Revolution in South Asia

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Nepal’s Red Star: Bright Future of Nepalese Revolution

Posted by onehundredflowers on May 13, 2010

Photo credit: Jed Brandt. For more photos: jedbrandt.net

This article is from Red Star, the English-language Maoist periodical from Nepal.  This is an important analysis of the revolution’s current state and future possibilities. Thanks to Alastair, Alistair  and ST for the work in making the Red Star essays available.

Bright Future of Nepalese Revolution

Mohan Baidhya ‘Kiran’

People’s War (PW) was initiated by UCPN-Maoist on 13th February 1996. It has celebrated its 14th anniversary. PW had launched aiming to lead the struggle to the direction of communism through socialism with the process of establishing people’s Democratic Republic of Nepal. That is to say by liberating the country from semi-feudal and semi-colonial situation. To achieve these ultimate goals, the outline of PW was made in the sense of military strategic plan for the development of PW by building base areas in the remote areas. According to it, PW was developed and empowered. It took its rupture and entered into strategic offensive by completing its earlier two phases: strategic offensive and strategic equilibrium. In this process, the tactical series: interim government, democratic republic and Constituent Assembly (CA) were officially decided by the party.

In course of PW, we came into the peace process since after a few time the people’s war had entered into the strategic offensive. In the ideological struggle of peace process, interim government was made and democratic republic of Nepal was declared. And, at the same time, monarchy was suspended. The interim government declared the election of the CA and our party get victory as the largest party in CA. Then, united government was formed under the leadership of our party.

In the process of great PW, thousands brave warriors got martyrdom. Thousands of others became wounded and thousands are missing. The strategic achievement left to be gained in spite of the historic and unprecedented dedication, devotion and sacrifice of the thousands. Therefore, serious questions are being raised.

PW: Achievement and limitation

Great People’s War has its both achievements and the limitations. It is necessary to review from both the perspectives. Many military actions were taken during the period of People’s War. Some of them are successful military attacks in the district headquarters. Along with the development of military strategy and its scientific implementation, guerrilla troops were developed into military formation of People’s Liberation Army; which was developed up to the divisional formation. Hundreds of base areas and local people’s governments were made. As we advanced ahead stepping down to the strong foundation of PW, we uprooted the local roots of the monarchy and ended it while we came in to the peace process. Establishment of Federal Democratic Republic replaced monarchy from the state power. The state was declared secular. Now with the concept of Federal republic, a new consciousness, awareness and the idea of emancipation has been developed in workers, peasants, dalits, women, nationalities and the oppressed class and the people. These are the important achievements of the great PW. However, the base areas and People’s powers\governments developed with the process of PW are not with us now. The expected goal of establishing New People’s Democratic Republican state power is still left to be established. The country is still semi-feudal and semi-colonial.

There are the limitations of PW. Initiated at the end of the 20th century and continued in the beginning of 21st century, PW has been the centre of expectation, hope and attraction of the world. But, the expectation of the world to get message from Nepalese PW is incomplete. Therefore, the achievements and the limitations of PW should be evaluated in its totality.

Tactical, Line, Policy and Leadership:

The main political tactical line of our party under the leadership of proletarian class is to complete New People’s Democratic Revolution against the feudalism, Imperialism and expansionism. The main political strategy of the party lies within it. In the context of the establishment of republic by extermination of monarchy, the main task of our party has been centred in struggle against comprador capitalism and bureaucratic capitalism along with the remnants of feudalism.

After the establishment of Federal Democratic Republic and the completion of the election of CA, it is clear that we should develop the tactics. Not to develop a new tactics and remain to be attached in the old tactical line is conservatism, status-quoism and reformism. Therefore, giving sufficient attention to the developed political situation, our party has brought a change in principal tactical line. The present political tactics of our party has been People’s Federal republic or People’s Republic. For the achievement of that objective, the party is on the way towards drafting a new constitution, to activate the fronts of street, CA and the government (if possible) and to secure the people’s right to rebel.

There is dialectical relationship in between tactical line, policy and leadership. Here, we have to give focus on that it is not sufficient only to determining the general tactics and general policy; rather, it is equally necessary to make proper work-division by concretizing the tactics and policy in plan and programme. For this, there is an important role of revolutionary and efficient leadership.

Revolutionary and efficient leadership has its capacity to solve the problems of class struggle and two-line struggle through concrete analysis of the concrete situation. Along with it, revolutionary and efficient leadership is that who has the capacity of handling the system of democratic-centralism well to strengthen the party organization with its process of self-criticism and criticism. At last, the revolutionary and efficient leadership is who does not surrender before enemy even in the complex and hard times and who always uplifts the ideology and flag of revolution.

Question of Nationality and People’s Democracy:

Nationality and people’s democracy are always inseparably combined in the semi-feudal and semi-colonial countries like Nepal. Right in that way, we are defining Nepalese People’s democratic revolution not only in terms of People’s democratic but also in terms of national revolution.

Nepal is a landlocked country. It is encircled by China from north and by India from east- south-west. Many unequal treaties are being made with India. On the basis of these unequal treaties, Indian ruling class is interfering in economic, political, cultural and strategic spheres. The border has been encroached in the different places of the border area. Indian expansionism does not want to let Nepal be free and independent nation. Indian expansionism, on the one hand, has been a barrier in the completion of Nepalese People’s Democratic revolution and it has made its efforts to make meaningless to the civil supremacy, peace and drafting of a new constitution on the other.

