Urgency of appropriate organizational preparedness and building revolutionary character of leaders and cadres of the party of the proletariat had always been uppermost in the mind of Comrade Shibdas Ghosh. In the context of developing mass and class struggles against world imperialism and Indian capitalism, he makes a thorough exposition here of all the various aspects of the party organizational activity and spells out in concrete detail measures for rectification of shortcomings and weaknesses in day-to-day conduct of party activity in every field and explains the style of work party comrades are to adopt.
This enlarged State Committee meeting has been convened to discuss primarily how to get rid of the principal organizational weaknesses which are noticeable practically at all levels. These weaknesses are becoming apparent at a time of vital importance in the history of the struggle to build up the party. If we correctly understand the political significance of, or are not confused by the difficulties caused by the attacking attitude or the tendency of the opposing forces to corner us, we have no reason to think that it is a very bad time for us. On one side there are big hurdles, many difficulties, but on the other side is the prestige of the party, the interest about the party’s political assessments, that is, the interest about the party that has grown in the people’s mind and the possibility of the party’s expansion. If we correctly understand these, we would realize that it is an excellent time in the history of the party’s development. In other words, if we make good use of the present circumstances, compared to all in the past, the present time is very good for us. Good does not mean that there is less opposition. Good time means that it is an excellent time to grow, if the party workers can show the stamina, the working ability, the political consciousness and the maturity to politically combat the opposition in all spheres, to properly develop party bodies and committees of mass organizations. It is because the public want to hear us, they harbour a soft feeling for us. And not only among the public but, in spite of all the opposition, even among the rank and file of different parties the direct and indirect influence of SUCI’s analysis comes to notice. We can see this from its many symptoms.
Hence, at this juncture it is necessary to close further the ranks of our party. The individual initiative of every party worker has to be increased, his political consciousness elevated, his ability to carry out political activities, his style of overall collective functioning, his working style — all these have to be developed further and made adequate to meet the need of the hour. This is now our principal task. I would like to talk about what needs to be done at all levels, keeping in view that the speed of work should be stepped up – everybody, especially leading comrades should pay attention to this. Each party worker should try to augment his political initiative, raise the level of his political consciousness, so that his individual political and organizational initiative in the spheres of political movements, of various struggles of daily life and of discharging his various responsibilities gets augmented more. What it means is not the taking down of instructions from leaders at every moment, being briefed by them and then acting according to it. It means equally to act using one’s prudence when instructions come, and to act according to one’s own contemplation when there are no instructions. When a question is being raised, I should be able to provide the answer myself; I do not have to rush to the leaders. I may commit some mistakes, but I would myself learn from them, or others would point them out. In this way one has to equip oneself. When a party worker faces a question, if instead of judging it himself he has to rush to the leaders to know how to answer it, if he feels perplexed whenever counter-questions come in, then that indicates want of consciousness, it indicates that we have not trained the party workers in the proper way. The second point is that the method of working collectively that exists in our party, this style of collective functioning has to be improved further so that the individual initiative of each gets augmented. We have to improve our working style keeping in view how to increase the pace of work, what actions are to be taken and what method is to be followed to enhance individual initiative and collective body functioning. I do not know how much the other leaders feel it; I myself feel it very much. Compared to what is needed, we are lagging much behind, as I see it. We are still a very small force in the context of a big country like India. Under the given circumstances, a historical responsibility has devolved on us, whether we want it or not. One course would be to shirk this responsibility, and thereby go down in history as cowards; the other course open to us would be to accept as a challenge, manly and as a revolutionary, the responsibility that has devolved on us. But it is not enough to just resolve to act. To act would mean to release a torrent of efforts, initiative and preparation. Each comrade has to put these questions to himself: “Am I developing myself as one properly equipped politically? On each issue can I put forth my own analysis, in whatever way that may be but without consulting anybody? In any meeting of the party body can I place my own suggestions? Can I place my analysis? Can I speak up not just for the sake of speaking, but to help the work to be carried out, to improve the work? Or do I come to the leaders just to listen, to ask them, “tell me what I should do?" Each party worker should ask himself such questions and should struggle to build himself up in that way.
And what is the method to build oneself up in that way? It is to constantly and on all issues engage oneself in political discussions, to acquire the ability to link a discussion on any stray topic with the main political questions. For example, a discussion may start on a trivial topic, or on literature or comedy, or say, on a question of aesthetic taste, or on cinemas, or through jokes and banters. We should have the aptness to enter into such exchanges, and link my discussion with the main political issue and make it purposive, not bluntly and mechanically, but in a living way. Every party worker should assiduously prepare himself to acquire this ability. We cannot dismiss these talks as mere chit-chats. Because, a culture is reflected even in informal exchanges of pleasantries. Whether I realize this or not, through such talks it influences people. Even through wit and humour my cultural standard is reflected which cannot be ignored. So we cannot dismiss them lightly as informal talks or pleasantries. Whatever be the issue, whatever be the talks and pleasantries we are engaged in, we must then and there link them up with the main thought of our party, its political ideas. What is this main party thought? It is to create an anti-capitalist revolutionary frame of mind among the people; to create among the general public a hatred against capitalism and all things related to capitalism on the basis of correct appraisal — not just a blind hatred, because blind hatred does not last long. Basing ourselves on correct appraisal we have to create a feeling of hatred against what has become exhausted today or has become harmful, so that when any interest or attraction for them arises in a hidden manner or openly, dressed up in whatever logic, we may demolish them, defeat them, with the sharp weapon of reason — this is how we have to build ourselves up.
