Revolution in South Asia

An Internationalist Info Project

Nepal – Interview with Basanta

Posted by hetty7 on May 1, 2012

Thanks to  Banned Thought for this important new interview by Basanta, a Politburo member of the UCPN (M). This interview strongly condemns Prachanda and Bhattarai and explores what has gone wrong in the Nepal Party.

“When the leaders nakedly surrender before imperialism and their running domestic agents, then the two-line struggle does not remain an issue of the party alone. Rather it becomes an issue of the nation and the entire oppressed people as a whole. It must be taken to the masses so that their anti-people and anti-national crimes could be unveiled. Hence, the two-line struggle which we are taking to the masses now is an ideological and political campaign to make the entire oppressed class, nation, sex, and region stand by the side of revolutionaries and expose the right revisionists who betrayed the nation and people in the garb of Marxism.”

Interview with Basanta

April 22,2012:

1.  How is the recent situation concerning the two line struggle in your party? Have any of the most important contradictions been solved? (Here you can describe the whole situation about the positions of each side, on which we already have a general idea, but also underline the points that are agreed on.)

For a communist party, the two-line struggle is the source of its life. As an object does not exist without contradiction in it, a communist party too does not exist when there is no two-line struggle. However, the two-line struggle does not always have the same level but varies depending upon the content of the issues involved in it. The two-line struggle in our party has sharpened mainly after the first meeting of the Constituent Assembly, which established the federal democratic republic of Nepal. Monarchy has been abolished from Nepal but not feudalism. Nepal is still a semi-feudal and semi-colonial country. External intervention is on the rise. The essence of the two-line struggle is centred on how to understand the situation and whether to continue with status quo i.e. the semi-feudal and semi-colonial condition beautified by cosmetics of the democratic republic or continue struggling to establish People’s Federal Republic in its place.

A few months before, when our CC meeting had just started, chairman Prachanda brought about a long interview in which he revealed so many things on the questions of line. In that interview he categorically said that there is no need now to make a new democratic revolution in Nepal, because the gap between the new democratic revolution and the socialist revolution had narrowed. The major part of it has already been accomplished and the rest can be accomplished when the socialist revolution comes in the agenda. He added that the major task before the party was to develop productive forces by creating conducive atmosphere for the donor countries. This way, he does not even stand in favour of national economy and the national bourgeois. In fact he has been integrated in the imperialist system.

Dissolution of the people’ power, submission of the PLA  into the hands of Nepal Army through a kind of coup on April 10, 2012, returning land to the landlords, signing of anti-national treaties like BIPPA and other shameful treaties on water resources with India etc. have made Prachanda-Baburam clique stand in the service of Indian expansionism, the regional watchdog of the US imperialism , and their puppets in Nepal. Through this process this clique has betrayed the nation and the class as well.

When the leaders nakedly surrender before imperialism and their running domestic agents, then the two-line struggle does not remain an issue of the party alone.  Rather it becomes an issue of the nation and the entire oppressed people as a whole. It must be taken to the masses so that their anti-people and anti-national crimes could be unveiled. Hence, the two-line struggle  which we are taking to the masses now is an ideological and political campaign to make the entire oppressed class, nation, sex and region stand by the side of revolutionaries and expose the right revisionists who betrayed the nation and people in the garb of Marxism.

The last Central Committee meeting has taken up a method to deal with organizational problems. First, no committee at any level will take the decisions on the basis of majority and minority and second, if there is no unanimity then either ideological group will have right to organize their separate committee meetings, take decisions and implement their own. In other words, every ideological group in our party is free to take decisions and implement them in practice. Democratic centralism is not active in our party now. The line struggle in the party is now openly taken to the masses. We think the synthesis of this whole process will equip us with deeper  ideological grasp to lead the revolution forward.

2: How is the situation with the People’s Liberation Army? Has the army been dissolved now?