The puppet government formed after the resignation of Maoist-led government has been the obstacle in the security of national independency, maintenance of civil supremacy, peace and in writing people’s constitution. The struggle for the protection of national independence and the quest of nationality and people’s democracy submitted with it has its special importance.

Danger of National Capitulationism and Parliamentarism:

It is well known fact that there is always a danger of national capitulationism and parliamentarianism existing in the people’s democratic and communist movement of Nepal. Even after a decade long People’s War and 19-day People’s Movement, the danger of capitulationism and parliamentarianism is increasingly possible to be happened in a new way.

When it seems that people’s democracy is tried to be separated from the question nationality and Nepalese leaders try to be more polite and softer towards Indian ruling class, national capitulation rises its head up. Likewise, when it is considered that democratic republic is ultimate truth and reformist constitution is enough in spite of making people’s constitution for people’s democratic republic, parliamentarianism raises its head.

In the history of the communist movement of Nepal, the revolutionaries are being labialized as extremist and dogmatist. It is only the pretension to put mask over the face of the rightist opportunism and pragmatism. And illusion is being spread there in the name of originality and creativeness. We should be aware of these all.

Future of Nepalese Revolution:

The future of Nepalese revolution is equally related with the development of Nepalese revolution and its direction. At this moment, there are great possibilities and serious challenges ahead. We should study these all objectively.

We should give our attention to the following facts while we are talking about great possibilities- first; the old ruling class is passing through serious political, financial and cultural crisis. It is unable to run the state power in old style and method.

Second, Nepalese people do not want to be ruled by the old ruling class and they want to bring change in political, economic and cultural sectors. The people are in the street since a long time for change and they are ready to involve even in a nationwide mass struggle. Third, the majority of the people of Nepal have their faith in UCPN-Maoist.

Fourth, our party UCPN- Maoist is subjectively strong, and it is enriched with experiences because it is developed through a decade long People’s War. Along with it, Nepalese revolution has serious challenges ahead.

First, regressive and status quo forces are being united against the revolution and they have support of some of the international power centres.

Second, our party is very big in quantity; however, it is not so qualitatively strong.

Third, class enemies are hatching conspiracies against Nepalese revolution and sufficient attention is not paid towards them.

However, the possibilities are stronger than the challenges in comparison. We can face all the challenges if the unity of party is made stronger ideologically, politically and organizationally, if the tactical line is implemented deliberately, if the contradictions concerned with Nepalese revolution are handled correctly and if we make the diplomatic task effective in the international area. For this, we have to take initiative in a planned way ahead for the bright future of Nepalese revolution.

At last, Nepal is in a critical situation at this time. The line of the revolution is not always straight rather it is curved. At this time, we should be very serious and sincere to implement the party line in practice being aware of national capitulationism and parliamentarianism. In this process, the fusion of revolutionary farsightedness, intellect and spirit is necessary. We should raise our revolutionary flag up incessantly in any situation.

Vice-Chairman, UCPN-Maoist

38 Responses to “Nepal’s Red Star: Bright Future of Nepalese Revolution”

  1. ‘However, the base areas and People’s powers\governments developed with the process of PW are not with us now.’

    In the light of this statement and recent developments in Nepal, what is the future for the revolution in Nepal with the current leadership line of the UCPN(M)? This isn’t a rhetorical question, I’d genuinely like to know what supporters of this line think will happen next.

  2. Rajesh said

    Joseph Ball rightly asks the important question. Now, how the UCPNM leadership, and particularly the non-parliamentary platform develops its thought process, designs its political course and strategize the path – military or parliamentary to proceed ahead to attain its goal of establishing People’s Republic in Nepal. Kiran, the biological father of the Nepalese revolution has shown lots of confusion here. Just he says, “The line of the revolution is straight rather it is” and “In this process, the fusion of revolutionary farsightedness, intellect and spirit is necessary. fusion”. These phrases do not indicate the thinking, strategy design and future course of action and also do not provide the broad framework to lead the revolution successfully. If kiran and his comrades shy away from fighting against parliamnetarism and liquidation of the PLA, then Kiran’s role in defending and expanding the cause of revolution in Nepal will finish.

  3. NSPF said

    C.Kiran most definitely dos NOT say “the line of the revolution is streight”. He says exactly the oposite.

  4. NSPF said

    just noticed Where Rajesh got that from. This is absolutely wrong. He does NOT say that.

  5. Rajesh said

    NSF is right. I did mistake. The line is “The line of the revolution is not always straight rather it is curved.” Appreciate for the correction.

  6. Rajesh said

    NSPF is right. I did mistake. The line is “The line of the revolution is not always straight rather it is curved.” Appreciate for the correction.

  7. Ka Frank said

    The thrust of Kiran’s statement in opposing forces who advocate parliamentarianism and national capitulation to India and imperialism is very positive. While he doesn’t name names, it is clear to any close political observer that Prachanda and Bhattarai are associated with these trends.

    He also correctly points out that the UCPNM lost its base areas when it signed the CPA in late 2006. However, Kiran’s assertion that the people’s war has continued in the post-CPA years is manifestly incorrect. The people’s war has ended, and there is a pressing need–as the Indian comrades of the CPI (Maoist) have stated–that serious steps be taken toward re-establishing it as the means to accomplish the new democratic revolution in Nepal.

  8. jay said

    In the light of this statement and recent developments in Nepal, what is the future for the revolution in Nepal with the current leadership line of the UCPN(M)? This isn’t a rhetorical question, I’d genuinely like to know what supporters of this line think will happen next.-Joseph Ball

    What do you think will happen next?

