“Now there are two lines only” – Kiran

I have consistently argued that the current line struggle inside the UCPN(Maoist) has been characterized by a 3-faction/2-line struggle with the Prachanda faction actually not having an independent line of its own but rather, oscillating between the Kiran and Bhattarai’s lines. But this has not always been the case. It is no closed secret that Baburam Bhattarai and Kiran have always been the chief intellectuals of the Party and that they have always represented different lines. Indeed, this line debate has been one that has animated the Nepalese communist movement since the mid-1980’s with the split inside the CPN(ML)[4th CC] led by Mohan Bikram Singh, and saw Baburam Bhattarai and Kiran on opposing sides then as well. The singularly most important role that Prachanda  has always played in the UCPN(Maoist), and its political predecessors, has been his capacity to develop political documents and strategies that are able to combine in a properly synthetic manner the different lines of the Party in such a manner that promotes ‘unity-split-transformation’ organizationally and political success in the field. In recent years Prachanda, especially with the start of the peace process. has been unable to develop an appropriate line between the Bhattarai and Kiran lines and has thus allowed the Party to drift, and to take a number of contradictory political positions that have confused not only the masses and outside observers, but Party workers themselves. New political programs have not been developed for the countryside and urban programs have only seen modest success. The communes, the Party newspaper and other political organs of the Party have fallen into disrepair due to under-allocation of resources. Furthermore, despite repeated calls for programs that will result in a people’s revolt  from leaders and Party workers alike, no such programs seem forthcoming from the chairman (the one new program that has been developed is the People’s Volunteers and that is being guided by a Kiran-faction member). Worst of all, the untarnished image of a Party of cadre that was willing to sacrifices their lives for a communist Nepal has been damaged by widespread rumors and allegations of corruption and cronyism.

It is difficult to imagine where one should start critiquing Prachanda. We could start with the failures that I have outlined above, but since I have discussed these issues before I feel less inclined to. I think that we should discuss the more damning charge that Kiran has made when he alleged that “a serious ideological deviation had bedeviled” Prachanda and that he engaged in “deception”. These are indeed very sharp words from Kiran and suggest that the Kiran-faction has finally had it with Prachanda and his opportunistic politics and are very close to identifying him with being a revisionist force. It is not clear whether these statements were actually made or whether they will have organizational repercussions, but this latest development seems to suggest that finally in the morass that has been the line struggle there has been a further sharpening of the line. Furthermore, it is clear that all sides have come to recognize the true colors of Prachanda and his bureaucratic faction inside the Party. Indeed, it is clear that Prachanda’s first two reasons for opposing the people’s revolt line are utterly bullshit, and if they are real issues flow from Prachanda’s failure to do “the homework for revolt” which would have included planning for those developments. Prachanda’s latest oscillation has demonstrated that he never intended on pursing a people’s revolt and was simply aligning with the Kiran-faction to shore up his own political support. Unfortunately for Prachanda it is unlikely that the Bhattarai camp will ever warmly welcome him as Prachanda has continuously tried to demonstrate his support for the people’s revolt line by attacking Bhattarai personally and organizationally, rather than developing the necessary structures for the people’s revolt itself.

However, as the article clearly states, Prachanda and Bhattarai have enough CC members to pass this new document in direct contravention to the December resolution on people’s revolt, thus the question that is raised is whether Kiran will simply file a note of dissent or will he split the Party now that he recognizes that the rightist deviation starts from Prachanda and his faction? Indeed, if Bhattarai and Prachanda both represent the rightist deviation then one must conclude that the Party leadership is largely in the hands of the rightist deviation, and Kiran would need to rely on his base, the rank-and-file of the Party. I think the solution should be the filing of a note of dissent, disciplinary action against Prachanda for violating democratic centralism, and the immediate stepping down of Prachanda from the Chairmanship and convening of a Party Congress that would elect a new Party leadership and line.

Dahal swings back to peace, constitution    

POST B BASNET / KIRAN PUN

KATHMANDU, April 20:  Ditching the official party line of revolt, Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal has swung back to the line of peace and constitution floated by Vice-chairman Dr Baburam Bhattarai.

In his three-page political document presented at the party politburo meeting on Wednesday, Dahal emphasized the need to conclude the peace process and constitution-drafting to safeguard the political achievements made so far.

“There is a real risk of counter-revolution if we don´t put in best efforts to conclude the peace process and constitution drafting,” a politburo member quoted Dahal´s document.

With constitution-drafting deadline just a month away, Dahal was hard-pressed to choose between peace and a revolt.

The Maoist chairman, who keeps on vacillating between the lines of Senior Vice-chairman Mohan Baidya and Bhattarai, put forward three ´compelling´ reasons for changing his ideological posture.

First, the objective reality for revolution has undergone massive changes since the Palungtar plenum held last November. Second, the ´counter-revolutionaries´ are raising their heads and hatching conspiracies. And third, the party has not done enough homework for a revolt.

The Maoist party had adopted the line of revolt through a majority vote at a central committee meeting held a few days after the Palungtar plenum.

“The chairman´s document has deviated from the line and spirit of the Palungtar plenum,” said leader Kul Prasad KC who is close to Baidya.

Earlier, breaking his ideological alliance with Bhattarai, the Maoist chairman had swerved to the hard-line camp when he fell out with Bhattarai after the infamous Khanna garment episode.

In the politburo meeting on Wednesday, Bhattarai threw weight behind Dahal´s proposal, while Baidya launched lacerating criticism against Dahal and accused him of ´deception´. What irritated Baidya all the more was Dahal´s statement that he never proposed changing the party´s line to revolt in a true sense.

“A serious ideological deviation has bedeviled the chairman. The journey of rightist deviation starts from this point. It is a grave betrayal against the proletariat and their dream of revolution,” a leader quoted Baidya as saying.

Baidya also accused Dahal of being a man without any ideological line. “Your claim that you have your own ideological posture between the extreme right and extreme left has been proven wrong. Now there are two lines only [his and Bhattarai´s],” a leader quoted Baidya who also argued that the politburo doesn´t have any right to change the party line adopted by the CC after the Palungtar plenum. The party has called a meeting of the CC for Friday to discuss the issue further.

What next

The Dahal and Bhattarai together command a comfortable majority in the CC and the new document is likely to be endorsed by a majority vote.

“Now it is Baidya´s turn to register a note of dissent,” said a leader close to Dahal.

The hard-line faction is not likely to accept the document easily, and Baidya is likely to present a separate political document in the CC.

“We will not remain as spectators if the document is passed through a majority vote as was the case while sidelining Bhattarai last time. We will demand a plenum,” said a leader close to Baidya.

But there is virtually no possibility of holding a plenum as the constitution-drafting deadline approaches. “The disputes would be over for now after Baidya registers a note of dissent,” said a leader close to Dahal.

Party hardliners say they never fully trusted Dahal, who has always been dillydallying to bring out programs for a revolt.

The party endorsed the line of revolt in the famous Kharipati meeting, but the party establishment never charted political programs to implement the line. “He is against launching a revolt. We did not fully believe that he would embrace revolt as official line of the party. And he showed his true colors today,” said a leader from Baidya faction, which believes that Dahal had joined hands with Baidya for the latter´s organizational strength.

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