Make All-Out Efforts to Achieve a theoretical Breakthrough

[Excerpts from the concluding speech at the Central Party School in 1984-85. From Liberation, March 1986.]

The Central Party School marks a further advancement, after the Rectification Movement, in the same direction. At that time we were concerned with getting various mistakes and deviations rectified; in the process many debates ensued and important developments in the Party line took place; and all these were concluded at a certain stage through Debates on Party Line. Now our endeavour is to raise the debate among the communist revolutionaries (CRs) to a new plane — to a thorough and open-minded study of the newly-emergent questions, to a lively debate on these questions. And this is why the questions set to you were framed in a rather provocative manner — in such a way as to force you to think anew. Of course, even after conducting a thorough research, a fresh probe into the questions, you might well arrive at the same old formulations, but it won’t do to start from the premise that we must refute the new formulations because these are ‘attacks’ on our Party line. In fact, without discarding such a wrong approach it is not possible to achieve any new theoretical breakthrough. So the new formulations given to you were presented as serious and genuine opinions forcing you to think anew. And, as some of the papers submitted by you amply demonstrate, our attempt to provoke you has borne fruit: some new ideas and concepts have emerged, though not yet in a final shape.

In the past we had in our Party some outstanding revolutionary intellectuals who had been veterans of the inner-Party struggle since the days of the undivided CPI and CPI(M). Later, they were martyred, or dissociated themselves from the mainstream after the setback. Today, we, who have taken up the task of reorganising the Party, don’t have amongst us any such stalwarts from the glorious past of our movement. So we are faced with the challenge of building a new theoretical contingent from the practical cadres themselves. Of course, in this process such stalwarts will emerge again, for in our India there has never been any dearth of great personalities, but for the moment it is on us practical cadres that the responsibility for theoretical breakthrough lies. And since we are practical cadres, the practical responsibilities will also continue to increase day by day. And since we are still a party of young people, we must exert ourselves still more, we must fully utilise our enormous untapped potentials. We must undertake greater theoretical tasks simultaneously with more practical jobs: this is what the objective situation demands of us at present.

Now, wherein lies the great importance of a major theoretical breakthrough on our part? As you know, none of the other CR groups is serious enough about Party-building as a conscious process involving the entire ranks, cadres and leaders. As a result, the field still remains open for the CPI(M) to assert as the only organised, disciplined, communist party. Against this we are trying hard to make ourselves, a disciplined, united, mass party with an all-India character: on this score as well as on the score of militant revolutionary struggles our Party has greater achievements and favourable factors compared to all other CR groups. But these efforts and these favourable factors will go in vain if we fail to powerfully tackle the major theoretical problems facing India today, to find convincing answers to these questions. On this score we are beginning to take organised initiatives so that on behalf of the third camp, on behalf of the CPI(ML), we can throw up a strong theoretical challenge to the CPI(M).

And this is all the more important because in India the possibility of yet another major split in the CPI(M) — one involving the leadership as well as the ranks cannot be altogether brushed aside. Of course, the CPI(M) is a dead force, but nothing in the world is absolutely dead. Hence, it may so happen that the multitude of conflicts, pressures, failures etc. which the CPI(M) is subject to, may ultimately add up to and culminate in a situation where a living section out of the moribund party comes forward to unite with, to combine with the living CR forces in one form or another, while some sections of the CRs get stuck and degenerate. It is we who will have to create the conditions for such a breakthrough by such means as taking various all-India initiatives and major theoretical offensives. While building up our theoretical contingent, this perspective should not be forgotten.

We should remember that theoreticians are produced not by Party Schools but by sheer hard labour. Renowned Marxist theoreticians emerged as theoreticians by dint of great determination: barring a few, most of the revolutionary theoretical leaders did not have any particularly bright academic background either. On the other hand, Party Schools may have a negative impact also: it may generate a sense of dependence on the School at the cost of self-study, which is always the main thing. If you are really determined to assert yourself as a theoretician, then you will do it, no matter whether you are in a Party School or not. Painstaking self-study and bold determination to achieve theoretical breakthrough — these are the decisive factors, these are the real things.