Indian Maoists Speak on International Controversies Among Communists
Posted by Mike E on June 29, 2009
The following document is a major comment by the leading Politbureau of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) on controversies within the international Maoist movement. It was sent to the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) on May 20, 2009, and has now been made public.
As the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) has maneuvered on the doorstep of seizing state power, there have emerged a series of open letters from other communist parties — engaging the approach taken by the Nepali Maoists, and struggling over major controversies facing communist revolution internationally.
Previously Kasama published an exchange of letters between the RCP,USA and the UCPN(M). Now we are sharing this document by the Indian Maoists.
For now, we are also making this letter available in pdf format. We will be posting a more readable PDF version, in pamphlet format, Monday evening.
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“…in the name of struggle against dogmatism, there have been serious deviations in the International Communist Movement (ICM), often going into an even greater, or at least equally dangerous, abyss of right deviation and revisionism. In the name of creative application of Marxism, communist parties have fallen into the trap of right opportunism, bourgeois pluralist Euro-Communism, rabid anti-Stalinism, anarchist post-modernism and outright revisionism…
“‘Fight against dogmatism‘ has become a fashionable phrase among many Maoist revolutionaries. They talk of discarding ‘outdated’ principles of Lenin and Mao and to develop MLM in the ‘new conditions‘ that are said to have emerged in the world of the 21st century. Some of them describe their endeavour to ‘enrich and develop‘ MLM as a new path or thought, and though this is initially described as something confined to revolution in their concerned country, it inexorably assumes a ‘universal character’ or ‘universal significance‘ in no time. And in this exercise individual leaders are glorified and even deified to the extent that they appear infallible. Such glorification does not help in collective functioning of Party committees and the Party as a whole and questions on line are hardly ever raised as they stem from an infallible individual leader. In such a situation it is extremely difficult on the part of the CC, not to speak of the cadres, to fight against a serious deviation in the ideological-political line, or in the basic strategy and tactics even when it is quite clear that it goes against the interests of revolution. The ‘cult of the individual’ promoted in the name of path and thought provides a certain degree of immunity to the deviation in line if it emanates from that individual leader.”
The full document is here >
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Open Letter to Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)
We have been keenly following the recent developments taking place in your country, Nepal. With the CPN(M) emerging as the single largest party in the elections to the Constituent Assembly in April 2008 and the formation of the new government consisting of a coalition of several Parties, some of which are known for their anti-people, pro-feudal, pro-imperialist and pro-Indian expansionist past, an ideological-political debate has arisen in the entire revolutionary camp in India and the world regarding the path, strategy, and tactics pursued by your Party, the CPN(M), in advancing the revolution in Nepal. There have also been reports in the media concerning the proposal of your Party leadership to change the name of the Party by removing the term ‘Maoist’. All these make it all the more urgent to conduct a deeper debate on the ideological-political line pursued by the CPN(M), particularly after it came to power through elections, after a decade-long people’s war and forming the government with some of the arch-reactionaries who had earned the wrath of the Nepalese masses.
Several issues need to be debated by Maoist revolutionaries in the context of the CPN(M) pursuing a line and policies that are not consistent with the fundamental tenets of MLM and teachings of our great Marxist teachers—issues such as proletarian internationalism; stages and sub-stages of revolutions in semi-colonial semi-feudal countries; understanding of the Leninist concept of state and revolution; nature of parliamentary democracy in semi-colonial, semi-feudal countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America; meaning of rigidity of strategy and flexibility in tactics; and such other related questions. There are also some specific issues raised by your Party in the name of creative application of MLM such as the concept of 21st century democracy or multi-Party democracy, Prachanda Path, South Asian Soviet Federation, fusion theory, and so on.
It is true that Marxism is not a dogma but a guide to action. Those Marxist-Leninist revolutionaries who followed it only in letter and discarded its spirit had failed to understand the essence of Marxism, failed to understand what com Lenin had taught, that is, ‘concrete analysis of concrete conditions is the living soul of Marxism’. Such dogmatists failed to apply MLM to the concrete practice of revolution in their countries and hence failed to make any real advances in the revolutions in their respective countries. Dogmatism, no doubt, has been a bane of the Marxist Leninist movements and hence the struggle against dogmatism should be an inseparable part of the ideological struggle of the Communist Party.
However, in the name of struggle against dogmatism, there have been serious deviations in the International Communist Movement (ICM), often going into an even greater, or at least equally dangerous, abyss of right deviation and revisionism. In the name of creative application of Marxism, communist parties have fallen into the trap of right opportunism, bourgeois pluralist Euro-Communism, rabid anti-Stalinism, anarchist post-modernism and outright revisionism. Right danger or revisionism in the ICM has emerged as the greatest danger in the period following the usurpation of the leadership of the CPSU and state power in the Soviet Union after the demise of comrade Stalin. Com Mao and other genuine revolutionaries had to wage a consistent ideological-political struggle against revisionism and reformism in the ICM and also within the CPC. However, despite the great struggle waged by com Mao and other Marxist Leninist revolutionaries all over the world against revisionism, it has been the revisionists who had temporarily won and dominated the ICM in the contemporary world. The ideological-political debate over the creative application of MLM to the concrete practice of the revolution in Nepal has to be conducted with a correct grasp of this international struggle ever since the time of com Lenin.
“Fight against dogmatism” has become a fashionable phrase among many Maoist revolutionaries. They talk of discarding “outdated” principles of Lenin and Mao and to develop MLM in the “new conditions” that are said to have emerged in the world of the 21st century. Some of them describe their endeavour to “enrich and develop” MLM as a new path or thought, and though this is initially described as something confined to revolution in their concerned country, it inexorably assumes a “universal character” or “universal significance” in no time. And in this exercise individual leaders are glorified and even deified to the extent that they appear infallible. Such glorification does not help in collective functioning of Party committees and the Party as a whole and questions on line are hardly ever raised as they stem from an infallible individual leader. In such a situation it is extremely difficult on the part of the CC, not to speak of the cadres, to fight against a serious deviation in the ideological-political line, or in the basic strategy and tactics even when it is quite clear that it goes against the interests of revolution. The “cult of the individual” promoted in the name of path and thought provides a certain degree of immunity to the deviation in line if it emanates from that individual leader.
Our two Parties, CPI(Maoist) and CPN(Maoist), have a considerably long period of fraternal relationship, a period going back to the late 1980s when the present leadership of your Party was still a part of the revisionist Party in Nepal pursuing a parliamentary line. We had been a keen and enthusiastic witness to the ideological struggle waged by your leadership against revisionism, its clean break with the revisionist line and its initiation of people’s war in February 1996. High-level delegations of our two CCs had exchanged our respective experiences of struggle against revisionism, discussed the universal significance and contemporary relevance of Maoism, historic GPCR of China, glorious Naxalbari uprising and the experiences of people’s war in India. We were enthused when finally your Party made a firm decision to initiate people’s war in Nepal, made great strides and achieved highly significant achievements with considerable speed within a span of a few years. Throughout this period—from the preparatory period for launching the people’s war through the initiation and development of people’s war—our Party in India supported your Party, condemned the intervention by the Indian expansionists and tried to build solidarity for the revolution in Nepal. And as part of this, both our CCs took the initiative in 2001 to set up the CCOMPOSA to wage a united struggle against Indian expansionism and imperialist intervention in South Asia. And also as part of our proletarian internationalist duty we rendered assistance in all possible ways to the people’s war in Nepal.
At the same time, while extending support to the revolution in Nepal, we had also pointed out from time to time some of the mistakes we had identified in the understanding and practice of the CPN(M), and also the possible deviations that might arise due to its wrong assessments and concepts. However, we never interfered with political-organisational matters concerning the internal affairs and inner-Party struggles within your Party. But whenever called upon, or, when we felt there is danger of a serious deviation ideologically and politically, we gave our suggestions as a fraternal revolutionary Party during the several bilateral meetings between our respective high-level delegations or through letters to your CC. It was only when some of the ideological-political positions stated by your Party publicly had deviated from MLM, or when open comments were made by your Chairman Prachanda on various occasions regarding our Party’s line and practice, or when open polemical debate was called for on International forums, that our Party had gone into open ideological-political debates. These open debates since 2001 were conducted in a healthy and comradely manner guided by the principle of proletarian internationalism.
But today there is a need to conduct a deeper debate and come to an overall assessment regarding the theory and practice pursued by your Party, synthesise the experiences gained in the course of the people’s war in Nepal, and the lessons, both positive and negative, they provide to the Maoist revolutionaries in the contemporary world. We are sending this Open Letter to your Party so as to initiate a polemical debate both within your Party and the Maoist revolutionary camp worldwide. This step has become necessary because of the very serious developments that had taken place in the course of development of the revolution in Nepal that have a bearing on our understanding of imperialism and proletarian revolution as well as the strategy-tactics to be pursued by Maoist revolutionaries in the contemporary world; there is also serious deviation from the ideology of MLM. Hence they are no more the internal matters concerning your Party alone.
Moreover, such a debate is the urgent need of the hour in the backdrop of vicious propaganda by the revisionists as well as the reactionary ruling classes in India that the Indian Maoists should learn from the Nepali Maoists who were supposed to have realized at last “the futility of achieving their cherished goal of socialism and communism through armed struggle”. Sermons are being preached by the revisionists who had always acted as the strongest advocates of Parliamentary democracy in India, opened up their social fascist fangs wherever they had been in power ever since the days of the Naxalbari revolt, acted as a safety valve to vent the fury of the masses into peaceful channels, and played the notorious role of diffusing militant movements and depoliticizing and demobilizing the masses, thereby serving the Indian ruling classes and the imperialists most faithfully–all in the name of peaceful path to people’s democracy and socialism. These revisionists have been writing articles claiming that at last the Nepali Maoists have come to the correct track and that it should serve as an eye-opener to the Indian Maoists who should, at least now, give up their “unrealizable dream of capturing political power through the bullet” and, instead, try to achieve it through the ballot as their counterparts in Nepal are doing today.
We earnestly hope that the CC and all the Party members of CPN(M) will evince keen interest in this ideological-political debate and take the correct revolutionary positions based on our guiding theory of MLM and the lessons provided by the rich experiences of the world revolution. We also hope that Maoist revolutionaries worldwide will participate in this debate and enrich the experiences of the world proletariat in advancing the world proletarian revolution.
