Nepal: A “party within the party” for revolutionary Maoists

[The line struggle within the UCPN(M) between the “people’s revolution” faction vs. the “bourgeois republic” faction has now led to separate organized forms within the overall-dysfunctional party.  While debates have led to organizing separate, and opposing, programmatic paths, the issues remain largely unsettled.  Chief among them seem to be: to re-ignite and carry forward the people’s revolutionary armed struggle, OR to squander the remaining (disarmed) PLA forces on ever-shrinking plans for integrating PLA fighters and officers into the Nepalese Army; the question of advancing land reform of the peasants against the feudal landlords, OR to permit the return of lands and privileges to the feudal system in the countryside; whether to advance the struggle for New Democracy with revolutionary communist leadership, OR to retreat further into the opportunist swamp of the bourgeois republic and neo-colonial/comprador relations.  Revolutionary politics once shaped and crystallized the mission of the people’s war; then, with the abandonment of the PW in 2006, the questions became confined to inner-party struggle.  Now the questions and debates and actions are returning to the streets and villages.  The revolutionary Nepalese people are looking to leaders like Kiran, Gajurel, and Thapa to step forward, and lead. — Frontlines ed.]

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Mohan Baidya "Kiran"

Nepal’s Maoist leader fires a salvo at his own party government

by Prashant Jha, The Hindu, Kathmandu, March 26, 2012

People are being betrayed on the Constitution, says Kiran

Senior vice-chairperson of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) Mohan Vaidya ‘Kiran’ has said if the integration of the People’s Liberation Army is not “respectable” and a People’s Federal Republican Constitution is not drafted, the Nepali people will have a “right to revolt” again. In an exclusive interview to The Hindu, Mr. Kiran reiterated the demand for the resignation of the government, led by his party colleague Dr. Baburam Bhattarai.

Saying there was an ongoing battle in the party between “right-wing revisionism” and “revolutionary Marxism”, Mr. Kiran said: “We are not against peace and Constitution. But the debate is if our party has made anti-people compromises.”

Hari Bol Gajurel

‘Mistakes’

Mr. Kiran said while the goal of a “democratic republic” — set by the Maoist party in 2005, which led to an alliance with other parties against the monarchy — was tactically right, it could not solve people’s problems and the party should have aimed to establish a “People’s Federal Republic” or a “People’s Democracy’. Asked if this meant one-party rule by the Maoists, he said: “Parliamentary democracy is also class hegemony where five per cent rule over 95 per cent. In people’s dictatorship, it would be the other way round.”

Pointing to mistakes committed by the party, the Maoist ideologue said that during the war they had created an “army, base areas, people’s governments”.

The base areas were opened up and the parallel governments dissolved soon after the Maoists entered open politics in 2006. Mr. Kiran claimed this was wrong and not in favour of the people whose issues Maoists had raised.

Ram Bahadur Thapa 'Badal'

“On integration of our army, the party stand was it should be collective and armed integration of combatants with the chain of command of PLA intact. But what is happening now is disarmament. A national security policy should have been framed first, but we did not pay attention to that either,” he said.

To have a people’s Constitution, Mr Kiran said, there be provisions for “ethnic autonomy; right to self determination; special rights for Dalits, Muslims and women; right to food, education, health and work; revolutionary land reform; and a proportional representation based electoral system”. “But we fear that Nepali people are being betrayed on the Constitution as well.”

Mr. Kiran also reiterated the demand for the government’s resignation. Accusing it of “surrendering to India”, he said: “It signed the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement [BIPPA] with India without consulting anyone. We had opposed unequal treaties in the past. But the Energy Minister of this government, from our own party, went and approved the Pancheshwor agreement in Delhi recently. They are now talking of a DPR [detailed project report] for the Kosi high dam, despite popular opposition.”

Party unity

The political rift within the Maoists has translated into operational disunity, with the establishment faction of chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ and Prime Minister Dr. Bhattarai calling meetings of their own loyalists while Mr. Kiran’s dissident faction holds parallel meetings. Separate committees have been set up at all levels, separate offices are used as a base and independent programmes are held.

