President Barack Obama in the last few days has started an all-America tour to promote his jobs plan and has requested the American people help push his agenda forward. Faced with an “intransigent” and “ideologically dogmatic” Republican party which is hell-bent on ensuring that any legislation proposed by Obama not be passed, just in case it could be seen as a legislative and political victory for him, Obama has decided to go straight to the American people and has asked them to help him pass his agenda by mobilizing around his new jobs bill and by putting political pressure on Democrats and Republicans alike by calling their political representatives (the classic liberal bottom-up campaign). Ironically this is the very kind of political campaign that the Obama-maniacs had hoped to staff and run in the post-electoral victory glory 3 years ago, only to find that the Rorschach test that they had elected was far more interested in being the career politician that he had always been.
Interestingly, in a parallel gesture, in there have been an increasing number of news reports that chief representatives of the Kiran faction, including C.P Gajurel, have been holding independent meetings with the Party rank-and-file and also using the bully pulpit as a way to clarify political issues for their base so that they can put pressure on the Party headquarters to change the line of the Party (there has also been one report that the Kiran faction has been training in secret a security force of its own). It is important to note that the Kiran faction has continued to consistently emphasize that they are not interested in splitting the Party but rather, wish to change the line of the Party and move forward in unison, and are opposed to what they feel are attempts by the establishment faction to quash their independent voices (a positive note about this process is that the UCPN(Maoist) allows factions to hold independent meetings with Party cadre to discuss political lines, which I believe is the only way to have a proper democratic centralist process). Of course such attempts are not new as evidenced by similar reports earlier this year about factional meetings being held (this blog covered news reports about these events earlier in the year), although admittedly unlike those earlier meetings which were held in secret these meetings are being held in public. The exact content about what is being discussed in these meetings besides the recent developments in Nepal and what effect that they are having on the Party rank-and-file remains unknown, however, it is clear that all the Party factions are preparing the ground for the yet to be announced Party convention. Indeed, the Kiran faction will have little choice but to split or to politically surrender if they are incapable of convincing a majority of delegates at such a Party convention that the current line of the Party will not result in a process that will deal with the socio-economic and political problems that plague the country. However, it is unclear as to how the Kiran faction will be able to provide any clarity to the Party rank-and-file when there seems to be little clarity within the faction as how to solve the problems they face. It is even unclear whether Com. Kiran wants to be a politician or a revolutionary leader. Before he and his faction can answer these questions honestly there can be no discussion of restarting the revolutionary process, whether it be through urban revolt or peoples’ war.
I am sure that there will be some of the pro-Maoist Left that will get their hopes up again, in light of these meetings, that some kind of rectification or split within the Party will restart the revolutionary process in Nepal. There will also be those who will further call for a wait-and-see approach and will remain unwilling to take a position. However, I think that the time has come for the pro-Maoist Left to actually take a stand in the developments in Nepal. I do not mean that the international Left should make its often repeated perfunctory comments about the importance of the revolutionary movement in Nepal and cheer for a given faction from the sidelines (a modus operandi that does little for the actually political process underway, but gives the impression of deep political involvement when in fact little is being accomplished), but rather, there needs to be serious discussion and debate about the political and socio-economic issues that the Nepalese comrades face and the advocacy of possible solutions through the development of concrete policy documents and proposals (so what a revolutionary party of a new type actually look like). In fact, I would like to suggest that Com. Kiran, like Obama, in the last few months has become a Rorschach test himself with the international Left using him as a projection of their own fears and desires, and have thus avoided any contact with the reality of the given situation through a thorough investigation of the problems that the revolutionary movement in Nepal faces. This is a responsibility that international comrades have repeatedly shirked from, and have preferred time and again to make the far simpler judgement as to whether a political process remains revolutionary or not. The Nepalese comrades in their letters to the RCP,USA said that they did not need the RCP,USA to teach or remind them the ABC’s of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, but rather help solve particular theoretical problems that they faced, and they were right. The RCP,USA, in a complete evacuation of their role as a member of the CoRIM and as a fraternal Party, demurred from such a role and preferred to simply make repeated calls for the Nepalese comrades to understand Avakian’s “New Synthesis”. Similarly, international comrades in the last few years since the publication of those letters have taken a similar position and have said that although they claim the Nepalese revolution as their own, and quite explicitly support one faction over another, that they could not opine as to specific theoretical questions that have arisen. The status quo, in Nepal and internationally, simply will not do.
