Nepal: Prachanda in New York -- A Maoist vision for a new Nepal
`A Maoist Vision for a New Nepal' -- MP3 recordings of a talk by Nepal's Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal (Prachanda), followed by questions and answers, presented to the India China Institute of New School University, New York City, on September 26, 2008. The MP3 audio clips were first presented on the Hegemonik site, and are posted here with permission
Nepal's newly elected Prime Minister Prachanda came to New York to address the United Nations General Assemby on September 26. Click HERE to download the text of his UN speech (PDF) or click HERE to watch a video of the address (requires Real Player).
After his UN address, Prachanda spoke to a mixed audience of intellectuals, expatriate Nepalis and leftists at a talk sponsored by the New School University’s India China Institute. He described the new Nepal's attitude to foreign investment, development of its natural resources and relations with China and India. The question and answer session touched upon the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)'s ideological positions.
Prachanda also spoke at a September 25 invitation-only reception organised by the International Action Center. (You can listen to the speeches HERE.) According the account posted at the Absent Cause web site:
``Comrade Prachanda explained that the CPN(M) has tried to understand the lessons of the international communist movement, of the revolutions and counter-revolutions of the 20th Century. He briefly reviewed the history of the peoples war, which began in 1996 after the Nepali government's violent repression of mass demonstrations. Prachanda said that his party worked to explain to the people that they were not opposed to peaceful change, but that all avenues had been closed and armed struggle was necessary.
``After five years of civil war, the CPN (M) embarked on a serious internal discussion of the lessons of previous revolutions, including the socialist revolution in Russia. At this time the party adopted the idea that a multi-party system and political competition should exist even under socialism. They determined that this is what Lenin would have done had he lived another five or 10 years, in the process of trying to build the basis for a socialist economic system in Russia. Lenin would not have followed the same path as Stalin, who made `serious mistakes in his understanding of philosophy and dialectical materialism'" according to Prachanda.
``Following this internal discussion, the CPN (M) initiated negotiations with the Nepali government. However, the talks did not succeed because the government would not agree to the minimum conditions of a constituent assembly.
``Saying that the democratic revolution must be completed to carry through the socialist revolution, Prachanda explained that the monarchy had played a very important role in how the revolution developed through its stupidity and intransigence. The result was an understanding between the peoples war and other parties involved in the mass struggle, of bourgeois democratic and peoples movements side-by-side. This culminated in 19 days of mass actions that brought about the beginning of the end to the monarchy in 2006.
``Prachanda commented on the `confusion of some people' when the Maoists became the leading party in Nepal. He said the CPN (M)-led government's mandate consists of three tasks: 1) drafting a new constitution; 2) carrying through the peace process, termed the `rehabilitation and integration' of armed forces; and 3) initiating new economic development.
``When he appeared at the closing of the Olympic Games in Beijing, Prachanda explained, he tried to convey that `we are making a big experiment -- not only for Nepal, not only for South Asia, but for the people of the world. We communists are more flexible and dynamic. We try to develop our ideology according to new conditions. We understand the dynamic of change.'
``Recalling that just three years ago he was labeled a terrorist by the US and had a price on his head, and the CPN (M) is still on the US `terrorism watch list', Prachanda joked about the leaders of the US being the ones who are truly `sectarian and dogmatic', not the communists. He thanked the audience for the opportunity to address the `socialists of the USA'.''
We are being encircled by the reactionaries
– Indramohan Sigdel ‘Basanta’,
Central Committee Member, CPN (Maoist)
The CPN (Maoist) is now at the stage of peaceful revolution. Revolution in itself is meant to politically overthrow the enemy from state power. How can you recognize your enemy at this peaceful stage?
Generally speaking, the revolution is meant to violently overthrow the class enemy from the state power. However, one must not one-sidedly understand that the revolution necessarily takes a violent form all through its course. The form of struggle is determined not by the subjective wish of the struggling forces but of course by the objective condition and the balance of forces at the given period. At a certain juncture and certain condition, the revolution can develop in a peaceful way. Our participation in the two negotiations in the past and the present peace process are examples of peaceful development of revolution. Nevertheless, it is wrong to categorically separate revolution as two distinct stages, the violent or peaceful, as your question points to.
The enemy, at any particular juncture of revolution, is not determined by whether the revolution is developing in a violent or non-violent way but by which class, in the then socio-economic condition of the given country plays a decisive role in the state power. Nepal is a semi-feudal and semi-colonial country. Although, the feudal institution, the monarchy, has been abolished but feudalism, which is strongly present in petty production system and culture of the Nepalese people, is by no means over. However, the bureaucrat and comprador bourgeois, through which imperialism and mainly the Indian expansionism penetrate into our country, and, which stands against the Nepalese people’s aspiration of democracy, independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity at the present juncture, this has been the principal enemy of the new democratic revolution in Nepal.
Has the CPN (Maoist) identified the nature of struggle at the present phase of revolution? Is it civil war or national liberation war?
After the accomplishment of constituent assembly election and declaration of federal democratic republic of Nepal, the political equation has changed to a great extent. Without a decisive victory against feudalism and imperialism, mainly Indian expansionism in our case, no new democratic revolution can triumph in semi-feudal and semi-colonial Nepal. Now, the Comprador bourgeoisie has come at the forefront of the class struggle in Nepal. Therefore, the national aspect of the New Democratic Revolution has become principal at present.
