INDIA - 20 years PLGA, birth of the revolutionary army
From December 1st 2020 until December 1st 2021, the communists and all revolutionaries worldwide are celebrating the year of the People’s Liberation Guerilla Army, the revolutionary army of the Indian people under the leadership of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) (CPI(Maoist)).
On this occasion, as part of our support for the campaign, we want to help the revolutionary and proletarian forces worldwide to gain a deeper understanding of the PLGA. While this text deals with the history that lead to the formation of the army, and its task in People’s War, a following one will be published on the development and the recent situation of the army. Also, we recommend the latest issue of the “People’s March”, an electronic newspaper of the CPI(Maoist) in English language, that deals with the topic of the PLGA.
The People’s War in India is the politically most developed revolution in the world. Together with the People’s Wars in Peru, Turkey and the Philippines it is a guiding star to the communists and revolutionaries of every country. The New Power erected by the CPI(Maoist) is spanning an area that is bigger than Germany at this point. It is the lifeline between the party and the millions of revolutionary masses that are struggling, even with their lives, against imperialism, feudalism and bureaucratic capitalism in India today under the red banner of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism.
A revolutionary guerrilla army
The PLGA is a guerrilla army under the leadership of the Party, the CPI(Maoist). Such is the principle of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism that the party must lead the guns, and not the guns the party. Only in this way the ideology can be in the lead, and can be applied to the special conditions of the Indian revolution. In India, the People’s War commenced with the Naxalbari uprising, thirty years before the formation of the PLGA. But the formation of a guerrilla army is a necessity in People’s War. One reason for this is because until the gain of state power, the army is the biggest mass organization in People’s War – such is the case with the PLGA. The PLGA is the opposite of the reactionary armies of the old Indian state, with it’s mercenaries and US military consultants. It truly is an Army of the People.
They show the masses the root of the many evils in Indian society, they bring the consciousness to the masses, that only through organized militant struggle, the old power can be broken. The starvation of the Indian people’s masses, the feudal exploitation of the peasants and the landgrab through imperialist monopolies, the genocidal “counter-insurgency” programs of the old bureaucratic Indian state’s troops, lead by US strategists. All these terrors can only be abolished through New democratic revolution, through People’s War.
The People’s War that the party leads is a struggle in the deepest interest of the people. The PLGA proves to them, that it is a guerrilla army of this kind. They help with production, building medical aid and combat all evils that the old semi-feudal society has put on the shoulders of the masses of India. Mainly, they organize the people to become able to perform these tasks themselves. Through all forms of agitation, also through many cultural programs the PLGA is making the people conscious of their situation. They call upon them to support the struggle themselves, and to join it. Everywhere they go they organize the masses. An important organ of this is the People’s Militia.
The People’s Militia is the most basic formation of the PLGA, thousands of revolutionary masses that volunteer for the struggle while not being full-time members of the army. Their task is primarily to defend the villages and their organs of the new power from the enemy. But it is a statement to the development of the Indian revolution that the People’s Militia also makes ambushes on police.
After a people’s court in Dandakaranya executed two police informants, journalists made interviews with the people. They told them: “‘Yes. The two persons became enemies to us. They informed the police about the activities here and led to an encounter. We lost five people among which two were militia members from our village’.” This goes to show the support of the people’s masses for the party
The most class conscious and able comrades from the People’s Militia are asked to join the guerrilla army. So the ranks of the PLGA are filled with the best sons and daughters of the people, of the oppressed masses themselves, creating a “perineal river of blood” for revolution. The army is a principal instrument in revolution, principal not just for destroying the old, but mainly for building the new. In the red zones, the organs of the new power are build by the PLGA. These new representative bodies of the masses represent a higher political form than even the most complete bourgeois democracy, not to talk about the backwards, reactionary forms of the semi-feudal, semi-colonial old Indian state, they represent proletarian democracy. It is as Chairman Mao says: “Political power grows from the barrel of a gun”. In building the New state Power, the PLGA is the lifeline of the party, it is the principal instrument for building proletarian democracy.
The main bodies of the New power are “Revolutionary People’s Committees” RPCs. They are organs of proletarian democracy, of the revolutionary masses. The armed masses elect their representatives, with the power to immediately re-elect them. They are fundamentally different from the representatives of the old Indian state, they do not belong to a caste or strata that stands over the people, but come from their midst. The CPI(Maoist) writes about the RPCs:
“These RPCs that are being formed where the power of the exploiting classes have been destroyed in PW, have taken up the task of advancing PW as their central task and are intensifying anti-imperialist and anti-feudal struggles. They are trying to rally vast masses against the conspiracies of the MNCs and corporate companies like Tata, Essar, Jindal, Mittal, Vedanta etc to loot our country’s natural resources and against the Operation Green Hunt (OGH) that the ruling classes launched. They are carrying on mass agitations not to allow them into guerilla zonesand to prevent the centuries old adivasi communities and the vast forests from getting destroyed. Due to the resistance of the revolutionary movement, no huge project could be started. This is putting a check on the exploitation of corporate companies like Tata, Essar, Jindal, Mittal and Vedanta.”