  9. NSPF said

    “However, Kiran’s assertion that the people’s war has continued in the post-CPA years is manifestly incorrect.”

    Ka Frank,
    Can you point out where that is asserted? I didn’t find it. There are couple of sentences that CAN possibly be interpreted that way, but I’d like to know what exactly you have in mind.

  10. Ka Frank said

    Here’s the quote:

    “To achieve these ultimate goals, the outline of PW was made in the sense of military strategic plan for the development of PW by building base areas in the remote areas. According to it, PW was developed and empowered. It took its rupture and entered into strategic offensive by completing its earlier two phases: strategic offensive and strategic equilibrium. In this process, the tactical series: interim government, democratic republic and Constituent Assembly (CA) were officially decided by the party.

    In course of PW, we came into the peace process since after a few time the people’s war had entered into the strategic offensive. In the ideological struggle of peace process, interim government was made and democratic republic of Nepal was declared. And, at the same time, monarchy was suspended. The interim government declared the election of the CA and our party get victory as the largest party in CA. Then, united government was formed under the leadership of our party.”

    I agree with you that Kiran doesn’t assert that the military operations of the people’s war have continued into the post-CPA period. He is repeating what other UCPNM leaders have been saying, that the reformist maneuvers and mass mobilizations of the past few years, focused on getting into and leading bourgeois governments, are all a part of the PW.

    This obscures the fact that the people’s war was ended when the CPA was signed in late 2006.
    On the positive side, Kiran implicitly recognizes this when he states that the liberated base areas were given up then.

  11. NSPF said

    “He is repeating what other UCPNM leaders have been saying, that the reformist maneuvers and mass mobilizations of the past few years, focused on getting into and leading bourgeois governments, are all a part of the PW.”

    Leaving this article aside for the moment, have you heard anyone make such claims recently?
    The claim that there is an ongoing PW is so increasingly rediculous that no one has made it, to my knowledge, for quite a long time now. Such claimes were made at the beginings of the CPA. There has been occasional claimes of the PW being only suspended, which is not even technically true since the signing of the CPA. There may be people who want it that way, and I am sure there are, but that does not mean it is the official line of the Party.
    I just wanted to run this by you first, before talking about what Kiran is or isn’t saying.
    Am I missing something here? I mean look at it this way: even on this site you were being charged with dogmatism for advocating the restart of PW. So, it looks like there is at least unanimity that there is no ongoing PW at the moment.

  12. NSPF said

    “In the history of the communist movement of Nepal, the revolutionaries are being labialized as extremist and dogmatist. It is only the pretension to put mask over the face of the rightist opportunism and pragmatism. And illusion is being spread there in the name of originality and creativeness. We should be aware of these all.”

    In the Red Star the above paragraph is captioned as one of the two hilight of the article. Leaving the question of why this site chose not to follow suit, I believe this is the real bone of contention in Nepal right now.

    There are several important statements in this short paragraph:

    That the revolutionaries are labled extremist and dogmatist;
    that this is a mask to cover the rightist opportunism and pragmatism;
    that illusion is being spread in the name of originality and creativeness.

    These are three profound statements that no one can or should ignore.
    Kiran cannot be accused of posturing from afar; he cannot be dismissed as splitist; he cannot be ignored as someone unfamiliar with the concrete conditions of the Party or the society.

  13. NSPF said

    There is another pertinent statement that has profound implications. He says the Party is numerically strong but ideologically weak.

  14. Alastair Reith said

    He said it is ‘qualitatively weak’. That could mean more than just ideology, although the low level of theory among grassroots cadre (in the ANTUF for example) is a problem the Maoists have recognised and are trying deal with.

  15. Alastair Reith said

    Ka Frank writes: “This obscures the fact that the people’s war was ended when the CPA was signed in late 2006.”

    So the signing of a peace agreement means that all forms of revolutionary struggle from that point on are revisionist?

    The CPN (M) in 2005/6 controlled the countryside but could not control the streets of Kathmandu. It proved last week that it can now control both, which is the situation it’s been working towards since the peace accords. Time will tell what happens next, but to argue that the past few years have been years of defeat and retreats is an assertion without any basis in reality.

  16. NSPF said

    Absolutely right. “qualitatively weak”, he says. Thanx.

  17. NSPF said

    Alastair writes:
    “The CPN (M) in 2005/6 controlled the countryside but could not control the streets of Kathmandu. It proved last week that it can now control both, which is the situation it’s been working towards since the peace accords. Time will tell what happens next, but to argue that the past few years have been years of defeat and retreats is an assertion without any basis in reality.”

    Is it impossible, in Alastairs view, to make the type of “advances” noted above even while beating the path of “retreats” on key questions of political and ideological line? Is it inconceivable to grow strong movement-vise while abandoning principles and goals?
    Isn’t it possible to even win state power with popular support and through revolutionary means without wanting or meaning, (or even while abandoning any dream of) any fundamental change?

    Just recently there was a good article on Vietnam on Kasama site exploring one example of such possibility. Was is impossible to say they were going nowhere nice before 75?

    To insist on arguments that Alastair insists on, will train people in thinking “the movement is everything. The goal, we will find out later.” Not quite Bernstine, but not far from it.

  18. NSPF said

    “He said it is ‘qualitatively weak’. That could mean more than just ideology, although the low level of theory among grassroots cadre (in the ANTUF for example) is a problem the Maoists have recognised and are trying deal with.”

