Revolution in South Asia

An Internationalist Info Project

Red Star #10: Revolution and Compromise

Posted by Mike E on June 24, 2008

This article appeared in the June 16-30 issue of the Nepali Maoist newspaper red star.

by Netrabikram “Biplap” Chand (Biplop is a member of secretariat, Central Committee, CPN (Maoist).)

Our revolution is in the stage of negotiation and our party sees compromise as another aspect of the class struggle. The question has not yet been finalised whether the revolution will be accomplished through compromise or it will be pushed towards counter-revolution. There is an incessant and fierce struggle between two different world outlooks that is attracting attention nationally and internationally.

Marxism accepts the possibility of making compromises; however, it considers impossible to accomplish a revolution through too many compromises. Compromise can be useful at a point in the revolution to obtain state power, but it is impossible to secure state power for the proletarian class only through compromise. On the contrary, opportunist and reformist tendencies not only consider compromise as necessary, but consider compromise as everything. They believe that society and state power can be changed and transformed through compromise rather than through revolution, through ‘negotiationism’. These two tendencies are gradually coming to a head in our country.

Our party, the CPN (Maoist), and the Nepali Congress (NC) are at logger heads over the issue of negotiation. From the point of view of class struggle, the NC doesn’t see or believe in the necessity of a revolution in Nepal. The NC, according to its viewpoint, wants to negotiation with the CPN (M), the CPN (UML) and other parties by dividing the ministries. According to the NC’s outlook, it is enough to progress economically. Political revolution is not necessary.

According to the NC’s outlook, the logical debate and planning of revolution is an activity of extremists. They suggest that the CPN (Maoist) should not do the revolution and be satisfied with a share in the government. But the ultimate goal of the CPN (M) is Communism through a People’s Republic and through the stage of socialism. For that, the state must be under the leadership of a Communist party. Therefore, we, the Maoist, should oppose ‘negotiationism’, though we are not against making particular compromises per se.

Due to the impact of class struggle, different views on compromise and ‘negotiationism’ are surfacing within the party; this should not be a surprise. Frankly speaking, the tendency of ‘negotiationism’ is spreading like a viral disease within our party. This type of tendency developing within the party is hundred times more dangerous than the ‘negotiationism’ of the NC. This tendency, through the so called economic ‘revolution’ and power sharing seeks to end the political revolution here. We would consider that it is an extremity of ‘negotiationism’ to depend upon hostile elements by neglecting the compulsory foundations for securing state power.

The NC wants to push the country into counter-revolution. The NC desires that a scientific communist party and the proletarian revolution should sink down into status-quo establishment and into the stagnant pool of the old state. Therefore, it has put forward a seven point demand that includes the dissolution of the YCL, the PLA and a rollback of all the gains made during the Peoples War.

If CPN (M) accepts these preconditions, it can be in the government, if it doesn’t, then it cannot. The purpose of these preconditions is to push the country towards counter-revolution. To accept these conditions is to end the revolution.

We, Maoists, desire to change this compromise into revolution and strengthen the revolution against the counter-revolution. For this, we should expand the means and the foundations of the revolution. Let us consolidate the party, the PLA and the United Front and take them to a new level. Let us establish a clear political and economic outlook and take state power.

We have already dissolved our local people’s power centres. We dissolved the people’s courts and the peoples’ militia. Our co-operatives, communes, health posts and educational institutions, established during the war, are now becoming weaker. In this situation, if we accept the seven-point demand of NC, directly or indirectly, we would declare that the revolution is over. A big debate has not taken place on it, but a tendency considers that it will make no difference if we accept the seven-point demand of the NC. The tendency to be liberal towards these demands is not a revolutionary tendency; it helps the interests of the NC.

Compromise is an unusual condition for revolution. Things seem peaceful in the period of agreement and negotiation but it is just an illusion. Two rival thoughts, tendencies and forces are fighting terribly behind a thin curtain. They both are trying to win under the cover of compromise. Each wants to destroy the other; one becomes bigger than the other, a process of swallowing begins. When the one about to be swallowed isn’t safe, then it breaches the norms of accord and begins to protect itself through struggle. If protecting itself becomes impossible by defending itself, it is obliged to start the confrontation between revolution and counter-revolution. Then the compromise will end and the balance of two opposed forces breaks down. This has happened previously in our country. Until now, the NC and the imperialists thought that they would be able to destroy the CPN (M) before the election. The masses and the fraternal parties and organisations of the world had thought that somewhere the CPN (M) would be swallowed! But in the election, the people protected the CPN (M) like their own children, and the NC and the imperialists failed in their mission. As a result, the NC has now put forward its seven point demand. We have defeated the NC in the election, but if we cannot protect the revolution, we will be ruined in no time. This conflict, indeed, is related to the series of compromises we have made. Now, we should direct our attention towards the defence of the revolution by ending the situation of compromise.

