On the First of May, the Communist Party of India (Maoist) merged with the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Naxalbari, and the Communist Party of India (Maoist) became practically the center of the international grouping called “Maoist Road”.
Therefore, “comrade Ajith”, leader of the former CPI(ML) Naxalbari, saw its conception of Maoism recognized by the Communist Party of India (Maoist) and its position becomes the one of the Maoist Road. Works of “comrade Ajith” were also translated in Italian for the First of May, which was important because the main protagonist, historically, of Maoist Road, is the maoist Communist Party of Italy.
It is interesting to see what Ajith says, because its line struggles precisely with what we have put forward in France those last years.
We have promoted the inevitability of Communism and the necessity of the Thought, following the teachings of Gonzalo and the Communist Party of Peru. Studying our country, we considered that must be defended Humanism, the absolute monarchy, Enlightenment, as progressive aspect of the contradiction of 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.
Ajith, on his side, rejects the relativism of Avakianism, which consists in idealism (with communism as a kind of “best option”), but rejects also our position, showing in fact that the substance of his position is in itself the same as Avakianism, or better said, as post-modernism.
What does Ajith says? In the review “Naxalbari”, in August 2013, in a long document called “Against Avakianism”, Ajiths says numerous things that make the things very clear.
For example, he says the following, trying to save post-modernism, which is nevertheless a terrible enemy of our ideology:
“We have noted that Marx and Engels were not totally free of Enlightmentalist influences.
How does Avakian fare in this matter? Today, compared to even Mao’s time, we are enriched with a new awareness of the contradictory essence of Enlightenment and its scientific consciousness.
Post-modernist trends have made significant contributions in this matter. Though their relativism led them to an ahistorical rejection of the Enlightenment and modernisation, the critical insights they offer must be synthesised by Marxism.
The contributions made by theoreticians of the Frankfurt school are also to be acknowledged. The necessity to distinguish the emancipatory aspect of the Enlightenment from its overarching bourgeois, colonial nature and thrust is one important lesson that we must derive.”
Ajith says that Marxism should “synthesize” -he means integrate - the “critical insights” elaborated by the post-modernist trends about Enlightenment and modernisation. We say precisely the contrary:
* Enlightenment is the progressive ideology of the bourgeoisie, which was not unified and therefore there were different trends: for example in France, there was the radical, atheist trend of Diderot, and the deist one of Voltaire. Enlightenment had no “contradictory essence”, but differences reflecting the different fractions of the bourgeoisie;
* The struggle against “modernisation” is the one of romanticism, with all its variants, going from Islam with Khomeini or Sayyid Qutub, to Hinduism, nationalism, etc. - it is not our struggle. On the contrary: we are for “modernisation”, for the integration of the world in a single entity, crushing the elements of the past. We believe in progress.
This last point is important because post-modernism propagates a lot a criticism of “technology”, of the “modern world”, expressing a petty-bourgeois fascination for the small production.
Ajith says something corresponding to this point of view:
“Furthermore, scientific consciousness itself must be critiqued in order to separate its rational content from the influence of Enlightenment values seen in it.
These are particularly manifested in the claim made about modern science as the final word, the disparaging of pre-modern thought and practices on that basis and a utilitarian approach on
the human-nature relation. In the oppressed countries, the belittling of traditional knowledge continues to be a dominant aspect of the comprador modernisation, developmental paradigm.
Mao’s approach on the critical appropriation of Western, modern ideas and technologies, the rich lessons of the attempts made in Revolutionary China to synthesis traditional knowledge with modern sciences and its mass practice during the Cultural Revolution offer a sound starting point for a Maoist synthesis. It has the penetrating observations made by Marx and Engels on the human-nature interaction as guidance.”
On our side, we worked a lot about the “human-nature interaction”, upholding the concept of “Biosphere” developed by the Soviet scientist Vernadsky, but also in defending ecology and a non-conflictual relationship to animals.
But it doesn't mean that we “regret” the “traditional knowledge”, which in fact has mostly disappeared since long and is now an ideological tool for the nationalist reaction. If we take a look at those who use the concept of “pre-modern thought and practices”, we will find only populists, defenders of romanticism.
In fact, Ajith defends the same path as the populists in pre-Soviet Russia. And indeed, here is what he says about India, his country:
“Finally, the Marxist conception of historical advance doesn’t imply in any way that human societies must invariably progress along the schematic trajectory of tribal-slave-feudal-capitalist social formations.
It has advanced through diverse paths. For instance, though the societies in the South Asian sub-continent had various forms of slave exploitation, they never had a stage of slavery akin to that of Egypt or Rome. (In this context, the concept ‘shudra-holding mode of production’ advanced by the martyred Maoist activist intellectual Saket Rajan of the CPI (Maoist) demands deeper study.
There is also the example of the region that later took shape as Keralam. Here, tribal societies directly became caste-feudal kingdoms, where adiyalatham (slave-like trading and exploitation of Dalit castes and some Adivasi tribes) existed in a symbiotic relation with tenant exploitation.”
What Ajiths says here is totally wrong, and reflects a non understanding of the process which happened in India. It is very significant that he doesn't speak about Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.
Because to say that in India there was no “stage of slavery akin to that of Egypt or Rome” is easily understood as false if we see how Brahmanism transformed itself in Hinduism.
In fact, Ajith underestimates India's history and doesn't see that Buddhism was the form of pre-bourgeois ideology at that time, closely related to the principle of absolute monarchy (here we find the famous figures of Ashoka and Kautilya). It was a threat for feudalism.