To make people understand our main standpoint of anti-capitalist revolution by linking up every discussion with it, to free people from the influence of the pseudo-revolutionary forces which have created an image for themselves — these are the tasks. In those spheres where the pseudo-revolutionary forces wield influence, our direction of the main blow should be against them. Where superficially they appear to be conducting movements, or what they are saying seems to be not much incorrect, even in such cases we have to show, linking it up with the base political line, how through such talks they are creating confusion by building up a false image of themselves, what is wrong with their base political line and why they are taking such a stance. Even though their way and their slogans appear to be the same as ours, we have to explain to the people wherein lie our fundamental differences. For, our aim is to overthrow the bourgeoisie and along with it to do away with the remnants of feudalism. Outwardly, the particular slogans and the particular programmes may appear to be the same, but our objectives are different. Our party workers must constantly discuss and thoroughly comprehend the main issues about the political foundation and spirit of anti-capitalist revolution to overthrow the bourgeoisie from political power, and not just give emotional speeches in a popular way against oppression. Because in a general way the people have a realization about oppression and hunger and they want to fight against oppression. But he who wants to fight against capitalism, at the very next moment on another question he is seen to display an attitude of protecting capitalism. So we need to develop a spirit of all-out fight to destroy capitalism, we need the endeavour to build up a firm anti-capitalist bent of mind embracing the entire mental world, and accordingly prepare ourselves so that each of our discussions becomes effective.
To build ourselves up in this way we need to work among people all twenty-four hours — this does not mean that we do not sleep and eat, that we are not carrying out our daily chores, or not having chats with friends, or those having some romantic attachment are not spending any time with the loved ones. All of these would be there, but they should not fill up our entire mind. It is realistic to accept that such things would come from time to time, to think otherwise is utopian, but these should never become our main concern. Even when we are carrying out our daily chores, or having a solitary time, what should occupy our mind are the political and organizational problems. There are so many confusing questions, so many contradictory thoughts; hence my thoughts should be about how to counter them whatever be the environment. Those who want to fight the Congress have a certain type of confusion concerning CPI(M) or CPI; the CPI(M) which brands CPI as revisionist is itself indulging in another type of revisionism. And the Naxalites who are calling the CPI(M) revisionists are creating another type of confusion with petty bourgeois adventurism — in this way those who are fighting against one confusion harbour in them a thousand hidden confusions; one confusion is interwoven with another. A revolutionary party studies at different levels how these are interwoven together. Through constant practice of politics the revolutionary cadres study these; they discuss how to free the people from these confusions. How do they practise this? They discuss how to link up with the main political line whatever subject comes up among the masses or among themselves. No matter how much you want to disturb the discussions, I shall join in and talking in an entertaining way I shall overcome your resistance and draw you in the main discussion, which you cannot reject even if you see through it, and cannot but enter into the discussions, or at times you will not be able to even discern how unknowingly you have landed in a different discussion. You wanted to do some light talk, joining you I started such talk that without your realizing it, I involved you in a serious discussion. I have to prepare myself so that such political purposiveness, a political objective, continuously works in all my actions. This does not come about only through idle contemplation. For every party worker the way to so prepare himself is to continuously establish mass contacts in a planned way, to take up specific programmes for that, and to carry his politics to the masses in many different ways — and the method to do it is to carry his politics by organizing movements based on the very many grievances of the people.
We have to do this vis-a-vis the politics of the others, which we have to fight. It is not the politics of others in a general way, we have to expose particularly the politics of the pseudo-revolutionaries, which by creating illusion is acting as a compromising force between labour and capital. A revolutionary party assesses which is this force; it may be that a force which is the main danger on the national plane is insignificant in the particular context of a particular state; however, even then in that state we have to fight what is the main danger on the national plane, because tomorrow it may appear as the main danger here. I have to fight from beforehand so that no grounds remain open for it. However, another force which is not now the main danger on the national plane, that pseudo-revolutionary force in West Bengal has created an image and thereby has appeared here as the main danger. In this particular case, I shall first fight against it, though I shall not belittle the importance of fighting against that which is the main danger on the national plane. Because, after the removal of the main danger from here, the vacant ground would be occupied by that which is the main danger on the national plane, if in the meantime we have not fought against it and defeated it. If it is politically equipped and if we have failed in our task it will fill in this vacuum.
