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She Questioned Everything

Communism, it seems, has become irrelevant in Indian Politics in the last decade mainly because of activities of the Communist Parties, who have committed a number of mistakes (since the formation of the Communist Party of India (CPI) at Tashkent in1920). It may be noted that the Central Committee of the Party had gone against the Mass Emotion, declaring that the Freedom Movement against the British Imperialist Rulers should be stopped, as World War II turned into a People’s War! Later in 1975, a section of Communist leaders backed Internal Emergency declared by the then Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi, supporting the murder of Democracy. In the 21st Century (precisely in July 2008), the Left parties withdrew support from the Government of India, led by then Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, for reasons completely incomprehensible to the common people. Since then, the Communist Parties have become insignificant in India. Perhaps, the moves by the politburos of Indian Communist Parties have shocked and confused their workers and supporters. If so, then they could recall Rosa Luxemburg‘s (March 5, 1871 – January 15, 1919) warning!

On the 150th Birth anniversary year of the Polish Marxist economist, anti-war activist, philosopher and revolutionary socialist; one may recall that she did not hesitate to enter into a debate with Vladimir Ilyich Lenin as to where the Freedom of Thought of the Communist Party would begin from. Unfortunately, the critics of Free Thought assassinated Rosa almost 103 years ago.

Rosa Luxemburg

Although Rosa had wholeheartedly welcomed the October Revolution, she expressed serious concern over the decreasing scope of Democracy in erstwhile Soviet Union in the pretext of Wartime Communism at the very beginning of the Revolution. She penned the book ‘The Russian Revolution: Leninism or Marxism?‘ while in jail, where there was no opportunity to get accurate information. However, she had a clear idea that the newly born Socialist State was facing violent opposition. She mentioned in the book that the Bolsheviks had done everything possible, historically. It was not possible for them to do anything miraculous. An exhausted (due to World War I) and isolated country had proved that the Working Class could seize Power. The Imperialists were trying their best to strangle the Soviet, which did not receive any help from the International Working Class. In such a scenario, no one could expect a Perfect Revolution.

Rosa also mentioned in her publication that a test of Democracy should begin immediately after the birth of a new State. The ruler would have to ensure Democracy before addressing other important issues, she stated. According to Rosa, all public bodies become lifeless without General Elections, Independent Media, and Freedom of Expression, and then, experience is exchanged only between Administrators, Party Leaders and Government officials. Corruption is inevitable, if a handful of people fix everything, she added. Rosa further said that in such a scenario, Dictatorship of a particular group of people would replace the Dictatorship of Proletariat. It is evident in History that Rosa was correct.

October Revolution

Rosa had always backed Spontaneous Innovation of the Masses, and not Discipline set by a particular Committee (read Politburo). Even before the First Russian Revolution in 1904, she had repeatedly urged the Communists to keep faith in people’s confidence. In his ‘What Is To Be Done‘, Lenin wrote down proposals for the formation of a Communist Party, and various Communist Parties were formed around the world on the basis of his proposals. However, Rosa strongly opposed Lenin’s proposals, stressing that they would allow the Party to dominate the Proletariats, and not the vice versa.

Lenin actually wanted a strong organisation to separate the Socialist Movement from the Terrorist Activities in an attempt to achieve a specific goal. Narodniks (Populists) and Blanquists were quite active in Russia at that period of time. Their paths were to carry out violent acts against the State, such as the assassination of the Tsar. They used to believe that they were fighting for the Freedom of the People. However, they were not aware of public opinion, and kept their activities secret. On the other hand, Lenin and his followers wanted to form a cohesive force, whose members should be fully aware of their real goal, and would be able to strike at the very base of State Power. Rosa agreed with Lenin on this particular issue. At the same time, she wanted to ensure the spontaneous participation of the people in this venture. According to Rosa, not the Politburo, but the Proletariat should be involved in each and every phase of the decision-making process. She clearly stated that mistakes of a truly Revolutionary Movement were far more useful than the infallibility of the most prudent Central Committee.


Rosa was of the opinion that if the Central Committee made every decision, and also made a final decision about party members and their roles at the local level, then it would ultimately encourage Aristocracy. In that case, the Party would select some wise and intelligent Central Committee leaders, first, and then, a group of party workers (selected by those leaders) would recognise the decisions made by the Central Committee at various conferences. According to Rosa, it is the path of the conspirators, and nothing else.

A question arises here: Is it possible for people to find all the right answers from their experience? On this issue, Rosa and Lenin expressed similar views. Both of them used to believe that it would be important to educate the Proletariats by teaching them History, Science, Theory, etc. Intellectuals not only teach them, but also learn from them, and this exchange of knowledge helps people find their answers.

There was also a difference of opinion between Leon Trotsky and Lenin on the issue of Revolutionary Terrorism in post-October Revolution Russia. Rosa advised the revolutionaries, who were under attack, to consider counter-violence as a Momentary Reality, and not an Eternal Formula. She stressed on Freedom, saying that only the freedom of the supporters of the Government or a party (irrespective of their numbers) was no Freedom at all. Instead, freedom of those, who think differently, is the real freedom, added Rosa. Rosa Luxemburg should be remembered for teaching us to keep the window of the mind open.

Cadres of Indian Communist Parties

It seems that the majority of the workers and supporters of the Indian Communist Parties have hardly heard the names of Rosa Luxemburg, Antonio Francesco Gramsci or Louis Pierre Althusser. As the Communist Parties take part in Electoral Politics, their Politburos have always considered their cadres and supporters as Vote Banks in the South Asian Nation. Taking advantage of illiteracy and unemployment, the Communist leaders have always tried to ensure the Loyalty of these people by offering them jobs and allowing them to take undue advantages. Even those leaders have destroyed the industrial sector to create more Proletariats (read Lumpens), hoping that it would help them stay in power in different Indian Provinces. However, those Lumpens (including self-proclaimed local leaders) have slowly destroyed the Communist Parties by interfering in Civil Society affairs. As a result, the Communists have become diminishing forces in Indian Politics. There is no Rosa Luxemburg in India who could revive the Leftist Politics by constantly criticising the Central Committee’s decisions.

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