If the class struggle has not ended, then why does the Party Chairman and Prime Minister Com. Prachanda repeatedly talk about keeping a harmonious relationship between worker s and management?
We are now at the stage of New Democratic Revolution not the Socialist one. So, resolution of the basic contradiction, which is made up of the broad peasantry and patriotic forces on the one hand and feudalism and imperialism on the other, is the necessary precondition for the accomplishment of New Democratic Revolution in Nepal. Hence, it is clear that the contradiction between worker and the national bourgeois is not the principal contradiction right now so the need to maintain a harmonious relation between them is obvious.
What do you mean by maintaining equidistant relationship with the two neighbouring countries, India and China?
Nepal lies between two giant nations India and China. In the past, it had been an erroneous practice that one section of the reactionaries played the China card while the other played the India one to grab a bigger share in the reactionary power. But given our geo-political situation, we cannot sustain and prosper both politically and economically unless we maintain an equidistant diplomatic relation with these countries.
Is the forthcoming full central committee meeting going to take up some important decisions about demarcating the roles and responsibilities between the Party and the Government?
With the successful accomplishment of Constituent Assembly election our Party, the CPN (Maoist), is now participating in the government. Our participation is a political tactic aimed at accomplishing the new democratic revolution by restructuring the state power. Therefore it is one of the fronts of class struggle.
However, in the present situation when the tasks and responsibilities of our party are mainly on how it can play a revolutionary role from the government have not been concretely defined. Some confusion has arisen among the ranks, the revolutionary masses and the international communist movement as well. It is the party which leads the government not vice versa. With this in mind, the forthcoming central committee meeting is going to concretely define and assign tasks and responsibilities to the government, our comrades present in the constituent assembly and the entire party ranks and the mass organisations. Not only this, the party is going to develop concrete policy, plan and programme to centrally command and coordinate all of the fronts of struggle including the government.
Do you think it is necessary to review the party document regarding 21st century democracy?
The 21st century democracy is our new concept of democracy related to the post-revolution period of democratic and proletarian dictatorship under the new democratic and socialist stage respectively, not the pre-revolution one. We have not yet accomplished revolution. So what have we been practicing now is not in consistent with our concept put forward by the document regarding the 21st century democracy. However, the need to review the concept of the 21st century democracy and develop it further may arise in the days to come when we will be practicing new democracy and socialism on the way to communism.
Finance Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai has told about the budget that he made as socialism oriented budget. Is it democratic socialism oriented or communist socialism oriented? What do you find when you analyse its characteristics?
Dr. Baburam Bhattarai, one of the senior leaders of our party, has brought out a budget on behalf of the present coalition government under our party leadership. It is true the budget is progressive and it has attempted to address the basic problems of the oppressed class, sex, nations and regions. For that reason one may find a few aspects of socialist economy in it. But the budget alone cannot be a criterion to make it a new democratic, socialist or capitalist. As part of the communist party’s comprehensive ideological and political line, it is the political and economic programme that makes the economy new democratic or socialist depending upon the stage of revolution.
The present budget has been brought out on the basis of common minimum programme agreed upon by the coalition partners that have no common economic and political understanding. In this sense, it is better to term this economy as the economy suitable for the present transitional condition in which a revolutionary and status quo forces in the coalition are contending for their ultimate goals.
Many of the Party leaders accept that the CPN (Maoist) is being encircled by the reactionaries around. What are the Party policies and programmes to break encirclement to achieve the goal?
The new democratic revolution in Nepal is at the crucial juncture of seizing central power under our party leadership. The reactionaries and the opportunists the world over do not want the revolution to succeed in Nepal. Therefore it is true that we are being encircled by the reactionaries to make the revolution abort before it takes its birth.
However, despite their effort, the CPN (Maoist) and the oppressed Nepalese people are equipped with a scientific ideology, Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and Prachanda Path and can make the entire encirclements and conspiracies fail and so the success of new democratic revolution is inevitable. The forthcoming central committee meeting is going to bring out concrete policy, plan and programme to achieve this minimum strategic goal.
September 29, 2008
Women participation in state power
- Satya Pahadi
The history does not repeat in the some way. But the history can not be falsified. The stories written in the pages of history can not be justified falsely. The story of the women bravery has a live connection with the whole story of the movements of the people. Women have taken part unprecedently in all the movements from 1951 and especially in decade long people's war (PW).
Nepalese people's movement has to take its bends in each decade. There has been a mentionable participation of women in every movement. Women themselves have made a social status in a way of emancipation.
However, there are some questions about the capacity and efficiency of women. These questions are directly related to the question of women leadership in the decision making place. One of them is the question about whether they are in Constituent Assembly and in council of the ministers only according to the policy of inclusive and proportionate. Is the capacity and efficiency only obstruction for women leadership?
1. Women's problems and the question of ideology:
First of all, the emancipation of women is only possible due to the correct and revolutionary political line. Here, the question rose on women emancipation and the question raised by feminists differs greatly.