It is therefore just absurd to say that “tribal societies directly became caste-feudal kingdoms”: in fact, the process was organized from the top by “Hinduism” as historical trend in India, the “Aryans” integrating people in new ruling castes in the south, to crush Buddhism.
Let's quote here our article “Indian Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism - 10 : unification and glaciation of Indian society” :
“Eventually, the ideological vigour of Hinduism led the feudal forces of the south to join Hinduism, through the integration of the feudal lords into the kshatriya caste and the instruction of priests, and a whole history was “written” about all this, to connect it with northern culture.
This was a pure ideological construction, and in reality, the south of India never knew four castes, but only a traditional two level system, with feudal lords and priests on one side, and the oppressed masses on the other.
Another variant was applied to the tribal areas that were integrated; in such cases, Hinduism had to adapt itself, which gave birth to tantricism, i.e. magical variants.”
India's historical path is absolutely not different of the rest of the world. The position of Ajith can only lead, like Frantz Fanon could have done it in Algeria, to a post-modernist support of the national bourgeoisie in semi-colonial semi-feudal India.
It is logical, when we see the post-modernist position of Ajith, that he rejects both inevitability of Communism and the principle of Thought.
In a strange manner, Ajith rejects the fact that Mao Zedong defends inevitability (a fact that Avakian recognizes, but rejects). But everybody knowing Mao Zedong knows that he upholds dialectical materialism, and therefore inevitability. We must see here that Ajith never speaks about it, he never speaks about the eternal matter, the infinite universe, thought as reflect of the movement of matter, socialist realism, etc. etc.
Like Avakian, Ajith considers “Maoism” as a toolbox, and reduce Marxism to Historical Materialism using a “dialectical” philosophy, “produced” by Mao making a rupture with Stalin. That's why he just doesn't understand the principle of Thought.
Here is what he says:
“The Avakianists blame everyone who resists this as opposing the development of proletarian ideology itself. Therefore, in order to complete the repudiation of Avakianism, we must examine the process, dynamics, of ideological development. This also becomes unavoidable in the wider context of views that hold the development of Thought or Path as essential for the success for every revolution.
Recently a concerted attempt is being made to propagate this view within the international Maoist movement. [See ‘The International Project: Guiding Thought Of Revolution: The Heart Of Maoism’, jointly promoted by the OWA (MLM, principally Maoist), CPMLM – Bangladesh and CPMLM – France and supported by the MLM Center of Belgium. An Open letter to the ICM from these parties states, “At our epoch, Maoism, as Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, synthesis of the ideology of working class, can only exist as a guiding thought in each country, forging the avant-garde in correspondence with the inner contradiction of the country, unleashing People's War.”]
It was first advanced by the PCP and later on reiterated by the CPN (Maoist).
Every creative application of MLM, leading to the successful development of a revolution (that is an application tested through practice), will surely give rise to a deeper grasp and insight of MLM. It will even contribute new concepts or ideas, which will enrich MLM. But it is not necessary (inevitable) that these contributions will represent a new ‘Thought’. It is even less necessary that they will represent a leap to a new stage, i.e., an all-round development of MLM.”
It is very clear here that Ajith doesn't understand at all what a Thought is and even, that he has not study this question. In the document “Guiding Thought Of Revolution”, some Thoughts are presented, with a biography of their biographies.
But it is not said that these Thoughts represent a leap to a new stage. On the contrary even: a Thought represent the correct application to a country of the universal ideology.
The only special case is here Gonzalo Thought, which had such a high level that it helped understanding Maoism.
Nevertheless, it is not a question of “new concept or ideas”, to “enrich MLM” or whatsoever. Thought means: in a given country, history and culture are understood and a path for the revolution is formulated.
The Chinese comrades explain this in saying:
“History shows that the bourgeoisie first took hold of ideology and prepared public opinion before it seized political power from the feudal landlord class. Starting from the period of the “Renaissance,” the European bourgeoisie persistently criticized feudal ideology and propagated bourgeois ideology. It was in the 17th and 18th centuries, after several hundred years of preparation of public opinion, that the bourgeoisie seized political power and established its dictatorship in one European country after another.
Marx and Engels began propagating the theories of communism more than a century ago. They did so to prepare public opinion for the seizure of political power by the proletariat. The Russian proletarian revolution culminated in the seizure of political power only after decades of preparation of public opinion. Our own experience is even fresher in our minds. When the Chinese proletariat began to appear on the political scene, it was weak and unarmed. How was the revolution to start? It started with the propagation of Marxism-Leninism and the exposure of imperialism and its lackeys in China. The struggle of the Chinese proletariat for the seizure of political power began precisely with the May 4th cultural revolution.
In the final analysis, the history of the seizure of political power by the Chinese proletariat is a history of Mao Tse-tung’s thought gripping the masses of workers, peasants and soldiers. As the masses have aptly put it: “Without Mao Tse-tung’s thought, there would have been no New China.” By integrating Marxism-Leninism with the practice of the Chinese revolution, Comrade Mao Tse-tung, the great revolutionary standard-bearer, changed the whole face of the Chinese revolution.” (Long Live the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, 1966)
This is precisely what Ajith doesn't face, according to us. Maoism is for him Historical Materialism + a toolbox of concepts. According to us, Historical Materialism is only a section of Dialectical Materialism: each country is a part of the World Revolution, and the World Revolution is a part of the whole matter moving to Communism.