The issue of compromise is a common issue related to the world revolution, if we accept that the Nepalese revolution is a part of the world revolution. If we want to learn the lessons from communist states of the past century, the issue of compromise must be a common topic for all the revolutionaries of the world. It means that we should think deeply and develop a new ideology and knowledge to solve the problems before us and for the protection of the Nepalese revolution. Even though it has not been enough to tackle , the present necessities and possibilities to this date, we have been encouraged by the suggestions and participation of the RIM committee, the RCP and the CPI (Maoist).

In short, compromise is possible in a revolution, but revolution is not possible only through compromise. The imperialists and reactionaries want to push the revolution towards counter revolution, but revolutionary communists want to change the compromise into revolution. The conspiracy to change compromise into counter revolution is vigorously going on in Nepal. We should make this conspiracy fail by uniting the revolutionary forces of the world. Fighting against the reactionary forces, we should defeat them. Any revolution in any part of the world is a part of the world revolution. Likewise, any compromise also a part of the world revolution. Therefore, the revolutionaries of the world should make a joint effort to change the compromise into revolution. Revolution is compulsory but the ‘negotiationism’ is impossible.

11 Responses to “Red Star #10: Revolution and Compromise”

  1. Ka Frank said

    This article is a breath of fresh (and revolutionary) air. It makes an assessment of the counter-revolutionary positions of the Nepali Congress and calls for “the defence of the revolution by ending the situation of compromise.” The article also openly discusses the weakening of the organs of people’s power, and the “negotiationism” that has surfaced within the CPN (Maoist) and the danger that this poses to the revolution. We can expect the class struggle with the Congress and other reactionary forces to break out and intensify in the days ahead. Within the Maoist party, there will also be extremely sharp struggle about the path forward, as there always is at an important crossroads in a revolution. The stakes are very high here.

  2. Mike E said

    I think this is an extremely important article. One comrade wrote me:

    “I think the article by c. biplap is extremely significant and I am surprised that it hasn’t generated a lot of debate and discussion on the kasama site.”

    I can only agree. I am going to post it again, to draw attention to it.

  3. Comments said

    I also think this is extremely important. Not the least important piece of it is the statement: “we have been encouraged by the suggestions and participation of the RIM committee, the RCP and the CPI (Maoist).”

    The latter two of course have major differences. The most important Indian Maoist party isn’t in RIM and seems to have criticisms of Avakian. What this statement says to me is that the CPN (Maoist) wants the world to know that its “compromises” have been tactical and in the service of seizure of power, construction of socialism and ultimately attainment of communism.

    The reference to “new ideology” does puzzle me though.

  4. JJM+ said

    Let us consolidate the party, the PLA and the United Front and take them to a new level. Let us establish a clear political and economic outlook and take state power.

    This is also very refreshing for me. It shows that the Maoists, contrary to some of their critics, still have in mind the revolutionary seizure of power.

    This is a very important and sharp development in Nepal. Hopefully it means a victory for the Maoists and masses, whatever tactic they choose. I do think that it is very important they always keep their goals and methods as number one, never behind other reactionary and liberal parties that can water their program down.

    Maybe it is a good thing that the Maoists will leave this parliament to form a new one. It can give them the opportunity to gather more forces and begin making more headways.

    I also believe it was inevitable for something like this to occur. Yes, the Maoists were elected in an election they swept. But they knew they would have to compromise and this has led, as they say, to the relative dissolution of their “power centres.” Be careful, comrades.

    I think this shows more than ever the “twists and turns” that revolutions inevitably take, but are necessary to win and learn from.

    What road do other comrades think they should take?

  5. Linda D. said

    JJM–“I think this shows more than ever the “twists and turns” that revolutions inevitably take, but are necessary to win and learn from.”

    I agree…and amongst many lessons, and as the Nepali revolution further unfolds in the here and now, the article by “Biplap” shows we need to understand more fully the difference between tactics and strategy. It reiterates that there is no straight line to revolution; instead shows the complexities, and how glib analysis and comments are pretty useless.

    Wasn’t going to raise this because I thought it a tertiary point, but since “Comments” mentioned it, will add something to his comments. Re the RCP and CPI(M). Right after reading the above, I looked up Revolution newspaper and have to say I was amazed. Not one word about Nepal, still, even though the RCP got “honorable mention.”

