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The Maoist Movement in India: Some Political Economy Considerations


  • We would like to thank three anonymous referees for their very helpful comments. The usual disclaimers apply.


Revolutionary Left movements in India base their programme of radical social transformation on an understanding of Indian society that borrows heavily from the 1930s formulation of the Chinese Communist Party (CPC). The characterization of Indian society as semi-feudal and semi-colonial, and the elevation of the contradiction between feudalism and the broad masses as the primary (and basic) contradiction, seem to have been influenced by the programme of the CPC. This formulation may have had validity in the late 1960s, but transformations of the structure of the Indian economy since then seem to have made it less applicable at present. Drawing on recent research on Indian political economy, this paper (a) summarizes some of the key features of political–economic changes that have taken place in India over the past four decades, and (b) draws out some implications of these changes for the programmatic debate within the Indian communist movement.