25 May 2010

Book: Maoism: A Critique from the Left

Just published: Prasenjit Bose is the editor of the contributed volume "Maoism: A Critique from the Left" (LeftWord Books, May 2010):


Publisher's description: "What is 'Maoism'? What are its roots, and who are the forces waging a war in its name? The Indian Prime Minister characterizes them as our gravest internal security threat. The Maoists, on the other hand, claim they are the only revolutionary force in India today. The debate in India seems polarized between the hardline advocates of a military response to leftwing extremism on the one hand, and those who sympathize with the Maoists on the other. There is need, however, to look at the roots and origins of left sectarianism and critique it from a Marxist standpoint. In articulating a Left critique of 'Maoism', this book adds a crucial dimension to the ongoing debate in India. [...] P.M.S. Grewal makes a detailed, careful critique of the Indian Maoists' history, their programme and praxis. Nilotpal Basu unravels 'Maoism' as an anti-thesis of Mao Zedong thought. Vijay Prashad takes a critical look at the international experience of left extremism, especially in Latin America."

From the introduction: "Following independence, alongside the emergence of the Communist party as a major opposition force to the ruling Congress party within the parliamentary democratic set up, ideological debates also intensified within the Left on the road to revolution in India. [...] The Communist Party of India (Marxist) [...] arrived at a programmatic understanding that the [...] revolution, directed against the big bourgeoisie, landlordism and imperialism, is to be achieved by combining parliamentary and extra-parliamentary struggles. This overall understanding, however, was questioned by a small section, which considered participation in the parliamentary democratic process – just as the left sectarians did during Lenin's time – to be revisionist and non-revolutionary in principle. [...] Nilotpal Basu's essay [...] makes a robust critique of the anti-democratic practices of the Maoists and their hypocritical sympathizers. He also argues that Maoists can be effectively dealt with, not by means of imposing bans or security measures alone, but by ensuring their political isolation and addressing the developmental needs of the tribal areas where the Maoists operate."

Prasenjit Bose is Convenor of the Research Unit of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

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