Nepal's Basanta: Re-evaluating Prachanda and his path

At one point the Nepalese Maoist movement declared that their approach to politics was encapsulated in an evolving synthesis they called Prachanda Path -- after their founding leader Prachanda.

In subsequent years, Prachanda became part of a political move to the right, abandoning and then disbanding the essential gainst of the revolution -- the base areas, the peoples courts, the Peoples Liberation Army, and essentially the hopes of revolution itself.

As radical forces within the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) regrouped, they have had to reevaluate their party's previous decisions.

Here is one that deals with ideas and synthesis. Basanta is the political name of Indra Mohan Sigdel. He was previously a member of the  Politburo of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). His earlier 2006 article on Prachanda Path was widely read within the international communist movement. Now he is discussing the way he believes things now stand.

International Dimensions of Prachanda’s Neo-revisionism

by Basanta

 

I had authored an article about 6 years before. It was entitled: “International Dimensions of Prachanda Path”.

The article, published in the 10th issue of The Worker, Party organ in English, had created debate in the international communist movement. Is Prachanda Path really a creative development of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism or merely a deviation from it was the question under debate at that time. Given the development of people’s war in leaps, one after another, it was also not an easy task for them to take position against it. But, most of the revolutionary parties did not assimilate it rather they opined that it resulted from the ideological deviation on the part of CPN (Maoist).

The wave of Prachanda Path, which was said to be the synthesis of the experiences of 5 year’s long stormy people’s war, had stretched all across the world. It was not unnatural too. Party had defined Prachanda Path as a series of particular ideas generated by the Nepalese revolution. I had prepared that article as our party, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), comprehended it at that time. Unsurprisingly, Prachanda was happy with the article.

After 6 years now, I am writing again a short article centring on Prachanda. It is titled: “International Dimensions of Prachanda’s Neo-revisionism.” Some readers may think that Basanta is correct because Prachanda has taken a U-turn from his earlier Marxist-Leninist-Maoist position. Someone may say that to think of Prachanda, who considers Marxism as a vibrant science and applies in practice accordingly, a revisionist is the result of mechanical and dogmatic thinking on the part of Basanta and his team-mates.

Again someone may say why did Basanta and his teammates fail to identify Prachanda’s neo-revisionism in the past rather eulogized it as Prachanda path? This debate will obviously surface in the days to come. The revolutionaries will regard that Basanta is correct; but the revisionists and liquidationists will do its opposite. Naturally, this article will not make Prachanda happy this time.

Everyone is aware that an intensive and extensive two-line struggle was on between Marxism and right revisionism inside the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) mainly for the last four years. But, in the recent days, there has been a turn in this process and the revolutionaries, dissociating from the party led by Prachanda, have built up a new party. As a member of this new party, the Communist Party of Nepal – Maoist, I am here with this article. We have not yet synthesized the entire experiences acquired during the tumultuous period of people’s war and the period that followed. The forthcoming Party Congress will do it. For now, we have taken only a preliminary position according to which the people’s war had definitely amassed new experiences but it was not correct at that time to synthesise them in the form of Prachanda Path. The national convention organized on June 15, 2012 summed up the strength and weakness of the revolutionaries also. It concluded that there were three kinds of ideological mistakes namely fideism, liberalism and metaphysics with them. These weaknesses were manifested mainly on the question of ideological synthesis i.e. Prachanda Path and the centralisation of leadership. On the other, the convention unanimously concluded that the appropriate terminology to denote Prachanda’s ideological and political degeneration is neo-revisionism.

The neo-revisionism noticed in Prachanda has been manifested in different form than it had in the past revisionists, who used to attack upon the basic principles of Marxism in a direct and straightforward way. Like for example, Proudhon and Lassalle opposed the scientific socialism with the arguments that the process of continued reforms and strict discipline in the bourgeois society can pave the way for capitalism to reach communism. Bernstein concluded the basic principles of Marxism like class struggle and the theory of surplus value have been outdated. Khrushchev took position against the role of violence in revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat under socialist society. Liu Shao Chi and Teng Hsiao Ping stood against the theory of continued revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat put forth by Mao Tsetung. They one-sidedly emphasized upon the development of productive forces as opposed to the Maoist principle of grasp revolution and promote production. In our context, Prachanda has not made him stand yet in open against the basic concepts of Marxism as the aforesaid leaders did in the past. He has been doing it in the name of creative development of MLM.