In this context, we also regret to say that you had not cared to respond to our proposal to have a bilateral exchange of views with your CC after the April 2008 elections. Until December 2008 there was not even a reply from your CC to the letter we had sent on May 1st in this regard. Nor was there any response from your side to our proposal to hold the meeting of CCOMPOSA in order to continue the united struggle of the Maoist forces and anti-imperialist forces of South Asia against Indian expansionism and imperialism, particularly American imperialism.
At last we received a letter from your International department in December 2008 and a meeting of our two delegations had materialized soon after. Basing on the discussions we held with your delegation and the material that was available to us regarding the current developments in your Party and the stands you had taken on various issues our PB held detailed discussions and drew conclusions based on MLM, the experiences of world revolution, and the actual situation prevailing in Nepal and the contemporary world.
Firstly, we are glad that a serious inner-Party struggle has broken out in your Party on crucial issues related to advancing the revolution in Nepal. Such a struggle within the Party has been the need of the hour since long, at least from the time your Party leadership had begun to pursue a disastrous course of “hunting with the hound and running with the hare”, i.e., striking alliances with the reactionary feudal, comprador political Parties with the sole aim of overthrowing the King and the monarchy while at the same time speaking of advancing the revolution in Nepal through a “final assault” or insurrection. Even prior to this, your Party’s concept of multi-Party democracy or 21st century democracy, South Asian Soviet Federation, its non-proletarian stands on the question of assessment of Stalin, fusion theory etc were subjects of serious polemical debate. Our Party dealt with these issues through articles in our magazines and interviews by our spokespersons right from 2002, and particularly from 2006. We had also pointed out the non-Marxist positions that you had taken on the question of state and revolution, on the question of disarming and demobilizing of the PLA by confining it to the barracks under the supervision of the United Nations, and on the question of integration of the two armies, demobilization of the CYL, abandoning the base areas and the great revolutionary achievements of the decade-long people’s war, policy of appeasement adopted towards Indian expansionism, and so on. However, there was no serious debate on these issues from your side. Hence it has been an encouraging sign to see the inner-Party struggle within your Party on some of these issues at last.
After the dangerous journey that your Party had traversed in the past three years we earnestly hope that your Party rank and file will review the dangerous reformist positions and the disastrous consequences that these have given rise to, and also reconsider and rectify the non-revolutionary line pursued by your Party leadership headed by com Prachanda. Such a free and frank, thoroughgoing review of the ideological-political line pursued by the Party leadership and the serious deviations from the fundamental tenets of MLM that had taken place in the name of creative application of MLM, will help in establishing the correct line that can advance the revolution to its final victory in Nepal. We are confident that the correct revolutionary line will be re-established through such a serious, thorough-going ideological-political struggle within your Party. In this context we also wish to express our strong disagreement on the so-called unity between your Party and the break-away group of Mohan Bikram Singh’s Mashal. We think such a unity with a proven Rightist group will not help in furthering the cause of the revolution in Nepal but will take the Party further down the path of revisionism and reformism. This unity based on the principle of ‘two combining into one’ will further strengthen the hands of the reformists and right opportunists within the CPN(M), or the UCPN/Maoism-Mao Thought as it is presently being called.
Now we take up the serious issues and reformist deviations that have come to the fore in the course of the development of the Nepalese revolution. Interestingly, some of these deviations from MLM had been theorised by your Party as an enrichment and development of MLM and summed up as Prachanda Path.
Assessment of the character of State in Nepal and prospects of completing the Revolution
Firstly, what is the class character of the state that the CPNM) had taken over through the process of parliamentary elections in alliance with other comprador-feudal parties?
How does the CPN(M) intend to consummate the revolution that was stalled half-way?
What is the understanding of the CPN(M) regarding the nature of power that had fallen into their hands through elections? Does it think it can utilize this power to bring about a basic, revolutionary change in the social system in Nepal?
How does the CPN(M) plan to bring about the radical restructuring of the society and build a new democratic Nepal in alliance with the parties representing the reactionary exploitative classes that oppose tooth and nail any such radical changes?
Does the CPN(M) believe that the old state machine—principally with the same-old bureaucracy and major chunk of the old standing army—can act as an instrument in the hands of the proletariat to bring about radical changes in the existing semi-feudal semi-colonial social system?
What will be the class character of the new army that will be formed by the proposed integration of the revolutionary PLA and the reactionary Nepalese Army? Can the CPN(M), as a major partner in the ruling coalition in Nepal, ensure a pro-people character to the newly integrated Army of Nepal? If the Maoists lose power due to withdrawal of support from the other major allies how will they ensure that the newly integrated army, with the major portion coming from the old reactionary army, will not be used by the reactionary forces to massacre the Maoists as we had witnessed in Indonesia or Chile?
We had been continuously raising these questions, particularly during the past three years, through bilateral meetings, letters to your CC, our statements, interviews and other writings. We had warned you of your serious deviation from the Leninist concept of state and revolution and cited the experiences of revolution in several countries. In a statement issued in November 2006, our CC pointed out that even if the Maoists became part of the interim government or came to power through elections they cannot alter the reactionary character of the old state or build a new Nepal on the old basis.
“The agreement by the Maoists to become part of the interim government in Nepal cannot transform the reactionary character of the state machinery that serves the exploiting ruling classes and imperialists. The state can be the instrument in the hands of either the exploiting classes or the proletariat but it cannot serve the interests of both these bitterly-contending classes. It is the fundamental tenet of Marxism that no basic change in the social system can be brought about without smashing the state machine. Reforms from above cannot bring any qualitative change in the exploitative social system however democratic the new Constitution might seem to be, and even if the Maoists become an important component of the government. It is sheer illusion to think that a new Nepal can be built without smashing the existing state.”
After your Party had emerged as the single largest Party in the CA and was trying to form a government in alliance with other parties representing the old order, we warned once again in a statement issued on behalf of our CC on April 24, 2008 thus:
“The one and only guarantee for carrying through the radical revolutionary programme is to raise the political class consciousness of the vast masses, mobilize them into class struggle, arm and train them to fight the exploiters and all reactionary forces and defend the gains they had derived through long period of class and mass struggle……One must keep in mind that the gains that can be achieved through a government that has come to power by means of elections are very much limited. Survival of such a regime depends on taking a conciliatory stand on several crucial matters. Hence to overestimate the prospects of radical restructuring of the society or economy by a Maoist government would be illusory and will dilute the possibility as well as the ability of the Party to continue the class struggle.”
Again in our letter sent to your CC on the 1st of May 2008, we pointed out:
“It is a fundamental tenet of Marxism that no radical restructuring of the system is possible without smashing the existing state. It is impossible to make genuine changes in the system only through measures initiated “from above”, i.e. through state decrees and laws. In fact, even drafting Nepal’s Constitution in favour of the poor and oppressed masses is itself going to be a very arduous and bitter struggle.
“Nothing could be more dangerous at the present juncture than to become complacent and underestimate the prospects of a reactionary backlash. One must keep in mind that the gains that can be achieved through a government that has come to power by means of elections are very much limited. To overestimate the prospects of radical restructuring of the society or economy by a Maoist-led government would be illusory and will dilute the possibility as well as the ability of the Party to continue the class struggle.”
Our Party’s stand on the struggle against monarchy was made clear several times in the past. For instance, our Party General Secretary said in his answers to questions sent by BBC in April 2007:
“The real fight is not against Gyanendra and the monarchy which is but a symbol of the feudal-imperialist oppression and exploitation of the vast masses of Nepal. Without throwing out the feudal forces, the imperialists, the Indian big business and the local compradors, mere ouster of Gyanendra would not solve any of the problems of the Nepali masses. And this can be done only by firmly carrying on the people’s war to final victory. No Parliament can touch the seat of these reactionary forces who de facto rule the country.”
Thus it should be clear that fighting feudalism is not synonymous to fighting monarchy. The monarchy is a part of the semi-feudal, semi-colonial system whose main aspect is in the semi-feudal land relations. In India, the rajas and maharaja were deprived of their power decades back, but that did not destroy the semi-feudal base in the countryside.
A correct assessment regarding the state was in fact given by your Party itself two years before going into alliance with the SPA. In an article entitled “UML Government: A New Shield of Feudalism and Imperialism Under Crisis” written by the then Chairman of CPN(M), comrade Prachanda, this was lucidly explained thus:
“Marxism, on the basis of historical materialist scientific outlook that severely attacks upon the entire mysterious and idealist explanations in relation to state power, declared with undeniable material of experience of class struggle that it is nothing but a weapon of one class suppressing the other. A state power that simultaneously represents classes of two opposing interests has neither been possible in the history nor will be in the future. Marxism hates and rejects the entire prattles of reform and class collaboration as bourgeois hypocrisy. State power is either the dictatorship of the proletariat in different forms or that of the exploiting class. There can be no other stupidity than to imagine a power acting in between these two.
Citing comrade Lenin that “The State is a special organization of force; it is an organization of violence for the suppression of some class.”, comrade Prachanda rightly asks: “Will now the state power stop becoming an organization of violence right after the UML has become a part of the government?”
Quoting com Lenin he explained how no government can be pro-people as long as the two institutions of bureaucracy and standing army remain intact:
“Two institutions are most characteristic of this state machine: the bureaucracy and the standing army”.
Com Prachanda had correctly pointed out:
“It is evident that any government, which is compelled to function under the direction of the bureaucracy and standing army, the main two components of the state power, is impossible to become pro-people to the least.”
Explaining the reactionary character of the UML government, com Prachanda cites the famous proposition of Marxism:
“To decide once every few years which member of the ruling class is to repress and crush the people through parliament—such is the real essence of bourgeois parliamentarism, not only in parliamentary-constitutional monarchies, but also in the most democratic republics.” (Lenin, The State and Revolution)
That was six years ago, in 2003, when the people’s war was advancing in rapid strides. But how have these fundamental theoretical formulations changed after the CPN(M) merged as the single largest party in the April 2008 elections?
Now we ask you the same question that you had placed when the UML came to power claiming that it represented the people’s interests:
“Is there any such particularity in Nepal because of which the class character of the reactionary state power has changed?”
Can one describe the act of forming the government in alliance with comprador-feudal parties and attempting to bring revolutionary social change through the basically old state machine as merely a tactic? With what logic can one say it is not a path of revolution similar to the ‘peaceful transition to socialism’ put forth by Khrushchov?
