Revolution in South Asia

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What is the road to revolution in Nepal?

Posted by redpines on November 19, 2011

The following response to an earlier post about the 7 point agreement on Nepal’s Army integration raises a number of important questions. How did counter-revolutionary lines develop within the UCPN(M)? Was it due to the class backgrounds of certain leaders? Or was it due to incorrect or dogmatic views of the path to New Democracy and socialism?

And, ultimately, what is the road to socialism in a country like Nepal, which is still shaking off its feudal class relations and is vulnerable to the global reach of military and economic imperialism? What kind of transitional stages are necessary? Should revolutionaries unite with the bourgeois parties who want to bring investment from India and elsewhere to ‘develop’ Nepal along capitalist lines? The revolutionary forces in Nepal have argued that this is a road to further immiseration for the vast majority of the country’s people. 

We encourage readers to share their views on these questions.

by Kumar Sarkar

Siva said: “Leaving aside what the likes of Bhattarai and Hisila Yami had in mind when joining the Maoist Party, we need to examine how others from different class backgrounds and with healthy attitudes got corrupted– and that may include Dahal.”

Bhattarai and Yami did not ‘sneak’ into the party. Nor did Prachanda. They joined with honest intentions of ‘fighting for socialism’.

This fight for socialism has included in its agenda a program for democratic revolution in a feudal country like Nepal. In theory, it is a prelude to socialism. In practice, it is unable to go beyond democracy.

The problem needs serious investigations, if we are to avoid future disasters, using the tools of scientific socialism and not relying on fate or “a process of reeducation through criticism & self criticism that people fully liberate themselves from reactionary thinking.”

The thinking is reactionary because it is a feudal or semi-feudal environment. And unlike Europe in the 1840′s, from which the ideas of democratic revolution emerged, it is an era of globalised imperialism. And for this era, there is no hitherto prescribed path or practical experience to advance to socialism.

There is no socialist camp today to help the nationalist bourgeoisie, if they now exist anywhere, as some did around the Bandung Conference of 1955, to LEAD the fight against imperialism in the absence of a significantly strong worker-peasant alliance.

Accepting a significant nationalist bourgeoisie or its influential elements, if they exist, in a worker-peasant alliance, is to neutralise them as a force via completing the incomplete or even hitherto uncharted democratic tasks under the leadership of the alliance in New Democracy.

In Nepal today, the bourgeoisie is insigificant and comprador. Self-styled nationalist elements in the Nepal Congress align themselves with the Indian bourgeoisie, of which the big section is comprador, demonstrating once again that development of nationalist bourgeoisie anywhere today is impossible under globalised imperialism.

Bhattarai has been advocating a ‘sub-stage’ in the democratic revolution in feudal Nepal in order to develop capitalism independently, which is a mirage, when global capitalism is going through its worst crisis. If I remember correctly, he explained this strategy in an article in the ‘The Worker’ No 10; unfortunately I cannot give the reference just now.

In his latest contribution on the subject of the strategy for the Nepalese Revolution, in Singapore, Bhattarai has to say the following:

“There is general agreement in the Maoist radical democratic camp that principal impediments to social progress in present-day Nepal are the feudal remnants in different spheres of society, economy and state. Hence the UCPN (Maoist) has identified its principal immediate task as the completion of the bourgeois democratic revolution. Furthermore, the party has already declared its commitment to multi-party competitive politics, periodic elections, freedom of press and assembly, rule of law, human rights, etc, which are considered inalienable features of liberal democracy. The party’s only insistence has been that this political democracy should be grounded on concomitant democracy on economic, social and cultural fronts so that the basic masses of workers, peasants, women, dalits and people of oppressed nationalities and regions, too, can avail the real fruits of democracy. For this, certain specific measures to ensure the real participation of the basic masses of people in the state organs should be enshrined in the very constitution. As A.D. Benoit has rightly said, “The highest measure of democracy is neither the ‘extent of freedom’ nor the ‘extent of equality’, but rather the highest measure of participation”. Similarly, fundamental rights to education, health, employment, food security, shelter, etc., should be guaranteed to every citizen by the constitution.”

So the comprador bourgeoisie of Nepal and worker-peasant alliance -”both sides have more or less unified understanding about the need to sweep away all feudal remnants and complete the democratic revolution”!!!

Infact, Bhattarai has changed the characterisation of the Nepali Congress, conveniently, as follows:
“The liberal democratic camp led by the Nepali Congress, however, has so far not exhibited much ingenuity and flexibility to develop a realistic model of democracy suited to the specific conditions of the country, apart from harping on the traditional model of parliamentary democracy of the Westminister type. The prolonged deadlock over the form of governance, whether the presidential or the prime ministerial system, is its direct manifestation. Since both sides have more or less unified understanding about the need to sweep away all feudal remnants and complete the democratic revolution, it would be prudent to unitedly develop a transitional model of democracy incorporating the positive features of both liberal and socialist/people’s democracy.”

Previously, as far as I remember, the “sub-stage” was supposed to be led by the worker-peasant allaiance. Since then Bhattarai has moved frther to the right – including the Nepal Congress, which is no longer comprador but elevated to the level of the leader of “The liberal democratic camp.”