When the formation of the People’s Liberation Army, Nepal was declared from its first conference in 2000, Chairman Prachanda had said that the PLA would be such a militant strength of the world proletariat that will prevent counter-revolution in the twenty-first century. Surprisingly, after 12 years on April 12, 2012, the “Supreme Commander” of the PLA, chairman Prachanda ordered the Nepal army to stage a coup against the very PLA he gave birth to by encircling their camp and forcing them to surrender. He claimed that it was a bold decision taken on his part but in fact it was a cowardly decision of capitulation before the imperialism, expansionism and various shades of reaction.

3: How is the content or reflection of the two line struggle concerning the international relations of the party? What do you think about the critics of for example the Communist Party of India (Maoist)? Or other organizations who have similar positions?

Before the two-line struggle surfaced, the international communist movement was critical of our party line. SOme oarties criticized our party in the open, just for example the Communist Party of India (Maoist), Communist Party of Iran (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist), Revolutionary Communist Party of USA etc. and some others placed their critical opinion internally.  However, except a few revisionist parties most of the revolutionaries were critical of the line we adopted then. But when the two-line struggle surfaced in our party the revolutionaries all across the world have shown ideological support to the revolutionary line and the revolutionary faction led by comrade Kiran.

The criticism that came from various revolutionary parties was basically correct. And some of them were based on subjective understanding of the situation. However, those criticisms were helpful for our fight against revisionism and defence of revolution and revolutionary line.

4: How does the opposition consider the Rolpa Congress in 2005. Has it played any role in the present situation

Our party held a Central Committee meeting, not the Congress, at Chunwang in Rukum, not Rolpa, in 2005. We adopted a new tactic of the democratic republic from that very meeting. We said it was a tactical shift. It was definitely a turning point from which we took a path of the Constituent Assembly and it has made us arrive at this point. Definitely, the Chunwang line has to do with the present situation to develop. But Chunwang too did not emerge from a vacuum. So, we have to have a thorough summation of the past, which we have not done until now. In order to have a rich summation I think we must focus on the Chunwang Meeting, the Second National Conference and even before. And also have to sum up our position on “The development of democracy in the twenty-first century”.

5: What does the opposition think about having a Party Congress? Is the fact of not having held a Congress for many years, one of the reasons that support the bureaucratisation inside the party?

Of course, not having a party congress for quite a long time, 20 years, is one of the reasons that support bureaucratisation inside the party. But, this is not the only and principal reason. The main reason behind the present condition to happen is the ideological and political degeneration on the part of main leadership. Party Congress can be helpful to resolve the problem and it should be regularized too. But party Congress is not possible at present, not because we don’t want it to happen, but because there is no conducive environment required to organise a thorough discussion on the questions involved in the two-line struggle.

6: Do you think the conflict can be solved without any split in the party? To what extent does the opposition would risk that?

It is the revolutionaries who want a strong party to make revolution. The revolutionary strength primarily is measured by the correctness of ideological and political line and secondarily by the dimension of organization and material strength they have. Therefore, the revolutionaries must have a principal thrust in building a correct ideological and political line and then a correct organizational line that helps unite more in the party to strengthen its material base.

Chairman Mao has very explicitly shed light on who is the real splinter. He said they are the splinters who deviate from Marxism. The right revisionists deviate from the strategic vision of socialism and so they are the splinters. In this sense, Prachanda-Baburam clique is the splinter. Now we are waging a sharp two-line struggle to defend and develop a correct line. As a consequence, it is bringing about transformation in the comrades and strengthening the revolutionary pole. With the development of situation, the revolutionaries will reorganize and consolidate a revolutionary centre to lead the revolution forward and the revisionists will go after their way in the service of imperialism. Marxism and revisionism cannot go side by side for long in a communist party.

7: What is the content of the definition of a 21st Century Socialism? What do both sides think about that?