    As I wrote earlier, it is true that the article states that the Party is “qualitatively weak”. But, in the second part of the above quote, Alastair writes something quite indicative. He equates ideology with the level of theoretical knowledge. Thus it is assumed the grassroots cadre are ideologically weak and presumably those high level leaders who are theoretically fluent are ideologically resolute. This understanding is antithetical to a communist understanding of ideology\world view\outlook. This understanding and belief has a critical bearing on how to view the current situation in Nepal or anywhere else for that matter.

  19. zerohour said

    “Is it impossible, in Alastairs view, to make the type of “advances” noted above even while beating the path of “retreats” on key questions of political and ideological line? Is it inconceivable to grow strong movement-wise while abandoning principles and goals? Isn’t it possible to even win state power with popular support and through revolutionary means without wanting or meaning, (or even while abandoning any dream of) any fundamental change?”

    You seem to have missed the larger point which is that the course of a revolution can’t be known in advance by simply comparing it to past revolutions. Of course what you posit isn’t impossible, but it’s equally possible, and more likely, that even if a revolution occurs in conditions, and takes on forms, similar to those of the past, they will be expressed in different combinations of duration, intensity, sequence and alliances.

    This is why Ball’s question is a loaded one, given his other comments. He, and others, think Maoist revolutions must be replays of the past, minus the parts he doesn’t like. Not only is this idealist, it provides little room for the creativity of the masses and the emergence of new forms of revolutionary popular power.

    Why have there have been no successful Maoist revolutions since Mao? This is not an easy question to answer, but I don’t see how re-enacting the past will move things one inch forward.

    I will call on Zhou Enlai to answer Joseph Ball’s question in a short: “too soon to tell.” I’m not proposing agnosticism, rather I’m suggesting that the UCPN[M] shown remarkable creativity, flexibility and transparency [which is rare for revolutions still in progress] while expanding their popular base and retaining communist principles. I think this merits a high degree of good faith.

    There is no sure way to know what will happen, but selectively reading history to predict the future is a terrible substitute for analysis.

    There may not be a convenient shorthand name attached to this way of thinking, like “Bernstein” but I find it cynical.

    “Kiran cannot be accused of posturing from afar; he cannot be dismissed as splitist; he cannot be ignored as someone unfamiliar with the concrete conditions of the Party or the society.”

    I presume you are referring to criticisms of RCP, Ka Frank and others, but this is a misreading. Skeptics, I won’t call them critics, of the UCPN[M] also cite statements from the UCPN[M]. The problem is that they feel they can come to definitive judgments by taking public statements and press releases at face value, or by transforming the concrete experience of the Chinese Revolution into an abstract template with which they compare to all others, or just making assumptions without all relevant facts, e.g,, regarding Prachanda’s meetings with other political leaders just before the general strike was called. Rather than being dismissed and ignored, there has been an extensive exchange, but when the same points keep being brought up over and over again from the same flawed premises, it becomes counter-productive to engage.

    I think the core of Kiran’s statement is here and deserves some serious consideration:

    “The line of the revolution is not always straight rather it is curved.”

    Critical thinking is not the same as skepticism or backseat revolutionism, while hoping to be proven wrong. Given our relatively low-level of empirical knowledge, we should exercise caution and not a little humility. I think being critical entails a sober look at what we do know, combined with an awareness that we may yet learn something new about established “facts”, not taking any statements at face value, trying to understand the international and national context, tracing the overall trajectories of political development. We especially have to be careful about imposing our own assumptions about what is happening, or what we think should be happening.

    The UCPN[M]’s emphasis on mass line, mobilizing and training the people for political power, refusing to be trapped by stifling orthodoxy, willingness to learn from other experiences, even non-communist ones, desire to build a communism appropriate for our times, deserves support and careful study.

  20. Mike E said

    I think it is worth pointing out that the peoples war ended in 2006 but not the armed struggle.

    The Maoist revolutionaries of Nepal have an army. This is not a minor point (though the dialectics is lost on some). An actual army, with trained cadre, and fighters, and a military doctrine, and increasingly the ability to forge an even wider popular militia around itself (both in rural areas and in the cities).

    Tor some people, the ending of a particular war mean (inherently) the “abandonment” of armed struggle. Why they believe that is unclear has always been unclear to me. But there is a heavy weight of reductionism and inevitability within our movement (where A “must” lead to B, and B “must” lead to C — as if the world is an endless series of slippery slopes leading from a wrong word to a political disaster.)

    I have to say, that there is a serious lack of POLITICS, in all this — of the work of politics as an art — the building of forces, alliances, coalitions, broad enthusiasms for particular goals, through real world processes. Poeple who have been sititng to long in small propaganda groups often think that spreading their little manifestos is politics — and that the world can be judged by a close textual read of each political press release. You should get out more.

    On the question of phases: In Chinese history, it is worth pointing out that there were two civil wars (not just one). So obviously the ending of one war is not the end of the revolution.

    Or — to put it in a more detailed way:

    there was in china first a great northern expedition (in the 1920s, under the leadership of national democrats, not communists), then a series of communist uprisings in 1927-8 (some urban insurrections, some rural among them Mao’s autumn harvest uprising), then a period building base areas and peoples war, then an abandonment of the southern base areas (the long march to Yenan), then a period of anti-japanese united front (when the communists were nominally part of the GMD national army), then a period of negotiations (during which the Maoists gave major concessions and withdrew from large parts of their base ares), then a new civil war.