KATHMNADU, Sept 18: Countering the aggressive campaigning by hardliners against the party´s moves on the peace process, the establishment faction of the UCPN (Maoist) has stepped up separate gatherings of party cadres and orientation programs in Kathmandu.
Both sides are playing different cards to weaken the position of the other and also show their own strengths as the party has not held its general convention for the last two decades and they are not quite sure of each other´s strengths at the grassroots level.
On Saturday, senior Maoist leaders Posta Bahadur Bogati, Barshaman Pun, Lokendra Bist and Shakti Basnet made speeches at a cadre orientation program held by the party establishment faction at a hotel at Solteemode, Kathmandu.
While Bogati, Pun and Bist imparted training to members of the Maoist Newa State Committee and Kathmandu District Committee members, Basnet attended a program held by Maoist students loyal to the establishment faction.
“Since we are the party establishment, we should try to keep the party unity intact. But we have dissimilar views and if they want to split the party, there is nothing we can do,” a participant quoted Basnet as saying.
Talking to Republica, Basnet conceded that he attended the cadre orientation programs, but added that such gatherings and programs are absolutely normal.
“There is nothing wrong in holding discussion programs,” he said.
Similarly, the party´s cultural group loyal to the establishment faction held a musical program at Bhaktapur on Saturday. The party establishment has formed a separate cultural group after most members of the party´s official Samana Parivar showed their loyalty to the hard-line faction.
Meanwhile, the party hardliners also held separate gatherings in Kathmandu and Lalitpur on Saturday. Party politburo member Dharmendra Bastola addressed the gathering in Lalitpur, while Indra Mohan Sigdel, another politburo member, gave a speech at the gathering in Bhaktapur.
After the party handed over the weapons container keys to the Special Committee, polarization between moderates and hardliners in the party has sharpened.
Accusing the party establishment of deviating from the party´s basic principles, the hardliners led by Senior Vice-chairman Mohan Baidya have just wrapped up their nationwide campaign to weaken the positions of Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Vice-chairman Baburam Bhattarai in the party.
Baidya´s righthand man Netra Bikram Chand had trained cadres from the mid-western region, while CP Gajurel visited the eastern region.
Party cadres close to Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal had even seized the keys of the vehicle belonging to Gajurel and tried to disrupt the training program.
Politburo members Hari Bhakta Kandel, Khadga Bahadur Biswakarma and Kul Prasad KC, among others, have been actively frequenting the districts.
The Maoist cultural group Samana Parivar, which is loyal to the Baidya faction, is still out in the districts holding musical programs.
“We have been holding orientation programs to make the party cadres aware of the party establishment´s move of handing over the weapons container keys to the Special Committee and the four-point deal signed with the Madhes-based parties, among other things,” said leader Bishwakarma.
The Maoists are holding their Central Committee meeting on Sept 30 and heated exchanges are expected between hardliners and moderates over the party´s latest concessions on the peace process, including the return of properties seized by the party during the insurgency and handover of weapons container keys.
BIRATNAGAR, Sep 15: UCPN (Maoist) Secretary C P Gajurel on Thursday said that the hardline Mohan Baidya faction will start political campaign to expose the party headquarters if the party establishment fails to undergo self-criticism over the keys handover decision.
Accusing the party of launching “atrocities” against the Baidya faction, Gajurel said the decision of handing over keys of arms containers is a move toward disarming the Maoist combatants.
