight to the death against the people’s struggle. Abused, deprived, disregarded, and sent to die, they are likely to come to identify with it at least on some subterranean level. Defections, internal rebellions, and general chaos in the ranks can be expected as conflicts escalate further. Already under ‘normal’ circumstances, according to the Times of India (April 28th, 2010), there have been since 2006, 40 cases of soldiers fragging their superior officers, as well as 550 suicides.

The Maoists’ organization and dedication have been made obvious enough to require no illustration. Their very existence is about defying all odds. Their survival itself is a matter of a level of discipline and organization totally foreign to the corrupt, opportunistic, and anarchic state. Isaac Deutscher wrote in 1964 about the success of the original Chinese Revolution: Although the material resources of the Chinese revolution were so much poorer than those of the Russian, its moral resources were larger; and in revolution as in war the Napoleonic rule holds good that the moral factors are to the material ones as three to one (“Maoism-Its Origins, Background, and Outlook”, 31).

The second most crucial reason the government will lose militarily is ignorance: ignorance of the terrain, the culture, the languages, and the historically generated political subjectivity of the rebel masses. None of these things can even be known from the government’s position.

The final principal reason for the Government’s inevitable defeat is that—as witnessed by the U.S.A.’s defeat by the great Vietnamese people’s war—guerrilla war does not have to be won to inflict defeat; it simply has to be not lost. To attempt to truly stamp out the movement would require a total transformation of society along the lines of a Latin American dictatorship; death camps, torture chambers, and ‘disappearances’ Pinochet or Fujimori style, which already lurk in the shadows (Vide. “India’s Secret Torture Chambers, The Week, July 14 2009) would have to emerge into prominent daylight and terrorize us all, including students and urban intellectuals. The people of India have no stomach for this kind of arrangement.

Civil society is already the victim of the most disgusting terrorist attacks by the government, through which the nation repeatedly shames itself on the world stage. The country’s extraordinary laws, false accusations as well as long unjustified imprisonments under them, ‘encounter killings’, instances of torture and death in police custody, etc. have been the dubious fame of India shining, revealing what the Maoists call the semi-colonial character of the Indian polity. One need not wander the streets of even the capital for very long to find a police officer beating someone up. No one has any doubt about the crass brutality that is the modus operandi of this country.

If the Government bombs the forests—which it seems is only a matter of time at this point—the Maoists will yet again turn setback into long march forward, weakness into strength. The movement will grow to hitherto unimaginable proportions amidst the ashes of a giant people’s martyrdom. This will not be like Sri Lanka. The Maoists have learned from those mistakes and their diehard commitment to the splendid alchemy of guerrilla war was reinforced by the unspeakable suffering and tragedy that was the dénouement of the Tamil people’s struggle against apartheid.

And the Government continually fails to convince anyone that the Maoists are anti-national, because their sacrifice and determination resonate so strongly with the most hardcore currents of the original movement for national liberation, with the resolute communist Bhagat Singh. They have already won. The old nationalism went bankrupt long ago. This is the new nationalism.

At the very least 80% percent of the population of this country has been totally shut out from any of the benefits of modernity because of an unenlightened, ungenerous, and oligarchic system, onto which neoliberalism has been brutally grafted as if in some back alley surgery. The current Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was one of the chief surgeons in 1991. According to a 2006 report of the National Commission of Enterprises in the Unorganized Sector (NCEUS: http://nceus.gov.in/) of the Government of India, 76% of the population spends less than 20 rupees per day ($0.4). The doctor and public health activist Binayak Sen has recently been drawing attention to statistics alarming beyond all words: 33% of adults 45% of children 60% of scheduled castes 50% of scheduled tribes are chronically malnourished in India as revealed by their body mass index. This is
the worst public health record since 1947, and it is intrinsically related to the growth in India’s billionaires. This is the true face of the ‘non-violence’ to which we are being coerced into paying lip service.

The Maoists will not agree to eternally peaceful coexistence, it is true, and they will aim for the progressive transformation of the entire country, indeed, but so that this can be debated more gradually, evenly, and in a less bloody fashion, surrender is a must. Let the competition between the government and the revolution continue for some time under détente, on a more purely ideological plane. Let the government formally concede what it has already conceded on some level through its rampage of exploitation and neglect. When its authority has been so delegitimized, why should it continue to fight a losing battle at such great cost?

