Illumining Teachings of Comrade Shibdas Ghosh


(On the occasion of the concluding ceremony of year-long Birth Centenary of Comrade Shibdas Ghosh, Founder-General Secretary of our Party, an outstanding Marxist thinker of the era and our leader, teacher and guide, we give below some select quotes from the treasure-house of his invaluable contributions. Comrade Shibdas Ghosh’s elaboration, development and enrichment of Marxism-Leninism has brought the understanding of this revolutionary ideology to a new height. Hence, Comrade Shibdas Ghosh Thought is the most developed and contemporized understanding of Marxism-Leninism, the highest ideology of the era.)

On Democratic Centralism

‘If we can dissect democratic centralism, as is done in anatomy, we shall have two parts— ideological centralism and organizational centralism. This ideological centralism grows out of the struggle to develop one process of thinking, uniformity of thinking, oneness in approach and singleness of purpose on the basis of Marxism-Leninism and dialectical materialism not only on the economic and political questions but on all questions covering all aspects of life. When a party through such an all-out struggle has been able to develop this ideological centralism, then and then only can it be said that the principle of proletarian democracy is operative inside the party.’’ (Why SUCI(C) is the only genuine communist party in India)

On modern revisionism

‘‘Long before, we sounded a note of caution that unless the world communist movement and organization could be freed from the influence of mechanical thought process the Tito incident might not be the last one. History has testified that our apprehension was not unfounded.’’ (On the Report of the Twentieth Congress of the CPSU)
‘‘…revisionism could appear because the economic ingredients conducive to breeding of revisionism were there. Had there been no such economic elements in the society, this phenomenon could not have appeared. But just the economic ingredients by themselves could not have brought it about automatically. These did not possess the strength there to bring on revisionism. It is the low level of consciousness that added strength to this tendency. But despite such low level of consciousness this deviation did not occur earlier in the Soviet Union; yet simply because of the absence of a particular leadership such a great disaster happened. Though there have been many a mistake even in Stalin’s time due to the low level of consciousness, these could not strike at the root of the Soviet socialist politics and economy. But in the absence of that particular leadership, however, because of the low level of consciousness, it struck at that very root, and revisionist politics went on gaining in strength gradually and culminating in such a situation. Even the fact that it was increasing was not recognized due, again, to that low level of consciousness…. Just as low standard of ideological consciousness gives birth to adventurism, it gives birth to revisionism as well. It is this low level of consciousness that has given rise to modern revisionism.’’ (Soviet Military Intervention in Czechoslovakia and Revisionism)

