Maoist Debate in Nepal - Part 2
By Stephen Mauldin at Nov 28, 2008
In just the last couple of days, the debate has to a great extent been resolved publicly:
Maoist Cadres' Conference Adopts New Strategy - November 26, 2008
"The six-day long national cadres' conference of the CPN (Maoist) ended Wednesday evening, adopting new strategy which.. is a 'synthesis' of separate policy documents presented by Prachanda and organisation department chief Mohan Baidya (Kiran).. party spokesperson Krishna Bahadur Mahara said the conference has adopted a slogan 'people's federal democratic national republic', which pretty much sums up the immediate strategy of the party. The national conference adopted the strategy after intense brainstorming over the documents of Prachanda and Baidya( Kiran), Mahara informed claiming that the decisions taken at the conference "have brought party unity to a new height". Leaders said the new strategy seeks to institutionalise democratic republican order while keeping the option of 'gradual advancement towards people's republic' open.. cadres gave a clear thumps-up to Prachanda's document, but suggested that leadership come up with a single document by merging the two."
This is really quite stunning – the actual announcement of a unified statement by the Maoist’s that, although they are participating in the institution of a democratic republic, the question of a single party people’s republic is to remain open. It is clearly a rebuttal of the position of some number of Maoist cadre, for example consider the article by CPM Maoist Central Committee member Nitra Bikram Chand “Biplap” on just November 24, 2008 (to which following I submitted a comment online):
Biplap on Differences Among Nepali Maoists
"The main bone of contention is whether the party should advance ahead for People’s Republic or stay in the stage of democratic republic.. Prachanda put forward a program to remain in the Democratic Republic.. the necessity of the tactics of democratic republic; there is no favorable situation to advance into the People’s Republic.. the need to synthesize the ideology.. Kiran disagreed.. proposal for a People’s Republic.. We must understand.. authentic political program of our party a new People’s Democracy. According to the validity of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, the central question of the People’s War is to achieve people’s state power.. interesting aspect.. is Nepali Congress (NC) and the Unified Marxist and Leninist (UML) are more active in the operation of the state than during the period of the monarchy, when the PW began.. carried out barbaric repressions against us.. the People’s War was against even the multiparty parliamentary system."
Stefandav Comment: "Comrade Biplap has clearly stated the political differences and developed his argument on that basis. Essentially this argument is that the PW was and is contrary to parliamentarian theory. Obviously it is. How can we conclude however that Prachanda/Bhattarai have abandoned the goal of the People’s Republic simply because they are engaging a strategy of peaceful struggle vs insurrection and are presently using tactics that at this point involve multi-party negotiations. Sure, as such, these tactics are not strictly revolutionary in the historical sense, but if the goal is to thereby wither away parliamentary government and put an end to it this way, then it is also true that the tactics are not strictly speaking reformist. Has not history often shown us that it is problematic to retain the fruits of revolution without having really gained control of the socio-economic situation? Is it really not a leap of conclusion to think that Prachanda/Bhattarai, given their leadership roles from the beginning of the PW have suddenly forgotten or abandoned the goal because they want to drive a BMW and live in a palace? As we know, the NC etc. are highly suspicious they are simply engaging in a strategic process. Let’s hope so and be vigilant but not screw with that process too much. Also, let’s not forget that communism is not about division - the NC etc. has been and are mistaken but those people are still in our world and will be when stripped of their elitist class. Taking this into account is as I understand it the new phase of manifestation of the communist hypothesis as elucidated by Alain Badiou and introduced elsewhere in my blog in further detail, along with many links and references to this very important theoretical line. I don’t know, but I aim to find out if Prachanda/Bhattarai are indeed creating something novel - its important I think that the jury remain out at this point, and its certainly no time to be calling for the hangman."
So one might think I am very self-satisfied that the latest developments, wherein the Maoists have presented a united front in support of the Prachanda/Bhattarai line has occurred along with the explicit declaration that the people’s republic is still on the future agenda. Well, yes, but there remains some problematic aspects. These pertain mainly to the fact that some of the criticisms that have been levered against this development do, I think, bear consideration even though the united front was the best course of action. Additionally, the explicit retention of a vision for the people’s republic is likely to engender backlash among the other members of the multi-party coalition developing the democratic republic, as well as provide fodder to the international global capitalist power structure and related donor community for shifting support away from the Maoists.
First, on the latter problematic I have just mentioned: Prachanda has issued statements as recently as October 20 to the international community that seem obviously contradicted by the new united front of Maoist cadre:
Prachanda Advocates a New Type of People’s Republic
"Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal today repeated his party’s commitment to multi-party political system, saying that the ‘People’s Republic’ that the Maoist leaders are talking about is not similar to the system introduced by Chinese leader Mao about 70 years ago in China. Speaking to journalists at the tea reception organised by the CPN (UML) Wednesday, Dahal said his party is not against competitive politics, human rights and democracy. ‘Our effort is to ensure more active involvement of people in the state activities and empowering them to have their say in national agendas’, he added. He informed that a political committee would soon be formed to determine the future of Maoist combatants. Despite objections from other parties, including those within the coalition, Maoists have been insisting a group blanket merger between PLA and Nepal Army."
Also, Bhattarai earlier this month released a detailed budget plan. A review of the main stipulations is available from the link below point to an obvious need to integrate with and obtain international support if the plan is to be implemented. Not only is the stated vision of a people’s republic likely to hurt this process of cooperation, the fact that such close cooperation is planned gives argument for the Maoists who believe the democratic republic amounts to a sell out of the revolution:
Bhattarai: Speech on Nepal Government Planning
"The New Federal Budget from Baburam Bhatterai.. it’s a strange feeling reading the distinct analytical style of Baburam Bhattarai in an official government document, after becoming accustomed to it in underground sources. Memories from pouring over his PHD thesis in college come gushing back. Whatever ones opinion of his politics, this man is without a doubt the best intellect Nepal has to offer [included comment critical of the Prachanda/Bhattari line:] Like Prachanda, Bhattarai packages his policy as anti-feudal and in support of industrialization. But the real thrust of his and Prachanda’s policy is to attract foreign investment, such as into energy and other key sectors under the rubric of privatization labeled as “public-private partnership”. The practical consequence of this policy would be to strengthen the foreign, imperialist domination , plunder and exploitation of the Nepalese people and natural resources. It is clearly a comprador line rather than AN anti-imperialist line."
This rancor in South Asia Review begins to touch on the other problematic I mentioned above: some of the criticisms that have been levered against this development do, I think, bear consideration even though the united front was the best course of action. There are at least a couple of more articles I wish to review that give a more detailed argument from the Maoists who opposed the formation of a democratic republic. These I believe strike deeper into the theoretical differences. I will take them up in Part 3 of this series. There also I will return to the prescriptions of Alain Badiou regarding the new phase of Maoist evolution of the communist hypothesis he brings to light.