When the situation develops to a new level, the old logics are not sufficient for the political parties to support their new position. It is true not only for the Marxists but also for the revisionists and other parties as well. Mao has said that revisionists are the reactionaries who mislead people in the guise of Marxism. So in the new situation the revisionists need to find new logics to misguide the revolutionaries. Prachanda understands it well. So he has been steadily sowing seeds of revisionism since long in the guise of creative application and development of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. He has not yet directly opposed the dictatorship of the proletariat as Khrushchev did. But, the development of Marxism which he has claimed is in fact the development of revisionism. In this way, revisionism has been replacing Marxism in the party led by him. The classical and modern revisionism openly oppose the basic tenets of Marxism including the dialectical and historical materialism, theory of class struggle, role of violence in revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat etc. etc.

But, the neo-revisionism does the same in essence but in the pretext of opposing dogmatism, creative application of Marxism and the originality of revolution. To arrest the essence of Marxism in the name of its creative application and development has been the main characteristics of neo-revisionism. In this way, the features in points of Prachanda’s neo-revisionism can be cited as follows.

Prachanda has been slowly attacking upon the universality of Mao’s contributions. In the wake of party unity that took place with the Unity Centre – Masal, the UCPN (Maoist) had adopted Marxism-Leninism-Maoism/Mao Tsetung thought as its guiding principle. He argues that there is no difference as such in using two terminologies, Maoism or Mao thought, so long as they are done to mean the universality of Mao’s contributions. It is indeed his artful deceit to blur the difference between Maoism and Mao thought which respectively refer to universality and particularity of Mao’s contributions. By so doing he has been weakening the grasp of Maoism in the party and the revolutionary movement as well.

Mao has said that the struggle for production, class struggle and scientific experiment are the three sources of knowledge. In addition, he has stressed Marxism goes on developing through an infinite spiral of practice to theory and theory to practice. But quite the opposite, Prachanda claims that Marxism has become a matter of common knowledge for him. He had said in a CC meeting held about five years before. By so saying he has stood against Maoist theory of knowledge and of course Maoism itself.

Marxism believes that an entity is the unity and struggle of opposites and the struggle between them helps one transform into another. However, Prachanda has brought about a conciliatory concept of Fusion of two opposites which stands against Marxist principal. It is merely a different form of expression of ‘two combine into one’, not ‘one divides into two’. In the course of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, Mao had strongly criticised ‘two combine into one’ as a reactionary philosophy serving bourgeois interest. Mao said ‘one divides into two’ is the law of dialectics.

Prachanda says that the world situation has undergone considerable changes and these changes necessitate the development of MLM. It is absolutely correct. But a strange, in the pretext of the development of Marxism, he has been attacking upon the basic principles of Marxism itself and in this course he has been developing revisionism. On the one hand, he presents the Federal Democratic Republic as a synonym of New Democratic Republic, and on the other, he says that in order to prevent counter-revolution in the 21st century it is necessary to develop democracy. While arriving here, it has been crystal clear that these logics were brought about to pave the way for assimilating bourgeois parliament by the party and consequently reversing revolution in the name of preventing counter-revolution. In fact, the development of democracy in the 21st century has been a tool to replace the democratic or proletarian dictatorship by the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie.

Prachanda had put forward a concept of non-class nature of State Power and the possibility of peaceful development of revolution in Nepal in the Balaju Expanded Meeting held in 2007. He tried to justify his arguments by the fact that Nepal Army and the PLA were kept inactive in their respective barracks. Prachanda stopped saying this again after the delegates in the convention strongly opposed it. In fact, it was merely a polished form of the ‘state of the entire people’ and ‘peaceful transition’ propounded by Khrushchev. But now all these things have been transcribed in their documents in a disguised form.

Insurrection and revolution in decision and parliamentary exercise in implementation i.e. revolution in word and reform in practice has been his characteristics. In all of the meetings from Chunwang to Palungtar via Kharipati, he has been raising the question of people’s insurrection and the need to build up four bases to achieve it. However, except for misleading the revolutionaries he never put stress on building four bases to prepare for insurrection. His speciality has been not to take on preparation seriously till there is time and plead for reform at the last in the excuse that necessary preparation is not complete.

Communist revolutionaries are the followers of proletarian internationalism. At the time of preparation, initiation and continuation of the great people’s war in Nepal he used to lay much emphasis on party’s international task. But for now proletarian internationalism has become a big bone stuck at his throat. He sometimes talks of RIM and CPI (Maoist) to mislead the revolutionaries inside his party. In the document that he placed before the last expanded meeting, organised by the neo-revisionist group led by Prachanda, he has written a phrase reading, “For the development of international communist movement … … it is necessary to go ahead by maintaining relation with the revolutionary parties and groups in and outside of RIM in a planned way”. On the contrary, he has been working hard to make both imperialism and expansionism happy by rudely criticising RIM and the CPI (Maoist).