Exposing vile conspiracy of de-Stalinization

‘‘As an integral part of the world communist force, the Socialist Unity Centre of India cannot remain an idle spectator to the serious ideological crisis that confronts the world communist movement today centring round the relative appreciation of values of Stalin and the measures adopted by the CPSU under the guidance of Khrushchev to fight out the cult of the individual in general and Stalin-cult in particular. In this respect, our party does not think it correct to support the one and oppose the other of the views mentioned earlier. A formalistic, dogmatic and mechanical approach to the problem will not mend matters; hence a critical analysis is essentially needed…. Marx, Engels and Lenin, Stalin also is an authority on Marxism-Leninism. To black out Stalin would have the inevitable result of disowning his authority and consequently of rejecting his interpretation of Leninism, which is the present-day understanding of Marxism-Leninism… It would mean invitation to all sorts of counter-revolutionary ideas to pass for Marxism-Leninism and the ideological foundation of the communist movement would suffer a setback. In short, it would objectively uncrown Lenin himself.’’ (On the Steps taken by the CPSU against Stalin)
On Fascism
‘‘Since 1949, we have been repeatedly pointing out an important aspect of our Party’s analysis on Fascism. There are some people who regard the severe repressive nature of administration, any dictatorship as Fascism. It should be remembered that dictatorship may be military dictatorship; it may be foisted through a coup as well. Besides, there is torture and repression in every anti-people administrative system, and the imperialists perpetrate torture and repression in the colonial countries. But Fascism is more devastating than that. Mere repression cannot do so much harm to a country.’’ (‘Fascism and Moral Ethical Crisis in Left, Democratic Movement’, SW Vol IV)
‘‘Moving under false notions that Fascism is altogether a new social phenomenon, that only the cross-currents of European politics and betrayal of the Social Democratic parties have given birth to these arch reactionary forces, that the economic crises of twentieth century capitalism have given rise to the fascist states and so on, nobody then cared to know carefully that no movement whatsoever—social, economic or political—is without relation to some philosophy and class culture and that practice is the expression of some idea; it is invariably dependent on some philosophical viewpoints.’’ (Socialist Unity Vol 1, No 9, 1 September 1951)
‘‘Being enamoured of an imaginary hypothesis that ‘Fascism cannot at all develop in an underdeveloped country like ours,’ on the plea of prevalence of the parliamentary democratic system and relative backwardness of Indian capitalism, they not only overlook these phenomena, but also actually assist, without noticing it, in spreading the influence of the Fascist outlook by trumpeting the slogans of national unity, national tradition, mechanical discipline and pacifism. Most of them lack the historical and scientific understanding of the real character of fascism which to them only means a barefaced dictatorship. They are unable to conceive that Fascism can be established fully even under the cloak of parliamentary democracy. Otherwise, they could easily comprehend that though the fascist states were defeated in the Second World War fascism is far from being dead and gone even today. As the inevitable result of the creation of a socialist market parallel to the world capitalist market, fascism has now-a-days become a characteristic feature of every capitalist state.’’ (Crisis in Culture and Fascism, SW Vol IV)‘‘And so, in basing their interpretations of Fascism on the simplified definitions that ‘Fascism is a naked dictatorship of the capitalist classes’, they utterly failed to realize that Fascism is much more dangerous than that of any kind of dictatorship, even from military dictatorship, in so far as it strives to achieve national unity in favour of the bourgeoisie against the revolutionary proletariat under the cover of pseudo-radical slogans, that Fascism in most of the cases appears in a most deceptive way. The different Communist Parties took no cognizance of its ideological root present within the socio-political life, and specific philosophical outlook which helped the Fascists organize themselves and thrive; in other words, they lost sight of the historical continuity Fascism maintained in its ideological plane. As a result, however intensive struggle the communists might have waged in economic and political fronts, their refusal to acknowledge their indispensable practical necessity of ideological war against Fascism reduced all their efforts and sacrifices to a partial and one-sided attack on the national-jingoists.’’ (Socialist Unity Vol 1, No 9, 1 September 1951)

‘‘Fascism is a historically conditioned form of counter-revolution in which capitalism seeks to stave off revolution by an anticipatory move. It is designed to save the crisis-ridden, chaos-discredited capitalist order from collapse in the face of mounting dissatisfaction of the people against the existing system…. (features of Fascism are) ‘‘… mainly economic centralization, maximum concentration of political power in the state, rigid firmness in administration—all this leading to more and more identification of the interest of the monopolists with that of the state-and cultural regimentation… through a peculiar fusion of spiritualism with the technological aspects of science…. the Fascists concentrate all their powers to exterminate communism spiritually and the communists physically. In its crusade against communism, Fascism advocates its own fascistic culture, a queer admixture of social democratism, national jingoism and mysticism…’’ (Call of the Hour)
‘‘…the ruling bourgeois class after having misled the intelligentsia succeeds in masterfully combining these three things then only…the mindset for carrying on mutual discussions on the basis of reason and logic really ceases to exist in society. This provides the golden opportunity for Fascism to rise… if Fascism takes root, very few will remain in the country worthy to be called man. Because Fascism creates hindrance in the man-making process.’’ (Fascism and Moral Ethical Crisis in Left, Democratic Movement)

On phenomenon of socialist individualism and new definition of a true communist character