The pronouncements by the leaders of the CPN(M) on various occasions, particularly after their electoral victory in April 2008, remind us of PKI’s revisionist theory of “a state with two aspects”, i.e., a “pro-people’s aspect” and an “anti-people’s aspect” proposed by its Chairman Aidit.
According to Aidit:
“The important problem in Indonesia now is not to smash the state power as in the case in many other states, but to strengthen and consolidate the pro-people’s aspect…and to eliminate the anti-people’s aspect.”
This peaceful transformation would take place by “revolutionary action from above and below”, i.e., by initiating revolutionary measures from above aimed at changing the composition of the various state organs on the one hand, and by “arousing, organizing and mobilizing” the masses to achieve these changes.
Then there are several issues where the stand of your Party had already led to the abandoning of the basic requisites for bringing about a revolutionary change in Nepal. The most important among these are the virtual decimation of the PLA by limiting it to the UN-supervised barracks for over two years, return of the lands and property seized by the people in the course of the people’s war to the exploiters and oppressors, demobilization of the Young Communist League, compromising with imperialism, Indian expansionism and other main enemies of revolution in Nepal, and so on.
Com Prachanda announced that the “paramilitary modus operandi of the party’s youth wing, the YCL, would be scrapped, and public and private buildings, factories and other properties captured by the party will be returned to the owners concerned.” He also announced that all the party units established as parallel state units [the various levels of the former revolutionary government established during the people’s war] will likewise be scrapped, and assured that ‘These agreements will be implemented as early as possible after setting a timeframe’.
The above measures can have one and only one meaning: abandoning people’s revolutionary power and all the gains accrued in the decade-long people’s war at the cost of over 13,000 lives of heroic martyrs, the best sons and daughters of Nepal.
On Coalition Government
The proposal to form an interim coalition government with the arch-reactionary parties that represent the class interests of the feudal, comprador ruling classes in Nepal and serve imperialism and Indian expansionism, was defended by your Party citing some historical experiences such as the proposal of a coalition government with the enemy of the Chinese people, Chiang Kai-Shek, made by the CPC under com Mao in China during the anti-Japan War of Resistance. However, the understanding and practice of the CPN(M) under com Prachanda is diametrically opposite to that pursued by the CPC under com Mao at that time.
What was the basic foundation for such a proposal made by com Mao?
Where did the strength of the Communist Party lie due to which it could venture to go for such a UF and become several times stronger by the end of the anti-Japanese War and ultimately defeat the reactionary KMT? Only when we understand this most important and key aspect we can understand the serious deviation in the concept and practice of CPN(M) with regard to forming a coalition government with other comprador-feudal parties.
The most important and key aspect to be noted from the experiences in China is: CPC had kept intact its PLA and Base Areas in spite of repeated pressure by the KMT to abandon these as a pre-condition for a UF. Precisely due to this, CPC was able to dictate terms to the KMT, survive and defeat the brutal military offensive by the KMT, and expand rapidly and achieve countrywide victory within four years after the War of Resistance.
In the case of Nepal, the stand taken by CPN(M) under com Prachanda has been qualitatively different from that of China. It is one of disarming the PLA and abandoning the Base Areas which had become a pre-condition for forging a united front with the comprador-feudal parties. The abandoning of the base areas and disarming the PLA are suicidal steps that have placed the Party and the people at the mercy of the exploiting classes and the imperialists.
Com Prachanda himself exposed the anti-people character of the coalition governments formed in alliance with the bourgeois, feudal parties such as the UML-led coalition government formed in Nepal after the mid-term elections in 1991. He draws a parallel with the bourgeois democratic government formed after the 1917 February revolution following the fall of Czarism in Russia with the participation of the Mensheviks. Citing com Lenin, he wrote in the article “UML Government: A New Shield of Feudalism and Imperialism Under Crisis”:
“The capitalists, better organized and more experienced than anybody else in matters of class struggle and politics, learnt their lesson quicker than the others. Realizing that the government’s position was hopeless, they resorted to a method which for many decades, ever since 1848, has been practiced by the capitalists of other countries in order to fool, divide and weaken the workers. This method is known as a “coalition” government, i.e., a joint cabinet formed of members of the bourgeoisie and turncoats from socialism.” (Lenin, From the Lesson of Revolution).
It is also interesting to note that your Party had castigated the reactionary government of UML coalition by invoking the historical experience in Russia, where, in fact, com Lenin had castigated the bourgeois democratic government even after the fall of Czarist autocracy in the following words:
“He who says that the workers must support the new government in the interests of the struggle against tsarist reaction (and apparently this is being said by the Potresovs, Gvozdyovs. Chkhenkelis and also, all evasiveness notwithstanding, by Chkheidze) is a traitor to the workers, a traitor to the cause of the proletariat, to the cause of peace and freedom. For actually, precisely this new government is already bound hand and foot by imperialist capital, by the imperialist policy”. (Lenin: Letters From Afar).
What is wrong in applying the above-mentioned observation of com Lenin which was made in the context of a victorious bourgeois democratic revolution and the fall of Czarist autocracy in Russia—a situation that is in essence similar to the one prevailing in Nepal after the defeat of the King?
Our main point here is not whether a coalition government should or should not have been formed in Nepal by the CPN(M) with the other ruling class parties, but that it should not be at the cost of the demobilization of the PLA and abandonment of the base areas as done by the CPN(M). Let us examine this most important and key issue.
On the base areas and disarming the PLA
The central question of any revolution is the seizure of power by armed force. In semi-colonial, semi-feudal countries power is seized first in the backward areas of the countryside by establishing base areas, then encircling the urban areas, organizing uprisings in the cities and finally achieving countrywide victory. Hence the importance of base areas and the people’s army needs no mention. These two aspects are crucial for victory in any revolution and these are non-negotiable under whatever pretext. In China, even when comrade Mao proposed a coalition government comprising of all anti-Japanese forces including the chief enemy of the revolution, Chiang Kai-shek’s KMT, he never gave a thought to the question of giving up base areas and the PLA. These were non-negotiable in the talks held with the KMT. And it was based on the strength of the base areas and the Red Army that the CPC could gain advantage in the anti-Japanese united front and make the revolution victorious within four years after the end of WWII.
Our CC had been discussing this question with you in our high-level bilateral meetings right from the time you were working out plans for an interim government, elections to the CA and an end to monarchy. You had assured us that base areas would never be given up and PLA would not be disarmed. But eventually it turned out that you had done both and had even invited the imperialist agency—the United Nations—to supervise the disarming of the PLA.
In November 2006 our CC had issued a statement on the proposal of the CPN(M) to disarm the PLA and confine the fighters to the barracks. Entitled “A New Nepal can emerge only by smashing the reactionary state! Depositing arms of the PLA under UN supervision would lead to the disarming of the masses!!”, the CPI(Maoist) statement warned:
“The agreement to deposit the arms of the people’s army in designated cantonments is fraught with dangerous implications. This act could lead to the disarming of the oppressed masses of Nepal and to a reversal of the gains made by the people of Nepal in the decade-long people’s war at the cost of immense sacrifices……
“Entire experiences of the world revolution had demonstrated time and again that without the people’s army it is impossible for the people to exercise their power. Nothing is more dreadful to imperialism and the reactionaries than armed masses and hence they would gladly enter into any agreement to disarm them. In fact, disarming the masses has been the constant refrain of all the reactionary ruling classes ever since the emergence of class-divided society. Unarmed masses are easy prey for the reactionary classes and imperialists who even enact massacres as proved by history. The CC, CPI(Maoist), as one of the detachments of the world proletariat, warns the CPN(Maoist) and the people of Nepal of the grave danger inherent in the agreement to deposit the arms and calls upon them to reconsider their tactics in the light of bitter historical experiences…..
“We also appeal to the CPN(Maoist) once again to rethink about their current tactics which are actually changing the very strategic direction of the revolution in Nepal and to withdraw from their agreement with the government of Nepal on depositing the arms of the PLA as this would make the people defenceless in face of attacks by the reactionaries.”
In his answer to the questions sent by the media, mainly by the BBC, in April 2007, our General Secretary, comrade Ganapathy, pointed out:
“The most dangerous part of the deal is the disarming of the PLA by depositing the arms and placing the fighters in cantonments. This will do no good except disarming the masses and throwing them to the mercy of the oppressors. Neither the imperialists nor big neighbours like India and China would allow any fundamental change in the socio-economic system in Nepal. They cannot remain passive spectators if their interests are undermined by the Maoists whether through a people’s war or through the parliament. Hence the Maoists can never achieve their aim of putting an end to feudal and imperialist exploitation by entering the parliament in the name of multi-party democracy. They will have to either get co-opted into the system or abandon the present policy of power-sharing with the ruing classes and continue the armed revolution to seize power. There is no Buddhist middle way. They cannot set the rules for a game the bourgeoisie had invented.”
The move to deposit arms and confine the PLA fighters to UN-supervised cantonments, in practice, tantamount to abandoning PPW and class struggle in the name of multi-Party democracy and endangering the gains made during the decade-long People’s War. The first big deviation occurred when the CPN(M) decided to sail with the SPA by agreeing to abandon the Base Areas, demobilize its PLA, and participate in the elections in the name of fighting against the monarchy. This line is a total deviation from MLM and the concept of PPW. To justify this, CPN(M) had cited the example of CPC under Mao which had gone for a united front with Chiang Kai-shek’s KMT and had given a call for a coalition government. It is a fact that CPC had given the call for such a united front. However, it is also a fact that it had never proposed giving up the Base Areas or disarming the PLA. And it was precisely this which had made CPC’s position stronger by the end of the anti-Japanese War. It was able to dictate terms to others mainly based on its independent strength in the base areas and its PLA. And when Chiang refused to act in the interests of China and continued his offensive against the Communists in collusion with the imperialists, CPC was able to isolate KMT, expand the base areas and PLA rapidly, and achieve victory in the revolution in a short period after the end of anti-Japanese War of Resistance. As a result, CPC gained enormously from its proposal of UF with the KMT. But in the case of the CPN(M), although it achieved a big electoral gain, it had suffered a big strategic loss as it had disbanded the people’s governments at the local level, abandoned the base areas and disarmed the people’s army. One clause in the agreement to deposit arms by the PLA even sounds ridiculous. It says that while the PLA deposits its arms and confines itself to barracks the Nepal Army too should deposit an equal number of arms! With this clause while the PLA as a whole becomes disarmed the reactionary army remains intact!! All that it has do is to deposit some arms. Why did the leadership of the CPN(M) agree to such a ridiculous, and more important, such a dangerous, condition? Is it so naïve that it is not aware of the consequences? We can only say this has been done deliberately as the central leadership of the Party has chosen to stay away from people’s war and to pursue the peaceful path of multi-Party democracy to build a new Nepal. Comrade Prachanda had unequivocally asserted this in his interviews, speeches and on various occasions.
