[This article refers to the principal leaders of the UCPN(Maoist) and its most important meetings since 2005. For the benefit of non-S0uth Asian readers: Pushpa Kemal Dahal “Prachanda” is the Chairman of the UCPN(Maoist), and Mohan Baidya “Kiran” is a vice-chairman. Baburam Bhattarai has occupied several different positions in recent years. The Palungar Meeting of 7,000 party leaders was concluded on November 28. The Chunwang Meeting was held in 2005, which laid the basis for the 12 Point Understanding between 7 parliamentary parties and the UCPN(Maoist) in early 2006. They cooperated during the mass uprisings in the spring of 2006 that toppled the monarchy. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement which ended the people’s war and gave legal status to the UCPN(M) was signed in November 2007. The Karipati Meeting was held in 2009.–Frontlines ed]
Palungtar is just the beginning
by Dr. Rishi Raj Baral, Chief Editor of Samaybadda
The sixth plenum of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) has formally concluded but the ideological debate continues. In fact, it has just started. There were many questions to be resolved at the plenum and this meeting has raised some new questions as well.
Debates and discussions are not new things. There used to be sharp debates even when the ‘People’s War’ was on after the Second National Conference of Party of 2002, the issue of debate was ´Prachanda Path´ and ´Democracy in the 21st Century´.
The article by Baburam Bhattarai, “The Question of Building a New Type of State” – originally published in The Worker, a Maoist mouthpiece, in February 2004 – was the subject of heavy criticism. It was necessary to criticize the article because it was pleading for a revisionist line.
The party decision taken during the Chunwang Meeting gave birth to many confusions and illusions. Reevaluation of Mao’s and Lenin´s views on state and revolution and imperialism was the main issue of debate. Besides this, the ´12-Point Understanding´ was also an issue of debate as it raised many questions about the People’s War and the continuation of revolution.
There is no confusion and illusion that the decisions taken at the Chunwang Meeting and the 12-Point Understanding is the root cause of the present problem, contradictions, debates and deadlock in the revolution. Then, revolutionary comrades had many questions and curiosities. After the release of Comrade Kiran (Mohan Baidya) and Gaurav (C P Gajurel), it took theoretical and ideological dimension.
In fact, the decision of Chunwang Meeting raised many questions both inside and outside the party. After the Peace Agreement of Nov 21, 2006, the scenario was clear. All the achievements which we had gained during the People’s War collapsed. People’s War was abandoned formally.
Now, there were no people’s court, no base areas and liberated areas. The People’s Liberation Army was kept in cantonments. All the achievements gained during the 10 years of People’s War collapsed and we had nothing in hand. It was a serious ideological and political mistake. In fact, it was a gross political deviation.
Gradually, that led to two lines of struggle inside the party and it was natural too. On one side, there were Kiran, Gaurav and other revolutionaries. On the other side, there were Prachanda and Bhattarai and their followers. It was not a question of dissatisfaction; rather it was a question of world outlook.
It was the struggle between two lines and two different class outlooks. It was the struggle for the safeguard of values and achievements gained during the People’s War. It was not a simple issue. It was not a personality clash. It was a struggle between reformists and revolutionaries.
At the Chunwang Meeting, Bhattarai declared that without Prachanda he did not have any existence. He declared his fusion with Prachanda. From the 12-Point Understanding to Kharipati Meeting, Prachanda and Bhattarai were in the same boat with the same mission. Both declared that political revolution had ended and what remained was just economic revolution. In the name of party unity and to make a big organization, they put Maoism in the backburner.
It was a serious question. They didn’t have any plan and policy to take the revolution forward, to safeguard the achievements made during the 10 years of People’s War. They abandoned Bolshevik Party policy and spirit. They wanted to make a mass organization to gain more seats in parliament and to form a majority government. It was their idea of a revolution. It was their revolutionary path—the path of Euro-communism. Their joint document submitted at the Kharipati Meeting is a proof of this.
The movement led by Prachanda and Bhattarai, to transform a revolutionary party into a mass organization party, the party of bourgeois, was challenged by the document of Comrade Kiran and its followers. It was a great blockade in their mission. In the leadership of Comrade Kiran, the revolutionary cadres stopped the Maoist party from being a revisionist party. They succeeded in compelling them to uphold the revolutionary line. Prachanda was compelled to support the revolutionary line projected by Comrade Kiran.
After Palungtar Meeting, the revisionists – the rightist block of the party – look very excited. It looks very optimistic also. But it is not a good sign for Nepali revolution. And everybody from our party knows the consequences of following Prachanda´s ideology. He himself is responsible for this.