The Government of India should surrender to the CPI(Maoist)’s People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army, and encourage establishment of a semi-autonomous self-administered people’s territory in the so-called ‘Red Corridor’. Why should one after all attempt to annihilate the only enlightened and functional authority? The Maoists have been withthe people in these regions for almost three decades, know them, love them, learn from them and teach them. The spectre of communism may be scary for a country that revels in such hierarchy and inequality at every level, but surrendering to it is the only way to stave off impending chaos in the short and longer term.

To admit defeat to the poor would really be to triumph. Learn from the Maoists, Government of India, how to turn weakness into strength, defeat into victory. You could even try to mix in some imitation Gandhi. The Maoist model of people’s self-empowerment and self-administration is the only viable one. It will spread one way or another by the inexorable work of the negative. Surrender, Government of India, to the people and to ongoing revolutionary transformation…

* * *

Indeed the ends are ultimately destined to meet, as the overdeveloped world guts its own infrastructure and underdevelops itself, what used to be called the third world is becoming simply the world at large. A greater global unity of struggle is on the horizon, and all the sons and daughters of Naxalbari must join hands to embrace it. The hopes and possibilities of the sixties may even be coming home to roost, but this time we should be more united, more disciplined, and more conscious before them.

India’s combination of extreme backwardness and neoliberal bandwagon riding makes it a forerunner in the global race to ecological and socioeconomic dystopia. This backwardness may represent a forwardness at a higher level, if and when revolutionary consciousness becomes universal enough to meet the universality of evil.

2 Comments »

2 Responses to “The Indian Government Should Surrender To The Maoists: An Immodest Proposal”

  1. Nirmalangshu Says:
    June 13th, 2010 at 01:33

    So the argument is that first the maoists ought to be given their “state”. Then they will see what can be done about tribal welfare. In the meantime, the cause of “revolution” requires deals with private contractors, arms dealers, state agents, mafia, and the like while tribal children are taken out of schools and given arms training. Do the tribals know of this plan and have agreed to toil under the greed of private exploiters? Is there some reference to a “problematic past” when characters like Ajit Yogi, Lalu Prasad, Digvijay Singh, Shibu Soren (don’t forget Madhu Khoda and Mamta) wish to embrace the maoists? Do the tribals know?

    It is interesting to know what the tehri-e-taliban and the RSS have promised tribals in Waziristan and Gujarat respectively.

  2. Kevin Says:
    July 1st, 2010 at 15:48

    It’s an argument that seems very one-sided. You are right on the front that the govt was lethargic with respect to the development aspect of the ‘said’ regions, but this does not seem the case now, mostly because the govt has schemes numbering in the dozen and more, socio+economic which feature better development of affected parts,better roads , electricity, jobs , better infrastructure.
    The case in point is basically the structure of fund allocation which is based purely on demand by state govt – allocation by central govt – expenditure by state govt and so, do I need to explain the rest?
    its not u ask i give u , but need basis.
    I am sorry to say but,The writer seems disjointed by actual ground happenings ie. the atrocities
    extortion,Kidnappings,murder

    Moreover the funny part of all this maoists blow up every sign of civilization they can get their hands on, schools, hospitals, trains, tracks, vehicles. I hope the writer is aware that India is a developing country and resources are stretched so thin that masses go hungry daily. The govt is poor.

    your argument seems inclined towards american political structure, India is muti party system,’the gun never solved a problem’
    I can vouch n say that the maoists will be kept out of the majority in any sort of election, even now.thats the main reason they boycott elections. They dont believe in equal rights, The writer should read about ‘ pol pot ‘ his beginings to his end. cambodia is not very far and american as well as world historians jus seem to brush the genocide there under the carpet. maoists are are on their way of doing just that.

    history has a funny way of repeating itself

    Right now the maoists wont even come out for dialogue.10 days back our home minister was asking for some sort of positive response from maoists.26 soldiers were butchered today.butchered because after they were killied, they were dismembered. awesome response.

    hitler never won majority in elections, where did it get germany?

    nepal is tethering at the brink of civil war with factions of army siding with royals and some factions of erstwhile maoists, to overthrow Prachanda.
    pakistan is a failed state, law n order is non – existent.
    Iraq under saddam, was prejudicial
    Myanmar is a mess.
    need I say more???
    anything seem common to the above???

    The gun never solved a problem, give peace a chance, tell them to stand for elections

    seriously speaking, maoists scare us indians because of their brutality and barbarism, but when push comes to shove, we can deal with them.

    i dont think we Indians require your Immodest Proposal.

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