Hence it is very important to elevate the level of consciousness and political initiative of the party workers in all fields. For some time past, I have been saying again and again, ‘keep up your political initiative at your fore’. I have been saying that each party worker has to raise his personal initiative and political initiative. I have gone to the extent to say that even if there is a risk, even if you make mistakes, try to organize and give leadership to the people’s movements using your brains. You have to only see to it, in conducting the movements, that whatever you have understood of the party ideology, of the theory of anti-capitalist revolution, you do not make mistakes according to this understanding. Heavens will not fall if you do make some errors, and the leaders also will have to desist from coming down heavily and destroying this initiative. What the leaders will have to do is to sympathetically point out where one has gone wrong and correct him, but not dampen his initiative by harsh criticism like, say, ‘why did he act without first consulting?’ Such comments must never be made. Encourage initiative of those comrades. Allow comrades to work their own brains; they will work but not in an anarchical way. On the one hand, let them improve the understanding of the party line, let them master it, and, on the other hand, give them the opportunity to organize the people’s movements in the way which they want to, according to their own understanding. If they make mistakes you have to show where lies the mistake and correct them, but don’t say, “why did you do this without discussing first?" Don’t do this. This is my message to the executives. Because, what is lacking are appropriately trained political cadres. We are very much lagging behind in this respect. Today we should try to dispel all the confusions that exist in the cross-current of politics in the present state of the society, in the questions that the pseudo-revolutionaries pose, the confusions that exist among those known as progressive and among the rank and file of other parties. It is wrong to think that all are knowingly acting as agents, and in lieu of money. To think like this would be oversimplification. Because, many are rallying behind them without understanding the correct politics; we have to try and free them from the confusions from which they are suffering, and we have to dispel the confusions among the vast masses. We want to have such cadres who can do the painstaking job of freeing them from these confusions and of explaining the correct politics, which can be done only by trained cadres, dedicated cadres who have initiative, who have the ability to provide leadership, who can clearly explain the politics of the party, who will not muddle in placing the main points. I have seen this in many good comrades that any one from the opponent party can excite them and make them shift from one point to another; by trapping them in discussion get them to divert from the main point. Quite unconsciously, while carrying on the arguments and flaunting how much they know, these comrades shift to a different point from what they wanted to say. Such things happen because they are not sufficiently politically matured. They do not realize the purpose of their discussions. Because those who are matured and efficient cannot be diverted from the main point even if someone tries very hard. Rather, even if the others want to go to a different point, through guarding from many sides they bring back the discussion to the main point. If someone wants to slip away, they know how to hold him back, so that he cannot escape even if he wants to. You know that fishermen catch fish — can a fish slip away from an experienced fisherman? From you it escapes because you are an inexperienced fisherman, you are a novice. Even if someone tries to slip away, he cannot do so from one who is wise and experienced. It is very easy to say this, but it is difficult to achieve. For this the party workers need training. Can it be done through academic classes? No, it cannot.
To attend theoretical classes, to attend general theoretical classes on Marxism are absolutely necessary. One cannot do without studying and mastering these, but one’s knowledge is not sharpened unless this theoretical knowledge is combined with experience in practice. Here also we come across veteran party workers, experienced party workers, who have learnt many things through experience, but do not feel it very necessary to study classical Marxism, to be acquainted with its contents and expressions. They think that because they have grasped the main thing, these things are not necessary. No, this is not correct. It is necessary to know these. Because, if I have to make my thoughts, my style of work, my ability to work many-sided and sharpened, if I am to be equipped in every way, if I have to adequately build up myself for work at all levels, it is very necessary to study all these. It is necessary for building oneself up from all sides. We shall put to good use whatever time and opportunity we get. On the one hand, we shall carry on with the studies, have mutual discussions, have friendly arguments and exchange of opinions amongst us to bring in greater clarity in our thoughts. Along with it, whether we succeed or not, we shall try to provide leadership to people’s movements, we will give our creative suggestions for solving their problems — this is how we shall acquire ability. Constant common association, constant common discussion, constant common activity — this should be our mode of life. We should keep in mind that discussions are to be purposive. Whatever may be the starting point, in the end it should be political. Without systematic practice nothing can be mastered. Hence the comrades must be taught this; they must be given the opportunity to learn. Therefore, it is very important to enhance personal initiative. For this, just as there is a role of individual effort, effort should be made also to enhance this through improved committee functioning and improving the working style of the leadership. By improving committee functioning I mean that opportunities are to be given for extensive discussions by the comrades in the meetings. Even if these discussions are irritating, even if they are fruitless, and repetitive, whether they can still come up with a line through arguments and counter-arguments, for that scope should be given. We need maximum patience; to let the collective bodies function we should try with maximum patience. I realize that they are making irrelevant talks; that they are irritating others, or are taking up too much time — these have to be controlled, but in this process of controlling, discussions should not be stopped. When a decision is to be taken, when there has been lots of discussions and no further time can be allowed because that would harm the work, I may perhaps intervene. But my style should be such that the spirit of discussion is not dampened. That they are seriously thinking, they are trying to say something, they are trying to judge, they are discussing — in my attempt to control, this propensity is not to be discouraged. At the same time we should be cautious of the tendencies that are manifested through this penchant for discussions. They are arguing for arguments’ sake, they are projecting themselves, they are merely trying to prolong the discussions — we have to free them from these tendencies. To arrive at the correct decision it is necessary to have discussions, but they have to learn how to speak precisely, how to speak with clarity. One way is to bring home the main point in a succinct manner, with as much clarity as possible, the other way is to carry on with arguments and counter-arguments leading to nowhere — in the welter of words whatever clarity was there becomes muddled up. Of course we shall guide the comrades to get rid of this bad tendency, but to guide them does not mean to kill their enthusiasm for carrying on discussions, arguments and counter arguments. We must point out to them this bad tendency, but also encourage them to engage themselves in discussions. It is a difficult thing; the leaders must learn how to do it. I criticize them and scold them, and thereby such a situation is created that their eagerness and desire to talk disappear, they feel hesitant to speak out — such a thing must not happen. Rather I should guide them in such a way that in future their eagerness to take part in discussions increases. They have to be guided so that they can realize where and how in their style of talks lies a tendency to unpurposive arguments and for prolonging discussions; in this way the cadres must be helped as much as possible. Here it is necessary to totally change the collective working style.