The feminists argue that the discriminations over women can be solved even remaining far from the politics and ideology. They always suggest that the movement should be one of politics. This is because men can not understand their problems. The woman questions are only practical question and are not related with theories. If we see it superficially, it seems correct. But, it is incorrect if we see the whole aspects of the lives of women. Misbehaves and exploitations are done against women by women. To reach into depth, we should be aware of the two extremist ideas:
a. The idea to understand women problems as a specific problem and minimize them.
b. The idea to separate women from the entire society and the common problems.
The women problems are related with the problems of castes, region and the different communities. They are solved through the common effort of all. Some of the problems are distinguished ones. Women themselves should take initiative for their solution.
However, the reason behind these especial problems is the feudalistic characteristics of production and feudalistic productive relationship. No ownership in property and culturally put into 2nd sex are the feudal discrimination. Therefore, the real emancipation of women is through the ideology and class ideology.
2. The question of women participation in all the sectors
The question of inclusiveness and the proportionate has become the debated issue today. This awareness has been possible only through a decade long people's war. More than 40% women representatives from different castes and ethnicity are nominated by the Maoist Party. Many women candidates have become victorious in the election first-past-the-post system. Other political parties have hardly trying to follow CPN-Maoist.
Along with the historical participation of women, we have had to answer about the capacity of women whether they are able to run the state power or not. Here, what is the measurement of the women capacity to run the state power? All have accepted the vital role of women in all the movements and wars. It means the capacity of women is heartily accepted in this period. Then, why is there a question about women capacity in this new situation?
3. The question on the development of women capacity
Actually the question has been raised about those women representatives who have been successful to be in the state power by leading and addressing the ambitions and aspirations of the poor and marginalized. Now, the principal cause of the repression of women, the unitarily feudal monarchy, has been ended and the Federal Democratic Republic has been established.
The women consciousness is revolutionary in Nepal. The revolutionary consciousness differs from evolutionary consciousness. If this consciousness is accepted as the measurement of ideology, then, it is not an exaggerated thing that Nepalese women representatives have real capacity to run the state power.
We can not even imagine that the discrimination against women can not be exterminated without the violent struggle because of the patriarchal system, boldly founded over the brutal repression of women since thousands of years ago. Therefore, we, first of all, should be clear from all the illusions that women are not efficient and capable. Simultaneously, we should be aware about the fake argument that the women are made weak by the nature itself.
If we talk about the valor of women is people's war, we comments see a live history from the women of Kalikot, the far western Nepal where only the civil women had seized guns from armed police force with the help of sticks and stones to the jail broken by women in Gurkha district. There are the unprecedented examples of women bravery and capacity.
Responsibility develops capacity. Responsibility itself is both opportunity and challenge. Nevertheless, the main problem is suspicion over the trust in the capacity of women. Some special efficiencies need in some especial jobs: like pilot, doctor, lawyer and scientist. Here, the distinguished capacity is equally necessary both to men and women. Politically, Nepalese women are capable to lead and run the government. Women educated by the political consciousness are capable to lead the society and country any where in the world.
Why I resigned from the ministry
- Matrika Yadav
We are still going through a transitional situation. A tripartite struggle is still carrying on. The different powers are vigorously struggling to defend their own class interests. The regressive, status quo and the progressives are the major tendencies here. We cannot consolidate the old state power by forgetting our commitments, our class interests and the dreams of the martyrs.
Our expectation and priority is to end discrimination and inequality through a proper debate. However, the regressive and status quo reactionaries are trying to stop and pull the society towards a regressive direction by hook or by crook. The brutal repression of the homeless and the poor peasants in Mirchaiya of Siraha district is a symbolic action to strengthen the feudalistic-comprador and bureaucratic system. Reactionaries are trying to foil the Maoist government by showing it is unable to champion the cause of the poor.
A handful is in favour of chasing the homeless people from their huts. They are shouting loudly that it would better for minister Matrika not to lead the campaign to re-establish the homeless there. These people have concentrated or tried to concentrate the attention of the people not on the issue, but on the person. I have been involved in politics for many years, with a dream to do something in favour of poor and homeless people. I never dreamt of being a minister or prime minister in my life. I still firmly hold on to our ultimate goal. I don't want to be a minister at the cost of giving up the interests of the proletarian class.
I have not diverted from my goal of helping the poor, whether I am in the post of minister or not. I didn't want to stay on the post of minister by forsaking the interests of our own proletarian class. The homeless poor people had settled on the confiscated land of a feudal landlord under a slogan given by our party. However, those poor homeless people were harassed and chased by a home administration with the help of the police, without providing any alternative for them to live. Our party is leading the government, but homeless poor people are being chased from their huts. Then, I could not stand by and watch all these brutal activities of the administration. I felt dishonoured for being helpless. I couldn't even endure it, then, I came out to the reach of the people.
I asked the home minister not to chase the poor people from their huts without providing any alternative. However, he did not listen to my humble request. He occupied the land and chased the people forcefully. The Home minister pushed the poor into a sea of trouble for the defence of the monarchical-feudalist. I am confident that our party should not be against the interests of homeless people.
We are able to write about scientific land-reform in the interim constitution because of our initiative. The Prime minister has repeatedly talked and promised to work in favour of the homeless and the land-less. He repeated it when he responded in the Constitution Assembly about the policy and programme of the government.