‘‘In the period of socialist economic reconstruction, there is a danger that a tendency of a new type of economism, of hankering for ‘material incentive’ and ‘benefit’ may grow among the common workers.’’ ‘‘The economism, in the period after revolution, obstructs the workers from being conscious of their responsibility as cadres of international proletarian revolution, hinders their sense of obligation to the society and dampens the urge for complete dedication and sacrifice which is essential for the individual’s freedom, growth and development.’’… ‘‘As a result, behind the urge of a worker to produce more actually works his sense of privilege and material benefit … to reflect a mentality absolutely incompatible with the basic aim and object of socialism. Such a mentality breeds a typical individualistic and opportunistic trend among the workers.’’ … ‘‘In the socialist society of today, it is the old bourgeois concept of individual freedom and mental make-up that stands in the way of conducting a new struggle for the individual’s freedom and emancipation at this new stage…. This economism-individualism in a socialist system… I have already termed as ‘socialist individualism’… ‘‘it is obvious that the individual’s struggle for emancipation has reached a new and complex height and has assumed a new character in the socialist society where to resolve this problem, a more intense and arduous struggle is to be conducted for complete identification of the self-interest with the interest of society through unflagging dedication and constant vigil…The Chinese leadership, in my opinion, while fighting individualism, has moved close to grasping the root cause of the problem. But till now, they have not succeeded in providing a clear and precise theoretical basis of the problem.…while conducting the struggle for the complete victory of socialism, the main object of the struggle for emancipation of the individual should be to transform the antagonistic nature of contradiction existing between the individual necessity and social necessity into a non-antagonistic one…the ideal of surrendering the individual’s interest to social interest, adjustment of individual necessities with those of the society is nothing different from the ideals of bourgeois humanist values….correctly grasp the nature of this particular phenomenon … of ‘socialist individualism’, … comprehend that philosophically and theoretically, nor have they been able to place their basic formulation about or pinpoint the character of individualism, that is, the phenomenon of individualism in a socialist society and, finally, they have not released, on the basis of a correct understanding, an all-out struggle embracing the leaders as well as the workers…. Uptill now, the highest standard of communist moral values was considered to have been reflected in this, and only they were considered to be the real communists who were able to surrender unconditionally and happily the individual interest to social interest, place the cause of the class, revolution and party above all and subordinate individual interest to the cause of the class, revolution and party…a more intense and arduous struggle is to be conducted for complete identification of the self-interest with the interest of (socialist) society through unflagging dedication and constant vigil.’’ (Cultural Revolution of China)

