A WORLD TO WIN    #26   (2000)

Statement on the Occasion of the 25th Anniversary of the Martyrdom of Siraj Sikder

2 January 2000
By the Committee of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement

2 January 2000 represents the twenty-fifth anniversary of a dastardly act - the killing of comrade Siraj Sikder at the hands of the anti-people Bangladeshi regime, led at the time by Sheikh Mujib. The reactionary classes of Bangladesh hated and feared Siraj Sikder because he was the founder and leader of the Purba Banglar Sharbohara Party (the Proletarian Party of Purba Bangla or PBSP), which in the few turbulent years of the early 1970s had emerged as a party capable of arousing the masses and challenging the rule of imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism. Siraj Sikder symbolised a different future for Bangladesh and its teeming millions - the future of new-democratic revolution and the eventual advance to socialism and communism. Because of this, the oppressors could not tolerate Siraj Sikder alive, even in captivity. For this reason, he was executed without even the pretence of a trial, and the president of the country publicly boasted in parliament of this cowardly act.

Comrade Sikder recognised the historic importance of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution and learned from the Naxalbari movement of neighbouring India. He led a fierce struggle against revisionism, which had previously dominated the communist movement in Bangladesh. Siraj Sikder was killed at a young age but he had already made important contributions in linking Marxism-Leninism-Maoism with the particular conditions of Bangladesh. He made serious efforts to analyse the particularities of the country from the Maoist standpoint and with the goal of initiating, sustaining and developing the people's war that will alone lead to the liberation of the people of Bangladesh. He gave great attention to how some of the features of Bangladesh, such as its vast and dense population and its geographical character as a river delta (in which much of the land is submerged during the rainy season) could be used to overcome some of the country's unfavourable features, such as its essentially flat terrain and relatively small surface area (which facilitates the enemy's ability to quickly mobilise a superior force to try to encircle and suppress the revolutionary forces).

Siraj Sikder symbolises daring: daring to take on the responsibility of forming a vanguard party with nothing less than the total liberation of the people and the eventual achievement of communism as its goal; daring to initiate armed struggle; and daring to develop a political line even if it appeared to differ from some of the policies that other, more experienced, Maoist parties had been following. Siraj Sikder dared to put the PBSP, at the time still in its infancy, at the head of the whole people in the struggle against the Pakistani ruling classes, when other opposition forces, including the leaders of the Awami League, fled to India and Sheikh Mujib himself surrendered to Pakistan. In a word, Siraj Sikder incarnated the Maoist dictum, "dare to struggle, dare to win".

In the twenty-five years since the murder of Siraj Sikder, the revolution in Bangladesh has gone through twists and turns. The revolution faces a powerful and determined enemy, backed to the hilt by imperialism and Indian expansionism. It has proven difficult to sustain and develop people's war in the conditions of Bangladesh. Repeated two-line struggles have broken out within the ranks of the Maoists over whether and how it is possible to apply the basic Maoist strategy of new-democratic revolution and protracted people's war in that country.

In all of the political debate among the revolutionary forces of Bangladesh, Siraj Sikder stands out as an obligatory reference. No doubt the struggle to develop a correct line in Bangladesh requires an examination of the correctness or incorrectness of some of the specific lines and policies of Siraj Sikder. Indeed, such an approach is completely in keeping with Siraj Sikder's own legacy of critical thinking. But history has shown that advance will come by building upon the positive contributions of Siraj Sikder to the theory and practice of revolution in Bangladesh.

On this 25th death anniversary we remember the past, but our focus is on the future. The cause for which Siraj Sikder devoted his energy and shed his blood has yet to be achieved. The masses of workers, peasants and revolutionary intellectuals in Bangladesh still have the giant burden of imperialism and the domestic reactionary classes weighing heavily upon them in old and new forms. The need for revolution, for people's war, has in no way diminished.

On behalf of all of the participating parties and organisations of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement we again express our proletarian internationalist support to today's followers of Siraj Sikder, the PBSP. We are confident that by applying Marxism-Leninism-Maoism to the conditions of Bangladesh, by critically assimilating the advanced experience of the international communist movement, and by basing themselves on the legacy of Siraj Sikder while learning from the positive and negative lessons of the past several decades of struggle, they will overcome all difficulties and write glorious new chapters in the history of the proletarian revolutionary struggle in Bangladesh.

Long Live the Revolutionary Legacy of Siraj Sikder!

Long Live Marxism-Leninism-Maoism!