Self-criticism, PWG Style: Kill Now and Repent Later

— Political Observer

The recently declared merger of the erstwhile PWG and MCCI has been embellished by a real gem, a document entitled “We Humbly Bow Our Heads…”. The document comprises statements of self-criticism made by the central committees of the two organisations regarding their pre-merger strained relations. The large number of people killed in internecine clashes between the two organisations have now been posthumously rehabilitated as martyrs worthy of being paid red salutes.

For most part of the 1990s, the MCC and the CPI(ML)(Party Unity) remained engaged in bitter clashes in Bihar. The clashes continued even after the PU merged into the PWG in August 1998 and Bihar was bifurcated into Bihar and Jharkhand in November 2000. This happened in spite of the PWG’s claim that “Serious efforts were made by all the three (groups) to unite and build a united revolutionary proletarian party in India.” Incidentally, Bihar-Jharkhand is the only region where the two groups, MCC and PWG, really operated in a common territory and the history of their relations in this region is marked by systematic internecine violence.

Both the organisations now describe these clashes as a dark chapter which caused immense suffering and agony for the masses and took a heavy toll of precious lives. Begging forgiveness from all the families who have suffered, the two organisations have pledged never to commit such mistakes again. The MCC has promised to become ‘better communists’ while the PWG has committed to remould its cadre as ‘genuine proletarian revolutionaries’.

Why did the clashes occur in the first place? We are told that the clashes resulted from a wrong handling of contradictions among the people. “Instead of solving the contradictions with a class approach … (and) in a non-antagonistic manner, we adopted a parochial and non-proletarian approach”, admits the PWG statement. The PWG also offers self-criticism about its failure to address political differences in a political manner: “Instead of resolving problems through polemical debates, time and again we became involved in and gave priority to retaliatory methods. Due to lack of political vision on the part of the leadership we trailed behind the aruments of the rank-and-file.”

Both statements characterise the mistakes in terms of subjectivism, sectarianism, short-sightedness and petty-bourgeois egoism. What do all these attributes add up to? The self-critical statements of course do not bother to ponder over that. But the question remains as to why should the malady of subjectivism, sectarianism, petty-bourgeois egoism and lack of political vision be limited only to the sphere of the mutual relations between the two organisations. Has this problem got nothing to do with the MCC-PWG way of understanding and implementing the programme, strategy and tactics of the Indian revolution? But then anarchists will cease to be anarchists if they are able to subject their conduct to such a penetrating Marxist-Leninist scrutiny.

In its self-critical note, the PWG central committee has pledged to “learn from this negative experience and never again (to) take up arms against our class friends, no matter how sharp may be the differences. Political differences must be settled by polemical debates and by proving correctness of our politics through revolutionary practice, but not through the gun.” The PWG says this in hindsight to clinch its merger deal with the MCC. But how does the PWG explain its murderous campaign against our comrades in Bihar and Jharkhand? Is not the PWG’s war against CPI(ML) activists and supporters a brazen violation of the very criteria – that guns must not be raised against class friends and that political differences must be resolved through polemics and in the course of practice and not through guns – put forward in its statement of self-criticism?

The PWG statement is predictably silent on this score. The statement is adopted on 20 September, just a month after the heinous midnight attack on our Paliganj office in which armed PWG militants killed five of our leading comrades of Patna district. Even as the whole of Bihar condemned this barbarism and the nexus between the PWG and the ruling RJD revealed so glaringly in this incident with a PWG commander arrested from the local RJD MLA’s residence and the RJD being forced to suspend the MLA from the party, the PWG central leadership maintained a convenient silence. Worse still, the organisation’s leaders in Bihar justified the Paliganj incident and went to press with threats to carry out more such killings in future. Do we need any further proof about the hypocrisy that surrounds the PWG’s belated self-criticism reagrding its clashes with the MCC?

If the PWG is serious about its own dictum of settling political differences through polemics and practice and not through guns, it must prove it with regard to the CPI(ML). After all, as has been proved conclusively through its recent merger with the MCC, the PWG did not really have any major political difference with the MCC. The PWG, or its new avatar CPI(Maoist), is most welcome to conduct polemical debates with the CPI(ML) on any question of the Indian revolution. But does not the PWG first owe an explanation with regard to its ongoing policy of political killings of CPI(ML) activists? q