Revolution in South Asia

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CPN(M) National Convention: A Glimpse at Inner Party Democracy

Posted by irisbright on December 12, 2008

nepal-maoist-flagsFrom the Opinions section of Red Star #19.  This article was originally titled “Historic national convention : a milestone of revolution”.

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 gives an interesting overview of inner party democracy, and how the CPN(M) approaches ideological struggle.

by Dharmendra Bastola

The historic National Convention of the glorious vanguard of the proletariat, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) has been accomplished successfully. This convention was held at Kharipati of Bhaktapur on 21-27 of November 2008.

The National Convention of the Party was watched by many quarters of political life from all around the world. The proletariat and the bourgeoisie, the middle class and the upper class, the people of different nationalities and regions, women and socially enforced downtrodden castes, all people had their eyes on the Convention. This convention was also deeply watched by the ruling classes of many countries: from India to the United States of America and from Japan to Jamaica. The eyes of the different people rested over the Convention because the Maoist revolution is not only linked to the rebellion against the old state, but it is also linked to the political settlement. This is not only linked to the peace process under the process of revolutionary movement, it is also liked to accomplishment of the New Democratic Revolution. This is not only linked to the future of the millions of oppressed people of Asia, Africa and Latin American countries, it is also linked to the demise of imperialism, expansionism and reaction all over the world. This is not only linked to continuous uprising of the working class in Europe and America, it is also linked to the social peace and economic stability in those countries. In total, it is not only linked to the revolutionary movement and accomplishment of the New Democratic Revolution in this country, it is deeply linked to the understanding of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, the science of revolution and the science of social transformation. The Convention has been concluded putting aside the proposals put forward by Chairman Prachanda and Comrade Kiran and demanding to draft a new document based of the tactical slogan to establish a People’s Federal Democratic National Republic.

The slogan: People’s Federal Democratic National Republic

The Kharipati National Convention has been a landmark in the history of the Nepalese revolutionary movement. It has been a breakthrough in the ongoing political process of the Democratic Republic. It has charted how to advance to a People’s Republic.

The great People’s War was initiated in 1996 to overthrow the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie and to establish a dictatorship of the proletariat. Minimum programme of the great People’s War is to accomplish the New Democratic Revolution and advance to socialism. The CPN-M had adopted a tactical slogan: Democratic Republic aiming to abolish monarchy. The tactic of the historic Chunawang meeting of the Central Committee of the Party had ushered the way to a Federal Democratic Republic that has finally abolished the monarchy. After the abolition of monarchy, this slogan had fallen behind, and was insufficient to lead the society ahead to accomplish the New Democratic Revolution.

Even though the feudal monarchy has been abolished, the semi-feudal semi-colonial character of Nepal has not changed. As long as the rooted feudalism and comprador bureaucrat capitalism is not abolished, the Nepalese people cannot be free, and the national economy cannot be built up. To make the Nepalese people free of the feudal oppression; and bureaucrat capitalist domination, the Nepalese people have to establish a new government that is People’s Federal Democratic National Republic. In essence, this national republic is a People’s Republic. This People’s Republic will be a state where the nationalist, patriotic, democratic and the revolutionary forces will exercise a joint dictatorship under the leadership of the proletariat. This state will be a special type of dictatorship of the proletariat that will take the country towards socialism.

The slogan People’s Federal Democratic National Republic encompasses the necessary characteristics that are historically demanded by Nepalese society. The term “federal” ensures internal security of the oppressed regions and nationalities. Against the centralised feudal state, the Nepalese society has demanded a federal structure on the basis of the right to self-determination of the nation. The term “democratic” represents the competition among the friendly organisations to lead government in the state of People’s Republic. Again, democracy is a dictatorship, the dictatorship of the revolutionary forces that stand against feudalism and comprador bureaucrat capitalism. The term “national” represents the external security from imperialism and expansionism. And, in essence, the state will be a People’s Republic with the joint dictatorship of the friendly forces.