Now Prachanda’s path had placed the CPN(M) or what is now called, UCPN(M), the PLA and the revolutionary people’s power in the countryside in great peril and at the mercy of reactionary parties, Indian expansionists and imperialists. It is now powerless to defend itself or the interests of the vast masses in face of attacks by the reactionary classes and imperialists. It has no base areas to bank upon and no army to fight against the reactionary coups and plots.
Moreover, after the formation of the Maoist-led government, the PLA is no more under the CPN(M). The changed role and responsibility of the PLA were pointed out in clear terms in a speech delivered by com Prachanda on the occasion of the 14th Anniversary of PW and 8th PLA Day at Hattikhor PLA Cantonment and published on February 26:
“The most important question is that according to the spirit of interim constitution and the agreements held before between the political parties, PLA will not be directly under the Unified CPN (Maoist). PLA will be directly under the leadership of AISC. Theoretically PLA is already under it. We will be connected for a long time contemplatively, that is another thing. However, PLA will not be under unified CPN-Maoist anymore, morally and theoretically. In the situation of a legal state power and the transitional period, PLA will accept the leadership of AISC and follow its directives. PLA has been a part of the state legally since the day AISC has been made.”
Today, there is a peculiar situation in Nepal. The old Royal Nepal Army continues to be the bulwark of the present state structure in Nepal while the PLA is a passive onlooker. What would the Maoists do if a coup is staged by the Army with the instigation of the reactionary comprador-feudal parties with the backing of Indian expansionists and US imperialists? Or if an Indonesia-type blood-bath of the Communists is organised by the reactionaries? How do the Maoists defend themselves when they have demobilised and disarmed the PLA? We had raised the question in our bilateral meetings right from the time when such a proposal of integration of the two armies was put forth by comrade Prachanda. There has never been an answer to this crucial, fundamental question of revolution. By evading an answer and displaying eclecticism, your Party has actually placed the future of the oppressed people of Nepal in grave danger.
On 21st century democracy
Your Party had claimed that its “decision on multi-party democracy is a strategically, theoretically developed position” and that it is applicable even to conditions obtaining in India. You attributed universal significance to it and claimed that it is an attempt to further develop MLM. Hence there is a need for every proletarian Party to take a clear-cut stand on this so-called “enrichment of MLM”.
The conceptual problem of democracy in the leadership of CPN(M) had begun at least by 2003. The 2003 CC Plenum of your Party had passed the paper on the development of democracy in the 21st century. In that paper you proposed that there should be “peaceful competition between all political parties against feudalism and foreign imperialist forces”. You said that “within a certain constitutional provision multi-party competition should exist as long as it’s against feudalism, against foreign imperialistic interference”. You said during our bilateral meetings too that the peaceful competition that you are talking of was in the post-revolutionary period and not before. But later on you began to be evasive and vague on whether this multi-Party competition was also feasible before the seizure of power by the working class. Then with the conclusion of the 12-point agreement with the SPA you made an about-turn and asserted that your Party was ready to compete with other comprador-feudal parties! What democracy you aspire to develop through peaceful competition with such Parties is beyond one’s comprehension.
In his interview to The Hindu in 2006, com Prachanda said:
“And we are telling the parliamentary parties that we are ready to have peaceful competition with you all.”
Here there is no bungling of words. The CPN(M) leader has directly assured the comprador bourgeois-feudal parliamentary parties that his Party is ready to have peaceful competition with all of them. And by describing this decision on multiparty democracy as a strategically, theoretically developed position comrade Prachanda had brought a dangerous thesis to the fore—the thesis of peaceful coexistence with the ruling class parties instead of overthrowing them through revolution; peaceful competition with all other parliamentary parties, including the ruling class parties that are stooges of imperialism or foreign reaction, in so-called parliamentary elections; abandoning the objective of building socialism for an indefinite period; and opening the doors wide for the feudal-comprador reactionaries to come to power by utilizing the backwardness of the masses and the massive backing from domestic and foreign reactionaries or the bourgeois and petty bourgeois forces to hijack the entire course of development of the society from the socialist direction to capitalism in the name of democracy and nationalism. Overall, com. Prachanda’s conclusions regarding multiparty democracy create illusions among the people regarding bourgeois democracy and their constitution.
Com Mao had pointed out:
“Those who demand freedom and democracy in the abstract regard democracy as an end and not as a means. Democracy as such sometimes seems to be an end, but it is in fact only a means. Marxism teaches us that democracy is part of the superstructure and belongs to the realm of politics. That is to say, in the last analysis, it serves the economic base. The same is true of freedom. Both democracy and freedom are relative, not absolute, and they come into being and develop in specific historical conditions.” (Ibid)
Genuine democracy is achieved through a consistent and uncompromising struggle against imperialism and feudalism—both in the sphere of the base and superstructure—and accomplishing the tasks of the New Democratic Revolution. Freedom, at the individual level, as Marx said, is the recognition of necessity; at the political level, it entails smashing the chains that bind us to the imperialist system.
Your Party says it has synthesised the experiences of 20th century revolutions by taking lessons from the positive and the negative experiences of the 20th Century; from revolutions and counter-revolutions of the 20th Century. But what lessons has it taken, and Maoists should take, from the experiences of Communist participation in so-called Parliamentary democracy in countries like Indonesia, Chile, Nicaragua, El Salvador and others? Would your Party have pursued the same path as above if it had correctly synthesized and taken lessons from 20th century revolutions? Is there anything wrong if one concludes from your concept of 21st century democracy and multiparty competition on the one hand, and the practice of abandoning people’s war on the other, that you are following the same path treaded by the revisionist parties in the above-mentioned countries?
In an article in our theoretical organ People’s War in 2006, we had pointed out the futility of participating in elections and how it would ultimately help the reactionary ruling classes. We pointed out:
“And even if a Maoist Party comes to power through elections, and merges its own armed forces with those of the old state, it can be overthrown through a military coup, its armed forces might be massacred by those of the reactionaries, its leaders and Party cadres might be eliminated. ….. And if it wants to be part of the parliamentary game it has to abide by its rules and cannot carry out its anti-feudal, anti-imperialist policies freely. Even the independence of the judiciary has to be recognised as part of the game of parliament and can cause obstruction to every reform which the Maoist party tries to initiate after coming to power through elections.
“Then there will be several independent institutions like the judiciary, the election commission, the human rights commission sponsored by the imperialists, the media, various artistic, cultural and even religious bodies, non-government organisations, and so on. If one declares one’s commitment to multiparty democracy, one cannot escape from upholding these so-called independent institutions. Many of these can work for counter-revolution in diverse subtle ways. One cannot forget the subtle manner in which the western agencies infiltrated and subverted the societies in East European countries and even in the former Soviet Union.”
Your Party had correctly explained in the document on 21st century democracy released in June 2003, the role played by the proletarian Party after assuming state power in the following terms:
“Experience has proved that after assuming state power, when various leaders and cadres of the Party are involved in running the state affairs, then there is strong chance that physical environment may swiftly reduce the Party into a bureaucratic, careerist and luxurious class. With intensification of this danger the Party will become more formal and alienated from the masses, in the same proportion. This process when it reaches to certain level of its own development, it is bound to be transformed into counter-revolution. In order to prevent such danger as counter-revolution to happen, it is important to develop further organizational mechanism and system so that Party is constantly under the vigilance, control and service of the proletariat and working masses according to the theory of two-line struggle and continuous revolution. For this it is very important that there should be a mechanism to guarantee overall people’s participation in two line struggle and that one section comprising of capable and established leaders and cadres should be constantly involved in mass work and another section should be involved in running the state machinery and that after certain interval of period there should be re-division of work thereby strengthening the relationship between the whole Party and the general masses.”
The above-mentioned role assumes even greater significance in the present situation when your Party is sharing power with the representatives of the old feudal, comprador class and has a servile relationship with imperialism. It becomes even more important for the established leaders of the Party to work among the masses and build class struggle to solve the problems of the masses and defend them from the brutal offensive of the enemy classes. However, one is surprised to see most of the established leaders taking up the role of administering a state that remains an instrument of oppression of the masses and in no way represents the aspirations of the masses.
On the Path of Revolution in the semi-colonial semi-feudal countries: Fusion Theory
This has been a much-debated issue ever since the time of the victorious revolution in China. During the Great Debate between the CPSU and CPC in the early 1960s, the path of revolution in the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America was firmly established by the CPC.
The document adopted by the CC of the CPN(M) in 1995 had correctly formulated the strategy of protracted people’s war after analyzing the specificities of Nepal:
“The synthesis of all the specificities clearly shows that it is impossible for the armed struggle in Nepal to make a quick leap into an insurrection and defeat the enemy. However, it is fully possible to finally crush the enemy through systematic development of the armed struggle in Nepal. It can be clearly derived from this that the armed struggle in Nepal must necessarily adopt a protracted People’s War strategy of surrounding the city from the countryside.”
But in its second national conference held in 2001, after synthesizing the experiences of people’s war in Nepal, it brought forth the theory of fusion of two different kinds of strategies that are applicable to countries with different characteristics.
Just after the Second National Conference of the CPN(M), the press communiqué issued in the name of comrade Prachanda, stated in unequivocal terms that:
“The rapid development of science and technology, especially in the area of electronic field has brought about completely new model in regard to forwarding revolution in each country and in the world in the form of fusion of the strategies of protracted people’s war and general armed insurrection based on the above analysis.”
While making clear that now “no model based on past proletarian revolution can be applied as in the past due to changes in the world”, it has brought forth concrete methodology of fusion of general insurrection into the strategy of PPW in Nepal.