On Electoral politics and change of government through vote

‘‘The self-styled revolutionaries, the Marxists, all are found to be saying that elections will yield nothing. We also say this. We, who call ourselves Marxists, never say that we believe in election politics, or that we do not want revolution. None of us tell these things. Because if we talk like this we would be immediately isolated from the democratic-minded, revolutionary-minded people of West Bengal. If any of us happen to tread in the blind alley of election politics, in the open even he has to swear by revolution. There is no other way. But let this be. Now let us see what the Marxist-Leninist theory says on this issue. Marxist-Leninist theory says that Marxists go in the Parliament because parliamentary illusion exists among the people. What do the words, parliamentary illusion mean? They mean that the fake democrats, the fake socialists, the fake revolutionaries still exert considerable influence on the democratic forces, the workers-peasants-middle class, that is, the classes who constitute allies of revolution, and it is they who spread the parliamentary illusion. It means that conditions have not ripened for the people to bring about revolution, or for a front to be built up having that character which comes into existence immediately prior to direct seizure of power under the leadership of a revolutionary party. In other words we still exist in that stage of democratic movement in which we have to take part in the elections in order to free people from the illusion of parliamentary politics; we have to form the government if we attain electoral majority, and use that government, to the extent possible, for building up revolutionary movements. We have to restrain the police and use the front as a weapon for mass movements. It is for this that we participate in the elections and put up candidates for election. So the Marxist-Leninist theory says that till the pseudo-democrats, pseudo-socialists, pseudo-revolutionaries are isolated from the workers-peasants-middle class, i.e., the classes who constitute the allies of revolution, and the conditions can be created for the seizure of power under the leadership of the revolutionary party, till then the Marxist-Leninists take part in the election by building up democratic fronts.’’ (Danger from Left Opportunism in Running a United Front Government)
‘‘…say, an election has come, we have to take part in this struggle. You are thinking that in this election we are fighting against the Congress—what is there of revolutionary politics in it? Any tactics to defeat the Congress is revolutionary. No. In election the Congress is on one side, the opposition on the other and people are in between. …So long as revolution is not accomplished, whether people want elections or not, like it or not, they get dragged into it, involved in it. Revolution means that people have realized that there is no need for elections, when they are all organized and boycotting elections in an organized manner, not negatively but have positively reached the stage of seizure of power and are saying: ‘‘No more election; capture power.’’ Only at that point does taking part in the election become infructuous, unnecessary. Or else the people do get time and again enmeshed in the election. And in order to stay with the masses, both revolutionaries as well as non-revolutionaries—all have to participate in the election. The genuine revolutionaries too have to do that. Everybody has to participate in the election. Only those who practise sectarian truism, those who do not really practise revolutionary politics may want to fight shy of it and remain out, otherwise everyone has to participate. But does it mean that all those taking part in the election are having the same outlook? So you have seen outwardly everyone takes part in the election, I do, we the revolutionary Marxist-Leninists do, the social democrats, the genuine forces, the sham elements, the bourgeois parties, the pseudo-socialists—outwardly viewed, it all appears to be the same. And everybody would say that he only is right, the opponent parties are wrong. So, any tactics or move to defeat the opponent party is justified, because I am right. If this is your line of argument, then there remains no difference in terms of outlook between you and the bourgeoisie. As a matter of fact, an indepth analysis will prove your approach to be erroneous… The main objective of the bourgeois parties is to grab maximum number of seats by any means and ride to power. Having captured power, to protect the existing system they undertake some reforms and raise slogans on false pretexts. To take recourse to whatever propaganda helps them to don a progressive cloak, to confuse and befool the people for some time in order to prolong the existing system itself—this is their purpose. Hence, their main objective becomes securing maximum number of seats in the elections by hook or by crook.’’ (On Preserving Unity and Establishing Revolutionary Leadership in Workers’ Movement)
‘‘When people get disgusted and resentful against the government, another government steps in through elections. The common people hold some persons to be dishonest, they think that it will bring them good if only the dishonest were removed and in their place honest men were installed. Bourgeois parliamentary politicians resort to this type of propaganda with the object of confusing the people under cover of a ‘principle’ or ‘ideology’. So I would caution the workers, peasants and the common people not to be swayed by this type of deception. Because, through a change of government alone the basic problems of the common people had never been resolved, will never be resolved…. whatever laws may be enacted and whatever programmes to provide relief to the people are adopted in the parliamentary system, emancipation of people cannot come about by that. On the contrary, the condition of people would worsen day by day by these.’’ (Independence on 15th August and Problems of Emancipation of People)

On revolutionary politics

‘‘…politics calls for noble feelings of heart. Nobler still is the feeling that spurs on to revolutionary politics. Tender as it is in one way, inherent in it are stern reality, strict discipline, and steadfast sense of duty. Our work cannot suffer because of our grief. Outwardly, the conduct of this politics appears so heartless. But it is here, in what appears so heartless, that the significance of true realization of grief lies. That is why, big revolutionaries, even in the midst of most profound grief, unwaveringly pursue their revolutionary work (voice again chokes with tears, and he continues in a tearful tone). Work they must. In no event can they allow themselves to muddle up the work. Else, it was not for them to tread this path. They had better lead lives of common men. So I said, revolutionary politics comes from nobler feelings. Whereas its style of functioning appears so pitiless. Outwardly, it looks as though it is devoid of compassion and tenderness, it is much like a machine. But in reality, it is truly not so. In this commitment to duty is revealed the true nature of the tender heart of the revolutionary. The pain and sorrow of the entire society together with the revolutionary transformation they underwent in the realm of values made such a penetrating impact on the revolutionaries that they have become steeled in their resolve to make revolution a concrete reality. That is why, the revolutionaries never neglect their duty. Even death of the most beloved, a profound loss, or an event leading to deep emotional upsurge cannot make them oblivious of their duty.’’ (Tribute To A Revolutionary Character)