Not only that, he had sent a condolence letter along with a central committee representative to please his masters in India when Jyoti Basu, a leader of revisionist CPI (Marxist) and the ex-chief minister of West Bengal, had died. On the other, Prachanda did not dare to issue even a statement when the Indian ruling class killed comrade Azad, the spokesperson and comrade Kishenji, the politburo member, of the CPI (Maoist). In this way, not comrade Azad and comrade Kishenji, but Jyoti Basu and Manmohan Singh have become international fraternal comrades for Prachanda.

Prachanda-Baburam group has now appeared in a little different form in the context of maintaining relationship between the line and organisation. The revisionists in the past used to firstly build, in general, a reformist line and then transform the whole party organisation to fit into it. But, the speciality of this group has been to continue saying people’s insurrection as the path of revolution to mislead the masses but create such a situation in the party that there can be no insurrection at all. One of the ways they have done to serve this purpose has been to make party organisation a crowd of yes-men, anarchists and wrong elements that cannot lead revolution.

Prachanda has deviated from the basic theory of new democratic revolution. He has defined new democratic revolution in such a way that it is completed in two stages – once against feudalism and next against imperialism. In fact, it does not go along with the characteristics of the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution. In the course of the new democratic revolution, sometimes there is major threat upon democracy and sometimes upon national sovereignty and the form of struggle is sorted out to respond to the given threat. But it does not mean that there are two stages of revolution: one against feudalism and another against imperialism. The feudalism and imperialism are inseparably interconnected with each other and the state power in such a country simultaneously represents the interests of both of them. It is the characteristics of the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution. Therefore, to destroy the reactionary state power that represents the interest of both feudalism and imperialism and build a new one in its place is the first step towards making the new democratic revolution in a semi-feudal and semi-colonial country. Prachanda and his clique have gone too far from this reality.

In one context he has said that the end of monarchy is a kind of completion of the new democratic revolution in Nepal. It is utterly wrong. In an interview he says, “Now it leads to a conclusion that the remaining task of new democracy (a part of which has been completed) and the strategy of socialist revolution have converged into one. The remaining task of new democracy and task of completing the socialist revolution by way of people’s insurrection and armed insurrection have converged into one strategy rather than completing new democratic revolution at one stage and socialist revolution at the other.” (Krambhanga, year 1, Vol. 2, November 2011, page 11)

Aforesaid quotation means that the new democratic revolution has been accomplished in Nepal. It does not agree with what Marxism-Leninism-Maoism says about the new democratic revolution, which is accomplished only after feudalism and imperialism both are brought to an end. Monarchy has been abolished in Nepal but it has not brought about any basic change in feudalism and the feudal mode of production as well. The agents of Indian expansionism are dominant in the state power. The national independence is in grave danger. Country is going towards Sikkimisation. Then, in such a situation, how did the new democratic revolution complete in Nepal? Does the new democratic revolution mean republic, federalism and secularism only? Has the anti-feudal and anti-imperialist people’s power been established in Nepal? Certainly not. His position that the new democratic revolution has been almost completed and the socialist revolution is the next task in hand is nothing other than a neo-revisionist fraud brought forward to confuse the people and get stuck in the bourgeois democratic republic with the blessing of imperialism and Indian expansionism. It is in fact an ugly example of betrayal against the Nepalese people and the nation on the part of Prachanda.

Mao has said that party, army and the united front are three magical weapons of revolution. He says, “A well-disciplined Party armed with the theory of Marxism-Leninism, using the method of self-criticism and linked with the masses of the people, an army under the leadership of such a Party; a united front of all revolutionary classes and all revolutionary groups under the leadership of such a Party — these are the three main weapons with which we have defeated the enemy.” Mao has pointed out here at the crux of the problem by identifying the urgency of party, army and the united front to make revolution a success. Did the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) resemble with the one that Mao has referred to in this quotation? No, not at all. How did Prachanda work ideologically and politically to loosen the grasp of revolution in the party has been mentioned before. In addition, he opened the door to bourgeoisify party by gathering a crowd of bureaucrats in the higher committees and that of the anarchists and yes-men in the lower ones. Party committees became so bulky and clumsy that neither there was an encouraging environment for discussion, criticism and self-criticism nor for practicing collectivity. It created such a situation in which the system of collective decision and individual responsibility got replaced by that of individual decision and collective responsibility.