Though the CPN(M) claimed in 2001 that this conclusion was drawn from a synthesis of the experiences of five years of people’s war in Nepal, there was no experience to prove this assertion. On the contrary, the successes achieved in the five years of people’s war had only vindicated the correctness of the strategy of PPW.
The changes that have occurred in the world situation after the eighties of the 20th century do not provide any new basis to “fuse” the two qualitatively different strategies into “new” amalgamated strategy for the simple reason that no changes of a qualitative nature have occurred in the socio-economic systems of countries like India and Nepal. In all backward countries like Nepal and India, the Maoist strategy of PPW had never rejected the usage of the tactics of uprisings in the cities during the course of the revolution. This was also seen during the Chinese revolution. In fact, the importance of usage of these tactics has grown in the context of the changes that have occurred after WW II, particularly due to the tremendous growth of urban populations and the high concentration of the working class. The Maoist forces operating in these countries should certainly give added importance to this question and prepare for uprisings in cities as part of the Maoist strategy of PPW. However, this does not mean that the two strategies should be “fused” into one by labeling PPW as an “old” and “conventional” model.
The 2005 CC Plenum “resolved that the very strategy of protracted PW needs to be further developed to cater to the necessities of the 21st century. In particular, several decades on it is seen that the protracted PWs launched in different countries have faced obstacles or got liquidated after reaching the state of strategic offensive, as imperialism has attempted to refine its interventionist counter-insurgency war strategy as a ‘long war.’ In this context, if the revolutionaries do mechanistically cling to the ‘protracted’ aspect of the PW at any cost, it would in essence play into the hands of imperialism and reaction. Hence the latest proposition of ‘Prachanda Path’ that the proletarian military also needs to be further developed is quite serious and of long-term significance. It may be noted that this proposition is firmly based on the concrete experiences of the successfully advancing PW now at the stage of strategic offensive and is aimed at further advancing and defending it.” (The Worker#10: Page 58)
Thus the question of path of revolution has once again come into the agenda for discussion after the CPN(M) proposed its “fusion” theory in 2001. The question had assumed significance for the revolutionaries everywhere not only in the context of the people’s war in Nepal but also because the CPN(M) had tried to give its fusion theory a universal character. It theorized:
“Today, the fusion of the strategies of armed insurrection and protracted People’s War into one another has been essential. Without doing so, a genuine revolution seems impossible in any country.” (The Great Leap Forward …, p. 20).
It had also argued that “On the theoretical concept of revolutionary war, this new theory of fusion of two strategies has universal significance.”
“The theory developed by fusion of protracted People’s War and insurrection has special significance and it has become universal.”
In the paper submitted by the CPN(M) at the International seminar on Imperialism and Proletarian Revolution in the 21st century held on December 26, 2006, it repeated the 2003 thesis but with a very important change. It wrote:
“…..we came to a conclusion that sticking to a particular model, and the tactic based on it, would not address the new contradictions created by the aforesaid changes in the society and confining the path of revolution within the framework of a certain modality would hold down our hand to resolve them.
“Taking all these ideological and political factors into account, our party from the very beginning tried to take up mass mobilization in the cities and guerrilla warfare in the countryside, i.e. political and military offensives, simultaneously, while making the latter as principal. Everyone can notice ever since the initiation, which was in the form of a kind of rebellion, our party has been incorporating some of the insurrectionary tactics all through the course of protracted people’s war. That is why the course of revolution we are traversing resembles neither fully with what Mao did in China nor with what Lenin did in Russia. We believe one of the reasons behind the development of people’s war in such a short span of time in our country was our success to keep ourselves away from the constraint of any model. In short, our position is no revolution can be repeated but developed.
“Almost after five years of the initiation of people’s war in Nepal summing up its experiences in the Second National conference, 2001, our party developed a politico-military strategy stressing the need to have fusion of some aspects of the insurrectionary tactics with those of protracted people’s war from the very beginning. Again, while coming at Kami Danda meeting, 2006, summing up entire experiences of the ten years of people’s war our party further developed it and synthesized that politico-military strategy with a balanced sequence of the people’s war, strong mass movement, negotiations and diplomatic maneuvering only can lead the new democratic revolution in Nepal to victory. We think, this synthesis of a revolutionary detachment of international proletarian army, the CPN (Maoist), could be useful to others as well.”
Every country has its own specificities and the revolutionaries take these into account while drawing up their strategy and tactics. The world has seen two models of successful revolutions during the 20th century—the Russian model of armed insurrection and the Chinese model of protracted people’s war. It is obvious that no revolution can be the exact replica of another. However, basic similarities in the objective conditions can make a particular model more relevant for a particular country. No revolutionary would claim that every country should inevitably follow this or that model in toto mechanically. There are bound to be variations in the strategy and tactics in different countries depending on the concrete conditions. But the general principle, of course, is common to all revolutions as explained so clearly by comrade Mao:
“The seizure of power by armed force, the settlement of the issue by war, is the central task and highest form of revolution. But while the principle remains the same (for all countries), its application by the Party of the proletariat finds expression in various ways according to the varying conditions.”
The politico-military strategy is not anything new as you claim. No revolutionary party would think that it can achieve victory in the revolution through military strategy alone. Political strategy and tactics are an important part of the overall Strategy & Tactics pursued by a Maoist Party. Com Mao had always given importance to this aspect, and not just to the military aspect, in spite of the huge strength of the PLA. Isolating the main enemies, building the united front with all anti-imperialist and anti-feudal forces, organising the working class and other toiling masses in the urban areas and plain areas, have been an indispensable part of the agenda of the CPC under Mao and several Maoist parties today. The documents of these Parties prove this beyond any doubt.
The problem, therefore, does not lie in not realizing the importance of the work in the urban areas or in the lack of political strategy but in the nature of the politico-military strategy that is being implemented and the order of priority of the rural and urban areas in semi-colonial, semi-feudal countries. If the chief task of smashing the state machinery, particularly the Army and other armed forces, is relegated to the background in the name of political strategy and tactics, if concessions are given to the enemy at the cost of the class interests of the proletariat and oppressed people for the sake of maintaining the united front somehow or other, then the actual problem comes to the fore. The CPN(M) had achieved rapid gains in the decade-long people’s war and claimed to have control over 80 per cent of the country’s territory by 2005. But even this fact does not alter or dilute the strategy of PPW and lend priority to political strategy.
The foremost task even after assuming control over 80 per cent of territory would be to consolidate the mass base and organs of political power, increase the strength of the PLA and smash the centres of enemy power in the midst of our base areas. No doubt, the task is quite arduous and requires great determination and patience since there will be an overwhelming expectation of immediate victory among Party ranks and the people at large. Serious mistakes are likely to take place in the period of strategic offensive if the protracted nature of the people’s war is not understood properly.
The fusion theory of the CPN(M) had undergone further changes in the five years since it was first proposed, and by 2006 it became the theory of peaceful competition with the reactionary parties and peaceful transition to people’s democracy and socialism. From a fusion of people’s war and insurrection Prachanda’s eclectic theory had assumed the form of negotiations and diplomatic manouevring. One of the major reasons for this change was the incorrect assessment of the contemporary world situation and the conclusion that the neo-colonial form of imperialism is now taking the form of a globalised state.
As mentioned in the seminar paper:
“The fundamental character of imperialism hasn’t been changed in essence but as said in our party document the imperialism in its course of development has been acquiring new forms and shapes. The initial colonial form of imperialism changed its form into neo-colonialism. Now the neo-colonial form is taking its shape in the form of a globalised state. Naturally this change in form of imperialism should be taken into account while developing path of revolution.”
The conclusion regarding globalised state goes against dialectics as it relegates inter-imperialist contradictions to the background and attempts to make imperialism as a whole into a homogeneous mass. This formulation was put forth for the first time by your Party towards the end of December 2006 after striking an alliance with the SPA. In fact, we can say that your 12-point agreement with the SPA, your decision to become part of the interim government sharing power with the comprador-feudal reactionary parties in Nepal, your participation in the elections to the Constituent Assembly and forming a government under your leadership once again with the reactionary forces, and theorizing on peaceful competition with these parties—all these had arisen from the above assessment of your Party regarding imperialism and the conclusion that it has assumed the form of a globalised state. It is only natural that such an assessment, similar to the thesis of ultra-imperialism proposed by Karl Kautsky in 1912 and which was laid bare by comrade Lenin, cannot but lead to the conclusion of a peaceful path and peaceful transition to people’s democracy and socialism. The fusion theory had ultimately led to the theory of peaceful transition! Now there is neither people’s war nor insurrection but peaceful competition with other Parliamentary parties for achieving power through elections!!
The leadership and the entire Party ranks of CPN(M) should at least now realize the reformist and right opportunist danger inherent in the incorrect eclectic formulation of comrade Prachanda regarding the path of revolution in Nepal. To put forth such an eclectic fusion theory in an extremely backward semi-feudal semi-colonial country where almost 90% of the people reside in rural areas shackled by semi-feudal social relations is really tragic. It makes a mockery of the Maoist concept of PPW and negates the basic teachings of comrade Mao. Prachanda’s fusion theory is a serious deviation from MLM, has created only confusion and illusion among Party ranks about quick victory instead of preparing the entire party for a protracted people’s war.
On the stage of revolution in Nepal
The CPN(M), in its basic documents, had come out correctly with its assessment of the present stage of the revolution in Nepal as new democratic and had declared the programme to be implemented in this stage of revolution.
However, in an article by comrade Baburam Bhattarai in March 2005 and in his 13-point letter in November 2004, the above understanding regarding the new democratic stage was changed in a drastic manner. It was declared that Nepalese revolution was passing through a substage of democratic republic.
“As for as the sincere commitment of the revolutionary democratic forces, who aspire to reach socialism and communism via a new democratic republic, towards a bourgeois democratic republic is concerned, the CPN (Maoist) has time and again clarified its principled position towards the historical necessity of passing through a sub-stage of democratic republic in the specificities of Nepal.” (The Royal Regression and the Question of the Democratic Republic, March 15, 2005)
Our Party had pointed out in an article in our organ People’s war:
“No Maoist would say it is wrong to fight for the demand of a Republic and for the overthrow of the autocratic monarchy. And likewise, none would oppose the forging of a united front of all those who are opposed to the main enemy at any given moment. Needless to say, such a united front would be purely tactical in nature and cannot, and should not, under any circumstances, determine the path and direction of the revolution itself. The problem with the theorization by the CPN(M) lies in making the fight against autocracy into a substage of NDR and, what is even worse, making the substage overwhelm (dominate and determine) the very direction and path of the revolution. The programme and strategy of NDR drawn up by the Party prior to its launching of the armed struggle, the targets to be overthrown and even the concrete class analysis made earlier based on which the revolution had advanced so far, are now made subordinate to the needs of the so-called substage of Nepalese revolution. It is like the case of the tail itself wagging the dog. The substage of bourgeois democratic republic has become the all-determining factor. It has subsumed the class war, set aside the strategy of protracted people’s war, brought multiparty democracy or political competition with the bourgeois-feudal parties as the most important strategy, nay, path, of the Nepalese revolution.”