Revolutionary Life is most honourable

‘‘…in this thorny path of revolution there are plenty of sorrows and pains, but still it is joyful. While treading along the road to revolution the revolutionaries bleed with sorrows and sufferings, but to them the orbit and the ambience of revolution is full of joy. I have already told that absolute happiness is something of a type which is lackluster, dull and meaningless. There is nothing to enjoy in it. But in the midst of sorrows and sufferings the dominant character of the revolutionary environment and the feeling which it exudes is blissful. There is turmoil in this life; but in spite of that it is a noble and honourable life. Does this feeling of joy that we feel in this life, develop around the sense of duty alone? If we do not find it in the form of pleasure and dignity, all struggles will end before long under the pressure of duty. You will be bored soon and will not be able to go further. Sense of duty is the starting point and thereafter, it is to be administered to blood and flesh to blend with the sap of life and to be taken it joyfully. This is how we view our life. Is there anything else in the life of a revolutionary? Since the revolutionaries take the life in this way, their morale cannot be destroyed. They can be beaten or shot at, but cannot be bought. So, we see in history that revolution always and everywhere becomes victorious. It always wins because it is undefeatable and decisive. You are to view the thing in this way.’’ (Revolutionary life is the most honourable one)
‘‘Yes, in this way of fighting things, it may be painful —sometimes even tortuous, but no doubt it is the honourable way to lead a life. Here in this struggle you may die, but you will die with honour, raising your head high. You shall not die with humiliation just as cats and dogs die, rotting in the street. Remember, we are all mortal beings. So, if to die, don’t die begging, don’t die humiliating yourself. When to die, die with honour, and you have got only one surest way to live and die with honour, that is by taking active part in the revolutionary struggle of the masses to bring about a revolutionary transformation of the society…’’ (Tasks Ahead of Students and Youth)

Approach of a revolutionary party in running government in a capitalist set up

‘‘…as you desired, here is the United Front government. Are the basic problems of your life solved by that? Or, is it possible for this government, if it so wishes, to solve these basic problems merely by reforming laws? You ought to realize, it is just not possible. One may ask: Is there then no justification for forming the United Front government in the interest of the workers? I think, there is. If the United Front government resolutely pursues its declared policy of strengthening democratic mass movements in the sphere of working class struggle against the exploitation and oppression relentlessly perpetrated by the capitalist owners who are under protection of the bourgeois Constitution and laws, then despite the fact that it cannot win you emancipation from exploitation, yet in the interest of conducting the struggle to win emancipation the United Front government does have its significance… They should realize that even change of government all over the country and reform of laws, or just taking a decision that police shall not intervene in gheraos do not concern the workers’ fundamental interest. All these will have importance, temporary at that, only when the working class can correctly integrate these struggles into the main struggle of winning emancipation from capitalist exploitation. It was with this objective, and since long before the elections, that the SUCI, the only genuine revolutionary working class party on this soil, has been fighting for keeping legitimate democratic mass movements free from police interference in case a Leftist government came to be installed.’’ (Labour Policy of First UF Government of West Bengal: Its Real Significance)

On Communist Code of Conduct

‘‘The communists ought to bear in mind always that the struggle to correctly grasp the code of conduct conducive to communist ideology is of paramount importance to uphold the revolutionary outlook and ideology and in conducting the struggle for dedicated implementation of the revolutionary programmes of the party. Moreover, it should also be borne in mind always that the culture and ethical conduct of the leaders and workers, in tune with their revolutionary ideology and principle, act as the most powerful vehicle — besides propaganda campaign—to carry the proletarian politics, revolutionary ideology and culture to the masses…. this code of conduct has two aspects. One aspect is: the mutual relationship between leaders and cadres, between the party body, on the one hand, and the leaders and cadres, on the other, and the norms of discussion and criticism between leaders and cadres and their general conduct; and, above all, what should be the attitude, or approach of everybody in the party, from the leaders to the cadres, to each and every aspect of their personal life. The other aspect is: what should be the norm of behaviour of the leaders and cadres in the broader field of social life, in dealing with people, in public relations, in organizing people’s struggles by being with them and, in building up the revolutionary organizations of the people, imbuing them with the revolutionary consciousness…. criticism becomes really helpful for revolution only when it is based on the attitude of self-criticism…. Comrades should know that mere scholasticism or bookish knowledge cannot help us at all in this. That is why pedantry and scholasticism alone will never provide us with proper answers, nor can it show the way to a solution. One can lead this struggle successfully only when one applies the revolutionary theory of the party covering all aspects of one’s life after correctly determining the level of ideological consciousness of the workers of the party and the level of consciousness and cultural standard of the vast masses outside the party, while taking into account the development of revolutionary struggles and party organization in the country in the given time and given situation… acquisition of true knowledge and real revolutionary consciousness means true realization of party consciousness of the genuine working class party and total identification of the individual interest with the class or party interest—at least it means to give more importance to the interest of the class than to individual or self-interest in daily life…. a prime condition of acquiring the revolutionary code of conduct is the struggle for identification of the self with the revolution, the class and the party.’’ (On Communist Code of Conduct)