Bhattarai honestly believes that he is a socialist but he is essentially a bourgeois democrat, accepted in the highest ranking leadership of a revolutionary communist party. There are scores of similar examples in the revolutionary communist movement in the feudal/semi-feudal countries.

Attempts to use yesterday’s solutions to solve today’s problems are creatig havoc. Let us re-examine our concept of democratic revolution in feudal or semi-feudal countries UNDER IMPERIALISM.

4 Responses to “What is the road to revolution in Nepal?”

  1. siva said

    Certainly the problem needs serious investigation and using the tools of scientific socialism is important to avoid future disasters.
    It is also true that one cannot rely on fate or merely on a process of re-education through criticism & self criticism whereby people fully liberate themselves from reactionary thinking, in isolation from revolutionary struggle.

    Since even revisionists claim to use the tools of scientific socialism, revolutionary practice as a foremost tool of scientific socialism should take pride of place.
    It had been the touchstone of true revolutionary leaders in the past.
    It is in the course of a revolutionary process under constant review that the genuine distinguishes itself from the bogus.

    One question that seem to dog me is why Bhattarai had to join the Maoists when the UML would have perfectly fitted with his line of thinking. There were also other ‘left parties’ that better suited his kind of ‘socialist’ thinking (however sincere it may be) than a party that espoused ‘Maoist’ ideology.

    Another question concerns how seemingly revolutionary leaders –who in fact played a positive role in the decade long armed struggle and encouraged the mass line and people’s power in the countryside– changed their line recently.

    How did the two-line struggle that is now pointing to a definite split in the UCPN-M emerge when the Maoists had the initiative with them?
    Did the tactical alliance with SPA to overthrow the monarchy at some stage become a strategic alliance to certain important leaders?

    What theoretical issues were behind the brief suspension of Bhattarai? Were they resolved fully before his restoration? (I am reminded of the rehabilitation of Deng Xiaoping in China even before Mao died).

    Were not the issues that led to acrimony with the CPI(Maoist) in the last decade by themselves pointing to the emergence of revisionism?

    The cited comments by Bhattarai re the NC are revealing. (It may not be a coincidence that he always had a soft spot for the late Girija Prasad Koirala, former prime minister and leader of the NC).
    His comments would remind one of the kind of re-evaluation of the Congress in India by the CPI in the 1970s and the SLFP in Sri Lanka by the LSSP from 1964. Both were instances of making excuses for shady political deals; and both had tragic consequences.

    There are many more issues which would be usefully clarified if the Maoists of Nepal would find the time to contribute.

  2. Kumar Sarkar said

    Please allow the following correction to my contribution. The following paragraph – [So the comprador bourgeoisie of Nepal and worker-peasant alliance -”both sides have more or less unified understanding about the need to sweep away all feudal remnants and complete the democratic revolution”!!!] should be removed from its present place and inserted after the next paragraph and preceding the paragraph starting with “Previously, as far as I remember…, etc”.

  3. Pavan Patel said

    Dear Mr. sarkar,,It seems you are not familiar properly from Baburam Bhattarai. He has been honest from the day one when PPW started in Nepal in 1996. The aim of his revolution has been only to end of monarchy. you can see all these trajectories in his works in Nepali and in English like, Monarchy Vs Democracy. Recently after forming this government under his leadership he declared that he is a ”Democrat” and no socialist as you think.

    Pavan Patel
    CSSS/SSS/JNU/New Delhi

  4. Kumar Sarkar said

    Comrade Pavan Patel,

    I have considerable familiarity with Bhattarai’s writings. I have read ‘Monarchy vs Democracy’, several articles in the ‘The Worker 10 and 11’. Also, his recent lectures in Mumbai (Anuradha Gandhi Memorial Lecture, Jan 2011) and in Singapore. The last two lectures clearly deal with his ideology and politics. Also Hisila Yami’s articles in the Monthly Review New York. Just before the elections I was in Kathmandu for the first time and had the opportunity to have a chat with Hisila, when we discussed several issues quite a bit.

    I have never questioned Bhattarai’s honesty. But, honesty is not enough to become a communist – ideological clarity is paramount. And it is possible that he was never a socialist and has always been a democrat, but I have not seen any document in which he has declared that. Yet, he is in the top leadership of a revolutionary communist party! For quite sometime now these issues have been bothering me a lot and I have nearly completed a preliminary article on the subject.

    For the moment, let me quote two sections from a signed article from the Peking Review of 1976: “The deepening of the revolutionary mass debate has raised a number of thought-provoking questions: why is it that some people who were revolutionaries in the period of the new-democratic revolution have become capitalist-roaders in the period of the socialist revolution?” In the concluding section of the article the answer is given precisely: “ But because the party over a long period in the past led revolutionary movements which were bourgeois democratic in nature, many bourgeois and petty-bourgeois democrats joined the revolutionary ranks and the vanguard of the proletariat. Many who were educated in Marxism-Leninism and were tempered in protracted revolutionary struggles gradually abandoned their bourgeois world outlook and accepted or fostered the proletarian stand and world outlook. But there are a still a few who have been profoundly influenced by bourgeois ideology but have not accepted the Party’s education and remoulding , and their stand and world outlook remain unchanged.” (Chih Heng, PR No 13, March 26, 1976)

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