After this, Prachanda had a great opportunity to unite the party and make plans and policies for a great people’s revolt. But unity, struggle and transformation were only limited to words; they did not translate into action. There was no honesty in this aspect. We did not find him translating his promises into actions.
Instead of preparing for a revolution, he was engaged in different tricky activities. He chose the path of revenge and conspiracy. He said one thing but did the opposite. He talked about revolution but opted for parliamentary politics.
There was lack of communist spirit, value and ideal in his behavior. He continued to march ahead deviating from the original ideology of the party. He forgot the people. Power—power by any means—was his motto and mission. It made all of us very anxious.
The 10 years of People’s War was not a joke. We had travelled the bloody path of revolution.
There was no confusion and illusion in the line opted by Bhattarai. There was no confusion regarding his reformist and opportunistic line. It was clear through his actions and ideology. From long, he was pleading for pluralism, bourgeois democracy and multiparty system in the name phase-wise revolution. After all, he was a follower of loktantrik ganatantra.
His closeness to India was also clear to the party cadres. Later, he openly declared ´this is the age of Trotsky’. He declared himself as a Trotskyist. He was pleading, and pleading until now, not only for Trotskyism but also for Liu Shaoqi theory of ´Productive Forces´.
There were some problems and confusions on the part of Prachanda´s behavior. When he talked with revolutionaries, he used to project himself as a revolutionary leader, and when he talked with foreign powers, he projected himself as a ´moderate communist´.
No doubt, Bhattarai is the follower of Neo-Marxism but Prachanda maintained double-standards. But this technique could not succeed. Then he started talking about party unity and started to control the party by majority.
Now, those who were against People’s War and who used to dub us ´social fascists´ have come to be our leaders. The entry of poisonous weeds and evil elements has polluted the party. It is a matter of deep sorrow. The divide between the two lines further intensified within the party. Things went from bad to worse while there was no sign of transformation in the behavior of Prachanda. This compelled the revolutionaries to think about taking a new step.
Both blocks associated with Prachanda and Bhattarai were dissatisfied with Prachanda after the Kharipati Meeting. The group led by Bhattarai wanted Prachanda as a leader of loktantrik ganatantra [the Nepal government-ed] so that they could exercise bourgeois democracy and enjoy more facilities and lead a luxurious life.
Before and after Palungtar meeting, this group tried and is trying to make its own identity. In the Palungtar Meeting, this group stood in favor of Bhattarai´s document, the document which pleads for a reformist and pro-Indian line.
The document of Comrade Kiran was full of revolutionary spirit, which was based on 10 years People´s War and its legacy. The focal point of this document was the line of people’s revolt. A huge number of cadres, the revolutionary cadres, stood in favor of Comrade Kiran´s document.
The document of Prachanda was not clear in line and ideology. The speech delivered by Prachanda also raised many questions. In fact, Prachanda was not able to address the cadres. He appeared as a confused leader.
The supporters of Prachanda blamed Comrade Kiran for many things. But Comrade Kiran made it clear that it was not a personality clash but a question of revolution; it was the question of people´s revolt to safeguard the achievements gained by the 10 years People´s War. Not only this, he also declared that it is right to rebel.
After this meeting, the revisionists – the rightist block of the party – look very excited. It looks very optimistic also. But it is not a good sign for Nepali revolution. And everybody from our party knows the consequences of following Prachanda´s ideology. He himself is responsible for this.
But there is another bright side also. The revolutionary leaders and cadres are very enthusiastic too. They are full of revolutionary spirit. They are united from top to bottom in one mission. They know there are many challenges in the way ahead. They want to make the party unified in their revolutionary line.
The meeting could not succeed in approving any document and to solve the contradictions. But one thing was clear: That the right opportunist block had come with dangerous plans and policies.
Though the Palungtar meeting has concluded, as mentioned before, the debate has just started. Which side are you in?
Now, the verdict, the decision between revolution and counter-revolution is coming soon. There are now a lot of responsibilities on the shoulders of the revolutionaries. Unity, struggle and transformation are our main motto and mission. But we are not getting any positive and pleasant signs on this front. And it is a universal truth that without making a breakthrough with opportunists, there has not been any revolution and there cannot be one.
Now, the time has come to take correct and bold decisions. It needs strong willpower. It needs strong and conscious efforts. That it is the right to rebel has been clearly stated by Marx, Lenin and Mao. This is the only way to move ahead. Time has come to push the wheel forward.
Writer, Chief Editor of Samaybadda, a bi-monthly leftist magazine, is associated with UCPN (Maoist)