New Paul Pott in Kerala

via Dr.T.S.Girishkumar published on May 21, 2006

For history, the name Paul Pott is still fresh in terror and agony, the man who terrorised poor Cambodians for some time. He thought that Marx could save the world, save the world from human sufferings. He approached Marx through the Chinese leader Mao, and was convinced that Economic ‘substructure’ is the base, and all other structures are only superstructures, actually determined by the substructure. This indeed is the Marxism of the second international level, and today’s Marxists make claims that Marxism had long transcended anachronisms (of course, they do not use the term anachronism) such as class structure, class divisions, substructure and super structure thesis, and may be mode of production paradigm etc. the Frankfurt school and others try to make Marxism up dated in many ways and through disguises like post-modernisms and the like. In this process, they did shun many lofty Marxian principles. People like Althusser had even gone to the extent of dividing Marx into four Marxes, through the Althusserian theory of ‘epistemological break’. This divided Marx basically into two Marxes, the young and ideological Marx who is termed a humanist, and then the matured and old Marx, who is a revolutionary. Althusser makes the period up to  ‘German Ideology’ for the young and humanist, ideologue Marx, and from the period of ‘Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts’ onwards, it is matured and revolutionary Marx. Thus the Marxists the world over succeeded in becoming sophisticated and experts in intellectual deception warfare, but there still remained some antiques in the Marxian world of thinking and doing, which belonged to the classical Marxist school.


Paul Pott of Cambodia belonged to the second international Marxists. He believed in the sub structure super structure thesis, (which is critisised as economic determinism) accepted the class theory of Marx, and thought that revolution is an inevitable phenomenon In the process of materialistic dialectics. There are different epochs in history, and revolution has to follow, an un avoidable outcome of the ‘scientific’ movement of man’s history, as it progresses through time. It is an interesting thought to confess here; yes, how romantic was this person, Karl Marx to dream of such things! And at the same time, I cannot help saying this too, how foolish are the Marxists to actually believe in the romantic dreams of Marx! This world ought to belong to the real people; the real people are the working class, the proletariats. Now who are the real working class? Workers of the world signify physical workers, and the cultivators become the most important ones. They are the people who actually meet the ‘basic’ requirements of man; the basic requirements are food, shelter and clothings. Once these three things are met with, man will live very happily. (Do not ask me why is that then the former USSR collapsed and disintegrated). Thus all others other than the proletariats are un wanted elements in the society. Paul Pott thought that this people are a national waste. We do not need teachers, doctors, lawyers, writers etc., they are all non-productive wastes. He put them all in jails, such jails where they were even chained and continuously tortured. His R&D department in torturing these miserable ones used to be excellent and contiously improvising novel torture methods, and many new instruments were invented to this extent. Any one using spectacles is likely to be reading things, and all spectacle people were also jailed! Further, such jailbirds used to be taken away as cargo, and they must have thought that they were being taken to some paddy field to work along with the peasants, but they were all killed in the silence of nights. Later, the world found many skulls and mass graves, as the contributions of this Communist. They shall not be any cities, they are all unwanted. So destroy all the city buildings. Let no one stay in the cities; let every one go to the villages, because villages are the real life of a nation. Why should there be roads? Why should there be transportation? Why should there be automobiles? All such things are unwanted. People should live happily, and there should be food to eat, shelter to live and cloth to wear. He thought that Marx should be redeemer of mankind, like the Christians think of Jesus. He approached Marx through Mao, and was fully convinced that what he was doing was just the right thing, the correct thing.


Many people tried to do comparative studies on Marx and Buddha. Indeed there is something in common between them. They were both addressing to similar problems, if not same problems. Both were concerned of man, and the sufferings of mankind. But both evaluated the idea of suffering differently and came out with very different solutions. There is a drastic difference in how they looked at man, formulated their concepts of man. Marx though that the ‘basic’ need if met with, man shall live happily. Prince Siddharta on the other hand was a crown prince, and yet unhappy. He sought transcendental solutions to man’s suffering. Marx understood man in a very narrow water tighted compartment, and Buddha understood man in all his wider perspectives. Indeed, Marx just cannot be compared with Buddha at all!


After the elections to the Kerala Assembly, Achyutanandan became the Chief Minister. Let us go back a little. The sophisticated Marxists of the Pinarayai Vijayan camp was systematically side lining Achytanandan for some time. They were stripping him of many positions he was holding in the Marxist party, and this man was not reacting externally. Finally, they tried not to give a seat to contest elections, and this backfired. The Marxist party still survives in the innocent faith in them from the illiterate and the workers. They still believe in the coming of a red dawn, and that they shall all live happily ever after. They expect the government to directly make them well off, and think that the Communists are the short cuts to their becoming better off. Achyutanandan believes in second international Marxism, and thinks that he should try to meet the ‘basic’ needs of the people. The people think that he is going to be their savior. So when people came to know that he is not even given a ticket to contest the elections, they came to the streets with torches in processions. Marxist party could not contain them, and cannot afford to ignore the people’s sentiments. One must not forget that for them, people mean the working people. They had to give him a seat, and when he won, they had to make him the Chief Minister.


Now, what he is going to do remains to be seen. This people are incorrigible, and adamant in their Classical Marxist perspectives. If he asks the Marxists to go and work in the paddy fields, it shall not be a new thing. The comrades do not know what to do, and how this new Paul Pott is going to act. Undoubtedly, he is going to say that only the peasants are the real workers, and all others are wasting time. Fortunately, his biggest opposition is going to be from within his party itself, since the Frankfurt school Marxists are the Marxist intellectuals in Kerala. So he has to fight them, and others are likely to get a breather! This is going to be interesting, we can wait and see the happenings!




Dr.TS Girishkumar, Reader, School of Social Sciences, Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, Kerala, India.


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