Redspark Interview #5: On the Future of Maoism in Nepal

For our next interview we talked with Comrade Basanta, a polit-bureau member of the CPN (Revolutionary Maoist), the party led by Comrade Kiran in Nepal. Since 1997 Comrade Basanta has been working in international relations between Maoists from Nepal and the rest of the world. We are grateful that he agreed to answer a few questions.

Redspark: In the ICM, a lot of people are confused about the merger of the Prachanda and Oli parties. Could you give us your perspective on what happened and why?

The CPN (Maoist) and the CPN (UML) were two political parties working in Nepal until recently. The CPN (UML) had pursued a right-revisionist line known as people’s multiparty democracy. It followed the electoral parliamentarian path to attain its ultimate political objective right after the founding of so-called multiparty democracy in 1990 under the constitutional monarchy. The CPN (Maoist) was a revolutionary party since its formation in 1992 and had engaged in armed struggle to overthrow the reactionary parliamentary system and then establish New Democratic Republic in Nepal. On February 13, 1996 it initiated protracted people’s war. Subsequently, the CPN (UML) labeled the CPN (Maoist) a terrorist organization, and the latter termed the former a reactionary group. Thus they were standing at diametrically opposite poles, with the same tag: The Communist Party of Nepal with their identities in parenthesis.

However, these two parties, the CPN (UML) and the CPN (Maoist Centre) [Renamed later], led respectively by KP Oli and PK Dahal, united on May 17, 2018 to form a new party: The Communist Party of Nepal (CPN). Now, the question haunting the people is, how could these two parties previously standing at opposite poles arrive at the same point?

In order for this to happen, one of the following three conditions has to have been met. One: both of them attained ideological and political unity on the basic questions of revolutionary transformation of Nepal by waging a serious two-line struggle in their respective parties. Two: the CPN (UML) abandoned the revisionist line and legacy of its past and agreed with the revolutionary line pursued by CPN (Maoist). Three, the CPN (Maoist Centre) abandoned the revolutionary line and pursued the CPN (UML) path. To put in other way, how could two pedestrians, who were walking towards two opposite directions, turn up along the same direction unless one of them made a U-turn or both of them decided to change their respective directions and follow the one? It is an important question.

What is clear to all is that UML was a reactionary party neck-deep in parliamentarian cretinism. It had not made any change to its previous ideological and political position till before the merger. Yet unity took place between these two centres. How was it possible? Clearly, the third condition described above played a decisive role in this unity process. To be precise, it is the total submission of the CPN (Maoist Centre) to the CPN (UML) line that made this merger possible. Nothing other than a long course of ideological and political degeneration on the part of Maoist Centre leadership was the deciding factor to ease its submission to UML.

Here a question arises: is it that the Maoist Centre adopted UML line only in the process of unity? No, it began quite a while before. The erstwhile CPN (Maoist) had started gestating the UML line from the very day it placed in the party conference a document titled ‘Democracy in the 21st Century.’ Later, the Chunwang Central Committee meeting gave birth to the democratic republic. The election of the constituent assembly, the restructuring of state, 12-point understanding etc. were events that each laid a brick in the process of the Maoists sliding towards UML line. While arriving at the so-called comprehensive peace agreement, the disarmament of the People’s Liberation Army, the declaration of the end of people’s war, the submission of the PLA into the Nepalese Army and the promulgation of a reactionary constitution from the second constituent assembly, the course of Maoist Centre transforming ideologically and politically into the UML line had been essentially completed. Since then, two parties MC and UML had existed separately only in name. The recent merger was only the open revelation of their shared ideological and political essence. It was a clear manifestation of Prachanda’s degeneration into reaction. This whole process has once again justified Mao’s assertion that in the final analysis revisionism is reaction.

Redspark: How does this merger change the situation for revolutionaries?

Generally, the merger of two ‘giant communist parties’ has become an issue of big hue and cry among the people nationally and internationally.

However, a revolutionary should look at it mainly from two angles. One: a leadership that had portrayed a revolutionary image in the past has now submitted to a diehard reactionary party through this merger. Revolutionaries all over the world are aggrieved by this. It has caused wide frustration and pessimism among the revolutionary people and mistrust towards the Maoists. Two: this event has brought the true revisionist essence of PK Dahal out into the open to the people of the world. Now, he will no longer have any opportunity to take advantage of his revolutionary legacy and confuse the revolutionary people. No one will have to hear the terminologies like Maoism, people’s war, new democracy, PLA, revolution etc. in his speeches in the days ahead. Imperialist and expansionist ruling classes have become their class brethren. Through the merger, he has made a leap to the form that befitted with his essence; he has clarified which side he was on. This is the positive aspect that one should take note of in the merger of the Maoist Centre into UML. In fact, this act has exposed the revisionism that had been prevailing in Prachanda. In this sense, he must be thanked.

Redspark: At the same time, we can see that your Party has been developing new mass organizations over the last year. What has it been able to achieve so far? Can you give us as examples some of the campaigns you’ve been leading?

Yes, subsequent to the desertion of Badal Group to form Maoist Centre in 2016, our party was faced with a difficult situation. We consciously confronted this challenge in four steps. The first step: we convened a national conference in Oct. 2017 to adopt our ideological and political documents and thereby sharpen our understanding. The second step: we put emphasis on organization and developed a minimum network of party and mass organizations, both vertically and horizontally almost all over the country. The third step: we decided to engage in organization and struggle simultaneously but make either one of them principal depending upon the given ground situation. And the fourth step: we decided to put emphasis on different forms of struggles and expand and consolidate our organization through it. Based on this, we are now attempting to develop various forms of struggle centring on national independence, the people’s democratic rights and their livelihood on the national level. In addition, we are now working hard to develop revolutionary class struggle and resistance against various forms of class enemies on the local level and thereby expand and consolidate our party and mass organisations.

Redspark: Since the capitulation of the People’s War, a lot of things have changed in Nepal. What is the opinion of your Party about the revolutionary strategy it should adapt?

Your assertion in the question: “Since the capitulation of people’s war, a lot of things have changed in Nepal” is superficially true. Definitely, there have been some changes in form, but the essence remains the same. The changes that were brought about are: republics, federalism, secularism etc.

They represent only trivial reforms under the very bourgeois democratic reactionary establishment. The country still continues to be in semi-feudal and semi-colonial and in mainly a neo-colonial condition. New democracy, the minimum political strategy of such countries, is far from being materialized. Yet, there have been some changes in some objective and subjective factors in Nepal. But, those changes have more relation to global aspects than the domestic ones. They can be briefly pointed out as follows.

The gap between urban and rural areas has narrowed. The surveillance ability of the reactionaries has reached to the far corners of the country, thanks to the development of information technology. The history of people’s struggle in Nepal shows that there is reciprocal relation between national and local struggles, in which one instantly influences the other. There is a glorious history of peaceful and violent struggles in Nepal, and they have become helpful to each other. There is a big potential of constituting a broad and all-encompassing united front among the entire oppressed people and forming a strong PLA. The revolutionaries have acquired invaluable experience in building and leading them in the past. These are the revolutionary assets mainly acquired from the great people’s war and mass struggles carried out in the past in Nepal.

The aforesaid factors will decide the path of revolution suitable to accomplish New Democratic Revolution in Nepal. From that viewpoint, our party has decided that the path of revolution will neither be insurrection of the Russian model nor the Protracted People’s War of the Chinese model. We have to develop it. It will incorporate suitable tactics from both models but will be based on the principle of armed people’s insurrection. In fact, it will be an armed people’s insurrection of Nepalese type.

C. Kistler

Also editor of Nouvelle Turquie.