Revolution in South Asia

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Prachanda Calls for Defense of National Independence as Top Priority

Posted by Ka Frank on January 1, 2010

This article was posted on My Republica, December 28, 2009

‘National independ-ence’ top priority in Dahal’s proposal

KATHMANDU: The issue of national independence will get top priority in the Maoist agendas in the days ahead in the wake of growing “Indian interference” in the country. Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal made a political proposal in this regard at the party’s politburo meeting on Monday. “The party’s strategy will change in the days ahead with the issue of national independence coming into prominence,” said Maoist Vice-Chairman Narayankaji Shrestha.

The UCPN (Maoist) had been launching struggle for five main agendas: civilian supremacy, national independence, peace, new constitution and Maoist-led national unity government. Now the issue of national independence has come to the forefront of the Maoist agendas, and the party’s move will be the formation of a larger coalition incorporating the leftist, republican and nationalist forces. The party’s main slogan will be: “Let’s all nationalist and republican forces unite, let’s protect the national independence”.

The political proposal “An Analytic Proposal on the Current Political Situation” presented by Dahal stressed the need for “national independence” as India has always played a decisive role in forming and toppling of the successive governments in Kathmandu. “The proposal states that a large coalition is the need of the hour to counter the Indian interference in virtually every sector including political and military,” said Maoist politburo member Devendra Paudel.

The political proposal also states that the Maoist party should move ahead sincerely for the completion of peace process and constitution writing. “We are for moving ahead committed to completing the peace process and constitution-writing and to stepping up pressure from the people’s level to defeat the conspiracy against the peace process and for writing a new constitution from outside the Constituent Assembly,” said Shrestha.

The Maoist party will also move ahead while remaining committed to the integration and rehabilitation of the Maoist army. “We will not let the conspiracy prevail at any cost,” Shrestha added.

The Maoist chairman has also concluded that the talks with the ruling coalition did not pay off as the latter wanted the Maoists to be “submissive”, dissolve the Maoist army and quit the party’s socio-political agenda of change including a forward-looking restructuring of the state.

Maoist leader Top Bahadur Rayamajhi, Krishna Bahadur Mahara and Netra Bikram Chand had commented on Dahal’s proposal on Sunday. The politburo meeting will continue Monday. The Maoist chairman’s proposal will have to be endorsed by the central committee.


8 Responses to “Prachanda Calls for Defense of National Independence as Top Priority”

  1. Ka Frank said

    Here’s another article on this PB meeting:

    Maoists Slam Reactionary Forces (The Himalayan Times, 12-31)

    KATHMANDU: Politburo meeting of the Unified CPN-Maoist has come to the conclusion that the national reactionary forces were joining hands with foreign reactionary forces against the party, Maoist spokesperson Dinanath Sharma said today.

    Sharma claimed that politburo meeting dwelt on the character and forms of the Nepal’s governments since 1950’s Sugauli Treaty with India and debated the treaties and agreements made by several governments. He added that the leaders concluded that the existing government was only continuing the decades-old practice. “We’ll create awareness among the people and the parties about the issues of the national independence,” he said.

    Another Maoist leader, Biswo Bhakta Dulal ‘Aahuti’, told THT after the meeting that national independence would replace civilian supremacy, as the party’s top agenda. “Though the slogan of national independence was an integral part of Nepal’s leftist movement, we are pursuing it aggressively, as foreign intervention has intensified,” he claimed.

    As many as 17 politburo members spoke on Prachanda’s one-page political proposal, titled ‘Analytical report of contemporary political situation’ today. They included Amik Sherchan, Dev Gurung, Sonam Sathi, Janardan Sharman, Hisila Yami, Hemanta Prakash Oli ‘Sudarsan’, Dharmendra Bastola, Bhim Prasad Gautam, Shakti Basnet, Hitraj Pande, Khadga Bahadur Biswokarma, Dil Bahadur Shrestha, Biswo Bhakta Dulal ‘Aahuti’ Dharmendra Bastola, Biswonath Sah, Hitman Shakya, Narayan Prasad Sharma and advisor Bhakta Bahadur Shrestha.

    It was decided to continue the politburo meeting on Saturday prior to the Central Committee meeting in which the chairman would address the issues raised by the politburo members.
    The CC will plan the fourth phase of movement, including the type of struggle in the parliament.

  2. Ka Frank said

    In this article, the Deputy Commander of the PLA projects that the PLA and the Nepalese Army can work together to protect Nepal’s national independence. This clearly leads away from preparing the masses and the PLA for completing the new democratic revolution, which requires the defeat of the reactionary NA.

    PLA won’t dissolve before integration: Baldev (Kantipur)

    SINDHULI, JAN 01 – Deputy Commander of the Maoist’s Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) Chandra Dev Khanal ‘Baldev’ said on Friday that they would continue their struggle until they were integrated into the national army.