In the last class I said with much anguish that our cadres are very good and others say that your cadres are the most conscious, most disciplined, that your party is a well trained revolutionary party — but I said earlier and I am saying it now that such talks are bringing complacency among our comrades. We must have a realization of where lies our weakness. In the East Bengal dialect there is a saying that in bherenda (a common wild plant growing on fallow lands) bush a wild cat passes off as a tiger — we have no need to be such tigers. The other parties are worthless, dishonest, indisciplined, indulging in reprehensible acts; we are not like that. But what does it matter? Others cannot do anything, we can make some sacrifices, others do not have any understanding, we have learnt a few things; but how does that matter? By that can we bring revolutionary activities to a success? Hence I was saying that it is no use being ‘tigers in a bherenda bush’. I get exasperated by all these talks of our cadres being very good, very honest. Because, the credit for that comes to me. Like, the leader of another party has told one of our comrades, “No, no don’t talk like that. That man is active in building up cadres." But I shudder looking at such cadres. I find that no matter how much the others praise, our cadres are not up to the mark. These days I get annoyed at the way they talk. I can make neither head nor tail of what they say. I am in constant touch with them. Even the leading comrades confuse the issues while trying to clarify. There might have been some clarity, but in the attempt to bring in more clarity they make it more muddled. We have to talk with precision, to bring in clarity, to get rid of the confusions, to throw light; we have to place our arguments in such a compelling way that they attract the people. Instead of that, we say many things, we show off our wide knowledge, but fail to bring home what we wanted to say, what needed to be said; but we made a lot of noise saying unnecessary things. There are even some such parasite intellectual comrades who only flaunt their knowledge, bring in all the issues of world politics, but lose sight of the main purpose. I am getting extremely concerned listening to such things day in and day out. On the other side, there are some very veteran comrades who have not learnt how to talk, how to put forward a point, have not learnt how to place a point after hearing others.
Another point is agitating me very much. In this situation our task is to uphold our correct politics exposing the wrong politics, the opportunist politics of others, to dispel the confusion among the masses; but is the work in running our party organs going the right way to serve this purpose? For my part, I think that this is not going that way decisively. What is the reason? The reason is that here also political initiative is lacking. Propaganda is a great art; one cannot be a good propagandist without being a master revolutionary, without constantly having revolutionary purposiveness in the thoughts. Because, otherwise he will not understand what needs to be said, when and how it is to be said. We shall not distort the truth, but the style of presenting the truth is very important. Revolutionaries do not say anything without purpose, nor do they say everything everywhere and at whatever time. At any particular time if saying anything could create difficulty in explaining the basic politics, the main truth, we do not say it. Should necessity require, we say it at another time. If any one wants to know what really happened we certainly tell him, but only in a particular way at a particular time. When our aim is to clearly explain a point, we bring in only those matters that make it relatively easier to enlighten the issue, to elucidate it more, to make the understanding of others more clear. If this aspect is not clear to me, through my tendency to bring in many stray, unrelated facts, the main truth that I want to explain becomes clouded. If anyone acts in this way it means that he has not comprehended the basic point about revolutionary politics. This problem exists even at the level of leaders. It would not serve any purpose to discuss here about the general comrades. Discussions by the leaders have a definite purpose; there is a political style of placing a report. Those who mean revolution must know when to say what and how to say it, and speaking in the way that makes it most effective and sharp they help in advancing the main political struggle. They cannot talk in such a fashion that would not help the struggle for winning the confidence of the people by eradicating the confusion about other forces. If I place unpurposively some facts which become obstacles to clarifying the truth, I have to advance by clearing those. This unpurposive way of putting reports, writing articles creates serious problems. Among the people the attraction to our party has increased. At one time effort to increase circulation of Ganadabi 1was specially geared up to be 27,000, but now it has come down to 15,000, even that is not sold well, and the returns from the sale are not deposited properly. The executives say, “The cost of newsprint has increased, the sale proceeds from the organ do not come back properly. How can we go on? If it goes on like this we have to close down the press." So what can we do if the cost of newsprint increases, the comrades do not deposit the sale proceeds, if the press is going to be closed down! If tomorrow the sale proceeds of only, say, 7,000 copies come in, we shall print 7,000 copies, if afterwards the sale proceeds for 6,000 copies come in, we shall print 6,000 copies, if they come in for 3,000 copies we shall print only 3,000 copies — should this be the attitude of the executives? Why are these executives not thinking politically, for what reason has the number come down from 27,000 to 15,000, and why the returns from even 15,000 copies are not coming in? When the interest about the party is increasing among the masses why is the sale of the organ not increasing? How to ensure increase in sale, how to ensure that the returns from the sale come back properly, what needs to be done for this purpose — these should be the political contemplation of the executives. Instead of that they are thinking in office-centred bureaucratic manner. We must immediately get rid of bureaucratic style of work. We do not want bureaucratic leadership; we want political leadership. If to make the political leadership better, routine work is somewhat disturbed, let that be — even though it is better if the routine work is not disturbed. The executives would say, “If we act in this way there would be no system." I say that if it is so, let the system go; we shall try our best to maintain the system, but if I am asked to chose between the death of the system and the death of political leadership, I would say that we want political leadership; if to satisfy this need the system goes to hell, let it go, though the proof of efficiency is that you can maintain the system and keep the political leadership constantly working.