Inner party Democracy

Inner party democracy is the soul of revolution. Chairman Prachanda has stated that inner party democracy becomes the causative element of revolution and counterrevolution. In the past, a general tendency in the International Communist Movement had established that a two line struggle eventually leads to a split. This culture was also deeply rooted in the Nepalese Communist movement. There have been several splits in the Nepalese. At present, ideological struggle is underway to correct this mistake. Our glorious Party, under the leadership of Chairman Prachanda and the leading team of the Central Committee made breakthroughs in handling the Two-line struggle. We made a breakthrough from the unscientific practice “unity struggle split” to the scientific practice of “unity struggle transformation”.

In the historic Kharipati National Convention, not only has the scientific application of inner Party democracy been fully exercised, it has also been further developed. The delegates had ruthlessly exposed and criticised the reformist tendencies, the ideological, political and organisational life that has knowingly and unknowingly developed among many leaders and cadres. This struggle was so vibrant, so acute and aimed at to transform oneself and others that led the party to become more united, stronger, consolidated, and getting much clearer on the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist vision; this made the entire rank and file committed to discard reformist, centrist and ultra leftist tendencies and take the revolution to the end.

Right to rebel

Closely linked with the inner party democracy is the “right to rebel”. In general, the spirit of the “right to rebel” used to be understood that one group or a group of people negates or even overthrows another. In particular, this kind of struggle had been manifested into the process of unity struggle and split. This practice had dominated the Nepalese Communist movement leading to splits, with one group or section of people labelled by others as being either reformist, or centrist or ultra leftist while the political differences exist. The contingent of the international proletariat: the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) under the leadership of Chairman Prachanda had summed up, the practice of split under the guise of two line struggle is wrong and the correct process is unity struggle transformation. While analysing this, our party has paid full attention on theoretical premises that this does not lead the party towards “two combines into one”.

The historic Kharipati National Convention has laid a milestone in the theoretical premises that the revolutionaries rectify their understanding rather than separating oneself from each other.

Chunawang meeting and the question of state

The historic Kharipati National Convention looked back to the Chumnawang meeting. This meeting has termed the Democratic Republic as a transitional state neither bourgeoisie nor proletarian. The Marxist-Leninist-Maoist principle has taught the revolutionaries that there can be either a bourgeoisie state or a proletarian state and there cannot be any other state between capitalism and socialism. Only the Socialist state is a transitional state which lies between capitalism and Communism. Marx pointed out: “Between capitalist and communist society lies the period of the revolutionary transformation of the one into the other. There corresponds to this also a political transition period in which the state can be nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat.” Having settled the slogan People’s Federal Democratic National Republic, the confusion created by dictum “transitional” in the Chunawang meeting has been clarified. This slogan will lead to a people’s democratic state where there will be a dictatorship of the progressive, nationalist, democratic and revolutionaries and will have no such stage between capitalism and socialism.

Similarly, the Chunawang meeting had adopted a document scientifically analysed that a new type of situation will arise up along with the establishment of the Democratic Republic. The reactionary class and the bourgeoisie parties will attempt to transform it to a parliamentary republic, and our Party of the proletariat will try to transform it to a New Democratic Republic. Exactly at this point, the Kharipati National Convention put its finger over the heart of the political problem that this bourgeois element wants to transform this republic towards parliamentary democracy; these bourgeois elements not only exist outside, in the bourgeoisie parties, but also could emerge from within the revolutionary party itself.

Unity of opposite or monolithic

Just as every form of matter is a unity of opposite, a revolutionary party is also a unity of opposites. Thus, there is always debate and line struggle, which is the soul and life of a revolutionary party. The history of the International Communist Movement has time and again proved that on the historic course of line struggle and and class struggle in the society, there is always a possibility that a revolutionary leadership gradually attain a monolithic property. The historic Kharipati National Convention has also established a scientific methodology not to let the party and the leadership grow monolithic against the principle of unity of opposites.

Struggle from all fronts

Since the Party entered into the peace process, the rank and file gradually came to understand that the main front of struggle is the legislature and the government. This understanding was gradually negating the vital role of the revolutionary masses in order to accomplish revolution. This tendency has also been negating the historical facts that even in socialist society, the revolutionary masses need to keep on agitating to keep the bourgeoisie away from taking back the power of the people and even to make the Party aware if they are taking a bourgeoisie line. In this connection, a danger could emerge to isolate the Party from the masses of people and its interest. The historic Kharipati National Convention has made it clear that the Party will fight on all fronts: the fronts of street, the legislature and the government to establish the People’s Republic. Among these fronts, the street will be principal. The masses will be mobilised to facilitate the government under the leadership of our Party and will also support to establish the People’s Federal Democratic National Republic.