    Why is the stopping of one particular phrase or form of struggle the end of the revolution?

    What was important is that Mao carefully fought to maintain what he called “independence and initiative” — i.e. the ability of the commmunist forces to continue their OWN forces — and (second) that he (through all those twists and terms) was seeking a way to revolution.

    This did not mean that Mao announced (at each step) his longer revolutionaryu goals. Often he did not. Sometimes he claimed his goal was just a coalition government. Sometimes he said he thought peaceful transition was possible. Sometimes he portrayed himself to foreign reporters as a simple agrarian rebel. Sometimes he praised this or that external force that was supplying his army with war material.

    Some people think (in a way that I find strangely infantile and ahistorical) that the job of a revolutionary leader is to shout daily at a world of opponents “we intend to overthrow you at the point of a gun.” Just for clarity. Just to soothe the fears of a world of observors who may be confused about his/her goals.

    But in real politics there is maneuver, there is complex approachment (and even appeasement) of key potential allies, there are compromises offered (to current enemies who might be neutralized),there are advances to test the waters, and retreats to regroup.

    I have felt for a long time that we have a lot of commmunists who have never seen a real revolution — who don’t know what one looks like. And who (like many anarchists) whine that this or that revolution isn’t followed the script that they assumed was necessary for communists. Well, welcome to real life.

    And worse than not knowing what a real revolutionary crisis looks like, they often don’t know who they as revolutionaries and communists should act, but think their job is precisely to be whiny back-seat drivers spouting halfbaked “worries” and skepticism — and a constant demand that the revolutionaries make clear (to them!) what their real plans and intentions are.

    Really, people should step back, study some politics and history, and prepare to LEARN from the world around them. And they should start to think through what their responsibilities are as communists and revolutionaries when people (somewhere! finally!) try the difficult real-world process of exploiting an opening for power.

  21. NSPF said

    “I’m not proposing agnosticism.”
    Make it easier for me to be able to distinguish your position from one based on agnosticism.

  22. NSPF said

    Zerohour:
    “I think the core of Kiran’s statement is here and deserves some serious consideration:
    ‘The line of the revolution is not always straight rather it is curved.’”

    This is obviously in responce to my identifying “the bone of contention in Nepal” in another quote from Kiran’s article. (see comment #12)

    Are you saying that the two-line struggle in UCPNM revolves around if the line of revolution is always streight or not?

  23. zerohour said

    ““I’m not proposing agnosticism.”
    Make it easier for me to be able to distinguish your position from one based on agnosticism.”

    Agnosticism holds that nothing can ever be known. My position is that we should not claim to know things that, in fact, we don’t. I referred to the recent history that has already been established as a concrete basis for support and optimism.

    I was responding to Joseph Ball’s point: “I’d genuinely like to know what supporters of this line think will happen next.” Really, how is one supposed to answer this question? It’s a loaded point since Ball has already revealed that his method is simply to compare the Nepalese Revolution to the Chinese Revolution and where there are differences, they reveal the UCPN[M]’s “revisionism. With that method, the answer is clear: what will happen is what has already happened, or would have happened if Mao had “deviated” from the correct path. This is also idealist since it assumes that all the successes of the Chinese Revolution were the direct outcome of the correct line in some unambiguous way.

    We can speculate about a range of possibilities but what does that amount to? The future will reveal emerging contradictions and unexpected occurrences. Right now, the Nepalese masses are in motion and struggling to create a liberated society, led by the UCPN[M]. As I see it, that’s the main direction things are headed. As Kiran pointed out, it’s not a straight line development [bizarre that you would bring up two-line struggle since it’s not what he’s referring to]. Any attempt to look for linearity in a complex historical moment is a failure to appreciate the living dynamic of a revolutionary process.

  24. NSPF said

    Zerohour,
    your meticulous refrain, in comment#19, from making any reference to or comment on the substance of my comment#12 looks strange to me. You venture to explain your understanding of other parts of Kiran’s article. You feel knowledgible enough to identify what you believe the core of his argument is. Why not comment on the part I quoted and commented on? Do you think what he wrote there in that quote is irrelevant or undiscernible from afar? Do you think he just made that up to look sophisticated? I really want to know what you think of that.

  25. NSPF said

    Thanx Zerohour for #23. It sure is important to clearly state which comment is pointed at what.

    “Any attempt to look for linearity in a complex historical moment is a failure to appreciate the living dynamic of a revolutionary process.”
    I agree. I will clarify later.

  26. Who’s saying the revolution in Nepal must be exactly like the revolution in China? This is just a straw-man argument. The problem is not that they are not copying China in their revolutionary path. The point is, that to anyone not in a state of denial, it is obvious they are not on a revolutionary path at all, at the moment. First they endorsed Bhattarai’s program for bourgeois multi-party democracy. Then they agreed to dissolve the revolutionary governments and put the PLA in cantonments. They have declared their strategy is to take power in a people’s revolt but all they do is call ‘people’s movement’ after ‘people’s movement’ only to call them off again before they start or after a few days. So both in theory and practice they are non-revolutionary.

    Maybe there is some way back to the revolutionary path from here. It would be good if they could just revise their theory and throw out Bhattarai’s revisionist rubbish about replacing class struggle with multi-party elections. If a party says they are not in a position to seize power in the near-future, people would understand. Entering into ceasefires does not necessarily make a party revisionist. But doing this at the same time as adopting anti-communist nonsense as the party’s core ideology shows that the UCPN(M) is in a very bad way indeed.