    My reaction was to try and take what “Biplap” wrote more to heart:

    “Any revolution in any part of the world is a part of the world revolution. Likewise, any compromise also a part of the world revolution. Therefore, the revolutionaries of the world should make a joint effort to change the compromise into revolution. Revolution is compulsory but the ‘negotiationism’ is impossible.”

  6. nickglais said

    This article reminds me of Prachanda’s maxim strategic firmness but tactical flexibility. Sometimes it appears the CPN Maoist gets lost in tactical flexibility and ‘negotiationism’ but at key moments the CPN Maoist reasserts its strategic objectives.

    Netrabikram “Biplap” Chand “says compromise is an unusual condition for revolution. Things seem peaceful in the period of agreement and negotiation but it is just an illusion. Two rival thoughts, tendencies and forces are fighting terribly behind a thin curtain”

    We should be under no illusion a terrible fight is at hand in Nepal whatever the outward appearance of political negotiationism.

  7. gangbox said

    In 1989, Mikhail Gorbachev said – “the era of revolutionary victories is over – this is the era of historic compromises”.

    And we all know how that worked out!

    Bottom line, I always get a little concerned when I hear revolutionaries (like Comrade Biplap here) uttering menshevik-ish phrases like “compromise as another aspect of the class struggle” and “Compromise can be useful at a point in the revolution to obtain state power”

    That road leads somewhere – and it’s not communism, or even socialism.

    Especially if you combine it with Dr Bhattarai’s talk of an “economic revolution” led by businessmen – and Prachanda’s offer to supply communist militiamen to those bosses as an “industrial security force”.

  8. zerohour said

    Gangbox –

    The article above does a few things that you seem to have missed in your hunt for heretics from some imaginary communist orthodoxy.

    It explains the tactical role that compromise played at a certain stage in the revolution, it explains why compromise must now be rejected, and re-affirms their commitment to state power and communism.

    At the same time, it confirms their continuing intention to split the bourgeois alliance in stages.

    It is written in clear, accessible language, so there should be little room for misunderstanding.

    How did you miss the entire article?

  9. JJM+ said

    Like you said Zero, someone should write an article on dogmatism, seems like it would do some people good.

    And, according to gangbox, every revolution must be led my factory workers, never mind that in Nepal there are so few factories or industries.

    The reality in Nepal calls for an economic revolution. How do you propose they do things? Nepal is an extremely backward country, the productive forces are nowhere near where they should be to proceed to socialism.

    Expanding on what zero said, Marxists do not elevate tactics to the level of strategy or principle. Tactics serve the overall strategy, as is the case in Nepal.

    I dont know what road it is leading in, but I know that I have a lot to learn about their struggle – and you do as well. We can’t act as if we know more than the Maoists and make silly predictions based on outdated dogma. Maybe their revolution does degenerate, but it wont be due to their current tactics, but much more (such as line struggles, coup, invasion, etc).

    Sorry if reality does not correspond to your dogma, gangbox (how can one compare Gorbachev’s policies in capitalist Russia to Nepal in 2008?)

  10. Mike E said

    i think one of the points here is that this article emphasized that the (much needed struggle) to end the extreme poverty in Nepal (an economic revolution in one sense) depends on political power — on political and social revolution (in a fundamental sense.)

  11. NSPF said

    Comrade Biplap says “there is an incessant and fierce struggle between two different world outlooks” in Nepal on the question of compromise: a Marxist outlook and an opportunist and reformist one.
    He characterises the non-Marxist one as negotiationism. He says from a CLASS POINT OF VIEW the opportunist and reformist outlook belongs to and serves the interests of the Nepali Congress and not the Maoist Party.

    After mentioning some stark differences of the two outlooks he states unequivocally that “due to the impact of class struggle” …. the tendency of ‘negotiationism’ is spreading like a viral disease within our party.” And he goes on to warn that “this type of tendency developing within the party is hundred times more dangerous than the ‘negotiationism’ of the NC.”

    He, furthermore, charges this tendency WITHIN THE MAOIST PARTY with seeking “to end the political revolution” “through the so called economic ‘revolution’ and power sharing.”

    In opposition to this outlook, he condemns the steady weakening and/or dissolution of the major instruments of revolutionary power. He goes on to say in effect, that the reactionaries, having been emboldened by all of these are now seeking to scalp the revolution by their seven point demand. He warns that to accept these latest demands would be as bad as declaring the end of revolution.
    Instead, comrade Biplap argues for a reversal of course and a return to the fundamental principles of marxism as opposed to negotiationism.

    Assuming this is a correct understanding of what c. Biplap is saying, the question to explore is wheather he is right or not.

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