An important task of this political leadership is to make the correct assessment of the situation. The goodwill of our party has increased, mass support has grown, the number of cadres has increased, but why has the sale of the party organ decreased? Why should my decision be determined by whether the sale proceeds are deposited or not? I should correctly read the report, it is my job to point out where the comrades are erring, where they are failing, where they are becoming victims of stereotyped thinking, why they cannot combine one work with another — to oversee these things is the duty of the leaders. When the comrades are campaigning, when they are asked to collect donations and subscriptions, when they are conducting movements, when they are engaged in many activities, they do not realize that when the scope of party activities expands, how along with it the sale of literature should also be increased. They think that they are engaged in a particular programme and the sale of literature is an entirely parallel activity. Let this programme be over and then we shall take our meal and later on I shall go around distributing the party paper. As if these are two different programmes. As a result, when another programme comes the sale of the party organ stops, though the party paper is a continuous companion of a revolutionary. Wherever a revolutionary goes the paper goes with him. Wherever I go, in whatever movement I am involved, I carry the paper with me and sell it. Hence the leadership also must look politically at the work of sale of party organs. A party unit may say, “It is not possible for us to take more than this number of copies, we shall not be able to sell them." The leadership would say, “How many can you take?" The unit would respond mentioning a certain number. The leadership would insist that they should take more. The unit would reply that they cannot take more than that number. The leadership would accept that saying, “All right, if you cannot take more, let it be." After some time the units might say they would take less numbers and afterwards even lesser; and the leadership would accept all that. Can this be called political leadership? Political leadership means correct assessment of the situation; in other words, it has to judge whether what the unit says is the correct reflection of the situation. Yes, the condition may be such that the sale of party papers may fall somewhat; the reading of the unit and the reading of the leadership coincide; that is a different case. But where the reading of the unit and the reading of the leadership are different the matter must be probed in detail. The leadership has to immediately find out why the unit is thinking in this way, why even after the unit takes its quota of papers, these are remaining stacked up. The leadership is not to work according to the suggestion of the unit without critically examining it — otherwise centralism has no meaning, leadership has no meaning. What is going on at present because of acting in this way? It is average democracy, in other words practically whatever the unit says goes. To hear what the unit says, to get the suggestions from the units — and thereby to elevate the concept of leadership — these ideas are reduced to tailing behind the unit. This state of affairs cannot go on. The stereotyped ideas of the unit, its shortcoming must be probed. To do all these ability of leadership at all levels must be acquired. State, district and local, at all levels this must be practised as a cult. There should be criticism where there are shortcomings, but not with a view to blaming, but to helping others. And in the face of this criticism I should not talk just to defend my position anyhow. I have failed to do something, but I cannot put the blame for that on others; for a revolutionary it is unethical. This is not just because it goes against discipline; I want to raise a basic question here. I cannot criticize others just because I am facing inconvenience. If someone makes a charge against me, I cannot at once make a counter charge. Even if there is truth in what I was going to say in my counter-charge, it should not come then. It is to come afterwards in an impersonal way. If I make a counter-charge as an argument in defense when I am criticized, that is unethical for a revolutionary. These things are very important for the development of a good revolutionary cadre.
