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.
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
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
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.
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