On art-literature

‘‘Wherein then lies the utility of literature? The necessity of literature lies precisely in making the realized truths and higher thoughts acquired through theoretical analyses sublime in the shape of stories through the medium of rasa, blossomed beautifully in a mosaic of forms and channels with artistic excellence, and to make a niche for them even within the subtle sensibilities and delicate feelings of men. Necessity of literature lies in imprinting these lofty ideas, even if partially, by evoking pathos and compassion through aesthetic creation even in the minds of those who are unable to grasp through reasoning and intellectual exercise owing to lack of educational base and critical power of judgement….It is not for the litterateur to enter into learned discussions on theories, and in scholastic discourses deal with their intricacies—he is a creator of rasa. Herein lies the real worth of a litterateur. In my opinion, those who always seek high theories in stories and novels and judge their merit on this yardstick alone are totally unfit to be literary critics. The worth of literature does not lie in dispensing scholastic discussions. Its utility in society is elsewhere. There has never been any dearth of personalities in the world giving learned lectures. For that there are big personalities in the society, who can be regarded as more accomplished in their own spheres than the litterateurs. There are the philosophers, the economists, the political thinkers and the scholars in different branches of science and epistemology, but what they cannot do is done by a litterateur. And it is because of this that the litterateurs are admired and esteemed, respected and adored even by them. They are effective where we are incapable. The ideas and thoughts which the philosophers and the thinkers want to convey are portrayed by the litterateurs so aesthetically, in such an artistic and lucid manner, in such diverse forms through rasa, that even if a man fails to grasp these due to lack of intellectual aptitude, still, while relishing the beauty, going repeatedly through the artistic expressions and mastering the dialogues, he becomes used to these and undergoes some changes in outlook. Thus, in bringing about a revolutionary change in mental make-up and a cultural revolution in the society, literature is a very effective and powerful weapon. Litterateurs are to precisely perform the task of preparing the necessary cultural background for any political movement, be it a freedom movement, a socialist revolution or any struggle for bringing about a radical transformation of society. Herein lies their progressive role….
Perhaps I too am capable of some theoretical discourses, that also on such problems of different branches of science and epistemology that may higly impress one. But I too am indebted to litterateurs; I do approach them with a begging bowl. Otherwise, you see, I may not have to go to Rabindranath and Goethe to listen to scholastic discussions. I presume that many may take exception to this, but still it is true that we need not go to Rabindranath or Goethe for theories and higher thoughts. We have to go to them, but that is for something else. Even a man like Lenin had to knock at the doors of the litterateurs and seek their help. So, do I. And same is the case with thinkers of all ages, of all countries. They do so because they too have a feeling of want. And this want they satisfy through literature. Moreover, the litterateurs implant artistically those thoughts and ideas, principles and precepts into the social consciousness which we like to carry deep into the society, but cannot. A litterateur is superior to us precisely in this. This is why we respect them, adore them. Throughout the ages, it has been found that the leading literary figures have held the great thinkers in high esteem. So also, the great thinkers understand the real worth of the great litterateurs and respect them.’’ (An Evaluation of Saratchandra)

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