Basanta on line struggle in Nepal: we are “on the threshold of counter-revolution”
Posted by redpines on September 1, 2011
Basanta is a Central Committee member of the UCPN(M) as well as one of the party’s most prominent theorists. He released this statement after Baburum Bhattarai, a leader of the party’s most conservative wing, became Prime Minister of Nepal. It describes the recent history of the line struggle within the party, and argues that this struggle has reached a crucial and precarious juncture.
“Only by defeating this kind of counter-revolutionary thinking and trend, which is noticed in some of the comrades of our party, can the revolution be defended, the people’s federal republic be established in Nepal and the door of new democratic revolution be opened. To strive for this is the task of revolutionaries at present.”
by Indra Mohan Sigdel ‘Basanta
A serious ideological struggle is going on in our party now. While saying so, it does not mean that there was no ideological struggle in our party before. It perseveres in a party; sometimes it is extensive and sharp and sometimes not. Moreover, it struggle does not always centre on only one issue; but on different issues depending on time and context. The ideological struggle in our party has now been manifested in two lines, Marxism or reformism, and it has centred on ideological, political and organisational lines. It is very much piercing and serious too.
Two-line struggle is the life of a party. It is also known as the motive force of a party. Struggle is the base of unity. Mao has stressed on transformation for a new unity to take place upon a new base. Unity is not achieved through compromise, higher level of unity is not achieved without transformation and there is no transformation in default of struggle. That is why, two-line struggle is said to be the motive force of a party.
After we entered into the peace process, the two-line struggle that had surfaced from our party’s Balaju Expanded meeting has been going on till today. In essence, the ongoing struggle is focused on ideological and political questions. However, its central expression has been in different forms depending upon time and context. From the Balaju expanded meeting to now, the two-line struggle in our party has developed through different phases, which can be mentioned in short as follows.
First, the phase of struggle against bourgeois working-style. Once our party entered into the cities after signing in the comprehensive peace agreement bourgeois working-style started to dominate in the party. Most of the leaders and cadres forgot their previous bases, the poverty-stricken countryside, rather started enjoying in big hotels, in the name of building cities a base of revolutionaries. The struggle, which was waged in Balaju meeting against the danger that the problem in working-style of that kind may become a cause to liquidate party’s revolutionary line and as a result the revolution, is noteworthy to mention here. However, the document adopted by Balaju expanded meeting was never distributed in the party to study and implement in practice. Why it happened so, is a serious issue to sum up in the days ahead.
Second, the phase of inner struggle to determine party’s new tactic. Subsequent to the first meeting of the Constituent Assembly, which declared Nepal a federal democratic republic, party’s tactic adopted by the CC meeting in Chunwang had ended. In that situation, the party must have adopted another tactic right away, but that did not happen. Party did not have any tactic almost all through a period of one year after democratic republic of Nepal was declared. In the situation when the old tactic was over and the new one was not taken up it was obvious for the party not to have any plan to go ahead except cycling around the parliamentary exercise. It was necessary for this situation to bring the ideological struggle to the fore centring on what should be the next tactic. There was a sharp and extensive two-line struggle in Kharipati Convention held on November 2008. Finally, elucidating that Nepal was still a semi-feudal and semi-colonial country and the federal democratic republic was a reactionary political system, party adopted a new tactic, People’s Federal Republic, to accomplish new democratic revolution. This tactic is still valid and is awaiting its execution.
Third, the phase of developing plans to implement the aforesaid tactic. Kharipati convention succeeded to build up party’s next tactic but failed again to put forward a concrete plan to implement it. Party didn’t bring in any tangible plan till about nine months after the convention was concluded. Later, three months long central committee meeting in August 2009 took up some important decisions. Of them the decisions, first, people’s insurrection is a must to establish People’s Federal Republic and second, four preparations and four bases are the prerequisites necessary to make people’s insurrection a success, were the important ones. These decisions, which were adopted through a process of intense ideological and political struggle carried all the way through three months, are very much important in our party history.
Fourth, the phase of implementation of plan. Party decided to launch this plan in three steps, first the mass protest on April 6, 2010, second the May Day rally and third the indefinite strike. On May 1, 2010, party declared from the open stadium at Tundikhel, Kathmandu that the indefinite strike would be continued until it culminates to people’s insurrection through which Nepalese people become the master of the state power. It brought an unprecedented enthusiasm among the broad masses. But a strange, before two weeks of its declaration had gone by; the said ongoing strike was suddenly brought to a stop, which did nothing other than bringing a complete demoralisation among the people. It was declared to be the last rebellion before People’s Federal Republic was established in Nepal. But it was suddenly stopped in the middle. Party is yet to appraise in depth the objective and subjective factors that caused to call the indefinite strike off.
Fifth, the phase of ideological struggle around Palungtar. The ideological struggle that had started from Kharipati reached to its climax after the indefinite strike was stopped in May 2010. Everyone from our leaders to cadres and as well the Nepalese masses is aware of the height of the Palungtar debate held in November 2010. But, that gathering too failed to bring forward a concrete plan and develop a method to deal with dissents on the basis of democratic centralism. What it did was it concluded the gathering with a synthesis that there was no alternative to transformation, unity and people’s insurrection. The meeting that was called after the gathering brought out agenda to chalk out the future plans. Management of inner-party dissent on the basis of five-point procedure, further clarification of four bases and four preparations and the formation of people’s volunteer mobilisation bureau were the important issues on which the meeting reached at decisions. It spread enthusiasm in the rank and file of the party and the masses as well. But a strange, the main leadership was not found to have laid emphasis on implementing them in practice.
