A WORLD TO WIN    #25   (1999)


Reports from the Communist Manifesto Seminars in India and Germany

People gathered in cities around the world last year to commemorate a great threshold in the struggle to liberate humanity: the publication of the Communist Manifesto, by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels. This document marked the emergence of a scientific understanding of the basic principles of proletarian revolution. For the first time, after countless generations of sacrifice and struggle, the masses of oppressed now had a vision of a new world that was not only beautiful and inspiring - a world without war, without suffering, without man's inhumanity to man - but also imminently realisable. Since then every generation of the bourgeoisie has sought to bury the Manifesto through ridicule, suppression or revisionist "improvement" of its revolutionary content. And every generation of proletarians has sought to uphold, deepen and apply its basic truths in order to hasten the end of the old order.

Meetings were held to commemorate the Manifesto on every continent. Inner-city youth from the New York ghettos, peasant women from Nepal's outlying villages, intellectuals from Paris to Dhaka, political refugees scattered around the world, from Peru, Afghanistan, Turkey, Iran and many other countries, all gathered to pay tribute to this milestone in the revolutionary struggle, and to learn how to carry that struggle further. A World To Win itself sponsored two conferences organised by parties and organisations that are participants or friends of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement - one in Duisburg, Germany, in the heart of the Rhine industrial region on 12 December 1998, and another in the Indian metropolis of Calcutta on December 13th. Following are brief reports on these seminars, as well as the entire speech prepared by the RIM Committee, presented at both events.

CALCUTTA

More than 500 people gathered in the Muslim Institute Hall, re-named the Paris Commune Hall for the day, to commemorate the Manifesto. The area around the hall was covered with posters giving its clarion call, "Workers of all countries, unite!" The poster could be seen throughout the city and as far away as Bombay, Delhi, Punjab, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and in distant villages in West Bengal. Calcutta is known for its heroic revolutionary tradition and undaunted struggles against revisionism, yet it is also a city ruled by the imperialists, often through their revisionist lackeys, the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

When AWTW's proposal for the seminar reached the principal Maoist forces in India, they readily offered support. Immediately an Organising Committee was formed, which included AWTW, Struggle Forum for People's Resistance (SFPR), Lok Sangram Manch, Porattom, Chamakda Lal Tara, and supporters of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). Other organisations like Ei Desh, Agronee and Naya Isthehar also participated in organising with equal vigour. Many of these groups are closely associated with the main Marxist-Leninist-Maoist organisations in India. Postering and leafleting in different parts of India in regional languages like Punjabi and Malayalam were done by Lok Sangram Manch, Chamakda Lal Tara and Porattom. The poster and leaflet were designed and printed centrally in English, Bengali and Hindi. Comrades from all these organisations worked to assure the programme's success. This was a new and challenging task, since currently India's Maoists are not united in one organisation. In spite of that, supporters of almost all the Maoist organisations joined in a spirit of unity, where comrades did their best to handle the inevitable complexities.

The day began with the hoisting of the Red Flag at a short rally outside the hall. The atmosphere was charged with thunderous slogans in a host of languages. The convenor stressed the need for the Maoist forces in India and world-wide to unite, then all the participants joined in paying tribute to the martyrs of all countries. Two minutes silence was observed. The Communist anthem "The Internationale" then filled the air in Bengali, Hindi, Malayalam, Punjabi and Nepali jointly. Everyone present instantly felt the vastness and depth of the impact of the Communist Manifesto not only in India but around the world.

The seminar began with the election of a six-member Presidium. The seminar papers were distributed, and a message was read out from comrade Suniti Kumar Gosh, a Maoist revolutionary intellectual, earlier a Central Committee member of the CPI (ML) and editor of the Party central organ Liberation. Comrade Gosh was unable to attend the Seminar due to physical disability. His message linked up the development of Marxism from Marx to Mao Tsetung, showed the continuing relevance of the Manifesto and wished the seminar success.

In his introduction to the RIM Committee speech, comrade Asit Kumar Sengupta emphasised the development from Marxism to Maoism and how Lenin and Mao had taken basic tenets of the Manifesto and developed the theory of the party, the people's army, the united front and proletarian dictatorship. He also stressed the necessity for a new type of communist International, through protracted ideological struggle.