  27. Rajesh said

    Mike E, please do not kill the messenger (comment# 20). Also, it would be better to use the language of debate that promotes, “letting thousands of flowers to bloom” rather than showing extreme intolerance to opposing views, opinions and analysis. May be, you are a great reader of history, but that doesn’t automatically qualify you as the best analyzer of Nepalese situation now. The process of revolution in Nepal is passing through most exciting but also equally difficult phase. So, there is differing or even opposing views. Let’s welcome them and debate as objectively as possible.

    Joseph Ball in comment# 26 has rightly identified the core issues to debate. I have quoted his statement below.

    “First they endorsed Bhattarai’s program for bourgeois multi-party democracy. Then they agreed to dissolve the revolutionary governments and put the PLA in cantonments. They have declared their strategy is to take power in a people’s revolt but all they do is call ‘people’s movement’ after ‘people’s movement’ only to call them off again before they start or after a few days. So both in theory and practice they are non-revolution.”

    Moreover, they are talking about integration of PLA into Nepal Army and police. That is just liquidation of PLA.

  28. nando said

    There is such a thing as liquidation. There is such a thing as capitulation.

    It would be a terrible thing to dissolve the peoples liberation army.

    However it is not true that:

    “Moreover, they are talking about integration of PLA into Nepal Army and police. That is just liquidation of PLA.”

    Talking about integration of forces is not “just liquidation.” Precisely because it is talking.

    As for integration itself — what “integration” means depends on how integration happens.

    When Lenin’s Red Army integrated in thousands of Tsarist officers (and millions of former Tsarist soldiers) that was not “liquidation” — it was in fact one form in which the new Red Army was built.

    When Mao integrated into the GMD army (and his forces took of their red stars, and dropped the name Red Army, and adopted nationalist uniforms, and took orders from the Nationalist high command) — that initiated a very sharp struggle (among the communists) over liquidation. Some really integrated into the Nationalist Army, some (like Mao) fought to maintain initiative and independent command under new conditions.

    When Mao integrated armies of the GMD into his forces in the 40s, it was not liquidation — it was part of the way “one eats up the other.”

    If someone were to take the PLA forces and make them new recruits in a royalist army — this would not be a revolutionary step.

    If a revolutionary government enforced its ‘civilian control” over the old army, and transformed it (removing royalist officers, integrating maoist commanders, adopting revolutionary methods) — that would be something else.

    I have never seen the shattering and integration of reactionary forces in history without defeat in battle. The Red Army (in the early Soviet Union) was able to absorb former Tsarist forces precisely because they had just gone through years of the most abject defeat (and not mainly defeat at the hands of revolutionaries).

    Nationalist forces “came over” to mao in the second civil war because (in the larger sense) the Nationalist had been defeated by the Japanese and (despite massive U.S. support) were not doing well against the growing Maoist forces.

    However all of these cases were rich in particularity.

    And there is a rather naive (even infantile) notion that even discussing the integration of opposing armed forces is itself capitulation and liquidation. On what planet?

    The UCPN(M) has been discussing integration since 2006, it was part of the 2006 peace agreement that all sides agreed to it (on the basis of a democratization of the Nepal Army and a professionalization of the UCPN(M)’s Peoples Liberation Army). But (rather obviously) each side envisioned a form of integration that left them (politically) ruling society, and left their opponents defenseless and out of power. And so (in practice) integration of the armed forces has, so far, been only talk.

    In fact, as is well known, the Maoists left the government (and Prachanda resigned as Prime Minister) precisely because the NA commander refused “civilian control” — i.e. he refused to participate in a process that would have transformed the situation in the country militarily and politically.

    And the fact that reactionary armed forces rather typically refuse to give up (without being defeated) is a fact that this incident brought out clearly. these forces are intriguing for a coup, for a defacto new monarchy, and they almost certainly are contemplating crossing a river of blood (of the people’s blood) to restore the kind of stability they think Nepal needs.

    I think it would be worth exploring much more deeply the assumptions that hold that “talking about integration” is “just liquidation.” Because this comes up a great deal in regard to Nepal.

    I was reading about how the Bolsheviks declared (in the summer of 1917) that they were not preparing to seize power. (Some communists only tell the story of Lenin later shouting “there is such a party” but not the history of the preceding months).

    Or we could dig up where Stalin promised that the communists would not seize power in china, and where Mao said his forces were hoping to form a coalition government with the GMD that was not a New Democracy or a form of the dictatorship of the proletariat.

    Is all of that also liquidation? Do people read real history and have you any sense of the complex ways the preparation for seizure happen?

    forgive me, but i sometimes feel like some people think revolutionary leaders are supposed to stand up (day after day) and shout to some parties “we plan to put you against the wall.” and to other parties “we will push you aside and rule alone.” And shout to the reactionary armed forces and police “Fight to the last man, stand tight with your die-hard commanders, because we intend to give none of you mercy, or room in the new society.”

    There is a fetish of the word — that thinks you can know a political situation through textual reads of its main figures, and that everyone says what they are doing and what they intend.

    What planet are you one?

    There are, in fact, forces within the Nepali Maoist movement who have argued for a very protracted transition period — saying that the internaitional situation is too hostile for socialism, and that Nepal is to impoverished to develop without foreign capitalism, and perhaps even imagining a subordinate integration into the existing natinal army.

    But such rightist forces existed in every party preparing for power… and you can’t tell if they are dominant or not by reading english language press releases.