Now, none must be confused with the fact that it was a plan designed to gradually disorient cadres from the communist system and conduct and by so doing transform the communist party into a bourgeois one. It is Prachanda’s neo-revisionist characteristic that weakened ideological grasp and bourgeoisified party by way of wrong organizational methods. Prachanda, in this manner, liquidated party’s revolutionary character from all the aspects of ideology, politics and organization.

Prachanda has made the People’s Liberation Army, Nepal that was built with the concept of “People have nothing without people’s army” surrender before the Nepal Army. He said it is integration. The people’s Liberation Army, Nepal that was organised to accomplish new democratic revolution in Nepal, exercise democratic dictatorship upon the class enemies after new democratic revolution has been accomplished and prevent counter-revolution in the whole course of building socialism has been dissolved in the name of integration. It is a counter-revolutionary step taken to please the imperialism and expansionism and heartily open the way for reconciliation with their agents. He said it was a daring step aimed at building peace in Nepal. What a ridiculous argument is this? Lying also has a limit. One can hardly find such examples of class and national capitulation and shameless treason in the history of the world communist movement.

Another important weapon for revolution is a united front formed under the leadership of a revolutionary party. What kind of forces shall be involved in the united front is decided by the principal contradiction of the then society and it is built under the leadership of a party of the proletariat by incorporating entire forces that have contradiction with the principal enemy. The party led by Prachanda had analyzed that the contradiction formed of the comprador, bureaucratic bourgeoisie and the feudal and their master Indian expansionism at one pole and the entire Nepalese people at the other is the principal contradiction in the Nepalese society. But he did not take any initiative to build a united front among the entire patriotic, republican, progressive, leftist and revolutionary forces under the leadership of the party of the proletariat against the aforesaid reactionary alliance. Contrary to it, he kneeled down before the reactions and surrendered the remaining achievement of revolution to them. What can this act be said other than naked submission to the domestic and foreign reactions?

In the beginning of the 21st century, the world proletariat had had a high regard for Prachanda as their emancipator and imperialist marauders had disdained him as their grave-diggers. It was a matter of pride and glory for the world proletariat. Now he is in a quick race to become just its opposite. It is a matter of grief for the oppressed people of Nepal and the world as well. Nevertheless, it is not the sentiment but ideological and political line and the vanguard of the proletariat that lead the toiling masses to revolution. Therefore, sooner the Prachanda’s neo-revisionism is unmasked and defeated the faster can the world proletariat re-establish MLM in the world communist movement and liberate the oppressed people from the yoke of imperialism.

The revolutionaries have no alternative to it. To weaken the ideological and political struggle against neo-revisionism is in fact to nurture it. Therefore, the urgent need of the day has been to intensify the ideological and political struggle against all shades of revisionism in general and Prachabda’s neo-revisionism in particular. And it is the supreme task of the revolutionaries now in Nepal and the world as well. Let all of us strive for this.

August 10, 2012

People in this conversation

  • Guest - Ravi

    I think there is nothing like neo-revisionism ... .. the mistakes ucpn(m) are from basics Principal... as he say at one point.." But a strange, in the pretext of the development of Marxism, he has been attacking upon the basic principles of Marxism itself and in this course he has been developing revisionism..."

    .......... Here a Link of a book .. if any one interested ............
    http://www.mazdoorbigul.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Nepali-Kranti.pdf

  • Guest - Ka Frank

    I agree with much of what Basanta says about Prachanda's revisionism, but it is not a full break. Basanta does not address the decision of the CPN (Maoist) in 2007 to bring the People's Liberation Army into the cantonments, thereby giving up the 80% of the country it had liberated, in exchange for legal status and a chance to vie for parliamentary power with bourgeois/feudal parties. Instead, Basanta writes that Prachanda "capitulated" more recently when he and Bhattarai agreed to "integrate" much of the PLA into the clutches of the Nepalese Army. In addition, Basanta criticizes Prachanda for constantly threatening insurrections without making actual preparations for one. However, any such attempt in Kathmandu and the other major cities would have been quickly crushed by the 90,000 strong Indian-backed Nepalese Army, while the unarmed PLA would have been sidelined in the cantonments under UN supervision.

    This discussion of insurrection raises the question of whether the newly formed CPN (Maoist) will focus its work in the cities and won't decisively break with the Prachanda and Bhattarai's work in the parliamentary arena. Already, Thapa, another Politburo member of the CPN (Maoist), has said that the party will not return to building rural bases and a people's war strategy. It is not known if he speaks for the whole leadership, but we will see. You can find the Thapa article on www.revolutionaryfrontlines.wordpress.com

  • Guest - Ka Frank

    The Thapa article was posted on Frontlines of Revolutionary Struggle on August 15.

