Nepal: Prachanda on Possibility of Revolt
Posted by redpines on January 23, 2011
This interview originally appeared in the Jan 16-31 issue of The Red Star.
Revolt means bringing millions of people to the street
United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) is leaving Nepal. What will happen to peace process in the absence of UNMIN?
We are talking with other political parties to extend the tenure of UNMIN because the role of UNMIN has been clearly determined since peace process began, in the interim constitution, and other understandings and agreements that were reached among the political parties. The peace process is reaching its last stage. The extension of UNMIN is, therefore, necessary. We have written a letter to the United Nations requesting UNMIN’s continuity. However, the government and other parties have objected to it. We have also requested the UN to devise an alternative mechanism or system tofacilitate the peace process, if the UN does not take any decision to continue its mission in Nepal.
In this situation, a political office might be set up here, which, we think, could monitor the peace process. So far as I have understood, the UN is preparing in that way. The UN is in favour of establishing an office for monitoring peace process. There are, certainly, some questions raised on who would monitor in place of UNMIN and what may be the alternative mechanism and what will happen to the ongoing peace process. However, I do not think that the peace process will be derailed after January 15 because we are discussing the matter with the other political parties. Even the international situation is unlikely to accept any steps against the process. Although, if we observe the activities and the intention of the government, it becomes clear that they want to provoke the Maoist party, derail the peace process and push the nation into a long conflict. However, all of the political parties do not agree with the government and the entire situation does not seem so. Secondly, we are in a serious discussion with the other political parties on forming an alternative of UNMIN. I think it will be resolved through consensus before January 15. We want to appeal people not to be terrified by thinking that the peace process will break down and conflict will take its place. However, the situation is very sensitive. Harsh and complex situation may have to be faced if the aspirations of the peace agreement and the interimconstitution are not addressed. But, we are sure that there is no alternative to national consensus.
However, the government has sent a letter to UNMIN urging to handover the weapons of PLA stored in the cantonments to the government. What is your opinion?
It was quite wrong to urge the UN body to handover the arms without making a political agreement,reviewing the agreements that have been committed before. UNMIN did well when it objected to the government’s unilateral move in this regard. We believe that Security Council of UN has also rejected it and advised to make political agreement. I sent a letter to the UN after the caretaker government sent unilateral letter to it. The rejection of government’s letter by the Security Council regarding handing over of weapons is a very happy news for us.
Indian hand is said to be behind the departure of UNMIN from Nepal. What do you think?
Certainly, India has not taken the presence of UNMIN in Nepal comfortably since its beginning. Indian interest was made public indirectly. In this sense, it can be assumed that there is more or less Indian hand behind the departure of UNMIN. But, in the latter period, the continuous interruption in peace process, and blame over UNMIN for not accelerating it or attempts to drag the UNMIN into debate shows that the “Key Five” nations; mainly, America and India, probably thought that they would not get benefit from it.
Principal task of the peace process is to integrate armies. UNMIN is going back. What is the concrete proposal of UCPN-Maoist for army integration?
At first, there are ideological differences on whether to accelerate the peace process or not. In the interim constitution, including all the understandings and the agreements, UCPN-Maoist has been treated as a party or power while the government is the other party or power. Army integration is on this equilibrium foundation between two powers. But, the external reactionary forces and domestic NC and the UML are not ready to recognize UCPN-Maoist as a power or party to the peace process now. They want that the Maoists should surrender before them and dissolve the PLA. As long as they try to abort all the agreements committed in the past, the peace process cannot go ahead smoothly. We have not reached any agreement to the fix modality of integration. If they accept the Maoist party as a party or power, at first, it is not necessary to integrate the PLA with Nepal Army (NA) or any other security mechanism. The easy integration will be making the PLA a ‘special force’ by providing special responsibility to it. If they do not agree with this, the total number of PLA, that want to be fused, should be integrated with the equal numbers of the three state security forces – Nepal Army, Armed Police Force and Nepal Police – to form the special force. But, we can never agree with the plan to treat PLA soldiers as new recruits or force them to undergo such procedures in the name of carrying out army integration.