The fight against monarchy or the King has become the be-all-and-end-all—the ultimate goal—for the leadership of CPN(M). The concepts of NDR, socialism and communism have become relegated to a secondary position and are subsumed by the concept of sub-stage of fight against the King.
In fact, such an understanding was reflected in the statements and interviews given by comrade Prachanda himself after the people’s war in Nepal confronted serious difficulties in the phase of strategic offensive and the final assault did not fetch the anticipated results. For instance, in his interview with the BBC in 2006, com Prachanda spoke of a new Nepal without the need for smashing the old state:
“We believe that the Nepali people will go for a republic and in a peaceful way the process of rebuilding Nepal will go forward.
“In five years’ time Nepal will move towards being a beautiful, peaceful and progressive nation.
“In five years’ time the millions of Nepalis will already be moving ahead with a mission to make a beautiful future, and Nepal will truly start becoming a heaven on earth.”
He further asserted that a democratic republic elected in such a way will solve the problems of Nepalis!!
“We believe that with the election of a constituent assembly, a democratic republic will be formed in Nepal. And this will solve the problems of Nepalis and lead the country into a more progressive path.”
In an Interview to an Italian newspaper L’espresso in Nov 2006 Prachanda further elaborated his vision of future Nepal as that of transforming into a bourgeois republic like that of Switzerland:
“In ten years we’ll change the whole scenario, rebuilding this country to prosperity. In 20 years we could be similar to Switzerland. This is my goal for Nepal.”
And he intends to use foreign investment to achieve the above transformation of Nepal:
“we will welcome foreign investors, using capital from abroad for the well being of Nepal.”
The above lines do not go beyond bourgeois nationalist sentiment and lack a proletarian class outlook. How will Nepal start becoming a “heaven on earth” after becoming a bourgeois republic? How can the formation of a so-called democratic republic “solve the problems of Nepalis”? Why is Prachanda dreaming of making Nepal into a bourgeois Switzerland instead of a socialist paradise? Even when comrade Prachanda had declared this to be his goal for Nepal in the next 20 years it is a pity that hardly any voice was raised within the Party. In fact, such pronouncements by Prachanda and other leaders of your Party have only increased after the elections to the CA. The entire direction and programme of your Party is towards the establishment and consolidation of a bourgeois democratic republic instead of a people’s republic.
Our people’s war article had further pointed out:
“Can Nepal free itself from the clutches of imperialism after becoming a (bourgeois) democratic republic in the present imperialist era? Does the CPN(M) really think that the “process of rebuilding Nepal will go forward in a peaceful way”? And is there a single instance in world history where such a peaceful process of rebuilding has taken place? Does not the history of world revolution show that bitter class struggle, bloody and violent at times, continues even after decades following the capture of power by the proletariat? Then how could com. Prachanda think of such a peaceful process of rebuilding Nepal?
“Do the parties belonging to the SPA really fight imperialism and feudalism in Nepal? Is there a guarantee that the CPN(M) will defeat the bourgeois-feudal parties, with which it wants to go for political competition in the elections, and ensure that Nepal does not drift into the clutches of imperialism and Indian expansionism? How could one be so naive as to believe that once the elections to the Constituent Assembly are over and Nepal becomes a Republic, not under the leadership of the working class party but may be under an alliance of a hotch-potch combination of Parties i.e., an alliance of ruling class and working class under CPN(M), the country would free itself from feudalism and imperialism and become a “beautiful, peaceful and progressive nation” ?
The same understanding of the sub-stage wa s reflected in the declaration by the Maoist spokesperson Krishna Bahadur Mahara in November 2006 that the pact between the Seven-Party Alliance and the Maoists should continue until the end of feudalism in the country, or at least for ten years.
Thus from the various interviews of comrade Prachanda and other leaders of the CPN(M) we can clearly see a basic shift in the Maoist position from the immediate aim of accomplishing the new democratic revolution with the goal of fighting for socialism and communism, to the establishment of a “multi-party democratic republic” through elections and bringing social transformation through peaceful means within the framework of the old state structure. This goes against the Marxist Leninist understanding on state as well as the stage of revolution.
The non-proletarian class stand of the CPN(M) and the confusion and deviation that had arisen concerning the people’s democratic republic arises from the above theory of substage.
On CPN(M)’s understanding of Indian expansionism
During Prachanda’s official visit to India, he also used the occasion to hobnob with comprador-feudal parties like JD(U), Nationalist Congress, Samajwadi Party, RJD, LJP etc., besides informal meetings with Sonia Gandhi, Digvijay Singh, and some BJP leaders like LK Advani, Rajnath Singh and Murali Manohar Joshi. Perhaps his strategy was to cultivate good relations with the fascist BJP in case it wins in the next Parliamentary elections. His remarks during his India visit reflected, at best, his underassessment about the danger posed by Indian expansionism to Nepal and illusions regarding the character of the Indian state. And, at worse, it shows his opportunism in making a complete turn-about with regard to his assessment of India after winning the elections.
This attitude can be seen in his lauding the role of India in achieving the “smooth and peaceful” transition in Nepal and also praising India for its help in arranging the meeting between CPN(M) and SPA in Delhi and in forging a common front of the eight parties against the King. While talking to Rajnath Singh whose Hindu fascist party was responsible for the destruction of Babari Masjid and for inciting communal attacks against Muslims and Christians and genocide in Gujarat, Prachanda spoke of the common cultural heritage of the two countries and about Ayodhya. Hugging Manmohan Singh he even requested that India should assist Nepal in drafting the new Constitution! It is a great insult to the people of both Nepal and India and amounts to surrendering the sovereignty of Nepal to Indian rulers. He knows our party’s stand regarding the drafting of the Indian Constitution and its anti-people, pro-imperialist class content. Yet, he chose to seek the help of the Indian rulers in drafting the Constitution of Nepal!! This is not just pragmatism but a clean and clear deviation from the ML standpoint and even goes against the spirit of nationalism that he had been speaking of.
Failure to arrive at a correct objective assessment and understanding of Indian expansionism and its role in South Asia would have far-reaching consequences on revolutions in the countries of the region. The CPN(M) had, by and large, a correct understanding regarding Indian expansionism until it went into agreement with the major comprador-feudal parties constituting the SPA in 2006. There were, of course, some problems such as an over-assessment of the contradiction between India and US imperialism and the eagerness of CPN(M) to utilize the supposed contradiction. Our Party delegation had warned about the danger of falling into the trap set by the Indian expansionist ruling classes and cautioned you against hob-nobbing with the leaders of the various reactionary ruling class parties in India, particularly the BJP and the Congress, but you continued to maintain relations in the name of utilizing the contradictions in the interest of the revolution in Nepal. We warned you that the opposite would happen, and that eventually, it is not you but the Indian ruling classes who would utilize your soft approach and influence your ranks, including the leadership. The counter-revolutionary intelligence wing of India, RAW (Research & Analysis Wing), and the leaders of the various reactionary political parties in India had been very active in sowing illusions and ideological confusion among the rank and file of the CPN(M) but your Party leadership continued to cultivate and maintain intimate relations with these reactionary forces. The extent of the influence of these forces and the damage caused to the revolution could be gauged by the fact that several times your leadership had pleaded that strong words against Indian expansionism be dropped in the statements issued by our two Parties as well as in the statements issued by CCOMPOSA.
However, in spite of these deviations, overall, until 2005, there had been a collective struggle by our two Parties and by other Maoist Parties in South Asia against Indian expansionism. The CCOMPOSA too was formed explicitly with the aim of fighting against Indian expansionism and achieving unity and collective effort for advancing the revolutions in South Asia. But, after your 12-point agreement with the SPA, this struggle against Indian expansionism began to be blunted over time finally reaching a stage where your leadership even went to the extent of showering praise on the Indian ruling classes and taking their guidance.
We appeal to the leadership and the entire rank and file of the CPN(M) to reconsider their stand towards Indian expansionism and to adopt a firm stance. The diplomatic relations between states should not run counter to the principle of proletarian internationalism.
On the South Asia Soviet Federation
The concept of South Asia Soviet Federation (SASF) was brought forth by the CPN(M) in 2001 and was described as a contribution of comrade Prachanda to the theory of MLM. To cite from the document entitled Great Leap Forward:
“Comrade Prachanda, in course of studying the particularity of Nepalese society and revolution, has paid necessary attention to the context of revolution in South Asian countries too. Comrade Prachanda says, “Because of the distinct conditions of this region, it becomes clear that it is inevitable for the communist revolutionaries to devise an integrated strategy against the Indian ruling class of monopoly bourgeoisie and their agents in various countries. This inevitability has knocked at the door of the necessity of turning this region into a new Soviet federation of the twenty-first century.” (Great Leap Forward…, p. 24)
Explaining the meaning and significance of this concept your Party wrote:
“Here, special attention has been paid to the necessity of developing a unified strategy as a common responsibility of revolutionary Communist Parties of this region in their struggle against Indian expansionism. The concept of unified strategy and that of a New Soviet Federation carries special significance.
“This concept is based upon the historic necessity of fighting jointly against Indian expansionism that has been a common enemy of revolutionary communist parties and oppressed masses of different countries in this South Asian region. This reflects theoretically the common feeling of historical friendship and aspiration of liberation that has developed since long among the people of different countries in this region.”