Exercise of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution

The Kharipati National Convention has been a great experience of the exercise of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. In the past few months, since the Party signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the Party has fallen into a complicated struggle. This struggle has gradually separated the leadership from the rank and file as well as from the masses. The struggle from the top was gradually becoming isolated from the revolutionary masses. Hence, the danger was arising that a gulf between the leadership and the masses of people was widening, which the reactionary elements in the society want.

The Kharipati National Convention has ruthlessly exposed these drawbacks in the party. It has also exposed the eclectic, lopsided, self-centrist and pragmatic approach of the leadership. This Convention was an application of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution and has pushed all the rank and file to be dynamic, vibrant and standing firm on the principles of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and Prachanda Path.

3 Responses to “CPN(M) National Convention: A Glimpse at Inner Party Democracy”

  1. I think the article drives in the direction of an evolution in MLM, yet it seems too much entrenched in nationalism and its unfortunate patriotism.. perhaps a cult-like Pranchanada worship that I don’t think the man himself needs or wants. There are several leaders and thinkers involved and the vision is one for the world being enacted on this particular stage in Nepal.

    The point needs to be made, I think, that as Kirin says “Maoism is the party’s identity..”, that when Gajurel says the Nepali people’s republic is not to be communist, this is a kind of hyperbole. It is not communist in the sense of communism’s prior history. It is better characterized as a novel form of communism in which as he says “there are many political systems in the world that are not parliamentary but have multi-party competition.. In our multi-party system, there will be competition between parties.. It’s not necessary that, like in parliament, there has to be an opposition party and a ruling party. .”. Is there not the idea that communism should be both egalitarian and inclusive of all people. Does it really necessarily call for the elimination of the functions of the bourgeoisie in a form that is not exploitive of others? Consider the definition of the communist hypothesis as defined by Alain Badiou that was taken up in some detail in a prior post:

    “What is the communist hypothesis? In its generic sense, given in its canonic Manifesto, ‘communist’ means, first, that the logic of class—the fundamental subordination of labour to a dominant class, the arrangement that has persisted since Antiquity—is not inevitable; it can be overcome. The communist hypothesis is that a different collective organization is practicable, one that will eliminate the inequality of wealth and even the division of labour. The private appropriation of massive fortunes and their transmission by inheritance will disappear. The existence of a coercive state, separate from civil society, will no longer appear a necessity: a long process of reorganization based on a free association of producers will see it withering away.”

    The question remains. Will the Nepali Maoists manifest a novel form of communism in their vision of a people’s republic? There is nothing about this vision that a priori precludes the possibility of revolution against the logic of class despite the obvious dangers. We are in a completely different historical period calling not for a victory of the hypothesis as it existed and ultimately succumbed in prior phases, but as it calls for practice in the context of conflict between old and new theory in the modern context – Badiou:

    “In many respects we are closer today to the questions of the 19th century than to the revolutionary history of the 20th. A wide variety of 19th-century phenomena are reappearing: vast zones of poverty, widening inequalities, politics dissolved into the ‘service of wealth’, the nihilism of large sections of the young, the servility of much of the intelligentsia; the cramped, besieged experimentalism of a few groups seeking ways to express the communist hypothesis . . . Which is no doubt why, as in the 19th century, it is not the victory of the hypothesis which is at stake today, but the conditions of its existence. This is our task, during the reactionary interlude that now prevails: through the combination of thought processes—always global, or universal, in character—and political experience, always local or singular, yet transmissible, to renew the existence of the communist hypothesis, in our consciousness and on the ground.”

  2. future's ours said

    Can someone tell me who Dharmendra Bastola is? And also Indra Mohan Sigdel “Basanta”.

    Or are they simply Nepalese journalists or party speakers?

    NSPF seems to know about these details. Can you please help me?

  3. Pratik said

    Of course both of them are the influential party leaders.. Politburo Members of the Central Committee of CPN-Maoist.

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