But, in the same evening, the home administration and the police rained Lathis over the heads of the homeless and shed blood and tears. It was unbearable for me. I went to the field quickly and told the homeless to stay in their huts until and unless an alternative place or occupation is given to them. How could I live in a luxurious building and tour in an official facilitated vehicle of minister at that time? I am the leader of those poor and homeless people. I cannot change my ideas and apply the anti-people agendas of UML and Madhesi Jana Adhikar Forum. Due to these reasons, I resigned from the post of Minister for Land Reform and Management.
The incident of Mirchaiya of the Siraha district had not happened according to my wish. I had only opposed the brutal repression that took place under the order of the Home Minister. The Mirchaiya incident is only a representative incident to have come to the surface. If the anti-people plan and conspiracies succeed here, brutal repressions will follow all over the country. We cannot easily escape from this incident simply by accusing the Home Minister Bamdev Gautam, because the coalition government is under the leadership of our party. Therefore, we will get more complaints from the people than the other parties. People expected more from our party and nothing from the UML and MJF.
We cannot forget our commitments that we have made before the people. The post of minister is nothing before the great ultimate goal and commitment of our party among the people. In the name of running the government and being a minister, we should not and cannot consolidate the power of feudalistic, comprador and bureaucrat order in the state. I can work and help the exploited classes, regions, gender and marginalized so far as the ideology, party and leadership is correct and the government works in favour of them. If the ideology, party, party leadership and the government will be against the people, there will be no relationship with the people.
Maoist leaders contradict each other on changing party name
Hours after Finance Minister and Maoist leader Dr Baburam Bhattarai told journalists that his party is mulling to change its name, another senior Maoist leader, Mohan Vaidya, said there are no plans to change the party name, and that Bhattarai would have to furnish clarification regarding his statement.
Speaking at the Reporters Club Friday Vaidya, who represents a faction of hardliners in the Maoist party, claimed that the party is not going to shed its 'tag name' [Maoist] in near future.
Vaidya said Bhattarai would be asked to clarify his remarks during the next party meeting. "Those were Bhattarai's personal views," he said, resenting Bhattarai's publicly statement "on an issue which has not been decided".
Stating that there are clearly two lines in the Maoist party, Vaidya however refuted speculation that the internal dispute might lead to a split, and claimed that party would be further consolidated and united.
Meanwhile, talking to journalists in Nepalgunj today Prime Minister and Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal revealed that he had proposed to change party's name two years back and that the issue is under discussion.
Dahal also stressed the need to induct most Maoist combatants into Nepal Army and warned of "dire consequences" if obstacles were put in the process of army integration.
Similarly, Vaidya mentioned that some PLA personnel would be inducted into
the national army while others will be taken into border security force or industrial security force.
Since the peace agreement has clearly mentioned about the modalities of army integration, it would not matter even if some parties take to streets against the process, he added.
While reiterating the party's line in favour of multi-party system, Vaidya said the Maoists' ultimate goal is to establish People's Republic. nepalnews.com ia Oct 17 08
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Nepal Maoist’s senior leader Mohan Baidya Kiran Pokharel has said that the party will take appropriate penal actions against those Maoist Leaders who have been favoring the abandoning of Mao’s name from the party.
Mr. Pokharel- a hardliner in the party said so speaking at a journalist interaction program in the capital on October 17, 2008.
“Baburam Ji has made a blunder when he said that the party will drop Mao’s name” criticizing Nepal’s Finance Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai, aded Mr. Pokharel.
Dr. Baburam Bhattarai had recently in an interview with a foreign media had said that the party was mulling over the issue of abandoning Mao’s name.
“His remark was strictly personal…nevertheless, the party will seriously discuss what prompted him to say so” added Pokharel further.
When asked to divulge his views over the possibility of split in the Maoists’ camp, said Pokharel, “Stop dreaming…we will remain ever united…expect more determined actions from the Maoists’ party in the days ahead”.
Similarly, talking to the Doha correspondent of the Kantipur Daily dated October 18, 2008 Dr. Babu Ram Bhattarai has said that since NCP-Maoists was the real communist party of Nepal and that the people have accepted this fact in the last CA election, there is no need to add a “tail” to identify the real Communist Party of Nepal.
To add, Nepal’s Maoist Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has also said that the proposal of abandoning Mao’s name was in fact his own proposal submitted to the party central committee some two years back.
“I said that in the context of forming a single communist party in Nepal by uniting other smaller communist factions”, said the PM at the Nepalgunj Airport October 17, 2008.
“I am also against keeping a tail intact in the party’s name”, the PM told the media men.2008-10-18 08:50:00
Ideological rift among Maoists
Baidya's proposal carries some weight. The party CC couldn't defeat it. Neither did it endorse Chairman Dahal's paper, which remains committed to the current democratic republic for now. Dahal’s proposal sees a people's republic as a long-term goal, with a "pro-people" constitution as a transition toward that end. In contrast, Baidya stresses that the party must opt for a people's republic with immediate effect.
Baidya's proposal, backed by senior leaders CP Gajurel, Ram Bahadur Thapa and Matrika Yadav among others, advocates state-controlled political and economic systems and says that the state must have strong control over all economic resources. A party CC leader says the state cannot provide justice to all marginalised classes like farmers, labourers, the dalit and the janajati until it has full control over all economic resources.
