Differences with the CPP
Posted by Taimur Rahman on August 3, 2006
In this message I would like to bring to the fore a difference of opinion that I share with comrade Mansoor Saeed of the CPP on the question of Balochistan and the MMA. In an earlier conversation these same arguments were uttered by the general secretary of the CPP (Imdad Qazi) therefore, it would not be incorrect to assume that these views enjoy some degree of support within the CPP. My intention of elaborating these views is not factionalist because I simultaneously acknowledge that variants of these views are also held by members of the CMKP and other left parties. I am therefore presenting a critique of a certain view on Balochistan and not a critique of the CPP as such.
When asked about the situation in Balochistan comrade Mansoor wrote:
“The situation of Balluchistan is very complex.Many countries like India,China,Iran,America and EU are interested to have an upper hand here because of its geographical situation,its natural resources,gas pipe line fron central Asia and its port(Gawader port).We dont suport the current sepratist struggle but we support the rights of Balluch people and their autonomy because it is the most backward and neglected area of our country and many army oprations have been carried out there.”
1) This message leaves one with the impression that the situation in Balochistan is created by external agents (foreign countries). This explanation, is quite in line with the explanation given by the establishment (i.e. that the Baloch insurgency is the work of a “foreign hand”) and was the basis of my sharp disagreement with Comrade Imdad Qazi.
In fact, any explanation of Balochistan that does not begin with the acceptance that Pakistan is a multi-national state where the central government has undermined the rights of oppressed nationalities commits a grave historical injustice to the people who have suffered from a deliberate policy of national oppression by the central government.
Whether in terms of royalties on resources or government budgets, democratic representation or representation in the power-making institutions of the country, cultural autonomy or identity, in all these ways and more, the democratic rights of the Baloch people have been systematically undermined by the central government. Against these policies of national oppression, the Baloch have risen in rebellion five times since the creation of Pakistan (1948, 1956, 1965, 1973, 2006).
So far the military government of Pakistan has not been able to provide a single shred of evidence to prove this nefarious “foreign hand” that miraculously appears in the midst of all our unresolved internal conflicts.
2) The position elaborated by Comrade Mansoor Saeed, although it calls for an end to the military operation, does not make clear whether communists should uphold the “right” of the Baloch people to self-determination including secession. Instead, it only goes up to
the point of accepting that the Baloch should have greater “autonomy”. The position that Marxist-Leninist have and should uphold, in the context of multi-national states, is not restricted to autonomy but includes the right of self-determination.
3) In my opinion, this incorrect position on the right of self-determination of the Baloch is a product both of an incorrect analysis of the current situation in Balochistan (attributing it only to a foreign hand), and also due to a lack of clarity on the Leninist position with respect to the national question.
On the question of the MMA, comrade Mansoor wrote:
“The seven party allience of the fundamentalist have no big mass base.The seats they have in national and provincial assemblies are due to the patronage of the army.The wants them to be there so that they can bargain with imperialists.The army generals ruling the country are posing as enlightened and libral are actually fundamentalist and mecenary basically since their birth.We dont think that the fundamentalist can take over here.We have always apposed them.”
1) The view that the Mullahs do not have a mass base was entirely correct till the Musharraf era. However, it is no longer correct to continue with the analysis of the 1990s (when the Mullahs were very weak). For the last five six years the MMA has gained enormous mass strength. They have now eclipsed the PPP and the PML(n) and have become the leader of the opposition in the national assembly. For us to continue repeating the analysis of an earlier period, in the context of an opposition in the national assembly dominated by this 7 party alliance, is to close our eyes to reality. The MMA today is a mass party.
2) The view that the fundamentalists cannot take over in Pakistan is completely incorrect. The fundamentalists strategy of revolution relies on control over the key institutions of the country (army, education, bureaucracy etc). Since the MMA rejects popular sovereignty as a basis for legitimacy, mobilization is merely a means to an end (control over key institutions). The infiltration of the religious right in key institutions of state and society is enormous. While it would be absurd to claim that the MMA will “inevitably” come to power, it is equally absurd to claim that the MMA has no mass base and that there is no possibility of them taking power.
It is rather unfortunate that the international affiliation of a party does not guarantee a correct analysis or line of action in one’s own country (assuming of course that the parties one is aligned to have a correct analysis and line of action). If that were the case revolution would simply be a matter of applying for affiliation and we might already have been a socialist state under the guidance of the CPP.
I invite comrades of the CPP, and other parties, to an open scientific dialogue on all questions pertaining to a revolution in Pakistan. Even if we part company after the dialogue, it will certainly not be the case, I hope, that we will not have learnt from each other.
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