    Kamenev argued in every leadership meeting during 1917 that a second revolution was premature. He and Zinoviev actually publicly denounced the (very secret) conspiracy to launch the October revolution. that was certainly outrageous, but is it unusual or surprising?

    There were times when a majority of the bolshevik spokespeople insisted they were not opposed to the Provisional government… and the struggle raged on within their party.

    Would it have been helpful for them if the socialist of the world had spent their time wringing their hands and publicly worrying that Kamenev may be in the ascendency, and Lenin might prove to influenced by that conservatism?

    Again, what planet are you on?

  29. nando said

    on agnosticism:

    Zerohour raises the difference between something that is unknown and something that is unknowable.

    Scientists often say “i am agnostic on issue xxxx.” By which they mean the data is not in, so they don’t yet have an opinion.

    Among communists in the U.S. — it is common to think we can pronounce verdicts on all kinds of things with very little serious study or data. Avakian declared (in 2005) that a civil war was coming between thinking people and religious theocrats, and that the democratic party was incapable of developing its own forces and program opposed to the extreme right. It was an absurdly reductionist claim — that led his party onto two years of hysterical claims that they prefer we all forget. It was based on a dilettantist superficial puttering around — remarkably devoid of any real analysis of American history and politics.

    And anyone in the party who had questions about this was accused of “agnosticism.”

    And these same forces now insist that they can stand on one side of the globe and pronounce on the tactics and strategy of communists on the other side of the globe (based on a textual read of public statement.)

    It is worth mentioning that the Nepalis have published a major criticism of the South African experience (which is, as you may know, a prime example of ‘integrating” guerrilla forces in a subordinate way into the oppressors army). Why don’t any of these critics do a textual read of THAT article?

    In fact, they (as a trend) greatly overestimate what they know (and even what they can know) — because they have an idealist disdain for practice and a bizarre fetish with divining the meaning of events from micro-formulations.

    In fact, formulations change in real life, as any close read of Mao’s texts can show. Mao’s documents were often rewritten later so his new formulations were reinserted into older works — for more sense of continuity. Ever do a comparison of Mao’s first 1950s printings with the later 1960s translations? Why not?

  30. NSPF said

    “There are, in fact, forces within the Nepali Maoist movement who have argued for a very protracted transition period — saying that the internaitional situation is too hostile for socialism, and that Nepal is to impoverished to develop without foreign capitalism, and perhaps even imagining a subordinate integration into the existing natinal army.”

    Nando should elaborate on how this was arrived at. Not that I disagree with what is said in that quote, but there are lessons here that can be learned.

  31. nando said

    I’m not sure what you are asking. This is the history of their line struggle over the last few years.

    There has been clearly different positions elaborated on their substage — whether it was to be brief or protracted. And it came out in statements made by different figures — in ways I found especially clear when the Maoists were previously in the government.

    It is also why the new document on the international situation is so signifiant:

    https://southasiarev.wordpress.com/2010/05/13/maoist-theory-from-nepal-is-the-international-situation-favorable-to-revolution/

    There are many parts of that article that I don’t agree with (i.e. in the actual analysis of the international situation) — but that is probably not the important point. This is a document that sharply polemicizes against forces that want to postpone the revolution (those who say the situation is too hostile for success), and also argues that the revolution itself can transform the international situation in important ways.

  32. Ka Frank said

    NSPF: Getting back to your comment #11 on the following paragraph of a post that I made;

    “He is repeating what other UCPNM leaders have been saying, that the reformist maneuvers and mass mobilizations of the past few years, focused on getting into and leading bourgeois governments, are all a part of the PW.”

    My sources for the UCPNM strategy cited above are not only the actions of the party in the last three years and Prachanda;s public statements, but the authoritative Feb 4 statement of the UCPNM Central Committee, which I urge people to read. This was the first official statement of the party in at least three years that I know of. It should be archived in the Nepal section on the right hand side of the home page.

  33. nando said

    ““He is repeating what other UCPNM leaders have been saying, that the reformist maneuvers and mass mobilizations of the past few years, focused on getting into and leading bourgeois governments, are all a part of the PW.”

    ONe word that stands out here is the word “reformist” — why exactly are tactical maneuvers and mass mobilizations “reformist” (i.e. not revolutionary)?

    Another word that stands out is the idea that governments the Maoists lead are “bourgeois governments.” Here too, one would have to ask: What exactly does this mean and what is this evaluation based on?

    The state of Nepal has been a feudal and comprador capitalist state — i.e. its army and other institutions have served a system that can be characterized by feudal relations and comprador (i.e. serving external exploitative capitalist forces).

    However governments and states are not the same thing. You can have a government led by a revolutionary party installed over a state that is still (fundamentally) made up of reactionary institutions.

    this is (obviously) an unstable situation, and a situation where the government is repeatedly thwarted and hemmed in by existing institutions. But is this inherently a wrong thing for communists to do? Is it impossible for such an experience to help millions of people understand why electing revolutionaries is not enough — that there need to be far deeper institutional changes (changes in army and more)?

    The assumption here is that the mass mobilizations and demands of the Maoists are (inherently) “reformist” — but that is an example of asserting precisely what has to be proven.

    Here are some of the particularities of Nepal:

    The people of nepal have been waging a difficult fight against an abolutist monarchy for the basic democratic idea that the people should rule society (not a divinely backed hereditary dictatorship).

