Indian Progressive Study Group of Los Angeles (IPSG-LA)

It seems that the radical leftist community continues to invent/reinvent groups and organizations to accomplish its agenda. The IPSG-LA is certainly no exception. This group has been defunct since around 1997. Further, the information below shows the group’s Maoist leanings as in its support for the celebration of the Naxalbari (Naxalite) uprising in India.

Though the name shows that it was an LA-based group, it maintains no website or major presence in cyberspace or otherwise. Its main website was being run out of Columbia University in New York.[1] In addition, IPSG-LA was part of the Association of Indian Progressive Study Group (AIPSG), as per the Charcha blog run by AIPSG.[2]  According to the blog, IPSG (Indian Progressive Study Group) was formed in 1968, while AIPSG was formed in 1990 by Hardial Bains, founder and national leader of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) (CPC-ML) and the president of the People’s Front of Canada.[3] However, there is no discussion about the difference between the two. For example, why is one an “association” of the same group?

Further, IPSG’s Columbia University website has been defunct since around 1997,[4] while the Charcha blog maintained by AIPSG hasn’t had any posting since May 6, 2009. Links to the old AIPSG (www.geocities.com/aipsg) don’t work and the domain (aipsg.org) is available for purchase as per a WhoIs.Net registration search.[5]

Thus, it is evident that IPSG-LA, AIPSG and IPSG are all defunct since atleast after 2009. But while the groups are no longer in existence, it is important to highlight their Maoist/Communist leanings.

In 2005, Raj Mishra and Rajesh Gopalan of AIPSG/IPSG wrote an extensive post on the Charcha blog, marking the 80th anniversary of the Communist movement in India.[6] In it, they discuss the birth of IPSG and AIPSG, and also seek inspiration from the Communist Ghadar Party of India (CGPI), which is a far-left political party of India (not to be mistaken with the Ghadar Party, formed by Indian Revolutionaries in the US). They state that “[t]he work of the Communist Ghadar Party, which turns only 25 years old on December 25, 2005, must be commended within these circumstances [of disunity among communist groups in India].”[7]

CGPI’s radical views are clearly stated on its website. For example, CGPI advocates a purely communist India and does not seek any compromise or conciliation between capitalism and socialism. It deems the idea of India as a nation as “…illusion-mongering…”[8] and declares that India is “…neither democratic nor secular but [merely] the bulwark of the colonial legacy, an instrument of capitalist-feudal exploitation and imperialist plunder.”[9]

AIPSG/IPSG is also a supporter of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) and draws its ideological inspiration from that party’s actions, such as the Naxalite movement. The party’s blog features a translation of a piece written on September 4, 1969, by party leader and ideologue Charu Majumdar and deems the party as the party of armed struggle based on Mao Tse-Tung’s and Stalin’s thoughts and works.[10] CPI-ML essentially advocated an armed struggle against the Indian government and is the fountainhead of the Naxalite/Maoist movement in India today. For example, according to the translated excerpt:

NAXALBARI represents the first ever application of Mao Tse-tung Thought on the soil of India…This new political era in India can be understood only by what Comrade Stalin said about the Chinese revolution, that is, in India today armed revolution has begun its battle with armed counter-revolution. Waging revolutionary war has, therefore, become the only and main tactic of the revolutionary masses [emphasis added]. A correct leadership is essential for waging this revolutionary war successfully. It is precisely for this reason that the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) has been established. Unless we understand this new situation in India, we can have no understanding of the significance and work of the revolutionary Party. That is why our  Party is the party of armed struggle, the party which will lead the Indian people’s democratic revolution to victory [emphasis added].[11]

In 2010, India’s former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Naxalite/Maoist extremism was “…the biggest internal security challenge and it is imperative to control left-wing extremism for the country’s growth.”[12] However, groups like CPI (M-L) advocate a violent overthrow of India’s “ruling class” and ushering in modes of governance modeled after Mao and Stalin.

IPSG-LA Website - Naxalbari Celebration

To further illustrate AIPSG/IPSG’s support for the Naxalite movement, in 1997, the group organized a conference on 50th Anniversary of India’s Independence. However, one of the main sessions (as seen in the figure above) was actually commemorating the 30th Anniversary of the Naxalite movement!

AIPSG/IPSG considered the Naxalite movement as “…the singular event in Indian history that sought to actually change the character of political power in India in a fundamental way from the hands of the well-to-do and into the hands of the deprived.”[13] In fact, in the Conference Proceedings and a book called Ending the Legacy of Division, Rajesh Gopalan of AIPSG/IPSG actually discusses how many of the Naxalite/Maoist groups trace their origin to the Naxalbari period and dislike the “…‘peaceful and parliamentary path’ to political power…”,[14] the quotations implying that the author views democratic/parliamentary forms of activism with derision. Similarly, in an ominous note, Gopalan declared that “[m]any others are working hard to create the conditions and prepare the ground-work for future struggles.”[15] His sinister remarks sound strikingly similar and are reflective of the current internal conflicts in India where the Maoist movements are busy building a ‘red corridor’ across the country for an eventual civil war.

Thus, two things are evident:

  1. IPSG-LA/AIPSG/IPSG is a defunct fringe group, which has had no website and has held no major events or activity at least since 2009, except for dutifully signing its name in the CAG pronouncements.
  2. IPSG-LA/AIPSG/IPSG derives inspiration from a Communist/Maoist ideology that supports violent armed conflict in India to liberate the country’s people from “Capitalist-feudal exploitation and imperialist plunder”. It seems to completely ignore the bloody and violent history of Communist/Maoist movements around the world and the failed nation-states that inflicted Communism/Maoism on their people.

 

[1] For example, see the 1996 Newsletter of IPSG-LA, one of the only pieces of information available for this group. http://www.columbia.edu/cu/ipsg/la_newsletter.html. Accessed January 18, 2014

[2] “In Memory of Hardial Bains (1939-1997)”, August 24, 2007, Charcha, http://aipsg.blogspot.com/2007/08/in-memory-of-hardial-bains-1939-1997.html. Accessed January 18, 2014

[3] Ibid

[4] http://www.columbia.edu/cu/ipsg/.  For example, when one clicks on the “Newsletter” Section of the website, the last Newsletter of IPSG-LA was produced in August 1996, while the last Newsletter of IPSG-LA was produced in June 1997.Accessed January 18, 2014

[5] http://www.whois.net/whois/aipsg.org. Accessed January 18, 2014

[6] Raj Mishra and Rajesh Gopalan, “Eighty Years of Communism in India”, December 25, 2005, Charcha, http://aipsg.blogspot.com/2005/12/eighty-years-of-communism-in-india.html. Accessed January 18, 2014

[7] Mishra and Gopalan, ibid

[8] http://www.cgpi.org/about. Accessed January 18, 2014

[9] Ibid

[10] “Fight Against The Concrete Manifestations of Revisionism”, February 16, 2013, Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist), http://cpindiaml.wordpress.com/tag/naxalbari/. Accessed January 19, 2014

[11] Ibid

[12] “Naxalism biggest threat to internal security: Manmohan”, May 24, 2010, The Hindu, http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/naxalism-biggest-threat-to-internal-security-manmohan/article436781.ece.  Accessed January 19, 2014

[13] http://www.columbia.edu/cu/ipsg/la_conf_may97.htm. Accessed January 19, 2014

[14] Rajesh Gopalan, “Opposition, Insurgency and the Quest for a New Political Power”, August 2, 1997, Ending the Legacy of Division, Association of Indian Progressive Study Groups, http://www.columbia.edu/cu/ipsg/eld/eld_main.html. Accessed January 19, 2014

[15] Gopalan, ibid