Introducing the paper for the SFPR, comrade Chitta Ranjan Das highlighted the lessons of the Manifesto and showed how Lenin, Stalin and Mao developed Marxism. This paper, entitled, "Hold High the Banner of the Communist Manifesto! March Forward Along the Path of World Proletarian Revolution!", expressed the need for a communist International but argued that the time was not yet ripe to form it. The speech also underlined the crucial role of the fight against revisionism, pointing out that, "since its emergence, Marxism has had to carry on intense struggle at every moment against revisionism". Comrade Vavara Rao, the General Secretary of the AILRC, described the universal and immortal importance of the Manifesto. He showed the development of Marxism through Lenin and Mao and concluded that "Marxist thought has further developed into Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought, or Maoism". He too expressed the necessity for a Communist International, but held that with the class struggle led by communists still at a relatively low level, it is inevitable that crystallisation into an effective international body will take time. And he also cautioned that, "it would be well to consider certain historical facts in the rise and fall of such centres, drawing lessons, before undertaking any new formation".

Comments from the other convening organisations were lively but also stressed the existing unity around MLM of the participating forces. Questions from the audience mainly related to the international experiences of the Maoist forces and their applications country-wide.

Various cultural organisations from Bihar, Bengal, Punjab and Nepal sang revolutionary songs in their native languages during the programme break. The revolutionary singing of comrade Parveer Singh, a young lad from Punjab, assured the audience that the torch of the Manifesto would continue to blaze.

The Maoist forces who gathered during the seminar felt drawn more closely together, and building unity based on MLM while carrying on the necessary struggle to achieve it was the prevailing theme. Indeed, this was why they responded so positively to the proposal to organise the seminar in the first place. At the seminar's conclusion, the delegates felt that their collective efforts had pushed forward this unity process. They returned to their respective field of activities with a keen sense of their common revolutionary heritage - and their common revolutionary future.


DUISBURG

The weekend of December 12th and 13th was devoted to commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Communist Manifesto and to a concert for the world-wide fundraising campaign for RIM in Duisburg, Germany. The conference was called by AWTW and both events were organised jointly by the Communist Party of Turkey (Marxist-Leninist) [TKP (ML)], the Union of Communists of Iran (UIC), the TKP ML (Maoist Party Centre), the Revolutionary Communists of Germany (RK), and the Peru People's Movement (MPP) of Europe.

Comrades from the different organisations active in Germany formed leafletting teams and went out to different areas to poster and to build for the conference. They found there was a high level of interest among people of different nationalities and among various sections of the masses. Some reported that perhaps the best response to the flyer was at the high schools, where often 10 to 20 students would gather around the agitators and lively discussions would ensue about the content and current relevance of the Manifesto and the question of proletarian revolution and communist society in general. On a number of occasions students themselves took flyers into the schools to distribute further. Interest was also widespread among foreign-born and German proletarians, activists from the social movements as well as political veterans.

On the weekend itself, a boisterous international mix of about 350 revolutionaries from Turkey, Kurdistan, Germany, Iran, Peru, Afghanistan and the Philippines as well as from a number of other countries but living in Europe showed up to take part. At the front of the hall hung a huge brightly painted RIM banner of the world shattering its chains with the slogan "Workers of the World Unite!" The stage area was decorated with an enlarged cover of the Manifesto flanked by portraits of Marx and Engels. A translation system made possible the simultaneous presentation of the speeches in German, Turkish, Farsi, Spanish and English.

Participants felt that the conference was marked by the revolutionary spirit of the Manifesto and that it made a real contribution to upholding and spreading the basic message and principles of the Manifesto, including as these have developed today into Maoism. A high level of political unity and genuine internationalism and a lively and comradely atmosphere, punctuated regularly by revolutionary chants ringing out in different languages, set the tone for a day of presentations: first, the CoRIM speech, on the development of MLM as a science and the Manifesto's relevance today, followed by presentations on the Chinese Cultural Revolution by the TKP (ML), on continuing along the path of the martyred Turkish communist leader Ibrahim Kaypaykkaya and people's war by the TKP ML (MPC), on the possibilities for making revolution in Germany by the RKs, and a document by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Peru read out by the MPP in Europe. A message of solidarity delivered by Josť Maria Sison, who was founding Chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines, was enthusiastically received by the audience. Many wished that there had been more time for discussion and debate.

With fists held high, the conference concluded with the singing of the "Internationale" in many languages, the language of internationalism.