THERE HAS BEEN a plethora of writing in recent months on the role of the Communists in the national movement. This writing of course has sprung from diverse sources and reflects diverse concerns, ranging from straightforward red-baiting to critical academic studies on the attitude, strategy and tactics of the Communists in the national movement. It is important in this context to sec how the Communist leaders themselves analyse their role in the movement: their perspective, their achievements and their mistakes. This inter alia is provided by the current number of Social Scientist which is devoted to this question.
The leading article by B T Ranadive underscores the fundamental Communist perpectivc, from which strategy and tactics are derived, that anti-imperialism is not a homogeneous attitude with which different classes are uniformly imbued; rather, the attitude towards imperialism differs in nature and complexion across classes. The context of the anti-imperialist struggle as the Communists saw it was therefore different from the context that was defined by the bourgeois leadership. The only consistent and thorough-going anti-imperialist struggle, as the Communists saw it, would be one which seeks to carry national liberation forward through an agrarian revolution; and this could only be achieved in the contemporary conjuncture under the leadership of the proletariat which had to be energised to play this role. The bourgeois leadership, on the other hand, was equally insistent on delinking the anti-imperialist struggle from the agrarian revolution, and hence its insistence on keeping the class battles in abeyance in the interest of the "higher" anti-imperialist goal; its supposed glorification of the anti-imperialist goal was thus in effect a preparation of the ground for bargaining and compromising with imperialism. The specific circumstances, composed of a number of factors including severe repression of the Communists, deliberate imperialist attempts to divide the working class on communal lines, and of course mistakes committed by the Communists, which enabled the bourgeois leadership to hold sway over the national movement arc discussed in this paper; but one should not underrate the achievements of the Communists either. Leaving aside the significant struggles they led and the mass following they built up in particular regions, virtually every major democratic demand which was ultimately accepted by the national movement, starting from "complete independence" to the formation of "linguistic states", originated with the Communists who thus succeeded even then in putting their imprint on the movement.