Raise this slogan — ‘we have to improve our working style’. Each and every comrade must be vigilant about whether his working style is improved, whether our collective working style is improved — improved in a sense that has given him a momentum and emotion. We have to improve our working style keeping this in view that it increases the momentum of each of us, it increases our efficiency and political initiative, it enhances our political consciousness, it increases our mass contacts and sale of party organs, it has caused further expansion of our mass organizations. Party organs should be our constant companions. When discussing with anybody, I am to realize which literature to give him and should be able to give it to him immediately. It should not be that I shall have to tell another comrade after returning, “You give the paper to such and such person." This causes much damage to our work. Firstly, it can go out of mind of the person whom I have told. Afterwards, I tell another person, “Please note down to give the paper to this person." He notes it down and gives the responsibility to another person, who transfers it to a third person. So this goes from one to another, till the issue becomes cold, and the paper is not given at all. These are all bad things. Those who carry bags can easily carry the papers with them. What is the harm in moving in this way? Those who work in different fronts or units, who work among the public, each of them must carry a bag. All literatures, papers, documents, receipt books, etc., would be in there. When it is necessary to give someone the booklet on Cultural Degeneration and Unemployment Problem: Whither the Solution, I shall get it out of the bag and give it to him; when the issue of Indo-Soviet Treaty comes up during the discussion, I shall get out the copy of the old paper where we discussed about this treaty at the time of the Bangladesh liberation war. But the problem is that the comrades do not always keep track of what is published in which issue, because they do not read. More than half of the comrades do not read their own copies carefully; those who are known as serious comrades, who work actively among the people, much of the time they do not read the papers meticulously, or discuss among themselves. So how would they know what valuable article is published in which issue of the organ? So the leaders have to check whether the comrades are reading the organs, are going through these minutely and discussing among themselves. It is not enough to just inform the units through routine circulars. Whenever the leaders are engaging themselves in some general talks and exchanging pleasantries with the comrades, in between these talks at the same time they should check these things. In course of these talks, in course of many discussions about movements, the leaders should check whether the comrades have read the party paper, whether they have rightly understood a particular article, whether they are selling the party organs, whether the sale is increasing, whether the sale proceeds are regularly deposited, etc. This is a continuous process. In the midst of all work, the leaders should keep these things in mind. When a strike is going on in the trade union front, when some important work is going on in the student or youth front, even when our cadres are being attacked, in between work these things should be asked. While talking with comrades on different issues, these things should be enquired about. I call this political behaviour of a leader, political style of existence of a leader; otherwise the working style of a leader would become of routine bureaucratic type. Routinely coming to the office, issuing circulars, giving instructions to all and sundry, sending notes to this or that person, going through some letters, answering others — are these political work? Even a clerk can do all these. This is not the function of a leader. The leaders have to do all these technical works, they are all necessary evils. To be busy with just these is harmful. We have to do these because there is no escape from it, and yet much time is wasted for these. If more time was available it would have been better to make the cadres more politically equipped.
Is there only one method of making them equipped? Are meetings, individual talks the only methods? We have to equip them even through informal chats. Of course when we talk informally, we have to chat in such a way that there may not be a word of politics, there may be only informal talks, light bantering, but still cadres are being equipped, their mental make-up is changing. This does not come spontaneously, you have to learn it. What is the main condition for learning this? Revolution has come to be in my blood, and all other things remain inseparably admixed with it just as if an alloy. Practically nothing else remains. Whatever is there has no power to divert the revolutionary consciousness or the initiative for revolutionary work, or if at times it tries to raise its head with some strength, the revolutionary strength opposes it, does not allow it to raise its head. This is how the leaders and cadres have to prepare themselves. So today our slogan ought to be: “To cope with the situation prepare yourself to improve the style of work, develop your political consciousness and political initiative, read the organs and literatures regularly, increase the circulation of organs, go to the people, develop organization and organize mass struggle." These are the main tasks for the present.
If we can get rid of the basic weakness from which we are suffering, if we can get rid of those weaknesses, because of which we cannot use the total strength that we already have we can make use of this situation. As it is, in the context of such a vast country, we are lagging far behind compared to the resources needed. For some time to come it would be difficult for us to acquire that type of strength. On the other hand, in view of the incidents that are happening, the way the people’s will to fight is being manifested, the manner in which increasing interest about the party is growing, in such a situation if all of the comrades enhance their political consciousness and ability to work for properly utilizing our limited strength, master the art of carrying out discussions and arguments, increase the circulation of the organs, then the pace of our advancement will greatly increase. We have to explain to the people that the enemy is capitalism, it is to be overthrown; the rural and industrial proletariat along with the semi-proletariat will overthrow capitalism. And the surety of victory will depend on the success of isolating the pseudo-Marxists from the masses. We have to ensure that the comrades correctly understand the politics of the party and the situation, and accordingly are able to explain to the people and correctly throw light. Merely talking against capitalism about the role of proletarian revolution, giving a list of the Congress misdeeds — is this a complete political speech? No, one has to show why it is necessary to overthrow capitalism by relating it with all the problems; and one has to lucidly explain why the working class will lead this proletarian revolution, who will be their allies and how they should conduct the struggle. When would the working class attain victory? That would be when it would be able to advance along the real revolutionary path, when it would be able to become free of illusions about the pseudo-revolutionaries, when the revolutionary party in united struggle, working together with the pseudo-revolutionaries would succeed to expose them, to defeat them. Till the latter are exposed, till they are isolated from the people, as long as the people have illusions about them, have expectation about them, they have to be brought in the united battle. And again, as long as they are the main force in the united battle, they are the principal obstacle before revolutionary movement — to correctly realize this essential point and to effectively present this in all discussions means political understanding or political speech.