In an Interview in the year 2002 our General Secretary, comrade Ganapathy, had expressed our Party’s stand on the concept of SASF and the wrong understanding of CPN(M) that it is extremely difficult to make revolution in Nepal and almost impossible to sustain the revolution after achieving a victory without the establishment of the SASF. Your Party had made the formation of SASF as a pre-condition for the victory of revolution in Nepal. This concept is similar to the Trotskyite concept of permanent revolution that denies the establishment of socialism in one country. Your Party document specifically mentioned that it is almost impossible to sustain the revolution in Nepal without a revolution in the entire sub-continent. The success of revolutions in India and other countries of South Asia has been made into a pre-condition for sustaining the revolution in Nepal. We think this too is a reason for the loss of conviction in advancing the revolution in Nepal to its final victory and, instead, taking the path of reconciliation and class compromise.
On Prachanda Path
Much has been written about Prachanda Path in your documents, articles and interviews in the past seven years. It has also been a topic of discussion during our bilateral meetings in the initial years of Initiation of people’s war in Nepal.
When specifically asked by your delegation, we had reiterated our stand in our bilateral meetings that building a personality cult will not help the Party or the revolution in the long run. We cited our own experiences in India at the time of comrade Charu Majumdar and advised you not to inculcate blind faith in individuals. Our firm opinion had always been that isms, paths, thoughts etc get established over a long process after they are vindicated in practice and have a clear scientific basis. We advised you that it was too hasty to speak of a new path or thought in Nepal just because some significant victories were achieved in the people’s war. You were not convinced and proceeded with “enriching and developing” MLM in the form of prachanda path and giving it a universal character.
While asserting that it is the creative application of MLM to the concrete conditions of Nepal and assuring others that you do not attribute universal significance to it you had, at the same time, tried to project it as a further development and enrichment of MLM with universal significance. Your document had mentioned thus:
“Prachanda Path has been termed in the historical Second National Conference of C.P.N. (Maoist) as an ideological synthesis of rich experiences of five years of the great People’s War. The Party, in this conference, has taken up Prachanda Path as an inseparable dialectical unity between international content and national expression, universality and particularity, whole and part, general and particular, and has comprehended that this synthesis of experiences of Nepalese revolution would serve world proletarian revolution and proletarian internationalism. (The Great Leap Forward: An Inevitable Need of History).
You had tried to explain the development of prachanda path theoretically as follows:
“Development of Prachanda Path is advancing ahead in its third phase. These phases can be presented as: political and military line of Nepalese revolution that was adopted in the Third Expanded Meeting of C.P.N. (Maoist) held in 1995 — the first phase; ideological synthesis of the rich experiences of five years of great People’s War that took place in the historical Second National Conference of C.P.N. (Maoist) held in 2001 – the second phase and the process of development following this conference—the third phase. Along with the grasp of MLM, Prachanda Path has been developing in the process of its defense, application and development and this concept also carries specific international significance regarding the process of development of revolutionary theory.”
Your Party had listed out the contributions of comrade Prachanda in the field of ideology, dialectical materialism, political and military line, and so on. But after going through the documents and writings of the leaders of CPN(M), it is still not clear as to what has been developed anew in the real sense in the formulations made by comrade Prachanda in these fields.
In the name of creative application of MLM to the concrete conditions in Nepal and further development and enrichment of the theory of MLM “in the conditions of 21st century”, your Party and its chief, comrade Prachanda, have brought forth several formulations that negate the fundamental teachings of comrades Lenin and Mao. You have justified this by asserting repeatedly that dogmatism has become the main obstacle for advancing the revolutions in the contemporary world. For instance, com Basanta, a CC member writes:
“Our Party, under the leadership of Chairman Comrade Prachanda, believes that the analysis of imperialism made by Lenin and Mao in the 20th century cannot scientifically guide the Maoist revolutionaries to develop correct strategy and tactics to fight in the 21st century.” (“International Dimension of Prachanda Path”, The Worker #10, pp. Page 84)
Your CC Plenum document of November 2005 goes on to show how globalised imperialism has caused some of the analyses of Lenin and Mao to lag behind thereby implying that these have become outdated and irrelevant. It says:
“…an important preface that today’s globalized imperialism has caused some of the analyses of Lenin and Mao on the strategy of imperialism and proletarian movement to lag behind in the same manner as to how a number of Marx’s and Engels’ analysis of revolution in Europe, in the period of competitive capitalism, had caused to lag behind in the situation, when imperialism had developed till the First World War.”
How the analyses of Lenin and Mao on the strategy of imperialism and proletarian revolution are lagging behind is not clear. But for some rhetoric, there is no substantial reasoning or analysis on the part of CPN(M) to show the inadequacy of the analyses of Lenin and Mao or how their analysis of imperialism in the 20th century cannot scientifically guide the Maoist revolutionaries to develop correct strategy and tactics to fight in the 21st century.
After witnessing the full flowering of the concept of prachanda path one thing has now become clear to the Maoist revolutionaries everywhere: Lenin and Mao had indeed become an obstacle to Prachanda and the CPN(M) for carrying out their reformist, right opportunist formulations. They needed to discard the Leninist concept of state and revolution, and imperialism and proletarian revolution. They needed to throw overboard Mao’s theory of new democracy and two stages of revolution in semi-colonial semi-feudal countries, and to replace the path of PPW with an eclectic combination or fusion of people’s war and insurrection, and finally pursue the same old revisionist line put forth by the CPSU under Khrushchov against which comrade Mao had fought relentlessly. Prachanda path had finally turned out to be a theory that negates the fundamental teachings of Lenin and Mao and the essence of prachanda path is seen to be no different from the Khrushchovite thesis of peaceful transition.
On Proletarian Internationalism
Another serious deviation in the leadership of CPN(M) lies in its abandoning the principle of proletarian internationalism, shelving the CCOMPOSA and the fight against Indian expansionism and US imperialism, adopting a totally nationalistic approach and sheer pragmatism in dealing with other countries and Parties. We can describe this trend as Left nationalism or radical nationalism displayed by the bourgeois class during its incipient stage of development. That is, nationalism of the national bourgeois class. Comrade Prachanda obliterates class content and class perspective, mixes up bourgeois democracy with people’s democracy and justifies all opportunist alliances as being in the interests of Nepal. When any tactic is divorced from our strategic goal of New Democratic Revolution it ends in opportunism.
This is contrary to the principle of proletarian internationalism as envisaged by our great Marxist teachers and is opposed to MLM ideology. This stand will not promote, but rather harm, the interests of Nepalese masses, undermine Nepal’s sovereignty in the long run, creates illusions on the reactionary parties in Nepal, and Indian expansionists outside. It undermines the need for a united struggle by ML parties world-wide against imperialism, particularly US imperialism.
What is surprising, it was the same Prachanda who spoke of South Asia Soviet Federation, and attacked Stalin accusing him of displaying a narrow nationalist attitude by subordinating the interests of the world proletariat to the interests of Russia. Whatever he spoke against Stalin now actually applies to his policies after assuming power through elections.
It is a great paradox that a Maoist-led government has not even ventured to severe its ties with the Zionist Israeli terrorist state particularly after its brutal blatant aggression of Gaza and the massacre of hundreds of Palestinians when governments such as those in Venezuela and Bolivia had dared to do so. Even more disgustful is the manner in which the CPN(M) leadership has been trying to get into the good books of the American imperialists. To curry favour with the American imperialists, a section of the CPN(M) leadership had even assured that it would remove the Maoist “tail” from its Party name. It is high time the CPN(M) take a consistently anti-imperialist, anti-Indian expansionist approach and work to forge close, working relations with other forces worldwide to weaken imperialism and the reactionary forces.
Only through resolute struggle against the Right Opportunist Line pursued by the leadership of the CPN(M) can a revolutionary line be re-established and bring the Nepalese revolution to its consummation
Lack of conviction in the ideology of MLM, concept of quick victory and eclecticism with regard to the path of revolution in Nepal arising out of the series of successes in the people’s war, a wrong assessment of the impact of changes in the contemporary world leading to the conclusion that a qualitative change had occurred in the nature of the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution, and a lack of a strategic outlook to transform temporary defeats in a few battles into victories in the overall war, had led to a drastic drift in the stand of CPN(M) and its slide into Right opportunism. The turning point in the people’s war in Nepal occurred when the PLA led by the CPN(M) failed to smash enemy fortifications and suffered serious losses in the second half of 2005.
The 2005 CC Plenum had “resolved that the very strategy of protracted PW needs to be further developed to cater to the necessities of the 21st century. In particular, several decades on it is seen that the protracted PWs launched in different countries have faced obstacles or got liquidated after reaching the state of strategic offensive, as imperialism has attempted to refine its interventionist counter-insurgency war strategy as a ‘long war.’ In this context, if the revolutionaries do mechanistically cling to the ‘protracted’ aspect of the PW at any cost, it would in essence play into the hands of imperialism and reaction.” (The Worker#10: Page 58)
Thus the reason for the present predicament of the CPN(M) and its change of strategy and path of the revolution lies in its inconsistency in adhering to the political line and the path of PPW enunciated in its own basic documents. While it correctly formulated the present stage of revolution in Nepal and the strategy and path of revolution in its founding documents, it landed into confusion regarding the strategy within five years of initiation of people’s war.
The series of victories in the first few years of people’s war were beyond the expectations of even the Party leadership. These victories also created a wrong thinking in the Party leadership that final victory could be quickly achieved, and instead of firmly adhering to the strategy of PPW which had brought about these successes, it began to develop new theories like the fusion theory and began to develop new strategies not only for the revolution in Nepal but also for the world revolution. Initially it expected to capture Kathmandu in a short period without a sober assessment of the support which the Nepalese ruling classes led by the King could get from the imperialists and Indian expansionists and also overassessing the contradictions between the imperialists and big countries like China and India.
The document entitled “Present Situation and Our Tasks”, presented by comrade Prachanda and adopted by the CC, CPN(M) in May 2003, made the following assessment:
“Had world imperialism, particularly American imperialism in today’s context, not helped the old state directly, the Nepalese revolution would have by today developed further ahead with relative ease and somewhat differently through the use of the thought, strategy and tactics synthesized in the Party’s historic Second National Conference. The Nepalese revolution has been affected by the activities of American imperialism, like bringing the most brutal and fascist feudal elements through the infamous palace massacre to take on the Nepalese People’s War to intensifying its interventionist activities in Nepal with the declaration of the so-called war against terrorism after the September 11 event. We can clearly and with experience say that had the old feudal state and its royal army not had direct involvement of American military advisors in planning, construction, training and direction in the post “emergency” period and that had it not received financial and military assistance from foreign reactionary forces including America, the old rotten feudal state in Nepal had no chance of surviving in the face of People’s War till today.”