  • Guest - eric ribellarsi

    <blockquote> In addition, Basanta criticizes Prachanda for constantly threatening insurrections without making actual preparations for one. However, any such attempt in Kathmandu and the other major cities would have been quickly crushed by the 90,000 strong Indian-backed Nepalese Army, while the unarmed PLA would have been sidelined in the cantonments under UN supervision.</blockquote>

    Ka Frank, how did you determine that? This is the argument of the right, Prachanda and Bhattarai, who used this line of argumentation to support the dissolution of the PLA. How can you know the contradictions and alignment of forces inside the Nepal Army? Will they all fight in the event of an urban insurrection? Will some of them support it? What about the people? They do not appear in your scenario.

    Biplab has long argued that many of the Nepal Army would come over to the side of a revolution, and that is part of the reason why revolution is an actually existing road in Nepal that the people of Nepal can take.

    And in fact, how can you assume that you know that a return to protracted people's war is a correct move at this point? I suspect these strategic questions require serious debate among communists and an assessment of forces, contradictions, political economy, and creative thinking. It may be the case that a return to that footing prematurely would immediately bring the full force of the enemy down on the revolution. It is not possible to simply stop and start a protracted people's war. The enemy takes revolutionaries much more seriously and is no longer willing to wait a decade while revolutionaries accumulate strength.

    I think this kind of thinking is both very simplistic and deeply insulting to the new party in Nepal, and we should respect these comrades in their ability to chart out a new road to revolution in Nepal, and not shit on them at every turn.

    ---

    sidepoint: the name of the new party in Nepal is actually CPN-Maoist, not CPN (Maoist). CPN (Maoist) is actually the name of the revisionist party led by Matrika Yadav, that split from the UCPN(M), only to later support Prachanda through a series of brokering deals and corruption.

  • Guest - Green Resistance

    "mas vale tarde que nunca" Basanta raises many of the points that the RCP put forward a few years ago in those letters that they released. Have you ever heard any Mike Ely's criticism or Kasama's words regarding this issue? Their loud silence is screaming out loud the word REVISIONISM! and Ely and Kasama can't do anything to change that cuz their line was and still is and will be Revisionist.

  • Green Resistance:

    You are apparently not familiar with our writings -- and mistakenly refer to a "loud silence."

    Over a year ago, Eric and I wrote the piece "<a href="/http://kasamaproject.org/2011/06/30/nepals-crossroads-without-a-people’s-army-the-people-have-nothing/" rel="nofollow">Nepal’s Crossroads: Without a people’s army, the people have nothing</a>" which raised key issues about the road being taken by a leading section of Nepal's Maoists.

    But really from the very beginning, Kasama's articles (and my own writings) pointed to the key tasks necessary for revolution. My first piece (from 2008) called "&lt;a href=&quot;http://kasamaproject.org/2008/06/08/eyes-on-the-maobadi-4-reasons-nepal’s-revolution-matters/ &quot;Eyes on the Maobadi: 4 Reasons Nepal’s Revolution Matters&quot; </a>.

    <blockquote>"The world needs to be watching Nepal. The stunning Maoist victory in the April elections was not, yet, the decisive victory over conservative forces. The Maobadi are at the center of the political staqe but they have not yet defeated or dismantled the old government’s army. New tests of strength lie ahead."</blockquote>

    In other words, my view has always been that the victory of a revolution in Nepal required the destruction of the government army and the overthrow of the existing state. I can list such rather similar clear (and obviously intentional passages) in every overview essay we have written -- i.e. that revolutions need to develop paths to power, that there is always sharp struggle within revolutionary parties over whether to advance, and the destruction of the old state (by new armed forces) is an inflexible part of any process that aims for socialism and communism.

    We have reiterated the need for peoples democracy and (what Maoists call) new democracy -- in contrast to the view that Nepal needed bourgeois democracy. We have expressed consistently that liberation requires the Peoples Liberation Army. And remarked many times, that it is not clear (in a genuine revolutin) which lines will win out in the inevitable struggles over road.

    And we have done this while popularizing the need to support revolutionaries around the world, and learn the lessons (both positive and negative) from the real struggles existing in the world.

    At the same time, we have never held that the measure of a living revolution is whether it adheres to specific rigid models -- drawn from past victories and given an exaggerated universality by the less imaginative among us.

    It is not true that Nepal's Maoists has been on some singleminded road to disaster since 2005, and the people who claimed that (since 2005) were wrong then, and their method is wrong now.

    there has been a terrible reversal of revolutionary direction in the Nepali ranks -- something that some of their leadership have been fighting for a long time. Others have fought.