“The combatants should be integrated in a systematic way; the hasty decision to hand over the keys is wrong,” said Gajurel.
Talking to a select group of journalists at a guesthouse in Biratnagar, Gajurel said that they will resume their street protests if the party delays in admitting that the key handover decision as a mistake.
“Party Chairman [Pushpa Kamal] Dahal wants us to surrender or intends to see us break the party,” he said, adding, “For that, the party leaders have started politics of exclusion.”
Maoist cadres supporting the Dahal faction attempted to physically attack Gajurel at Illam and Sunsari districts where he had gone to hold training for cadres of his faction. He said their faction also has the right to hold separate gatherings just like Dahal and party vice-chairman Baburam Bhattari.
He also refuted the statement of Maoist chief Nanda Kishor Pun that the Baidya faction had consented to the keys handover decision, terming it conspiracy. “The keys were handed over despite our opposition,” Baidya said.
KATHMANDU, Sept 15: The ongoing internal rift within the UCPN (Maoist) has widened as the faction led by senior Vice-chairman of the party Mohan Baidya expedited unilateral mass meetings in the eastern region.
The Baidya faction has been conducting training programs following the government’s decision to hand over the keys of the arms containers to the Special Committee.
Maoist district level leaders and cadres have been protesting continuously against the programs organized by the Baidya faction in the eastern region. On Wednesday alone, Maoist cadres close to Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal held a separate press conference in Dharan and protested the training programs organized by the Baidya faction.
Addressing a program organized by the Baidya faction, Maoist secretary CP Gajurel, who is close to Baidya, said peace and constitution writing are possible only through a people’s revolt. “I would like to ask Maoist cadres and leaders to be ready for a revolt,” Gajural said, speaking in Dharan.
Gajurel and another Maoist leader, Hitman Shakya, conducted the training programs for Maoist cadres close to the Baidya faction.
Gajurel warned that the Maoist party can be split if the Dahal faction treats them as an enemy. “I am here to conduct a training program and all senior party leader know about this,” he said, adding, “Everyone has the right to organize programs and express opinions without obstruction. The party can split if attempts are made to create problems in organizing programs and expressing opinions.” Gajurel alleged that Dr Baburam Bhattarai became prime minister with the help of India.
“The agreement with Madhesi allaince clearly shows that there is an Indian role behind the deal. Though he was the priministerial canidadate of our party, he was appointed from somewhere else,” Gajurel said.
He was of the view that the agreement with the Madhesi parties and the decision to hand over the keys of arm containers tantamount to surrender. Maoist cadres close to Dahal protested the Baidya faction’s program in Itahari. They showed black flags to CP Gajurel while he was on his way there on Wednesday.
They also attempted to pelt stones at Gajurel’s vehicle. Police arrested six Maoist cadres trying to vandalize the vehicle. Despite obstructions created by the Dahal faction, Gajurel attended the program and instructed the Maoist cadres. They have already conducted training programs in Morang, Jhapa and Ilam districts amids obstructions by the Dahal faction.
Maoist district level leaders and cadres close to the Dahal faction have demanded action against Central Member Baburam Nepali and District Secretary Tak Bahadur KC for organizing a torch rally against the government decision to hand over the arms container keys to the Special Committee.
ITAHARI, Sept 12: The hard-line faction of the UCPN (Maoist) held a separate cadre training program in eastern Nepal Sunday.
The training, which saw the participation of members from the Maoist Kochila state committee, was conducted by UCPN (Maoist) Secretary CP Gajurel, who is from the hard-line faction led by Senior Vice-chairman Mohan Baidya.
He is staying in eastern Nepal for a week to give training to the members of all the state committees here.
Gajurel, who is also the party in-charge of the eastern region, said that his faction is holding such training throughout the country.
Over 150 Maoists from Jhapa, Morang and Sunsari participated in the meeting.
“We were not in favor of conducting secret gathering. But we are doing so as other factions in the party have been holding such gatherings,” he told Republica.
“We realize that we were left behind in holding secret gathering and training,” he added.
