An interesting development has occurred in Nepal as the CC has approved a document that pushes forward: 1) the principal contradiction in Nepal today is a) the domestic reactionaries and b) Indian expansionism; and 2) that the UCPN(Maoist) would engage in a people’s revolt if the peace process is further disrupted. I am sure that numerous other blogs will engage in hours and hours of analysis of this latest development in the “three-line struggle”, and hail the victory of the Kiran faction, but I would like to focus on perhaps the less seemingly interesting, and perhaps even bureaucratically banal aspect of this story: the abrupt ending of debate and declaration of the party’s official decisions and the surprise expressed by those in the Bhattarai faction. I am firmly committed to a tradition which argues that a healthy revolutionary movement requires a healthy vibrant democratic centralism and I worry that this recent action takes the UCPN(Maoist) away from that tradition and down a more top-down structure, which I think has been one of the problems that the party has developed in the years since the PPW.
I am sure that there are many that welcome this development, both in Nepal and their supporters abroad, especially as it finally ends a debate that has been going on for several years and is evidence of the Kiran faction becoming dominant, the first time since his arrest along with Com. Gaurav, and have become impatient with the continuous debate over the last few years that had not resulted in any formal conclusion. However, one of the strengths of the UCPN(Maoist), in my mind, was their break from the typical Leninist practice of unity-struggle-split (with every side declaring their line’s correctness) and their heavy emphasis on inner-party democracy and principled line-struggle, and I wonder whether this break from that past tradition does not forebode a change in this culture as well. I find it also worrying that rather than institute a democratic process within the party regarding appointment to positions within the party bureaucracy that these decisions are being made from above. I am going to say it: the UCPN(Maoist) does not need another plenum or a CC meeting. It needs a Party congress. It is long overdue. A Party congress that would held fresh elections for the leadership of the party at all levels. Secondly, I think it is worrying that they would not allow Bhattarai to publish in public as that has been a hallmark of this party’s open process and has allowed for inner-party vitality.
I must make it clear that I do prefer the people’s revolt position however, I think that Bhattarai has been a very good force in the UCPN(Maoist) and has been an eloquent intelligent original thinker (I am fundamentally opposed to those that have decided that they can just slander him for being a Trotskyist etc. And indeed I think the Maoist movement needs to get out of the 1928 mindset and come to a better understanding of what actually happened and the consequences: the fundamentally erroneous position of the monolithic party). Indeed, I believe that Kiran needs Bhattarai and vice versa to actually push forward a new revolutionary theory that is suitable for Nepal and may have universal aspects (I for example do think that multi-party socialism could be a universal development). And I think the Bhattarai faction have been principled by deciding not to split, abiding by the decision whilst maintaining their own views (a welcome repudiation of the disastrous 1920 decision of the CPSU, supported by Lenin-Trotksy-Stalin which banned factions), and using inner-party structures to make their arguments to note their disagreements.
Nevertheless, the decision has been taken. Now as the leader close to Bhattarai said, “History will show who is right”.
Bhattarai camp ‘shocked’ by CC decision
POST B BASNET
KATHMANDU, Dec 19: It was something unexpected for Maoist Vice-chairman Dr Baburam Bhattarai when his party decided on Friday to adopt the tactical line of “people´s revolt” and officially declare India the “principal enemy.”
According to party sources, Bhattarai had requested Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal to hold more talks to narrow down intra-party differences before holding the Central Committee (CC) meeting Friday.
And when the CC meeting was held on Friday, Bhattarai had not expected that the chairman would declare the party´s official decisions all of a sudden and wrap up the meeting.
“In fact the decision was unexpected to most CC members, not only to the Bhattarai faction. Most CC members hoped the party would hold more discussions to find common ground as far as possible,” said a senior Maoist leader.
With the backing of the party´s hard-line faction led by Senior Vice-chairman Mohan Baidya, Chairman Dahal got his document endorsed by the CC on Friday, while Bhattarai said he seriously objected to the spirit of the chairman´s document.
“Friday´s CC meeting came as a complete surprise also because nobody had thought any politician of that caliber and understanding would take such decisions,” said a leader close to Bhattarai.
Dahal and Baidya have gone through many ups and downs in the last three decades, and Dahal has now finally embraced the political line of Baidya for the first time after the Chunwang meeting in 2005.
In his document, Dahal stated that the party should push for the constitution of a “People´s Federal Democratic Republic”, while simultaneously preparing the ground for an immediate revolt. And as per the party´s scheme, the revolt is likely to take place around the constitution-drafting deadline of May 28.
Dahal also declared the “fusion of domestic reactionaries and India expansionism” the party´s principal enemy, something that Bhattarai seriously objects to. The Maoist party vice-chairman has argued that the party should declare “domestic reactionaries” alone as the principal enemy at this juncture of history. Party insiders say Dahal decided to declare India the principal enemy for its playing a part in his not becoming prime minister.
On Saturday, leaders of the Bhattarai faction met to chart their course of action in light of the CC decision.
“We have decided to register not only a note of dissent, but a whole political document outlining the model of revolution in Nepal. History will show who is right,” said a leader close to Bhattarai.
Bhattarai faction leaders have however stated that they would follow the party principle of “diversity in thought and unity in work” and sincerely perform the responsibilities handed them by the party.
As per the decision, the party is not likely to let Bhattarai write about his political philosophy independently outside the party´s publications. “The party has decided to set up a certain mechanism and bring out a publication to hold debates on ideological and tactical issues. So, the party may not allow him to write independently,” said a leader close to Dahal. But the Bhattarai faction has opposed the decision. “It is a measure to stiffle dissent,” said a leader close to Bhattarai.
Leaders close to the Baidya faction said the alliance between Baidya and Dahal became possible after the latter turned ready to incorporate most of the views put forward by Baidya.
Dahal and Baidya mainly agreed on three issues: 1) principal contradiction; 2) launching a people´s revolt on the foundation of the “people´s war”; 3) sharing more organizational positions of the “party, army and political front”, three organs of the Maoist movement, with the Baidya faction.
“The chairman and Vice-chairman Baidya shared many things in common, so it is natural for Baidya to support the chairman,” said Maoist leader Khadga Bahadur Vishwokarma from the Baidya camp.
With the latest party decision, the intra-party power balance will tilt more toward the Baidya faction.
Though Maoists have stated that the party would launch a revolt only if the constitution-drafting process falls prey to conspiracy, the decision will severely reduce the party´s bargaining power on the issue of government formation.
It will show that the party is not flexible enough in constitution-drafting and integration and rehabilitation of Maoist combatants, and prompt the formation of a stronger anti-Maoist coalition. And this means the Maoists are likely to face further isolation. Besides, other political actors had understood that the Maoist party would be flexible when Dahal was with Bhattarai, and after his new alliance with Baidya, Dahal will certainly lose that advantage.