Every leader and cadre has to immediately make his standard adequate, so that he is able to reflect correct political conception, class consciousness in his day to day work, his writings, discussions and speeches. Then we would be able to consolidate what strength we have and enhance the pace many-fold. As a result of which, what appears to be impossible now may become possible. In other words, if we can rightly utilize the increasing interest about the party among the people and increasing movement-oriented mentality among them, we can make it happen; that is, we can reach the position of effectively providing leadership, acquire such power of not only theoretically, but effectively handling, guiding and remoulding the situation. Then an effective revolutionary movement can be built up in India, where the revolutionary objective condition is already created. In this situation we have to fight the stereotyped mode, we have to fight the tendency of offering plea after plea when the question of doing some work arises. Of course we have to give patient hearing when there is genuine difficulty, but we have to recognize when pleas are offered in the name of difficulty, like when there is a genuine point, we have to consider it but when in the name of points, wrong points are coming up which only create confusions, put obstacles before work — these have to be fought against. We have to encourage political discussions, but not any kind of political discussion. Political discussions that are based on the party’s base political line are to be encouraged, but not any empirical discussion; scholastic discussion must be discouraged.
To preserve records is a very important question with the editorial board, which the PC 2 has to oversee. The PC has to check that the organs are published regularly, and not only that, the standard of the writings is also continuously improved. For that, the editorial board must take it as a serious point that they are constantly carrying out research on it, discussing, writing and taking notes and collecting materials from other newspapers. They will also have to improve their writing style; it should not be that they just read the other newspapers and then keep them aside. Those who work in the editorial board, and those who want to make the party leadership acquainted with the different news, their style of reading should not be like this. They have to improve their reading style. They must have paper and pen with them. The moment they come across some news, some point, which they think might be needed as reference, may be not right then, but at some future date, must be forthwith noted down along with the date. And these will be preserved, so that we can use them whenever necessary. But the members of the editorial board, the other comrades also do not read in this fashion; as a result they remain unequipped. Therefore an article containing a load of arguments and political analysis will not do. These also need some concrete materials. But if the material is not at hand, we have to search for it; as a result the writing gets delayed. Or else we quote from memory that it was in that paper, but the paper in question cannot be found. That means that here also the style of work has to be improved.
Yesterday I discussed that the recent Railway strike has once again starkly pointed out that guiding the democratic movements in India along the correct course is intimately linked with the issue of making the SUCI strong. Let there be no doubt among the comrades about this. The enemy camp has its attention, alertness about the possibility of our getting stronger. They are creating many obstacles, about which I have drawn attention at the Delegate Session of the Bankura KKMF Conference also. But many comrades are not alert about it. We must equip the cadres in such a way that they can utilize the present situation. For that, the points that I am discussing must be carried to the comrades through many talks. The leaders should have the habit to discuss important political points with the comrades, which would help to dispel their confusion, bring clarity to their ideas and boost their enthusiasm. The important information the leaders have is to be conveyed to the cadres not just through classes, but by way of other means like informal talks and exchanges. It is necessary to do this, but the leaders often do not. The reality is this that the attention that the government intelligence, the central government, the state government, the police, the administration focus on us is not there about the other opposition parties. There is a difference in the character of their hostility to us and to the other opposition parties. If those who conduct mass movements, deal with administration have political outlook, they can easily differentiate between the two. Other parties fight, commit murders, but at the top level, at the upper echelons of the bourgeois class, the attitude and approach that exist for these parties are totally different from the attitude and approach towards us. Here a class hostility is reflected. Here and there, an officer who is somewhat left-minded may be attracted by what we say, may be attracted by the conduct of our cadres; there may be some such stray incidents; he may show a sympathetic approach towards us; but it will be found that he is immediately transferred. The central government is observing that the SUCI is still a small force; but they have taken this lesson from history that a revolutionary party, even if it is small today, must not be ignored. A party which had no well-known leaders, which had no publicity, few cadres, which they wanted to just pooh pooh, which they ridiculed in many ways, against whom they have created obstacles at every step, has today created a position of weight among the people; an attraction has been created about that party and its leadership — this truth they can no longer deny. Even with practically complete black-out in the newspapers, the propagation of the party’s views and analysis could not be stopped, even without newspaper publicity this party is reaching the people.