Sixth, the present phase after the U-turn of the leadership at Sukute. The two-line struggle that was being waged from Kharipati took a different turn after arriving in the standing committee meeting held at Sukute. Explicitly speaking, the contradiction between reform in essence and revolution in form that existed in our party leadership was resolved while arriving at Sukute. Why our leadership, who did not see anything other than the possibility of insurrection till four days before, started seeing counter-insurrection everywhere when there was no any convincing change in the objective and subjective situation, after he returned back from his tour to Singapore. It is a serious question to review.
Aforesaid points give a general glimpse of how did the inner struggle develop in our party and how it is advancing. In the long course of inner struggle from Balaju to right before Sukute we can see a peculiar type of situation in our party. In this long course, the leadership, firstly, did not in general opt for calling meetings, secondly, even if the meeting was called he seemed reluctant to bring revolutionary and major agendas in the meeting apart from day to day issues, thirdly, if revolutionary agendas were introduced for some reason he inclined to take eclectic decision on them, fourthly, even if revolutionary decisions were taken he did not emphasize on implementing them in practice etc. This whole process for years went on creating an objective base suitable for reformism. And finally it arrived at such a situation that revolution was being liquidated while hailing it. It is not that the leadership deliberately did all these things in a planned way. What is true is that the ideological problem in our leadership is the main reason behind it to happen. It is only an instance proved at Sukute that the obvious result of eclecticism in philosophy and centrism in politics is reformism.
In addition to the inner-party struggle centred on aforementioned ideological and political issues, struggle is going on in the organisational line too, in our party. Organisational problems like how to manage freedom of expression and unity in action, how to systematise division of labour, how to institutionalise collective decision and individual responsibility i.e. how to make effective the system of democratic centralism in party are the issues that are being debated now. Particularly, in the present context when centralism is going towards bureaucratization and totalitarianism, the ideological debate which is going on in our party now is to bring the main leadership, from top to bottom, in a committee system as a centralised expression of collectivity.
The ongoing two-line struggle is based on the goal of re-establishing Marxism-Leninism-Maoism in our party, developing a correct ideological, political and organisational line, building a disciplined party and achieving unity after transformation. The more healthy, patient and well-managed is the line struggle the more is the possibility of revolutionary transformation from the leaders to cadres and the more it opens the door of principled unity in the party. The deeper and farther the line struggle we take to, the more we can mobilise people in favour of the revolution. It is also the lesson of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution to us. The practice of confining ideological and political struggle within a small periphery of the central leadership is not and cannot be in agreement with Marxism.
However, what is surprising is that some of the comrades of our party, who claim to be close with the establishment, seem to be very active now to minimise the ideological importance of two-line struggle, confuse honest cadres by projecting it in a wrong way and fulfil their rightist ambition in this process. The understanding of those comrades who conceive that the ideological struggle waged by the revolutionaries is a squabble to get to the post shows their ideological bankruptcy. On top of that why does not it become a squabble for posts on the part of those comrades who bargain their ministerial post to be reserved for their close kins when they quit, on the contrary, how did it become a squabble for the post on the part of those comrades who struggled for inclusiveness and proportional representation in cabinet as provisioned by the interim constitution. Even a layman understands it.
It is clear that new democratic revolution in Nepal is now at the threshold of counter-revolution. It is being manifested in the danger of surrendering PLA in the name of army integration and in the writing of a document of compromise with comprador, bureaucratic capitalists and feudal in the name of building consensus. But, it does not mean not to integrate army and not to write constitution. Integration of army and writing of constitution is a policy declared by our party. None in our party has anywhere opposed to the modality of army integration in consistent with national security policy, provide duty of combatant status by way of group-wise integration of the PLA and write people’s constitution with an anti-feudal and anti-imperialist content. However, without fulfilling these conditions if army integration is carried out in a capitulationist way and if a document of compromise is adopted in the name of writing constitution, it will be an outright counter-revolution.
The crux of two-line struggle from Balaju meeting to now is centred on whether to emphasize on struggle mainly against the comprador bourgeois, which leads the reactionary state power in Nepal now, to ensure people’s constitution from CA and carry out army integration in compliance with national security policy or to emphasize on compromise with the reactionaries to surrender PLA in the name of peace and write a piece of status quo constitution in the name of consensus. It is clear that the first one opens the door of new democratic revolution by establishing people’s federal republic of Nepal while the second one pushes the new democratic revolution far away by institutionalising the bourgeois democratic republic.
In this way, the ongoing two-line struggle in our party is centred on whether to open the door of new democratic revolution by establishing people’s federal republic of Nepal or push the new democratic revolution far away institutionalising bourgeois democratic republic. I do not think it necessary to explain how much weighty and important is this struggle going on in our party. However, some of the people minimise this ideological struggle being waged to defend revolution by saying that it is a squabble for posts and privileges. It is the clear expression of right revisionism and serves counter-revolution. Only by defeating this kind of counter-revolutionary thinking and trend, which is noticed in some of the comrades of our party, can the revolution be defended, the people’s federal republic be established in Nepal and the door of new democratic revolution be opened. To strive for this is the task of revolutionaries at present.
August 30, 2011