“On the other hand, RPCs are consolidating people against fake reforms of the exploiting governments and are placing an alternative development model in front of the Indian people. Particularly, they are implementing revolutionary reforms and are taking steps to distribute land to every family. With the aim of increasing production and improving the economic position of the people, they started to develop agriculture. They are improving the irrigation facilities. They are introducing cooperative methods. They are encouraging fisheries, orchards, growing of vegetables etc. They have taken up land leveling programme on a huge scale in DK in 2010.”
How could such a revolutionary institution come to be? It was smited in the struggles of over 50 years of People’s War, in fierce struggle against imperialism and revisionism.
History of it’s inception
From it’s inception, as well as in all developments leading up to it, the PLGA could not be separated from the struggles of the Indian people’s masses against feudal and imperialist rule. With the experiences of the masses, and of a People’s War of more than half a century, the ground-stone was laid for its creation on December 2nd 2000.
Naxalbari, spring thunder over India
It was under the leadership of red forces within the party, lead by Charu Mazumdar, that split from the old revisionist Communist Party, marxist in words, but a tool for imperialism, that the peasant’s revolt of Naxalbari happened. They united with the people, to lead them in the struggle, inspired by the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China. This culminated in the peasants revolt of Naxalbari in 1969. The peasants took the land of the big landlords and successfully defended it against the police, before being gruesomely driven away by the old Indian states troops. In the aftermath of Naxalbary peasant revolts took place all over India. As Radio Peking said: Naxalbari was “spring thunder over India”. In the aftermath of Naxalbari the new revolutionary party, the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist), was formed with Charu Mazumdar as its Chairman.
But the era of revolutionary storms was followed by an era of repression against the revolutionary movement and the people. Charu Mazumdar was captured and murdered by the reaction and the party was heavily split.
Naxalbari was the start of the People’s War in India. Therefore, to this day, every fighter in the PLGA knows, 50 years after it took place “Naxalbari leads the way”
On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the PLGA, the CPI(Maoist) said:
“PLGA was born on December 2, 2000 by learning from the positive and negative experiences of Naxalbari, Srikakulam, Debra, Gopivallabhpur, Punjab, Birbhum, Sonarpur, Kanksa, Gaya-Hazaribagh struggles that were waged to end the feudal and imperialist exploitation from India, by synthesizing and imbibing the progressive experiences of armed agrarian revolution that is ongoing in states such as Bihar-West Bengal (now renamed as Paschim Bang), Andhra Pradesh (AP) and Dandakaranya (DK) and with the inspiration of our beloved martyr comrades Syam, Mahesh and Murali.”
The PLGA war formed on top of those victories. The history of it’s inception could only be archived in struggle against revisionism.
A victory against revisionism
The birth of the PLGA was archived through the sharpest two-line struggle inside the then heavily split parties in the 1990ies. The then “CPI(ML)(People’s War)” was reduced by the many splits to an organization that was almost only active in the state of Andhra Pradesh, where it was faced with great repression. The old leadership of the Party did not meet those challenges by basing on all the party cadres and the people. They shied away from the task of strengthening the party unity amidst the repression, organize the masses, and became the reason for an internal crisis in the party when they tried to split it.
“On that occasion, the methods that the young leadership in the Central Committee adopted to face the internal crisis helped like a good educational campaign for the whole party and rectified the Party’s style of functioning. The ideological and political level of the whole party was developed. Mainly, collective leadership and collective team-functioning in the Central Committee were developed.”
The leading comrade of the proletarian forces in the Central Committee was the comrade Ganapathy. He lead successfully the struggle against the revisionist line, that shied away from uniting the Party and organizing the People, and defeated the revisionists. Under his leadership, the CPI(ML)(People’s War) merged with other revolutionary Parties, everything that was honest and revolutionary. It was under this collective leadership that was developed in the struggle against the revisionist line, on December 2nd 2001, that the military line of the Party was developed and the PLGA was build.
It is a sign of the great development and stability of the Indian revolution that the creation of the PLGA was completed before the two parties whose armed mass organizations formed it were merged: the CPI(ML)(People’s War) and the Maoist Communist Centre of India (MCC). This does not negate the principle that the party leads the guns – on the contrary. The unification of the party was already as much prepared and advanced, that the armed organizations of the parties could be united even before the party unification.
So the young PLGA made a leap on September 21 2004, when the two parties were merged, and the CPI(Maoist) emerged. And again in the Ninth Congress/Unity Congress in 2007, the first congress of the new all-Indian Party, where the military line was enriched. In 2014, the CPI(Maoist) merged with the CPI(ML)Naxalbari, and their both guerrilla armies merged again.
In the process of unification of all revolutionary rivers in India into a mighty stream, the PLGA was born with the experience of 31 years of armed revolutionary struggle as a armed force to build the new while destroying the old, a new quality in People’s War. From the 20 years of its inception, the experiences of the PLGA, positive and negative, must be a guiding star to communists and revolutionaries worldwide, while holding up the example of the hundred of thousand of militants, many of whom gave their lives for world revolution.
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