Hence they are thinking that because the SUCI has reached such a stage from being nowhere it cannot be neglected any more. This party cannot be allowed to expand any further. The attitude of the bourgeois class and of the government is that it is to be nipped in the bud. They are thinking that this is the real force which is a threat to capitalism; not the CPI(M) nor the Naxalites. They think: “We can handle these two parties in our own way, but we do not understand the tactical line that SUCI pursues. They cannot be branded as extremists, because they are still participating in democratic movements. Again, in democratic movements we see the way of the other parties; we can understand them well in spite of their fiery speeches and show of militancy, they are the democrats to our liking. But we do not understand SUCI. They are not democratic in exactly that way; they are different. Their utterances are different, their style is different, their life-style is different, the words and actions of their leaders and cadres are different." This is how the bourgeoisie think. So they want: “Either you side with us, be leaders like those of other parties, earn money, build houses like them, do speech mongering like them — it does not matter if the speech is against the government or against capitalists — but be as we want you to be, or else we cannot trust you. You are of a different character." Hence, the enemy is extremely alert about us; the very attitude of the police is different. I have quite clearly discussed it in the Bankura speech. The very nature of the mutual opposition of the Congress and the CPI(M) is different. In the election battle it is the CPI(M) which is the main enemy of the Congress. The industrial houses at times back the one, at times the other; there is fight between them in the organizational field — all these are true. But still you will find that the way the Congress looks at the SUCI is totally different from the way it looks at the CPI(M). The Congress knows that the SUCI is no factor in the election politics; still they think that the SUCI is their main enemy, because as a revolutionary party it is the SUCI which is their main enemy. In our case the attitude of the administration is very stiff, but not for others. At the same time the SUCI is a big obstacle for the CPI(M) also in their attempt to confuse the people by donning the garb of Marxism. Hence the CPI(M) has intense hatred for the SUCI. They are experiencing that even if the SUCI is small, in joint movement it cannot be handled. The SUCI does not surrender its principles and ideology for the lure of getting more seats in the election, for getting the ministerial chair. In spite of all their slanders the public interest about the SUCI is increasing, even among their honest cadres and supporters curiosity about SUCI is increasing. So the CPI(M) wants that the SUCI must be anyhow cornered. And about this the CPI(M), the Congress and the other parties are all united. So whatever fights they have between themselves centring round elections, whenever the SUCI is growing a bit, they overtly or covertly band together. There are other small parties, the capitalists have dialogues even with them, they can be approached; but with this one party the capitalists have no dialogues, no approach. For funds this party depends on box collection on the streets, it depends on the contributions of peasants, workers and the common man. It never approaches the capitalists, it never begs them for funds. The capitalists also sense danger at this symptom. If the capitalists saw that it also approaches them, but at the same time talks of revolution, seeks funds from them in the name of revolution, then they would have understood it well. The capitalists would understand, “Yes, they come only for the sake of revolution and I too give donations only for revolution. If they can carry out revolution with my money, let them do it." If it happens like that, the capitalists are reassured. But the SUCI is a party with a different character. The capitalists see that it does not want to open any dialogue with them; it carries out struggles; in the interest of struggle and for negotiations it at times enters into dialogues with the capitalists; but it has no other dialogues with them. That is why SUCI is dangerous. There are no social high-ups within SUCI. Every other party, big or small has social high-ups, but not this party. Its sphere of activity is among the workers, poor peasants, agricultural workers, lower middle class, middle class intelligentsia, and among the children and youth coming from these families. Hence the character, activities and style of work appear to them to be dangerous. In their democratic set up they want a different type of party. That is why even if we are a small party they are very alert about us. But many of our party workers are not themselves alert about this alertness of the enemy. They do not understand its importance. They do not understand their own responsibility, their own historical role. That is why I am saying that these are our basic weaknesses. The purpose of this extended PC meeting is to take up programmes for eradicating these. I have placed before you these issues.
All of you in this broader house have heard these. After this the PC or the executives would sit to decide whatever is necessary. Each district committee, local committee, each frontal body shall by one stroke change its working style. And everyone will give thought and try how each one can improve the working style, and improve the democratic and political functioning of the bodies. Everyone has to be taught this lesson that he has to improve his political consciousness and initiative. At the same time, it must be pointed out to everybody where and how he is lacking. Whenever meeting with the comrades, amidst all other conversations, they must be asked whether they are doing mass contacts according to their ability, whether they are carrying the politics to the masses, whether they are building up different mass organizations, and not just of one type, whether using their own initiative, they are trying to organize the masses in whatever way it is possible to do at a particular spot, be it clubs or libraries, sports or gyms, literary, drama or music groups, coaching classes or night schools, whatever is possible; or, are they waiting for circulars, waiting till someone else finds out the contacts for them, or are wasting time thinking whether they can do it or have the ability to do it. Increase your initiative, let there be mistakes even, but carry on doing the work still and move ahead learning from the mistakes. But don’t sit idle, brooding “why have I made the mistake?", don’t waste time. These things have to be explained to the cadres. And it will have to be explained to them that they must win over the people with reasoning, decent and sober conduct and example of character. Comrades have to be taught these things. What are needed for this are extensive discussions on these at all levels of organization, and the release of a torrent of movement to change the wrong ideas and working style.
I am concluding here today.
Long Live Revolution !
Address at enlarged State Committee meeting on June 2, 1974.
A part of it first published
in Ganadabi on August 4, 1982.
Published as a separate booklet in 1995.
N O T E S
1.The Bengali organ of the party.
2.Provincial Committee, i.e., State Committee.