    Our weapons will remain with us till the formation of a national army by merging the PLA and Nepal Army (NA), Khanal said.

    Inaugurating a sports function organised to mark the ninth anniversary of the PLA in Sindhuli today, the PLA deputy head said, they are ready to carry their weapon for fifty more years lest the two armies does not merge.

    Claiming that the new war will be against the Indian expansionism and hegemony, Baldev said the new war would be fought together by all the national security forces including NA, PLA, Nepal Police, Armed Police Force and National Investigation Department.

    He also warned the government of dire consequences if the discharged Maoist combatants do not receive proper management as per the agreement.

  3. Alastair Reith said

    Ka Frank – surely such statements from the PLA can be seen as tactical, i.e. in the context of a situation where integration (which would in practice mean the taking over of the army, or at least it’s neutralisation, by the Maoists) is looking increasingly unlikely, Maoist leaders are trying to downplay the threat that integration poses to the state by saying stuff like this?

    I think your confusing the public statements of the party leadership with their real intentions and the trajectory their practice has followed.

  4. Ka Frank said

    There is no basis in history for the peaceful “taking over” or “neutralization” of a reactionary army by revolutionary forces from within or without. The most important historical experience is the PKI’s efforts in the early 1960s to cultivate members in the Indonesian armed forces, particularly the air force. This attempt to build up the “pro-people” aspect of the Indonesian state paralysed the more revolutionary sections of the PKI and helped pave the way for the US-backed army coup, massacring between one and two million communists and supporters.

    This strategy also led to the ill-fated “September 30th Movement,” which attempted to head off a rumored army coup with a feeble revolt centered in the air force. This provided Suharto with the excuse he wanted to mount his bloody coup.

    For more on this bitter setback for the communist movement in Indonesia (from which it hasn’t yet recovered), see the article by the MLM Revolutionary Study Group, “The Destruction the Indonesian Communist Party in 1965 and the Road Not Taken.”

    Integrating the 19,000 member PLA (minus 4,000 under-age soldiers due to be discharged by UN mandate starting Jan 7) into the 95,000 Nepalese Army will neutralize the PLA as an independent political and military force, NOT the Nepalese Army. The army high command is opposing any “unit integration” of the PLA because this could cause some problems for them if they decide to make a decisive move against the Maoists, and they see no need to make this concession to the PLA. They would rather wait things out with the PLA and wait for the most favorable time to strike.

    You are trying to put a positive slant on a revisionist political line that sows illusions about the nature of the state in Nepal (and in general). This does not serve the interests of the Nepalese people and the revolution.

  5. Alastair Reith said

    The Maoists have always demanded unit integration, including the integration of key commanders at a commanding level. They don’t show any signs of backing away from this demand, and in the absence of integration are very much all about preserving the PLA. For example, the constant delays with discharging the UN-disqualified ‘child soldiers’ don’t indicate that the Mzoists intend their army to just be dissolved into nothing.

    The main thing to be kept in mind about the peace process the UCPN (M) is involved in is that it is a peace process on *their terms*. In some ways that’s unique, for a revolutionary party to enter peace negotiations from a position of strength. Off the top of my head I can’t think of any other notable cases.

    The Maobadi are not negotiating for their existence, they are not surrendering in the face of unbeatable odds. They entered the peace process at a time when they controlled most of the countryside, had openly flooded the cities with their cadre and managed to topple the monarchy and confine the army, who they’d been shooting at for years, to barracks. Not only this, but they banned it from recruiting new soldiers, from buying new weapons and even from stocking up on ammunition! There were recent media reports that the Nepal Army lacks enough ammunition to even conduct a nationwide training exercise. While it wouldn’t surprise me if they had reserves they have not officially declared, and while the Nepali govt has been seriously talking about importing weapons (including 50 tanks) from India, the peace accords severely restricted the activities of the Nepal Army and gave the Maoists what they wanted – the space to work openly in the cities and build support amongst the workers, students and the urban population in general. They have done this enthusiastically and succesfully, and now have massive bases amongst the militant urban proletariat, the student unions and so on.

    The line of integration is complemented by their demand for reduction in the size of the army, and ultimnately the end of the standing army and it’s replacement with the armed people, with a system of militias.

    Bhattarai said in an interview in April 2008: “The strength of the security forces after the two are combined would be roughly over 100,000. Going by the country’s population, such a number may appear necessary. But we have to reduce the size of the army in the long term. I think that instead of having such a huge number of army, we could go for trained militias who would defend the country at times of war.”