  • Guest - Ka Frank

    In 2008, Mike wrote in Eyes on the Maobadi, "Eyes on the Maobadi: 4 Reasons Nepal’s Revolution Matters



    <blockquote>"Something remarkable is happening. A whole generation of people has never seen a radical, secular, revolutionary movement rise with popular support. And yet here it is – in Nepal today. (Remarkably, Mike excludes the people's wars led by the Communist Party of India (Maoist) and the Communist Party of the Philippines from his assessment.)

    This movement has overthrown Nepal’s hated King Gyanendra and abolished the medieval monarchy. It has created a revolutionary army that now squares off with the old King’s army. It has built parallel political power in remote rural areas over a decade of guerrilla war – undermining feudal traditions like the caste system. It has gathered broad popular support and emerged as the leading force of an unprecedented Constituent Assembly (CA). And it has done all this under the radical banner of Maoist communism — advocating a fresh attempt at socialism and a classless society around the world....

    When the CPN(Maoist) suspended armed combat in 2006 and entered an anti-monarchist coalition government, some people assumed they would lose their identity to a corrupt cabal. When the Maoists press their current anti-feudal program, some people think they are forgetting about socialism. But silent skepticism is a wrong approach. The world needs to be watching Nepal. The stunning Maoist victory in the April elections was not, yet, the decisive victory over conservative forces. The Maobadi are at the center of the political staqe but they have not yet defeated or dismantled the old government’s army. New tests of strength lie ahead. The Maoists of Nepal aren’t just a opposition movement any more – they are tackling the very different problems of leading a society through a process of radical change. They are maneuvering hard to avoid a sudden crushing defeat at the hands of powerful armies."</blockquote>

    What Mike left unexplained was how the PLA "now squares off with the old King's army" or how the PLA had any prospect of "defeating or dismantling the old government's army" when it had marched down from the hills into cantonments in 2007 and its arms were locked up under joint control with UN monitors.

    Mike's idealized view of the situation in 2008 included the alleged continued existence of Maoist "parallel power in remote rural areas"---when the disarming of the PLA and entry of the UCPN (Maoist) into parliamentary politics with bourgeois/feudal forces supported by India and the Western imperialists had effectively destroyed revolutionary Maoist leadership in these critical rural base areas in a country that is 80-90% peasant.

    It was only in 2011, when Prachanda and Bhattarai allowed the Nepalese Army into the cantonments and ordered the "integration" of several thousand PLA members into the reactionary Nepalese Army, that Mike and Eric wrote "Nepal's Crossroads: Without a People's Army, the People Have Nothing."

    In reality, the Nepalese people lost its 19,000 strong people's army politically and militarily in 2007 when it entered the cantonments, while the government's 90,000 strong army sat in its barracks fully prepared to move on any attempt by the PLA to break out of the cantonments or on serious armed insurrectionary activity.

    On a number of occasions after 2007, Mike and Jed Brandt (during his reporting from Nepal) echoed Prachanda's rhetorical calls for insurrection in Kathmandu, and at one point wrote that it was imminent during May 1 demonstrations in Kathmandu that had brought large numbers of people in from the surrounding rural areas.

    As far as I know, Mike and Jed have not issued any self-criticism.

    Eric Ribellarsi hews to this position when he suggests that sections of the regime's armed forces would have come over to the side of the people in the event of an insurrection. However, there was no evidence of such disintegration of the Nepalese Army between 2007-2011, and in fact sections of the PLA drifted out of cantonments and its rump was integrated into the intact Nepalese Army.

    Ribellarsi is stating a barely camouflaged revisionist position on the class nature of the state, its armed forces and the necessity of its forcible overthrow. He says that
    <blockquote>
    "Biplab has long argued that many of the Nepal Army would come over to the side of a revolution."</blockquote>

    I'm not familiar with Biplab's statements that this effect, but there is no historical basis for a revolutionary movement in a peasant country to successfully defeat (which includes winning over sections of) a reactionary army without employing a strategy of protracted people's war. This proved successful in China, and is being successfully and against great odds employed by Maoist parties in India, the Philippines and Turkey.

    This strategy enabled the CPN (Maoist) and its People's Liberation Army to liberate 80% of Nepal before the party leadership concluded in the mid-1990s that it could not solve the problems of taking Kathmandu and preparing for possible intervention by India.

    This strategy needs to be upheld and creatively applied in peasant-based countries including Nepal under present day conditions. To say that discussing this historical experience is "shitting on them (the Nepalese Maoists)" is infantile and an obvious effort to avoid discussion of the serious political questions that face them in rebuilding the revolutionary movement and Maoist party in Nepal.