The Maoist secretary informed that his faction would train other subordinate committee members in the next phase.
“There is no ban against such meetings,” he said.
Gajurel argued that the party leadership made a grave mistake by handing over the keys of the weapons containers to the Special Committee. He said his faction would intensify struggle against the current coalition if it doesn´t admit the mistake, but added that the faction doesn´t want to topple the government.
Gajurel conceded that the party is undergoing intense internal struggle, but argued that the party would not split. “We formed the party through a revolutionary process. If someone compels us to do so, we will counter,” he said.
Maoist senior Vice chairman Mohan Baidya has vociferously opposed the party´s move to hand over the keys of the arms containers to the Special Committee. Republica´s Post B Basnet caught up with him to get his views on the keys handover and about giving full shape to the government. Here are the excerpts:
The government has not taken a full shape as yet. Not all the factions in your party have joined the government. When do you think will the government take a full shape?
We told the last Standing Committee meeting that we would join the government only after holding a Central Committee meeting. The CC meeting scheduled for Sept 19 has been deferred. We will decide whether or not to join the government only after the CC meeting is held.
The meeting was supposed to take some important decisions, including the handover of the keys of the weapons containers to the Special Committee. How far was it justifiable to defer the CC meeting?
Some disputes and debates have surfaced over issues including the keys handover. So there is no point in joining the government without settling these disputes first. While talking about the peace process, there are two issues that need attention. First, the disputed issues should be resolved. Second, there must be some agreements with other political parties, including the Nepali Congress (NC) and the CPN-UML. On Thursday, the NC and UML held a bilateral meeting. Though, we are not quite sure what transpired at the meeting, it is said the parties have decided to push for the completion of the peace process first and constitution drafting later. If this is so, the peace process will not move ahead. We hold the view that the peace process and constitution drafting should move ahead simultaneously. So it is important for the party to hold talks with the NC leaders and reach consensus.
What is the dispute over the weapons containers handover all about?
Firstly, the peace process, integration and constitution drafting are interrelated. This is not only about the keys handover. Secondly, I must clarify our party´s decisions vis-à-vis the peace process. The first point of the decision is related to the integration issue. A proposal was tabled at the party meeting a day before the decision to hand over the keys to the Special Committee was taken. After holding debates and discussions, the point was removed. But the keys were handed over without holding further discussions. We hold the view that the PLA and the weapons containers should have been handed over to the Special Committee all at once. It was wrong to hand over the keys only as it means disarmament. This dispute has not been resolved as yet. So we have already made public our views that the move is against the party decision.
What will be your argument at the forthcoming CC meeting? It is also stated that the decision was taken secretly ignoring your faction.
We had previously decided to handover the combatants and weapons simultaneously. So the modality for integration should be determined first. The party is supposed to lead the peace process and constitution drafting side by side. They should have held a meeting of the standing committee to clarify the issue.
Besides, I would like to make public some of our decisions that are yet to come out in the media. Some friends including myself put forward some notes of dissent and reservations on the four-point deal signed with the Madhes-based parties. The third point of the agreement that is about the constitution making states that there would be “inclusive democratic republic”.
But “democratic republic” is not the party´s decision. We have been pushing for “people´s federal democratic republic” which is the official decision of the party. So we wrote a note of dissent against that decision. Besides, we also expressed our reservation over some vague points on the agreement. The second point of the agreement is about the implementation of the past commitments which includes the right to property. It states that no one would be deprived of the right to property. But we have the issues of the land tenants and peasants. It is also directed against the scientific land reforms and against the fundamental principle of the party. Similarly, the fourth point of the agreement is about the mass recruitment from the Madhesis. It is agreed that 10,000 from the Madhesis would be recruited unit-wise into the army. I agree that the Madhesis should get space in the army, but there are such demands from other janajatis also. Now, let´s come to the first point of the agreement.