Further elaborating on the Baidya proposal, the CC leader said the proposal argues that all economic activities, such as industries, must function under direct regulation by the state. "This is how the state can be socialist and dispense justice to all sections of society," he said.
Stressing that the party fought the decade-long war for a people's republic, Baidya argues that the party cannot undervalue the loss of hundreds of party cadres for the cause.
On the political front, Baidya's proposal states that there will be a multi-party democracy but it will not be a parliamentary one. The proposal says various political parties will be free to compete among themselves but they will function only within the norms and guidelines set by the state.
"The underlying meaning of the proposal is that there will be a single major political party in the centre and all other political parties will compete under norms set by the major political party," the CC leader said. "But we are still open to discussing the structure of the political system."
He said the high number of political parties in developing countries poses a hurdle in the development process. "If there is only one major political party in a developing country like ours, we will be free from horse-trading and all other types of political malaise."
Members of all the party's 11 state committees are currently studying both proposals. Some 800 members of the committees are expected to choose either one of the proposals during the party national cadres' conference, scheduled for the second week of November.
"I am sure the cadres will choose Baidya's proposal as it reflects the true aspiration of our decade-long struggle," the CC leader said.
Although he declined to say exactly how many members in the party's 35-member central committee are in favour of the Baidya proposal, he said the party leadership cannot just brush it off, considering its long-term implication for a party with a revolutionary history.
"We hope the party leadership will incorporate the dissenting proposal before presenting a final political paper during the national cadres' conference," he said. "If it fails to do so, major change in the party organisation including its leadership cannot be avoided as a majority of party cadres do not want to give up their long-cherished dream of a people's republic."
The Baidya faction, also known as the hard-line faction, has opposed Chairman Dahal's recent remark that the party is not in favour of a people's republic, and Dahal is desperately trying to consolidate his base, party insiders say.
Dahal's nervousness can be judged by his frantic efforts to unify his party with the CPN-Unity Centre (Masal). General Secretary of Unity Centre (Masal) Narayan Kaji Shrestha, who played a key role in the past in forging an alliance between the seven political parties and the Maoist, is known to be close to Dahal. Party insiders say Shrestha has set the condition that after unification the Maoist leadership must be ready to remove all adjectives from the name of the party and rename it the Communist Party of Nepal.
Maoist Chairman Dahal and another powerful party leader, Dr Baburam Bhattarai, have agreed to Shrestha's demand. But Baidya, sensing Dahal's intentions, is strongly opposed to it, according to this story.
Posted on: 2008-10-17
In any healthy revolutionary organisation there is necessarily a strong culture of debate and discussion. But also any healthy party organisation has to have a firm commitment to democratic centralism.
The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) is no exception to this rule. In the corporate press there is all sorts of talk about deep and even ireconcilable differences within the Maoist camp as to the direction of the party in the new post CA election context. Any rumours of bidding splits, I believe are false.
The CPN(M) has gone through some very momentus and incredibly intense ideological struggles and challenges over its life. The creation of the idea of "Prachanda Path" was not a simple process, but involved a similar intense debate and struggle within the Maoist party. Internal struggles have even got to the point where Baburam Bhattarai the defacto number 2 of the CPN(M) was even breifly expelled from the CPN(M) in 2005.
Importantly while the CPN(M) has had very intense internal politics, even since before the peoples war began, the intensity of the internal struggles have been matched by a passionate commitment to the party and democratic socialism, and all factions have been able to come behind the party line when all is said and done. The current debate and disscussion needs to be understood in the context of the situation in Nepal.
The CPN(M) finds itself in a very precarious position at present. While they have form and control government it would be false to say that the Maoists have completely captured state power at this stage. The Maoists have found themselves leading what is left of a feudal/bourgeois state. Nepal is a country with 2 armies, the Nepalese Army, which despite dropping Royal from its name is very much still a bastion of the old state, and and the Peoples Liberation Army of the Maoists.
Nepal is still crippled by underdevelopment, which simply must be allieviated. Due to a lack of resources and capital any development will have to be tied to foriegn investment, which with the lack of any "Soviet bloc" means that this new (potentially) socialist government could need to be open and relatively cooperative with forces such as the IMF or the World Bank. It is this context that the debate within the Maoist Party is happening.
The current strategy of the Maoists goes back to when they were still in the jungles during the Peoples war. The peoples war, the co-operation with the other parties and the truly massive Peoples movement of 2006 have brought this strategy to its logical conclusion. The monarchy has been defeated, the constituent assembly is sitting and the Maoists lead the government. Their stragegy was the right one, and they have the success to prove it, and so now they are in the middle of forging the new blueprint for the next stage of the struggle.
Within the party their has emerged two lines and factions within this debate. The first which I will term the "Orthodox" faction from my understanding hold a more traditional Maoist viewpoint and are led by Mohan Baidya, CP Gajurel, Ram Bahdur Thapa and Matrika Yadav. The second, the "21st century Maoists" are more flexible and have been more open to creating a new and dynamic party line, is lead by Babburam Bhattarai and his wife Hasila Yami (and Prachanda has recently shown inclinations to this side of debate).