In an interview to The Times of India in September 2005 comrade Prachanda said that his party would have “captured Kathmandu by now if countries like the US, India and the UK had not extended military support to Nepal’s ‘tottering’ feudal rulers.”
Is it not wishful thinking on the part of the CPN(M) and com Prachanda to expect that revolution in Nepal can become victorious without fighting imperialist intervention? Intervention in the internal affairs of every country is the very essence and nature of imperialism. Even to imagine that they could have rapidly achieved victory if other countries had not extended military support to the tottering feudal rulers of Nepal smacks of romanticism.
Thus, due to all these factors which are but natural in the course of any revolution, the people’s war in Nepal had become stuck up in the stage of strategic stalemate or equilibrium in spite of tremendous victories and formation of the revolutionary organs of power in the vast countryside. Although it had declared that it had entered the stage of strategic counteroffensive by August 2004 and had even successfully implemented the first plan of the counteroffensive, which it summed up a year later, it realized that it is not possible to capture the urban centres and Kathmandu in the immediate future. Its assessment of a quick victory did not seem feasible. While it has control over the vast countryside it is unable to stage a general armed insurrection or to implement its theory of fusing the strategies of the Russian model of armed insurrection and the Chinese model of protracted people’s war or the so-called fusion theory. The United Revolutionary People’s Council (URPC), which the CPN(M) had formed as early as September 2001, has not been able to establish itself as a an organ of new democratic people’s power at the central level nor is it likely to do so in the immediate future.
CPN(M)’s deviation from the concept of PPW and its longing for a quick victory did not allow it to think of tiring out the enemy in incessant war, accumulating its own strength further, and making long-term preparations for defeating the enemy and smashing the state machine at the opportune time. It erroneously thought that the longer the war dragged on the more difficult and unfavourable will the situation be for the revolutionary forces as the reactionary forces and the armies of imperialist powers and India are bound to intervene militarily.
The CPN(M) began to be skeptical about the prospects of victory in a small country like Nepal when it is confronted by imperialism and there is no advancement of any strong revolutionary movement in other parts of the world.
“In the present context, when along with the restoration of capitalism in China there is no other socialist state existing, when despite objective condition turning favorable currently there is no advancement in any strong revolutionary movement under the leadership of the proletariat, and when world imperialism is pouncing on people everywhere like an injured tiger, is it possible for a small country with a specific geo-political compulsion like Nepal to gain victory to the point of capturing central state through revolution? This is the most significant question being put before the Party today. The answer to this question can only be found in Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and on this depends the future of the Nepalese revolution.”
If the CPN(M) had a deep and thorough understanding of the strategy of PPW it would have had adequate clarity on how to grapple with the situation in the event of external military intervention and transform the war into a national war and capture state power in the course of the war. But its lack of such understanding of PPW and its desire for quick victory led it to the highly dangerous short cut method of coming to power through interim government and participating in the elections in a so-called multiparty democratic republic following the elections to the Constituent assembly. Thus, instead of adhering to the Marxist Leninist understanding on the imperative need to smash the old state and establish the proletarian state (the people’s democratic state in the concrete conditions of semi-feudal semi-colonial Nepal) and advance towards the goal of socialism through the radical transformation of the society and all oppressive class relations, it chose to reform the existing state through an elected constituent assembly and a bourgeois democratic republic. It is indeed a great tragedy that it has come to this position in spite of having de facto power in most of the countryside.
The conclusion regarding the impossibility of achieving victory in the revolution through armed struggle is reflected clearly in Prachanda’s answer to a question by a correspondent of The Hindu in his Interview with comrade Prachanda in February 2006. When asked whether the decision was a recognition by he CPN(M) of the “impossibility of seizing power through armed struggle” and that “because of the strength of the RNA and the opposition of the international community, a new form of struggle is needed in order to overthrow the monarchy“, comrade Prachanda had replied that his Party had taken three things into consideration for arriving at the conclusion: the specificity of the political and military balance in today’s world; the experience of the 20th century; and the particular situation in the country – the class, political and power balance.
One is reminded of the PKI (Indonesian Communist Party) Chairman Aidit’s thesis during the 1960s according to which it was impossible to launch and carry out people’s war anywhere in the contemporary world.
PKI announced the “Method of Combining the Three Forms of Struggle”: guerilla warfare in the countryside, strikes by workers (especially transport workers) in the cities, and work among the armed forces. By putting forth such a combination the focus of the work of PKI had shifted from the foremost strategic task of developing people’s war in the countryside and establishing base areas to other tasks.
In an article you had rightly pointed out the reformist thinking in the Nepalese communist movement in the following words:
“In the Nepalese communist movement a rightist thinking has been dominant that accepts New Democracy as a strategy but follows reformism and parliamentarism as the tactics, that sacrifices the totality of strategy for the practical tactical gain and that regards strategy and tactics as mutually exclusive. Against such thinking we should pay special attention to understand the relations between strategy and tactics in a dialectical manner and to adopt such tactics as to help the strategy.”
Now your Party itself has become a victim of such Rightist thinking by accepting New Democracy as a strategy but following reformism and parliamentarism as tactics.
Whatever be the tactics adopted by the CPN(M) the most objectionable part is your projection of these tactics as a theoretically developed position which you think should be the model for the revolutions in the 21st century. You consider the ideologies developed by Lenin and Mao at the initial phase of international imperialism and proletarian revolution as having become inadequate and lagging behind at the present imperialistic phase. And, therefore, you claim that ‘the main issue is to develop MLM in the 21st century and to determine a new proletarian strategy.”
But what is new in the so-called new tactics proposed by the CPN(M)? How is it different from the arguments put forth by the Khrushchovite clique in the Soviet Union after the death of com Stalin? In the name of fighting against dogmatism or orthodox communism the leadership of CPN(M) had landed into a Right opportunist line.
Today the entire world is going through the worst ever economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. With American imperialism as the focus every country in the world is engulfed in the crisis which is threatening to erupt into social and political explosions. In such an excellent situation the Maoist revolutionary forces in every country can grow in strength by properly utilizing the favourable objective situation created by the crisis and achieve great advances in the revolutions in their respective countries. But unfortunately the Maoist Party in Nepal has chosen to strike a deal with the reactionary anti-people forces in the country and form a government that can in no way address any of the basic problems facing the Nepalese people or achieve the Basic programme of New Democracy and socialism. This peaceful path of com Prachanda has already led the Party and the PLA into a dark tunnel.
Our CC appeals to the leadership and ranks of the UCPN(M) to undertake a deep review of the wrong reformist line that the Party has been pursuing ever since it had struck an alliance with the SPA, became part of the interim government, participated in the elections to the CA, formed a government with the comprador-feudal parties, abandoned the base areas and demobilized the PLA and the YCL, deviated from the principle of proletarian internationalism and adopted a policy of appeasement towards imperialism, particularly American imperialism, and Indian expansionism. All these are a serious deviation from MLM and only work towards the strengthening of the status quoist forces and help imperialism in its hour of crisis. These have also created confusion among the revolutionary masses, weakened the revolutionary camp and gave the reactionary forces and imperialism a baton to attack the Maoist revolutionaries and communism ideologically.
A Maoist victory in Nepal, or at least the further consolidation of the vast Base Areas in that country, would have given rise to a new situation in South Asia, and a new democratic Nepal advancing towards socialism would have become a focal point, a rallying point, for the revolutionary forces in the region as well as all anti-imperialist, genuinely nationalist and democratic forces. It would have also played a significant role in the world-wide front against imperialism and assisted the national liberation struggles and revolutionary struggles thereby strengthening the cause of world socialist revolution. But the government led by CPN(M) under com Prachanda, on the contrary, has not even condemned the Israeli zionist brutal aggression and massacres of Palestinians in Gaza. It is really distressing and alarming to see this narrow nationalism, a policy of appeasement towards imperialism and a non-proletarian approach on the part of the CPN(M).
The same approach of CPN(M) is seen in the relations with India too. Com Prachanda, soon after the electoral victory, was all in praise for the role played by the Indian ruling classes in forging the alliance between the Maoists and SPA and bringing about the “smooth, peaceful transition” from monarchy to parliamentary democracy in Nepal. And when com Prachanda visited India in September he went a step ahead by hob-nobbing with the worst reactionary leaders of the Hindu chauvinist BJP such as LK Advani, Murali Manohar Joshi and Rajnath Singh. Whose class interests would all these serve? Do not these point to a high level of opportunism on the part of the UCPN(M) and abdication of all proletarian norms in fraternal relations? We call upon the entire ranks of the UCPN(M) to immediately shed these bourgeois nationalist (if at all these qualify for such a description), non-proletarian policies which totally deviate from MLM and proletarian internationalism.
Our CC has followed the deliberations at the national convention of CPN(M) in November 2008, gone through the two documents placed by comrade Prachanda and Mohan Baidya and the various writings by your Party leaders in the magazines and news papers. While the inner-Party struggle is an encouraging sign and a positive development in the life of the Party, it is very important and vital to ensure that it is carried out in a more thoroughgoing, fearless and frank manner so as the initiative of the entire Party cadre is released and a correct revolutionary line is established through collective participation of the entire Party.
Now that the government headed by comrade Prachanda has collapsed after the withdrawal of support by the UML and others at the behest of the Indian ruling classes, American imperialists and the local reactionaries, the Party leadership should be better placed to understand how the reactionaries can manage the show from the sidelines or outside and obstruct even moves such as sacking of the Army chief by a Prime Minister. This is a clear warning to the Maoists in Nepal that they cannot do whatever they like through their elected government against the wishes of the imperialists and Indian expansionists. At least now they should realize the futility of going into the electoral game and, instead, should concentrate on building class struggle and advancing the people’s war in the countryside. They should pull out the PLA from the UN-supervised barracks which are virtually like prisons for the fighters, reconstruct the organs of people’s revolutionary power at various levels, retake and consolidate the base areas, and expand the guerrilla war, and class and mass struggles throughout the country. There is no short cut to achieve real power to the people. If the Party leadership hesitates to continue the people’s war at this critical juncture of history and persists in the present right opportunist line then history will hold the present leadership responsible for the abortion of revolution in Nepal.
With Revolutionary Greetings,
Politbureau, CPI(Maoist) May 20, 2009