The standing committee had decided to go for unit-wise integration of the PLA, but we later agreed revise the point. Likewise, we had decided to integrate 8,000 PLA into the army, but a compromise was reached on that point too. The number was reduced to 7,000. Similarly, it has been stated that attempts would be made to address the proposals by some countries. This is very abstract. What are the issues that have not been addressed? There are no such issues from China or other countries. We have issues with India only. India has demanded stationing air marshals at the airport, signing an extradition treaty, and keeping Indian army at places, including the Koshi dam. So the agreement reflects that we are ready to agree on such issues.
On top of that, there are seven members in the party´s talks team, but they were not informed about the talks. Only two leaders (Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai) participated in the meeting and struck the deal. We feel that the party is bowing to the demands of others. It is wrong to make compromises on the fundamental principles of the party.
Do you think the current coalition is natural at a time your party has been raising the issue of national sovereignty in view of the widespread perception that the Madhes-based parties sympathize with the southern neighbor?
I don´t want to make comments on this. Sometimes, the events themselves make things clear. We can work with the Madhes-based parties following the party´s norms and values. But it would wrong to bow to others and work with them.
What will be your strategy if the party endorses the keys handover move by a majority vote?
I don´t think the move would be endorsed by a majority vote. I have already made my point clear, and I don´t think the CC would take such a decision.Sometimes you are in a minority and sometimes you are in a majority. At times the decision of the minority is right and that of the majority wrong. It is the first time in my political career that I have been reduced to a minority. I have been in the central committee for nearly 38 years. What I want is to take the decision to the CC and hold debates on the issue. The CC is the supreme body to settle such disputes when you are not holding a general convention.
If it did, will the party split?
Let´s not think that the party would split. The party would move ahead united. Ours is a communist party and we understand the organization as the unity of the opposites. It is important for the party to have debates and discussions. On top of that the peace, integration and constitution drafting processes are reaching their culmination. All these issues should be looked at in their entirety and the peace process and constitution drafting should go hand by hand.
Your chairman has been saying that those who are against peace and constitution would quit the party and would be reduced to ashes. What do you have to say?
It would be wrong for the party to take a wrong path. We would not present ourselves that way. I would say whoever deviates from the party´s norms and values and tactical line would be reduced to ashes.
Why are you called a hardliner?
It is a very strange thing. After I was released from the jail, someone wrote that I was a hardliner. I did not know why. There was no dispute in the party then. There are some who give the name hardliners or softliners. Sushiliji (NC President Sushil Koirala) told me the other day that they call him NC hardliner and me a Maoist hardliner. Just let them say so.
Differences between senior vice chairman Mohan Baidya Panel and the panel for the time being led jointly by Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and another vice chairman Babu Ram Bhattarai has taken a new height to the extent that the Baidya panel has independently constituted a ‘security force’ comprising of three hundred youth in district of Kalikot, reports have it.
To recall, Mohan Baidya and Dr. Bhattarai were a single soul for some months in order to cut down the size of their own party Chairman Prachanda. However, Bhattarai suddenly joined his “necks” with Prachanda thus left his Dhobighat ally in the deep blue ocean to swim.
A remote control phenomenon?
Must have some dangerous political meaning.
The formation of the security force which is led by Bir Bahadur Malla is intended to fight against societal ills and to train the local youths, it is also reported. The program wherein the formation of the unit was declared, the central leaders representing Baidya panel, the hardliners perhaps, were present.
“We will expose those people who are against drafting the peoples’ constitution and bring peace to its positive end, we will fight against societal evils”, said district in charge Atom Bum of the Baidya Panel.
This is the second time in two weeks that the Baidya panel had organized military training to the local youths. Some five hundred local youths had participated in the training conducted two weeks ago, reveal report.
Now the Indian establishment has one “extra” card under its sleeve by default.But will Mohan Baidya seek the Indian assistance as Prachanda-Bhattarai did in the not so distant past? Yet, the Indian regime may approach Mohan Baidya, analysts opine.
Another people’s war?