    This is a deep and powerful (and highly justified sentiment). And it represents a rupture with traditional feudal institutions and ideas that have long had a grip on nepali society.

    As Mao says things “divide into two.” The idea of popular power also divides into two — because two questions are posed: HOW do people rule and WHAT should popular power be used to implement.

    In other words, democracy is a means, not an end — and the struggle has unfolded over what the ends are (what precisely must New Nepal be in order to liberate the people from poverty, foreign domination and reactionary traditional relations).

    So then another very real and practical questions gets raised: how do communist revolutionaries lead large numbers of people through a process where they reach higher levels of consciousness about what is needed to transform their society from impoverished feudalism?

    The Maoists have led people through a process in which (as they describe it) they expose the different opposiong political forces in society: first the monarchical forces (including the army) which has long posed as the defender of the nation, its independence, and the distinctive culture of its dominant ethnicity. Second, expose the Congress Party which is associated with an Indian-style parliamentarism and is associated with a “modernity” that represents a slavish imitation of Indian-style culture.

    One final point:

    It is worth thinking through how and when a revolutionary movement should press for the seizure of power: what are the real material prerequisites of such a move?

    For example:
    How does one develop the degree of unity within your own party that allows your core to be able to lead this process of risk and sacrifice?
    What level of unity and understanding is needed among the people?
    What are the lines of advance (transitional demands) that have emerged, that can mobilize people in the kind of struggle that can press through to a new society?
    What kind of forces do you need to defeat a modern army? Numbers? Understanding? Counter force with weapons? (i.e. PLA core plus militia plus mass upsurge).

    The events that Ka Frank dismisses as “reformist maneuvers and mass mobilizations” are a process intended to do (what communists call ) bring forces to the fighting front. Mass mobilizaitons serve to build a sense of coming victory and moral high ground — a kind of renewed mandate for power. And the reaction of other forces (including the army and intermediate strata) can be measured precisely in the face of massive political actions of the oppressed.

    Its worth thinking through how this process worked (in a revolutionary situation) — and to examine historically how communists have previously carried it out. Including how they have made great efforts to clearly appear to have exhausted all other options — before reaching for the extreme means of armed uprising and civil war.

    Some people might ask: why would they do all these things? Why don’t they just seize power?

    But we need to think through HOW extreme revolutionary forces gather the alliances and forces needed to seize power. And we also need to consider that you often get major forces, but not enough to break through to power. The German communists had millions of followers — but they twisted in the wind for over a decade trying to create a constalation of forces that allowed them to grab overall power on a socialist basis. there is no law or invevitability that guarantees you will get the critical mass — you may come close but never get enough.

    And as someone struggles for such a critical mass (which they may or may not get), as they maneuver to avoid a military coup or a premature uprising — i don’t see much value in acting like this is a failure of “strategic will,” i.e. as if the problem is simply a problem of will.

    And I’m tempted to ask those who act this way, like Ka Frank and Avakian, why they don’t just “go for it”? What’s holding THEM back? Is the political work we do also just reformist maneuvers and mass mobilizations?

  34. NSPF said

    Re. comment #31:
    Again, it’s hard for me to disagree with it. I would have prefered if you had pointed out a few documents or events or utterances or whatever that convinced you of this. I asked this because there has been a lot of elaboration by you and others on the wrong ways of reaching a position, but little on what is the right way of doing it.

    Anyway, let me risk my political neck here a bit. I have agreed with you, or tried not to disagree with you quite enough for one day. Now it’s your turn. Would you agree with me if I said “if this ideological and political line came to power it would ruin all the possibilities of real and fundamental change”? I mean the substance of what I just said not the exact wording.

  35. NSPF said

    Thanx Ka Frank. I found it. Will definitely read it carefully.

  36. Mike E said

    NSPF writes:

    “Would you agree with me if I said “if this ideological and political line came to power it would ruin all the possibilities of real and fundamental change”?

    Let me put it like this:

    In every party i have studied, in every movement i have been in, there are lines that would destroy everything if they led. the struggle between two lines permeates everything — and ideological and political line is key.

    I think this is profoundly and universally true. the same movement, the same people, the same problems all come out differently if a slightly different shade of political line comes to predominate.

    The class struggle (especially at decisive moments) involves the gun to gun conflict with our oppressors, but it also involves the minute by minute struggle within the party and especially its leadership. It is impossible to study any revolution (those that won and those that lost) without encountering this fact.

  37. NSPF said

    Theoreticaly speaking, just for the sake of the argument, and in an imaginary senario:
    What if it were proved with quite reasonable certainty that this line is already in command.

    What should the good guys in Nepal do?
    What should the ICM and RIM do?
    What should Kasama do?
    How should we look at the present movement and the present overall process?
    What would internationalism entail in that situation?

  38. I am not going to answer NSPF’s questions in detail. I have always thought it is silly for people outside Nepal to try and dictate in detail what the UCPN(M) should be doing. I think part of the problem with the UCPN(M) supporters I encounter is they are too focused on doing rather than ideology. As the RCP-USA indicated in their exchange with the UCPN(M), tactical blunders can ususally be recovered from anyway. But when the whole ideology goes down the drain and all the talk is of bourgeois democracy, then the cause of revolution is lost, whatever else people do.

    You can’t make revolution by accident. You can’t make a revolution in a situation where the leadership is reformist but they are ‘pulled along’ by the militancy of the rank and file or the pressure of events. The revolutionary seizure of power requires conscious, revolutionary leadership. Of course, the doing is ultimately important but the thinking must come first.

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