The Orthodox faction is calling for a "Peoples Republic" in the more traditional sense. They are calling for the immediate controll of the economy and political life. They think that the revolutionary events of the 2006 peoples movement are in danger unless there is an immeadiate and intense puch forward for socialism. They would like to immediately try and build a state simmilar to a Cuba or (apparently) North Korea and do away with the constituent assembley (ala Bolsheviks in 1917).
Interestingly both sides of the debate maintain that they are for multi-party democracy, however the orthodox faction would only allow other parties to function within the political space allocated by the state. The "21st century Maoists" are less ambitious but just as revolutionary. This faction recognises that Nepal is impoverished and needs to be able to interact with the rest of the capitalist world in order to obtain capital to develope the country. They are for creating a "people-oriented constituion" through the constiuent assembly (similar to a Venezeula) and consolidating their own control and the gains of the 2006 peoples movement, before trying to push to a more obviously socialist system. They are for a multi-party democracy, but want to change the context of that democracy (e.g. they argue that in a capitalist context, the political parties all advcated the same ruling class ideology just different means to that end, but in the context of a socialist revolution, the parties would all be for socialist revolution, but with different means to that end).
In my honest and humble opinion, both these lines have some serious strengths and weaknesses. The 'Orthodox' faction will always be correct in saying that the quickest road to socialism is the best road to socialism, I mean if a socialist party isnt striving for socialism, then it isnt a socialist party is it? But to put your party, and now the nation of Nepal on such a public crash course with the might of international imperialism, especially while the country is so underdeveloped, international solidarity still in its infancy, and your trading partners so limited seems risky, if not suicidal.
While it would be nice to have a south-asia Cuba, there is no USSR to take the heat off while the New Nepal is being born, and whats more Cuba is struggling under a blockade that makes it difficult for socialism to breathe there, Nepal being landlocked, at this stage could easily be smothered by India closing the border.
That being said the "21st Century Maoists" can be cutting a fine line in the race to develop the countryside. They only need to look across the border to West Bengal to see that a "communist" government means shit if they are just communist in name, and not in actions. In particular, the bending over backwards to get money off the WTO and the IMF can naturally lead to the seeping in of some less than revolutionary ideas. However if you can keep the outside corrupting influences out and develop the country, then the working classes of Nepal will be in an infinately better posistion to spread the revolution as time goes on.
These two lines are currently being debated out, allong with many other issues, in the lead up to a National Cadre Conference in November, to decide on Maoist stratgy going forward. There are two important things to remember more than anything else however. For one, which ever line gets up and what ever happens at the conference, the fundamental thing about the revolution in Nepal will not change, and that is there are millions of oppressed peoples who are actively involved in the changes of that country, who know the power of their class and are already far better off for the relativly small changes so far. The monarchy gone, the caste system, largely gone, development seriously being challenged, sexism seriously being challenged, feudal land relations seriously being challenged or already gone.
On top of this the Young Communist League with half a million members is not going to be any less active against corruption, the revolutionary women are not going to stop uplifting women.
At this stage the machine has enough juice to keep it ticking over. Secondly, nothing i can say is of any consequence, and i would like to stress that this are my own ramblings from my analysis with only a few limited contacts in Nepal and then jsut what I read on a few email lists and websites.
Take note that this party is a party that since its creation has consistently read the political lay of the land and found the best way to go forward with truly amazing results. If anyone is going to find the best possible way to enhance the revolution in Nepal and spread it to the world, the CPN(M) are the people to do it. At every twist and turn they have made the most of every situation based on the very best concrete analysis of the concrete situation.
There is no reason to start doubting them now, and im sure that the exciting developements in Nepal are going to continue for the forseable future.
You are considered as a hardliner in the Maoists’ Party. Tell us briefly where and on what account you differ sharply with the party?
Kiran: I feel that conspiracies are on to foil the Maoists’ established credentials. After I was released from the Indian prison, talks of artificial division in and among the hardliners and the liberals have cropped up. I think specifically the revolutionary ideology of the Maoists is being targeted deliberately. The trend has been that if one talks on ideological grounds he or she is labeled as a hardliner. As far as differences are concerned, I do not have any objection to the party. And of myself who would always tell my mind without hesitation. However, the moot questions remain intact. There is the great danger that in the name of liberalism whether the party will loose its basic ideology? Are we forgetting our commitments? Whether our commitment to National Sovereignty is on the continuous wane? Is the party falling into the trap set by the Rightists? These are not my personal concerns, instead should be the concerns of the party as a whole?
Tell us something about the hullabaloo over changing the party’s tag? There is a kind of competition among the Maoists and the UML in removing Mao’s name from the party tag? What say you?
Kiran: As far as the UML is concerned, I personally feel that it is not even a Communist party. There are some leaders in the UML camp who believe in communist ideology but the party is not a communist party. Thus there should not be any debate even if it declares that it is no more a communist party. However, in our case changing the party tag is irrelevant and illogical.
Your Party Chairman has already said that the debate over abandoning the party tag is on in the party for over two years now? Is Mao’s name a tail now?