Democracy of the 21st century is a new concept that our party put forward in 2001. It is indeed a political methodology suggested to practice in the new democratic or socialist society to prevent counter-revolution. It focuses on a few points. First, it proposes to develop a political mechanism that ensures people’s supervision  and control in all three fronts of party, government and army after the revolution has been completed. Second, multiparty competition should be guaranteed. Third, the main leadership should not involve running day to day politics but should engage in the ideological  and political works. Fourth, even the second and third rank leaders should participate in the government not in recurrent but in rotational basis.  Fifth, PLA should be small in strength but sufficient enough to train the masses and must not cut off its relation with them by stationing in the barracks etc. It suggests that it should be practiced in both new democratic or socialist society.

In the situation when revolution has been completed and PLA has been dissolved the questions raised in the first, third, fourth and the fifth point do not have nay sense at present. The remaining second point, the multiparty competition, has been extremely useful for Prachanda-Baburam clique, which is dressing in to practice parliamentary politics under the imperialist system. Therefore, the revisionist clique led by Prachanda and Baburam  lauds it too much because it has been a useful tool for this clique to confuse the people and allure them towards multi-party system.

The revolutionary faction led by comrade Kiran has not comprehensively summed up this concept after two-line struggle broke out in our party. In general, we still think that this concept can help a lot to stop restoration of capitalism by the revisionists hiding in the communist party and the PLA can be saved from bureaucratization to defend revolution. But, this concept too divides into two. We can reach to a correct and comprehensive synthesis only after we accomplish new democratic revolution and put this concept into practice.

8: When the CPN (Maoist) made the 12-point agreement and thereafter we supported almost every step of the CPN (Maoist) concerning the very useful manoeuvre of elections and the content of the agreement about how the arms would be kept and etc. We thought that it was riskful, but the bourgeoisie/imperialism would always present occasions to take up arms again, and it did so. Many times indeed. But the UCPN (M) insisted on keeping with the agreements, which were already broken by the other side (bourgeoisie) of the agreement, and which were not serving the revolution any more. What was the reason for this? Looking back from today, we are reconsidering our position concerning this. What would you say?

Adoption of the democratic republic as a tactic from Chunwang meeting in 2005 and the 12-point agreement that followed with Nepalese parliamentarian parties in Delhi have had an important role to play in this whole process. In the meeting it was unanimously agreed that this very tactic would help create a strong revolutionary base in the cities, a necessary precondition for people’s insurrection to seize central power.

We came to the cities to consolidate our strength. But whatever we had gained during tumultuous ten years of people’s war has gone out of our hand now.

Recently chairman Prachanda has revealed what he had agreed with Indian expansionist ruling classes in Delhi before reaching 12-point program. In an interview to an Indian newspaper, The Hindu. on 16th of April, 2012, he says, “The journey that began in Delhi with the 12-point agreement has now arrived at a conclusion.” He gave this interview to The Hindu right after he ordered the Nepal army to stage a coup against the PLA in the cantonments. It reveals the fact that Prachanda-Baburam clique had surrendered before their expansionist masters to get the 12-point agreement signed with parliamentarian parties.

Prachanda-Baburam clique said it was a tactic to accomplish revolution. But it has proved now that it was a tri-partite grand strategy that the Indian ruling classes, Nepali parliamentarian parties and the Prachanda-Baburam clique had designed to bring the Nepalese revolution to an end. It shows Prachanda and Baburam not only had lied before theNepalese toiling masses and the world proletariat but also conspired against them.

9: The CPI (Maoist) criticizes you, beside many other points, with not considering the position of the bourgeoisie in the correct way. As far as we understand, they say that the UCPN (Maoist) has put too much emphasis on the fight against feudalism (liquidation of the monarchy etc.) but it has not with the bourgeoisis in the correct way, which has caused a never-ending agreement with the bourgeoisie. What do you think on this?

This is very important and timely question. Personally, I think comrades of the CPI (Maoist) have raised their finger at a correct point. Although, our ideological faction led by comrade Kiran has not yet reached to a comprehensive synthesis, this is one of the political issues upon which the ongoing two-line struggle has rooted.

