Revolution in South Asia

An Internationalist Info Project

Nepali Maoists’ National Convention: Sharp Differences Without a Party Split

Posted by irisbright on December 11, 2008

NEPAL-ELECTION-VOTE-MAOISTFrom the Report section of Red Star #19.  This article was originally titled “National convention paves the way“.

This article is one of several from Red Star on the National Convention, a major meeting on the future of the revolution in Nepal.   We are publishing these overviews of the CPN(M) National Convention to better understand the path forward of the Nepali Maoists.  This particular article focuses on party unity.

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“Most of the cadres who had spent several years in armed struggle during decade long People’s War had serious concerns about the working-policy of the party.”

“The leaders came up with a single document that carried the slogan ‘Peoples Federal Democratic National Republic’.”

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by Dipak Sapkota

KHARIPATI, BHAKTAPUR — The ‘People’s Federal Democratic National Republic’ is now the working policy of Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). The six-day long national convention of the party concluded on Nov. 26, and decided on the new policy, which in short can also be called the ‘Republic of the People’. The party went through very intensive inner struggle but, at the end, the party came out more united and galvanised.

The convention was held in Kharipati, about 15 KM from Kathmandu city. Roughly 1100 regional bureau level cadres from all 13 state committees and party central advisers took part.

‘Don’t dream of a split’

Inaugurating the convention on Nov. 21, among a throng of local and international journalists, the Party Chairman and Prime Minister of Nepal Prachanda said that he had a different feeling from previous occasions. He further added that the convention will send tremors to the ‘enemies’ who dreamt that Maoists are going to split.

‘At present, we are on a new stage of the history of ideological and inner struggle’; he also added that ‘this is both a matter of pride and challenge’. He admitted that the people are looking towards the party seriously as their aspirations couldn’t be fulfilled properly.

He challenged those who were expecting that the CPN (Maoist) would split from the latest inner-struggle. He said, ‘Their dream will go in vain, those who have dreamt that the Maoist Party will split. We will prove that they are wrong. Stop dreaming of a party split’. He said the party is a revolutionary party and it can develop plans and policies to move forward. He added, ‘We will lead the people’s revolution to new heights and give a new message to the people from this convention.’

Two different documents

The closed session was held for three days. Two different documents were presented in the meeting for the first time in the history of CPN (Maoist). Chairman Prachanda and, number two leader of the party, Com. Mohan Baidya ‘Kiran’ presented their documents with short briefing. But both of them emphasized on the need for party unity. Chairman Prachanda said that it doesn’t mean that the party should split when there are two different documents. Likewise, Com.Kiran said that he had not brought a different document with the intention of splitting the party.

On the second day, the participants were divided into 20 different groups plus central advisory committee forming another group. Each team comprised of about 50 participants from various state committees, to hold vigorous and heated debates on the documents. The party exercised inner party democracy. All of them had a common concern-what will be the future of the revolution?

They pointed out the pros and cons of both documents. According to participants, the debate was healthy and constructive. Most of the cadres who had spent several years in armed struggle during decade long People’s War had serious concerns about the working-policy of the party.

On the fourth day of the convention the group leaders presented the synthesis of the discussions of their groups. 21 group leaders presented their views on the documents while some others who differed from their group leaders presented their own. Party Chairman and all the central leaders heard what the grass-root leaders of their party had to say about the documents and immediate working policy. The message was loud and clear — Unity, transformation and completion of the revolution.

Single document at last

The central committee meeting was held the next day to discuss over the mandate of the national convention. The meeting, with the aspirations of the convention, agreed to bring a single document to the meeting. The leaders came up with a single document that carried the slogan ‘Peoples Federal Democratic National Republic’. Both Chairman Prachanda and senior leader Com.Kiran answered queries raised by the cadres during the group deliberations.

Chairman Prachanda, in a lengthy speech said that party has transformed and unified from the discussions and debates. ‘The ‘great debate’ was approved by the ‘Chunwang’ meeting has been initiated’, and he added, ‘The evaluation of the movement and the matter of synthesis of the ideology will be the agenda for the coming party congress’.

Maoist senior leader Mohan Baidya ‘Kiran’ said that he put forward a different document due to anxiety about the party’s present acts and future policy. ‘The synthesis has been made on the condition of transformation and unity’ stated Kiran. Other party leaders, Dr. Baburam Bhattarai, Ram Bahadur Thapa ‘Badal’, and Netra Bikram Chand ‘Biplop’ also expressed their views on the latest party decision.

On his closing speech, after the meeting applauded the decision of the party to go with a single document, PM Prachanda gave an emotional speech. He said the unity has taken the party to a new height. ‘The meeting has provided the guideline and potential to move forward,’ He added ‘we have again gained the victory’.

Celebrations at the closing session

With the single document and the decision of the central committee to move forward united, joy and happiness was felt among the party leaders and cadres. There was music and dancing in which the leaders also participated, including Chairman Prachanda and senior leader Kiran. The celebrations overshadowed the rift between the central leaders during the convention.

What next

The national convention gave the mandate to Chairman Prachanda to submit a document incorporating the deliberations of the central committee meeting and convention to the next central committee meeting that will be held within first week of December.

The central committee will put into action the convention’s decisions and make concrete plans for the future. The meeting will make specific proposals for the party and directives for Constituent Assembly and the government. The central committee is expected to declare the party congress date for Mid June. Likewise, The party will set plans to coordinate governance, Constituent Assembly and street struggle to fulfil people’s aspiration.

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