  • Guest - Jan Makandal

    Basanta writes:

    “The classical and modern revisionism openly oppose the basic tenets of Marxism including the dialectical and historical materialism, theory of class struggle, role of violence in revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat etc. etc.
    But, the neo-revisionism does the same in essence but in the pretext of opposing dogmatism, creative application of Marxism and the originality of revolution. To arrest the essence of Marxism in the name of its creative application and development has been the main characteristics of neo-revisionism.”

    While this is asserted about Prachanda’s line, it is applicable to what Basanta is putting forth as well. This piece does not describe any actual two-line struggle in Nepal. Instead there appears to be a struggle of minor differences, including between two orientations of the same line based on the theory of the two stages. Basanta has a disagreement with Prachanda’s version of the two stages, but no fundamental difference.

    Now one can only hope that the rupture of the party will lead to a rupture of a revisionist orientation based on genuine self-criticism, leading to the construction of a proletarian revolutionary line and defined path of rectification. Otherwise the correct quote of Mao criticizing “two into one” will be reduced to scripture or dogma, rather than a new line being developed from understanding the quote.

    This could be also an apt description of Kasama[members of the Network], and the RCP as well (the overall historical line of which remains at the heart of the Kasama project, Avakian‘s New Synthesis excluded). There is no fundamental line difference in this case either; both are ultimately reformist and revisionist.

    In many social formations, essentially reformist/revisionist lines are being put forth by groups led by petit-bourgeois ideology. This major threat to communism often goes by the name of communism. We need to understand why this is happening.

    When finance capital is the dominant form of capital, productive labor is in relative decline. Non-productive (of surplus value) labor (service work, resellers, small producers) and long-term unemployment are on the rise. As non-productive working people and small producers struggle to economically reproduce themselves (to survive without falling into the ranks of the proletariat), they must compete against capitalist entities that possess greater economic (and political) power. This leads them to generate a petit bourgeois ideology of equality, both for the marketplace and the political field, which translates into a desire and demand for universal equality, fairness, individual freedom, and egalitarian utopia. Its left political form calls itself communism. But it is not communism. (Whether labeled Anarchism, Maoism or Trotskyism, these are trends of the petit bourgeoisie attempting to recuperate Marxism).

    The international proletariat has been mainly swamped ideologically and crushed politically, its struggles strangled by the ruling class. And when they do surface they are generally not supported by the petit bourgeoisie. Instead this fundamental class struggle against domination/exploitation at the core of capitalism itself (where the surplus value is generated that defines it and gives it motion), is ignored, and even rejected. It is labeled “workerist,” “dogmatic,” “economist.” Proletarian theory and ideology are labeled “rigid,” “old-fashioned,” “non-creative.”

    The petit bourgeoisie fights against restrictions in their comforts and democratic freedoms, plus various forms of social oppression, without acknowledging (and acting accordingly) that these are symptoms and effects of the prevailing social relation in the world today: class domination. This class domination expresses itself in the economic, ideological and political dimensions, and all must be overturned (even as the economic dimension is determinant, others are dialectically related, and the primary field of struggle shifts at different times).

    In many social formations today, there is a disturbing trend: various ways of asserting the “idea” of communism combined with radical reformism seem to substitute for building the kinds of organizations required as a foundation, as the material condition necessary for communism to exist. This substitution can be more dangerous than open anti-communism in that it misleads the very forces who have the potential to ally with the proletariat, as well as misleading the proletariat itself.

    If some petit-bourgeoisie elements genuinely want communism (and it seems that almost without exception they do not, in spite of what they say), then they should abandon their own class interests (which are not in fundamental contradiction with bourgeois rule but instead strive for more democratic freedoms under bourgeois rule), and instead support and assist proletarian struggle (which can, to be clear, include but not be defined by or limited to the struggle for more democratic freedoms under bourgeois rule). They should take leadership, in fact, from the proletariat.

    A debate over strategy or tactics is meaningless without answering the fundamental question of what class is leading the struggle. If capitalism is to be defeated and eliminated, the united front can not be simply a mishmash of every social grouping that has some (non-fundamental) contradictions with capitalism, working together and calling themselves communists.

    For a united front to be an instrument of genuinely revolutionary struggle, it must be under the leadership of the proletariat. Its transitional goal must be the dictatorship of the proletariat, not in name only but in concrete specific actuality. If you call for a general “people’s democracy” that is not under the leadership of the proletariat, you will get one that is under the leadership of the bourgeoisie. There is no other option. In class society, one class rules or the other does. In our present era, these are the only two classes capable of being in power. In this period, calling for a “people’s democracy” without class leadership (a specific class in power) is a utopian fantasy, even if some call it a “communist idea.”