    Their aim has always been to undermine and weaken the Nepali Army and the Nepali state, and it is undeniable that they have succeeded in doing this. Compared to where they were in 2006, with effective control of most of the countryside but not much of a presence in the cities and, as they saw it, no immediate chance to defeat the Nepal Army without risking defeat, a massive bloodbath and foreign intervention, they are in an infinitely stronger position. They can now mobilise hundreds of thousands of people across the urban areas of Nepal, and while certain structures may have had to go underground, there is no evidence to suggest that they have lost their mass base in the countryside. They never returned the land they seized. The reactionary parties were conned and the Maoists are in fact seizing *more* land now, not giving any of it back.

    Their political line has never changed, and as Mao said, “the correctness or incorrectness of the ideological and political line decides everything.” They have *not* and as far as I can see will *never* adopt a line of peaceful revolution, as the KPI did.

    What’s more, the defining difference between the practice of the two groups is that while the PKI essentially based it’s strategy around Sukarno protecting it from the army while it pursued it’s legal, above ground activities, the UCPN (M) has retained the PLA and built up the YCL as a paramilitary force. There is no Sukarno in Nepal – where the Indonesian communists relied on the President for protection, the Nepali Maoists have made the President and his actions in the Katawal affair the explicit target of months of protest. The KPI’s line was ‘support the government and the president’, whereas the line of the Maobadi is ‘down with government and down with the President’.

    There are lessons to be learned from the Indonesian disaster, and I expect the leaders of the UCPN (M) have studied what happened there, but there are not many direct comparisons to be made. In 1963 KPI leader Aidit was raising the slogan “For the maintenance of civil order, help the police.” Today in Nepal the YCL is engaging in street fights with the police!

    The police stations destroyed during the Peoples War have still mostly not been rebuilt (money was only allocated towards this very recently), and landlords, political cadres of the NC and the UML and capitalist employers in Nepal all complain of the lack of ‘security’ and ‘law and order’, of Maoist ‘impunity’. The state was weakened substantially in the PW, was weakened and restrained further with the signing of the CPA, and the Maoists have steadily strengthened themselves politically, financially and organisationally for the past several years.

    All the recent policy statements of the UCPN (M) leadership relating to the nature of the state indicate their line is as revolutionary as ever, and very far from the ‘strenghten the positive aspect, weaken the negative aspect’ line of the KPI in the 60s.

    The UCPN (M) is demanding integration and pressing for it, but they are not basing their entire strategy on this particular struggle. In the absence of integration, they have refused all calls to dissolve the PLA and resisted all attempts to weaken it. The fighters of the PLA have used the past few years to study, train and prepare for the struggle to come. The cantonments have been turned into universities of revolution.

    Bhattarai summed their strategic trajectory up well in the recent interview with the WPRM.


    “After the Constituent Assembly elections, when our party emerged as the largest force and we abolished the monarchy, there was a lot of enthusiasm among the masses of the people. Our party’s tactical line had been correctly implemented. That gave a tremendous force to the basic masses of the people and our support greatly increased. For the time being we cooperated with the interim government also, because by participating in that coalition government we thought we could work within the bureaucracy, within the army, within the police and within the judiciary, in order to build our support base through those state structures, which would help us for future revolutionary activities. With that in mind we participated in the coalition government. After the abolition of the monarchy, when the main contradiction would start with the bourgeois democratic forces, then our struggle took a new turn.

    After April 2009 [when Prachanda resigned from government], that phase of the Constituent Assembly and implementation of the bourgeois democratic republic was more or less complete. Our understanding is to now carry on the struggle forwards to complete the New Democratic Revolution. So again we made a tactical shift, showing that from now on our major fight would be with the bourgeois democrat parties who are backed by imperialism and the expansionist forces. With this thinking our party left the government and now we are focusing on the mass movement, so that now we could really practice what we have been preaching. That means the fusion of the strategy of PPW and the tactic of general insurrection. What we have been doing since 2005 is the path of preparation for general insurrection through our work in the urban areas and our participation in the coalition government.

    But what one should not forget was that we had never ever surrendered the gains of the PPW, what we had gained during the ten years of struggle. We had formulated the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), we had our base areas, we had a lot of mass support, and all this we have been able to preserve. But we have not been able to convey to our comrades outside the country that the gains of the People’s War were never surrendered. The PLA is still with us, and the arms we collected during that war are still with us within the single-key system, monitored by the United Nations team, but basically the key is with us and the army is with us and we have never surrendered. This shows we have not abandoned the path of PPW. What we have done is suspended that part of the activity for some time and focused more on the urban activities so that we could make a correct balance between the military and political aspects of struggle. After some time we will be able to combine both aspects of PPW and general insurrection to mount a final insurrection to capture state power. We would like to stress that we are still continuing in the path of revolution, but the main features we tried to introduce were to make a fusion between the theory of PPW and the tactic of general insurrection. After coming to the peaceful phase I think whatever confusion there was has been mitigated and people realise we are still on the revolutionary path.