Kiran: As is normal of a political party we too discuss and debate over several critical and crucial issues. Nevertheless, without making a formal decision over the contentious issue, nothing can be taken for granted. For us, Maoism is the party’s identity---it is not at all a “tail” as it is being interpreted by some both within and without. It is the prime identity of the peoples’ revolt. In the UML’s case it is indeed a tail but not for the Maoists as such.
Unless a formal decision is taken by the party whosoever is advocating the case of dropping the tag are his/her personal considerations.
Regarding the Communist unity is concerned I do not rule out the possibility in the distant future but for the time being it is not possible.
What about the inner rife in your party as regards the Militia integration is concerned?
Kiran: It is also a critical issue but there is no difference as you have pointed out. We have charted out clear party lines over the issues of peace process, constitution drafting and the Militia integration. We need rather to devise modalities for the integration process—we need thorough discussion over this issue as well.
What about the emerging differences between you and party president?
Kiran: The political situation is such that it demands debates and discussions. That’s all.
Where is the Maoists’ party heading towards?
Kiran: Revolutionary spirit is still kicking and alive in the party paraphernalia. Nevertheless, we need to continuously rectify our mistakes as there is the concern among our supporters whether the party is deviating away from its prime ideological premises. The central leadership, unfortunately, has kept itself away from the people—which should not have been the case.
The party is undergoing a transition as the State too is. We are yet to totally dismantle past set-up and rebuild a new one.
Tell us about the debate on People’s Republic and Democratic Republic?
Kiran: We are still mulling over the issue. It needs ample discussion as it is directly linked to drafting the new constitution. It is my belief that Democracy as such needs to be redefined in the Nepali context else drafting the constitution becomes redundant.
And it is only but normal that in such critical issues various opinions emerge and there also the collision.
Why is it that there are so much of differences in the Maoists’ Camp?
Kiran: More than concentrating on making determined efforts we have exhibited flexibility. No compromise should be made on our ideology---this is what I believe.
The Maoists have come this far ahead after holding intense debates and discussions. The party will continue to serve the people in this way. However such discussions and debates should not become public---that will invite anarchy.
How do you evaluate the government performance?
Kiran: It will only become a premature evaluation. We want to move ahead, yet we do not have the needed absolute majority. Old mindset prevails in the bureaucracy. Nevertheless we are determined in our set objectives.
Political revolution vs. economic revolution—it is also being debated in the party?
Kiran: Political revolution is yet to conclude. It is still on. We are still within the framework of the democratic republic. Some of our friends have begun talking of the economic revolution. I don’t’ think that unless political revolution comes to a positive end, economic revolution is possible.
(Courtesy: Naya Patrika Daily, October 21, 2008)
For more information visit: http://www.telegraphnepal.com/
INTERVIEW WITH C P GAJUREL
C.P. Gajurel, 59, is a politburo member and chief of the foreign affairs bureau of the CPN (Maoist) party. In August 2003, while he was attempting to from to London from Chennai airport with forged travel documents, he was arrested and spent three years in jail in Chennai. Following the second People's Movement of 2006, and the entry of the Maoists into mainstream politics, he was released from jail in December 2007. Since his release, he has traveled internationally, raising awareness about and seeking support for his party.
Gajurel spoke with Aditya Adhikari and Kosh Raj Koirala of The Kathmandu Post on Oct. 23 about the new government, the ideological tussle in his party, and its relations with other parties and neighboring countries.
Q: How do you assess the performance of the Maoist-led government so far?
C.P. Gajurel: We feel that the performance of the government has not lived up to the party's hopes. Because it is a coalition government, it hasn't been able to work according to the policies of our party. We entered government with the understanding that we have to undertake visible change two weeks after entering government. Even if we couldn't immediately undertake major changes, we felt we could do smaller things, like controlling traffic and providing adequate supply of oil. But unfortunately we haven't even been able to do that.
Q: Your party has said that it doesn't believe in parliamentary democracy, but it believes in multi-party competition and doesn't want to impose a traditional communist system. Could you explain what the state structure would look like under your model?
Gajurel: There is a mistaken belief that multi-party means parliament, the parliamentary system means democracy, and that no other form of democracy exists in the world. But there are many political systems in the world that are not parliamentary but have multiparty competition.
Q: So what is the alternative that you propose?
Gajurel: In our multi-party system, there will be competition between parties that are nationalist, that have fought for the country and republicanism, who want to make a new Nepal. It could be that many parties could come together to form government. It's not necessary that, like in parliament, there has to be an opposition party and a ruling party. In the interim period we didn't have an opposition but the system was democratic. In fact, there is no provision for an opposition in the interim constitution. Only after the Nepali Congress decided to stay in opposition did we decide to allow for it.
Q: Who will select which parties are nationalist and will be allowed to compete? What are the parameters for selection?
Gajurel: The parameter is the party's history among the people. The contribution it has made. The commitment it has towards the constitution we will draft. The commitment it has towards the country and its people.
Q: We hear that the Maoists say the state should be responsible for selecting parties that will be allowed to compete. That what the Maoists mean by multi-party democracy is one where they control the state and select which parties can compete and which cannot.
Gajurel: No. The system will have courts that will have final authority. There will be an Election Commission. These bodies will make decisions. The state can't just stop some parties from competing just because it wants to.