Winter-session of the Legislature-Parliament has started. How are you planning to move ahead in the election of the Prime Minister?
We are clear from the beginning. We are still claiming to form the government under the leadership of our party because ours is the largest party in the Constituent Assembly. However, we are also very clear that the situation is not in favour of us. Along with it, the other political parties are not ready to accept the change and progress. Due to their status quo mentality, they are not ready to accept the leadership of UCPN-Maoist. However, the objective situation requires consensus among political parties for the formation of the government and its operational processes. New government can be formed under the leadership of any party if a consensus is made among the parties.
Is there any possibility of compromise, then?
Any possibility has not been seen yet. However, the situation to accept anyone occurs if any agreement is made on building peace and power sharing. There is not any favourable situation to make an agreement. In this context, the only way is to form the government of the majority. Probably the ongoing election of the PM ends from this step and the candidacy of Ram Chandra Poudel will be cancelled. Decision of the Supreme Court that rules out neutrality during the election of PM in the House, has opened the door for the formation of new government as Political parties like the UML which stood neutral previously have to vote for or against now.. But it is not clear who will be the PM.
What are the concrete decisions of your party’s Central Committee meeting held recently after thePalungtar Extended Meeting?
We gathered thousands of the cadres from all over the country and did a broader democratic exercise during the Extended Meeting. The document, now, has been endorsed according to the mandate of Palungtar meeting. The essence is to carry the peace process and writing constitution to its logical conclusion. Peace, here, is the peace according to the comprehensive peace accord and the agreements. Peace is not possible by forcing the Maoists to surrender. We are ready to conclude the peace process on the foundation of the agreements that are committed before, because we fought a big war and many battles for writing a new constitution with anti-imperialist and anti-feudalist essence. The constitution is going to be written addressing the issues of class, caste, region and gender according to the agreement for restructuring the entire state. The Maoist party is not lagging behind the commitments it has committed. We have clearly spoken if the conspiracies of the counter revolutionaries continue, in spite of our good efforts to build peace and writing a new constitution; then there will be no option left for us other than to initiate a revolt.
But how can you make the revolt a success because your party Vice-Chairman Dr. Bhattarai has disagreed with the main spirit of the document of the CC meeting?
Revolt or movement is always carried out by the people and not by the party alone. All the revolutions initiated at the time when there was struggle within the party. People revolt when there is stormy environment outside and differences of opinion inside the party. October Revolution got its victory when there was a sharp inner struggle of Lenin with Jinoviev and Kamenev. This instance of intra-party struggle and initiation of revolution can also be seen in the history of Chinese Revolution. Certainly, the reflections of the class society occur inside the revolutionary party itself. However, the main thing is how to make the revolutionaries weightier and how to manage the inner struggle. Our party has developed some ideas following the recent meetings. Main thing is to settle the inner struggle in a scientific way. To be honest towards class, people and revolution is the main thing. To make a written document of the party after Palungtar is a very important thing. We are in the process to develop and systematize the inner struggle by taking lessons and sharing experiences from the past. We are advancing in a unified way. We have adopted freedom in discussion and unity in action.
What type of revolt are you going to initiate?
Many people have their different opinions. Some have said that the Maoists are going to initiate People’s War through guerrilla fight again, which is wrong. We are the biggest party in the Constituent Assembly. We want to advance as a revolutionary party. We struggle against those who are against writing constitution. Revolt, here, means bringing tens of millions of people to the streets. For that, we should make environment. We are going to complete our schooling programmes before February 13 and then declare the programmes of struggle. We will resist if the government tries to crush. We will resist fiercely if the people on the street with just demands are treated with cruel oppression. The resistance, either, will be established in the world, as a successful model, or it will turn towards a National Resistance Movement.
(This interview was taken on 9 January.)