    Now we are preparing for the final stage of the completion of the New Democratic Revolution. In a few months when the contradiction will sharpen between the proletarian and bourgeois forces, maybe there will be some intervention from the imperialist and expansionist forces. During that time we may again be forced to have another round of armed clashes. Our party is already aware of that and we have decided to again focus on the basic masses of the people both in urban and rural areas. To strengthen those mass bases we have formed the United National People’s Movement, which will be preparing for both struggle in the urban areas and to strengthen our mass base in the countryside. In the decisive stage of confrontation with the reactionary forces we could again combine our bases in the rural areas and our support in the urban areas for a final assault against the enemy to complete the revolution.

    I would like to say we have never abandoned PPW, the only thing is that there has been a tactical shift within the strategy. This is one point. The other point is that being a Maoist we believe in continuous revolution. Revolution never stops. Even when one stage is completed, immediately the new stage should be continued. Only that way can we reach socialism and communism. That is a basic tenet of Maoism. Being a Maoist, this reasoning of continuous revolution can never be abandoned. We are still in the course of PPW, though the tactics have shifted according to the nature of the time. But there is a confusion in the international community of proletarian forces, and we would like to clarify this, but I think this thing can be better done in practice than in words. Anyhow we are confident we can convince our comrades who have some doubts about our activities that we are still pursuing the path of revolution. We will complete the revolution in a new way and we have to show that revolution is possible even in the 21st century. And Nepal can be a model of revolution in the 21st century.”

  6. Arthur said

    I agree with much of Alastair’s responses but would strongly emphasize that the Maoists are preparing AGAINST any attempt by their opponents to resume the war rather than FOR renewing the war themselves. Naturally an important aspect of their fight to prevent resumption of the war is to prepare for victoriously fighting any such war if the enemy imposes war, as any non-pacifist understands.

    In Nepal it is in the interests of opponents to present the Maoists defensive preparations as offensive and their insistence that they want to preserve the peace as dishonest. This is because the semi-feudal (and bureaucrat capital/NGO) ties that bind backward Nepalis to the ruling class have been thoroughly undermined by the freedom to organize throughout Nepal enabled by the peace agreement and coalition government and far fewer will vote for the status quo parties as required by their “patrons” in any future election while far more will vote for the Maoists. (Some estimates fear two-thirds Maoist majority). It is the reactionaries that are afraid of the consequences of the peace agreement, not the Maoists and consequently the reactionaries who fear the “neutralization” (ie democratization) of the Nepal Army that would result from the integration they agreed to, not the Maoists. (However the reactionaries also fear the consequences of resuming the war and that fear should certainly be encouraged).

    This seems poorly understood by “Maoists” outside Nepal, apparantly due to imagining Nepalese Maoism as some sort of larger version of a sect, rather than learning from the experiences of mass based party actually organizing the people for all forms of struggle in ways that no sect ever has or could.

    Arguments as to whether the Maoists are concealing their real intentions or else betraying the revolution are certainly not helpful and would be seriously harmful, assisting enemy propaganda, if people doing it were not so completely politically irrelevant that nobody pays much attention.

    Let’s try to learn how NOT to be a politically irrelevant sect.

  7. Alastair Reith said

    Thanks for that interesting post Arthur. Just to clarify though, I’ve never said that the Maoists are planning on starting a war, and agree with your analysis that they’re just prepared if it happened.

    It’s always annoyed me how so many Maoists in the West seem to think that unless a party is in the middle of an armed struggle it has to be selling out, and that the only course of action any party should follow is war til the end. It has no basis in history, with the experiences in China and elsewhere having long periods of ceasefire and truces, and it’s just so ridiculous to think that violence is essential at all times.

  8. Ka Frank said

    This article provides an idea of what the 4th phase of protests will look like, with the focus shifting from Kathmandu to the Indian border.

    Prachanda, other Maoist leaders to lead protests at encroached border points (Kantipur Report)

    KATHMANDU, JAN 02 – The politburo meeting of the main opposition Unified CPN (Maoist) on Saturday decided to organise protest assemblies in the border regions, where India has purportedly encroached the Nepali territories, as part of its fourth phase of protests.

    The meeting held at the party headquarters in Koteshwor also said the senior Maoist leaders including Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal will take the lead of the protest assembly to be organised at the encroached regions.

    According to a politburo member, Maoist Chairman Dahal will take part in the programme in the much disputed Kalapani region while Vice Chairman Dr. Baburam Bhattarai will take charge of the protests in Susta, Nawalparasi district. Likewise, leaders Mohan Baidya and Narayan Kazi Shrestha will lead the protest in Pashupatinagar of Ilam and Laxmanpur Dam respectively.

    However, the party is yet to finalise dates for protest assembly at several border encroached regions. Maoist Central Committee meeting was also held at the party headquaters later today.

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