Q: The policies of your party in government are very different from what your party used to state a few years ago. Don't you feel that the party has deviated from its core ideology?
Gajurel: We haven't deviated from our core ideology. We didn't come to where we are through falling into some kind of misconception or illusion. We have our own strategy and our own tactics, and we've come here implementing them. The Constituent Assembly (CA) was a demand we put forth five or six years ago. We participated in the CA according to our own policies. Our central committee took a decision to enter government. But it is true that this is a new exercise. Such an exercise hadn't occurred in the world communist movement.
Q: Recently there has been much talk in the media about the differences between the “hard-line” faction of your party, and the “moderates”. That one faction wants to go back to war to continue the revolution, while the other wants to continue the current peace process.
Gajurel: Various opinions and differences arise within the party, and it is important that they do. As communists, we define our party as one of unity in opposites. It is not monolithic. The different opinions in the party struggle against one another, and the party gains direction through this struggle.
But no-one in the party thinks that we should go back to armed struggle. Even the so-called hardliners don't think this. Through armed struggle we have reached a phase where we can pursue our agenda through other means. Why should we then go back to it?
Q: We have heard a lot about the term 'Federal Democratic Republic' over the past two years. But what is this 'People's Republic' that we've been hearing about more recently?
Gajurel: The national convention of our party, which is going to begin on November 9 or 10, will deal with this issue of the kind of republic we need. The 'Federal Democratic Republic' line was definitely useful in bringing an end to the monarchy and establishing a republic. But do we now move forward or consolidate this form of republic? To move forward we now need a 'People's Republic'. The maximum form the Federal Democratic Republic can take exists in India. But has the Indian republic been able to solve its problems? We don't have to go further than Bihar to see how it functions. We have to do better than that.
Now it is said that a 'People's Republic' is a communist republic. But it is not communist. Neither is it socialist. It is basically a bourgeois republic, but it has many elements of socialism. For example, there will be progressive land reform. There will be decentralization of many rights. There will be local self-governance for many castes and ethnicities. We want to move forward so that we don't return to a feudal-type, capitalist-type of republic.
Q: What will be the economic system in the 'People's Republic?' Will there be a nationalization of banks, of property…?
Gajurel: People make a big deal of this issue of nationalization of banks. I just returned from Venezuela and had an opportunity to meet Hugo Chavez at a discussion programme. He joked, 'When I nationalized banks George Bush was really against it. But now he has become my comrade, he too has nationalized banks in his country.' And it is not only communists who nationalize banks. Indira Gandhi herself did so. Does that make her a communist?
Q: What about other economic institutions. Do you plan to nationalize industries…?
Gajurel: No. In that system not everything will be nationalized. Some elements will of course be nationalized, but private property and industry will exist. The national bourgeoisie will be protected. The objective is to develop national capitalism.
Q: There is a perception that the Maoists are getting closer to China and trying to distance itself from India.
Gajurel: We believe that it is in the national interest to have good and equal relations with both countries. Historically our relations have been one-sided in all aspects. For example, 80% of our trade is with India, and only 8% with China.
There is enormous potential to increase relations with China. I'll give you an example. Many tourists come through India to Nepal. This is a good thing. But more needs to be done to increase flow of tourists from the Chinese side. After the train link to Lhasa (from Beijing) was constructed, three million tourists started coming to Lhasa per year. Most of these tourists are Buddhist. The most important place for Buddhists is our Lumbini. If we could construct a rail line or a highway connecting Lumbini to Lhasa, even if a third of the tourists to Lhasa come to Nepal, that makes a million tourists per year.
Q: Some leaders of the Nepali Congress have been asking if the Maoists are so serious about integration of their army, then why have they raised the allowances for People's Liberation Army (PLA) combatants by Rs. 2000? This indicates that they are bent on making the PLA stronger and fit for returning to war…
Gajurel: That's not our intention. How can we integrate the PLA if we don't even give them enough to eat? We need to give them basic facilities, develop their professionalism and then integrate them. It doesn't make sense that those who agree that the PLA needs to be professionalized are against giving them even enough food.
What the Nepali Congress is saying is ridiculous.
And, even though we had reached agreement in the past with the United Nations and other parties that integration would take place according to the Security Sector Reform (SSR) model, the Nepali Congress is bent on promoting the Disarmament, Demobilisation and Rehabilitation (DDR) model. The Home Minister said yesterday that there is no agreement that states that the Maoist combatants will be integrated into the Nepal Army. So what had we been negotiating this whole time? It is very strange that responsible leaders of the Nepali Congress are speaking like this.
Q: So you believe that all verified Maoist combatants, over 19,000 in number, should be integrated into the Nepal Army (NA).
Gajurel: Yes, that's what we hold. The whole agreement is about the integration of armies. Not of police or the YCL.
Q: And after integration, you want people from your army to receive the same rank in the NA as they did in the PLA?
Well, we have to discuss that. How qualified are our commanders? After
all, they did win battles against the NA. If they weren't professional
at all, would they have been able to win? We think that in many ways
the skills of our PLA fighters are superior to those of the NA. We
fought many battles with a few weapons. We don't feel that it is any
exaggeration to say that our combatants deserve to retain their same
rank after they are integrated.
Posted on: 2008-10-27