Admitting that it was an “unnatural” situation, Mr. Kiran called it a situation of a “party within a party, organisation within an organisation”. Asked if the party would split, he said: “That depends on the principles, political roadmap, tactics and strategy which the party will undertake. There is a complex two-line struggle at present. Can we take that forward and resolve it positively? Revolutionaries don’t split; they revolt. If the leadership turns opportunist; a federal, anti-imperial, pro people’s Constitution is not made; and if PLA is not respectfully integrated, Nepali people have the right to revolt.”

Talking about his relations with Mr. Prachanda, whom he had helped promote to general secretary of the party over two decades ago, Mr. Kiran said: “He was a new young revolutionary talent. I had recognised it, and he played an important role in the revolution. But in recent years, his revolutionary and Communist spirit has been lacking.” He added that they continue to engage, with Mr Prachanda trying to convince him that revolutions are not linear and need compromises. “I respond by expressing my fears that the party is becoming reformist.”

Reliable sources indicated to The Hindu that Mr. Kiran’s faction commands loyalty of around 80 out of the 240 Maoist MPs in the Constituent Assembly, and has approximately 50 out of 147 central committee members. Mr. Kiran’s group is unlikely to walk away from the party till May 27 — when the term of the CA expires — and then decide its course of action dependidng on the political situation.

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Maoist Rift:  Feuding factions bolstering organizational hold

By Kamal Dev Bhattarai, eKantipur.com, March 28, 2012

As the factional politics has caused a vertical split in the party, the rival factions within the UCPN (Maoist) have expedited efforts to bolster their organisational hold at all levels.

Although the Maoist factions are in a mood not to formally split the party until May 27, they are forming separate organisational structures to implement their respective agenda. Concerned by the hardliners’ move to form separate organisational structures, the establishment faction led by Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai have taken steps to strengthen their organisational hold. For this purpose, leaders from both factions are holding gatherings in different parts of the country.

After holding its Central Committee (CC) meeting, the hard-line faction led by Vice-chairman Mohan Baidya has sent its central leaders to districts to orient cadres on their political and ideological line of revolt. The establishment faction is also preparing to hold its CC meet to prepare a factional strategy and mobilise leaders to train cadres on the faction’s line of peace and constitution writing.

Leaders from the establishment faction say they will impart training to cadres at the grassroots on why they should take the line of peace and constitution. “Our CC meet will reshuffle the organisational structure and leaders will be appointed to train cadres in regions where the Baidya faction has dominance,” said CC member Khagaraj Bhatta.

The Baidya faction on Tuesday held a cadre orientation programme in Kathmandu and plans to hold similar programmes across the country. It has won favour of the combatants who were dissatisfied with the ongoing integration and rehabilitation process.

They held separate gatherings of the disqualified fighters and the combatants who chose volunteer retirement during the regrouping process. However, the establishment faction enjoys an overwhelming majority in the party’s 148-member CC and in the Constituent Assembly (CA). Out of 148 CC members, 48 members support Baidya, while out of 236 lawmakers, 72 lawmakers back him. However, the hardliners do not enjoy the support of 40 percent lawmakers and CC members, which is a prerequisite to split the party.

Despite the hardliners’ week position in the CC, the Dahal-Bhattarai camp fears that the former’s movement could weaken their position at the grassroots. Leaders close to the establishment faction admit that hard-core cadres at the local level support Baidya’s agenda. “It is somehow true that Dahal and Bhattarai have deviated from the party’s core ideology and a chunk of cadres would support the Baidya camp,” said a Dahal supporter.

The Dahal faction, however, paints a bleak picture of the hardliners’ prospects. “They (Baidya faction) lack clear and scientific ideology and political line to get the cadres’ support,” said pro-Dahal leader Haribol Gajurel. “They neither embrace peace and constitution nor detach from these processes.”
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