    This problem highlights and reinforces the absolute necessity of autonomous proletarian organizations. This is the case even in social formations where the proletariat is a tiny minority. It is the case on an international level as well. If the working class is not leading the revolutionary process, it will be swamped in a mishmash “united front” that will have no capacity to take power and smash capitalism. If you genuinely want communism (not just as an idea but as a reality), there is no other path to achieve it than proletarian revolution.

    Basanta concludes, “the urgent need of the day has been to intensify the ideological and political struggle against all shades of revisionism in general…”

    As the crisis of global capitalism deepens, and as more people come into motion to resist their conditions, it will increasingly be the case that revisionism and reformism will walk onstage wearing the mask of communism. This is confusing and misleading. These must be unmasked, and the actual path to communism (proletarian revolution and a transitional period of socialism/proletarian dictatorship) must be defined, affirmed and asserted.

  • Guest - ViswaFromIndia

    Any idea why Netra Bikram Chanda 'Biplab' is travelling China. What relation do they have with that reactionary regime?

  • Guest - Ka Frank

    Here's a recent interview with Kiran in The Hindu about the CPN-Maoist's demands to the government, and the unconfirmed role of Netra Bikram Chand "Biplab" in developing a military capacity for the CPN-Maoist.


    Nepal Maoist faction serves ultimatum

    Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist Chairman Mohan Vaidya 'Kiran' talking to media-persons at CPN-Maoist office, Buddhanagar on Wednesday.
    Demands, inter alia, scrapping of peace treaty with India
    By Prashant Jha, Kathmandu, Sept. 5, 2012

    Sixteen years after Nepal’s Maoists presented a memorandum with 40 points to the then government before launching their ‘People’s War’, a splinter radical Maoist party has decided to present a list of 70 demands to the Maoist-led government.

    The Mohan Vaidya ‘Kiran’-led Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist, which split from the parent party in June, has threatened to launch a struggle — and armed revolt ‘if necessary’ — if their demands are not met.

    At a press conference here on Wednesday, Mr. Kiran accused the Prachanda-led Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) of “neo-revisionism”. “Instead of addressing demands they themselves had raised during the war, our own friends are now behaving like the ruling class.” He said while there had been some “achievements”, the country remained in a “semi-colonial, semi-feudal, and neo-colonial” situation, and a new “struggle” was necessary. Many of the issues listed in the new document are taken from the original 40-points agenda.

    The new party has demanded the scrapping of the 1950 Nepal-India Treaty of Peace and Friendship; the 1965 bilateral security pact; the Mahakali treaty; the Small Development Projects supported by government of India in Nepal; and the Upper Karnali and Arun-3 hydropower contracts given to Indian companies.

    It has called for “controlling and managing” the open border between the two countries; ending “border encroachment” in Nepali territory and “unauthorised” entry of Indian security personnel into Nepal; stopping entry of cars with Indian number plates; stopping Hindi and English cinema, video and publications; ending foreign investment in media; closing down Gorkha recruitment centres and “strictly controlling” all “anti-China” activities conducted using Nepal as a base.

    In the third week of August, Mr. Kiran had met the chairperson of the royalist Rashtriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal, Kamal Thapa, and discussed co-operating on the issue of “nationalism and sovereignty”.
    ‘People’s Democracy’

    Other demands revolve around “people’s democracy and livelihood”. These include: institutionalising a ‘People’s Federal Republican’ constitution by elected people’s representatives, federalism with “national identity”, full proportionate inclusion in state organs, drafting a new national security policy, relief and compensation to those who suffered in the ‘People’s War’, end of discrimination and untouchability against Dalits, employment guarantee, free and compulsory education till Class 12, land reform, and action against corrupt.

    Mr. Kiran said while their struggle would initially be peaceful, they may adopt the armed method if their demands were not met. Analysts, however, believe that it is unlikely that the entire party will revert to an insurgency. But unconfirmed reports suggest that a section, led by a radical young leader Netra Bikram Chand ‘Biplab’, is organising former soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and collecting arms to prepare for a violent revolt.

    Ironically, in 1996, it was the then ideologue Baburam Bhattarai who prepared and submitted the demands on behalf of the Maoists.
    This time, in his capacity as the Prime Minister, he will receive a similar set of demands from his erstwhile colleagues.

    From: http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article3863011.ece?homepage=true

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