The new democratic revolution has two aspects, anti-feudal and anti-imperialist. These two aspects are inseparably integrated. But, in our party there were some differences in understanding this relation from the very beginning. Baburam, unlike other leaders, used to emphasize more on the struggle against  monarchy than on the struggle against external intervention.  Masses used to understand this as a pro-Indian stance. In addition to this, he had a strong position that there should be a sub-stage of democratic republic prior to new democratic revolution. When the Phuntiwang CC meeting held in 2004 decided to intensify people’s war with a slogan of national independence, Baburam seriously opposed this position. Consequently, the two-line struggle sharpened and attacks and counter-attacks like pro-Indian and pro-King between Prachanda and Baburam followed. Party reached at the verge of a split. But, not later than one year in 2005 Prachanda and Baburam both stood dramatically at one point in Chunwang with a new tactic of democratic republic. In fact it was a big political victory for Baburam over Prachanda. Baburam, in that very meeting, said that he was absorbed in Prachanda and for the whole of his life he would never challenge but help him as a second man.

Now, we have arrived at the present scenario. Ever since Chunwang meeting, Baburam’s line is leading our party. Now it is explicitly clear that it was not Baburam who was absorbed in Prachanda in Chunwang meeting but it was Prachanda who was absorbed in Baburam. When both of them agreed to adopt democratic republic as a tactic in form and the strategy in essence it was obvious for this clique to put emphasis on the fight against monarchy and have a long term compromise with Indian expansionist ruling classes and their puppets in Nepal.

10: Don’t you think that opposition was too late to understand party’s sliding towards wrong direction?

It is not that we did not smell any wrong with our party leadership. We believed him more than necessary. It was our weakness. We are not too late but we were too late too.  Still we think it is a secondary aspect. The principal aspect is that revolution has been rescued from a big danger of right liquidation. When we were certain that revolution was in danger we raised finger against both line and leadership. In the long course of sharp two-line struggle we have a team of tested leaders and cadres and our revolutionary line is developing. Ultimately, Marxism will prevail over revisionism and the New Democratic Revolution will triumph in Nepal.

Interviewed by MLCP, Turkey

Basanta, Politburo Member of the Central Committee, Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)

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3 Responses to “Nepal – Interview with Basanta”

  1. How come that he (Basanta) is working in the same party as for an example, Battarai, chairperson of Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)? So they have reach the point where some persons have betrayed every principle and he is still sitting by the same table, what does it say about him?

  2. redpines said

    A good question. We do know that the revolutionary wing of the party, which includes Basanta, is essentially operating as a party-within-a-party at this point. This faction has its own cultural programs, educational programs, fighting force (the Janasevak Bureau), and struggle programs in which they directly target the Bhattarai-Prachanda wing of the party. They have also refused to join Bhattarai’s new consensus government. My interpretation is that the Kiran faction is gathering as many forces as possible under its banner before making a move to officially divide themselves from the Bhattarai-Prachanda faction. Some forces within the Kiran faction may also hope to win members of the Prachanda faction, or even Prachanda himself, back over to a revolutionary line. If this is the case, I, personally, think it is mistaken.

  3. siva said

    I broadly agree with Redpines except for the comment: “Some forces within the Kiran faction may also hope to win members of the Prachanda faction, or even Prachanda himself, back over to a revolutionary line. If this is the case, I, personally, think it is mistaken”.
    In any political party undergoing a two-line struggle between revolution and revisionism, it takes time to make issues clear and win people over to the revolutionary side. Even those who are deep down in favour of revolution can by force of circumstances be with the revisionists.
    Nobody should be written off on the basis of one’s current position alone.
    It is not a matter of winning over Prachanda to lead the revolution. But people with him could be there for the wrong reason. Others have rectified their position in the past. Why not many more?
    The approach should not be one of making compromises and deals but patiently explaining issues and winning people over.
    I have not much hope for Prachanda as a revolutionary, let alone a leader, but if he can be neutralised, that will be worth the effort. Revolionary struggle includes the unite front strategy. Emphasising the correct line need not mean isolationg one’s self.

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