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Prateek Goyal asked: What is ‘Urban Naxalism’?

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  • P.V. Ramana replies: The presence of, and activities carried out by, Naxalites, or the CPI (Maoist), in urban areas –– towns and cities –– are together termed as Urban Naxalism.

    The Urban Movement, thus, has a defined role in the political strategy and military strategy of the CPI (Maoist). According to the CPI (Maoist), “… being the centres of concentration of the industrial proletariat, urban areas play an important part within the political strategy of the new Democratic Revolution”. The Maoists envisage that they would mobilise and organise the industrial workers and channelise them towards playing “leadership role in organising the agrarian revolution by sending … advanced detachment to the rural areas.”

    The activities of the Maoists in urban areas include maintaining safe houses for leaders and cadres while in transit, place for recuperation and for holding meetings; providing logistics support to under-ground squads; mobilising and recruiting youth, students and workers from industry and other bodies.

    Further, the Maoists contend that the urban movement should be conducted through various types of mass organisations; the wider the organisations, the better. These organisations are of different types –– secret revolutionary mass organisations, open and semi-open revolutionary mass organisations, and open legal mass organisations which are not directly linked to the CPI (Maoist). The last of these would include Maoist-inspired cover organisations and legal, democratic organisations.

    Urbanisation itself has some faultlines and the Maoists could well exploit these to their advantage. Also, the stronger the movement becomes in the urban areas the more it is likely to contribute to the agrarian revolution –– in terms of providing leaders and men and material to the people’s war. Besides, the Maoists enjoy some degree of sympathy and support among the urban intellectuals and the middle class, including students and teachers in schools, colleges and universities.

    It is, thus, essential to keep a close watch on Maoist activities in towns and cities.

    Posted on October 22, 2018

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